Monday, November 5, 2018

Triumvirate Roman vs Graeco-Indian.

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Dave's House
Event:        Bedlam, One Elephant Minimum.
Players:     Phil Gardocki, playing Triumvirate Roman.
                      Mark Cribbs, playing Graeco-Indian

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

One brilliant, but unnamed general, and two competent, but equally anonymous generals.
   2 Elephants, elite
   6 Indian Archers, 1/2 medium swordsmen, 1/2 bow
   2 Cretan Archers, Light Infantry bow, elite
   2 Colonists, Light Infantry Javelin
   4 Indian Medium Spearmen
   3 Greek Pikemen
   1 Indian Medium Horse, Mediocre
   2 Scythians, Light Horse, Bow
Breakpoint 23

The Romans win the initiative, and elect to receive in the mountains.
Marius picks 2 steep hills, a gully and a woods.  The Graeco-Indian commander picks a brush and a road.


Indians on the right flank.  2 Elephants and mixed bow/sword bowmen, supported by Cretans and Colonists.

A strong center, more mixed sword/bow, spearmen and pike.

On the Indian right, mixed sword/bow and spearmen supported by Scythians.
Marius takes the left with Legionaries, supported by Heavy Horse, Germans, and Illyrians.

Lumpy takes center center stage, framed by Thracians and Ballista on Mule carts.
On the right, are 5 more Legionaries, led by Darrylious, who cannot be seen.
Turn 1:
The Indians rush forward, entering the brush.
Their pike and spear command nearly keeps up with their right flank.

Their left command is aggressive with their cavalry, but their infantry is lagging.
Marius consults with the dice gods.  The oracle declares, "But sunset, a new empire will rise."
Marius orders his legions further left, with the Illyrians pushed forward, he should get another double move out of the Legionaries on turn 2.
Darrylious rolls a 1 and briefly goes unresponsive.
Hugging the steep hill, Darrylious's legions advance.  Unviewed here is Darrylious reveals his ambush, and exits the rear of the hill.
Turn 2:

The Indians cant their line of archers and rain arrow upon the Ilyrians.
The Indian center dominates the brush before Lumpy.
The Indian left foot performs some complex maneuvers.  Leaving no command points for their cavalry.

The Illyrian Light Cavalry is recalled, and while the Legionaries reform their line.
Missiles fly in the center.
Darrylious forms up his cavalry to challenge the Scythians.
Turn 3:

Armored the legions may be, but that does not make them immune to bow fire. 

Indians charge, and most of the Velites escape, but one is caught and dispersed.
The Indians have the matchups they wanted.  Spear and Pike face the Legionaries.  Scythian Light Horse, supported by 1/2 Swords 1/2 Bow face the Roman Cavalry.
Marius moves his Legions to charge reach of the Indian line.  His Illyrians are pushed forward to screen the archers. 

Velites redeploy to face the Greek Colonists.  The bolt shooter has scored hit after hit.  First on the Indian Spearmen facing the Thracians, then on archers in the brush.
First Contact.  Armored sword vice pike.  It looks good for the Romans as one pike has is disordered by the Ballista, and the Legionaries have support on two of the Indians.

But the dice say otherwise.  2 Legions are disordered, to none on the Graeco-Indians.
Turn 4:
"Bugger this for a lark." cries the Indian Prince.  He orders his bowmen into a full retreat.

Greek Colonist attack from the brush.  One gains an advantage against the Velites.  The mules prove to be ornery and kick the snot out of their opponents.

On the Roman right, the Legions continue to deteriorate.

Marius decides to split his forces.  Pursuing the Indian foot with both Legion and Horsemen.  His other two cohorts face the elephants, daring them to leave the brush.
Velites with support, on both the left and right flank, fail to defeat the Colonists.  In the center, Thracians charge with Lumpy.
On the right, Romans penetrate the line, while Thracians pull forward for a later flank charge.
The Graeco-Indians have 5 points towards their break point of 23.
The Romans have 8 points towards their break point of 26.
Turn 5:

The pictures were late for this.  It is the bottom of the 5th.  The elephants came out of the brush, and as a result, two Veilites are routed.  One elephant is then flanked but is unharmed.

Lumpy's Thracian supports are flanked and destroyed.
On the Roman right.  A pike is flanked and destroyed.  A Cohort is destroyed frontally, while another Cohort is flanked and destroyed.
The Graeco-Indians have 8 points towards their break point of 23.
The Romans have 14 points towards their break point of 26.
Turn 6:

At long range, the Indian bowman loose another arrow storm, and disorder the advancing cohorts.  The elephants in the center conform to their attackers on the flank.
Lumpy has had enough, and rampages left, disordering his tormentors.
Darrylious turns the corner of the hill in time to witness the destruction of his Legionaries. 
Marius arranges more support for his cohort facing the Bactrian elephant.  And just in time, for the die roll came up 2 short, so the cohort stands undamaged.
The Ballista scores again, destroying a spearmen.  The remaining Thracian unit is destroyed by Greek pike. 
The right most cohort, both flanked and surrounded, manages to stand.
Counting points in the dead pile.  That is 20 points in the dead pile, and 4 disordered on the board.  The fight continues!

The Graeco-Indians have 9 points towards their break point of 23.
The Romans have 24 points towards their break point of 26. 

We called it at the top of the 7 giving Mark the win.  The Graeco-Indians needed 2 more points to win, and they had points available everywhere.  Only a bad string of 1-6's would keep the fight going, and to what end?  The Romans could pick up 2 points and still have a crushing defeat.  

What went wrong?  This battle was mostly lost on deployment.  Marius's left wing was largely ineffective.  The minor reorientation Marius performed gained nothing.  On the right wing, which was largely lost on dice in the opening round, could not be totally blamed for the loss of the battle.  Their supporting cavalry first did ok, but then pulled out when facing cavalry and missile fire.  The center command just was not up to supporting either wing command except by ballista fire, which, performed admirably.  Disordering or destroying 3 key units before combat.  But the foot troops just couldn't "seal the deal."

And, Mark played the game very well.  On the right, his weaker troops engaged and pulled back, pinning Marius's troops down.  On the right, he managed to reorient his lines for maximum benefit.  And because of that, his center was able to crush my own center.  Kudos to him.

A better placement would have had the Lumpy's command on the left, defending the brush, and the Legion commands shoulder to shoulder.

Also, it didn't help I forgot the hills were steep when I placed an ambush of 3 cavalry units on it.


  1. Phil,

    I am wondering if you might have been better served by keeping your legions ordinary instead of downgrading. You would have been smaller for sure, but maybe your right flank would have had more success by being ordinary and armored.


  2. I think considering the magnitude of this defeat, that ordinary vice mediocre would only have changed the numbers slightly. Maybe extended the game into a losing draw. Mark played much better than I here.