Friday, October 27, 2017

Kozcon, Hundred Years War English vs Persia

A Headless Body Production

VenueFerrell Fire Company Hall, Monroeville, NJ 
Event:    Kozcon 
Players: Phil Gardocki running Timurid Persian  
                   Dan Hazelwood running  Hundred Years War English (HYWE for short)            
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Open, no restrictions
Scale: 25mm

The Forces:
   Timurid Persian circa 1400: Commanders  Timur the Lame (Strategist), Zombie Ulugh Beg, who earned his title by being the first general killed this day, (Brilliant) and Babur (Competent)
      4 Persian Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Bow (elite)
      4 Persian Heavy Cavalry, Bow (2 elite)
      4 Turkomans, Light Cavalry, Bow (elite)
      2 Light Infantry Bow
      4 Persian Archers, Bowmen (Mediocre)
      2 Hostages, Levy Expendable, (Mediocre)
      2 Stampeding Herds
      1 Elephant

Henry the Fifth, after giving a rousing speech, burned all documentation of his armies doings, leaving us with only conjecture as to his size and deployment.

      6 Foot Knights, probably (elite)
      3 Heavy Spearmen
      4 Longbowmen, also probably (elite)
      2 Crossbowmen.  (Probably ordinary)
      2 Medium Infantry, Sword (mediocre)
      2 Light Infantry
KozCon is held in memory of our good friend and avid gamer Dave Kozlow who passed away in 2012.  If you've ever had the opportunity to play in one of his many games at HMGS events you know that he was not only a great person but also a notable credit to our hobby.  In light of Dave's five year battle with cancer ALL proceeds from KozCon are donated to the American Cancer Society.

The Board:
Timur the Lame wins the initiative and selects to attack in the plains. Henry V is only up to "And crowns for convoy put into his purse;" and so his terrain looks a bit sparse.  Dan  actually chose a coast and a village, but failed both die rolls to get them, he then named a hill, which didn't fit, two fields and a gully.  The Persians chose 2 plantations.  Of these, only the gully had any bearing on the game.


On the HYWE right, we have a mix of Foot Knights and Longbowmen.  They are anchored to the fortified camp.  We all see the camp now.  Right?  There is one idiot in the room that did NOT realize that the camp was actually deployed there.  I thought Dan had just not gotten around to putting on his edge.

The middle is another mix of Longbow and Foot Knights.  Off in the distance an oration* has started.
Ditto the left flank.  The round dish is the gully, with two ambushes.

On the Timurid left is Zombie Ulugh Beg.  His command consists of Heavy Cavalry Bow (two elite) A herd of stampeding Cattle, and 2 Turkomans.  At this point I still don't realize that the camp in the way is really there.

The Timurid center, and place of honor is commanded by Timur Tamerlane, and consists of Heavy Cavalry Impact Bow (elite) A herd of stampeding Cattle, and 2 Turkomans.
On the right is Babur, with an elephant, a horde of archers (mediocre) and hostages (also mediocre).
Babur really expected the gully to be empty, and was in a hurry to occupy it.  But it was not to be.
The air thrums with the sound of released bows, the sky darkens, and over the sound of the screams and the dying could be heard, "I am the most offending soul alive."

 Turn 2:
Bound 2, and I finally get the point, there is a camp to be looted.  As long as I can disjoint the camp guards in the way.  If only this was the cavalry force with Impact Bow, instead of just Bow.
Timur is not going to rush a line of longbow.  Lets see how the left is going to do. 
Babur, flush with command points, decides this is not the day to challenge elite Longbow in the gully.
The HYWE Javelin armed Light Foot, step out, and disperse the cattle herd.

Henry's words are too motivational.  His longbow don't wait, and advance and loose their arrows.  Timur's Turkomans are dispersed to the four winds.

 Turn 3:
As one, Zombie Ulugh Beg and Timur Tamerlane charge forward.  Longbowmen are scattered like chaff on the field.  Timur smirks, "If he who sheds his blood will be my brother, then I'll be happy to make you one big happy family."
Fortune favors the prepared, as 6,6,5 beats 1,1,2.

Since the Longbow came out to play, Babur decides to play as well.
The HYWE attempt to recover from this disaster by conforming their Foot Knights into the battle.  But Ulugh Beg realizes what a great victory this was and evades.

With the concerted cavalry charge, the Timurids had managed to surgically remove the elite Longbow from this flank, as well as fragment the HYWE lines.  Sticking around would only give the HYWE a chance to recover with their Foot Knights, which frankly can take apart non impact Cavalry.  Time to take the win and run, and use mobility as an advantage, without the worry about being shot at.
Timur's center is being flanked, but he is trying to squeeze out two more foot units before running.
On the Timurid right. The HYWE Longbow decided to retreat, rather than face an elephant.

Turn 4:
Most people are thinking why I am not going for the camp right now.  Because the odds of getting it with two cavalry units is 31%.  The odds of losing two cavalry units to Foot Knights attacking a flank approaches 90%.  The camp is not going anywhere.   I have 2 units of Foot Knights to deal with.
Timur's command destroys the last Longbow unit facing them.  Only one missile troop, a crossbow unit, remains from the English center to the right.  The last unit in the line, a Foot Knight, has 3 hits on it as well.  The second herd of cattle is stampeded, but is defeated in the diceoff.  Time to retreat.
Babur charges!  Elephant on Knight!  With Support!.  And loses!
The HYWE win one, striking down a Persian Cavalry.  The remaining cavalry escape and begin reforming the lines.

Babur's command is being taken apart.  Of all the brain-farts I had this game, this was the worst.  This command needs to survive, nothing more. 
"4 days before Saint Crispin's day!"** orated Henry.  "No, wait, that's not right, the cadence is all wrong, William!  Come here, this needs a rewrite."

Upper right, the Persians have made a Foot Knight Sandwich.
From beginning to end this was poorly played.  From the initial advance, the retreat, then the charge.  This was just giving the Hundred Years War English points.

Due to oversights, the Turkomans were caught and killed.
The Timurids are at a score of 12 towards their break point of 19.
The HYWE are at a score of 8 towards their break point of 20.

There is just no good face to put here.
The Foot Knight sandwich (still upper left) is still undamaged.

Persian Archery is becoming a factor here, as hits are placed on Spearmen and Crossbow. 
And the HYWE are just cleaning up the Timurid right flank.
The Timurids are at a score of 13 towards their break point of 19.
The HYWE are at a score of 11 towards their break point of 20.
Turn 7:

After 3 rounds of combat, Zombie Ulugh Beg joins the fight.  His extra plus was important as the final total of the dice was a win by one.
The Persian Cavalry destroys another Crossbow, disordering the unit behind them, turning the flank of the HYWE line.
A poor photo, but showing 2 more points scored for the HYWE.
The Sandwich is destroyed, the camp can be attacked!
But it is too late.
The deluge of points earned by the HYWE had put them over the top.  The final score is 19-16, the Hundred Years War English win.
What went wrong was easy.  First, was the total lack of situational awareness.  Not realizing that the camp was being used as a flank guard.  My best command should have been sent there on a rush, supported by the number 2 command.  Then there was the nonsense of committing the right flank to battle.

Despite that, on the left and center, my Persians played well.  They hung out of bow range, giving the HYWE an opportunity to advance and get the first shot.  Which they did.  Then charging to engage the bowmen without their benefit of stakes.  Then retreating before the Foot Knights.  That all went well.  

If my right flank had not been committed and destroyed, the score on the bottom of the seventh would have been closer to 16-10, my favor, and then it was just a matter of attacking the camp till a 6 appeared.  Even without the camp, there were several flank charges becoming available that could have taken me over the line.

*With apologies to William Shakespeare.

**What is all the nonsense about 4 days before St Crispin's Day?  This game was on October 21, and St. Crispin's Day is October 25th.

Rus vs Nikephorian Byzantine

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:     Phil Gardocki, Jenny Parker playing the Nikephorian Byzantine
                      Bruce Potter,  Garth Parker playing the Rus

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 200 points per side.

Scenario:  The Byzantines are bent on expansion and strike north into the heartlands of the Rus.

The Forces:
Nikephoros and Basil, both Brilliant
      4 Kataphractoi, Heavy Cavalry, Bow, Impact Elite
      4 Turkomans, Light Cavalry, Bow, Elite
      3 Psiloi, Light Infantry, Bow 
      6 Skutatoi, Mixed Heavy Spear, Bow
      2 Varangians, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW, Elite
      Break point 20

Pyotr and Pavl, both Competent
      4 Druzhina, Heavy Spearmen, Armor
      2 Slavs, Heavy spearmen, Missile support
      12 Heavy Spearmen
      2 Magyars, Light Cavalry, Bow
      2 Magyars, Medium Cavalry, Bow
      Break point 23

The Rus win the initiative and elect to defend in the woods.  They select a coastal, a wood, and a wooded hill.  The Byzantines select a gentle hill and a gully.
The Rus start off confident, their flank secured to a coastline, their lines containing both fortifications and armored spear.  Just the thing to repulse an army of cavalry.
And even better, they get to sit on a gentle hill the Byzantines brought with them
The wooded hill on the Byzantine left is forcing the Byzantines to compress their lines. 
But as the Rus don't appear to be going anywhere, the Byzantines will have time to decompress their lines.
Turn 1:
During the customary announcement of the troop types, the Rus suddenly realize that all but two units of Byzantines have a bow.  And they realize their cunning plan of just standing there and waiting for the mounted charges was not going to work. 

Basil advances with confidence.
As does Nikephoros.
Pavl orders his troops to advance, but rolls a single command point.  And certainly he isn't going past the fence line.

Pyotr, with more aggression, and a lot more command points, advances and expands.
Turn 2:
Turkomans loose arrows upon the armored spear.   With predictable results.
Nikephoros brings up better bow fire, but no better results.  The decision was made to pull the Turkomans out of the flank.  They had no business being there.
Spearmen charge, Turkoman's evade.  Pavl orders a redeployment of the Magyar Medium Cavalry.
Byzantine Kataphractoi also evade a spear charge.  A long range shot from the Skutatoi scores a hit on one of the armored spear.
Turn 3:
Nikephoros and Basil are yucking it up at this point.  There is going to be a lot of missile shots before the crunch.  Then, they know the smiles will be wiped off of their faces when it becomes armored spear vs mediocre spear.

Pavl is having a chronic shortage of command points.  Causing a gap in the lines.  Basil sends the Kataphractoi to take advantage of the situation.
Nikephoros is happy with the line as it is.
On the right, the Skutatoi are ranged in, but as of yet, have caused no damage.
Again with minimal command points, Pavl orders a general advance.
And again Byzantine Kataphractoi evade.

Turn 4:
Darken the skies!  Two more hits on the Rus line.
Pavl is within spitting distance of the Kataphractoi.
Pyotr decides not to charge the closer line of Byzantines, and instead uses his command points to rally.  None of the Rus rally, and many more take arrow hits as a result.
Even the Mercenary Magyars are included.
Turn 5:
The Turkomans tag out Basil's Kataphractoi, lest they be trapped.
Nikephoros's missile barrage continues.
Then, fortune favors the Rus.  Charging the Turkomans, the Rus roll up their distance, and catch the Varangians both front and flank! 
The Rus right flank has their field well secured.
The Varangians fight bravely, but are taking casualties.
Emboldened by Pavl's success, Pytor orders a charge as well.  This time, the Kataphractoi stand. 
Turn 6:
The score so far,
The Byzantines have 1 point towards their demoralization level of 20.
The Rus are 7 points towards their demoralization level of 23.
It has been looking bad for the Rus till now, but now it is Heavy Spear vs. Cavalry, and Ordinary Armored Spear vs. Mediocre Spear.

Basil's Kataphractoi's stand an shoot more arrows to no effect.
In the center, the fight is going both ways.
The Byzantine right is content to shoot for now.  To advance would give the Rus a flank support advantage.  But the Rus do not want to advance either due to a lack of woods troops.
The Magyars count their remaining arrows and break out the Slivovitz. 
Basil's Varangians have been routed!
Hits are picking up on both sides of the scrum
Byzantine missile fire is proving effective.
Turn 7:
The score so far,
The Byzantines are 3 point towards their demoralization level of 20.
The Rus are 11 points towards their demoralization level of 23.

And a surprise breakthrough, a Skutatoi rout a Rus spear.

Nikephoros joins his Varangians and charges.  And is immediately slain!
Desultory action on the Rus right.
But more effective archery in the center.
Another Rus unit falls.
The Magyars have left the field.
Pavl spends his command points to rally and fail to inspire.
The inside center of the Rus line has been pierced.
The Rus left flank is falling apart.
The Rus right flank is in good order.
At this point the game was called on time.

Final shots

Final Shots.

The Byzantines are 9 point towards their demoralization level of 20.
The Rus are 17 points towards their demoralization level of 23.

A winning draw for the Nikephorians.  I guess we have to call the Basilians instead, since Nikephoros got offed 

When designing this scenario, we were going for something sort-of-historic.  Bruce picked the Rus.  I looked for what I had in period and was pretty much stuck with Byzantine.  We didn't want the normal Cavalry vs. Infantry fight, so I minimized the Kataphractoi, and maximized the Skutatoi.  We didn't realize the all bow vs. no bow dynamic til deployment, which changed the character of the game dramatically.