Monday, July 6, 2020

Seven Samurai (+2) Rides Again

A Headless, indeed, Bodyless Body Production
Venue:   An Undisclosed Basement
Event:   Playing a game for the camera 
Players: Phil Gardocki running Burgundian Ordinance
              Tom Worden running Samurai
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

Having won the quarter finals, the Samurai army advances to the semi finals.  The team has packed up for a road show to Terrain de Football De L'île de La Commune, along the picturesque River Seine, facing the Burgundian Ordnance

The Forces:
Samurai (list 210)
The Samurai are commanded by Larry-San, the Strategist, his brother Darryl-San the Ordinary and his other brother Darryl-San, also Ordinary.
9 Samurai, Medium Swordsmen, Bow, Elite  
4 Yari, Medium Spearmen, Mediocre
4 Mounted Samurai, Heavy Cavalry, Bow, Elite  
2 Followers with Bow, Bowmen, Mediocre
Breakpoint of 19

Burgundian Ordinance  (list 235)
Commanded by Lawrence, the Competent, his brother Darryl the Competent and his other brother Darryl , the Ordinary, and somewhat unreliable.
5 1/2 Heavy Spearman 1/2 Longbowmen       
2 Foot Knights      
3 Men-at-Arms, Heavy Knight, Impact, 1 Elite  
2 Light Cavalry, Crossbow
2 Demi-Lancers, Heavy Cavalry Impact
2 Light Handgunners, Elite          
2 Crossbow, Mediocre
1 Pikeman, Mediocre
Breakpoint of 20

The Board:
The Burgundians win the initiative and elect to defend in the plains.

Terrain de Football De L'île de La Commune.
All the front row troops are elite Samurai bow swordsmen.  The mediocre Yari, and bowmen are in the back, and played no part in this game.
9 Samurai foot on the right, 4 Samurai horse on the left.
In a total lack of forethought, the camp is on the left.  The plan has Burgundians deploying on the right, leaving the defense of the camp to a couple of ambush markers.  One of which was illegal and removed on turn 1.
Longbow and Foot Knights are down, but where are the Horsemen?
Following social distancing rules, the number of spectators is limited to 1.  The official military observer from Howandaland.
Turn 1:
The moves here were not as obvious as it would look.  The Samurai right became the center.
The reason is that other than the camp, the Samurai right was facing no one.  And the intention of the Burgundian flank march was correctly divined.

The Samurai horsemen turn to face the prospective flank march.
Surprise!  An ambush is revealed.  Two men with fire sticks.
Never one to stay on the defensive, Lawrence orders a general advance.
Turn 2:
One Samurai clan is assigned to deal with this little problem.

The rest line up for the missile exchange.  Its 8 on 5 shooters, elite vs ordinary.  Darryl-San is happy with this.
Their distraction complete, the hand gunners withdraw.
Missile fire continues.
Darryl assumes a position to support his brother Darryl's flank march when it comes on.
Turn 3:
The flank march rolls a 5!  Darryl's knights will arrive on turn 4.
This was a very bad turn for Burgundian shooters.
Note on the physical placement of the casualty markers.  I started placing them in front of the Burgundians to give Tom an easier view, as he is seeing the board through a camera.

Turn 4:
More shooting and rallying.  The score is 2-1
Larry-San orders a retreat before Darryl's Knights.
Something is out of sync here.  Either the turn number or the picture order. The flank march could not be in yet as this is the Samurai's turn.  But then the Samurai couldn't react until it does arrive.

I am just going to move along and hoping you get the idea.

Not enough command points on either side to advance or retreat.
More shooting and rallying.

Knights advance to within two of the Samurai horse, and threaten the flanks of their foot troops.
Turn 5:
I think the pictures are back in sync with the story.

Overall, the Longbow are losing the missile exchange.  4 out of 5 are disordered.  But one Samurai foot seemed very unlucky and becomes the first unit removed from the game.
The skies darken.  Even the Heavy Knights prove vulnerable to excellent archery.
The Tree of Woe has the score.  3 (Samurai) to 9 (Burgundian)
On the main battle line, a Longbow unit is destroyed by adroit archery.
Horns sound a general charge!  The Samurai horse evade.  A foot unit is ground into the mud by a Knight.  A Longbow Spear unit engages another Samurai foot, with help from a flanking unit of crossbow.
This is a picture of the pursuits after the routs.  It may seem unwise to pursue with Crossbow (mediocre) into elite swordsmen as the Japanese will get a free turn and be elite sword against them, but the crossbow has support.  And will have more on the next turn as the foot knights at the bottom of the picture have a clear charge into the flank. The Crossbow only has to "not die."
The score is 6 to 8 in favor of the Samurai.
Turn 6:

Samurai bow approach the optimistic foot knights.  Their arrows finding niches in the armor and disorder them.
Likewise their horse archery is beyond compare.
Disordered or not, the foot knights are heavy armor and 2 handed weapons.  They charge for the fight.
The mediocre crossbow now have two hits.  But behind them, the Demi Lancers have rested their blown stallions and make ready to charge.
Quality over Quantity.  Despite superior position and armor, the Samurai lead grows.
Turn 7:

Another Longbow/spear is dispersed.  The Foot Knights holding the flank are now isolated, threatened and disordered.

Their brother Foot Knights continue to lose ground against the skilled swordsmanship of the Samurai.  The Crossbowmen flee for their lives opening a hole, that is just wide enough.
Bringing the score to 6-12

The Foot Knights holding the left flank has so far resisted all attempts to rally.  Lawrence gives up in disgust and leaves them to their fate.
Demi Knights charge, just missing destroying their foe.
Another knight charge.  But with a twist.  The elite Knight (with the flag), charges first on an angle. and if his foe had evaded, would have been in a position to trap the other two Samurai horse.  So one of them stayed behind for a delaying action, allowing the others to escape.
Turn 8:
The main Samurai foot line is collapsing at the corner.  But the flank march is accruing an unacceptable number of casualties.
This Samurai Horse is the MVP of the game.  It destroyed an Light Horse, was flanked, and is now winning the fight against the Demi Lancers.  If it wins that fight, it will take out a Knight with the rout.
The score closes, 11-14
Demi Lancers save the day, flanking a Samurai, taking the pressure off of the Foot Knights.
Darryl attempts rallies.  He should have been moving.
The score narrows to within 1.
Turn 9:
Does anyone else seem to think this fight has gone on forever?  I think it was 4.5 hours.  I know I burned through 2 spare batteries for the phone.

Samurai close to spitting range, their arrows finding more niches in the Knights armor.
Running with a triple 1 for command points doesn't give them many options on dealing with the flank.

However, a single Samurai horseman has personally destroyed 3 units, rallied, and is now engaged with a Light Horse.
11 to 15.  The break points are 19 and 20
Lawrence commits his Foot Knights.  More out of resignation.  At least there is a chance they can cause damage.  Meanwhile, he prepares his last shot.  Another flank charge on the Samurai foot.
The Demi Knight (striped lances, red cape) that has so far plowed two units under, now has 3 to its credit.
Turn 10:

Katanas have a field day against full plate armor.
Darryl and Darryl are trying to reorganize, but have a shortage of command points.
Lawrence calls for a charge, and leads from the front.  He has two flank supports and himself, and barely pulls an unconvincing win.
I knew this Samurai was a star while the game was running, but now that I have had to run up the score.  Half the count of Burgundian dead is attributed to him alone.
Turn 11:
Samurai foot with their last throw. But no results.
Their MVP calls for some more support, but blow the die roll, and the Crossbowmen stand.
But a couple of rallies widens the gap.  The Burgundians are one away from breaking.
Another Samurai foot unit falls, leaving just two remaining.
Darryl and Darryl consult.  They are facing a damaged horse unit with pike and knight.

While Darryl's Elite Knights perform a dressage move they are famous for.  Running down one Samurai horse, disordering another.  To late to save the Crossbowmen.  It's loss demoralizes the Burgundians.
But wait!  The count is in, the Samurai are also demoralized.  A tie game!

Talk about brutal.  Against non elites, the longbowmen shine, but elites just sit there and take it.  Eventually the ordinaries lose the exchange.

The flank march could not have come in at a better time, but still performed poorly.  One knight caused one hit on an HC, which broke off and escaped, another actually got into combat with a smash, attributing 3 points towards victory.  But it took 12 turns to set it up.  

The MVP for the Burgundians was a Demi Lancer, scoring 7 points by itself, 1/3 of the Japanese demoralization level.    In any other game that would be an astonishing accomplishment.  But the Japanese had a unit that caused 10, 1/2 of the Burgundian break point.

This is also causing me to rethink my choice of armies for tournaments.  Shooting armies take longer to develop the battle.  And I just finished commissioning two of them.  

On a side note.  The Japanese were only fighting with their best troops, 6 units never approached or engaged.  Toms though was if he had deployed them to face the flank march, I would have just run them over for 6 points.  And the others just didn't have targets to face anyway.  His army also suffers from command control limitations. 


  1. He should have used them to take the camp, it is a safe mission, and might have swung the game his way. Great game though!

  2. We discussed that later. His problem was the unit would have been out of command control, and he was having enough problems driving troops as it was. That and he was winning by 6 points at one time, and felt he just needed to push harder.