Tuesday, December 12, 2017

One summer day

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Dave's House
Event:       Saturday Summer Follies
Players:    Bob, playing Carthaginians
                  Phil Gardocki, playing Classic Indians
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.

Scenario:  A Round Robin tournament, pulled together in the last minute by our gracious host.  The original intent was Feudal / Medieval, but then settled on Classical/Roman periods.

The Forces:
The Indians.  Leaders King Porus and son, and his competent general Spitakes.
4 Elite Elephants
4 Light Infantry, bow
2 Elite Guardsmen,  Medium swordsmen 2HW
4 Bowmen, ½ Medium swordsmen ½ Bowmen
3 Elite Impetuous Heavy Chariots
2 Light Cavalry, Javelin 
1 Mediocre Medium Cavalry
1 Herd of stampeding cattle
Breakpoint 20

The Carthaginians, Hannibal ever wily, has hidden his force composition. He is unable to hide a large force of 3 mediocre Elephants and a large number of foot, and some cavalry.
 Break point 23
I decided to have fun today.  I wasn't playing to win so I dusted off the pachyderms, just to see my opponents faces fall.  The disadvantage of the Indians is their foot is mostly mediocre in combat.  But the elephants offset that a lot.   The commands are organized as Mixed sword bow, elephant, guardsmen, elephant, mixed sword bow.  So any cavalry would have a -1 if charging in. The last command for the sweeps around the edge has a core of 3 heavy chariots.  Supported by a herd of stampeding cattle, which counts as a scythe chariot.

On Hannibal's right are elite light horse.  Heavy spear, and a block of elephants supported by impact medium infantry.
The Carthaginian center is dominated by elephants.  The resemblance of a crenelated wall is astounding.
On the Carthaginian left flank are more elephants and impact foot.  Squeezed in by deployment restrictions (no heavies or mediums within 4 UD of the edge) is a block of heavy spearmen and medium cavalry.
In the shadow of the Shiva, is King Porus on his elephant, "Binky", commanding a block of elephants and medium infantry.

His son, Prince Porus leads a force of heavy chariots, cavalry and a stampeding herd of cattle.
You'll have to forgive the shadow, but it won't last long.
Turn 1:
Another game where the shadow is right along the 5 UD mark.
Hannibal is on the attack.  His cavalry and spear command advances quickly against Prince Porus's Chariot command.
Hannibal's center command is organized very much like King Porus's.  The main difference is the quality differences of the elephants, Elite vs. Mediocre, and the foot troops, Ordinary vs. Mediocre.
Hanibal's left command advances as well, but a shortage of command points prevents a double march by both mounted and foot groups.
Prince Porus advances as well.
His father as well.  See what I mean about nearly identical forces?
On the Indian right is where the main differences lie.  Elephants vs. Cavalry, Heavy Spear vs. Bow.
Turn 2:

Lights charge, lights evade.  The Carthaginian spearmen line up with their cavalry.
Indian archery score a couple of hits.
The Carthaginian cavalry probe the field and reveal that both ambushes are fakes.
Indian Medium Cavalry (mediocre), charge the Carthaginian lights, and it is their turn to flee.
The Indians are happy with their position, and continue to shoot.  A Carthaginian elephant takes a hit!
The field offers no combat minus to the Indian forces, but is a -2 for the Carthaginian spear and cavalry.  Missile hits continue to pile up on them.
Turn 3:

Rinse and repeat.  Indian cavalry evades again.
In the center, the missile fire exchange continues.
Carthaginian cavalry feint charge, sending an Indian light foot fleeing.
Prince Porus unleashes his chariots.  Stampeding Cattle are repulsed by the spearmen, but the chariots score two hits on their opponents.  A note here, the mission of the cattle is not to actually damage the enemy, but to provide flank cover for the chariots.  If the cattle happen to win, I would have considered it a bonus.
In the center, is a total lack of commitment.
On the Indian right, a further advance and slide by the Indians.  Another Carthaginian cavalry unit takes a missile hit.
Turn 4:
More light on light action.  This time the Indians stand.  Each side takes a hit.
Nothing decisive on the left.
But in the center, Hannibal orders a general charge. Heavy casualties on both sides.
Spitakes is content to shoot it out.
The Indians are 5 points towards their demoralization level of 20.
The Carthaginians are 8 points towards their demoralization level of 23.

The Indians have brought up their medium cavalry for support, but both of their lights fall anyway.
Indian chariots turn the flank of the spearmen, and rout one.
This field is well soaked in blood.  A Carthaginian elephant has been routed.
Flanks are being turned on both sides here.
But nothing has changed on the right.
The Indians are points 9 towards their demoralization level of 20.
The Carthaginians are 12 points towards their demoralization level of 23. 

Turn 5:
Indian medium cavalry is routed, but so is a Carthaginian cavalry.
More internal flank action.  Just in front of the field, Carthaginian foot flank an Indian elephant, but lose by 1.  On the right of the panel, Elephant on Elephant action leads to a routed Indian elephant.
Spitakes is content to break out the popcorn and wait it out.
Carthaginian Spearmen are both flanked and disordered.
General on General action as both Prince Porus and his opposing Carthaginian commander lead their fights from the front.  The chariots prove superior, and disorder their foes. 
Hannibal is forming a double envelopment, with King Porus in the center.

Spitakes has a decision to make.  Should he send for a resupply of arrows?  Or go hand to hand.  He decides it is time look the hero and charge.  The Carthaginian cavalry have little options but to stay and fight.
Turn 6:
The Indians are points 14 towards their demoralization level of 20.
The Carthaginians are 18 points towards their demoralization level of 23.

Carthaginian lights gallop to save their commander, but not in time to save his cavalry.
Upper right, Indian Elephants defeat their foot foes.  The right side Carthaginian elephant picks up another missile hit.
Two Carthaginian cavalry units are crushed, causing multiple rout hits on the spearmen behind, giving the Indians 7 more points.  The Indians win the day.

Final shot.  Twas good fortune that ended the game at this point, else the game could have ended in a mutual loss.

Final score
The Indians are points 16 towards their demoralization level of 20.
The Carthaginians are 23 points towards their demoralization level of 23.

So, what went right?  On the Indian right flank, patience was a virtue.  Spitakes command, while staying in the field, was immune from attack by their opposing Heavy Foot and Cavalry, while able to just throw out volley after volley.  Some of their forces were available to shore up the center when King Porus's command began to collapse.  

The center was a disaster.  The Carthaginians did not fool around and charged right in.  Their foot troops being ordinaries and elites vs. Indian mediocres almost spelled the doom of King Porus. 

The Chariot command did ok.  But they were out numbered facing 3 Heavy Spear, which can handle chariots normally.  Quality of being elite and armored kept gave them the edge, even after their supporting lighter horse was destroyed. 

My opponent made a serious error on his left.  His deployment didn't allow for the 4 UD edge where only lights can be deployed, then bunched up in his rush to cross the board.  He would have been better served wheeling the cavalry around the edge and letting his Heavy Infantry take the shots.  Their protection was higher, and they take more hits.  While turning the flank with his cavalry, which would have forced Spitakes to split his forces up.  In the end this was a game losing decision.


  1. Hey Phil. Great report and good observations. Real scrum in the center

  2. Thanks Walt. The center was quite a scrum. Hannibal had the advantages of better troop types, and a Strategist to drive the command points. Elephants need 2 to turn 90 degrees, so Porus had to be on hand with which ever elephant needed to be maneuvered. Because 1's happen.