Biblical, Classical & Roman in Estella 2016
Patrician Roman vs Early Arab
With a loss seemingly clutched from the Rioja-stained lips of victory, the second game hove into view after a fairly short interval, a canias of cerveja and a small tortilla sandwich. This was to be a battle against the Arabs, of a pre-Islamic flavour which would inevitably mean Camels. Camels would be bad news for my mounted troops, and so the option to take the foot army was an obvious one.
The lists for the Patrician Roman and Early Arab from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Estella can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Early Arabs are a pretty mixed bunch - medium foot swordsmen, bowmen, lots of LH and of course the Camels. But its BIG, like, nearly 30 EE big...
My aim was to narrow the table and create a level bowling alley for the wall of foot to scream down and just take on anything in front of them. The successful deployment of a river, on a matching Melkart cloth, started to achieve this, but not much other blocking terrain made it onto the table other than a plantation and a couple of fields all in one corner as the Arabs went for as little as possible and removed some of mine to boot.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Plantacion: plantation
A plan as simple and classic as the idea of an omlette made with eggs, potatoes and onion saw a solid line of infantry butted up against the waterway, with the small mounted command in a position to threaten any unwary infantry emerging from the plantation and fields over on the right hand side. This immediately gave the Arabs pause for thought, as their Camel Corps was facing infantry who they would struggle to even scratch - and with almost no cavalry in my army they were largely bereft of targets.
All of the infantry, even the allied command, got off to a positive start and drove forwards impressively along the water's edge. The Arabs were ill equipped for this assault - much as I had hoped and planned.
With no hope of fighting frontally the desert horsemen and camel riders evaporated like mist as they turned tail and scooted off to the left behind the terrain. Sporadic attempts to delay the onrushing barbarian pedestrians only resulted in lengthy evades for the enemy LH
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Evado: evade
As the two sets of infantry pushed onwards the door started to close on the Arab LH, with some of them having not enough pips to escape promptly. They risked being swept onto the floor off the back of the table and ending up like discarded El Gordo lottery tickets on a Sunday evening..
Pictures of Arabs from my Ancients Photo Directory
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Time and table waits for no man, and certainly not when a wall of infantry is struggling to come up with new ways of describing its inexorable terrain-like advance towards you.
By now at least the Camelry had redeployed to close to somewhere useful, and were considering coming out of the gap in the terrain on the other side of the table to where they had deployed. This was a great example of the sort of single-mindedness needed to effect a proper redeployment in ADLG. Quite what the barbarian foot would do when they reached the rough terrain was anyones guess however.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Heavy Foot take a -1 in combat in Rough Terrain like a plantation. Against enemy non-impetuous Swordsmen they will also not be able to count the +1 for Impact in the first round... although they do still get to cause an additional hit with Furious Charge if they do win.
A rare chance to see the wall of shields of my own infantry as they approached the road running across the back of the enemy deployment zone.
The Arab LH had just about all escaped as the barbarian warriors close in on the plantation. Culumulo nimbus! With no frontal opposition left, some of the Foederati from the CinCs command are despatched to prepare for what is surely to be a flanking assault on the well dug in position the Arab swordsmen have prepared for themselves in the plantation.
Finally the Arabs run out to table and pips and are caught by the warriors - unable to flee because of the traffic jam behind them they are forced to stand and fight.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - The LCm could still evade here, but as they cannot get past the LCm behind them with a 1-base slide either side they would burst through - leaving 2 more elements of LCm with a cohesion hit, and possibly a charging warband pinning them. So, standing and fighting might well be the best bet.
Aetius commands his barbarian warriors to swing round and follow the retreating tail of the Arab cavalry force as they round the plantation and head for the hills.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Colina: hill
The Frankish Warband step carefully into the plantation. They know, with a Brilliant Allied General they will always keep rolling enough pips (3 in total) to hold the group each turn and avoid a potentially tricky charge, and the Arabs dare not charge as that would give the Barbarians their Impact +1 again. Time to work the flanks...
Meanwhile the Camels have struggled out into a half-expanded formation as they emerge from the gap in the terrain. The odds are not great, but hitting them before they fully deploy is still the best option for the Roman horse - keeping the Camels bottled up for as long as possible buys time for the infantry to work their position on the other end of the plantation.
The main line of pedestrians are now mopping up some unwary Arab horse and preparing themselves for an assault on the end of the line in the plantation where the advantages of a flank attack will mitigate the problems of the terrain disadvantage
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Infanteria medios: Medium Infantry
The Roman horse are holding firm so far against the Camelry, but like a forward line of Suarez, Messi and Neymar, the Camels are bound to score eventually.
And the charge finally goes in - a wall of close formation warriors smacks into the end of the Arab infantry line.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - The Barbarians are at Swordsmen +1, Impact (as they are not hitting the front of enemy non-impetuous swordsmen) +1, Flank Attack +1, Overlapping and supporting unit +1, Terrain modifier -1 = net +3. The Arabs are at zero, as they are hit in the flank with no frontal opponent.
Keen to cause as much delay and trouble as possible, and conscious that they need to rack up a lot of enemy casualties to dent the near-30-strong Arab army a unit of Medium Impetuous Horsemen hurls itself at some unwary javelinmen who have emerged from the terrain and who are too scared to try evading.
The Lancers are enjoying some measure of success against the Medium Camelry, punching holes in their lines - but here, with the pursuits of the Impetuous Foederati dragging them into the middle of the Arab battle line, those advantages will soon turn to problems as the Camelry, with their better manoeuvrability, can now look to turn onto the advancing cavalry's flanks
It is a desperate struggle, and even the Roman LH are drawn into it as they risk everything in trying to eke out just the crucial little advantages that may swing this battle towards the forces of the Eternal City,
The longer the combat goes on, the more the -1 for facing Camels is likely to harm the chances of the Roman horse... Action Pumpo!
But, as this battle rages the Aetius the Roman General is leading his troops on a stately procession towards the prize of the Baggage of Arabia. Even the road is now Roman controlled, and gives some of the Roman units extra distance as they march onwards towards capturing the precious (4 VPs!) haul of oriental loot.
The Barbarian foot are making heavy going of rolling up the line, but the Romans only proper Roman troops - some Auxilia - see an opportunity to take down a unit of unwary and unsupported bowmen before joining the fray in the main battle line and make their move.
The Chomp is on! Barbarian infantry charge forward after destroying the endmost unit of Arab swordsmen, and suddenly the defensive position looks like a trap
The trap needs to spring shut quite soon though, as the Camelry are nearly done with the Roman mounted command and will soon fall on the flanks of the patient Barbarian foot.
The baggage is captured - Chrissy Waddle! - and by Heavy Foot! - as the Roman roll-up starts to gather pace
This loss seemingly crushes the will to resist among the waiting Arabian infantry, and they wilt as Foederati swords fall on them from all sides.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Imas tres: plus three
The plantation is soon almost entirely Roman territory as the Roman Commander consults his abacus to try and find out just how many of these Arab troops he still needs to run down in order to secure victory before the bell tolls for lunch.
The Barbarian foot are now into the Arab cavalry, who have run out of places to flee to in the face of the rapidly advancing line of warriors.
With the remaining Arabs crushed into a space smaller than the box in which many armies for other rulesets would need to be stored in, the game ends with a decisive Roman victory! Boutros-Boutros Ghali....
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 Patrician Roman Commander
Given this version of the army has never been deployed on table, I was extremely satisfied with how my hairy-arsed warriors performed in the noble service of potentially sacrificing their lives for the greater glory of Rome against these rather numerous desert warriors.
In earlier iterations of this list - all of course totally untried - I had considered an entirely pedestrian force and perhaps here it might have been an option which would have allowed me to more effectively bottle up the fearsome camelry of the opposition, as the weak link in my line did end up being the mounted one.
I was also pleased to have been able to instil in my allies the need to halt in the terrain and wait for support before charging home at some considerable disadvantage in the hope of a glorious victory through style and panache alone.
This result sees the Imperial Legions and their Inglorious Henchmen start once again to climb summits of victory and sets us well for a Tiberian Submarine performance over the next 3 games.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
What foolishness is this to claim credit for a victory against a force with so little strike power that even if campaigning in France they would struggle to convince a truculent farmer to down tools and block a Grand Marching Road with his horse and cart!
This was not a ringing endorsement of the quality of this list, more a definitive exposition as to why actually trying out what you are planning to use before submitting the list might occasionally be a good idea. It is all well and good using a wide variety of troops who have not seen light of day for many years, but surely all of your Ancient forces share the same vitamin D deficiency, so bringing a list capable of handling, like, duh, any terrain at all could have still put fresh lead on table?
The advance was too slow, otherwise you might have caught a couple of LH and hastened victory and with only the need to move forwards for 1 or 2 pips, perchance adding a cavalryman or two, or maybe even more than the minimal amount of Auxilia to the CinCs command might have given you the extra pace to close out the win with less trauma and casualties on your part?
Any, we will not talk of the half-hearted mess that was your so-called mounted command. Neither fish nor fowl, only capable of losing to anything with some wit about it, I fear we shall see these chaps not contributing much over the course of the weekend. At least we have lunch to look forward to before the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition