Classical & Roman in Bournemouth 2019
Galatians vs Blemmye
Three wins on a single day, and a few beers and a steak - add in an ice cream, a quick go on the swings and some toe-curling violence whilst essentially unclothed and it would have been your ideal day out on the average Galatian's family holiday.
The Sunday morning dawned damp and drizzly, and brought forth an opponent in the shape of the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?). The lists for the Galatians and Blemmye from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Bournemouth can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
These desert-dwellers from a broad swathe of time, much of it crossing over with the Romans, are a textbook example of an army that looks rubbish on paper but due to an odd combination of semi-competent troops types (Medium Swordsmen, some good cavalry), some tough, resilient but cheap fighting filler (Mediocre Spearmen) and a novelty item (Impetuous Camels!) can actually manage to cobble together a big and fairly difficult to beat force.
The table unsurprisingly ended up mostly open but with a couple of dunes, with the Galatians being forced to attack into the heartland of Blemmyaria
The Galatians were delighted to see nothing in front of them to hinder their advance towards the line of Mediocre Spearmen, or "2 Army Break Points Each" as they were referred to in the traditional Galatian dialect. This however did mean leaving behind some of the Warband to screen off the large dune-covered area, including an unlikely ambush in what was already a very big army on the tabletop.
The Galatian mounted command was stacked along the open left flank of their army, and quickly moved up to the top of a helpful hill to await what should be an inevitable and tricky attack from the Blammye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) Camelry.
As the adolescent Galatian skirmishers moved into the sandy play pit they exposed a rather underwhelming ambush of one lone skirmisher with a bow. Some desultory shooting ensued, damaging the Galatian javelineers morale but not doing much to stop their inexorable advance.
The Galatian CinC had now fanned his line of maniac warriors out into a multitude of separate groups in order to take advantage of all of the many targets presented to him by the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) army. In theory this could create command and control issues, but with a Brilliant CinC and a minimum 3 pips worth of movement each turn the challenge was not too bad - after all there was very little in the enemy army that they would not want to charge on sight.
The Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) on the left immediately started doing a series of complicated and unfathomable dances, rearranging their formations, turning and wheeling about like the whirling dervishes they probably were. This confused the Galatians no end, but didn't really do all that much to change their basic plan of charge hard at anything that moves and get stuck in. Ultimately this was almost 1/3 of the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) army, and if it could be kept penned up in a corner by a couple of units of Galatian warriors and the Paonian Pirates it would be a great result for the rest of the Galatian army.
A Galatian Darts Players Meaty Feast
Across the broad open plan the Galatian Warband machine rumbled, closing in inexorably on the quavering Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) spearmen. The camels in the enemy camp were starting to exchange fearful glances with their large sorrowful eyes even at this early stage in the day as they smelled their largely unwashed and certainly undeodorised nemesis approaching on the wind.
The Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) Camel Corps were strangely reticent, seeminly as if the sheer presence of the hill had paralyzed their decisionmaking ability when their normal decision would be a headlong maniac charge. As the camelry stood idle their commander toyed with the rest of his toys, shuffling and dancing inconsequentially with odds and sods of infantry. Uncaring as to what the enemy were up to, the Galatian general sent him warriors forward to try and get stuck into anything they could find.
Suddenly it all started to happen! The Galatians, secure now that the solid anchor of their infantry block had gotten into a position where it would inevitably end up fighting someone drove their mounted force down from the hill and towards the surprised Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) wing. The Camels fanned out quickly, astonished by the idea that the Galatian horsemen would want to close in on them but in their panic and astonishment the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) commander failed to find enough reserves of command and control to also bring his cavalry up into play. The Galatians now had potential overlaps here to neutralise the stench of camelry.
Blemmye in TW (modded)
The random meanderings of the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) on the opposite wing were continuing to amuse and bemuse the straightforward and simple Galatian yeoman infantry in equal measure
No matter what the enemy tried to do with their shuffling and dancing the Galatians just ploughed forward and smote mightily with their swords and shields at anything and everything in their path.
Eliteness and 4 hit points could sort out any problems that their weapons and energy couldn't deal with alone.
The centre of the table continued to be bereft of opposition as the Galatian Leader urged his men forward. With nothing bar the odd irritating skirmisher sniping from the dunes to be concerned about the Galatians even had time to reform up and make a vaguely unsuccessful attempt to pretend to be Romans, by forming a nice neat line to be ready to crash into the enemy spearmen all at the same time.
Camels in US service
This was great fun! The Galatian heavy infantry carved their way through the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) flank like it was missing the letter "k" and they were Mid-east Asia Minor's champion pie eating competition winners on a jolly boys outing. Even the Paonian Pirate infantry were now joining in the assault.
