The Campaigns of Frederick Barbarossa 1152–1190 AD at Campaign 2017
Sicilian Norman vs Feudal Bloody German Again
Finally, the last game in this epic Campaign. Milton Keynes is now a second home to the Sicilians, and many of them are thinking of taking advantage of current EU freedom of movement rules to swap the sin-kissed olive groves on the shores of the Mediterranean sea for the identikit concrete flyovers and underpasses of the MK1 postcode as we go boldly forward into the last round.
Here, surprisingly, another Feudal German army stares across the plain at the Sicilians - this German army however seems to be wider than most, and is set up in the conventional fashion with one heavier Knight wing facing my right, and a smaller force of Nobles supported by Crossbows against my left. The Normans are weighted to the right, so another Knight on Knight clash is presumably set to test the lexicographers notebook this sun-kissed afternoon...
The Battle on the Sicilian right has a simple task - charge forward and win a stunning victory through might of arms and heroic bravery, no more, no less. The paltry half-hearted skirmish screen thrown forward by the Germans is barely a distraction as the plan of advance forward gets put into effect.
Deciding that whilst a shift to the right may be politically unfeasible in much of Europe at the current time, in this battle between the Italians and Germans it is the correct course of action the other Norman Milites move across from their starting point in the centre of the table to home in on the enemy mounted men.
The opposite flank sees two almost-identical forces match up, with mounted troops and crossbowmen both wondering who on earth put the woodland down which so constrains their ability to act with elan and impunity?
Why did the Goodfella cross the road?
Don't worry about it.
The Germans have attempted something complicated, moving up a strange combined Crossbow and Knight formation - the Sicilian response is immediate and unsubtle - a full on frontal charge to commit the enemy to battle, seeking to exploit the weakness of the Crossbows against mounted lancers and score early points on the board and hopefully a couple of overlaps against the Knights to boot.
On the opposite flank the better-equipped part of the presumed double-envelopment has also started with the wet work. Two lines of mail-clad armoured nobles steam into each other in a fashion of which has not been seen ever before, other than in every other game of the preceding 5 rounds in this 6-round event. It's basically a fricking lottery you schmucks, but the Germans have an overlap at this end due to their pikemen, and the Normans have a spare bloke or two at the far end of the line as well. Che peccato!
On a scale of "1" to "That's a fantastic start", the outcome of this seemingly idiot-proof tactic is firmly at the "1" end of the scale as the Normans pick up a marker for each and every one of their front row Knights. Perhaps by now the mental exhaustion of having to execute similar tactics in every game against similar opponents has gotten to them, and their exhaustion has become physical and also moral? Or maybe it's just a round of crappy dice. Who knows huh?
Yes, the poor luck on the right has a mirror image on the left as the mixed formations clash in a combat which swings decisively in favour of the Sicilians this time. The Crossbow unit on the enemy side is removed from play and now sleeps with the fishes after a swift application of Arab Cavalry Lancer to the front edge, leaving a gaping hole amongst an already nearly-evaporated line of German knights, all of whom are vying for the title of "Der Maximuminconpetencianistritterbruder" as they pick up multiple hit markers by the score.
In seconds the German line is as good as gone, leaving well-drilled Teutonic spearmen quaking in fear at what lemon-flavoured carnage is about to be wrought upon their now defencelss flanks by the Sicilian Mafiosi Riders
It takes but moments for the Normans to reorganise and tee themselves up for a stunning flank roll up move. The Double Envelopment is at least partly achieved already
Bah-da Bing! The Germans on the other side have done rather better, sucking up all of the Teutonic good fortune from the playing surface and so are already steaming through the Sicilian noblemen at a rate of knots, as the Pikemen also make short work of their erstwhile yet still clearly temporary Norman opponents too.
Normans at Hastings
Luckily for Siciliy there is a second wave of Milites ready to take on the breaking-through German noblemen. Unluckily however it appears to be a reserve of just one unit of Norman Knights, hardly a fearesome enough opponent to worry a Teutonic tidal wave flushed full of success !
