Classical Ancients in Central London 2015
Carthaginian vs Indian
Central London, a remarkably successful one-day event for ADLG whereby CLWC tested whether the rest of London and the South East was picking up ADLG....and discovered the answer was a resounding "yes", with a turnout of 26 players, half of which were not from the "home team".
As organiser, list checker and someone with a job that kinda kept me quite busy, and novice Malifaux player on the off weekends as well I decided to pick an army based on style rather than honing various lists with a view to success... so, who else to command an army for the (3nd round of the) beginning of a new wargaming ruleset era than Hannibal himself, and the potentially mighty Later Carthaginians!
The lists for the Carthaginian and Indian lists from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Central London can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The army had three commands all of which had simple but different jobs to do. Hannibal, and his massive bonus to the pip dice as a Strategist was commanding the mounted wing, with some Elite Heavy Cavalry, far too many Numidians and a lone Inferior Elephant to stiffen the Cavalry against more dangerous lance-armed classical era Companions. The centre was a block of Spearmen, with a funky edge of 2 units of Celtiberian close formation warriors, and the third was a textbook rough terrain command full of loose formation Gallic and Spanish infantry, some of whom were impetuous, and another poor quality African elephant to give enemy mounted some pause for thought before riding them down like the dogs they no doubt were
The first game saw me playing the chap who arrived a tad late, allowing me a bit more time to sort out all of the draw stuff that I really should have done beforehand - like counting the number of players properly and working out that there were actually 26 entries, not 24, so we needed another table.... Anyway, he was fielding Indians, with chariots in the centre, elephants on the right and a lot of bowmen holding terrain on his left. I deployed the Medium Foot command against the bowmen, the spears of course down the middle, and the cavalry, much to their annoyance, opposite the elephants (but hopefully round the flank of the elephants).
Hannibal proceeded to demonstrate his own genius by rolling enormous numbers of pips, allowing the Numidians under his command to race around the edge of the enemy line of heffalumps.
ADLG hint - each commander has a command value of between 0 and +3. This is added to the pip dice roll, then halved for the number of pips (and moves) per command. Dice can't be swapped between commands as in DBx, however each army has a maximum command value for its 3 commanders, with better command and control being represented by allowing a greater aggregate command value to be used across the three commanders. Hannibal has to be a +3 "strategist" commander.
The Gauls and Spanish were steaming straight forwards at the wall of longbowmen, hoping that the ADLG rules were more DBx based and did not hark back to 6th and 7th, when the Indians would also have had 2HCW as well as longbows!
Hannibal was on fire - his troops could do pretty much whatever they wanted with "6+3=4.5 rounded up to 5" pips, plus his own pip (= 6 moves!) ... plenty of opportunity to get themselves into trouble early doors...
ADLG hint - each general also has a command radius, better generals have bigger ranges, and moves by unit outside of this radius cost an extra pip. The command range is doubled when commanding light troops.
The Numidians, realising there was little they could do to the elephants, had a quick and unsuccessful charge at the enemy LF, forcing some of them to flee in an irritating way through the side of the elephant formation, breaking the block of pachyderms up and forcing the Indian commander to use more pips to command them forwards in future.
The fast-moving warband command was almost into the bowmen, and had only picked up a few cohesion status markers in the process, whilst the more plodding spears and heavy foot warband were still quite unkeen on taking on the enemy chariots. Having decided that charging down massed bowmen was not the ideal job for an Inferior elephant, it's mahout had steered it off to the left and pointed it, trunk first, at the enemy cavalry...
Then, the Chariots went in! Twin wheels rumbled and cart jostled together violently in scenes reminiscent of the rush when the last evening flight from London City to Schipol announces a change of gate as the battle-wagons careened into the line of Carthaginian spearmen... Much violence was done on both sides as the disadvantaged but better quality Indian Chariots came off slightly worse in the initial round of melee, losing a chariot but severely injuring at least one of the files of spears in the process... all whilst the Carthaginian elephant was busy pursuing Indian horse from the field
ADLG hint - yellow markers mean two cohesion steps gone for that unit, green markers are one and red will be three. HF break on 4 losses in total, Chariots 3 each.
