Ancients in Salamanca, at The Worlds 2017
Alexandrian Macedonian vs Classical Indian
Salamanca is a city in northwestern Spain, capital of the imaginatively named Province of Salamanca in Castile and Leon. The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, but far more importantly, in 2017 it was the home for both the ETC Flames of War/Wargammer/Other Stuff with Robots and Monsters otournament, alongside which nestled the Worlds - the most multinational historical event on the planet. This year the international interest from a number of rulesets had tailed off, leaving L'Art de la Guerre as the #1 period, with 40 players from 8 different countries taking part.
The intrepid team from Central London, memories fresh in their minds of the debacle of fruit based drinks and industrial decay on the edge of Brussels the previous year, made up a goodlychunk of the UK contingent, and had shipped themselves into the pre-Brexit transition-period no-mans-land of the EU via an early start at Heathrow on a fine Friday morning in August..
Sfter an epic trip across the sunlit uplands of central Spain, we arrived in Salamanca, ready for Sangria, Tapas, Vino Tinto and Flamenco... but instead we had sadly to go play toy soldiers. A least there was a bar outside our hotel for while we waited for the bus though...
I had chosen the Alexandrians on the basis of wanting to get some Classical era pikemen onto the table, from a set of Minifigs figures which had lain unloved and unused for many years, and also to deploy an Indian command with Elephants, after the battering they gave me in The BHGS Challenge. Their first outing was to be a Friday night session against Classical Indian
Classical Indian is a simple but effective army - Elite Elephants, bracketed by bowmen and swordsmen which advanced in a broad line shooting as it comes. It can have charging cavalry,but more often it can also have chariotry - but they are expensive, and add to the command and control challenges of wha is an inherently unmaneuverable army.
In a bright and breezy Spanish-style start, mid afternoon on Friday after a couple of beers, Alexander's army took to the table in a historical matchup against the Indians. The lists for the Alexandrian Macedonian and Classical Indian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Salamanca The Worlds can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Alexander takes up the story...
The Indian army had surprised me by having a 3rd command of Chariots when a general who I thought might almost be not quite as good as me should have certainly had more elephants. I had sent my anti-elephant command to this part of the front, and so the units of Javelinmen there were forced to race towards the terrain lest they be ploughed underwheel by the enemy machines.
My Pikemen would need to brave a shower of arrows the like of which the world had never seen to get into contact, and the sky darkened as they advanced behind their screen of skirmishers towards the Asiatics.
Pictures of Pikemen & the like from my Ancients Photo Directory
(Click any image to see details of the manufacturer, and a larger version of the photo)
For some reason, perhaps unaware of my amazing reputation, the Indian troops were as keen for combat as my brave and handsome boys.
Alexander vs The Indians
The gap left deliberately in my line had drawn the Indians in
Well, admittedly they had advanced in a solid line and were wider than both my formations, but it was now urgent that the Javelinmen from the 3rd command just hurry the heck up and get into the middle of my line before the Indians could charge home.
The two units of Greek mercenary javelinmen, cunningly converted from 5 bases of Psiloi only days before, I had despatched to the terrain-cluttered flank were now in a great position benefitting the mind of the genius (me) who had sent them there. The Indian were scared now, and were retreating rather than lose to my munificence in actual combat.
I gave possibly the best speech ever orated to a body of men and sent the lovely lads of my two commands into the Indian horde, expecting of course that the clever tactics that sat behind my approach of advancing towards the enemy would pay off, as they had done in every other battle ever that I had taken part in.
Despite my impressive oral skills, my men had fear in their spines and probably a little bit of wee in their sandals as the Indians elephants crashed home, rocking the pikemen back on their heels (yeuch)
Some of the Indians charging would have been impressive even if my own Companions had undertaken it, and I could already see that (not for the first time) I would need to put my arms around their shoulders and whisper words of encouragement into their ears to stiffen their resolve.
After my tender ministrations the Pike and Hoplite Mercenaries took renewed heart, and started fighting back boldly against the Hindu tide. The arrival of the dismounted Companions had proved my genius correct, in the very nick of time, and they had struck a telling blow to knock a big hole in the enemy formation. One more turn of holding back the baying mob and the countdown to my inevitable victory of geniusness would be on !
Now, about those Chariots.... well, it's impossible to concentrate brilliance all over the field but with a Companion and hopefully some fortunate close range LF javelin shooting they could be stopped while my men chewed up the Indian in the frontal attack.
10 Alex Facts
My intellectual amazingness in dropping the LF in front of the Chariotry had allowed my Companions to scoot off and leather it into the squishy MF of the Indian swordsmen - and my own Pachyderm was then able to get into the Chariots. The Indians clever masterstroke had been turned on its head - yes, I had suckered them in as always happens when I play people who are not my military intellectual equals, like, I mean, always.
The Javelinmen were by now so far away that they were starting to think they were good enough to take matters into their own hands. They tried to attack the Chariotry - something I would never have let them do...
The game is all about pacing, and now my fleetness of intellectual foot was such that the arrival of the Thracians, who had started on the outside left flank of the pike formation had arrived at exactly the right time to counterpunch the Indian Elephants and bowmen just as they thought they might break through my centre. Hah! Fooled Again By My Genius!
Geek-tastic Alex Facts
Those foolish Javelinmen defy my standing orders and actually attempt to do something constructive - the opportunity to knock off a casualty is appealing of course, and if it works they can eat the baggage, but the whole idea of someone in my army doing something clever and me not being personally involved does somewhat irritate me, so it has to be frowned upon.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Charging into the rear of the Chariots is the best odds the Javelinmen will have in open terrain. They are at +1 for Javelins at Impact, +1 for a rear of flank attack and also, here, a flank as well - and this while the Chariots are at a base factor of zero. But, with Armour and Elite status, even when charged in the rear the Chariots are hard to beat. And in the next round they will turn to face, and the advantage swings back in their favour again unless the Javelinmen do serious damage in the first phase.
You know those days when no matter what you do with it, your hair just doesn't seem to fall right?
Well, the Pikemen and Companions - and even the Elephant - holding up my left flank were all having a bad hair day at the moment, as the elephants struggled against the Chariots and the Companions failed to run down the Indian pedestrians - and the Pike were gone
But, again lulling the enemy into a false sense of security, this shimmy and shake was matched by a devastating round of inspired fighting urged on by Yours Truly as my brave boys obliterated much of the enemy army at a stroke. These lads would benefitting from my generosity in the bath house tonight for sure!
My favourite unit, containing some of the most appealing men in the whole army, the Xyston Miniatures Hypaspists who were really Romans struck the final blow - a huge win, of course, as befits one of my genius.
The Result is a great win for me!
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 Alexandrian Macedonian Commander
I'm so wonderful that my golden tresses of hair shine more brightly than the sun on a victory like this, and my genius has manifested itself in total success.
This was a victory for the fabulous resilience of my 4-hit infantry, who were able to survive the terrifying initial onslaught of the Indian Elephant Corps and then dig deep to hold on for a victory that is almost as great as all of the other great victories I have already acheived, and will no doubt achieve in future as well.
The choice of army list was crucial, and even though I was not expecting the Chariots the fleetness of foot of my moving-first Javelinmen allowed them to get into the terrain more quickly than the lumbering Chariots could get past and round it.
But in the end, a deserved victory for me, the greatest General of All Time. Now I am already set for a full sweep of 6 wins this weekend
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You Pediculous trollope, bereft of wit and class yet wallowing in your own vanity by surrounding yourself with fawning flatterers and lauding victories over the least civilized of foes. Here your army had no plan and no idea of the normal composition of the enemy you faced - despite it being entirely normal and obvious to bring the strike force of Chariotry with them.
The stroke which nearly unhinged you was a simple one of deploying troops where they were not expected, and it was only a good command roll for the Javelinmen which allowed them to make great haste across the table and into the safety of the terrain that saved you from being run over badly on that wing, and then rolled up like a stale kipper.
Even so, the idea of trying to do two things with one command is always a tricky one, especially when both require maximum pip expenditure. The Javelinmen needed to make haste to shore up your centre, and also avoid being crushed under the wheels of Indian industry....and that nearly unhinged you whole line.
With this redeployment so badly needed I must say I struggle to understand why you advanced the Pikemen at all - why not wait until the Thracian filler in their jam sandwich Hannibal Reply next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition