Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Final Battle

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Huzzah Hobbies, Ashburn, VA.
Event:    L' Art de la Guerre Team Tournament.
Round:  5, Medieval Period.
Players: Phil Gardocki (Team Jersey Boys) running Burmese
                  Steve Roper running Medieval Scots
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

Robert the Bruce (Brilliant) was more than willing to expose his army to an early purview. With Sir William Wallace (Ordinary) and Mel de la Gibseon (French Ally, Competent)
     7 Pikemen, Mediocre
     2 Longbow
     2 Levy
     1 Light Infantry
     2 Foot knight, elite
     3 Heavy Knights, impetuous, elite, and French.
     4 Highlanders, Medium Swordsmen, Bow

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 Board:
The Scots win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains.  The Burmese select a hill, two fields, and a gully, while the Scots select two plantations.  After the dice fall, the Burmese have a field on their left, and a gully and a field to their right.  The hill and plantations are on the Scot's left.


My opponent believes in embedded generals.  It's like playing "3 Card Monte", or"Follow the Queen".

But the core of his army is a huge command, some 14 units.

Since I am not above plagiarizing from pop culture.

King Pagan likes his match-up  Elephants and a field vs. Knights.

King Narathihapate is looking at the bigger picture.

King Bassein likes his match up as well.
On reflection, the deployment on the Burmese right was sub optimal.  The ambushes were all well and good, and seemed to accomplish their purpose, as the Scot's Highlanders did not advance as fast as they could.  But splitting the command into 4 parts to accomplish it meant spending a lot of command points to put it all back together.

Turn 2:

The French Knights took one look at the forces they were facing, and dismounted.
Robert the Bruce is a brilliant commander, and managed to get the whole line moving at the double.

And the monologue continues.
King Pagan dives towards the field. 
While King Narathihapate advances just a bit.

And on the right, King Pagan realizes how screwed up his deployment is and tries to fix it by bringing his elephants around.  Truth be told, the fix was probably worse than the problem.
Turn 2:

The Scot's line advances...
... at a stately pace.
Longbowmen take a long range shot at an uncovered elephant.
Bowmen trade shots on the left, the Longbowmen pick up a hit.

Ranging shots are fired.  The Light Infantry are in range, but the Bowmen are not.

King Pagan exposes an ambush.  A light infantry, and brings it back to cover the elephant.
Turn 3:

The Scots withdraw their Longbow, leaving nothing but Foot Knights as targets.

The Pike advance to just outside of their charge range.

Scot's Highlanders may be facing an elephant, but they out number the Burmese substantially.  Besides, they have William Wallace's lightning producing arse on their side.
King Pagan orders a withdraw of his Bowmen.  They were within charge reach of a unit of Foot Knights, and can't do much anyway.
Burmese Bowmen finally score a hit.

Another ambush is revealed.  Spear and Bow in the gully pull out and then turn to face their opponents.
Turn 4:
A shot down the long edge of teh board.

Foot Knights charge, impacting only the Guards.  The dice roll slightly in favor of the Burmese, by which I mean a tie.
More shooting by the Burmese, but no more hits.

The Highlanders put their bows to good use.  This is not going to go well for King Pagan.

King Pagan orders a charge.  His Guardsmen take a pair of hits, but by personally leading the way, his Elephant delivers two hits as well.

On the one right side of the line, the Burmese launch a charge as well.  Elephants may be massive, but Lowlander Pikemen and Foot Knights prove their equal.
King Pagan realizes he would not last long under Scots archery, and decides to charge instead.  The numbers pretty much came up even, and his charge is rebuffed.

The Scott's have 4 points towards their break point of 22.
The Burmese have 4 points towards their break point of 22.

Turn 5:

Foot knights make quick work of the Burmese Guards.

With a massive charge, the rest of the Pikemen roll into King Narathihapate's line, scoring many hits.

While on the right, King Pagan is still holding on.
Still leading from the front, King Pagan destroys a Foot Knight, which was the enemy general!  Then conforms to the next one in the line.

The Burmese line is crumbling, but the Scot's are paying a price for it.

Defending the gully is not an option.  King Pagan orders his troops to cross the obstacle and turn the flank of the line of pike.

The game suddenly got exciting as the scores went to light damage in turn 4 to both sides over half on turn 5!

The Scott's have 12 points towards their break point of 22.
The Burmese have 13 points towards their break point of 22.

Turn 6:
King Pagan is now alone, and flanked, save for his lights.
A Pike cascade into bowmen, the rest are doing their best to clean up the line. 

Elephant Rampage going forward, taking out a Scot's Highlander unit.
King Pagan has slain another Foot Knight. He now has "Centric Positioning"  I.E. he is surrounded.
In the center, not much has changed.

King Pagan may have lost the right flank, but the Scot's don't own it all yet.  One of his detached spearmen (lower left) has struck another Foot Knight in the flank.  Maybe the Elephant can win that fight now.

The Scott's have 16 points towards their break point of 22.
The Burmese have 20 points towards their break point of 22.

Turn 7:
Just a little push more, and the game is the Scot's.

A lack of command points is preventing the Longbow from flank charging the Elephant.  Being ZOC'ed is preventing the Elephants from flank charging the Bowmen.

On the bottom right, we have the "little bowmen that could", as they keep damaging their opposing Pikemen.
The Foot Knights on the right, despite being disordered and flanked, destroy their elephant.
King Pagan loses another of his spearmen in the field.  Small compensation as his archers managed to destroy the longbowmen at range.

And with that turn, was the game.  After 5 games, I just wanted it to be over, but was looking forward to going to the Dulles Air and Space Museum later that day.

The Scott's have 19 points towards their break point of 22.
The Burmese have 22 points towards their break point of 22.

Lessons learned.  
Always remember your opponents capabilities.  Highlanders are Sword and Bow.

I am an advocate of leading from the front.  That generals plus was decisive in at least 3 engagements of the day.  

I am not an advocate of "included" generals.  What does that 3 points actually get for you?

Mediocre Pike is, IMHO, the best deal on the board.

There are reasons to split your forces up on deployment.  However, if the first thing you have to do is put them back together, then probably splitting them was a bad plan.

This is especially so, when you have unmaneuverable units in both parts of the split.  If both the elephants were on the right when the Highlanders approached, that flank would have won the day.

Bonus Pictures!  I mentioned the Air and Space Museum annex at Dulles airport.  After the 5th round, my son and I took a couple of hours there.  Since it was only 15 minutes away.

An SR-71.  This particular one holds the highest air-speed record.  That we know of.
Same plane, different view.
The Space Shuttle, Discovery.

The Talos Anti-Aircraft missile.  I used to fire these in the 70's.  32 feet long, 4 tons, goes from zero to 700mph in about 40 feet.

This was one of them.  Breaking the sound barrier as I snapped the photo.

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