Saturday, August 3, 2019

A Discussian with the Kushan

A Headless Body Production
Location:  Lancaster Convention Center

Event:       Historicon 2019
Theme:     Silk Road, round 2
Players:    Phil Gardocki playing King Porus of Purus.
                  Derek Hannan, Kushan

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.

Where is Kush anyway?  All I know about Kush is from Robert E. Howard's Conan series.  A tropical land in the deepest part of his Africa analog.

But you shouldn't rely on poorly remembered fantasy novels for your list analysis.  Wikipedia has Kush at the source of the Nile, but, that is not "Kushan" which is listed as Northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  

8 Cataphracts, 4 elite
Lots of Medium and Light Cavalry with bows.
Breakpoint of 22(ish)
The Board
Following his defeat by the wily Siamese, King Porus returns to his roots, only to find his kingdom ravaged by the recently unified tribes around the Tarim Basin.
The Kushans win the initiative and elect to defend in the steppes.

The southern Chota Nagpur Plateau.  The terrain is marked with a hill, a gully and a brush.
The Kushan right has 8 Cataphracts.
Their line peters out on the hill
This is Derek's 11th game ever.

Prince Malayketu's "Hold the flank" command is looking at a bad day.  Sure the elephant is going to have a good day, but the rest of his command is worthless against Cataphracts.
Prince Porus's Chariots have an OK match-up, but King Porus is out of position to fight anything.

And with all that Kushan Light Cavalry, King Porus's command is not moving anywhere in a hurry.

Turn 1:
Prince Malayketu moves short.
While the king and son advances with a left oblique.
We are not leaving the cattle behind this time.

The Kushan Lights are looking to turn the flank, and with one hit on the Indian lights, that looks like a done deal.
Kushan Cataphracts split in twain, half sliding right, half sliding left.
While the rest form a pocket for the Indians to fall into.
Turn 2:
Malayketu focuses on closing the hole before the Cataphracts can get into play.
Prince Porus, always eager to get into the fray, charges the light horse, and rolls LONG.
King Porus's elephants can't quite keep pace, nor can they vector in their elephants to the attack.

The Kushans split their lights to get around that flank.

And commit their elite cataphracts to combat.  The result  1 loss each and two ties

With their superior mobility, the Kushans get around King Porus's flank.

The Kushans have 2 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Indians have 3 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 3:
Derek is hankering for a toe to toe fight.  So much the better!
But he is also vigorously pursuing the flanks, while major Indian forces grasping at smoke, giving him quality and overlap advantages down the line.
Prince Malayketu issues a quick staccato of orders.  His cavalry charges the enemy lights, which opted not to flee off the board, but fought to the death.  His elephantry wheels and ZOC's the Cataphracts, their right side supporting Bowmen charges an enemy light horse which flees.  Reversing the flank support against the Chariots, which overcome the superior armor of the Cataphracts to win their fight.
Prince Porus has enough command points to either A) turn around his lights for a support shot, or B) Rally his one disordered chariot.  He goes for the 33% chance and Vishnu smiles upon his words.
King Porus splits his main battle group in two.  On his left, he opts to ZOC and Shoot.  On his right, he opts to charge.
Kushan Cataphracts set up their charge.
The steppes are being drenched with the blood of man and horse
The Kushans have this "Death Star" totally surrounded.  Time to charge again.
The Kushans have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Indians have 6 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 4:

Prince Malayketu knows he is at a disadvantage, but it will only be worse if he loses the initiative, He mounts the elephant and orders a charge.

One chariot is destroyed.  Now both cataphract and chariot lines having their flanks turned.  And for the first time, the herd of cattle are stampeded.

Another charge by elephants and foot, another evade by Kushan lights.

One Cataphract is down, but the Indian line proves to be <ahem> porous, and another Cataphract sneaks behind the lines.  There is only one question that needs answering.

Prince Porus is flanked, but survives the assault.  The Cattle trample their opponents into the verge.

Another Kushan horse unit is dispersed by Indian archery. 
The Kushans have 16 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Indians have 10 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 5:
In a very rare event, Indian Cavalry charge and win.  Even if it is a flank, this is mediocre vs heavy armor!
In a desperate move, the Kushan commander comes to the front lines, only to have 2,000 Holsteins hit him in the flank. 
Final shot.
Normally, it's fairly easy to pick an MVP for the game. Usually its an opponent's Levy unit that refused to die under any circumstances, but here were so many firsts.

The Indian Medium Cavalry (mediocre) usually spend the battle as a place holder.  They are just easily beaten by everything.  But here they destroyed one unit and put 2 hits on a Cataphract.

Then the Cattle.  I think I only had one successful hit with cattle, so far, on a pike unit.  Then the cows were then beaten on the following round.  But here, they killed one unit, then flank charged an enemy general, winning the game.

Or the left hand 1/2 bow/sword unit.  Charged a Cataphract, and didn't die, the Cataphract got support, and still it didn't die, and was charged in the rear, and didn't die.