The IWF in Athens 2006
Skived out of work early on Thursday to make my way to Athens with a lovely front of the bus meal on BA (airmiles flights were not available in coach - shame!).
A near total lack of games had meant that I had not been confident enough in the NKE's ability to give me a reasonable crack against all possible opponents (lists had been decided before the BHGS Challenge - if I had submitted it after that I may have changed my mind) so with no other ideas, and no chance to come up with them I packed the Lithuanians again, with slightly tweaked versions from their last outing 2 years ago.
My two lists were
List 2 - not quite sure what for, but a bit different. Never even deployed in practice.
vs Early Achemenid Persian (see their list here)
Very early in fact, with a traditional Southern European start time of "officially 9am, actually 10am".
First thing out was a massive steep central hill, in my opponents frontal central sector. This meant my attack had to either split itself, or gamble on picking the right side of the hill and risk seeing the Persians deployed in the opposite corner to the table - with a consequent long march!
The deployment map was here:
Facing Persians, I thought it might be fine and sensible to take my new, totally untried 2nd list, as the sole Art S might be able to have some impact on the game.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that it also had 7 Ps (O) in the CinC's command - brilliant - something to attack the hill with!
I decided unwisely to use them to try and join up 2 halves of the CinC's heavier foot and wagons, and advance that way, fitting the artillery between the CinC and my other wagons on my right into a column with its "going to be useless in this game" 7 LH trailing behind. The Teutons, also almost probably useless would lurk and put pressure on the right also, soaking up the enemy pips as I attacked on my left.
The Teutons however rolled very poorly at the beginning of the game, allowing the 3 command Persians to devote all their decent dice over to face my 2 main attacking commands. I was also starting to find out just how hard it was to move and use an artillery S, even with a full commands worth of pips to choose from!
My left hand flank LH were looking good, gradually retreating from some advancing Persian cavalry, and my wagons were closing in on a block of Bw (I) quite nicely. Until one was shot down!
But, I had overestimated the width of the gap down the side of the table between a steep hill and the edge of the board. It was impossible to extract all of my light horse, as they were wider than the gap!
However, I had wagons to help them out - and my cavalry were lurking in the wings, and with the Persian general in the rear rank, and the new cavalry rules making 2-deep Cv O less dangerous to LH, I decided that it would be a good idea to face down the Persian cavalry, fighting them there and then, and hoping to roll up their flank. A combination of a slight angle to the table edge (preventing one of the Persians from recoiling were they to charge in) meant I though it was definitely worth a punt. Rolling a 1 on the pip dice committed my mind - I had to stand and fight!
The Persians charged in, and promptly decimated the LH, leaving the command (which I had just remembered broke on 7.5 EE, not the 8.5 it used to be in my previous version of this list) in serious trouble.
In the middle 6 Persian Ps O and I who had hoped to hold the hill were now under serious pressure from my line of 7 Ps O - but my CinC's command were struggling to press the advantage, as the whole command was soaking up pips like a Greek sponge as it was by now split into 3 or 4 separate penny packets as the daft formation I had started them in, together with the 6 different jobs they had been given to do meant none of the groups were really making much progress - my strongest command was having no real impact on the game, and the focus again switched to the left, where my LH were being run down..
By now I realistically had one battered WWg and Ax command with irregular dice trying to run down a block of 8 Bw I who were supported by cavalry. Not impossible, but hard.
I needed some inspiration - and it came in the form of the Teutonic General who had finally gotten into position on my right and with his first coherent charge promptly eliminated 2 ranks of Cv O - with a general behind them!
Not so "S" now my friend!
However with 3 regular commands and only a couple of elements down, it was not terminal and the Persians survived.
The LH from my artillery command were being fed into the mincer over on the right flank, hoping to claw back some pride and casualties as the last remnants of my flank commands LH were by now in big trouble against the rampant Persian cavalry forces
With time running down and my options limited I pressed the attack - if the Ax can only get into the Bw I ??? They had already shot down a wagon, they were knocking unfeasibly large holes in the auxilia. With a ragged front line, and some more crap pips I decided that the bowmen would be better off fighting me with an overlap than me waiting to go in in a solid line. We charged in and promptly were out-diced 5-1 to see 2 auxilia die, and the command implode.
With the right flank in full retreat, the game got much simpler, as the Persians had no troops in a position to take advantage and the clock was running down. a 6-4 defeat to start the competition.
Post match analysis
A combination of very poor deployment of my CinCs command (an insane formation meaning it needed 4+ pips just to move straight forwards in most turns) plus my inability to put pressure on with the Teutons until late in the day meant the Persians had the luxury of allocating dice to the ideal spot every turn.
By the end of turn 9 when my command broke, they had faced the Persians best dice (a 5 or 6) in every turn but one (the 2nd bound) and in the end it told. Or, with this Hammytastic Graph, Series 1 being my pips, Series 2 being the Persian Pips on my left flank
The Teutons first 4 dice were 2 1 1 1, and they never rolled above 4 in the entire 12 bounds. This Hammytastic chart shows how even with the Persians allocating their best dice to my left, they still were outpipping the Teutons in nearly every turn on my right also.
The artillery had a decent first outing, but ended up out of the game at a fairly early stage as my advance had far outpaced them. Attacking doesn't have to mean attacking !