Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Classical of Indians

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

The Forces:
Samurai (list 210)

The Samurai are commanded by Yoshitune the Strategist, and two other nameless commanders, both 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

Classical Indian (list 79) Are commanded by Earasi, Brother Darasi and the Other Brother Darasi, all Ordinary and Included.
      4 Elephant, Elite
      6 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
      4 Heavy Chariots, Impetuous, Elite
      3 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
      4 Light Infantry, Bow
      2 Light Cavalry, Javelin
Breakpoint of 23
I am experimenting with armies that are maximum size by sacrificing the  command section as much as possible.  Here I have 3 included commanders, 2 on elephant, 1 driving a chariot. 

The Board and Deployment:
Yoshitune wins the initiative and elects to attack in the plains.  His deployment suggest that he is going to refuse the right flank, and throw a strong left punch.  From center line to the far left are 13 elite Samurai, the foot forces bolstered by dismounting the Samurai horse.

Earasi, also is going to throw a left punch with his oversized chariot force.  They are expected to hinge on an strong elephant force in the center.
Two small plantations flank the Japanese camp.  Two farmers fields dominate the right side of the battlefield, while a hill occupies the Indian left.

The Samurai camp is guarded by a pair of plantations and a sizable force of mediocre Yari and Bowmen.  The main Samurai starts on the center and deploys all the way...
... to their left, 13 elite shooters in all.

The Indian left has a very strong force of cavalry and chariotry, but are staring at zero opposition.

While Earasi (included, ordinary) realizes he is both out numbered and out qualitied in shooters.  6 MI and 4 LI (ordinary) vs 13 MI (elite)

The Other Brother Darasi (included, ordinary) realizes it is on his command the strongest blow will fall.

This is the projected paths.

Turn 1:

As expected, the Samurai trot across the field.

Yoshitune (strategist) has an abundance of command points, and double marches and expands his line to the edge of the board.

The first mistake of the day was actually born days ago.  The chariotry group is too big!  Especially with an ordinary commander who luckily rolled well, but still had to leave an element behind.

The Indians need time for the Chariots to get into position and pull back. 
Turn 2:

While they are still in command range, the camp defenders are ordered into the adjacent plantation.
Defending the camp from the chariots would be pointless for this group.  Mediocre vs Elite, Mediums vs Knights, which is what the chariots count as.  The odds are exactly zero percent of a mediocre spear winning.  So it would just be adding 6 points to the demoralization level of 19 for them to take a stand. 
The Samurai shooters invest the the field.

While the rest of the army wheels it's way in, but still out of bow reach.

The Chariots still race against time.

Earasi reevaluates his position.  His elephants are just fine in the field, and that is where the "hinge" point will be.

Other Brother Darasi holds his position.  The more he can delay the shooting the better.
Turn 3:
So far, the Indians have avoided being shot at.  But that cannot last.

And the pain begins.

13 volleys, 4 hits. 

By lucky positioning, only one Samurai is totally in the field and vulnerable to the chariots.  But their arrows still fly.

Sheaf after sheaf of arrows ...

Continue to darken the skies. 

At the Tree of Woe the score is tallied at 7 - 1.  With double hits, the archery is favoring the Samurai 9-1
Turn 4:
Earasi and his brothers must endure one more turn of archery before they get to charge. 

And the pain just keeps coming.

Several Indian units are dispersed by the hail storm of arrows

Adding insult to injury, Yoshitune quotes one of his favorite Haiku's, rallying the only disorder on his army.

You know where you have a plan where everyone dies?  What's that called, "A BAD PLAN!"

Arrows spent, bows put away, it is time to pit swords against chariots and Elephants.  The Samurai right barely holds on from the initial charge!

Parts of their center collapse, trampled by Earasi's personal elephant.

Other Brother Darasi advances in support, but does not engage.  As the weaker command, the longer he avoids hand to hand, the longer he lives.

For an impressive charge, the score hasn't improved over much.

Turn 5:
On the far left, the Japanese camp is actually in charge reach by Indian Cavalry.  Forcing the Japanese Yari out of their plantation to defend it.
Chariots and elephants are triumphant.  Only a nameless commanders soothing words keep the last Samurai in the field.

In the center an Indian unit is destroyed, hewed by cruel swords.

Other Brother Darasi's line, weakened by expert archery, now has his flank turned.

A hard decision is made on whether to pursue or not.

The score is 10 of 19 for the Samurai, and 15 of 23 for the Indians.  A near tie.

With a sudden abundance of command points, the Chariot command drives on to their new targets, ...

... including the camp, which falls to a light horse unit.

Indian Elephantry continues to savage the Samurai foot line.

The score 16 to 20, both armies are 3 away from demoralization.

Turn 6:
Lights do not ZOC non lights, so a Yari goes off and rescues the camp.
Still the camp contributes 4 points of demoralization to the Japanese, the Light Horse only 2 to the Indians.  An overall favorable trade for the Indians, but both sides are only 3 points away from breaking.
Other Brother Darasi's elephants are taken in the flank, his last supporting foot is also destroyed.

To "seal the deal", Samurai foot pursue into his other flank.

Taking the score to 16 to 21

Charges down the line by the chariot command.  One Yari falls, the other units hold!

Earasi's Elephantry trample another Samurai foot unit.

Other Brother Darasi is slain, his Mahout panics, driving his elephant forward, rampaging through their Samurai opponents!

Taking the score to around 21 to 23, a mutual destruction.
So what went wrong?  
The first problem was designing a command that could not be managed by it's commander.  The Chariot command had 7 units and 2 lights.  So the 7 wide front required 2 command points to move forward at all, and the commander was ordinary, and did not have command points to spare.  The 5 points could have been better spent elsewhere.
The real problem was using the chariot wing as a strong left flank attack wing for the holding attack.  It is a lesson I have to keep relearning.  Chariots, like Knights, are too slow for that sort of role.  If you opponent refuses to play, they may never get into contact.  If Tommy had just sent out one Yari to face them, the chariots would slow to normal, charge, destroy, pursue, advance and that would take 2 or 3 turns.  The game could be over by they get to any good targets.  They would be better spent in the center.  But in this game the center was dominated by the fields, not good chariot country.

The Indian right flank, which was designed to just hold the line, would have been better served by 2 war wagons vice an elite elephant.  An extra unit, +2 protection against bow, though mediocre.  They won't win, but should last longer, tying up 4 Samurai doing so.

Also, we made an error on dismounting.  We counted the dismounts as Samurai foot, when Heavy Cavalry, Bow, Elite should have counted as Medium Bowmen, Armor, Elite.  In combat, it would not have mattered much, but the behavior is different.  Bowmen cannot charge, unless it is to support a unit already in combat.  This could have changed how the final engagements would have went.


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