Games 3 and 4
Due to a clever and dodgy work deal I had managed to stay in a rather nice hotel for a rather nice rate. Lucky I had flown, as I think the carpark probably would not have had space for my dented Mondeo.
This was excellent - if only we had not been starting the day at 8am... however I did have time for a quick breakfast and a jaunt along the seafront to the venue.
Yet again comparisons with Burton were hard not to make - the architecture of Burton town hall is more interesting than the concrete bunker of Cannes Palais des Festivales, however the Palais does win on the 100 foot plus yacht parking facilities stakes
Game 3 saw me using the Skythians again, this time against a joker-playing Feudal Spanish army.
This did however mean I could rely on the entertaining plan of "let the knights charge my bowmen and hope they don't make contact" whilst also messing about on both wings and generally keeping my knights in reserve. Here the unusual amount of bowmen, and especially the elephant caused great surprise and consternation in the Spanish camp (and in the front lines as well)
The bowmen proved remarkably resilient and also quite accurate, and the knights were sorely ablated by the time their remnants made contact.
In many cases the Spanish were forced to commit LH to plug gaps, with even the redeployed Berbers entering the fray
Ultimately the Spanish had no answer to the wall of archery, shored up as it was by the impassible obstacle of the allied general elephant. With the rest of the skythian army able to skirmish with impunity and with ample elements to commit, the Spanish finally cracked - 10-0, or 3-0 to me!
Game 4 saw us a long long way behind the leading 2 Italian teams - we were on 12, along with another fully French team, with Milanese on 16 and 17. With the Italians unable to play each other w ended up playing Paolo Pagliantanis team - and they still had their joker left, and chose to play it
With a compulsory waterway turning one of my attacker deployed steep hills into a promontory, Paolo decided to ambush my advancing wall of elephants with a Bt(S) hidden behind the hill. This almost worked.....
First command down however was a line of Sp sat uphill - so I elected to deploy against them with a string of 7 Ps in a line facing them , with the elephants and auxilia drifting out to the flanks. We then alternated commands, and the game was set up with a refused centre and 2 big pushed on the flanks, where supported blades would slug it out with elephants for the big prize.
The Chinese Navy sat confidently waiting for the elephants to appear - however they instead were immediately spotted by the Khmeric psiloi marching over the hill.
Oh dear - what a surprise! What would the Khmers do to deal with this dastardly trick ?
Well, with 2 Bt (O) and 1 Bt (S) in the Khmer navy, and 5 pips left on that command, the answer was simple - sail round the hill, and finish with our 3 boats facing the lone, almost beached Chinese sampan, in shooting range, with it having nowhere to recoil, and with nowhere to run. Ooops!!!
The Chinese were forced immediately to disembark the Bd (F), and promptly the Khmeric navy gained total mastery of the Mekong Delta ...
Across the table the game had developed into a deadly game of who blinks first - with in this case blinking actually meaning "who rolls bad in the matchup of doom game?" Double ranked blades and elephants fought supported blades and Kn (X), inconclusively, and at great length. The balance of forces swung one way and then the other....even spearmen were peeling off the main formation and joining in.
The Khmers looked to be suffering, but then a heroic dash by 2 auxilia dragged across a Kn(X) behind the over confident spearmen - who recoiled and exploded, creating a huge gap in the Chinese lines
Meanwhile the real business of the day was happening at sea - or to be more accurate, in the waterfront apartments with stunning views across the bay where all the Chinese camp followers had been enjoying the sea views. The now discovered they were enjoying rather less attractive, but considerably closer range views of disembarked impetuous Khmer auxilia.... who then proceeded to eat the entire Chinese baggage in 6 combats. Hmmmm, nice!
The Khmer were backpedaling furiously on my right, as the spearmen and Bd (X) advanced - but unusually weight of numbers was on their side and they had casualties to spare.
Finally the loss of 16 elements (6 baggage + the capture of the BUA) was rather too much for the 51 EE Chinese army to take, and after the weight of elephants from 2 commands had done their work, the Chinese right flank collapsed - 10-0 to the boys from Cambodia !!!
With Stephane also having a similarly fortuitous game - with an Italian Arab ally changing sides - we won the final round 6-0 to sneak into a rather remarkable and unlikely 2nd place overall - Hoorah!!!
Now, a few pictures from the rest of the halls: