Thursday, January 28, 2021

A Sassoon of Sassanids

A Headless Body Production

Venue: A Undisclosed Basement
Steve Turn running Sassanid Persian
               Phil running Maurikian Byzantine
Game System:
L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

The Forces:
Maurikian Byzantine (list 126)
Commanders, Philippicus and Eiliphedas, both Brilliant and Anon the Unknowable, Ordinary and Unreliable
4 Boukellarioi, Heavy Cavalry, Impact and Bow, Elite
6 Kavallarioi, Heavy Cavalry, Impact and Bow
4 Cursores, Light Cavalry, Bow
3 Skutatoi, Heavy Swordsmen, Missile Support, Mediocre
3 Psiloi, Light Infantry, Bow
Breakpoint of 21

Sassanid Persian (list 109)
Commanded by the Khosrau I, Strategist, Peroz and Narseh, both Competent
6 Nobles, Heavy Cavalry, Bow, Elite
1 Asavaran, Heavy Cavalry Bow
4 Light Cavalry, Bow
2 Elephants
4 Sassanid Levy, Medium Spearmen, Mediocre
2 Light Infantry, Sling
2 Light Infantry, Bow
Breakpoint of 21

In Chaldean Numerology
    The numerical value of sassoon in Chaldean Numerology is: 2
In Pythagorean Numerology
    The numerical value of sassoon in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3
I wonder if Vidal Sassoon realizes his name means Vidal the third?


When you see a word bubble "Ouch!", "آخ" in Persian, this implies a disorder from missiles.  Letters in parenthesis represent some value change for the specific unit. For commanders it is b for Brilliant, c for Competent and o for Ordinary, u for unreliable. For troops it is e for Elite, and m for Mediocre. Other abbreviations, Hvy Heavy, XB Crossbow, LB, Longbow, Jav Javelin, 2HW 2 Handed Weapons, B Bow, Kn Knight, HKn Heavy Knight, HC Heavy Cavalry, Md Medium, Sgt Sergeants, LC Light Cavalry, Chr Chariot, Cat Cataphract, Pa Pavise, LI, Light Infantry, HG Hand Gun, FKn Foot Knight, Hvy Spear, Heavy Spearmen.

"XX" implies a unit killed in that location on that turn.

The Board:
Khosrau I  wins the initiative, by a lot, and elect to attack in the plains. Philippicus deploys in an area with only a few rough patches near a tended vineyard. 


Khosrau I takes the position of honor on the right.

These Sassanids newly painted and freshly flocked.  Steve did a great job.  Figures from Plastic Soldier Company's Mortem Et Gloriam collection.

The elephant eyes are full white, giving them that zombie feel.  I had a Pentel .01 pen and we fixed it.  Now they are staring intently at their stomping targets.

The Sassanid camp is defended by Cataphracts, Ambushes, and terrain.

The third command cannot be seen.

On the Byzantine right, a large pile of rocks is placed on the edge of a well tended field.

The Byzantine camp is forward deployed and enlarged.  An impassable object that Phillippicus anchors his flank on.

Elliphedas's horse are to Philippicus's right. 
Between them is Anon's command consisting of a single Skutatoi and a Psiloi.  A joint for the two large horse commands to hinge against.
The view of the gods.
Turn 1:
Khosrau I advances in a column.  Thinking of sweeping away the Byzantine lights, then flanking the Byzantine left.

Peroz advances with his elephantry

The camp defenders decide the best way to defend the camp is to attack!

The Byzantine lights score a missile hit, then retire. 

Philippicus bravely advances.  Arrows exchanged to no effect. 
My thought here is it's not all bad.  Even with a -1 for elephant terror, its still Armor vs Mediocre against the spearmen. 
If Philippicus can tie up the elephant command for a couple of turns, Eiliphedas can destroy the Cataphract and take the camp.

Eiliphedas orders his light horse to swing around another curious pile of stones and deal with the exposed Sassanid light foot.
Turn 2:

With a no sign of Narseh's command arriving, Khosrau I changes his plans and takes his veteran cavalry to support his elephantry, leaving his lights to cover the local Byzantines.

Peroz gives the order to charge. 

The Byzantine horse flees, leaving Anon's single Skutatoi to catch it all.  It's Mediocre Spear with support vs Mediocre Spear, Missile Support.  A real 50/50 dice off, and the Skut's win by 1.
Now facing light horse, the Sassanid light foot stays close to the gully.

The Cataphracts try to move to a position to keep Eiliphedas from flank charging the Elephant line.

With just two on two, the Byzantine Cursores push their luck.
While in the center, the Kavallarioi returns to shoot

Eiliphedas takes an aggressive stance! He has a flank charge on the elephant line, see previous picture.  And charges the Cataphracts, sends a Kavallarioi to towards the camp.
And orders his Cursores forward.
Turn 3: 
Another '1' for the flank march roll, Narseh's command is nowhere in sight.
On the right, a victory.
The Elephants charge again, this time they are met by the Byzantine cavalry.
And, there is a opportunity for a camp looting!  A slide to the right and charge!
The overconfident Byzantines placed too much reliance on the fortified camp.  The privy doors were left open, and the Sassanid Levy (Mediocre Medium Spear) let themselves in to do a proper cleaning!
  But luck is fickle today.  What was certain, proved not.

Overall, chaos rules
Even though outnumbered, Cataphract elan is superior to the Boukellarioi

What is that in the background?  Narseh hasn't even left the camp yet?
The tale at the tree of woe.  Sassanid loses are 4 of 21 (but currently 16), to the Byzantines 11 of 21

Psiloi decide to get into the fight.
If you are wondering why did I wait so long, it had to do with command points.  Philippicus was rolling consistently 1's and 2's this game.
But this turn, the caffeine from his morning tea has kicked in.  Skutatoi charge the camp raiding levy.  The Boukellarioi break off from the Elephantry, A Psiloi covers their retreat.  The remaining elephant is flanked by Anon's Skutatoi.

The Cataphracts pull a win, but are going to be flank charged.

Narseh calls a halt.  He found a bag of silver and is distributing it to his men.  Fair is fari.

Turn 4:
A successful rally by the Sassanid light horse, but otherwise, nothing new here.

A true rarity in this game.  An elephant charging a flank.

Followed by an Elephant Rampage.  A '2', so the elephants rout to their right, taking out Levy Spearmen.

Cataphract armor is proof against Byzantine lance.

At the tree of woe, the score is 9 of 16  to 13 of 21.

Mutual disorder on the Byzantine left.

Khosrau I cavalry is now in a position to interfere in the center.  Philippicus orders his tired Kavallarioi forward.  His reserve cavalry advances to clean up the remainder of the elephant line.

Arrows fly.

Eiliphedas leads from the front.  Its 3-1 Elite on Ordinary with Armor.  And again the Cataphract armor is proof against Byzantine sword and spear.

Turn 5:
Another '1' for the flank march roll. 
Khosrau's cavalry flank charge a Boukellarioi, who cannot evade and is destroyed.

The remainder of Khosrau's cavalry is content to shoot it out.  Elite on Ordinary, that is where their advantage is.

Off frame, the Sassanid camp falls.  The Sassanid light foot is also disordered by arrows.  Which is the 16th point towards demoralization.

Seeing the flames of the Sassanid camp, Philippicus orders a halt to see if the Sassanids retreat.

Khosrau I acknowledges his defeat, and orders a withdrawal.

Flank marches can be crushingly decisive, whether they come on or not.  In this case it was not to be for the Sassanid.  This gave the Byzantines the numerical advantages it needed to over come the elephant over cavalry edge, but in the end, the score was 16-16.  For having that kind of advantage and still have a virtual tie says a lot about the Sassanid army.

