Monday, October 29, 2018

An Elephant named Lumpy.

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Dave's House
Event:        Bedlam One Elephant Minimum.
Players:     Phil Gardocki, playing Triumvirate Roman.      
                         Robert McNally , playing Classical Indians.

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 200 points per side.

Scenario: The tournament had a requirement that the lists must have available at least one elephant, and that the player must field at least one elephant.  Using the Rock-Paper-Scissors strategy of list development, I decided I would design a list that would take the elephant hits of my opponents, and kill the infantry supports.  Most elephant armies have poor infantry, like the Indian half bow, half swordsmen.  So I picked Triumvirate Roman.  I named it's single, mediocre elephant, "Lumpy".  Not to be a total jerk, I decided also to run with mediocre legionnaires.  I dutifully wore my wife's Lumpy pin for the day.  Only one person got the pop-culture reference.

The Forces:
Triumvirate Roman commanded by Marius (brilliant), Darrylious (brilliant) and Darrylious, the not as bright as Darrylious.  (ordinary and unreliable)
      2 German Horsemen, Medium Cavalry, elite
      2 Roman Horsemen, Heavy Cavalry, included Generals
      10 Legionaries, Heavy Swordsmen, armor, impact, mediocre.
      2 Illyrians, Light Cavalry, Javelin
      2 Thracian Javelinmen
      4 Velites, Light Infantry, Javelin
      2 Bolt Shooters on Mule Carts (because I have the figures, that's why)
      1 An elephant named Lumpy, mediocre.
      Break point 26

Classic Indian
3 competent generals commanding a standard mix of 6 elite elephants, supported by a strong contingent of half sword and bow mediums, and the required mediocre medium cavalry.  Break point appears to be 19.

The Romans win the initiative, and elect to receive the Indians in the mountains.  The Romans select 2 steep hills a wood and a gully.  The Indians two brushes.

The Indian right line started just right of center, and ran to the left edge of the board.

The right most Indian command consists of 4 infantry and 2 elephants.
The center Indian command consists of 4 infantry and 2 elephants, and the medium cavalry.
Don't give Bob any crap about his camp.  He forgot his and I had that one at the bottom of my box.
The left most Indian command consists of 4 infantry and 2 elephants.
The Indians have a noticeable lack of light infantry.  That is going to bite him later.  Just not in this game :)

Marius and his horsemen are running flank on the Roman left.
In the center, his legionaries are in perfect alignment.
Darrylious, the not as bright as his brother Darrylious is in the center.  Thracians and bolt shooters frame his centerpiece, "Lumpy".  Velites are arrayed forward.
Darrylious, the brilliant, cannot be seen.  However, he has chosen a very obvious piece of cover.
In a very impressive display of drill team maneuvering, the Indian army steps off as one, marching in perfect lockstep.

Their left command double moves and arcs somewhat to the right towards the waiting legionnaires.
Marius runs around the hill at a gallop.
His legionaries advance just far enough to hug the steep hill.
Darrylious, the not as bright as his brother Darrylious rolls a 1 for command points, and so is not playing this turn.
Darrylious, who still cannot be seen, orders his troops to step forward.
Turn 2:

The Indian right flank cants their line to receive Marius's Cavalry. 
Their center and left begin to link up within bow range.  Their sheaf darken the sky, and the 9th cohort takes a hit.
Marius's legionaries advance and slide left. 
Missile exchange in the center is inconclusive. 
But an ambush is revealed.  Darrylious can now be seen. 
Turn 3:
The Indian right advances to charge reach.
The center charges, running off the Velites.  And manages to catch one.
The Indian left advances to charge reach as well.
So far, the game is about careful maneuvering.   The main lines are vectoring towards one another, but both Indian flanks are exposed to Roman Cavalry.

Marius's Romans charge a flank, scoring a single hit.  Indian foot on the right take a hit from Roman Bolt Shooters.  The main force of Legionaries advance to charge reach.

