Saturday, April 27, 2019

Encounter at Cnoc na Péiste

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:    Phil Gardocki, playing Anglo-Irish
                     Bruce Potter, playing Feudal Scots.

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

The Forces:
Larry (Competent), Darryl (Competent) and Darryl (also Competent)
      4 Longbow, stakes
      2 Bonnachts, Javelinmen
      6 Galloglaich, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW, Elite
      2 Kerns, Light Infantry, Javelins
      2 Knights, Medium Knight, Impact, Elite
      2 Heavy Cavalry
      2 Light Cavalry, Javelins
Breakpoint of 21

The Scots
Malcolm, MacDonald and Wallace (not that Wallace), all Ordinary
      6 Clansmen, Medium Swordsmen, bow
     10 Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW, 2 Elite
       2 Men from Dublin, Medium Swordsmen
       2 Limerickers, Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
       4 Scouts, Light Infantry, Bow
      Break point 24

Scenario: Tis spring, where the thoughts of the artless, knotty-pated, malt-worms of Scotland dwell upon achieving greater glory!  But how?  Fortunately,  just a short boat ride away are their second greatest foes, the Ruttish, pox-marked skainsmates Irish!  So, as the Scots wander lost among the Irish Highlands (who would have thought) they encounter another war going on!  And they were not invited!  As it turns out, it twas but a rugby game between the nearby villages of Muckross and Dunloe.

But then, at the first scrum McGooruough called "Skawmish!", those lying thieving bastards have 42 men on their side, to which Sheamus replied, "Tis true"! "But our team is by weight not volume, and some settling has occurred!"  And then Kenneth Brannach said something about our little Cindy, which 8 months later turned out to be true, and that got the blood up, and with the happenings with their pin boy Cork, getting so drunk at the 9 pin finals he couldn't stand himself up much less the pins.  Twice he fell over taking the pins with him and his team counting it as a strike.  And only 8 years old!  Well that was too much.  And the Anna Livia, when the old cheb went futt and did what you know. Yes, I know, it was they threed to make out he thried to two in the Fiendish park. He's an awful old reppe. Look at the shirt of him!  Look at the dirt of it! He has all my water black on me. And it steeping and stuping since this time last wik. Minxing marrage and making loof.  Reeve Gootch was right and Reeve Drughad was sinistrous! And the cut of him! And the strut of him! How he used to hold his head as high as a howeth, the famous eld duke alien, with a hump of grandeur on him like a walking wiesel rat.*

And so, just as the men from Muckross and Dunloe were about to settle their differences, the Scot's commander Malcolm asked if he could play too.

And with that, the battle lines were drawn.

The Board:
The Irish won the initiative and elected to defend in the mountains.  They picked two steep wooded hills, a gully and an impassible.  The Scots selected two forest's, one of which did not fit and so was not placed.  Of those picks, all but the impassable Cnoc na Péiste itself lay in the attackers territory.  But one adjustment role lead to an Irish steal of a steep hill.

The Deployment:

The Irish have an impassable mountain in their deployment zone, but it was predictable which side of it Irish would deploy on.  So MacDonald has all of his Heavy Swordsmen deployed to where the Irish would be.
Malcolm's fast moving bowmen covering the other side of Cnoc na Péiste, just in case.  Them Irish are tricky.
And so they are.  The Irish deploy two commands, and all that is visible is 4 units and a couple of pilfered plinths.
And since there is nowhere else to hide, Larry deploys the world famous, only sometimes beaten, Galloglaich. Their flank is anchored to the mountain, Cnoc na Péiste.
 Turn 1:

Not unpredictably, the Scots charge across the board. 
So too, Malcolm's archers.
Darryl sends the signal.  Hiding behind the Stonehenge facade are Knights and Cavalry.

The horsemen have enough command points to get off the steep hill.  The Light Cavalry races up to slow down the Scots advance, and maybe peel off a couple of units.  Meanwhile, the other ambush is revealed to be 4 units of Longbow.
The Galloglaich line advances but a little.
Turn 2:
So, the first turn had all the excitement of a surly onion-eyed bugbear!   The less said the better.

The Scots main line breaks up a bit to face the newly revealed foes.
An early flight of arrows rake the boys from Stafford.
Darryl has a surplus of command points and begins form up and approach.
The Scots archers approach and rake the Galloglaich.  The Men from Dunloe and Stafford both are disordered.
In response Larry realizes he cannot stay where he is, the archers will just continue to rake him.  So, he pushes them forward go good or ill.

After the game, both Bruce and I thought we had both made a mistake, him for getting too close with his archers, and me for coming out of the hole.

Turn 3:
In a surprise move, the Scot's Light Infantry Bow charge the Longbow on the hill, and score two hits.  Whilst so distracted, Wallace, that fusty rampallian maggot-pie, turns tail and runs!
Ignoring the arrow storm, Larry pushes his Galloglaichs forward.  Malcolm detaches his swordsmen to flank the Galloglaich line.
Was it luck? Or faltering bravery at seeing the their comrades withdraw?  Or the Longbow emboldened by the arriving horse, either way, with the longbow beat the spread of plus 2 to the lights and continue fighting on the hill.
The general charge is called, Darryl sends his Javelinmen forward to harass the Scot's line.
The Galloglach charge, but only win 2 of 6.
Turn 4:
The lines are committed now. the goatish fool-born Galloglaich are committed to fighting the Medium Sword bowmen.  But I regarded this as a mistake, for even if they win, what have I obtained?  12 points of 24 required to defeat the Scots, and my best troops disordered and out of position to exploit their victory.

In classic Scottish bloody mindedness, Wallace turns his line again. 
MacDonald readies his troops to assault the hill.  He fears the Longbow will mercilessly cut down his Highlanders.  Despite any evidence to of their ability to score a single hit so far in this game.
Spoiler alert.  The Longbow scored zero missile hits this game.  They just lined up in the trees making swishing noises with their mouths.  That one hit you see on the Scot's line was from the Bonnachts javelins.

The Galloglaich have found their footing.  Two units of Scots fall.
Better late than never, As Darryl's Knights are ready to charge.  But not this turn.  Meanwhile, Darryl rouses the beset Longbowmen with his best speech, and joins the fight!  This seems to have worked, they rally a bit, and defeat their harassers. 
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the Longbow do not believe the Scot's are coming up that hill.
The scrum on the right is in the Galloglaich's favor, but half of them are seriously weakened. On the left, a nameless Galloglaich conform on a Scots Heavy Sword, and rolls a 6 to the Scot's 1, which equals 3 hits. This says a lot about the public school education system.
On the far right of the line, the Scot Medium Swords are just a tiny bit past the flank of the Men from Stafford.
The demoralization level of the Scots is 13 of 24
The demoralization level of the Anglo-Irish is 4 of 21

Turn 5:

Up the hill the Scots go.  The results are even so far, at one unit each disordered.
But in the plains, the lumpish hasty-witted puttock Highlanders catch those errant ill-breeding harpy Bonnachts, and ground them to the dirt.
Another break for the Galloglaich, and both lines are now turned.
Weakened and unsupported, the Men from Stafford are swept away by a flank charge.
The eye in the sky view.
Darryl from the forfront, leads his men round the bend.
The fight for the hill is in earnest.  Both sides are bloodied.
The nameless Galloglaich, who is earning the MVP award for this game, is lining up his third victim. 
Clan O'Lyre (right most Galloglaich) turns to hold the flank, and disorders the Islemen. 
The demoralization level of the Scots is 20 of 24
The demoralization level of the Anglo-Irish is 11 of 21

Turn 6:

The Anglo-Irish needs 5 points for a win and the clock is running out.  Darryl's horsemen destroy 2 units for 2
The demoralization level of the Scots is 22 of 24
The demoralization level of the Anglo-Irish is 12 of 21

The fight on the hill stalls out.
But on the right, the decision is made.  The nameless Galloglaich loses a cohesion, but to the far right, Clan O'Lyre cleanly kills his foe for another 2 points and the win.
The demoralization level of the Scots is 24 of 24
The demoralization level of the Anglo-Irish is 13 of 21

You may wonder, why I didn't go for the camp, as vulnerable as it was to a flank march.  This was a friendly game, and I didn't want to take advantage of my friend.  I did point it out to him.  Besides, this way had more drama.