Monday, January 25, 2021

A Sachet of Sassanids

A Headless Body Production

Venue: A Completely Different Undisclosed Basement
Phil running Sassanid Persian
                Steve Turn running Justinian Byzantine
Game System:
L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

The Forces:
Justinian Byzantine(list 125)
Commanders, The Sneaker Brothers, Nikephoros, Adidasphoros and Pumaphoros, all Brilliant
3 Boukellarioi, Heavy Cavalry, Impact and Bow, Elite
6 Kavallarioi, Heavy Cavalry, Bow
3 Huns, Light Cavalry, Bow, Elite
3 Skutatoi, Heavy Swordsmen, Missile Support
3 Isaurians, Javelinmen
1 Psiloi, Light Infantry, Sling
Breakpoint of 19

Sassanid Persian (list 109)
Commanded by the Sweater Brothers, Kardarigan, Competent, Kashmir, Competent, and Akrylik, Ordinary.
2 Nobles, Heavy Cavalry, Bow, Elite
6 Asavaran, Heavy Cavalry Bow
4 Arabs, Light Cavalry, Bow
3 Elephants
2 Daylami, Medium swordsmen, Impact, Elite
1 Light Infantry, Sling
2 Light Infantry, Bow
2 Levy
Breakpoint of 22

The Board:
The Byzantines win the initiative, by a lot, and elect to attack in the plains.


The Byzantines have two identical cavalry commands, each with 3 heavies, supported by Skuts and The Sassanids have two identical cavalry commands as well, with 4 heavy cavalry and 2 lights. The Byzantine center is a collection of Javelinmen and Skuts, supported by Psiloi and Huns. In the center are 3 Elephant troops, deployed hub to hub.

More appropriately "Dies Jovis" or
S29 T22 N35
W3 in the early Persian Calendar

Turn 1:

Nikephoros is on the right with 3 Kataphractoi and supporting troops.
Adidasphoros has a nearly identical command in the center.
Nikephoros is not playing favorites, as Pumaphoros also has a nearly identical command.
Kardarigan's command is hiding in the gully. His camp defended by a Levy unit, which will not be mentioned again in this monograph
His brother Akrylik, holds the center with a massive display of muscle and sinew.
Kashmir is deployed in rough going. He is not happy, being out numbered, facing enemy on higher ground.

Kardarigan's plan is to hold the flanks, and run the elephants down the center.

Turn 1:

Seeing nothing in front of him, Nikephoros orders his wing forward.
Pumaphoros and Adidasphoros' infantry advance to link up against the Sassanid center.  Adidasphoros's cavalry diverts out of the elephant path to their right, supporting Nikephoros's forces
While Adidasphoros's horse claims the high ground.
Kardarigan's forces climb from the gully to face Nikephoros.

We can question the logic of giving the unmaneuverable elephants to the weakest brother Akrylik, who is only ordinary, but he only has one job. Go forward and do not stop.

Kashmir advances. His command ready to flee if the Byzantines decide to charge from the hill.

Turn 2:

The Byzantines pull off a drill team maneuver that they re so famous for. Flanking Akrylik's elephants while pinning the lights with their heavies
Byzantine foot advance, with a bit less lockstep. Sling stones and javelins fly!
First blood to Kashmir's Arabs.
The Sassanid's warrior culture is steeped in centuries of tradition. They too can do dressage while letting arrows fly.
One troop of Asavaran challenges the Byzantine Kataphracts threatening Akrylik's Daylami. They flee on cue. The Elephants charge, impacting the Skutatoi, who watch as their Isaurians do a rethink and flee.
On the hill, the exchange of arrows begins in earnest.

Turn 3:

On the Byzantine right, arrows also fly. Adidasphoros forms up his cavalry and enters the area.
The Byzantine center is crumbling more rapidly than expected. The Isaurians return, now able to throw javelins at the uncovered elephants.

I thought that with the elephants engaged, I would pull their screen would support the flanks of the formation. But the Isaurians fled and returned before the Daylami could destroy their opponents.

By the hill, the missile exchange is favoring the Sassanids
But on the other side, despite being outnumbered, it is the Byzantine archery proving ascendant

The white pipe cleaners were placed to tell the commands apart. There will be no more Bette Midler references from here on...