The Camelry were now knee-deep in Galatian cavalry and pedestrians, but with only a handful of dromedary warriors it seemed that the horses may well have just enough eliteness and width to hold back the tide of spitting and teeth-baring madness flying their way. With their own cavalry still becalmed at the rear in reserve the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) were struggling to protect the flanks of their vulnerable Camels as well
Across the field the seemingly well positioned Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) Medium Foot command was still struggling to achieve anything of note against the resilient and high-rolling breechless barbarians of Galatia. Whichever side the close formation swordsmen were attacked from the Galatians cared naught -they smote mightily around themselves and cleared a huge area in preparation for burying Blemmye bodies under a hail of markers in the near future
A Galatian Darts Players Meaty Feast
Transfixed by their own inability to take down a lone Infantry unit the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) had failed to pay attention to yet more looming destructive power as the rest of the Galatian detachment stormed home. This flank was totally bottled up, leaving the centre free for a faultless Galatian advance
Celts vs Romans
Flanks should not really be the Galatians forte, but in both cases the lack of a bold and wide attack and the presence of some stodgy Galatian infantry had gummed up the Blemmye's (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) best attempts to swing the game in their favour from the outside in. The Camels were stuttering, and spitting feathers all across the battle mat in frustration.
This is the paydirt - the Galatian leadership urged their men forwards into the line of Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) spearmen, causing a meaningful but not entirely decisive level of casualties in the initial turn
The flanks had been protected, the attack had gone in neatly - would dice and exhaustion after their long unopposed march cost the Galatians dear?
The Camel Corps were nearly gone, and the Galatian foot were straight through and over the thin skein of Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) mediums standing in the way of their assault on the spear line as well. Arabian cavalry threw themselves in the way of the charge as the last Camel contemplated being overrun.
The Blemmye foot were putting up a better fight than much of the rest of their supposedly betters in their army, but even so nasty black markers were cropping up as the Galatians ignored any possible risk to their own flanks and hacked their way forwards relentlessly through the desert-stained opponents.
The enormous Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) army was now teetering on the edge of total defeat! The last turn was called and the Galatians, secure and many units away from breaking themselves, launched a series of risk-free and potentially decisive attacks to try and turn the last few units of Blemmearia over to the desert devils. Cavalry and the Paonian General steamed in, hoping to smash through the already fragile medium foot line.
Victrix Celts Unboxed
In the centre Galatian Warriors were chewing big holes in the line of spearmen and taking incredible risks in going into combat in the terrain as well. One by one the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) warriors fell, bringing their army closer to defeat. It would all come down to the Paonians.
But, sadly, they doofed it up with some paltry dice rolls to only just fail to break the Blemmye (Blemmye? Who the f--k are the Blemmye?) army in the very last throw of the game.
The Result is a win but not an army break for the Galatians.
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 Galatian Commander
My oh my, that was a tough one - and to come so close to beating an immense army in a battle where there seemed to be as much emphasis on dancing as there was on fighting is truly a thing to record in the annals of Galatian history.
Those desert winds certainly left a serious deposit of sand in my gorilla salad at the end of the day, and it will need some serious combing to clean it out - if only we could have broke through the line of spearmen a moment or two earlier and we could have been looting the enemy baggage to steal their hairdressing implements, and all of the other Strictly Come Dancing impedimentia they no doubt had in there to support their lavish ballroom lifestyles.
Ultimately here the heroism of my men, and their abiilty to just barrel on through and use pressure and aggression to overwhelm the sophisticated drill and parade ground skills of these uncouth desert dwelling tribesmen was the secret to almost recording a fabulous victory.
Even so, a winning draw and three victories leaves us well positioned at the top of the table for the final round.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
The first battle where your opponent has tried to refuse combat with your naked barbarian horde for as long as possible, and the first time you have failed to record a victory. See what happened there?
Fortunately for you however your opponent was more focused on the micro-management of each individual combat than he was on the grand strategy to try and win the overall battle. This meant that time and more importantly command and control pips were effectievly wasted trying to set up perfect positions to win every single combat, when a broad brush approach to ouflank your slow and lumbering army before it could get into position would have paid far more dividends.
This is a game of relatively few turns - I suspect this game was longer than most, but may well still have struggled to get past 7 or maybe 8 turns for each player even with much of the early phases of the game being you advancing without real opposition across an empty field. Had your opponent lurched forward the decisive combats would have been fought long before you started knocking his spearmen down like ninepins
In ADLG you have to be prepared to take some casulaties - not all your troops will survive as you so ably demonstrate fairly often so getting to break the enemy army swiftly is more important than minimising your own losses through cautious and technically clever moves. Maybe we will see if your top table opponent in the next game has learnt that lesson too?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition