Ancients in Salamanca, at The Worlds 2017
Alexandrian Macedonian vs French Ordonnance
Finally, lunch - an army marches on its stomach, and I am pleased to report that I, Alexander, was able to dine on the finest food available to humanity as long as that included chorizo and potatoes. But the dessert was nice.
In the third matchup I found myself facing an opponent from the far future - no doubt in a time when my progeny would still rule the world after almost a thousand years of harmonious rule with all of my trusted and loyal current lieutenants working together in perfect harmony in a Diadochi-controlled empire of many nations.
French Ordonnance - one of the most heavy metal of heavy metal medieval armies. Knights, Halberdiers, Swiss Pike - and everything on a horse can dismount.
The lists for the Alexandrian Macedonian and French Ordonnance 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.
They were an army of Knights, so the Indians with their elephant Corps were called again into service and anchored my left wing against a waterway. The enemy had squeezed themselves into a narrow defensive gap between the waterside and the terrain, seemingly - and rightly - petrified by the thought of my plodding Pikemen outmanoeuvring them in an open plain.
Yet again, paralyzed by fear, one of the opposing commands refused flat out to fight, rolling a 1 for their first pip dice! Even so, the rest of the army got off it's horses and even the unreliable command gave my eager men a problem, as their willingness just to charge in and have at the opposition toe to toe now had to be mitigated by the opportunity to concentrate their efforts on the 2/3 of the army who actually wanted a fight!
With the opportunity to do something even cleverer than the things that I normally asked them to do presented on a plate by the static opposition, I sent the Javelinmen from the third command on a wide outflanking sweep, hoping to infiltrate them through the woodlands on the enemy left and threaten the flanks of the Swiss Pikemen, keeping them pinned back in the gaps between the terrain as the rest of my army advanced.
The enemy were commanded by a Frenchman, and had Asterix-like menhir ambush markers spouting in the woodlands. Past experience had told my men that such markers were more often than not a bluff, but the presence of the Elephant in the group would protect them if the wicked Frenchies had gone for a sneaky 'knights in ambush, leaping out' trick!
Alexander the Great vs Ivan the Terrible - Epic Rap Battles of History
The Indians had gotten bored waiting, and powered up by the urgency of not wasting good dice decided the time had come to trigger the enemy into action. They surged forward…
The first 'ambush' was indeed revealed as a fake, allowing the Greeks under my command to filter through the woods. The Swiss could by now hear the rustling in the trees to their left and started to admit the beginnings of worry and doubt.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - the defender can place ambush markers over quite a wide frontage of the board, and they can be real or fake. Enemy troops have to approach all markers as if they were 'real', meaning they have to stop at march distances, and then also at 1MU away from any hiding in proper terrain. This does lead to an almost default use of 2-3 fake markers by a defender as a means of slowing an enemy advance. In your first few games this initially feels a bit cheesy and gamey, but after a while you realise that it is part of the overall balancing of the setup rules between attacker and defender.
All of the French had dismounted at deployment, but unwise skirmishing and a rapid advance by my Pikemen meant that some of their LH were now trapped in front of the line of metal-clad men - unable to escape or interpenetrate the foot behind them.
My Indians and Agrianians were all shooting furiously, desperate to inflict even a single casualty on the advancing pedestrian knights,
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Shooting fully armoured Foot Knights with LF or even bowmen is very hard. LF start on -1, Bowmen on 0, and the Foot Knights on +3. Foot knights are also often Elite, so add +1 to any score of 1-3 on the dice, for a de facto minimum of 5. Which makes it actually worse than hard - it makes it literally impossible for a single base of LF to damage them, and only a 1 in 36 chance of a base of normal Bowmen damaging them. Longbows shooting reduce everyone's protection by 1 (i.e. 2 for the Foot Knights), so they have a better chance, and Crossbows reduce protection down to 1, making them the best anti-plate-armour shooters in the game. Other than Artillery of course.
I instructed my men to simply stare down the French, confident that our greater number of shooters would eke out an advantage eventually, but as it turned out it was only the French LF crossbowmen who were finding their targets.
