Sunday, July 28, 2019

We are Siamese If You Please

A Headless Body Production
Location:  Lancaster Convention Center
Event:       Historicon 2019
Theme:     Silk Road
Players:    Phil Gardocki playing King Porus of Purus.
                  Steve Roper playing Yul Brenner of Siam :)
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 200 points per side. 

The Forces:
Classical Indian (list 79)
King Porus and Prince Malayketu, Competent, Prince Porus, included and ordinary.
      3 Elephant, Elite
      7 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
      4 Heavy Chariots, Elite
      1 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
      6 Light Infantry, Bow
      1 Herd of Stampeding Cattle
Breakpoint of 22
After much reflection I decided to revamp the list a bit.  I traded an elephant, the light cavalry, and the guardsmen (medium infantry, 2 handed sword)  for a couple of light infantry, an additional 1/2 bow/sword and the herd of cattle.  The main reason was to increase the amount of light infantry in the list.  Many of the battles where I have lost, my opponents out lighted me.

Yul Brenner, as the King of Siam, (An ok dancer and singer, but has a great exotic presence)
Mostly Impetuous Medium Swordsmen, some Elite
Some Medium Cavalry
3 Levy expendables
Breakpoint of 28(ish)
A word on our venue:
Historicon has been the Mecca of miniature game players for decades. This year it has new digs.  The Lancaster Host had taken advantage of HMGS's good will for decades, and failed, despite years now of upgrades, to provide a facility that is up to snuff any more. 

The Lancaster Convention Center is a delightful venue.  Well lit, excellent food, multiple elevators, spacious, convenient plentiful and clean bathrooms.  There was one spot I could stand and see 3 in short walking distance.

But, this facility comes at a price.  Downtown parking, and high priced rooms. 

And where else do you get to see Helms Deep?
Thank you HMGS BOD!

Back to the game.

The Board
Following the road along the Chao Phraya River, King Porus's forces finally encounter the local inhabitants. 

Segway#1:  How long does an ear-worm (George Carlin referred to it as "Brain Sludge") last?  I don't think I have heard the song "We are Siamese" in more than 4 decades, but it came unbidden as soon as Steve announced the army he was playing.  Apparently it was in his ear too and he was more than happy to spread it around.  "Gilligan's Island" immediately packed up and left the skull.  However as of this writing, the 1812 overture is fighting a brave rear guard action, and is actually gaining ground.
Chao Phraya River, Siam,  either 322 BC or 1322 AD, depending, Saturday.
Anchored to the coastal area, Siamese have deployed 3 expendable levies.  From there it is mostly Medium Swordsmen, with the occasional elephant to reduce the monotony.
The line, now some 20 units long extends nearly to the hill on the hill.

King Porus's command is also anchored to the river.

With his princes commands, his line only stretches 14

Turn 1:
Porus was lolly-gagging, and didn't have enough command points for a double march.  The Prince, however races ahead.
The other prince deliberately holds back, he is on flank guard duty.
The Siamese surge forward

And from behind the hill, more Siamese (if you please)
The flank guard job just got a lot harder
Turn 2:

I don't like the canted lines the Siamese have adopted, but I also have more archers than him, so I am content to shoot for a while.
His line is almost entirely impetuous, He will have to charge sooner or later.

His line is so much longer, I think it will be difficult for it to come into play in a timely fashion.
Medium sword vs Heavy Chariots is a bad match up.  Throw an elephant into the mix and it is almost even.  Indian archery is proving its mettle.
Steve did an excellent job of lining up his elephants on my chariots.  Effectively reducing my main strike force to mediocrity. 
While I also had a light bowmen too close, it was cut off and caught.
But it was not a total loss, one of the Siamese swordsmen was destroyed, and routed through a disordered light.
The Siamese have 7 points towards their demoralization level of 28
The Indians have 8 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 3:
Both Steve and I commented that this game was not going to hit the time limit.

Elephants charge on the left, destroying a levy, but the others, even though disordered, still stand.
One chariot is destroyed, but the other two score wins.
One of my hybrid bow/sword charge a flank, and roll an epic fail, and are disordered.  And, in case you are counting, there are even more Siamese yet uncommitted.
The mayhem on the left continues.  Another chariot is crushed by 10 ton elephants, and the Siamese have penetrated the Indian lines.  The Siamese levy are heroes, by not being destroyed.
King Porus's right flank guard is in tatters.
Freshly rallied, the Indian Cavalry does what it can to hold back the enemy.

The Siamese have 10 points towards their demoralization level of 28
The Indians have 15 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 4:
Another levy down, but too late to be helpful.  King Porus leads an elephant forward, stomping another Siamese unit flat.  Prince Porus (white striped chariot) charges the Siamese reserves to an impressive win.
And what of the Stampeding Cattle?  Was I cleverly holding them in reserve?  No.  I forgot all about them on turn 1, and on turn 2 didn't have enough command points to move them, and turn 3, they were out of command range.  Only now did I have enough command points to move them.
The right flank guard are still holding out.  The Siamese command is also having command problem with all those groups and unmaneuverable units.
The Levy is finally trounced, it is time to turn the Siamese right flank.
An elephant rampage event!  Totally surrounded by Siamese, it only matters which one gets a disorder.
But the Indian right flank has totally collapsed, and with it, the army morale.  A very convincing win for the Siamese.
The Siamese have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 28
The Indians have 22 points towards their demoralization level of 22

So what went wrong?  This should have been a good match-up for me.  I had the quality edge.  While the Siamese had the quantity edge.  But most of their quantity was not actually put in play.  About 8 of their units never engaged in any capacity.  

