Cannes in February is not as nice as Cannes in June, but it is still definitely "Not Derby" - or, in this case, "Not Burton". For starters, the range of beachfront views in Burton is not quite comparable, although the number of major breweries based in Cannes does not stack up either.
The event was held as part of a large public gaming event, with all sorts of obscure board games, French-local card games as well as the more usual Magic and Subbuteo (!). Nice to see that the odd appearance quotient was not only restricted to the wargames, there were plenty of wider hairy types milling around generally (although I imagine this is similar to what happens at the national League thing in the MK shopping centre?)
JD McNeil was going to have a severe case of Banner Envy when he saw this....
The format of the comp was very clever - almost too clever, especially when attempting to translate into or out of French!
The gist of it was, erm...
2 Player teams, with 2 armies.
Each player has to play twice with each army.
The armies have to be one from Book 1&2, one from Books 3&4.
You usually play against the same "Book" opponents, however each team has one "Joker" they can play to swap the matchups round.
This joker can only be played once in the competition, and can be cancelled by an opponents joker
There was slightly more to it - each player could bring 2 armies instead of 1, but a/ you somehow got less points for this, and b/ impossible to carry on a plane, so not an option for me! We also got these cute cards to play before each game, so the opponents could see who had played with which army (and if you had brought more than one, what combinations were left!)
Stephane had the Skythian army I had scraped past in Pisa, which clearly would be easy to adjust to after using the Khmer... Stephane also had a Early Samurai army to use as his own book 3/4 combo, which did offer us some flexibility... ie 2 armies great against knights, useless against heavy foot !
First game up we played against Serbs and I think some sort of Roman thing. We selected to use the Khmer and Skythians. The map is here thumbnailed
or, here, in technicolour
With a valley between the Khmeric forests, the sound of Guns and Roses rang out - Welcome to the Jungle! The Serbs set up with a center of bowmen backed up by blades, and two wings of elephant fodder Kn (S).
A small but perfectly formed Serbian mini ambush force was hidden in the woods on my right, but swift advance by the asiatic auxilia was enough to keep hem holed up amongst the trees for quite some tie to come...
In the middle I advanced on the bowmen with a deep formation of auxilia, hoping to rush them bowmen before the blades could get out in any meaningful shape or numbers. The elephanst were concentrated on the wings to stomp tin cans...
This worked well initially, but whilst pushing to finish off one of the last knights, I turn an elephant onto the flank of a Kn (S) who is fighting auxilia to his front. Dual overlappedm 3-1 down, he of course wins - my elephant recoils in front of my General. He is then hit by 3 LH (F), and of course dies - I fail the command roll and I am a command down !
However the Khmer prove too strong, and both knight commands crumble and with them the army. 3-0 victory to the Khmer, and a 1-1 on the other table for Stephane.
This time I use the Skythians - against LIR. Our opponents play the joker, and we play our counter joker to avoid a Roman/Samurai and Skythian/Camelfest matchup.
The Romans deploy on one side of a centrally placed wood, and also only deploy 2 commands - a pretty obvious flank march (hey, nothing fools me!)
The thumbnail map shows more detail.
I am assaulting the wood with the psiloi in the bowmen command, whilst trying to keep the elephant general from my ally occupied chasing down the empty roman flank.
With my second tranche of knights a long way away, my CinC is almost alone in having to deal with the roman army - and when the flank march arrives in Turn 1, he is in big trouble.
French-painted Romans and Skythians interact
The CinC decides he is going to be toasted, so the only possible outcome is to die heroically - and also get as many of his men forwards so they have a long way to rout!!
The Skythian nobility dash themselves to pieces against the Roman blade line, taking with them a good number of light horse, but doing almost no damage to the infantry formation. They break slightly early as the CinC is the 6th man to die, and flee in tatters back towards the baseline...providing a great screen from the flank march as the 7th Armoured Nobility come riding through the debris to launch yet another attack!!!
arrivees et departs
This time the charge is no less disorganized, but somewhat more successful! With the Skythian sub general trapped in the second rank, the overlapped knight succeeds in breaking through 2 ranks of supported blade, and the Romans are almost in pieces
Finally, the lurking bowman (see above) sneaks a arrow at the reinforcing column of Roman catafractoi - killing the leading man, the general! The game is won! 8-2/3-0 to the Skyths!