Monday, March 5, 2018

Contenders All

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Havre De Grace Community Center, Maryland
Event:    Barrage's L'Art de la Guerre's Open Tournament, Round 1
Players: Phil Gardocki running Mithridatic
                  Bob Nedwich running Palmyran
Game System: L' Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points 

Big praises for H.A.W.K.s (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) whose volunteers graciously shoe horned our tiny group into the spacious venue at the Havre De Grace Community Center.  Just kidding, the center is spacious, and we got our own room.  Not only did they provide ample space, they arraigned to bring in food as well. This year, the hot dogs were particularly well done.  Thank You!

The Forces:
The army of Pontus (south), led by the King Mithridates (the Great) VI, and his princes
Mithridates VIIa and Mithridates VIIb.
      2 Sarmations, Medium Cavalry Bow
      2 Scythians, Light Cavalry Bow
      2 Guard Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry, elite 
      2 More Light Cavalry, Light Cavalry Javelins
      2 Scythed Chariots
      2 Imitation Legionaries, Heavy Sword, Impact

      2 Thureophoroi, Heavy Spearmen
      2 Pikemen
      1 Light Infantry, Javelin
      1 Javelinmen

      2 Cataphracts, elite
      4 Armenian Light Cavalry, Bow

The Western Palmyran Expeditionary Force:
Queen Zenobia is a master of subtlety and obfuscation.  But her son is an idiot.  It wasn't enough that in their revolt against the Roman, they now have conquered all of the far-eastern lands, from the Aegean to the Nile river, he had to go north through the horrid mountains and antagonize  the vestiges of a once great kingdom of Pontus. He didn't even bother to keep it a secret.  Instagraming his intentions, and even stopping for a selfie while his army checked in at a Pontic weigh station.  

CNC Joash Brilliant
    4 x Cataphracts, elite
     1 x MC bow
     2 x LCam bow
     2 x LH bow
SubGen Jeremiah competent
     4 x HI sword, armored, impact, 1x missle support
     2 x LF bow
     1 x HC
SubGen Joab competent
     3 x MI sword, impact, missle support
     2 x LMI bow

Breakpoint ......21.
While all know that Mithridates VI (the Great), will live forever, his princeling sons vie for favor as the number 2 slot.

The Board:
Mithridates VI wins the initiative and elects to attack in the plains.   The defenders select 2 fields and a coastal area.  Pontus selects a hill and a gully.  After the dice have fallen, all the terrain was on the Pontic right, while the gully was filled in.

I almost came to Barrage with the Palmyrans.  This was the first 15mm ancients army I ever painted.  So this was very nearly a civil war.  As the day turned out, I think I would have been better served by the Palmyrans.

The Palmyrans deploy with a strong right wing, a solid middle and weak left.  Mithridates VI deployed with a strong center, a solid left, and an OK right.
On the Palmyran right is led by Lucius Julius Aurelius Septimius Vaballathus Athenodorus, and has the cream of Palmyran Cavalry.
The center is led by some Roman functionary gone native, taking the name Jeremiah.  And yes, the Legionaries have armor.

The left, more Roman troops, and what can only be some barbarian hillmen from the north.  They can't be Palmyran troops, as Palmyrans had uniforms.  Blue-green tunics and maroon trousers.  Their officers having a reversed combination.
Off course, after that rant on inaccurate figures, what do we have here?  A single Trapezitoi and a Hun on the same stand.  Thracians, Sassanid Persians, and wonder of wonders, actual Sarmations.
And it is unknown if Mithridates VI rode a chariot into combat, but he certainly didn't drive it.  (I later found the driver in the bottom of the box.)
And there is no way Mithridates VIIb would be leading Armenian Cataphracts.  His uncle, the King of Armenia might, but not him.  And according to the Wikipedia, Mithridates VII was a girl anyway.
 Turn 1:

The original plan was for the left to penetrate and turn the enemy flank.  But the Pontic horse is clearly out matched.  Now their plan is to not die.

The Pontic center outnumbers the Romans and should be able to win, as long as the Palmyran Cataphracts are kept busy.

Though only 2 Cataphracts are available to Mithridates VIIb, they looked well positioned. 
Palmyra advances with alacrity.

