Tuesday, March 19, 2024

An Ache of Achaemenids

A Headless Body Production

Venue: An Undisclosed Community Center, in the land of the HAWKS.
Event: "Cold" Barrage!
Players: Paul Bellerive running Later Achaemenid Persian
               Phil Gardocki running Scots Isles and Highlanders, list 187
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

When Cold Wars 2024 was canceled, the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers, aka, the HAWKS group, stepped up and organized their own gaming event. 

We owe them a great deal of thanks.

Also an acknowledgement to the City of Harve de Grace's Community Center (ok, I guess it was disclosed) for their recent renovations. The Men's room was totally renewed with fresh tiles, and lighting that you could work on your tan with.

The next Barrage is Sept 27 and 28. Game master registration is in July, attendees in August.

The Forces:
The Scots, in the year 1182
Commanded by MacLeft, the Competent, MacCenter, the Competent, and MacRight, the Ordinary.
14 Islemen, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW. Clan Ramsay, Clan Jordan, Clan MacLyre and the Boys from Aberdeen are Elite*. 2 are young isle-men and are Mediocre
2 Scouts, Light Infantry, Bow
2 Various townsmen serving as camp laborers as Levy
4 Hielandrs, Medium Sword, Bow
2 Irish Mercenaries, Medium Sword, 2HW
Breakpoint of 24

Later Achaemenid Persian
Commanders are unknown, but seemed more than Competent.
9 Cavalry, mostly heavy, some with bow.
6 Greek Mercenaries, Heavy Spear, 1 was Mediocre
4 Light Cavalry, Bow
3 Light Infantry, Various
3 Javelinmen or Medium Sword
Breakpoint of 25

There were enough attendees to split the tourney into an Early or Late Periods.  I thought my Scots, which operate from 1050-1493 AD, were in the late period.  I was even fighting Communal Italians, 1300 AD in the first round.  But the dividing line was somewhat ambiguous.  The dividing line was set at list #200.  I'm guessing 8 players below that line, 8 above that line.  

So I was surprised to be pitted against a Classical period list.

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "Ouch!" or "tha sin a' goirteachadh!" or "آخ!", 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.

Alternate Display Conventions: As rewritten by the AI program, Paragraph Rewriter(tm).  Option to "Expand Slightly".  Scroll down a page and a half if you want to get to "Deployment".

Hey! Ever noticed those comic book bubbles that pop up with stuff like "Ouch!" or in other languages, maybe something like "tha sin a' goirteachadh!" in Scottish Gaelic or "آخ!" in Arabic? That's basically your clue that someone's been hit by something flying through the air - yep, missiles are the culprit here.

Now, when you see letters tucked inside those parentheses, they're not just random - they're actually giving you the lowdown on how skilled or, well, not-so-skilled certain characters are, especially in strategy games or stories about battles. For the leaders and big shots (commanders), you've got 's' for the smarty-pants strategists, 'b' for the ones with brilliant minds, 'c' for the competent ones who know what they're doing, and 'o' for the ordinary Joes. And if someone's tagged with a 'u', well, let's just say you probably wouldn't want to rely on them too much.

As for the troops, the letters hint at how tough or trained they are. 'e' stands for elite - these are your top-notch fighters, the best of the best. 'm' is for mediocre - not the worst, but definitely not bringing home any trophies.

Now, onto the abbreviations - this is where it gets fun if you're into medieval warfare or strategy games. 'Hvy' means Heavy, as in someone or something that's probably wearing a lot of armor or packs a serious punch. 'XB' is shorthand for Crossbow, 'LB' for Longbow, and 'Jav' for Javelin. Got a thing for melee combat? '2HW' refers to Two-Handed Weapons for those who like to swing big. 'B' is your regular Bow, 'Kn' stands for Knight, and 'HKn' amps it up to Heavy Knight - think bigger horse, bigger armor. 'HC' is your Heavy Cavalry, ready to charge, while 'Md' is for Medium - a sort of in-between option.

'Sgt' refers to Sergeants - likely the ones keeping everyone in line. 'LC' is Light Cavalry, fast and nimble. A 'Chr' is a Chariot, because who doesn't want to ride into battle like a boss? 'Cat' stands for Cataphract, basically ancient tanks in the form of heavily armored horsemen. 'Pa' points to Pavise, those big shields that protect archers. And 'LI'? That's your Light Infantry - quick on their feet but not heavily armored.

'HG' means Hand Gun, an early form of firearm. 'FKn' is Foot Knight, the guys fighting on foot. And if you see 'Hvy Spear', it's talking about Heavy Spearmen who are all about that reach advantage. So, there you have it! A little glossary to help you decode those strategy games or historical battles with a bit more flair.

That was amazingly good work for the AI, providing context I wouldn't expect, but "Expand Slightly"?  

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.

Lets give Paragraph Rewriter another whirl.

Hey there! Just an FYI - when you see words in all caps that look like they don't belong, it's on purpose. Games often have their own special lingo, right? Like in this case, terms such as Brilliant, Competent, and Ordinary aren't just random compliments or put-downs. They actually mean something pretty specific when it comes to ranking the commanders in the game. Brilliant might mean your commander is top-notch, Competent is like saying they're pretty solid, and Ordinary... well, they're just average but doing their best. So, next time you see these words popping up with capital letters, it's the game's way of flagging down some important ratings for the commanders, not just throwing around fancy words. Cool, huh? 

Ok, enough of the rewrites, on to brief text.

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

Any inaccuracies and vagueness as to specific units is to be regarded as fog of war and should be considered as part of the fun. 

This will be interesting to me, as I have commissioned an Achaemenid army to be painted.

The Board:

The Scots win the initiative and elect to defend in the mountains.

The Scots failed their roll for a coastal, but did get a village. They also picked 2 steep hills, but the Persians mustered a serious work crew together and removed it overnight.


The overhead view.

The Persians are at the top of the frame.
The Persian right is a strong force of horse.
Their center is a very strong force of Greek mercenary hoplites, supported by 3 units of medium sword and Javelinmen.
Their left is another strong force of horse. Their formation is compressed to more quickly get around the hill.
MacLeft's Islemen take the left command.
MacCenter brings up the middle.
MacRight takes a forward position on the right.

Turn 1:

The Persian horse advance to tactical range and largely pin down the Scots commands where they are.
There doesn't seem to be an trickiness to the Persian advance, so the Scots are happy to just advance.
The Persian cavalry really can't fight the Islemen head on, and the Scots 2HW gives them an advantage over the Greek's heavy spear.
MacRight cant's his bowmen for a gratuitous shot on the corner horseman. But the arrows mostly fall short.

Turn 2:

On other tables, much more interesting games.

Here, the casualties are already piling up. Possibly Hungarian vs Burgundians
What looks like Ancient British are being pitted against Tamil Indian. Their engagement looks imminent.
But here, we only have Light Horse trotting down the road.
Persian horse approach and loose some arrows
Slingers disrupt the Scots skimishers.
Persian horse line up their charges. Arrows fly, but to no effect.
MacLeft sends a unit of Islemen to pin the Persian light horse. The rest of his Islemen chase of the main body of Persian heavy horse.
MacCenter advances and lines up with MacLefts line.
MacLeft's archers finally score a hit, but the Persians score twice as well.

Turn 3:

The unpinned Persian light horse charges. The Scots light foot decide to stand. They could have escaped off the board easily with the road bonus. But I took a chance.
The main lines of the Persians approach to charge reach.
Their left command of horse charge.
Since the Persian Lights have split up, a second unit of Islemen is dispatched to keep them honest. This is the unit of young men, and regarded as Mediocre.
MacLeft and MacCenter charge
The dice fall even, with the Hoplites and the Scots each winning 3 of the dice offs. A Hielandr archer is routed.

Turn 4:

The Persian lights reform their lines.
Persian horse bow prove effective. Disordering both the Clan Jordan and the Boys from Aberdeen. Their hoplites rout a warband and penetrate the Islemen's lines.
The Persian horse has routed an Isleman warband. The rightmost Hielandr archer is now engaged front and flank by Persian horsemen, but holds!
Another fruitless chase scene.
MacLeft again runs off the Persian horse, leaving their compatriots in the center to their own devices.
MacCenter calls up his reserve unit, placing a ZOC on the penetrating hoplite. Meanwhile Clan Ramsay pushes forward through the Greek lines.
MacRight holds his position. Hoping for effective bowfire.

The Scot's have taken severe casualties. Their score is 18 of 24, while the Persians are just at 8.

Hard to believe for just turn 4, but 10 points for units dead, and 8 disordered.

Turn 5:

Rinse and repeat. Persian horse return. A hoplite has broken off from the main body and is on the flank of MacLeft's main body.
The Greeks claim another Isleman, while the Persian horse rout the Irish Mercenaries. But in the center, Clan MacLyre has routed his hoplite opponents.
MacRight continues to hold, hoping for effective archery to weaken his opponents.
Even if they were effective, it's too late. The Scots are at 23 of 24 to the Persians count of 8.

And that point, the clock ran out. The Persians got a winning draw.

Why this game only ran 5 turns before timing out, I cannot recall.   I don't think we were playing slow.  Maybe a mutual sugar low due to a very late lunch.  The scheduled lunch truck was late, so we didn't get to eat nought but bagged chips till 2:30.  

Time for lunch

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