Friday, October 27, 2017

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. 

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