Tuesday, November 28, 2023

A Triumph of Romans

A Headless Body Production

Venue: Wyndom Lancaster Resort nee Host
Event: HMGSs' Fall In(tm) Open 25mm tournament, Round 3
Players: Phil Gardocki running Timurid
               Tod Creasey running Triumphant Romans
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side. 

Tod was nice enough to preregister his list. But the spell checker changed the name of his list from "Triumvirate" to "Triumphant". 

Close enough for naming purposes.

The Forces:

Triumphant Romans, list 83
The Commanders were unnamed and of uncertain qualities
4 Horsemen, could be heavy or medium, or elite. Who knows?
6 Legionaries, Heavy Swordsmen, Impact, possible armor, possible elite
3 Thracians, Medium Sword, 2 handed weapon
4 Arab Warriors
1 Numidian, light horse, javelin
1 Syrian, light horse, bow
2 Arab Scouts, light camel, bow, mediocre
2 Cretans, light foot, bow, elite
3 Greek Archers, Light Foot, Bow
Breakpoint of 29

The Timurids, list 273, are led by Lram, a Strategist, his brother Darian the Brilliant, and his other brother Darian, the Ordinary
4 Nobles, Heavy cavalry, impact, bow, elite
3 Horse Archers, Medium cavalry bow
4 Turkomans, Light cavalry, bow, elite
2 Turkomans, Light cavalry, bow
2 Archers, Bowmen, Stakes
1 Afghan Archer, Light Infantry, bow
2 Persian Archers, Bowmen, Mediocre
2 Elephants, one with armor
1 Naffatun, Light Infantry, Incendiary
Break Point 21

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "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.

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.

Any confusion between commanders names, or mislabeled units or conditions is to be considered part of the fun.

"XX" implies a unit killed in that location on that turn.


The Timurids win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains.

For Romans, this is a strong force of horse on their right 
With only 6 units of Legionnaires in the center, supported by 3 units of Thracians.
If memory serves, the left was taken by an Allied Arab force.
Lram takes his Nobles on the left.
Supported by Turkomans in the center.
Brother Darrian takes the right flank with his elephantry.

The other brother Darrian's command is not visible.

The Romans were relying heavily on terrain. The hills with plantations were his choice.

OK, now that I am writing this up, the terrain is impossible for any terrain type available.

Lets assume the hills with plantations are just plantations.

Turn 1:

Other brother Darrian emerges from the plantation and heads for the Roman right flank.
Lram swings left and advances.
His Trukomons advance to pin down the foot line.
Brother Darrian advances his elephantry to the ambush in the field.
Romans divert their lights to deal with Darrians command.
The rest of their line advances in a highly organized fashion.
13 elements in a perfectly straight line.

Turn 2:

The lights trade hits
While the rest of the Timurid horse bow fail to find their targets.
Turkoman archery is more successful
An ambush is revealed. Arab archers were hidden in the chaff
Light on light action. Darrians horse proves victorious.
However, fortune is not kind to the Timurid horse.

That one single hit was from Roman routing lights, not from the actual charge.

Despite elite and impact, none of the Persian horse win the opening bounds.
Arab camels charge off the Turkomans. But charge through the arc of fire of Persian archers.
Fortune saved it's luck for Darrians command. 3 out of 4 hits.
A late photo, per doctrine, Roman Legionaries advance into the gap.

Turn 3:

Though a strategist, Lram has limits when engaged in combat. He doesn't have enough command points to disengage his line.
Just enough for a brace of horse.
The Turkomans return with fresh arrows

Darrian's elephants charge into the field. The Arab lights evade.

Lram defeated his enemy on the top of the turn. Giving him the option to evade when charged in the flank.
3 cohorts advance on the wounded Persian horse.
While Roman legions and Thracians begin to run down and flank the rest of the Timurid army.

This has been a disastrous few turns for the Timurids. They already have 15 points towards their break point of of 21. The Romans are at 7 of 29.

Turn 4:

Lram charges of a Roman scout
While issuing commands for his other lancers to retreat.
Turkomans continue to harass
Darrian's other elephantry turn the flank of the Arab line.
Another Persian noble is flanked and routed.
Roman foot continue to march towards the Persian camp.
Elephants defeat a unit of Arab foot. But lose their supporting Persian archers.

The Timurids now have a demoralization level of 18.

Turn 5:

Isolated, Lram does what he can, charge. Almost making it to the boards edge.

Since Lram is an embedded strategist. That one element is worth 6 victory points to the Romans, only 3 if it leaves the board. Which in this case, is still enough for them to win.

In a last great act of defiance, Nobles turn on their pursuers.
Turkomans score another disorder.
Another Arab foot falls.
The last camel takes a fresh set of arrows.

Lram runs off the board. Effectively ending the game.
Persian Nobles score a point
As does an elephant and Persian archer
The last camel is tomorrows Shish ka bob.
It was a tough fight though, 6 points for the Timurids raised the Roman demoralization level to 22 of 28.

What went wrong?

Over committing too early.  I was in a hurry to engage the weaker Roman cavalry. And then had a string of defeats or ties.  Which can happen.  I was going for a decisive win, then roll up the legions flanks.

You pay a lot for bow armed troops in this game, and should take advantage of the shooting whenever possible.

But the real reason was the committing to combat when the Romans charged when not enough, actually none, of them were disordered by bow fire.  

To paraphrase Clausewitz, "If your strategy in war is to set up for THE decisive battle, you are screwing up".  There are just too many random variables to guarantee a win.  Your strategy must have a positive result when you either win or lose a battle."

And of course, having a strategist that is also an included general.  Again that has come to bite me.  Once in combat, he didn't have enough command points to disengage the line. 

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