Wednesday, December 15, 2021

A Hail Lot O' Scots

A Headless Body Production

Venue: Valley Forge Casino and Convention Center
Event: Historicon, 2021, Open Tourney, Round 3
Players: Phil Gardocki running Scots Isles and Highlanders
               Alan Zanich running Carthaginian
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

The Forces:
Carthaginian, list 55
Commanders, Hannibal, a Strategist, and two others of unknown competency.
4 African Heavy Spearmen
3 Elephants, Mediocre
4 Medium Foot, various qualities, mainly as elephant runners
4 Light Horse, 2 Elite
6 Light Infantry, 2 Elite
Breakpoint 21?

Scots Isles and Highlanders, list 187
Led by Larry, the Brilliant and his brothers Darryl, Ordinary and his other brother Darryl, also Ordinary
4 Islemen , Heavy swordsmen 2HW, Elite
4 Islemen, Heavy swordsmen 2HW
4 Irish Mercenaries, Medium swordsmen 2HW
1 Young Warriors, Heavy swordsmen Mediocre
8 Highland Archers Medium swordsmen bow
2 Wee Bairns, Light Infantry, Bow
Breakpoint of 23

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "Ouch!" or "Och mah bahookie!"this implies a disorder from missiles. Letters in parenthesis represent some value change for the specific unit. For commanders it is s for strategist, 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.

Inappropriately capitalized words are used to highlight terms that are specific to the game. For example Brilliant, Competent and Ordinary have specific game values for the commanders.

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

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


Hannibal deploys a small elephant command on his right.
It is supported by many Heavy Spearmen and lights.
While Hannibal takes the left command with another pair of elephants
Brother Darryl's Highlanders forms up on the left across from the plantation.
Larry's command is split into 4 parts. Probably not a good idea. Islemen on the left to face an elephant command, Irish on the Field covered hill, his best troops. The Boys from Stafford, Clans Ramsay and O'Lyre are holding the right flank. In reserve he has 3 more Islemen.

Other Brother Darryl's command cannot be seen.

I am running a flank march on the left side. My thought is my Highlanders fight equally well in a plantation, which the elephants would avoid. Even if shooting from a plantation is at a -1. The Irish are well protected on the fielded hill, with a +1 for higher ground, and no one is going to force the right flank with all those elite heavy swordsmen with claidheamh-mòrs.

The obvious problem with this deployment didn't occur to me until later. But Hannibal figured it out right away.

The flank march will not be arriving on turn 2, but against little resistance, Darryl races to the plantation. Larry sends his left most Islemen to support.

The Irish take the crest of the hill and hold.  Larry issues a challenge to Hannibal.

With 3 ambushes on the board, Clans Jordan, Ramsay and O'Lyre hold their positions.
On the his right, Hannibal only sends his lights forward to slow the progress of what has to look like overwhelming force.
Hannibal's African Spearmen shake the mud off their sandals and advance out of the field. His personal elephants at a normal pace.
An ambush is revealed. Hasdrubal with two light horse.

Update on the Forces:
Carthaginian, list 55
Commanders, Hannibal, a Strategist, and two others of unknown competency.
0 Heavy Cavalry
4 Heavy Spearmen
3 Elephants, Mediocre
4 Medium Foot, various qualities, mainly as elephant runners
6 Light Horse, 2 Elite
6 Light Infantry, 2 Elite
Breakpoint 23?

Turn 2:

Other Brother Darryl's command rolls a 2, and will not be arriving on turn 3.

Darryl's Highlanders advance, revealing the ambush to be a dummy. They loose arrows to good effect.
The battle seems to be focusing left, So Larry releases one of his reserve units in that direction.
But Hannibal is on the Scots right, so he keeps his elites where they are.
The Elephants advance with a right oblique. The African Spearmen likewise.
Hannibal's elephants put on their ballet slippers, and start to redeploy to the Carthaginian right.

Larry's mistake was to deploy 3 of 4 of his best units holding the right flank. Hannibal will keep them out of play with 2 light horse, and redeploy his elephants to defeat my flank march, if and when it arrives.

If Hasdrubal is ordinary, that's 12 points keeping 33 points out of action. Those light horse can do this all day. 

Turn 3:

 Another 2 for Other Brother Darryl. We won't be seeing him on turn 4.

Brother Darryl has a good position, and favorable match-ups, and continues to put pressure on the Carthaginian line.
Larry's reserves are almost in line with the main line.
A stutter step charge sends the Carthaginian lights running.

Larry commits his final reserves. I think they will replace the elites in line and give them time to redeploy. My timing is way off. Even if this would work, the elites won't be anywhere useful for 4 or so turns. It's just throwing good troops into a bad situation.

The Carthaginians withdraw their disordered light horse. And bring up their elephant command.
There is no doubt now what Hannibal is up to.
He reinforces his lights to harass the Scot's elites.

That's over commitment. They really are not going anywhere, and lights at a minus 1 shooting have little chance, but not zero, of hitting elites with a protection of plus 1, plus another 1 when they roll poorly.

I should count my blessings.

Turn 4:

Other Brother Darryl is still no where in sight. But Darryl is in a great position to send volley after volley into the Carthaginian lines.
Larry's troops link up. If the Elephant command charges, he will be behind their flank.
Larry orders his Irish forward.
His best troops charge the lights off again.
It looks like Other Brother Darryl is going to get a very warm welcome.
Hannibal has arrive on the Carthaginian right, and only needs to deploy.
Another ambush is revealed. 4 more medium swordsmen exit from hiding in the plantation.

An update on the forces:

Carthaginian, list 55
Commanders, Hannibal, a Strategist, and two others of unknown competency.
4 African Heavy Spearmen
3 Elephants, Mediocre
8 Medium Foot, various qualities, mainly as elephant runners
6 Light Horse, 2 Elite
6 Light Infantry, 2 Elite
Breakpoint 27 

Turn 5:

 Still no dust on the horizon.

Desperate archers redouble their efforts. To good effect.
Larry completes the line up of Irish to his Islemen.
Clan O'Lyre is left behind to entertain the Carthaginian light horse. The Boys from Stafford and Clan Ramsay move forward to engage the newly revealed foes.

Out numbered 2-1. We are talking ego here. On the other hand, it would be nice to get some use out of my best troops, even if they are destroyed in the process.

It's best not to think too much on that...

Heavily disorder, but with no where else to go, the elephant command charges. And the dice favored them, 2-1.
With no flank march in sight, Hannibal commits his elephants to Larry's main line.
The light horse charge up the hill. And win one of two.

My opponent forgot the hill had a field on it or he would not have done it. I feel bad for not reminding him of it before the charge. In the future, I'll leave a more visible indicator of this.

Turn 6:

 Dust on the horizon! Other Brother Darryl will arrive on turn 7!

Darryl's Highlanders obliterate the elephant command.
Larry commits his line to charge the African Spearmen. The luck of the Irish doesn't seem to transfer to the mercenaries though, as they lose 4 of 4 fights.
The earlier ordered reserves finally arrive to take up positions to replace the elites.
The Scots have a score of 8 towards their demoralization point of 23.
Compared to the Carthaginian score of 17 of 27. Yes, the count is now 27, despite what my notes say that it's 26.
Darryl's Highlanders may be victorious, but are wounded. A second wave of Carthaginians charge.
Hannibal commits his elephantry. His Islemen acquit themselves well, but the Irish fold like a water logged cardboard box in a maelstrom.
In an unprecedented display of prevarication, the ambushing medium swords go everywhere.

 OK Dan, I don't know why you think it is important that 7 turns get in. But here it is...

Turn 7:

On the wood grain of woe, the Scots are at 10 of 23
The Carthaginians are at 20 of 27. Still plenty of life in them.
Darryl's forces arrive. A Carthaginian horse flees. Another is destroyed. But not by the flank march. They missed contact by about 2mm.
Larry's Islemen clean up Hannibals Elephants
The last of the Irish are routed.
In a waste of command points, the Boys from Stafford challenge a nearby warband.
In the center, only the African Spearmen remain.
Warbands prepare to attack the dispersed Islemen from all sides.
Numedian light horse have held their manhoods in check for the whole game. They have a flank, javelin and support and charge. But Clan Ramsay has been waiting for this the whole game as well. The Numedians lose the "whose bigger" challenge by one.
Taking the final score to 13 Scots to 27 Carthaginians.

What went wrong?

As mentioned last posting, The Irish mercenaries as front line troops have performed poorly. Both in this game and last. They are cheap, at 7 points to 9 for the Islemen, but that is all you can say for them.

It's better to have the Irish as reserves, to fill in holes in the line, reducing their number to 2 or 3, and adding more Islemen for the front lines.