I think my mistake was I gave the initiative to Steve on 2.  I stopped and lined up my troops to optimize my missile fire, and allowed him to select the points of contact.  Elephants on chariots, with predictable results.  Defanging my main shock weapon.  Also, by going after the Levy, I reduced my effective attack groups by another 3 units, to zero gain. 

Steve went on to take 2nd place in a this tournament.

Segway #2: And the ear-worm battle continues, the 1812 Overture has been soundly defeated, but a flank march has shown up, it is Lancelot singing "C'est Moi" from Camelot. 

Addendum:  The ear-worm battle went on for months.  Harry Chapin, Pink Floyd, Nights in White Satin, none lasted long.  Losing out to a marathon session of "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh".

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Battle of the Hydaspes, 120 Points L' Art de la Guerre (reduex)

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:    Phil Gardocki playing King Porus
                     Bruce Potter, playing Alexander the Great

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 120 points per side. 

120 point games take about 90 minutes to run, so there was a quick shuffle, from the previous game, and back into the fray go Porus and Alexander.

The Forces:
Classical Indian (list 79)
King Porus, Competent and Prince Porus, Competent
      2 Elephant, Elite
      4 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
      4 Heavy Chariots, 2 Elite
      1 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
Breakpoint of 11

Alexandrian the Great (list 40)
King Alexander the Great, Strategist, and Stavros, Brilliant
      2 Thracians, Medium Swordsmen 
      1 Spartan Hypaspist, Heavy Spearman, Elite
      1 Thracian Scout, Light Infantry Javelin
      2 Macedonian Pikemen
      1 Hoplite, Heavy Spearman
      1 Cretan Archer, Light Infantry Bow
      2 Hippakontistai, Light Cavalry Javelin
      2 Scythians, Light Cavalry, Bow
      2 Companians, Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Elite
Breakpoint of 15

The Board
After a beer, and a discussion on what went wrong, Bruce and I had a redo of the previous game.  You gotta love small battles.

Turn 1:
This time, the terrain fell dramatically better for the Indians.  Getting one piece is 100% better than getting none.  The road doesn't count as terrain.

 In this game Stavros's Cavalry is kept on a short leash.
The Indians were somewhat spread out.  Alexander has the advantage being the attacker, and King Porus didn't want to have a hanging flank.
 Turn 1:
The Pike block does a double march, and the light horse redeploys behind the lines.
Prince Porus swings his chariots wide, but holds his elephants back.  (having 2 command points will do that to you.)
King Porus advances and slides left, while sending his chariots on a wide flank as well.
 Turn 2:
Not to be outflanked, the Companions track Prince Porus's chariots.
While the Pike cant their lines to face the divided formations of King Porus.
Faced with near one on one fights, Prince Porus holds his chariots back.
But vectors his elephants in on the Pike block.
King Porus is content to let his archery do the work for now..
 Turn 3:
The Indians have checked the Companions, and are content to let the archers go at it.  It will be 2 full turns before the pike can engage, and that is a lot of shots.

Stavros is not happy with the status quo.  He recalls two of his lights, and charges with his companions.  It was an even fight, with even dice.   Both sides take a disorder.
The Pikemen halt.  They see the (rather obvious) trap if they advance, and they can wait till Stavros's wins, and roll up the Indian flank. 
However theirs hopes are misplaced, as one Companion is destroyed, and the other (with Stavros included) fails to destroy his opponent.
 Turn 4:
Stavros isn't going to give Prince Porus a chance, and disengages from the unfavorable fight, even if it means he must suffer bow fire from the field.
Once again, the corner Hoplite is forced to stand and receive volley after volley of arrows.  And once again, Greek light horse is redeployed in the rear, but this time they have a target, a probing Indian Medium Cavalry (mediocre).
Indian Chariots are impetuous, and so this charge cannot be avoided.  But this time they have support.
While bow fire hasn't proven to be all that effective, there is no reason not to continue with it though.
Mediums charge, Lights evade, until the Lights realize the Mediums are fighting at a zero with two hits left, and the Lights have a javelin.
Not that anyone asked, but the Greeks have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 15, while the Indians are 2 for 11.

Turn 5:
But fortune can change quickly in a small game.  Stavros gets a 6-1 die roll, destroying a chariot, conforms the other, with flank support.
The Greeks have 5 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11
And a reverse 1-6 dice pairing on the other flank, destroying a Greek Light Horse, disordering another.

The Greeks have 8 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11

Indian archers take another light horse in the rear, and destroy them.  They had their front edge in contact with the chariots, and so, could not evade.

The Greeks have 10 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11

On the right flank, the chariots are given the "Weapons Free" order, and run over the Thracians.

The Greeks have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11
Prince Poro's elephants leave the safety of the field and threaten the right flank of the pike block.  The trap is set!

The Greeks have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 6 points towards their demoralization level of 11

And the clock runs out, or the sun sets, or the constables show up inexplicably between the combatants.  The result is a winning draw for the Indians.