Tuesday, August 1, 2023

My Pila For Your Axe

A Headless Body Production
Venue: Fellowship Hall of Abington Baptist Church
Event: Various gaming
Players: Phil Gardocki running Late Imperial Roman, List 87
              Marc Cribbs, Viking and Leidang, List 155, Leidang option.
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side. Round 2
Scale: 15mm

The Forces:
Late Imperial Roman
Larry, the Competent, Darrel, the Competent, and Darryl, the Ordinary
6 Legionaries, Heavy swords. Armour Impact Support, 1 Elite
4 Auxilia, Medium Swordsmen, Impact, Support
2 Velites, Light Infantry, Javelin
1 Heavy Catapult
1 Ballista, Integrated Artillery
2 Bowmen, Pavise
2 Equites, Heavy Cavalry
2 Sagittarii, Light Cavalry, Bow
2 Illyricani, Light Cavalry, Javelin

Led by Canute V,  Sweyn III and their ally, Nyklot.  All are competent.
2 Huscarls, Heavy Swordsmen, Armour, 2HW, Elite
4 Huscarls, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW, Elite
1 Levy
6 Bondi, Heavy Spearmen
2 Bowmen
1 Light Infantry, Bow
2 Slavic Horsemen, Light Cavalry, Bow
3 Slavic Warriors, Medium Swordsmen
3 Slavic Bowmen
1 Slavic Light Infantry, Javelin
Breakpoint of 25

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "Heus!" or "ᛟᚢᚲᚺ!" or "Уф!" 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.

As an experiment, I submitted the above paragraph to Chat GPT.  It rewrote the above paragraph as follows:

  1. Words in word bubbles:

    • "Heus!": Represents a general outcry or surprise related to a missile attack or disorder.
    • "ᛟᚢᚲᚺ!": Similar to "Heus!," but represented in different characters or symbols.
    • "Уф!": Another variation of "Heus!" using different characters or symbols.
    • "Ouch!": Implies a unit has been affected by a missile attack.
  2. Value changes for commanders (in parenthesis):

    • s: Represents a Strategist commander.
    • b: Represents a Brilliant commander.
    • c: Represents a Competent commander.
    • o: Represents an Ordinary commander.
    • u: Represents an Unreliable commander.
  3. Value changes for troops (in parenthesis):

    • e: Represents Elite troops.
    • m: Represents Mediocre troops.
  4. Abbreviations for unit types:

    • Hvy: Represents Heavy units.
    • XB: Represents Crossbow units.
    • LB: Represents Longbow units.
    • Jav: Represents Javelin units.
    • 2HW: Represents units wielding 2 Handed Weapons.
    • B: Represents Bow units.
    • Kn: Represents Knight units.
    • HKn: Represents Heavy Knight units.
    • HC: Represents Heavy Cavalry units.
    • Md: Represents Medium units.
    • Sgt: Represents Sergeant units.
    • LC: Represents Light Cavalry units.
    • Chr: Represents Chariot units.
    • Cat: Represents Cataphract units.
    • Pa: Represents Pavise units.
    • LI: Represents Light Infantry units.
    • HG: Represents Hand Gun units.
    • FKn: Represents Foot Knight units.
    • Hvy Spear: Represents Heavy Spearmen units

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.

I was the odd man out for round 1, but we had a drop out for rounds 2 and 3 and my Romans hit the field.

Swevn III commands the Viking right flank with his Bondi and Bowmen

Canute V forms up on the center with his elite Huscarls.  Their Slavic ally Nyklot, takes the left most command.

Facing the Viking Bowmen and spear is Darryl and his horse command.

Larry takes the center with the legions.

Darryl gets his feet wet deploying around an inconveniently placed marsh.

Turn 1:
Facing a shortage of command points, the Vikings advance slowly.

The mass of Huscarls stop at a precise 8.05 UD's from the Roman Heavy Catapult.

Their Slavic allies are eager to contact the Roman Auxiliaries, and race across the board.

The Romans go for a change up.  The Legions advance slowly, allowing Darryl to take advantage of the road to redeploy rapidly to the right flank.

