Britcon - The Final Chapter
So, bottom table in round 6. What else could possibly go wrong ?
I found myself facing off against another highly mobile mounted and skirmishing army Later Achemenid Persians, (or click here for the list) who concentrated their force in one corner of the table, save for a handful of small infantry units who garrisoned the area of steep hills over to their left. With nothing to play for save a quick exit back down the M6 to avoid the football traffic I decided to crack on yet again.
The Persians has scythed chariots - about which I knew nothing whatsoever as to their capabilities or performance under these rules. But I could imagine it was pretty tasty
The Persians maneuvered behind a screen of light horse, and like the opening of a theatrical extravaganza, the army parted and the chariots moved to centre stage - with a supporting cast of Elephants for good measure!
Meanwhile - as was becoming a pattern - a large chunk of my army advanced slowly with minimal opposition in its path.
My defensive spearmen bravely decided to take on the Chariots - but given I had no other troop types it seemed like the best idea anyway. But the Persians were maneuvering to cleverly and a rush by the spearmen seemed to give them the chance to pin the skirmishing light horse in front of teh chariots - surely this couldn't be good for the Persians?
But the light horsemen wheeled about in various maneuvers not seen since the days of Cantabrian Circle in 6th edition, and skillfully breaking left and right avoided my spearmen! The Chariots then charged in! What would happen?
I threw a general into bolster my unit - and the Persians responded with one of their commanders also urging the madmen in their chariots to charge that little bit faster and hang on that few seconds more than they really wished to.
The two forces clashed - and my spearmen faltered, but did not break - so the Chariots charge being spent, they were removed from the field!!!
Thank Christ that was over........
But the Persians had other ideas - and a hammer blow of elephants then followed up the chariotry and pulverized the poor spearmen.
Even heroic dice on behalf of the spearmen was not enough to do more than hold on for a short time, as their colleagues, smelling defeat in the air, pushed onwards anxious to avoid being caught at the scene of the forthcoming crime.
The chariots and elephants had punched a huge hole in the middle of my army - and the elephants were roaming free - but across the rest of the front I was pressing the Persians hard as they backpedaled to avoid getting squeezed between the sharp points of my spears and the the edge of the world at their backs.
But more elite Persian cavalry were now starting to make for the gaping hole in my line, with the Brother Knights having half an eye on the marauding elephants, it would prove hard fro me to stop them breaking through.
My left wing was starting to envelop the Persians, with the crossbowmen training a bead on the enemy horsemen, and my own Turcopoles coming up to add their shooting.
The elephants paused for breath - they had too many targets, with 2 units of knights, the rear of my spearmen, and my baggage all within reach.
The Persians however were confident, and launched a charge against my Turcopoles. I had imagined them to be a strongpoint in my lines, but they proved to be as resilient as a slab of jelly at an overweight 8-years old birthday party and imploded as the Persian cavalry charged in.
My Brother knights swung round - now, with two holes in my line, was no time to worry about the threat of the difficult to maneuver elephants - they needed to charge the Persian cavalry and fast!
On the same flank, my one surviving spar unit was looking increasingly marooned. Desperate to get out of trouble, they charged forward against the skirmishers harassing their front - and with a rushed charge they continued to chase the evading irritants and managed to contact the cavalry unit in front of them hitting them at the halt, and causing dreadful carnage.
The Prsian cavalry broke and fled - maybe things were going to work out? But even as my spearmen advanced, and before my Brother knights could gee up their horses the well trained Persian cavalry they were threatening wheeled about and moved sharply off to threaten my victorious spearmen - leaving the knights grasping at thin air, and realizing that it had a nasty whiff of elephant flatulence about it as well
The Persians charged into the rear of the unsuspecting spearmen - it was no contest as the spearmen crumbled at this savage onslaught. My entire flank had collapsed !
My left wing was still intact and was still pressing onwards, but my right was now a series of isolated units that were being picked off one by one by the marauding Persians.
The solid line of spearmen moved relentlessly forwards, but the Persians were always one step ahead, and were creating more space to maneuver in with every part of my left wing they destroyed!
Soon only the crossbowmen remained of my entire left flank - surrounded, outnumbered, there was only one result. They were massacred and my army - yet again - fell to a crushing defeat - and I ended up bottom of the pile in my first ever FoG competition!
Post Match Analysis
The more mobile Persians were able to concentrate force on one wing of my army, and punched two massive holes in in - first with the double-whammy of chariots followed up by elephants, and secondly as the Turcopoles folded like a cheap garden chair under the assault of a fat uncle. This left the rest of the wing to be defeated in detail, and save for one unit of cavalry which was unlucky to be caught at the standstill, the pedestrian - in every sense of the word - Crusaders were unable to catch anything that didn't want to fight.
Post Tourney analysis
In retrospect, my choice of army - and it's design - was one dimensional, and that dimension was complete and utter pants, which makes it hard to put forward a coherent view on the rules as in many games I seemed to be fighting with one or two troop types and with both hands tied behind my back (which given I started with one arm in a sling as well, made life rather difficult!!).
Most of the other players had clearly also played significantly more games than I had, and so had gone past the "lets shove some figures around and see what happens" stage (where I was at!) to the "I have worked out some tactics and know what my troops are capable of when facing yours" (which proved to be a pretty big advantage for them...).
The consequence of the army choice and my lack of experience was that other than play a really defensive game, which regular readers will probably recognize is not really my forte, I struggled to be in with much of a chance in several of the games. In a way my army had similar downfalls to the Viking Raider army I took to the Scandinavian DBM championship - which came very close to losing all 4 of its games too - so adding this to the fact the other players knew the rules better and had better designed armies, made the task just too hard
The real problem was the army size - it was just too small, with units that simply could not be pulled out of the line, patched up and thrown back in, so even when I seemed to be making headway, simple attrition multiplied with a spot of adverse luck would turn a promising situation into a crushing rout as I just ran out of men short of the finish line time and time again.
Mechanically, the games all flowed well, with very little referring to the rules needed after, well, the first one really, which was reassuring. What else was good was that the design team were obviously looking carefully at all the odd combat outcomes, ahistorical-feeling incidents and the "erm, they surely wouldn't / couldn't do that in that situation ??" maneuvers, and were taking copious notes to feed back into the process to see if they can be ironed out of the finished product. Whether they will also include a big note that says "don't take a crap army, don't organize it badly, don't field enough generals and don't use aggressive tactics when defensive ones are what's needed " is another matter though!!
The bottom line is probably a few conclusions. FoG isn't DBM - which takes a shift of mindset to get away from a lot of habits and assumptions on how troops move and fight. There is clearly more to the game than some others - I'd probably played nearly as many games of FoG at the club as I had Warmaster Ancients for example, but I won my first WMA competition and came bottom in my first FoG one!!
The most interesting thing in the rules - that I suspect gives it the depth to reward repeated playing - is that way the interactions between the troop types are modeled means there are some very complex interactions, which means it's virtually impossible to work out the odds on winning or losing any combat in much more detail beyond an "erm, I'm probably better here, but..." level - and with often relatively small numbers of dice being rolled, there is always a chance of an upset which keeps things exciting.
However the one thing I can guarantee is that next time I'd do things differently - finding an army that is more suited to my style of play, and which has less challenging troop types to try and use - although I'm not entirely sure what that will mean in practice!View My Stats