Monday, November 12, 2018

A Tale of Two States

A Headless Body Production

Venue:  Ferrell Fire Company Hall, Monroeville, NJ
Event:   Kozcon
Players: Phil Gardocki running Medieval Polish
                  Carl Stefanelli running  Warring States
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Open, no restrictions
Scale: 25mm

The Forces:

Medieval Polish: Commanders  Larry (Ordinary and Unreliable), Darrel (Brilliant), and Darrel (Brilliant).
      4 Winged Hussars, Heavy Knight, Impetuous, elite
      2 Heavy Cavalry, Impact.
      4 Medium Cavalry, Crossbow
      2 Tartars, Light Cavalry, Bow elite.
      2 Lithuanians, Light Cavalry, Javelin
      2 War Wagons, Crossbow
      2 Heavy Spearmen, 1/2 Crossbow
      1 Light Infantry, Firearm, elite

Warring States Chinese:
A student of Sun Tsu, the Chinese commander has strict rules regarding secrecy, he has burned all records of his armies his size and deployment.
Breakpoint ~22

KozCon is held in memory of our good friend and avid gamer Dave Kozlow who passed away in 2012.  If you've ever had the opportunity to play in one of his many games at HMGS events you know that he was not only a great person but also a notable credit to our hobby.  In light of Dave's five year battle with cancer ALL proceeds from KozCon are donated to the American Cancer Society.  The website has not been updated recently, but the address is still valid.

From their respective camps, Sunleegu, a serving girl and Youngandfoolishski, a pack bearer, stared in the distance at the unfolding of the  battle that will determine their lives.  From the moment their eyes met at the prebattle meeting of the commanders, they knew they a had found their soul mates.  Their forbidden love now separated by but a mile of mud and blood and 2000 years of tradition, they both knew, however the outcome, their love will never be.  <blah, blah, blah>
OK, romance done.

I have received comments over time about my favorite names for my commanders, Larry, Darryl, and Darryl.  Politely asking "What's with that?"

It is an affection of mine.  First to give the commanders names personalizes the narrative.  It’s not the right flanks commander doing something, it’s Darryl doing it.  And by putting a name to them, the reader becomes invested in the story.  Increasing the interest in what is, frankly, a banal transcription of a mediocre players actions.  

So why pick comedic names?  Well, a lot of time I show something I did that was stupid.  But it’s not me that did it, Darryl did it.  It’s like a ventriloquist act.  The doll can say the most outrageous things, and the ventriloquist takes no heat.  

Apparently I am showing my age though and a number of you do not get the reference to who   Larry, Darryl, and Darryl are.  They are from the third Bob Newhart show, and are a 3 brothers from the sticks trying to run a cafe, to the horrid fascination of everyone around them.  Their hearts are in the right place, but their minds have taken a permanent sabbatical.  Here is a YouTube link to some selected shorts from that show.
Comedy, check! Now on to Mahem!

The Board:
The Poles win the initiative and elect to attack in the open.  They select a hill and a field, the Warring States Chinese select two fields.  The terrain seems to have favored the Chinese with the their army being framed by the fields, and the hill in their deployment area.

On the Chinese right, a strong force of infantry, supported by 2 units of light horse.  If memory serves, we have a medium sword, 2 bowmen and two heavy swordsmen.

The Chinese center dominates the hill with sword and bow, their flanks secured by chariots and cavalry.

Darryl leads the Polish left is held by war wagons and spearmen/crossbow

Their center is a mix of cavalry with crossbow and Winged Hussars.

On the right, Larry leads a nearly identical mix of lance and crossbow.
Turn 1:

This is why you shouldn't use unreliable generals. 

But the rest of the Polish army happily advance.

The match ups are about even  Knights beat chariots, but the Chinese lancers beat medium cavalry with crossbow.  But the Polish have Lithuanians on for overlaps.

The Chinese right, with their opponents effectively out of the game, begin to vector on the center.

Their other forces advance a little, but maintain the high ground.

They can afford to be cautious, as they have a 2-1 advantage on the center.

Turn 2:
Darryl is either checking out an appetizing road kill, or making a mud angel.

