Thursday, April 6, 2023

Saying Hello to the Hebrews

A Headless Body Production

Players: Phil Gardocki running Indians
               Al Kaplan, Ancient Hebrew
Event: Day 2 of HMGS's Cold Wars.
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.
Theme: Round 2 of the L' Art de la Guerre, Open 15mm tournament. Since the previous days 15mm tournament excluded pachyderms, I figured they would be sorely missed, and brought a few.
Venue: Valley Forge Casino Resort, a minimal amenity gaming resort offering 100,000 foot of meeting facilities, high priced food, Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, and no room service. But the parking is plentiful.

The Forces
Classical Indian Are commanded by King Porus, the Competent, Prince Porus, the Ordinary, and Shitake, the Competent.
4 Elephants, Elite
10 Bowmen, 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
2 War Wagons with blades
1 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
6 Light Infantry, Bow
1 Levy
Sacred Camp
Break-point of 25

The Ancient Hebrew are commanded by one of those guys mentioned in the Five Books of Moses, he is considered Brilliant and a pretty nice guy.  In addition there are two tribal leaders that are Ordinary.
6 Heavy Chariots, Impact
2 Medium Cavalry
2 Light Camel Mediocre
2 Heavy Spearmen
2 Medium Swordsmen, Armor, Elite
6 Medium Swordsmen
8 LI bow and Sling
Break-point of 28

A note on annotations. When you see a word bubble "Ouch!", ("!אאוץ", "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.

Interesting observation,  Hebrew is written from right to left.  And some windows based programs, like  Notepad, Word for Windows and Firefox know this, and switch the arrow keys from left to right and visa versa.   So dealing with !אאוץ has bee a real problem with word smithing.

"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. 

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 Hebrews win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains.


On their right is the Hebrew strike force.  6 Heavy Chariots and supporting units.

Bad drainage from an over night storm has led a minor flooding near the camp.  Leading to the deployment of the tribes of Gad and Naphtali slosh through it.

The mighty men of Judah and Benjamin take the left.

King Poros takes the left.

Commander Shitake takes the center

And Prince Poros takes the right.

The plan is simple.  Attack with my left and center, and delay on my right.

Turn 1:
 This battle is already in progress.  I forgot to take pictures of Al's initial advance.

  The first volley of arrows score against the camel riding scouts.

This is going to be a theme here.  The count of Indian missile hits is 1.

King Poros rides out to meet the advancing chariots.

Commander Shitake is with him.

What the Indian plan lacks in imagination, it has in abundance, uninspired maneuvering. 

What is with the flying lights?  I don't really need them to screen from missile fire as the Hebrews only have 8 shooters, all of them lights.  I think a couple of lights would be better served if they were in the left and right plantations to delay any troops that enter them.

Turn 2:

One scout withdraws, the other dutifully picks up the slack in arrow catching.

The count of Indian missile hits is 2.

The men of Gad and Naphtali shake the mud from their sandals and move forward to the not-quite-as-muddy field.

The men of Mighty Men of Benjamin pursue the flank of the Indian line.  The men of Judah hold back.

Poros shifts his line left.  And the skies darken.

The count of Indian missile hits is 5.

Make that 6.

Prince Poros has only just got the keys to his war carts and is having difficulty driving them.

Turn 3:
The Hebrew chariots pick their targets and advance.  (ignore that elephant movement arrow)  That combat was light foot on light foot action.  Where the Hebrew slingers lost.

Remember about 7 or 8 frames up when I commented about insignificant shooting from the Hebrew army?  Well... Their slingers damaged both of my flank guards, and their heavy chariots are right behind them...

But the total count of Indian missile hits is now 7.

8, 9...

10, 11, 12...

The Men of Judah has turned the flank of Shitakes command.  But aren't we forgetting something?

Or two somethings?

The two Indian foot sword/bow are dead men walking.  But for this turn, they can still cover King Poros's flanks from a flank charge.

One elephant conforms on a chariot. 

Oh, yes.  I mentioned it during the pre game briefing.  War Wagons with blades can charge.  Also, hiding in the plantation is a troop of Medium Cavalry (mediocre)  One unit of the Men of Judah is hit in flank and rear, and destroyed.  It routs through its friend, which is also engaged frontally.

Then, for icing on the cake, the war wagon pursues into the Men of Judah, for a second hit!

You may ask why Al allowed this to happen.  He forgot that War Wagons with blades can charge, after all, how many armies have them?  As far as the ambush goes, he was trying to investigate it, but just didn't have the command points to trigger it.  

Besides, who hides a Mediocre Medium Cavalry in a Plantation?

Turn 4:
As expected, many units of Indian Medium Sword are literally, run over.  One chariot is trampled in exchange.

The Hebrew center command holds to rally it's troops, and are waiting to see how their chariot attacks pan out.  Which frankly, are looking good.

But also, with their flank attack being dismembered, they are looking at an unfavorable one on one situation frontally.

And about that flank dismemberment.  Upon review of the rules we did a bit of a rewind.

War Wagons with Blades cannot pursue.  So we placed it back 1 UD.  We also adjusted the Men of Judah from 2 hits to 1.  Where it still took a hit from the swordsmen it was fighting.

The left most elephant conforms again on another chariot.

Shitake orders a general charge.  Destroying two units on contact, but losing 3 other battles.

Another flank charge with a War Wagon.

Turn 5:

"What's your break point Al"?


"Holy Crap"!

"Like you got room to talk.  4 elite elephants and still a break point of 25".

And so the battle continues.  An elephant is charged in the rear, but holds.

Another chariot charges the rear of an Indian swordsmen, destroying it as well.

Shitake's command destroys one more unit of Hebrew foot.

While the Indian Medium Cavalry (Mediocre) gets a unassisted kill of the last Men of Judah.

The Hebrew's have 23 points towards their demoralization level of 28.  Counting successful rallies 10 of these were from missile fire.

Despite the near total collapse of King Poros's command, the Indians are at 15 of 25.

At the bottom of the turn, that one Elephant will not die.

His team mate elephant disperses his LI harassers on it's flank.

Shitake loses an elephant which rampages to the right.  Through the swordsmen sent to rescue it.

Between the lost lights, a damaged medium sword, and two other points somewhere, the Hebrews hit their demoralization level of 28. 

To the Indians 18 of 25.

The view from overhead.  The red line shows what a wild battle this was.

What went wrong? 

The key to defeating the Indians is accepting losses from the elephants, and killing the masses of Indian Medium Sword that have to be there.  This Al did well.  Routing 6 of 10 of them.  half the remaining swordsmen were disordered.

But the Indians have to attack with them anyway, because that is what they have.  

Luck was a factor in the game.  The Indian left command had two units assigned to cover its flank.  Both were disordered by a pair of missile shots from LI.  And immediately crushed by the follow on chariot charge.  Freeing up the chariots to start gobbling up the command.  But again luck swung the other way, as a flanked elephant held on for the rest of the game, despite having no supports left.

But the key luck factor was the devastating effect if Indian archery.  12 successful shots not only tilts the upcoming hand to hand battles in the Indians favor, it also had the effect of forcing retirements of Hebrew units, reducing their number advantage, and of course, adding 12 to the hard-to-reach demoralization score of 28.

The MVP of the game is clearly the Indian Mediocre, Medium Cavalry.  Was I being clever placing them in ambush?  Not really.  It is such a weak unit, that it becomes a target for anything.  So it was not so much as "in ambush", as "hiding somewhere safe".  The Ambush was positioned so it could flee out the rear when exposed.  Again, luck.  Not enough command points to expose it, and it was just in reach of the rear of an enemy unit.  Then it did an about face, charging a Medium Swordsmen preparing to charge it in the rear, and crushed them.  Again lucky dice.







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