The Germans flood forward, seemingly unable to lose a single combat as the Norman knights are removed step by step from the playing surface in a flurry of counters and poor die rolls. The double envelopment is looking more like a badly executed formula to losing all of the army's best troops in just one small area of the field. Capiche?
At least things are going much better on the opposite wing. Much like the previous game, the easily victorious Arabs and their Norman handlers are now teeing themselves up to launch a well organised raid on the flanks of the German spearmen which looks well set to send them their funny hats flying like medieval skittles (taste the rainbow of seasonal root vegetable flavours!)
The Norman right flank however is a scene of devastation, with only three Milites remaining, one of which looks set to be overwhelmed by the ravaging Teutons in short order leaving only a lone pair of units and their commander to work out what, if anything, they can usefully do from now.
As the Normans on the left prepare the roll-up, the Arabs gang up on a lone crossbowman, wanting to totally sweep this side of the battlefield free of German-inspired troops before moving into the centre and the decisive part of the game. But the Crossbowman has other ideas - and fights back heroically, wounding the Arabs severely in the initial round of supposedly lopsided combat.
The Crossbowman hold firm, dragging one Arab from his saddle and even withstanding the flank attack from the other. This is just long enough to allow the rest of the German army to crush the remnants of the Sicilian knights, and with that record a famous victory!
The Result is a sad defeat on which to end the weekend.
Read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Listen to the Podcast that accompanies these reports, recorded on the way back from the event and featuring my opponents from Games 2 and 6 !
Post Match Summary from the Sicilian Norman Commander
Heyyyy, so it ended badly? So what! I had fun, I rode some horses, I ate at Pret a Manger twice in one weekend and stacked up on stamps for my next free cup of caw-fee at Cafe Nero - what's it to you if I lost a few games here and there along the way?
This was an exercise in testing out a new style of army, and in the old world of FoG this might well have been a sad and frustrating experience for my opponent as the 'Grit and Air' format of Fast Knights and some skirmishers danced around and poked their squishy bits. But in ADLG that didn't quite go according to plan. The smaller table and larger number of moving parts to each army meant that the value of concentrating on beating just a few bits on the outer edges simply didn't work, as in each game I found myself needing to take on the Heavy Foot at some stage - either by their design or my inability to win by just taking out the wings of the army. So, balanced forces are better in ADLG, and there is more of a role for Heavy Foot - so what, at least I know it now for sure...
Impetuosity didn't seem that much of a problem, as with a simple plan and high command value leaders I was usually able to get the Knights to where they needed to be before unelashing them - and the benefit of Furious Charge and the mitigation of Armour often makes taking on Infantry at a disadvantage not quite as bad as it looks on paper too, so that allowed some heroics in the game.
The big question is really whether this pattern of taking an entirely different army to every competition - and not practicing with it beforehand - is something which can continue indefinately. I can see that using the Germans might well have been more effective, but whats the fun in that...? Maybe soon I will exhaust the pool of 'not played for ages' troops and start to try and get good at something?
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
This may be a defeat, but it’s better to live on day as a lion than a hundred years as a lamb. And fortunately for you, this was also a team event where your Family did much better than you, and so even with such a poor record you managed to walk away with an undeserved prize. In some games you played poorly, but in some a simple matchup of equal troops, as is often the case here in Campaign, descended into a lottery where you had no chance to stack the odds. Other than maybe being braver with your Generals and committing them earlier to combat perhaps. I don't like violence, though. I'm a businessman. Blood is a big expense
So, I think this is not entirely your fault. But, don’t mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me - my scorn will rain down on you like bullets, and you will feel my righteous vengeance upon you with great fury and anger.
Sometimes it can seem that God is having a hard time killing you, but the secret is to make sure you'll be damned if you are going to make the job easy for mere mortals and so perhaps the non-committing of Generals is not such a bad thing after all
Ultimately, this Frederick Barbaross wiseguy sounds like the kind of guy who roots for the bad guys in the movies. Playing him 4 times in a weekend he was bound to learn more than you, and that my friend is why we are in the waste removal business. Perhaps a few years as a guest of the Government may help clear your mind.... before the next event.
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?