Sunday, January 21, 2018

Retaking Myannmar

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Huzzah Hobbies, Ashburn, VA.
Event:    L' Art de la Guerre Team Tournament.
Round:  1, Medieval Period.
Players: Phil Gardocki (Team Jersey Boys) running Burmese
                  Chris Kadish, (Team Stooges Apocalypse) running Samurai
Game System: L' Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points

Big praises for Huzzah Hobbies.  Their staff excellently handled our unreasonable demands with both panache and grace.   They provided a clean, large gaming area sufficient for out 48 players AND a large number of Magic, the Gathering players.  Well Done!

The Forces:
The Burmese, led by the Kings Narathihapate, King Pagan of Bassein and King Pagan of Thaton, all Competent.
      5 Elite Elephants
      4 Medium Spearmen
      5 Bowmen
      2 Elite Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
      4 Light Infantry, Bow
      1 Elite Light Infantry, Firearm

The Shogun reads heavily from Sun-Tsu's "The Art of War", and as such, hid much of his forces from the Burmese scouts.  About 10 Samurai on foot, (some elite, sword, 2hw, bow, who knows?) 4 Yari with spears, 6 Heavy Cavalry,


About the Kings.
Anyone that has read my Anglo-Irish battle reports knows of my running joke of naming my generals Larry, Darryl and Darryl.  So too, the Kings Pagan and Pagan.  But it is not entirely a joke. Using Wikipedia as a sole source.  Burma had a number of kingdoms, some were merely city-states, but the name Pagan was a common royalty name.  I can't say they took to the field together, but the possibility existed. 

The Scenario:
The long expedition is nearly over.  King Narathihapate and his men have seen much of the world this last season, they have met many people, most of which tried to kill them.  Off in the distance can be seen the Arakan Mountains.  Once traversed, the road leads to the Irrawaddy River, and then to home.  

But all is not well.  Reports from the peasantry and monks are reporting new masters have taken up residence in holy ရခိုင်ရိုးမ.  Men with keen eyes and sharp blades.  
He called to his scribe, "Summon Pagan and Pagan, it looks like we have work to do."

The Board:
The Samurai won the initiative and elected to defend in the mountains.  He choose 2 steep hills, a rice paddy (marsh), and two woods.  The Burmese chose a gully and a brush.  When the dice was rolled, 4 pieces were in the hextant on the Samurai left, with the gully not fitting and was discarded. 

The Samurai deployed with their infantry on the wings, and their cavalry in the center.  The Burmese played their strongest commands on the left and center, leaving their short command, totally in ambush, on their right.


  A large command of Samurai, with end caps of spear. 

A large command of Heavy Cavalry dominates the center.  Normally those horse bows would be looking at a good day, but today they are looking at something that can shoot back.

Behind the steep hill are 4 Samurai with bow and sword.  With Yari on the end caps.

On the Burmese left, King Narathihapate with his command stands ready to attack.  He doesn't have to worry about being flanked, but he is facing a larger force, so overlaps is a problem.

Because I don't eyeball these things very well, King Pagan's command is squeezed tightly into the woods. 

While King Pagan's command is totally hidden in ambush.  The Samurai may not like facing elephants, but his command is totally outnumbered here by about 3-1.
King Narathihapate orders a cautious advance with a slide to the left to yield more room to King Pagan.
King Pagan advances and extends.  The other King Pagan remains hidden.
The Samurai commander is cautious.

The large command of foot Samurai advances but a little.  I think this is because a single element is heavies, and the rest mediums.  So while the mediums are fine with the brush, the heavy is not.
The horse bow move at a trot.
The foot bow advance cautiously up the hill.  Staring intently from the crest, and see nothing.
Turn 2:
On the Burmese left, King Narathihapate continues to slide left.  A light foot is sent to the far right as there are no bowmen to shoot at the elephants.
King Pagan is ordered to send some of his foot to support King Narathihapate's eventual assault upon the Samurai right.
King Pagan's remaining forces posture against the Samurai horse.  They are reinforced by the other King Pagan's elephant, which emerged from the forest.
The Samurai on the left hold firm.

As does the Samurai horse.
The only movement is on the Samurai left.  Just a bit of a wheel.  They are loath to give up their defensive terrain advantage.
Turn 3:
The Burmese is on the attack here.  My deployment wasn't quite ideal, but having the first move allowed me to fix it a little.  The second move also improved things.  The Samurai has a great terrain anchor of terrain on their left, and are unwilling to advance off of it.  Since my right is very weak, but also with the advantage of a steep hill, I am more than willing to let things stand.

The center forces are cavalry vs 3 elephants plus supporting troops.  The Samurai are not willing to engage, and I am willing to let that stand as well.

The Burmese left is where my main strike will be. 
King Narathihapate's forces advance to bow range and loose.  But they might as well be wind thrown hay, for the layered and lacquered armor which is proof against their own longbows resist all hits.
King Pagan makes an adjustment with his line.
While the Japanese still do not know what is behind the hill.

The Samurai respond to the Light Infantry on the flank by angling their line a bit.  The massed bowfire of Burmese bow score not once, but twice!
The Samurai player realizes the Burmese are not going to come across the board after him, and decide to push forward.
Turn 4:
King Narathihapate is biding his time.  He is not receiving any return fire, and the turns are moving quickly.  Another Samurai picks up a hit.

The Kings Pagan and Pagan await their foes.
The last ambush is revealed.  Elite swordsmen on a steep hill, supported by a bowmen.
Samurai hold and rally. One hit comes off, but two more come on.
A general advance on the center by Samurai horse. 
And the first exchange of arrows on the hill.  This is not an exchange I can win.

Turn 5:
So far, this has been all my game.  I have been successful at overloading my left flank.  But my weak right and center are about to pay the price.

So far, the the distance has been 4 UD's.  The Burmese at shooting range, while the Samurai could not charge.  But the forces of King's Pagan and Pagan are are now engaged and out numbered.  It is time to push the attack.  On the left, the King Narathihapate orders an advance to charge range.
King Pagan tightens up his line, recalling the lights.  They need to survive to keep the elephants covered.
King Pagan joins his archers for a rally.  That archer is the most important unit on this flank.
The Samurai commander also has rallying in mind.  But his dice are not kind as a flurry of 3's and under result.
The Samurai cavalry find their range and loose.  Hits on both sides.
While the Samurai bow and sword keep up the pressure.
Turn 6:

Turn 6 is a long time for the first hand to hand combat, but this game was actually running fast.
The horns sound the charge!  King Narathihapate leads the charge personally.  Elephants both strike disordered Samurai and scatter them to the win.  Victory followed victory for the Burmese, with only one Tan'i holding it's ground.

With the idea of forcing the Japanese to evade, King Pagan and Pagan's elephants charge.  And to their surprise, the heavy horse stand.  One horse is run over, the others manage to hold, albeit damaged.
On the hill, King Pagan rallies his  archers, only to receive another volley of arrows.

The sons of Nippon fight back.  Destroying an archer unit.
Their Cavalry command fights bravely, but against overwhelming odds.
The high point is on the Samurai left.  Here they can unlock the Burmese flank.  If there is enough time.
Turn 7:
The Burmese are7 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The Samurai are 16 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

This is where the Burmese have problems.  The ability to exploit their victories.  Low command ratings of their commanders, coupled with unmaneuverability of the elephants.  Still, they manage to destroy another Tan'i of foot Samurai.
And scatter another Cavalry Tan'i.
On the hill, it's rally verses bowfire.  King Pagan is holding on.
The Burmese are 6 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The Samurai are 21 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

And that was the game. 

Final shot on the left.

Final shot on the center.
And on the right.

So, what went right?  My best command was placed against my opponents best command, but with initiative, I was able to bolster it with forces from the neighboring command.  My second best command was facing a cavalry command which did not wish to commit against the elephants.  My right command was totally in ambush, creating a great unknown against a force, that was frankly superior in every way.  That ambiguity led to late contact, and the eventual survival of my command.  Which was it's mission.

My opponent was officially on defense, and played it that way until he realized I was not going to charge straight across the board into his bows.  But it was turn 4 and 5 before he was ready to put his advantages to good use, and that was just too late to affect the outcome.


  1. Why wouldn't he evade with his cavalry from this elephants...that is what elephants eat for breakfast.

    Having that one HI in the MI took away all the advantages of having an MI command. Because of that one HI his MI couldn't move away from your elephants and bowmen fast enough to force you to fight where his cavalry would be a threat.

  2. His reasoning was, that the elephant charge was trying to push or manipulate the line, and if I wanted them gone, then that was a reason to stay.

  3. it looks like your bowmen charged in with the elephants? They can not do that by the rules (or is it medium swordsmen bow?) Bowmen can only charge lights, flanks and such. I dont get how you managed to get the bowmen in King Pagans comand behind the Elephants in the attack, it looks like impossible moves. Elephants can not go through bowmen.

  4. Tilman, looks like you are right. Bowmen can charge if the target is a foot unit that is providing support to a friend in melee. I missed the qualifier "foot unit" in that rule. As far as elephants charging through the bowmen, that did not happen. But I'll look at the pictures to see if I can see where the confusion is.

  5. I'm confused by this Bowmen thing too as someone gave me the same justification at Barrage.

    At the time the elephants and Bowmen are making the charge the target is not yet a foot unit in support. If the elephant charged alone now the target does become a foot unit providing support to a friend.

    So I get where the argument that they can charge comes from, but I do quite agree with it.

    Some counter examples: Say we have a whole line of Bowmen. Can they charge? Each Bowmen in the line is charging a target that would be providing support to a friend. If not, replace one Bowmen with 1 Swordsmen. Now the Swordsmen can charge, and I guess each adjacent Bowmen? What about the Bowmen adjacent to the adjacent Bowmen? Can we chain infinite Bowmen in this manner?

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  7. Ok, On turn 6 the bowmen were not charged through, but the elephants charged through their own lights on an angle or slid, leaving the bowmen behind.

  8. I have a clarification from Dan.
    Q : There is a group of 2 bowmen with an elephant in between. Facing them, 2 enemy HI. How can the elephant and bowmen charge the enemy HI units ?
    A : You have to declare 2 charges :
    1- The elephant charges a HI, with a bowmen in support.
    2- Next, the 2nd bowmen charges the 2nd HI

    So, my mass charge on turn 5 probably would not have occurred as it would have taken 5 command points. One of those was for a flank charge on the enemy cavalry unit to the right by a spearmen. If I had 3 command points, then the 6 leftmost elements, spear, ele, bow, bow, ele, spear still would have charged, leaving a bow and a spear behind.