Saturday, November 25, 2017

Timurid Persians vs Swiss at Fall In

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Lancaster Host, Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Event:    HMGS's Fall-In
Players: Phil Gardocki running Timurid Persian
                  Chris Sikorski, running Swiss
Game System: L' Art de la Guerre, 25mm, 200 points

The Forces:
The Persians, lead by Timur "You're not fooling anyone, you know--" Tamerlane,
(Strategist), Babur "what, again?" (Brilliant), and Ulugh "I have to update my LinkedIn profile" Beg (Competent)
      4 Persian Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Bow (elite)
      4 Persian Heavy Cavalry, Bow (elite)
      4 Turkomans, Light Cavalry, Bow (elite)
      1 Light Infantry Bow
      2 Persian Archers, Bowmen (Mediocre)
      2 Timurid Archers, Bowmen
      2 Hostages, Levy Expendable, (Mediocre)
      2 Stampeding Herds
      1 Elephant (skinny)

The Swiss
     Pike are very expensive, elite more so. At deployment we see 9 keils of pike, 3 of halberds, and 5 units of lights, one of which is mounted.

Breakpoint...17 +

The Board:
The Timurids win the initiative roll and elect to attack in the mountains.  There is really no choice here.  The mountains is the only terrain the Swiss have.  The other choice is to have the Swiss attack in the plains.  And quick marching elite pike running across the board?  That is frightening.   The Swiss selected 3 steep hills.  The Timurids selected two fields.  After that, things began to go very wrong for the Swiss. Timur rolled 3 6's on terrain adjustment, and two hills disappeared, the third was moved to his side of the board.  Only a 5 roll by the Swiss put it back in it's original position. 


Babur notes, that in 3 games, he has always been on the left side of the board.
Ulugh Beg also is noting an astonishing lack in variety in battle plans.
Timur is following the texts of ancient wisdom, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  So far, none have pointed out to him that it hasn't worked so well.
A view from the upper right corner.  The Timurids have the advantage of length, but probably not depth.  And a slight advantage in numbers.

Turn 1:

Babur races forward.  His mission is to destroy the lights, and then retire before the pike.
Ulugh Beg's troops advance, but only a march.  They are pretty useless against elite pike, and are so much chaff if caught.  They'll settle now for shooting up the mounted crossbow, then cover Babur's flanks at a distance.
At the point of honor, Timur "I'm getting better", Tamerlane double times it.  He needs to take on the hanging flank of the Swiss.  A note on movement of the Stampeding Herds.  The herds cannot form a group with anything but themselves.  So this movement of 2 herds and 2 Turkomans costs 2 command points if the herds move their full distance of 4 UD's and 3 if they move short.  This is one of the reasons I placed them in Timur, who is a Strategist's, command.  As he may have the extra command points to control them.
An ambush is revealed.  The Swiss are not as few as they pretended.  So much the better.  They angle their lines so that their flanks are no longer vulnerable.
Position and delay is more important than casualties.  The Swiss commander orders their only mounted force to stand far afield, keeping Timur's forces from double moves in the future.

The Timurids have 1 point towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 2 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

Turn 2:

Babur rallies his damaged cavalry and then focuses his firepower on the lights to good effect.
The same with Ulugh Beg's archers. 
In what is possibly the first time since they were painted, the cattle were approaching in a controlled manner.
The Swiss adjust their lines, but are not leaving that hill.
Their lights have taken horrific casualties, but there is no way the cavalry is getting through that pike block.
On the Swiss left, the commander steps forward.  He recalls his skirmishers to safety.

The Timurids have 0 points towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 6 points towards their demoralization level of 20.
A grammar question here.  I zero actually plural?  Is it 0 points, or 0 point?

Turn 3:
Babur's archers continue to shoot, but are ineffective.

Totally down the line, no hits scored.

Up until the last shot of Timur's command.  The furthermost pike is disordered.
A photo of one of the other games taking place at Fall In.
Ulugh Beg pushes his elephant forward.  Why?  Frankly I have a thought of a unified elephant and cattle charge going in.  Sometimes my tactics are dictated by the narrative and what makes a good photo, and not on winning the game.
Swiss halberdiers are not known for their patience.  They charge off the hill, forcing some cavalry to evade. 
The same on the Swiss left. 

The Timurids are 0 points towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 8 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

And a great display piece from the Flames of War group.

Turn 4:

Babur sees an opportunity here.  Medium foot in the open his cavalry can take.  First though, he'll see if he can shoot them up some more.
Arrows fly, but to no effect.
Timur returns to shoot as well, to no effect.
Babur's hopes are dashed as the halberdiers charge again.  Swiss Pike line up in precision to their brothers in arms. Thinking about charging the halberdiers was a bad plan.
Ulugh Beg orders a retreat of his archers, long before the pike get there.

As the cattle are beyond 4 UD's, they cost no command points to maintain their position.
The Timurids have 0 points towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 8 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

Turn 5:
Babur't cavalry have fled too far, and cannot get close enough to shoot.  He sends a single Turkoman to probe the flanks
The archers turn their lines to face the pike, but are out of range as well.
The cattle have been herded into charge reach.
The Swiss commander on the right will have none of this probing nonsense, and sends the Turkomans fleeing.
The center mass pike advance into archery range.
On the Swiss left, the Swiss plant their pikes and await the charge they know is coming.

The Timurids have 0 points towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 9 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

Turn 6:
With charges on the right all but committed, Babur also orders and leads a charge.  One halberdier unit is caught with overlaps and a general for +4 to a +1. And is almost, but not quite obliterated.
Ulugh Beg doesn't have the same enthusiasm, and in fact retreats his elephant. The cattle will just have to go in alone.
Timur orders his chage.  The cattle strike two keil, one with support.  On the far right two Aswārān's (elite, armor, impact, bow) attack a Swiss keil(elite, pike, disordered)  The dice are rolled, and all the impacts are dead even. 
In response, on the left, the Swiss line up and support their troops.  Too late for their right most halberdier,
Archery is again effective as three keils pick up hits.
The herds of cattle are turned away, One of the Persian Aswārāns is disordered. 

The Timurids are 2 points towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 13 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

Turn 7:

Babur starts to wrap around the Swiss Halberdiers.  Archery is crucial here as halberdiers that could be turned to deal with the wrap, are also disordered.
The archers are offered as a sacrifice.  If the pike are killing them, then they are not assisting their beleaguered flanks.  Scoring some missile hits can be considered a bonus.
Timur right most Aswārān  turns and flank charges its nearby keil of pike.  And, due to how things lined up, an gap opens in the Swiss lines.  Turkomans run the gap to the unfortified camp.

His troops becoming demoralized, his camp is endangered, the Swiss commander needs to do something, and continues to charge.  Another Halberdier falls.
The pike in the center stop for rallies, and succeed. 
The Swiss pike with the red, white and blue flags charge, and an Aswārān  evades.  Hopes to loot the camp are dashed, as light infantry ZOC's the Turkomans.
The Timurids are 3 points towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 11 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

Turn 8:

Babur has a good position and die rolls.  The Swiss halberdiers are half destroyed, half disordered.
Ulugh Beg's firing line holds firm.
The camp falls.  Timur rallies an Aswārān.
Final shots.

Final shots, center.

Final shots right.
The Timurids are 2 points towards their demoralization level of 18.
The Swiss are 20 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

That is how it was scored, but on reviewing this battle report, it is in error.  The Turkomans could not loot the camp, they were ZOC'ed.  So the score at this point was 2-16, with time on the clock for another turn.  A turn that could see another pike on cavalry charge, and possibly an elephant engagement. On the Persian right, another Swiss halberdier unit probably would have been destroyed, but there was a chance of killing a Persian Aswārān.  On the far right there was a chance (50-50) of destruction of a Swiss Pike, but equally another Persian Aswārān.  I think the game would have been 18-4 to 6.  in the Persians favor.

This makes a big difference in tournament scoring.  A winner gets big points for breaking his opponent, but only a little if he wins but not by knockout.

In the end, I owe an apology to Chris Sikorski for claiming a win I did not earn.