Meanwhile, massed bowfire had been pummelling the hapless Celts and Celtiberians as they tried to close the range to sword-swiping distances. No FoG-style Magic Umbrella from their commander here, simply some good dice from the Indians disrupting and harming the onrushing men to such a degree that the upcoming combat was now looking due to be a pretty even affair.
Hannibal was still churning out the 6's, but with his command rather powerless against a wall of elephants there was little for his pips to achieve other than to make sure the Numidians could fall back in good order.
The Gauls were in! Battered, some literally on their last legs (only having started with two each of course, technically this probably should be last 'leg', but...) and close to breaking but in combat they were a much more fearsome proposition than the relatively harmless bowmen... but the bows had their own advantages, with a longer line they were already in a position to charge the flank of the fully committed Gauls and Celts. This would be tough.....
The better quality of the chariotry was also starting to tell in sustained combat, and the line of Carthaginian spearmen were beginning to waver - but the Celtiberians had chewed up the traditionally rubbish Indian cavalry on the near side and were pushing forwards into a position where they could attack a flank, and on the other end of the Chariot line the Carthaginians own elephant was in action - never a good matchup for horse-based troops!
The warband had suffered a nightmare against the bowmen - the losses they had suffered on the way in had tipped the balance, and the Indians were standing firm having wiped out the 3 bases of Gauls. This did however leave the Spanish lurking ominously on the end of the Indian line, and having stepped forward after killing off their own opponents they were now poised to wreak havoc on the end of the line of exposed infantry
ADLG hint - Most combats work out as an opposed dice roll with one side starting on a +1 because of a weaponry diffrential... this still gives a surprisingly large chance of winning, and there are also a good number of quality-based and post-combat-resolution factors that either enhance a win on the dice, or drag it back down to a draw. However, suffering any sort of disruption is a -1, and being overlapped is -1 per flank... so securing overlaps and keeping at "full health" are really important. This is what gives the bowmen a chance in this matchup....
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The chariots in the centre were also hanging on grimly, almost all of them only one step from destruction but urged on by their General they continued to chip away at the line of spears. Carthaginian elephants continues to chase Indian horsemen back towards the baggage, supported now by Carthaginian slingers who were pinging stones at the Indian cavalry and eroding their morale as well. The Indian elephants were rampaging on the left of the Carthaginian line, but by now were too late to influence the battle.... which, with the slightly later start, timed out.
The Result is a small victory for the Indians, but overall neither side was broken so technically a draw.
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 Carthaginian Commander
Time is fleeting, and with the runes being well cast here in my favour I feel that only the passage of the sun across the heavens demarked the non-victory of this game from what it should have transpired as.
The strategic genius which I am well known for was on display in many forms here - the exemplary dice rolling skills which brought me to the edge of the world in double quick order, the avoidance of the powerful enemy elephant force, and the matching up of the fast-paced Gauls and Iberians against the soft squishy underbelly of Indian bowmanship were all world class.
How the Gauls then went on to fail so spectacularly is surely down to their lack of moral fibre, and the surprise they felt at being once again recovered from the darkness of the long-forgotten set of draws where I have kept them in these recent long dark years of no Ancients wargaming.
Now they have become accustomed to the light once more, and now this ruleset is starting to "click" I am sure they will be joining me in many more great victories from now on.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
I want to impose on everyone that the bad times are over, they are finished! Our mandate from the Prime Minister is to destroy the forces of schism in competition-based Ancient Wargaming ...It can be done, and it will be done! To us is given the honour of striking a blow for freedom which will live in history; and in the better days that lie ahead men will speak with pride of our doings. We have a great and a righteous cause - but your shameful display here has done little to support it, and even less for the promotion of the correct way of fighting a war.
Firstly, where was your 3-day preparatory artillery barrage? Where were the 5.5 inch naval gunfire support batteries? And the air bombardment? Surely this hodge-podge army of yours is capable of deploying at least a couple of siege engines or giant ballistae ? Without the artillery there is no hope in attacking.
And this was proved in great detail by the artillery longbowmen of the opposition - here you advanced into a hail of fire with no effort to attack through the woodland terrain, no effort to slide sideways and minimise the casualties the fearsome bows could inflict - and this cost you not just men, but ultimately victory.
Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. You sir have none of it, and until you develop an appreciation for the finer points of a 3-week bombardment you will never enjoy even a smidgeon of it I am afraid to say. Onwards to the next game...
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?