Feudal and Dark Ages in BHGS Challenge 2015
Feudal German vs Feudal Irish
Second game up, one defeat under my belt and for the third time in a couple of weeks I was facing Seb, and his fearsome Elite Longbow-armed, ermm Feudal Irish army. Seb had been our ADLG advocate at Central London, and I had lost - comprehensively - 2 practice games against him in the course of tweaking my army list to something almost competent. So, would this be third time lucky….?
The lists for the Feudal German and Feudal Irish from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at BHGS Challenge can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Pictures of Dark Age Troops from my Ancients Photo Directory
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Superior Bowmen and Longbowmen seem really good in ADLG, as the "elite" status adds 1 to any of their dice rolls which come up 1,2 or 3. Given most shooting odds are 0 (shooters) vs 1 (target), being able to roll on evens half the time is pretty cool. Longbowmen are even better as they ignore a point of armour protection.
The table was pretty bald - in our previous games Seb had squeezed most of his army into one or two small pieces of terrain in the corner, and my attempts to assault it had gone badly wrong. The Irish were still deployed offset, with their smaller mounted command strung out across the rest of the table. The German army had its two solid commands of foot deployed opposite the Irish infantry, with the 2 commands with Knights and bowmen ready to make a sweeping manoeuvre round onto the flank of the enemy army.
The Germans lurched efficiently forwards on a broad front… knowing how tough the enemy army was to take on frontally I had already taken the decision to commit two commands to try and engulf and wipe out the small mounted command which the Irish were stringing out across the middle of the board. Somewhat overkill maybe, but with potentially 10 points (5 units) worth of troops there to be had, with the risk of my baggage being eaten if they were allowed to sneak past, and the harsh reality of the limited impact my crossbowmen and knights were likely to have on the well-armoured, longbow-festooned enemy infantry commands I had already decided that this was a resource allocation worth investing in.
The Irish were certainly keen on baggage theft as a form of employment, and their LH (confusingly, my own figures lent to Seb..) were looking ominously quick as the sidled down the flank. My crossbowmen were already wondering if they were fast enough to get involved, and my knights were wondering if they were numerous to catch the tricksy LH without the help of the crossbowmen…
On my right, the Vikings had decided to leave behind most of their Spearmen as a flank guard to protect themselves against the risk of enemy infantry infiltrating through the wood, and were advancing with just the 2HCW-armed Hurcarls, as their spearmen had been battered twice before by Sebs infantry. The Pikemen were being careful to stay behind their skin of LF as they advanced.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - 2H(C)W armed troops are the nemesis for enemy Spearmen and Pikemen. 2HW win in a tie against them, and get +1 to any other winning score. The maths is that the number of step-losses = modified dice difference divided by 2. So, a +1 to a winning score means they will be inflicting an additional cohesion step loss every other time they.
On the left, the Irish horse suddenly found that they weren't quite as quick as they hoped, as the challenges of commanding 2 blocks of troops became a little too great for the Irish General - they weren't going to get past the German army now! The Germans however with 2 Generals had poured a load of pips onto this area of the field, and now even the Crossbowmen were close to joining in the fun.
Mad Medieval Weapons
Back to the right, and the two armies were now squaring up for the serious action. The Irish were pushing one command forwards relentlessly, aiming to pile through the uneven terrain and small woodland on the flank and turn the German flank but the main body of the German (and Viking) army was now bearing down quickly on the rest of the by-now somewhat over-extended Irish army. The Viking spearmen were meanwhile hoping that the game might be over before they got involved..Viking Gods looked down on the battlefield from the very summit of Vali's thundering serpent-tongue
The Irish had been trying to delay the Germans with some - again confusingly borrowed from me - LF, but the combination of greater numbers of German troops, and the challenges of commanding LF to keep out of danger whilst also teeing up their main lines for the upcoming battle had proved too much for the Irish, and their LF were slowly being picked off, adding attrition point losses to their army total.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - all types of troops count the same towards the army break point. This means leaving LF to hang around once the two battle lines start to get close is really dangerous! .
Things were really starting to spice up, if a combat between two nations primarily known for the largely potato-based natures of their respective cuisines could ever be described as spicy. The Huscarls, led by the Viking commander were wheeling in towards the bulk of the Irish forces - unlikely to seriously contemplate winning, but hopefully tough enough to keep the enemy away from the main thrust of the biggest German command who had spotted one of the smaller Irish commands in front of them and were launching their own wave of halberdiers to try and take them down. The Irish were already well advanced in their plan to go through the wood - but the Viking spearmen were waiting…
The other remaining Irish command had by now come a bit of a cropper against the masses of German troops detailed to take them down, and their LH had become somewhat separated from their supporting cavalry - spreading the command across a lot of table and giving their General a command and control dilemma. The remaining Irish Cavalry were busy scuttling back towards their own base line, but by now the pip-blessed German crossbowmen had managed to get into range and were starting to take potshots at the retreating Irish horsemen.
Germany vs Ireland
The Irish had allowed one of their smaller commands to get isolated - and the Germans were keen to take full advantage. A wide line of halberdiers closed the distance to the Irish, but as they advanced they came under a hail of longbow arrows, damaging their combat ability and putting them on the horns of the classic dilemma - halt and rally, or press on into combat carrying losses as they go. With the Pikemen in reserve the latter option seemed the best.
Crossbow against Cavalry - like, wow, this almost never happens! The Germans pinged off volleys of fletched bolts and the Irish cavalry (confusingly, my own troops lent to Seb) started to pick up markers at a rate of knots.
To make the confusion worse, here are more of my cavalry, exactly the same as the ones in the previous shot, but this time acting as Germans, taking on some of my light horse, who in this shot are actually playing as Irish. Irrespective of how incomprehensible this all sounds, what it means is that the German cavalry have gotten into the Irish LH and are mopping them up. The Irish attempt to steal around the flank has petered (or possibly "paddy'ed") out.
Aren't Wargamers funny sometimes? : Part 2
FoG player : “ADLG? Some FOG players at my club have tried it and they decided that they don’t like it because almost all of the different troop types end up in combat at evens, or at best +1. There's no variation in effectiveness based on weapons - it's all too bland.”
Me: “But... how often do you actually get a net +1 POA in combat in FoG then based on weapon classes? Don't pretty much all weapon types get +1 POA in FoG and so you end up fighting at evens almost always ? ”
FoG player : “erm.... “
Another bit of petering was being done by the Irish cavalry, who were deeply unable to stand up to the hail of fire than 4 bases f crossbowmen could put out - they were now not only picking up markers, they were losing bases too.
Back on the other side the small Irish command had been hit by the wider line of German halberdiers - unfortunately the squishy bowmen had managed to escape and were hightailing it backwards - leaving their accompanying 2 halberdiers to be overwhelmed by the more numerous Germans. But - up in the top right corner of the shot - something else more momentous had just happened! I had elected to hurl a fast-moving (12cm) Medium Spearman from his position accompanying the Huscarls across the no-mans land between the two forces and take on another enemy Medium Spearman (sorry - both are my figures yet again…) at a -1 "overlapped" disadvantage.
Why was this so important? Well, this was the very first moment under ADLG that I actually felt like I had started playing the game, not the rules system - my spearmen were down a factor, they would probably lose in the end…. But by taking on the combat they had also taken one of the enemy bowmen out of the shooting line who were aiming at my Huscarls (turning them into an overlap)… which might allow my Huscarls to rally, or get into combat more intact. The leap into playing the at an "taking calculated risks trying to defeat the enemy" level, rather than a "trying to work out how to play the best matchups and factors for my bases of figures" level had been achieved… and the Dice Gods rewarded me with a good roll, damaging the enemy spearmen!
My own halberdiers were now crushing the enemy halberds too - punching a hole in the enemy line despite their own lost cohesion steps. The main Irish battle line was however closing in ominously
The axis of combat was now starting to coalesce as the Irish extended their line diagonally across the table. The Germans were matching them off across the line with similar troops, and best of all the Viking Spearmen had avoided being crunched into tiny pieces by enemy halberdiers for a third game in a row and were gearing themselves up to try and chase down enemy longbowmen in the foreground.
The two lines of halberdiers clashed in the middle of the battle line - and my chaps came off slightly better, blasting some large holes in the middle of the Irish line!
They attacked as if possessed with the spirit of Gorm the Hydrophobic's chicken-hearted furniture-assembling Allen key! . The Huscarls were not however doing much at all - they were simply standing there shrugging off arrows from the Irish, using their pips to rally and in the process occupying a significant proportion of the Irish army who were unwilling to advance their halberdiers against the high quality Viking foot.
With their own Huscarls playing a defensive game, the Viking spearmen sensed their opportunity to be the stars of the game - and also sensed that they were lucky enough to be facing enemy longbowmen who were not this time backed up with halberdiers! They raised their shields and rushed forward with the sole base of Viking bowmen doing sterling service in going toe to toe with the enemy longbowmen and dishing out some cohesion damage of their own in the margins. The battle was fierce, and many clutched their lucky charms made of fragments of Vali's Norwegian grandmother!
The over-extended Irish line had now started to crumble under the sheer numbers of German halberdiers and pikemen - one of the Irish commands was almost gone with its remaining elements scattered across the table.
Finally, one of the Huscarls succumbed to the sky-blackening levels of arrowage dished out by the Irish longbowmen. They attacked as if possessed with the spirit of Vali's hawknose nasal hair! With just one base left the Irish halberdiers decided this was their fight to finish off and charged out through their bowmen.
L'Art de la Guerre hint- bowmen can interpenetrate and be interpenetrated by swordsmen. (Well, technically just non-impetuous ones). (also they have to be friendly...)
The battle was fierce, and many clutched their lucky charms made of fragments of Asmund the Coulrophobic's goat-rogering father's right foot! The Huscarls had been waiting for this - they took the charge on the chin and dug in for the long haul, secure in the knowledge that their role in occupying a decent slice of the Irish army had already been successfully concluded…
By now all of the remnants of the Irish mounted command had been mopped up - leaving spare German units scattered across the left hand side of the table in the process. The powerful German pike and halberdier command had blasted its way through most of the smaller Irish command facing it, and the Huscarls were still holding firm in the middle. The Viking spearmen in the freground had frightened off the Irish bowmen who had fallen back into terrain, and now the Irish baggage was in act in range of German Religious Order knights.
The deeply Christian Knights approached the enemy baggage, caught up in uncertainty as to whether they should pray for the poor defenceless enemy baggage guards, or just run then down like dogs. Noticing that they in fact had spears and shields, the Knights swiftly opted for the latter - taking 6 enemy attrition points they captured the enemy baggage and with that the game was won!
He're's a slightly different shot of me capturing someone else's baggage and ending the game. For a change...
The Result is a decisive win for the Germans
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Feudal German Commander
That was much better- as we say in Germany, "Failure makes smart" and the two instances of failure I saw here in trialling this matchup were clearly well laid plans in my efforts to secure a victory at the only time that actually mattered - the real game
My troops appeared to have a clear plan this day, and a plan which identified where in the enemy army the collectable element losses were located, and then focused our attentions at collecting those collectible elements to the exclusion of all other issues until the job was well and truly done.
As we say in Germany, "You don't see the forest for all the trees", but here I saw both trees, forests and also a number of small woodland animals who live in the undergrowth and scurry about hither and thither. And I chopped them all down equally.
This was a case of "First think, then act" as whilst for a noble such as I taking action is important, it is of equal importance to take the right action. Here I determined which one that was, and that required some deliberate thinking, which as German I admit did come fairly naturally to me.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
O, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge thy glutton bosom in fulsome gratitude to your opponent for this victory? If you win every battle only at the third attempt surely you will be dead twice over before your fortunes change for the better. I surely know many better men than you who have failed to recover from being dead once, so this strategy you are adopting is not one which fills me with hope and joy.
The mobile parts of a full half of your army also came so close to letting just 2 LH escape and plunder your baggage, which with better pips for your opponent in the vital turns would have seen your troopers becalmed and spread across a wide area unable to influence the main event where the two lines of footsoldiers clashed.
Never has hung poison on a fouler toad than hangs the spoils and fruits of victory on your head after this match. You are sire a slave, a souless villain, a dog. O rarely do I see such a base wretch in the streets, not less at the helm of a mighty army. Let us see how these base talents fare in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition