Monday, October 23, 2017

Kozcon, Persians vs Byzantines.

A Headless Body Production

VenueFerrell Fire Company Hall, Monroeville, NJ 
Event:    Kozcon 
Players: Phil Gardocki running Timurid Persian  
                   Bert Carney running  Later Byzantine
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), Ulugh Beg (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

Later Byzantines.  3 anonymous commanders, all  competent and embedded.

This list is from memory and subject to change without notice.
      6 Franks, Medium Knights (2 elite)
      6 Stratiotoi, Medium Cavalry Impact
      3 Petchnegs, Light Horse, Bow
      2 Kontaroi, Heavy Spearmen
      4 Greek Bowmen
      2 Hillmen, Javelinmen
      1 Levy
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.

There are days when you arrive at one of these things and think, damn, that looks a lot more fun then what I'm going to do.
Nazi saucers and zombies in a box.  What is not to like?

The Board:
Timur the Lame wins the initiative and selects to attack in the plains. The Byzantines selects a 2 fields and a plantation.  The Persians selects a gully and a hill.
On the Byzantine right, 2 Javelinmen, 4 units of bowmen, and two units of Heavy Spear.
The center is all Frankish Medium Knights. 
Squeezed in on their left, 6 Medium Cavalry Impact Bow, and supporting Petchnegs*.
On the Timurid left, Babur commands 4 units of Heavy Cavalry, 2 units of Turkomans, and is driving a Herd of Cattle.
Commanding the center is Ulugh Beg, with Persian Archers, Elephants, Light Infantry, and Hostages.  The cotton represents "Late arrivals and early departures."
On the Timurid left, is Timur the Lame, with 4 Heavy Cavalry Impact Bow, Turkomans, and Cattle.
Ulugh Beg rolls just over the minimum number of command points and advances
Babur moves forward just enough to keep the flanks of the other commands secure.  Or it could be he only rolled a single command point.
Timur pushes his command clear of the plantation. 

My thoughts here are to challenge the Byzantine cavalry before they could clear the field and expand.  I have the quality advantage, in that my cavalry have bow, armor and elite over them.  And if they are packed together, then I can get some collateral damage as well.  I am counting on Babur's elephant and the herd of stampeding cattle to distract the knights for a while.

Turn 2:
Ulugh Beg sees mostly bow troops and decides to challenge them.
Babur keeps his distance, waiting for the knights to advance into bow range.
Timur pushes forward for what proved to be a totally fruitless missile exchange.
The Byzantines advance and loose arrows.  Persian archery proves dominant.
The Frankish Knights split their forces.  It is clear they are making a priority of flanking and destroying Ulugh Beg's command.
The Byzantine lancers chose not to advance.
Turn 3:
All right. What this game lacks in subtlety, it gains in brevity.  Both flank commands are about to become fully engaged, while the center commands are not directly challenging each other.  The Byzantine knights are hoping to roll up Ulugh Beg's command and detach 3 knights to do the job. But that detachment will be getting shot at by Babur's command while doing so.  But what of the other 3 knights.  Will they also pivot on Timur's command?  Or charge into a lot of bow, though admittedly mediocre?
A herd of cattle was shot down, but the Timurid Cavalry otherwise is extremely effective with their charges.  Byzantine foot units receive more disorder, and one even is destroyed on contact.
This is Bert receiving the coveted First Commander slain award!  There was a similar award for First Camp Looted
Babur's Archers continue to pour it on, but do nothing to Byzantine Knights.
On the Timurid right flank, Persian Cavalry advance.  Running off the Petchneg Light Horse.  The herd of stampeding cattle make contact, with support, but lose anyway.  For the record, they now have 1 success for 6 times out.

