Saturday, August 17, 2019

Battle of Emesa

 A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:       Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Scenario:  Battle of Emesa
Players:    Phil Gardocki, Mark McConnahay, Garth Parker, playing Queen Zenobia and General Zabdas.
                  Bruce Potter , Jenny Parker playing Emperor Aurelian

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

The Forces:
General Zabdas, the Brilliant, Queen Zenobia and Nothra, both Competent
      6 Cataphracts, 4 elite
      3 Medium Cavalry, Bow
      2 Light Cavalry, Javelin  
      8 Light Cavalry, Bow      
      3 Light Medium Infantry, Bow, mediocre
      3 Light Infantry, Bow
Breakpoint of 25

Middle Imperial Roman
Emperor Aurelian, a Strategist and Equestrius Celeritate Cursor, Competent, and Dux Agminis Latus*, Ordinary.
      6 Legionnaires, Heavy Swordsmen, Impact, Armor, Missile Support, elite.
      2 Auxiliaries, Medium Swordsmen, Armor, Impact
      2 Cataphracts, 4 elite
      4 Heavy Cavalry
      2 Light Cavalry, Bow 
      2 Light Infantry, Bow 
Breakpoint of 19

The Board
The Orontes river is on the left.  The road to Antioch crosses the Palmyran muster zone.  The Roman camp is fortified (natch...) The Palmyran camp is unfortified. 
The Palmyrans deploy rapidly without consideration of the Roman deployment. 
The Romans secure their flank against the Orontes (Horns) river, their other flank guarded by a large cavalry contingent.  Their third command cannot be seen. 
Nothra, a stable young nobleman of good bearing and family, is directing the skirmish command.  Zabdas, a seasoned veteran of many years is in charge of the main strike force.
The Queen, mounted astride her camel, "You Bastard", takes a position behind her peasant archers.
Turn 1: 
It's the bottom of turn 1, I missed pictures of the Roman advance.  Hobnailed sandals and iron shod hooves marched in perfect sync to reach the magical 4 UD line from the Palmyran skirmish line.  The only interesting thing was the laser pointer used to dress the lines afterward, and that the third Roman command remained unseen.

Why would you not want to be seen, a scholar from the 70's, Sir Monty Python, has a study on the subject posted here.
One of the advantages the Palmyrans have is the surplus of light horse.  They outnumber the Roman lights 2-1 on this flank, and, of course, lose the first missile exchange.
And surprisingly, the Romans match the Palmyran Heavy Cavalry, 1-1.  Zabdas's center command also has 5 light units.  The 3 foot approach and loose their arrows at the corner of the Roman cavalry command, and score.  The light horse, swings wide around the Roman flank.

Where Queen Zenobia's troops advance unchallenged.
Turn 2:
The Romans roll for their unseen command, and it is not revealed.

The Palmyran lights continue to lose the missile exchange.
The Roman cavalry command refuses it's left flank.  Where it covers the legions left flank, avoids being flanked itself, and to make a rally attempt for their disordered flank unit.  
FYI, the Roman General, Celeritate Cursor, is included with one of the Cataphract units.  Third from your left, next to the Heavy Cavalry with the banner.

The wheat in the field undulates gently in the breeze. 
The Palmyran front ranks withdraw to the rear for future rallying.  The rear ranks, now brought forward, seem to have trained better.

Zabdas decides not to go in piece meal, and lines up for one massive charge on turn 3.
This is the reason you buy the really heavy cavalry.  One massive charge.  It always looks glorious.  And I can get away with it because the middle two Roman units are also Cataphract (elite), so the command cannot evade without exposing it's center to being unsupported, and abandoning it's general.
Zabdas's lights have wins all round.  The Roman corner heavy cavalry is disordered again.  His light horse scout the wheat field and declare it empty of enemy troops.
Turn 3:
There is a dust cloud on the right.  Dux Agminis Latus has arrived with his troops.
Celeritate Cursor takes the initiative and charges first.
The emperor orders his legions to step lively.  Both the Palmyrans and the legions roll short.
By "rolling short", I mean both the chargers and the evaders did not go their full distance in the charge and evade.  This was critical for the Romans, as they hoped to be behind the Palmyran cataphract line with this charge.

The result of the massive cavalry charge was somewhat unimpressive.  2 wins for each side and 2 ties.  Only the fact that one Roman Heavy Cavalry had 2 hits on it made it interesting at all.

Nothra's cavalry get in the face of the legioniares. 

Zabdas recalls both his light horse for rear charges on the Roman cavalry line.

The queen goads her peasants forward.
While sending her lights to guard the road to Antioch, which leads to her camp.
Turn 4:
Aurelean orders another charge, and again his legions roll short.
He sends a couple of cohorts to bolster his struggling cavalry.
His camp prepares for the eventual inundation.
Despite the Palmyran's best efforts, there is about a 45mm gap that allowed Dux Agminis Latus's lights to slip by.
Nothra reforms his lines, rally's is lights and stands ready.

Celeritate Cursor's cataphracts are destroyed.  Leaving only two cohorts of Heavy Cavalry left.
One Roman Cavalry is caught, the other has a free charge on the Palmyran camp.
Zenobia has the Roman camp in her sights as well.
The score is 14 (out of 19) to 5 (out of 25)
Turn 5:

The Emperor advances into the firing line.
A cohort flanks and destroys a cataphract.
A turn of events, a major victory for the Romans.  The flanked Light Horse, destroys it's harassers, with two units in the rout path for a total of four points.  Add the Palmyran camp being sacked, that's 8 points total!.
To avoid being charged off the board in masse, Nothra gets in the face of Aurelian's legions.

Zabdas knows the Romans are about to turn the legions onto his flank, and starts to organize his cataphracts to receive them.

The Palmyrans take their revenge on the brave Roman Cavalry.
While the Roman camp holds off the initial assault.
The score is 18 (out of 19) for Rome to 14 (out of 25) for Palmyra
Turn 6:

With clever maneuvering and Legions now charging at a trot, the Palmyran Cavalry command is dispersed.  Some caught and destroyed, some run off the map, some on the map, but surrounded.
The score is 17 (out of 19) for Rome to 18 (out of 25) for Palmyra
Despite flank support another Roman Cavalry is destroyed.
The score is 18 (out of 19) for Rome to 14 (out of 25) for Palmyra
And for the WIN, Queen Zenobia takes the Roman Camp!

Final shots.

Final shots.
Final shots.

 * History is written by the winners, so I named the sub commanders of the Roman army Speed Racer and Flank March General respectively


  1. Phil, What scale and figures are playing this with? It looks a bit like Old School, maybe Ros & Heroics in 6mm or early Minifigs in 15mm.


  2. 15mm. Most of the Palmyrans were painted over 30 years ago The cataphracts are a mix of Asgard (green capes) and Table Top Miniatures (red and blue barding) and minifigs (Light Cav Bow, and all the foot archers)