Velites and Javelinmen throw their darts and score, but also pick up a hit
Darrylious sees an opportunity for an overlap and orders 3 of his cohorts to charge.  Legions on elephant result in a tie, but the Indian foot picks up a hit.
The Romans have 6 hits towards their breakpoint of 26
The Indians have 5 hits towards their breakpoint of 19

Turn 4:
The Indian right hand command elects to hold, rally and shoot.  His flanked foot unit conforms to the Roman Cavalry, an holds it's ground.
Their center commander is displaying no such timidity.  His charge destroys one of the bolt shooters.
The Indian left, sends one foot unit to charge a Legion, supporting the center.  The remaining battleline holds and shoots.
Marius's Legions are cracking before the elephants, but the supporting Indian foot have lost two units, the other two are disordered.
The Roman center is cracking as well.  Another Velite is destroyed.  Lumpy is about to be committed to combat.
Darrylious is nibbling at the end of the Indian line, his Germans are deep in the rear awaiting an opportunity for a devastating charge.
The Romans have 16 hits towards their breakpoint of 26
The Indians have 10 hits towards their breakpoint of 19

Turn 5:
Casualties are picking up on both sides on the Roman right.  The Legions facing the elephants both have 3 hits.  But Marius destroys his opponent, routing them through an elephant.
Another Thracian is destroyed.  The Roman right is flanked.
The Indian left commits to combat.  Disordering a legion.
Both elephants are flanked and take hits.
Lumpy the heffalump gets his first look at a real elephant.  With a squeak, his stitching came undone, spreading a wave of fluff and yarn over a near by Velite, where they remained entangled until the end of the game.
With a classic sounds of bugle horns, the cavalry saves the day.  Flank charges on an elephant and a foot unit, destroying both!

The Romans have 22 hits towards their breakpoint of 26
The Indians have 19 hits towards their breakpoint of 19

What went right for the Romans?  They were able to exploit their superior length and mobility to turn the flanks of the Indians.  But before I get cocky, it was a very near run thing.  Armored Heavy Sword facing off against Medium Sword should be a clear win, but there were battles still raging at the end.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Alexander Returns

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:     Steve Turn and Phil Gardocki, playing Alexander and Seleucus of Macedonia
                Bruce Potter,  Garth Parker, and Mark McConnahay, playing the Spartans, Stravros, Nick and George.

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 200 points per side.

Scenario: Alexander returns from his adventures in the east to find Greece in revolt.  One by one he retakes the cities of Greece, and is now in the Peloponnese to face down the Spartans.

The Forces:
Alexander and Selecus, A Strategist and a Brilliant
      4 Companions, Heavy Cavalry, Impact Elite
      8 Taxis of Pike, 2 Elite
      1 Thracian Javelinmen
      3 Agrianians, Light Infantry, Elite
      2 Light Horse, one with bow, the other javelin
      Break point 20

Stravros, Nick and George, all Competent       
      16 Heavy Spearmen, 4 elite
      10 Light infantry.  A mix of bow and javelin
      2 Medium Cavalry
      Break point 28

Alexander wins the initiative and elects to attack in the plains.

The Peloponnese, around sunrise, Tuesday.

The Spartans deploy with vigor.

That is a whole lot of Spearmen.

Seleucus and his 4 Taxis of Pike take the left.

Alexander and his 4 Taxis of pike take the right.
 Spartan Heavy Spear outnumber Macedonian Pike, 2-1.  That includes the elites.

Turn 1: 
Alexander moves his Pike at the double.  Seleucus matches the pace with his pike.

Selecus sends his light horse forward, along with his companions.  The Spartan right flank is only protected by a vacant field.
The Spartans have a decisive advantage in skirmishers as well.  The Agrarians begin to wilt before Cretan bow fire.
The Spartan left moves decisively forward. 
Their center and right stand ready to receive the Macedonian Phalanx. 
Turn 2:

The main line of pike are now slowed to a normal advancing pace.  Macedonian horse are in a position to dominate the empty field.

Down the line, the Spartans adjust their line to delay the Macedonian Phalanx, and turn it's right flank.
Missiles rain upon the pike, but no serious damage is inflicted.
Turn 3:
Pike always looks good at first glance.  +2 against all, 4 cohesion hits per unit.  But then they cost 11 points vice 8 for most heavy foot, and you get the problems of not being able to contact an enemy you want to reach.  Or the cost of two command points to turn and flank.

Because of miss measurement, none of  Seleucus's Pike are in range.  But Alexanders left most Taxis is!  "No guts, no glory", says he, and in they go.  + 2 for pike vice + 1 Heavy Spear with a + 1 for support.  The net roll is a tie.  On the far left, Seleucus's light horse turn the flank of the Spartan line, only to have heavy spear arrayed against them.

Alexander also is out of charge reach. 
He is relying an awful lot on the Thracians to keep a wall of spear and lights off of his Phalanx's right flank.
The Spartan right command redeploys their lights towards the field.
The Spartan Center, entirely elite charge Alexanders Phalanx.  They win one, lose one, and tie the others.  Which is all they need.  For the Spartan left is rapidly closing in on the flank.
Turn 4:

Seleucus is not going to allow the Spartan lights into the field, and besides, it looks good to have any enemy in your rear.  He charges the Light Infantry hoping for a bit of luck, but gets none.  His Phalanx, on the other hand, was flush with luck, winning 4 of 4.  With Alexander's taxis picking up the set for a +3 cohesion hit win.

The rest of Alexanders pike are not doing quite as well.  They win one decisively, tie one, but their elite Hypaspist, unsupported and about to be flanked takes two more hits.
Alexanders flank guard, a lonely Thracian, stands bravely against 10 enemy units.  But wait!  Reinforcements unlooked for!  Two Agriarians, freshly rallied.  And off in the distance, Alexanders own companions are racing for the Spartan flank!
The bottom of the turn brings no relief for the Spartans.  Spearmen are being destroyed left and right, opening holes in the line.  The only bright spot is the battle of the lights, which only is breaking even.

On the Macedonian right, another spearmen falls.  The Spartan flankers were blocked from charging the Macedonian Hypaspist in the flank, but are ready to do so on the next turn.

Thracians putting on a very brave front.
Turn 5:
The Spartan left, is cracking everywhere, but not done yet.  Remember, their break point is 26!
An overhead drone shot.  So far, the Macedonians have lost only one unit, a light horse.
On the right, Alexanders Hypaspist, with the help of a flanking pike (which took 3 command points to turn) defeats its foe, just in time to be hit in the flank itself.
Seleucus is running out of targets.
The main Spartan battleline is shattered.  Their Medium Cavalry see a flank shot and take it, causing 2 hits on a pike unit.  Alexanders elite Hypaspist, the current candidate for MVP award, is hit in the flank by Heavy Spearmen, with support.  The numbers are +3 to -1 and the dice are 1 to 6,  The Hypaspist not only survive, but win by 1.

The Spartan left flank is now fragmented.  Two to roll up the Macedonian flank, 3 to charge the Thracians (second runner up for MVP), and 2 to face Alexander's Companions.
Turn 6:
Despite the miss match in body count, the size of the Spartan army demands the fight continue.  The score is 18 - 6.

Something you don't see every day.  A pike unit taking a Light Infantry in the rear
Unsupported, and damaged, The Hypaspist rolls another 6-1, obliterating it's tormentor.  Alexander's Pike turn the flank of the Medium cavalry, with manages to survive the hit.
While the Spartan left flank, mostly intact, is looking for someone to fight.

We called it here.  22-7 
So what went wrong here.  The main point seemed to be that 1/3rd of the Spartan army did not fight.  Giving the Macedonians a almost 180 - 130 point advantage in the main battle line.  But the same could be said about the Companions and the Macedonian light foot.  Who only fought in support, and then only 1 unit of each.  

The Spartans had a huge advantage in numbers.  The Greeks thought it was always better to be wider and deeper than their enemy.  The Spartans were wider, and it seems two wide.  Perhaps if only they were two wider on each flank, then have a pair of spearmen to keep the Companions honest, then a reserve of a few spear to plug the holes.  Leaving the field open was a mistake.  Just one Light Infantry would have prevented the dominance of the Macedonian cavalry there, and if all 3 were there it would have been a fight that the Macedonians would not want to have tried.