The Byzantine Kontaroi advance to cover the flanks of the Knights.  But neither could interfere soon enough to save the Byzantine right flank.
The other knights, however, ignore the elephant panic of their horses and charge in.  Running down one Persian archer, and nearly offing another.
The Byzantine Cavalry finish lining up, and charge!  The results are 3 ties and a win for the Byzantines.
Turn 4:
  Ulugh Beg decides the time is right to lead from the front.  He charges the last remaining disordered Psiloi bow, and rolls a 1, they roll a 6.  The final numbers are 5, + 1 (Cavalry vs mediums) +1 (elite) + 1 (heavier armor) + 1 (General) to the Byzantine total of 6, + 1 (first contact Cavalry) -1 for disorder.  The Byzantines win, and then roll a 1 and kill the Persian General.
The demoralization level for the Timurid's is 11, the Byzantines is 14.

The Persians start maneuvering a second line to keep the Byzantine Knights away from the camp.
Timur's Cavalry punch a hole in the Byzantine line.
A Byzantine Knight flanks and destroys a Persian Cavalry unit.
The other knights run over the Levy Hostages.
But the Byzantine lines face disaster on their left, as 3 more Stratiotai's fall

The demoralization level for the Timurid's is 13,  to the Byzantines 19.

Turn 5:
The Persian left is both victorious and leaderless.  The only thing saving them is they can evade if charged.
Babur does an excellent re-positioning of his forces.  But the elephant is totally disinterested in its charge and rolls a 1, to the Knights roll of a 4, and so wins only by a final total of 6-5, causing only 1 point of disorder.  (A note on positioning here.  These units are in contact, it's just the trunk of the elephant is keeping the stands from contacting.)
The Byzantines have hit their break point in the previous picture.  But Timur is a blood thirsty fellow.  His cavalry runs down the Byzantine General, disordering the Light Horse behind him.  While another Persian Cavalry takes another Byzantine Cavalry in the flank
I am not sure what went right here to have earned this victory here.  This battle pretty much was fought on the wings, 1 corps on 1 corps.  With some interference from the center corps on both sides.  I suspect I had a quality advantage in the wings, as I had more points invested there, as my center command is only 42 points, while his was high quality knights and about 73 points.  In the end the knights destroyed one Elite Heavy Cavalry, 2 Mediocre Bow, and a Hostage Levy.  And took two disorders in the process.  He needed to get more value out of that command. 

Some things I know I am doing wrong.  One is the Stampeding Cattle.  Not the obvious bit where you must cover them or they will get shot away, but in that having them already causes the command to fragment command wise.  To move the whole command forward takes at least 3 command points.  One for the cattle, one for its screen, because the cattle forms groups with nothing but itself.  And one for the main body of cavalry itself.  This alone almost spelled ruin for Timur's command.    A combination of low command points, and trying to keep the cattle in line, meant the Byzantines were able to form their line, giving them flank advantages on both sides. What this also means, that to support the cattle, at 3 points, I have to have a screen of LI or LC (4 or 6 points) and at least a Brilliant General at +3 points.  So for a unit that at best is a 50/50 of doing anything at all, takes only one hit, is costing the army 12+ points.  

And I am running two of them.

I cannot say what the presence of these troop types does to my opponents tactics.

On the Persian left, the Cattle was shot away almost immediately, giving Ulugh Beg all the command points he needed, up until he took an arrow to an eye.  

So, by just having the Cattle, I am giving my opponent the fragmentation that normally occurs around mid game, and losing the multiple moves the attacker normally enjoys on turn 1.

On the other hand, my opponents middle command of 6 knights, was almost ineffective.  Their attempt to sweep right bagged one Persian Cavalry unit, but took 3 knights out  of the fight afterwards.  The remaining knights took out two mediocre bowmen, which was good, but were then faced with an elephant on their flanks.

 *Petchnegs are famous for both their audacity, and timidity.  When the Byzantine emperor made a request of the Petchnegs that would lead them to a war with the Turks, they replied, "Since the Turks are both fierce and numerous, we do not wish to do that.  Furthermore, we would regard it as bad form if you were to make this request again."


  1. Sounds great, beautiful and impressive armies!

  2. Anybody that brings Alexis army should get an award ! That army list is terrible .

  3. Great report keep the coming . My advice on the cattle take the base and add some dead bodies that they have trampled . They might get the idea (I am totally serious)

  4. Thanks. The bodies is a good idea. It's not like I don't have an abundance of broken ankled lead hanging around.