 *Repeated text from "Clash of the Clans".  But it was a fun write up.  Some, OK, a lot of content stolen from Finnegan's Wake

Sunday, April 21, 2019

You say Gyro, I say Gyro

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Allen Kaplan's Man Cave
Event:        Kaplicon, 2nd Round
Players:     Philip Gardocki playing Hellenistic Greek
                      John Doe playing Assyrian

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

The Title: Greeks  pronounce Gyro as Year-Row, while the Assyrians (or their descendants, work with me here) pronounce it Gi-Row.

The Forces:
The Achaean League, Commanders Critolaus (competent), Diaeus (competent and a real name!) and Diaeus (also competent and a real name).
     10 Pike, 4 Mediocre
       4 Hoplites, Heavy Infantry, Spear
       4 Light Infantry Bow
       2 Horsemen, Heavy Cavalry, impact
       4 Light Cavalry, Javelin
       Break point 24

The Assyrian records are engraved in cuneiform tablets, and unreadable to civilized men. The best guess is that the commanders are Tudiya, Yangi and Harsu.

      4 Heavy Chariots.
      6 Asharittu Warriors, Medium Sword, Impact and Elite

      2 Aramean Javelinmen
      4 Light Chariots.
      3 Light Infantry
      1 Pethalle Medium Cavalry
      1 Light Cavalry
       Break point 21

The Assyrians win the initiative and elect to attack the Greeks in the plains.

Tudiya commands a small strike command on their right.
Yangi leads a large force of foot in the center.
Straight out of the box, Harsu leads a large force of chariots.
I have to question the idea of putting the Light Chariots (which moves 4UD/turn) to the left of the infantry, then the Heavy Chariots (moving at 3UD/turn) to their left.  If your foes are frontal, that's OK, but if you have to sweep right, then your slower unit is on the outside of the arc of travel.

 Looking at the pictures, I really did not appreciate the attractiveness of all those Chariots on the field. 

The plan is simple.  Dominate the left with my impact cavalry, so when the pike engage the enemy foot, I should have the cavalry ready for flank charge in support.

My pike is not elite, but otherwise out numbers and out guns the Assyrian foot.

The only concern is the strong chariot force that can go after the flanks of Diaeus's mediocre pike block.
Turn 1:
The Assyrian strike command rolls a 1 for command points and only advances a little bit.

The center command rolls a lot of command points, but it still takes 4 of them just to move everyone forward.

The Assyrian left advances as fast it can, but it is in 3 groups, so that is not much.
No plan survives contact with the enemy.  And in this case, deployment.  My Heavy Cavalry is not a good match against the Heavy Chariots. Taking advantage of the slow chariot advance, Diaeus pulls his horse out of the line and races behind the pike block. 
Sometimes this type of redeployment works well, sometimes not. But I rather fight the chariots in the fields on the right side of the board, then in the clear on the left.

The pikemen oblique march left to cover their flanks against the river.
Diaeus marches in lock step with Critolaus pike  His Hoplites are prepared to make a facing move to fend off the chariots.  The field does a number on wheeled vehicles, and so I think the Light Infantry in there can hold off the chariots for a while.

Turn 2:
Tudiya does not like the matchup of Chariots on Pike, and decide to redeploy as well.
A halt is called for his foot command.
Giving his Chariot command a chance to flank my smaller pike command.
Undeterred, Critolaus continues his advance.  But it will be many turns before contact at this rate.
The Hoplites charge the Light Chariots.  One of them high tails it and runs.
Turn 3:
Over the the river Ganges, a much more interesting battle is happening.

