Monday, May 31, 2021

An Ingenuousness of Indians

 A Headless Body Production

Venue: An Undisclosed Basement
Event: Classical Theme
Players: Phil Gardocki running Indians
              Dennis Shorthouse running Graeco-Bactrian
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 120 points per side. (V4 except for unit points)
Our first V4.0 game

The Forces:
Classical Indian (v3 list 79) Are commanded by Earasi, the Brilliant, Brother Darasi, the Competent
    2 Elephant, Elite
    3 Bowmen, 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
    1 War Wagon, Mediocre
    1 Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Elite
    2 Light Infantry, Bow
    1 Heavy Artillery
    1 Herd of Stampeding Cattle
    1 Light Horse, Bow
    1 Light Horse, Javelin
Breakpoint of 13

Classical Indian (v3 list 46) Are commanded by Earasi, the Brilliant, Brother Darasi, the Competent
    2 Elephant, Elite
    3 Bowmen, 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
    2 Pikemen
    1 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
    1 Light Infantry, Bow
    1 Light Infantry, Javelin
    2 Warriors, Medium Swordsmen
    1 Light Horse, Bow
Breakpoint of 14

This started as a new 120 tourney set in the much more photogenic classical era!  But C-19 restrictions have been somewhat limited, people started taking vacations, and V4 came out, and there seemed to be a lack of interest.  

So Dennis and I decided to close out the league and play our lists using the version 4 rules.  +/- 2 points wasn't going change much.

I picked the Indians, not for the winning edge of the troop types, but because the pictures of the narrative.  Elephants, Chariots mounted as war wagons, a stone thrower and a herd of cattle.  Supported by mediocre mediums in hand to hand, and a single, excellent Heavy Cavalry.  What's not to like?

A note on annotations. When you see a word bubble "Ouch!", ("Ωχ!", "आउच!", "Heus!") this implies a missile hit.

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" marks a unit killed in that location on that turn.
"????" is an ambush marker, and so it is unknown at this time.

Scores are presented in a confusing manner. This is because it is measured in number of points towards the demoralization. If I say the score is 15-8 in favor of Milan, that means the Burgundians are have 15 points towards their demoralization level of 19, while Milan has 8 points towards their demoralization level of 20. But saying 15-8 is just more intuitive. 

Dennis Shorthouse, Proprietor of On Military Matters book service., has organized an another tournament using a battle grid system of his devising. All figures are place on a grid so players can play over a telephone without a video component.

The board is 15 by 20 UD's. The rows are labeled H - A. Each side has their own H-B, and the A row is divided in half. The columns are numbered 1-20. Terrain sizes are 2x3. 

Misleading descriptions or lack of specificity as to who/what is being referred to is to be considered part of the fun, rather than memory problems with the author.


The Indians win the initiative and elect to attack in the plain, see above.

Ghanish watches over his people

The Indians have deployed for a strong right punch.

Darasi takes the left with his weaker command.

Weaker, but not lacking in punch.

While his brother Earasi has the strong right wing as well.

Turn 1:

My army is designed to hold one flank, and win on the other.  The forces arrayed in front of Brother Earasi's elephants look eminently beatable.  If only Darasi can avoid being defeated first.

It seems like the Graeco-Bactrian's have the same plan

They advance across the board.

In Version 4, medium swordsmen are a point cheaper than before, and the combination of bow/sword troops no longer gain a benefit for "missile support."

But they still shoot just fine.   But the Stampeding cattle are set off early, and disperse almost before contact.

4 hits with 5 shots.

The lines close rapidly on each other.  Archery is not going to be a dominant weapon in this game.

Turn 2:

Bactian warriors, though disordered, decide to turn on their taunters. 

The Bactrian elephants have two targets in front of them, the catapult and the camp.  But their lights first shower the artillery crew with missiles of their own.

Taking advantage of corner position, the Graco-Bactrians try to chisel off a piece of the Indian line.  And nearly succeed.

The Indian bowmen are half sword, half bow, and so count as mediocre in this fight.  In V3 this would have been offset by having missile support, but no more.

In another rule change for V4,  War Wagons can now move and shoot.  The Indian wagons pull up along side the Greek Pike and loose a broad side.