Their Cataphracts sliding left on the advance.
Which means the Pontic center will be impacting both Legions and Cataphracts.
The Roman Auxiliaries advance towards field.  
Turn 2:
Seeing an opportunity for a flank here, Mithridates VIIa advances to range.  He has totally forgotten his primary mission which is to survive.
The main Pontic infantry line advances as fast as allowed. 
I should not have made fun of the Palmyran bowmen. Their shots all find their targets.
Palmyran Cavalry and Camelry charge.  Mithridates VIIa orders no retreat!  They have camels, we have javelins.  And if the Cataphracts wish to charge, their flanks will have Pontic Guard Cavalry to contend with.
The ground rumbles as if the gods Hades and Mitra themselves were wrestling.  The Cataphracts hit home, and pull dual wins out of the dice cup.
On the right. The "Weak Command" of Auxiliaries have turned the Pontic flank.
The Palmyrans have 3 points towards their demoralization level of 21.
Mithridates have 7 points towards their demoralization level of 23.

Turn 3:

A brace Palmyran Light Cavalry units are routed, as well as their medium horse archers.  To the cost of one Pontic light horse and a couple of disorders.

The Scythed Chariots charge to cover the flanks of the Thureophoroi on the left, and the Imitation Legionnaires on the right.  In both cases the chariots are ineffective.  The Thureophoroi also are routed.  The Pontic main line of infantry is crumbling fast.
But there is a hole in the Palmyran line, and the camp is in sight.

On the Pontic left, these horsemen have had enough, and are running as fast as they can.
It looked like the Palmyran right flank was going to collapse, but the camel jockeys are showing their pluck.  Even if Mithridates's horsemen win the day here, they won't have enough power to influence the remaining battle.
The Pontic center is down to 3 main combatants, 2 are disordered.  Their flank is turned, but so too is the Roman line.  The Palmyran camp, which was in sight of the Pontic light horse, is suddenly free from jeopardy as the horsemen are dispersed by a rain of arrows.
The source of those arrows being the Palmyran foot archers. 
The Palmyrans have 6 points towards their demoralization level of 21.Mithridates have 22 points towards their demoralization level of 23.
Turn 4:

Trying desperately not to look bad in front of dad, VIIa recalls his surviving Sarmations.  He then takes command of his guardsmen and destroys the Roman Heavy Cavalry.

The main line infantry fight with no changes.  But the Roman Legionaries acting as flank guard pull a win.  Even though it's sword vs. supported, armored, elite, Cataphracts, and with a 6-1 die roll, the final result is 7-5.  The Cataphracts are disordered, and that is the last point.  It is a decisive win for the Palmyrans.

Final words.  I went into this event looking to have fun with an interesting army.  On the surface, the Mithridatic looks like fun.  It has a little of everything.  But that, I think is it's problem.  It has just a little.  This enforces early fragmentation and command control problems.  

The Pontic infantry block looks solid, 2 pike, 2 spear and 2 heavy sword.  Something to counter everything.  But the reverse is true as well.  A large, cohesive block will also find its weak points and defeat them, causing the remaining units to fight under sub-optimal conditions.  



  1. your conclusion is right and quite visible from the army list. I would not further the command problems of this army by splitting the chariots. How did the enemy mediums manage to slip into terrain when there where 2 elite cataphracts in front of them? In the end, the idea to get with light horse into shooting range of bowmen (to do ... what?) but failing to get your well placed best Asset (the elite cataphracts) into combat before the battle was over decided the outcome. The Palmyrans did get their best troops into combat at favorable odds, the Pontics didnt. End of story.

  2. I think the mediums slid left and charged the Light Horse to get in the terrain. At that point they were not ZOC'ed by the cataphracts.

  3. Phil;

    Another enjoyable read. We appreciate your efforts in reporting your games. I was wondering if you could email me at The tourney I am going to in Birmingham in late April [that required an army with 2 elephants], have now opened it up [no elephants required]. Since this was literally be my first games of ADLG, I wondered if you would offer your guidance or advice on which of my armies to bring, that might be the easiest for the greenest of the green newbies.
    1. Triumvirate Roman; 2.Early Imperial Roman; 3. Early German; 4. Mongol; 5. Timurid; 6. Lombard. Thanks so much.