Hollyoaks Doubles 2006
Adam and I headed up to Chester, home of the Channel 4 documentary Hollyoaks
In the tradition of Doubles, we had elected to take an exciting Rus army. But bizzarrely, this one was vaguely exciting, with 2 allies of Poles and Pecheng, and not that many spears (well, OK, a lot).
After an uneventful and relatively traffic free night, we tried to find the venue. Several days later, we eventually arrived only a matter of tens of minutes before the organisers were able to unlock the hall !
Game one saw us facing exactly the right opponent - lots of Wb and Elephants in an early Vietnamese army.
The table was incredibly cluttered with terrain - much of it placed by us as we sought to split the presumably one command of warband away from the rest of the Vietnamese army
We had also elected to keep the Poles off table on a flank march to the left, as we saw no useful place for them.
In reality, the plan sort of worked, with the Vietnamese guessing that we would defend a fairly obvious gap between two pieces of terrain on our right, and thus placed all their warband opposite it - two commands worth! Instead they found themselves facing off against the Pechenegs whilst the smaller Vietnamese allied hill tribesmen looked confidently from some RGo and woods into a rather large (ie all) spear wall coming towards them
In the middle of the line, lots of inferior Chinese spearmen waited nervously.
The Pechengs started the battle with a brave lurch forwards, knowing this would be the only advancing they would do for some time.
Meanwhile the Rus wheeled desparately towards the squishy stuff
15 Psiloi were unlikely to put up much opposition, even if some of them were in a wood!
Round about now a balloon was causing a lot of trouble in the hall, and so two brave warriors stepped up to take that sucker down in a "Samuel L Jackson in Spartacus" sort of way
A Pecheneg got cocky - thinking he may be able to sneak round the side - but the Vietnamese were wise to his dastardly trickery, and rapidly expanded, leaving him looking like a bit of a spare part when his commander rolled poor pips next round!
Meanwhile the main Rus command was going for a Touchdown, marching across some admittedly rather shoddy rough terrain with distain - who cares if we are spearmen in RG when the opposition is half a dozen Psiloi with a break point of under 4 !
By now the Pechengs were starting to run out of room - but the warband were getting temptingly broken up as well, helped by naughty Rus Psiloi harassing their flanks.
The Poles arrived, in a fanfare of trumpets and a sigh of disappointment that they had probably chosen the wrong flank to do anything constructive - but the right flank to avoid a horrible death at the hands of 48 warband
With table running out fast, the Pevcheng charged in against psiloi and warband!
As the Rus also got stuck in in the middle against the remarkably resilient Chinese spears
By now the game had turned 90 degrees, and Adam swapped placed with Martin, leaving me to be confronted with this vision of horror
However, irrespective of how the game was going, at least we could chat about our barbers
The Pechengs evaporated in a puff of smoke and wagon wheels, and the Vietnamese warband charged forwards in disarray
Despite much valiant spear poking, the Rus were unable to achieve a breakthrough against the Chinese inferior spearmen, and eventually the game ground to a halt, with us losing 6-4
Time for us all to go to the nearby Tesco's, where we saw the following confidence inspiring notice in the cafeteria
Post Match Analysis
This could have gone badly wrong - with few supporting Psiloi to back up our spears we were at risk of being run down by warband. As it was we probably over-out-guessed our opponents, and they did so to us also. We has assumed a big chunk of Bw (I) in the army that simply wasn't there, and they over-concentrated the warband into one spot - where we had decided to not put any spearmen.
Given more practice (ie any) the Pechengs might have hoped to actually get away - or at least inflict some more damage on the warband - but as it was their valiant charge against psiloi ended in total disaster and the game was up for them. Likewise, the Rus were a little slow to get into the Chinese spear - but achieved almost nothing even when they did arrive. So, a reasonable result all in all.