The Bactrian Elephants really, really, REALLY, wanted to trample the artillery.  But it their escorts prove good at their job and disperse the crews with javelins and bows.  On to the camp!

An Indian bowman is destroyed.  His remains marked by a dead horse.  I don't know why.

Brother Earasi's elephants charge, trampling the Bactrian warriors into the mud.

In the shadow of the dice tower we have the score.  The game is at a virtual tie, with 8 points (out of 13) for the Indians to the Greco Bactrian's  9. (out of 14)

Turn 3:

Bactrian warriors have to make a choice, rally and take a flank hit or turn disordered to face a new threat.

The Bactrian elephant command splits it's attention.  One elephant on the camp, the other towards the War Wagons.

Bactrian warriors make a charge, and hit the elite Indian Heavy Cavalry (behind Brother Earasi's elephant) in the flank.  Equalizing the fight between it and the mediocre cavalry it was fighting.

I'm going to bring up a conforming question here.  

At the bottom of turn 2, the Indian elephants break their opponents and MUST (V4 change) pursue.

There was some question on whether or not they would then immediately conform on the flank of the remaining Bactrian bowmen at the end of their pursuit.  (page 51,section “Conforming units already in contact".  

Short answer, THEY DO NOT.

Long answer involves the word "sequence", which is defined on page 23.  A turn is divided into 2 sequences, one per player.

Page 50 defines WHEN a conformation must occur.  After movement, charges and pursuits.  Page's 51 and 52 defines what conformations are allowed for the movement types.  So with charges, conformations only occur against most threatening enemy contacted frontally.  Ditto in pursuits.  

But if there is a side-edge to side-edge contact from the previous "sequence", there is allowed an automatic, and command cost free, turn.

Thanks to Tim "Madaxman" for clarifying. 

In the shadow of the dice tower, the score is now in favor of the Bactrians, 10-9.  The stampeding cattle are expendables and do not count in the total.

Brother Darasi joins the charge of his bowmen.  Giving them a +2 (mediocre) to 0 advantage.  But they are less than impressed and are disordered.

Note, another rule change, the war wagon is forbidden to advance and support their allies here. Page 14.

Brother Earasi joins his elephantry for the fight.  But both sides roll well, and despite his +3 (elite) to 1 (mediocre) advantage, he only does one hit on the bowmen.

Making the score 11 - 10.

Turn 4:
OK!  The most spectacular battle of the game!  Elephant on War Wagons!  The elephants are +1 vs foot, + 1 for Impact, + 1 for support, are Elite and have furious charge.  The War-Wagon is zero, + 1 for internal support, and is mediocre.  A 6 - 1 roll for a final result of 9-2, so furious charge doesn't even come into it and the War Wagons are reduced to splinters!

The remaining elephant terrorizes the Indian camp.

Brother Earasi continues to have a good day.  Destroying both the enemy bowmen and cavalry.

But it is too little, too late, as the Bactrians win 13 -12.

It truly was a game that could go either way.  If the war wagons had not splintered on contact, the right most Bactrian unit would have had an elephant conforming on it's rear, and another charging it's flank.  For almost a certain destruction with two melee supports of +2 and a commander for +5 (elite, armor) to -1.  The bowman would survive if rolling a 6 to the Heavy Cavalry's 1, for a final score of 7-5, but any other combination would destroy the bowmen.

Another new feature in v4 is Melee Support vs Simple Support, described on page 60.  Simple Support is if a unit is touching the enemy with a non front edge, or corner to corner.  Each unit provides +1 to the combat.  This has not changed.

Melee Support is for units, not the main combatant, that also have their front edge to side or rear edge contact, and they provide their normal combat values to the combat, plus the support bonus of +1.

So the elephant that conforms to the rear of an enemy foot, gets simple support +1 and it's +1 vs foot.

Note:  Other bonuses, like impact or commanders bonus do NOT count for Melee Support.  So the elephant in the above example that would have charged the bowmen, provides +2 support, but also will cause a cohesion hit for the charge.

My strategy was to avoid contact with the Bactrian's main force for as long as possible.  This was largely successful.  

One mistake was to position the cattle in line with the artillery.  If I had placed them 1 UD Back, they would not have been forced to charge immediately, and maybe had a better result later.  

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