Pictures of Men at Arms from my Ancients Photo Directory
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The French blinked first, and rolled forward towards my erstwhile allies - who, not being fine men of Makedonian stock (which is like elephant stock, but not quite as meaty) proved to be hopeless fighters and practically ran away the moment the first French foot plodded in front of another - suddenly my wide and coherent Indian ally was transformed into a handful of isolated Elephants!
But this standing and waiting had not been in vain, as my Agrianians, recalling may of my younger days back in Macedon, had been having a great time messing around in the woods where they had cut down with javelin fire a number of Swiss axemen allowing them to get in amongst the thinner and more boyish elements of the enemy line. The Swiss had aloowed themselves to get caught between the unpalatable choices of being overrun by my Elephants and leaving their main line of comrades isolated - this had meant I had tempted the Phalanx to split up, creating some juicy targets for my Greek-operated Elephant Corps to charge explosively into.
The Indian mahouts had been shamed by their embarrassing accompanying cast, and no doubt conscious of the possibility of being written out of the many exciting books and well produced Hollywood blockbuster films that will no doubt be created about me in future years, decided to get serious and fought back against the dismounted knights. Luckily, being a total genius, I had kept a reserve of Companions who I now unleashed into the overlapped and battle-worn Frenchmen to support the Pachydermery who now made up my main fighting force.
Dining out with the American team
More Companions were roaming on the other wing, picking on enemy longbowmen who had been pressed into guarding the flanks of the Swiss pike. Yet another moment when I realised yet again how brilliant I am!
The Elephants had heeded my words and grasped their opportunity - the French army imploded under their stamping feed like tin cans crushed in a recycling machine
Everywhere along the line my brilliant deployment and instinctual decision to not just charge forwards and attack the uncommitted enemy forces but instead use the time this allowed me to work the flanks and pick apart their Pikemen was paying huge dividends. The Swiss were struggling badly and having overrun the Longbwomen these Companions now had an open path to the rear of the French army.
The Indians had done me proud! Even their hapless traditional and obligatory unit of Crap cavalry, in place in all wargames rules since time immemorial, had played a role in pinning some enemy dismounted knights and then remembering that they could actually evade when they were finally charged. It was a great victory for me and also for my men.
The Result is another massive win for me and my men.
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 am now seriously starting to warrant my own self-chosen epithet of The Great, as with an unblemished record spanning many centuries of warfare I have roundly beaten all comers. The future looks good to me from where I now sit near the top of the pile in this battle of the world's greated generals. My men are performing well, and the army list I have chosen seems to work in all configurations with aplomb.
The list in fact was my cleverest approach in this battle, giving me a stronger rough terrain force than my opponent and allowing me to pressure his wings at the same time as hammering his centre with the allied Elephantry I have dragged back to Feudal Europe all the way from India - quite why none of these so called Medieval kings did not think to barter for Pachyderms along the silk road is a mystery I will never fathom.
And, it is good to know that even a thousand years after my birth my men can still cut it - even against these metal-clad monsters who tried to face up to the ferocity of a Makedonian pike phalanx. After all these years' we still have it - and I did notice that the enemy had copied it as well, unable to improve on my dad's technology even after all those years.
With such a great set of results under my belt I can confidently now look forward to a clean sweep of winning all 6 games.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You fissilingual ingrate, as yet again the refusal of part of your opponents army to play forces you into a position in which for anyone of even mediocre ability, defeat becomes harder than victory to achieve!
Had the French not been unreliable you would no doubt have believed in your own invincibiilty so much that your whole army would have just sailed forward in a solid line, and then the surprise when you discovered that these futuristic armoured men were impenetrable to your shooting efforts would have been a nasty surprise that ended in sudden defeat. But, instead the vagaries of dice meant you felt compelled to do what was in any case sensible and right, to press on your right flank into the woods, and in the process immobilize the flank-fearful Swiss and so unhinge the enemy's ability to advance coherently - to your ultimate benefit.
It is not unusual that you are more of a danger to yourself and your men than you are to the enemy, but here the enemy forced your hand to do the only sensible thing - so they were in fact a danger to themselves and you simply stumbled blindly into their non-trap.
Can this luck last? Let us see in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition