Tuesday, August 29, 2023

An Alliteration of Arabs

A Headless Body Production

Venue: On Military Matters Book Store, Hopewell, NJ
Event: Prep for Historicon "Ancient Classical"* Theme Event
Players: Phil Gardocki running Thracians, list 63
               Dennis Shorthouse running Ancient Bedouin
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 25mm, 200 points per side.

*Don't ask me, just run with it...
The Forces:
The Thracian Hill Tribes. Led by Larianes, the Competent, his brother Carpi, the Competent, and his other brother Carpi, also Competent
19 Warriors, Medium Swordsmen, 2HW, 2 are Elite
6 Youths, Light Infantry, Javelin, Elite
4 Horsemen, Light Cavalry, Javelin

Ancient Bedouin
Scads of Warriors on Camels, run as Medium Camel
Lots of Warriors on foot, armed with just Javelins
A couple of Warriors on foot as Medium Swordsmen

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

Commanders are rated s for Strategist, b for Brilliant, c for Competent, o for Ordinary and u for Unreliable

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 Thracians win the initiative and elect to attack in the Desert


Tuesday, 580BC

Bedouin tribesmen deploy on foot between the hills

Camel riders pour out from the camp near the Great Qatararii Depression

Late arriving tribesmen are on the far side of the Great Qatarariii Depression

Carpi deploys his horsemen to scout the hill, and possibly wrap around the Warriors flank.

Larianes warriors are preparing to assault the Camels near the camp.

His other brother Carpi has the job of keeping the Camels off of Larianes flank.

Turn 1:

The Bedouins prove crafty.  As they Thracian horsemen approach the crest of the hill, they are greeted by hurled spears.

Carpi's original plan is now a bust.  He prepares to assault the hill.

Larianes keeps his warriors in line.

Along with Other Brother Carpi.

Thracian horsemen pull back before the taunts of the Bedouin tribesmen.

Their commander decides to defend a different hill

Inhibited by both terrain and small command points, the late arriving camel riders contract between the ravine and the sand.

Turn 2:

The view from the sky.

Thracian warriors advance.
The Bedouins on the hill are a combination of troops that can evade, and those that can't.  But they also have a +1 advantage of high ground.  So I am not going to race up the hill, but instead turn the flank instead before a general attack on the position.
Larianes continues his advance.  On level ground, the Bedouin Javelinmen should be beatable, assuming they do not run away.  But the Camels have advanced forward of the, and there may be an opportunity to catch a few of them.

Thracian horsemen advance to both distract and slow the Bedouin left side command.

Bedouin lights in the face of Thracian warriors.

Their commander, who is Ordinary, and has a command range of just 4, is having difficulty controlling his troops covering half the battle field.

The Bedouin center command is preparing for their assault.

They send their lights to deal with Thracian lights in the sand.
So far, this looks ok.  Half the camels are distracted by a few units of lights, the remaining are matched unit for unit, with the threat of a flank attack should they charge. 
Turn 3:
Thracian warriors advance to their assault positions on the hill.

Larianes forces approach the hill.  Turning the flank of the Bedouin camel command.

Carpi Zoc's the camels, just to prevent any chicanery. 

Thracian lights continue to just be close enough to annoy the Bedouin left.

The nameless Bedouin commander decides to leave the tribesmen on the right to their fate.

Reasonable tactics.  He knows the swordsmen are dead, and the Javelinmen will evade off board.
Sacrificing 4 units, 26 points to take 10 units plus their commander at 65 points out of the game.

While Javelinmen on the hill retreat still further.  Effectively distracting most of the Thracian center command.

Allowing the Bedouins to focus their two camel riding commands onto a single Thracian command.

The Camels charge, but not a major rush, but selectively. 

The Bedouins send their Lights into the sand to deal with Thracian lights.

The view from above.

Turn 4:

Carpi orders charges on the hill  His flanking falxmen destroy the Bedouin swordsmen, and pursue into the next unit.

This is a good way to take the hill, but it takes time. 

Larianes continues his advance.  He has a warrior behind the camels.

Carpi's warriors destroy one unit of camels.  But lose a warrior as well.

Thracian lights charge the Bedouin lights.
The odds here are actually not bad.  In the dunes, camels suffer no combat penalties, but also do not get the +1 for facing Light Infantry in the open.  
The Thracians get the Javelin bonus and are elite.  And should the left most Bedouin Light be routed, it will disorder two of the Warriors on Camels behind it.
Which is exactly what happened.

On the Bedouin turn, their swordsmen fight on. 

In the center, Bedouin Javelinmen commit to battle.

Carpi looks in horror as his command suffers massive losses to newly committed camelry.

3 units destroyed, and 2 more evade off board.

The Thracians are half way to their demoralization of 29.  The Bedouins are 11 towards their break point of 30.

Turn 5:

Expecting a win on the hill, Carpi orders another warrior in what turned out to be a disastrous charge up the hill, while personally joining the battle.  But the Bedouin swordsmen prove to be made of sterner stuff.

Larianes realizes his flank command is in danger of collapse, and orders charges all down his line.

Carpi turns one unit to face the camel horde.

The score is now 17...

to 13.

At last, the Bedouin swordsmen are cleared from the hill.  But with their last throw, Bedouin spears disperse a Thracian Warrior.

Larianes's warriors are having mixed luck on the center hill.

Bedouin Camelry have a solid line attacking Carpi's flank.  Another Thracian warrior is routed.

The sand on the Thracian right belongs to the Bedouins.

Turn 6:
The score is now 24 to 15

Carpi claims the hill.  But at what cost?

Under pressure, Bedouin lights flee the field.  4 fled, the remaining 2 are disordered.

Larianes has cleared the center hill as well.  Carpi and Larianes try their best to stop the camels on their flanks.

On the Thacian right, there is nothing but a sea of camels.

The view from above.  The score is now 26 to 22

In a chaotic battle, mounted is king.  Targets present themselves everywhere.  The Bedouins easily pick up the 3 points they need to win.

What went wrong?
This game was a chess match.  With both sides using smaller commands to distract superior forces.  And in the end, the mounted forces did it better.
Also, the Thracians could be said to have over commited on the left and center.  I don't think I could have taken the left side hill with less forces than I did, and the center was victorious, destroying 4 units, causing 4 more to flee off the board at a cost of 1 dead 3 disorderd.  But the Bedouins are a big army, and could afford the losses if it means to distory a Thracian command for 18 points of the needed 27, when the other Thracian commands take 9 as well.
I'll need to do a better job of assessing troop commitment at Historicon.