It's Chinese vs. Burmese.  And they are well into the game.
And across the other river we have Legio X vs the Maccabees.  Judging from the casualty markers, things are heating up there as well.
Back to our show.  The Assyrian Chariot command decided to return to it's original position. 

Their infantry command splits in twain, probably due to a shortage of command points.  They are going to pin my smaller pike block in place while his Chariots focuses on a single Hoplite.
The Score is 1-1.

The Greek main pike block is closing the gap, but unless the Assyrians give them some help, it will be two more turns before contact.
Diaeus wheels his pike to prevent easy flanking, and attempts to rally his Hoplites.  His other Hoplites pull up to cover the disordered units flank.  In the field, the ambushes have been revealed to be phonies, but there is still the Light Infantry to be considered. 
So if he wants Diaeus's pike block's flank, he will have to deal with 3 sets of flank guards.

Turn 4:
The Chariots pull a 180 and leave.
Assyrian foot charge!  They win 3 of fights.
Critolau's Pike split up.  3 units to chase the chariots, which are running up to a field covered hill, and thus slowed. 
The rest to face the remaining Assyrian foot.   
Oh, and after taking his morning tea, Diaeus decides to show up for the fight with his Heavy Cavalry.  This is timely, as Diaeus's Pike score a win destroying an Assyrian Swordsmen, while the rest of the Pike hold their ground.
On the far right, the Hoplites are holding but cracking.  The Lights in the field are frustrating the attempts of the Assyrian Heavies to participate in this fight.  That's a win when 8 points of troops hold down 28.
Turn 5:
The Greeks have 5 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Assyrians have 6 points towards their demoralization level of 21

It looks like the Chariots will get away. 
One of the Pikemen (mediocre) falls!
So to, a Light Chariot is destroyed.  But another has slipped through the cracks to run in the Greek rear.  But it has been met by Light Horse.
Critolaus's Pike charge, the Aramean Javelinmen, being from a conquered province anyway, leaves the Asharittu Warriors to their fate.  One of the swordsmen is the included general, Yangi.
Chaos rules on the right flank.  But the advantage is to the Greeks.  The one destroyed Pike turned out to be a blessing giving Impact Cavalry a clear, supported shot on a Medium Swordsmen. 

A Mexican Standoff with lights.
The Greeks have 7 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Assyrians have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 21

Turn 6:
The game clock is winding down.

This grind continues.
Surrounded the Assyrian Chariot may be, but it is with all lights, and that doesn't stop it from turning and hitting a Hoplite in the rear.
The Greeks have 8 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Assyrians have 14 points towards their demoralization level of 21

It is the bottom of the last turn.  With the help of a flanking Cavalry, Critolaus plows under a pair of Asharittu Warriors
The Greeks have 8 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Assyrians have 14 points towards their demoralization level of 21

Diaeus completes his collection on the set of Asharittu!  His remaining Hoplite flanks a light chariot, breaking it, which disorders a Heavy Chariot.  The Light Chariot that showed all the spunk, is now charged in the rear, and is disordered.
With that, the game was declared over on time.

The Greeks have 8 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Assyrians have 19 points towards their demoralization level of 21

It was a good game.  Lots of thinking and maneuvering.

The Assyrian did a good job of screening off my best command, which only managed to cause 6 points of damage to the Assyrian demoralization level. 1 extra for an included general, and that was with assistance with the cavalry command.  

The Cavalry command redeployment can be regarded as a success.  It arrived in the center just when the smaller pike block was cracking, and destroyed one warrior, and ran off the supporting Light Infantry.  Then turned the flank of Yangi's personal unit, killing him.  It's lights ran some interference controlling the penetration by chariots on the right flank, and had it not been there the camp could have been lost.  So the cavalry command can be accredited with 5 points and two saves.

The right hand command, some 4 mediocre pike and 2 Hoplites gets the most credit.  Taking on a command and a half, and scoring 11 points of the 19.  It was frontally engaged with the pike, while the Hoplites provided flank guards.  All in all, this command worked as designed.