Early missile fire is inconclusive.
The Polish center has been sliding right to gain a significant advantage against the Chinese left.
Now the match-ups are HC vs LMI, Knights against HC and HCh, and HC Impact vs HCh.
With a bit of over lap by the Polish.
The Chinese continue to sweep the center in front of the hill.
Leaving their bowmen behind, their swordsmen are now lined up to take the charge.

The Chinese left patiently waits.
Turn 3:

The Polish center continues to hold with skirmishers. 
The great charge!  Knights run up the hill and tie.  Supported heavy horse are disordered.
A lot was riding on this charge (pun intended), but as great clashes go there is a lot of <meh>
From left to right,
The Pointa Lanca,(Red and white banner) tie
Nobles receives 2 hits.
The middle Winged Hussar, lead by Larry, tie.
The medium cavalry crossbow, disordered his foes.
The Tatars blew their opponents away, pursuing into the Chinese rear.
And with a spare command point, another cavalry unit is just behind the Chinese line.

Now that the Polish strikes are contained, it is time for the Chinese counter-punch.  First step is to send the skirmishers packing.

Gaining the flank of the Polish center.

The Polish attack has victories, but lose Larry in the process.
The Medieval Polish have 9 points towards their demoralization level of 20
The Warring States Chinese have 6 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 4:
Late to the fight, Darryl finally issues orders to advance.  With their long reach, the 1/2  crossbow spearmen are  already influencing the battle.
The Polish center command breaks off their attack, daring the swordsmen on the hill to turn and attack the Polish right flank.

With no commander, the Polish right is immobilized, when with just two command points, they would take the Chinese chariots in the flank for a certain win.
Sensing victory is nearing, the Chinese right deploys for minimum casualties.
And fortune must of smiled, as two more Polish lancers fall.
The Medieval Polish have 11 points towards their demoralization level of 20
The Warring States Chinese have 8 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 5:

With sounds of oxen braying, and creaking timber, the war wagons deploy.
Chinese swordsmen that took the lancers in the flank, are in turn flanked and destroyed.

A turn later than planned, a chariot is destroyed, their flankers pursue into the flank of the next chariot in line.
Bolts fill the sky from the the now perfectly formed line of wagons and spear/xbow. 

Chinese bowmen flee in panic before the Winged Hussars.
The Polish right is just about out of steam.  One Winged Hussar is flanked, and a cavalry unit is swatted by a chariot.
The Medieval Polish have 13 points towards their demoralization level of 20
The Warring States Chinese have 16 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 6:
While this is a bad situation for the Polish, suddenly it is still a horse race as each side is only 6or hits from being demoralized. 

The Chinese spear decide to disengaged.  Darryl hops on board a war wagon and orders a pursuit!
That is something you don't see every day.

The hill, which was the strong point of the Chinese line. Has been stripped of it's defenders.
The Polish right, leaderless, is now bereft of shock troops as well.
The Polish center has run out of steam as well. 
The Chinese left charges, running off several skirmishers. 
The Medieval Polish have 14 points towards their demoralization level of 20
The Warring States Chinese have 17 points towards their demoralization level of 22

As agreed in the meeting of the generals beforehand, when the sun touched the horizon, the battle was called.  Warriors from both sides gave their versions of salutes to their opponents, and backed away.  One or two fights of honor were held, but mainly to serve as entertainment as the vast formations slowly backed away.  

The official histories record this battle as a great victory for the Polish forces.  But at .7 to .77, well, you know...

The truce was called at the rising of the moon.  Torches in hand, the servants were deployed to scourer the field of any still alive, but too hurt to move.

It was somber work, punctuated by the agonized groans from the moving wounded, to the pitiful cries of those found by the other side, but left to rot.

Two torches met, between them, lay an impaled winged hussar, whose dying breath nearly sliced off the head of the sword master that killed him.  They lay in quiet repose, their blood mingling in an intimacy that cannot be had any other way.  Brothers bound in blood, both obviously dead.

The torch bears turned away to continue their gruesome task, when one gave a quiet sob.
“Wszystko w porządku?”, exclaimed the other bearer.
In a tone of surprise, “我是,哭泣,我是...”

They turned and looked up into their eyes, and the recognition dawned.

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