Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A Plate of Teutonics

A Headless Body Production
Venue: Virtual, using Table Top Simulator
Event: Saturday Morning, instead of mowing the lawn
Players: Phil Gardocki, running Teutonic Order
              Tommy Worden, running Samurai, list 221
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Scale: Virtual

The Forces:
Teutonic Order
Led by Larry, the Brilliant, his brother Darrel, also Brilliant, and his other brother Darryl, the Ordinary
11 Medium Knights, some impact, others impetuous, some elite.
1 Turcopoles, Medium Cavalry, Javelins
4 Turcopoles, Light Cavalry, Javelins
4 Heavy Spearmen, Mediocre
2 Light Infantry, Bow

The Samurai
Led Yoshitune, a Strategist, and 2 others.
12 Samurai, Medium Swordsmen, 2HW, Elite
4 Monks, Medium Swordsmen, Impetuous
2 Followers with Naginata, Medium Swordsmen, Mediocre
1 Poorly Armed Monk, Medium Swordsmen, Mediocre
4 Levy
1 Herd of Cattle
4 Light Infantry, Bow
2 Light Cavalry, Bow
1 Medium Cavalry, Bow
Breakpoint of 30

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "Auć! Mój Tyłek!" or "ああ!", or "My Hairless Pink Pahokee", or just plain "Ouch!" 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.

Tommy won last weeks game by the most decisive margin I have ever seen, 26 to 5. But he wanted to test his Samurai against a true knight army, so I wrote up a horror story. 11 Knights in all.

Turn 1:

The deployment pits the Samurai allied command of Warrior Monks against German Militia heavy spearmen. I'll use my lights to slow their advance and give the knights a chance to engage the Samurai.
It seems like the Samurai want to come out to play.

Turn 2:

On the left. It looks like the Monk Cavalry are trying to get around the German Heavy spearmen to raid the camp. The militia commander sends a single unit back to the camp to prevent this. The rest of the knights close in on the Samurai line. Charging the herd of cattle on the way.
The allied monks continue to advance. The entire line of Samurai pull a retreat.

 Turn 3:

The German Militia retreat before the Monks. The two knight commands align perfectly for the charge to follow.
But the Samurai continue their retreat. Seeking safe harbor in the terrain on the back of the board.

 Turn 4:

Since the Samurai have kind of taken themselves out of the battle, the Teutonic order sends 2 Vassal knights to help against the monks.
The Monks charge. An unfortunate Monk was disordered by a desultory shot by the Militia lights, then tripped when charging, rolling a 1 to 6 and is destroyed. The other Monks fare much better causing 2 hits on each of their opponents.

 Turn 5:

The Vassal knights are bearing down on the Monk command. While nice, there is only 8-10 points there and I need 30 to break the Samurai army. The Samurai foot have turned around. The Knights advance to short range. Yes it is only 8 vs 12. But I can probably kill 6 units losing 2 for another 12 points. Then into the soft levy are beyond them.
A monk unit charges the vassals, and is run down on contact.

Turn 6:

A call for a general charge. 2 Samurai units collapse under the shear weight of armored steeds. 4 others barely hold on.

 The Monks are being surrounded, but fight bravely on.

The scoreboard climbs rapidly, 15, out of 30, for the Samurai to 9, out of 22, for the Knights.

 Here is a situation for the group mind:

Knight 2, is ZOC'd by Samurai units 1 and 3. There is an infinitesimal gap between samurai unit 1 and knight unit 2.

Arrows are showing unit facing.

It seems like the knight can only charge unit 3, but as unit 3 is in the field, the impetuous knights are not required to charge unit 3.

Unit 3 is the Most Threatening Enemy, see page 35, first bullet point.

So Unit 2's choices are, see page 36, Stay in place. Or Charge Most Threatening Enemy, or move towards or better align to Most Threatening Enemy, or exit the ZOC.

So in no case can the knights turn and charge the Samurai, unit 1.

Now IF unit 4 had not charged, then 2 could charge, and conform part way on unit 3, and not entering the field. But we think Unit 4 prevents that kind of maneuver.

On the Teutonic right, the Samurai are beginning to turn the flank directly on the knights. But also a Samurai charges the German cavalry, which evade.

The score is now 17, out of 30, for the Samurai to 11, out of 22, for the Knights.

Turn 7:

Knights crush two more Monk units. A remaining Monk is off the bottom of the board. After a brief rest, The German knights continue their charge into the levy.

The score is now 27, out of 30, for the Samurai to 13, out of 22, for the Knights.

In a dramatic moment, on the right, Foot Samurai charge and roll for a long pursuit, catching the evading Turcopoles. Another knight is surrounded and fragmented bringing the Teutonic score to 16. But too little, as 3 more Japanese foot fold under pressure taking the Samurai to their demoralization level of 30.


  1. Interesting . . . I am tempted to try some puns (Two tons of knights made a mess of the Samurai; You certainly have a yen for playing ahistorical wargames, and well . . . trying to figure out how to place Tom Cruise here [yes, I know his movie was set in a different period, but still].)

    How are you finding/liking table top simulator?
    Seems a little neater/smaller than your traditional games?

    What's next for you and your colleagues?

    Have you considered or attempted any historical refights using ADLG?

    Cheers and thanks for being so prolific,

    1. TTS is difficult to use. The laying of the measuring sticks, with the angles limited to 15 degrees, and arbitrarily sticking to some stands makes it somewhat annoying. It is a learning curve.
      But it does serve when your opponent is 3000 miles away, and for testing out armies you do not have figures for. So, all in all, it is a positive experience and worth the effort.
      Actual historical fights is an option. Someone has to put the effort in to set them up.