Monday, January 11, 2021

Avec Armenia

A Headless Body Production

Venue: An Totally Different Undisclosed Basement
Event: Saturday afternoon
Players: Phil Gardocki playing Nikephorian Byzantine
               Lou Cardianale playing Bagratid Armenia
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side, 25mm
Theme: Dark Age, no Knights

The Forces:

Nikephorian Byzantine(list 128)
Led by the Sneaker brothers, Nikephoros the younger and Brilliant, Adidasphoros, the Brilliant and Pumaphoros, the ordinary, and somewhat unreliable.
4 Tagmata, Kataphractoi, Heavy Cavalry Bow, Impact, Elite
4 Prokoursatores, Light Cavalry, Bow
5 Varangians or Menavlatoi, Heavy Swordsmen 2HW
5 Skutatoi, ½ Heavy Spearmen ½ Bowmen
4 Psiloi, Light Infantry, Bows and Javelins
Breakpoint of 22
Armenian (list 129 or 130)
3 Commanders, one Brilliant and two Ordinary
8 Cavalry, uncertain numbers of heavy, medium, bow, impact or impetuous or elite.
3 Horse Archers, Light Cavalry, Bow
8 Medium Spearmen, Missile Support
3 LI Bow
Breakpoint of 22


“Our scouts have found the Armenian camp”, reported Adidasphoros.

“Bagratid Armenian or Armenian Principality?”, inquired Nikephoros.

“Does it matter?” asked Pumaphoros.

“Of course it matters!”

Adidasphoros and Pumaphoros just stared at their brother.

“Nike, in all the time I have known you, you have never cared about the specific list of your opponent. Your decision tree consists of “Does my opponent have good cavalry, Yes or No? If yes, then you try to find a river to reduce their movement, and if no, then not.” said Pumaphoros with some annoyance.

“Yeah, then you pick a hill with a field on it to shoot from, and a gully to hide troops in.”, added Adidasphoros

“And that hill idea never works because our opponent never comes near it. We always wind up coming off of it anyway.”

“But the gully idea works fairly often.”

“All we know for sure is they don’t have any Cataphracts.”

“Yeah, because of the tournament requirements.”

“And because neither of the Dark Age Lists for Armenia has them anyway.”

The Board:

The Byzantines win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains. As predicted, Nikephoros anchored his right flank on a coastal area, but just to be contrary, near a hill without a field or brush on it.

The Armenian right is lightly held by lights and a Medium Spear
Their center is also all Medium Spearmen
It is on their left, their heavies blow will fall, 7 cavalry, mostly impact, bow
Nikephoros takes the left flank with 8 horse units, 4 the Elite Tagmata Seeing only 3 Armenian horse, the thinks he planned correctly
The Varangians are also well placed, Heavy Sword, 2HW vice Medium Spears
Adidasphoros has 4 Heavy Spear, Bow hiding in ambush behind the hill. Perfect for dealing with the cavalry arrayed against him.

Turn 1:

It is a very rare thing to have what seems to be the absolutely right matchups on deployment. That should have been a portend of things to come.

Nikephoros sends his scouts forward. They reveal an empty ambush, and should be able to distract the Armenian lights.
His Tagmata outnumbers the Armenian horse 4-3, and has the support of the Skutatoi
Pumaphoros double marches his Varangians. They match the Armenian foot in numbers and are of higher quality.
Adidasphoros reveals his Skutatoi and also double marches. The Coastal area will cover one flank, so the Armenian cavalry will have no room to maneuver.
Armenian foot oblique to their right, heading for the field. Their horse also resets right about 4 UD's
For their commander is no fool. This is the final round of 3 in this tournament, and he has already defeated 2 foes this day. His cavalry commander was Brilliant, and he triple marches his horse to the center of the field.

 Now, instead of Nikephoros having a 4-3 advantage, he is outnumbered 2-1.

 Worse yet, Adidasphoros now is looking to engage two light horse.

The remaining Armenians advance.

Turn 2:

The plan is a bust, the lights pull back to rethink.
Nikephoros holds his ground, letting the Varangians catch up.
A bit of light on light action. The Armenians flee short, to the Psiloi's long, and are caught. All this to the encouragement of Sir Robin's minstrels.

The figures representing the Varangians, are mostly from Medieval Mayhem's Monty Python and the the Holy Grail series of figures.

To the left are the Knights that say "Ne" and the French. The center is King Arthur and Lancelot, next to him are Sir Bedevere and Sir Robin.

There is no way the Skuts can redeploy to match the cavalry that departed, so they will have to support the Varangians and keep shooting at the lights.
Well this answers the Bagratid or Principality question. As the Narrator, I really did not remember. But someone shot the Prokoursatores, so the Armenian cavalry must be Impact Bow, thus Principality.

Though the Medium Spearmen, support also answered the question as well, they don't exist in the Bagratid list.

The range is too long for horse archery, but the Skutatoi arrows reach just fine.
The mass of Armenian spear launch an uncoordinated charge.

I think I did that wrong. I don't think the Psiloi LI that was fighting the Armenian LI was allowed to stay and fight.

So the light infantry is not allowed to evade, but also I don't think it is allowed to be in contact corner to corner either.

Anyone have an answer here?

Armenian Lights show prudence and back up.

Turn 3:

A change of plans. Instead of being the main attack wing, Nikephoros's cavalry will be relegated to supporting the flank of the Varangian force.
The Varangians advance, but with one exception, they are just out of charge reach of the Armenian foot.

Adidasphoros's Skut's can help with that as their bows have a long range.
The Armenians are not going to let Nikephoros get away. Last turn, they revealed two more medium foot, hiding in the plantation, and they will act as flank guards for their horse. Their cavalry advances full on pursuing the retreating Byzantines.
The skies darken.
The Armenian infantry proves fleet of foot, and retreat before the advancing Varangians.

Yeah... This is a problem...

Turn 4:

Change of plans again. Nikephoros orders a charge. He is hoping for confusion, and traffic jams to keep his cavalry from being overwhelmed.
At the joints of the commands, Armenian flanks are exposed, but arrows still fly.
Varangians parse off one heavy foot to threaten the exposed flank of the Armenian horse, the remainder continue to follow the retreating infantry.
The Skutatoi arrows are effective. Killing one spearman outright, and disordering a Horse Archer.
The Armenian commander orders a single charge at Tagmata protecting the flank. The Byzantines are too clever by half, and fool themselves! They are caught in an evade, and only luck keeps them alive.
The remaining Armenians followup, The engaged Tagmata are well and truly flanked.
The Armenian foot is in place, the cavalry acting as flank guards are retired.
The Armenian foot turn to face their pursuers. They are still out of charge reach by the Varangians, but will prevent the Varangians from turning and overwhelming the mediums guarding the flanks.
The River Styx tells the tale. The score is Armenia 7, out of 22, Byzantine 5, also out of 22.

Turn 5:

Another opportunity presents itself. Left side, a disordered Armenian Horse Archer is charged by 2 Byzantine Light Horse. He holds his ground for tactical reasons. Then rolls a 6-1, and a Byzantine horse is lostQ
The assault on the Joint twixt the the Armenian horse and foot begins. An Armenian Heavy Cavalry is destroyed, the pursuing Tagmata then aligns up on the Armenian foot.
Tagmata down!
The final approach before the charge. The Varangians ZOC the Armenian foot. But they are not as strong as they once were, two units have been parsed off to cover their own flanks.

The Blood in the River Styx grows thicker, the score is 10-8 in favor of the Byzantines.

Armenians put more pressure on the Byzantine far left, which continue to hold.
Armenian horse counter attacks, but the Varangians hold their ground.
They can afford the loss, as they Byzantine left flank guards are now either contained or eliminated, and superior numbers are about to make themselves felt.

Turn 6:

The Judge came by and called us to wrap it up. But there were 8 minutes left, so I insisted we play on. The next turn was going to be both "Fast", and "Violent".

Besides, a 10-9 result for the presumptive first and second place is just so...


So we are going for the Hollywood finish. Fortune favors the Byzantines on the far left, and status quo is maintained.
The supporting Skutatoi is thrown into the path of the attacking Armenian Heavy Cavalry.
Nikephoros unsheaths his sword and goes to the front. This with support, this is +3 to 0 fight, but the dower spearmen prove to be tough and hold their ground. The Knights that say "Ni" engage a fresh unit of Armenian spear, who resist the charge with minor losses.
Pumophoros also leads a charge of Varangians. Cruel axes hack and hew at the Armenian man and horse, who flee into the troop behind them, sending them running as well.

The remaining Varangians also charge, wining 3 of 4 fights decisively, but not conclusively.

The clock is running down the last seconds, the Armenians get their final turn.

A Byzantine Light Horse is dispersed.
The Huns flee, but stay on the board.  (ed note, ignore the "ouch!" here.
A Tagmata is taken front and flank. The Skutatoi behind them hold against a charge, but then flee in the rout.

Armenian Medium spear, center left, can do no more and are destroyed by cruel axes and trampled by iron shot hooves.

The Main Armenian foot forces, are now all heavily disordered. Another of their spearmen falls.

And the final score is 21-15. A winning draw for the Byzantines. 

And that is the final game in "AL-Con, 2020"

The winner, by points, was me with 219, narrowly edging out Al Kaplan (see a Kerfuffule of Khazars)for second place with 218. So this last turn was decisive in that regard as first and second place would have flipped.

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