I promise...


Elephants charge again!, Isaurians flee again. But Skuts have been dispersed, and Byzantine center has been penetrated, and is about to be crushed.
With out their infantry supports, the Byzantine cavalry on the hill is now being infiltrated.
By the crystal blue waters of the River Styx, the honorable dead await the ferryman. The score is 11 to 5 in favor of the Sassanids

Turn 4:

Break for lunch. Great hoagies from the local deli. For anyone living outside the Philadelphia area, you don't know what you are missing. New Yorkers have a shot, but otherwise, YOU.HAVE.NO.CLUE how good these are. I have been all around this country. Subway is just a plain sandwich between two slices of cake.  And Steak Um's is an abomination. 

Belts loosened, and the presidential election results are still vectoring for Biden, arrows continue to rain upon each other.

Yes, this was THAT week.

Off to the left, Adidasphoros's heavy horse sweep away Kardarigan's heavies covering Akrylik's flank. The flank is open, and the Daylami take their first hit. The Isaurians return again, disordering another elephant.
Pumaphoros realizes he is standing on a grave yard, and orders a charge! Kashmir stands, and immediately regrets his decision. One Asavaran is run to the ground, another holds on by their teeth.

More bodies for the ferryman.

The Byzantines have 11 points towards their demoralization level of 19, The Sassanids have 9 points towards their demoralization level of 22

All pretense of orderly lines is now gone, we have a swilling cavalry fight!
Remember, Akrylik only has one order. His elephants charge, and catch an Isaurian, grinding them into paste.
Another swirling cavalry fight, how Hollywood!
The points climb slowly, as the Byzantines have 13 points towards their demoralization level of 19, The Sassanids have 10 points towards their demoralization level of 22

Turn 5:

On the Byzantine right, superior numbers and command control now dominate the field. Kardarigan is out-numbered, out-flanked and also out "elited", 3-1
Akrylik pulls the impossible! he has turned a massive jumbo for a flank charge! His supporting Daylami fight bravely, surrounded by Byzantine cavalry and spearmen.
On the other side, even though they were outnumbered, Byzantine elan proves superior. Another troop of Asvaran falls
The Byzantines have 13 points towards their demoralization level of 19, The Sassanids have 11 points towards their demoralization level of 22
Kardarigan makes his decision. "I will attack and destroy him, before he does the same to me." His troops are not so motivated. Byzantine lancers penetrate and disorder the Sassanid cavalry, while the Sassanid Nobles hold the flank.
The Daylami have given their all
The last Isaurian has been caught, but rebuffs the elephant attacking him. It is not enough however, as the other elephant tramples the Byzantine camp.
With support from the Arabs on the hill, the Asavarans charge up the hill. Their Nobles, who were pursued in the flank, turn and push back their tormentors.

I did not think the charge up the hill through.

As is, Asavarans +1 vs HC, +1 Support. Byzantines + 1 vs HC, +1 for hill.

If I charged with just the Arabs, the numbers would have been +0 LC vs HC, +1 for fighting in the rear, +1 for hill vs the Byzantine +1 vs LC + Armor.

Then in the following turn, the Asavarans could charge up the hill with an automatic +1 disorder hit.

Either way you look at it, the both sides took serious losses this turn. Losses the Byzantines can ill afford. The Byzantines have 18 points towards their demoralization level of 19, The Sassanids have 14 points towards their demoralization level of 22

An out at any base:

Sassanid Nobles rout, taking an Asavaran heavy horse with them.
Out of no where, a Adidasphoros's Kavallarioi hits the flank of an elephant. It routs, rampaging through the Skutatoi to it's front.
Akrylik flees to safety with his slingers.
On the hill, fortune favors the fools. An Asavaran destroys the Kavallarioi on the hill, while their Nobles hold their ground.

With the elephant rampaging through the Skutatoi, the final score was 19-15 in favor to the Sassanids.