Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A Mongst* of Mongols

A Headless Body Production

Venue: Kaplan and Bookbinder, just across Highway 9 from Wet Willies!
Event: An Afternoon at Al's
Players: Phil Gardocki and Dennis Shorthouse running Mongols
               Alan Kaplan and Richard Jarosz running Alexandrian Macedonian
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Scale: 25mm 

We gathered at Al's to play Spearhead. Despite the name, the game was not ancients related. With 1/285 scale figures, the infantry units were had a braille like consistency. 
The scenario is 1941, and the Russians are counter attacking the Nazi's, in an attempt to retake the Nicholas Chain Bridge on the eastern approaches of Kiev. Any similarity between this scenario of 81 years ago and current events are just an amazing set of coincidences. 
One of the jokes in the panel is very topical, and in a year or two will not be funny anymore, if ever.
And Al, that is the name of the bridge, I looked it up. Destroyed in 1941, rebuilt as Kyiv Metro Bridge now.
One side surrendered 3 hours in, so it was decided to run a team ADLG game with 2 lists Al had hanging around.

The Forces:
Taken from memory, and so once removed from reality.
Mongols: Commanders one Strategist, and two included ordinaries. For all you new players, don't do that.
About 9 Medium Cavalry, Bow
9 Light Cavalry, Bow
3 Heavy Cavalry Impact, Bow, Elite
4 Levies

Alexander the Great!
A Strategist and I don't know what else.
6 pikemen
1 Hoplite
2 elephants
2 Agrianians, LI Javelin
3 Thracians, Medium Swordsmen, 2 handed weapon
1 Thracian, Javelinmen
2 Companions, Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Elite
1 Other cavalry of unknown quality
2 Light Cavalry, probably javelin

Breakpoint around 21

There won't be any dead unit markers this time around.

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "Ouch!" or "Auć!", 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.

Players Commands(Spoilers)

The Great Khan and Flank March--Dennis Shorthouse
Idiot Nephew -- author
Alexander the Great-- Al Kaplan
Nameless Macedonian and Flank March -- Richard Jarosz

The Board:

Alexander wins the initiative and elects to attack in the steppes.

With clever machinations, Alexander managed to remove one of the steppe hills over night, leaving the board with just one hill, a gully, and a brush

This battle is already in progress.

Turn 1:

The Macedonians are trying to go for the rush across the table and deny the Mongols much room for their shoot and scoot tactics.
Their second command deployed 2 elephants, and 4 units of Thracians in ambush.

Their third command cannot be seen.

Still on their deployment line, the great Khan (a Strategist) has 16 units.
His idiot nephew has 10 units.
4 of which, cannot be seen.

The Mongol's third command, also cannot be seen. The music has just gone to a lower tone (the plot is about to thicken)

With an abundance of command points, the great Khan sidesteps the main Macedonian battle line.
While his idiot nephew has 2 command points. And so must use them to good effect.

Turn 2:

The pike parse off their hoplite unit to shield the flank.
And split off two Taxis of pike to support the Companion cavalry.
Confident the Mongols are over matched, the elephant command and Thracians race across the board.
The Great Khan's moves resemble a Don Maddon football plan.
While the Idiot nephew has 2 command points to spend on troops other than himself. This is 1.
And this is 2. The Medium Cavalry get to take a "spontaneous" charge for a third action.

In ADLG, if units are too close to each other, then one unit can charge without the commander spending a command point. If it wasn't for the Thracians getting so close, I would have had to make a tough choice on which units to move.

The Thracian on the left, which was disordered by bowfire the previous turn, was predictably destroyed by just 1 point advantage on the dice. The next one fell to a 1-5 dice pairing roll which becomes 2-7 with modifiers for +5 and 3 hits.

Turn 3:

Dust on the horizon, the Macedonian flank march is arriving soon.

Pike and Hoplites charge.
Elephants charge Mongol lights. The Elephants roll + on pursuit, while the Mongols rolled -, and so the elephants are breathing heavily right behind them.
The Great Khan, plays his army like a 8 fingered virtuoso!

Also, the Mongol flank march arrived. A Medium Cavalry, Bow and a Light Cavalry Bow unit.

Even fools have their day. The Elephants have charged too far forward. Idiot nephew rolls a 1 for command points for a total of 2, his personal and one other unit. He orders his units to turn and FRONTALLY CHARGE THE ELEPHANTS. Then sends a message to his nearest Minghan to charge the elephant rear! The Agrianians, who were covering the elephant, but being only light infantry,  flee, leaving the smelly parts of jumbo vulnerable.

Lets be fair, all of the elephant is probably could be classed as "Smelly Parts".

Medium Cavalry vs supported elephant? How does that work? Normally the Medium Cavalry is +1 Mounted and -1 for panic, totaling a  big fat zero. With the Elephant starting at +2 against mounted, +1 for Impact and + 1 for Support or a 4 in total. With a differential of +4, the Medium horse only wins this fight if the elephants roll a 1 to their 6

But attacking the rear at the same time? Medium Cavalry is still +1 and -1 for panic.  He is supported by Idiot Nephews guard for + 1, and MELEE support from the Minghan in the rear for another +2. A total of +3. The Elephant is now fighting two sides, and so starts at a zero, -1 for disorder, +1 for support, Swinging the differential to +3 in favor of the Mongols.

As it was, it was a near thing, the Mongols rolled poorly and nearly were defeated.

The Thracian Javelinmen defeat one of the Minghan's facing them.

Turn 4:

Once again, the pike run off their taunting lights.
A companion unit attempts to drive off a pair of Mongol skirmishers.
An elephant is defeated, rampaging through a Mongol Minghan.

A Companion sets itself up for a flank charge.
The Great Khan's forces have almost encircled the main phalanx.
If it wasn't for conforming, idiot nephew would have accomplished nothing this turn.

Bu with conforming, he accomplished a lot. On the elephant, he conformed both front and rear. Causing a cohesion hit, but then muffed the dice in combat, and was disordered by the elephant. His private Minghan barely crosses the hill, it is brush covered and reduces his movement by 1, and just misses being able to charge the flank of the companions.

His other Minghan, far right, conforms onto the last Thracian foot. But both are fighting at a + zero and tied the roll.

I rolled a 1, and then my foe picked up my die. "You don't want that, it's no good." He rolled it anyway, for another '1'.

You try to help people.

Turn 5:

A Taxis of Pike is flanked and killed.
Another 2 Taxis are bearing down on the hostages.

The hostages are "Levy" and are + zero against Pike, which are +2 against them. And the Levies only take 3 hits vice 4, and are Mediocre, subtracting 1 from the die if they roll a 4, 5, or 6.
But they do NOT count against the Mongol break point.

A Light Horse from the Macedonian flank march arrives.
Their other unit, a cavalry unit of unknown quality, takes a Minghan in the flank, saving the Thracian Javelinmen for imminent destruction.
Despite a disadvantage of 3 points, the elephant hangs on.
Another Taxis falls
The Hostages face their doom.
Idiot he may be, but brave also. Nephew makes a sandwich of the companion cavalry, narrowly avoiding destroying it for 19 points of demoralization of the Macedonian break point.
The last elephant breaks, and then rampages, through the Minghan that the last one rampaged through. Taking the Macedonian demoralization to 20.

And a Mongol light horse, loosed a volley of flight arrows, disordering the newly arrived Greek light horse for the final point of demoralization of the game.

Final score was 21 Macedonians of 21, and 9 for the Mongols of 22. Note worthy here was the Great Khan's command took no casualties. All nine were from Idiot Nephews Command. 4 from destroyed units, 2 left the board, 3 disordered.

*Mongst: Yes, that is a real word.  A poetic word for among.



  1. Pike Armies in this system using a typical army composition do not have a chance

  2. With a name like Pyrrhus, I'll yield to your expertise.

  3. Snarkey , should have said typical wargame composition IMHO . As soon as the Hellenistic player set up in the center it was mostly over . Even with bad rolls Phil was able to out maneuver or outright frontally charge ( the LMI in open ,) enemy and destroy them . The elephants with PS /LI screen alone were a free gift . The commander should have set up in a double line alone one flank or the other . His army will lose most of the time against a more mobile enemy by giving them two flanks .