But alas, Darryl is only "Ordinary" and has only two command points to spend this turn.

The Roman right command pushes their bowman out of the marsh.

But with reinforcements coming down the road, the Auxilia can wait for the Slavs to come.

Turn 2:
With no cavalry to fight, the Vikings begin to turn the on the legionnaires flanks.  Their center Huscarl command keeps it's distance out of range of the Roman Heavy Catapult.

While it is frustrating to have an important piece like the catapult, at 10 points, remain useless, it is also keeping a whole command, at 76 points, at bay.  So that is a win.  IF the Romans can take advantage of the situation.

On the Roman right.  The Slavic bows rain arrows on to the Auxilia.

Larry's Legions oblique left to engage the Viking Bowmen.

The remaining Cohorts keep a watch on the long line of Huscarls.

Auxilia chase off the Slavic horse.  Darryl arrives with his Equites. 

Again Darryl rolls a miserly 2 command points.  If he had rolled a 3 or better, he would been further along and turned and deployed for attack.  

Bottom line, cheap commanders have a high cost.

Somehow, the Slavic Skirmisher was killed.  I don't know how.  It showed no damage in a previous picture, nor does it seem to be in range of any missile troops save maybe the Velites...

On other tables:

Al Kaplan's Teutonic knights facing off against Dan Bigelow's Normans.  Al eventually took the tournament.

A densely packed Napoleonic board.

Turn 3:

The Viking Bowmen were not ZOC'd, and are able to slip past the cohorts, while the Bondi approach frontally.

Viking Huscarls advance

Slavic bows continue to work the Auxilia line.

The Legionary cohorts charge the Bondi line.  Along the rear, Roman reserve forces face the Viking Bowmen

The remaining Legionary cohorts advance on the Huscarls.  The Bowman retreat because they would die horribly against the Armored Heavy Swordsmen.

Roman Illyricani run off the Slavic horsemen

Turn 4:
Ballista and Javelins trade shots against Viking arrows.

The remaining Huscarls advance under the rocks of the Roman Catapults.

Slavic bows continue to rake the Roman line.

One Bondi is destroyed.  One cohort is doing his best to cover the flank of his fellow Cohort.

An attack by the right side cohorts.

Thought disordered, the Roman Equites charge the Slav bows.  The Auxilia advance to follow up on the charges.

Turn 5:
Slav Bowmen charge their tormentors.  Bondi spearmen turn the flank of their opposing legions.

Huscarls press their numeric advantage.

Slavic Warriors advance ever so slightly, turn the flank of the Roman Equites.

The Romans have 9 points towards their breakfront of 22.  The Vikings have 8 points towards their breakfront of 25.

A Roman cohort is destroyed.

The remaining legionaries are hard pressed.

The Auxilia cohorts charge. 

Turn 6:

Just about all the Roman troops are engaged with unfavorable match ups. 

The Ballista is destroyed.  Another cohort is flanked.

Another Cohort is flanked.

Two Slavic units are destroyed, but so to are two Auxilia, including a Roman Commander.

The score is now 19 for the Romans.  12 for the Vikings.

The battle continues.  But the Romans are now outnumbered more than 2-1

In the center, two legionary cohorts fall

Darryls cavalry have turned the Slavic flank.  Too little, too late though.

The final score was 22-16.  

What went wrong?  

A lot.  On deployment, it looked like it was going to be 6 Huscarls, some armored and elite were going to face off against the armored legions.  But Marc looked at that and decided to play on the flanks instead.  On his right, he had decent spear and bow facing weak Roman Cavalry.  On his left, he had good bowmen against Auxilia.  

So the Roman cavalry command redeployed where it could be more effective.  But had two rounds of poor command points, and didn't arrive until the Auxilia were shot up.  

Meanwhile, the Roman center was no longer facing just 6 Huscarls of quality, but the Huscarls well supported by Bondi and legions were out numbered.  

All in all it was an Roman army that was poorly designed, and improperly used.  With predictable results.

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