500BC-500AD at Bournemouth 2021
Saitic Egyptian vs Warring States Chinese
After a remarkably civilized evening in one of Bournemouth's many backstreet hipster micro-brew ex-shop-now-pub thingies, in which we worked as hard as a group of wargamers could be expected to do in order to be the most charming people in the venue to impress the pizza-making beer-serving barmaid
OK, we were one of only 2 groups of people in there. But I'm confident we were at least the 2nd most charming. Then, inevitably, the next morning dawned grey and drizzly in that textbook English Seaside Holiday in August manner so beloved of us all.
After another lunch-denying breakfast in the curiously-named 1812 Grand Cafe it was time to head to Entoyment and see if the Saitic Egyptians would meet their Waterloo (sorry, that was lame and obvious. But, if you've read any of these battle reports before, that may not be a surprise to you).
Sitting rather precariously at the top of the leaderboard after 3 wins from 3 games, the Egyptians were delighted to look to the East in the first game, and to face the Warring States Chinese, taking a break no doubt from their incessant decades of inter-dynastic warfare to head West to the land of the Nile.
The lists for the Saitic Egyptian and Warring States Chinese 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.
The Warring States is almost a Roman army in silk clothing, with either a cavalry-scaring Polearm option for their combat foot, or a Rome-matching Impact option too.
With a comprehensive suite of supporting mounted horsemen, all types of infantry and bowmen, and a cataphract-like Elite Chariot force, and the reputation for ferocity that allows large swathes of the army to be graded as Elite it is arguably even better than its Roman counterpart
This time the Egyptians also managed to get a waterway down on table, but the dastardly Chinese successfully scattered large blocks of rough and uneven terrain pretty much across the whole middle of the board.
No matter, the Egyptian Mediocre Spearmen had beaten up a lone auxilia in terrain in the previous game, so they imagined that there was nothing really worth concerning themselves here here for sure.
The Chinese were defenders in this game, so the first move saw Egypt's line of pointy stick dudes advance sharply, looking to trigger and flush out any Chinese ambushes promptly and in so doing increase the opportunity to bypass them blitzkreig-style (with spearmen? eh?) and use the width of the Egyptian army to lap round the ends of the Chinese line before their Elite Impact warriors could cut through the centre.
The Kyrenean role in all of this was to take the Chariot charge on the chin and try and drag them down through resilience and armour, punching a hole in the heart of the Oriental line.
Ahmed Vasouvalaki's Words of Wisdom
Here my brilliant and never bettered Egyptian plan to be wider than the enemy seems to be paying off instantly, as this advance guard of Chinese Warriors is only 4 units across, whereas my coherent line is some 22 units wide.
This means there is a significant advantage I have cleverly engineered and one which will surely guarantee me victory if the Chinese commit no other troops to battle and if their men are not much better than mine in frontal combat ability.
Astonishingly the Warring States had hidden a bona-fide proper full sized ambush in the plantation to their left, which the advance of the men of Cairo flushed out in only the second turn of the game.
Warring States Overview History
The ambush was a long way ahead of the main body of China's troopers, the most dangerous being the close-order Elite Heavy Impact Infantry adjacent to their Chariot force.
The Egyptian army had nothing to sensibly put in the face of 4 units of such potency, so with a bit of drifting and some delay on the extreme left the Egypto-Greek line started to open up a gap to leave fresh air in front of China's best men - possibly a welcome opportunity given reported levels of air pollution in many of China major cities in recent years.
The Chinese were not known as the Warring States for nothing - they desperately wanted a bit of WAR!, and by golly they were going to get it as soon and as fast and as hard as they could find it!
Lurching out of the plantation in which they had been hiding, 3 units of Medium Impact Elite Swordsmen (with Support... all the toys here) made a lightning fast surprise attack and slammed into a rather unprepared line of Mediocre Egyptian levy spearmen and an armoured Hoplite.
Two overlaps, one on either end of the line, gave the Egypto-Greeks an evens shot at redemption but quality was certainly on the side of the men with chopsticks in this melee.
Not bad... two lone hits on the Egyptian Mediocre spearmen, and with the rest of the Chinese army still a long way off in the distance, and the Crappy Compulsory Egyptian Horsemen waiting to ZoC out any gaps that might appear there seemed a good opportunity for the endless wall of spears to inch forward and swamp the rash Chinese and punish them slowly for their over-eager attack.
Getting hold of the flanks of these Chinese warriors, and giving them a rough manhandling was now a bigger priority for the Greco-Egyptoids than topping up on Limitless Tea was for their commander.
Urging themselves forward with thoughts of the worlds largest Nile crocodile's almost-a-laxative Pile of broken pyramids, spearmen of all nationalities stepped smartly forward on both ends of the melee to set up potentially deadly attacks in subsequent turns - all that was needed was for the Mediocre Quality, injured Egyptian Crappy Spearmen to hold out a little longer !
Continuing the "advance where there is no opposition" theme, the opposite end of the Spear Line saw the Egypto-Greeks steaming forward straight past the Chinese Paddy Fields to surprise the very extremities of the Chinese army, where bowmen and crossbowmen lurked.
Clearly the Chinese had forgotten to build a wall to protect this flank, and suddenly it started to look like their second string troops could soon be in the front line of combat right here right now
With the Kyreneans pressing up to try and draw the Chinese Chariots into combat as soon as possible, something of a large gap had appeared in the middle of the Saitic line.
China's Myriad Light Horse were by now also floating aimlessly in the centre and could clearly be seen to have already started having dragon-flavoured dreams of Egyptian baggage looting sessions
All of this meant that the lone hoplite unit left covering the centre of the Egyptian line might well need to do some serious fighting in the near future in order to get themselves out of the rather-surrounded situation their colleagues had just created for them.
Hoping that their ongoing flank attack would draw the right hand end of the Chinese line out to match it, the balance of the Egyptian spears on the left started to march into the centre - where they would be no real match for the Chinese Heavy Foot Warriors, but hopefully where they would be able to delay starting that combat until the enemy army was reeling from hammer blows to both flanks and the prayed-for loss of its Chariots impaled on a wall of Kyrenean spears
Of course, all of these complex plans to pin the enemy frontally and then overwhelm their flanks do rely somewhat on the men who are fighting doing so with some degree of resilience.
This however was clearly (and sadly) not a word in the Egyptian-Greek phrasebook which the army had used when training its eclectic and polyglot assemblage of near-identically equipped infantry.
The Poor Quality Egyptian spearmen were already being battered to within an inch of their worthless lives by the advance guard of ex-ambushing Chinese halberdiers, and the Chinese archers too were proving almost bullet-proof in their exchange of fire against the Egyptian Guard bowmen - leaving little if any time or space for a roll-up to take place.
Ahmed Vasouvalaki's Words of Wisdom
It may be harsh, but the strategy with an army like this is to accept a lot of casualties - there is no magic bullet, there is no glitch in the points system that allows you to fill the board entirely with decent troops in ADLG.
Bottom line is a lot of them have to be pretty bog standard or indeed worse than that, and so if you want to win with a wall of crap, you need to be prepared to break a lot of eggs and take a lot of casualties along the way.
In my first 3 matches this weekend my army suffered 10-20% greater losses than the enemy could have taken in every game. This one looks like it will be no different - and just as exciting because of it!
At least one trick had worked - the developing attack on the Chinese right had elicited the hoped-for response and a good chunk of the Chinese Medium Foot had been drawn over to meet the threat of an Egyptian carpet roll-up scenario.
Even so, the huge numbers of Egyptian troops on table did mean the Chinese were still outnumbered, and also outmatched in the shooting department by the Elite Egyptian Guard Bowmen too.
Inspired by the spirit of Emperor Thutmose III's heiroglyphically challenged tea-towel headdress, and with bucketloads of Nubian skirmishers milling around in the field as well against minimal opposition, there still looked to be a great opportunity for the Saitic army to pick up a load of cheap points from trading off against a smaller but better quality foe in this part of the table.
With the Egyptian line barely hanging on by its camel-dung-infused fingernails against the ex-ambushing Chinese, finally the weight of numbers of the Saitic army engineered the long-awaited flank attack opportunity, which the Egyptian Guard bowmen half-heartedly took with one hand.
The other was holding a tea towel and waiting to do some washing up presumably
L'Art de la Guerre hint - One of the changes in ADLGv4 is that flank attacks from, well, "non-combat" troops like bowmen are less effective than those initiated by proper fighting troops.
Here, where the bowmen are in a Melee Support position with their front edge against the side of the enemy infantry they add their base combat factor of zero, plus an additional +1 for making a flank attack, to the factors of the main fighting unit (in this case the Museum Hoplites on the brown base).
If the flank attack had been done by Spearmen instead of bowmen they would have added a Spearman's base combat factor of 1, with the same +1 for a flank attack to the Museum Hoplites factor for a net +2.
The action was all taking place on the extremities of the Chinese army right now, as Egyptian Spearmen of all hues and nationalities caused jubilation among their many fans as they launched an aggressive attack to pin the Warring States outriders back as far as possible from anything too squishy.
It was far from the perfect overlapping attack, but at least with overlaps against the high quality Chinese Impact swordsmen, and with Egypto-Greek Heavy Spearmen cannonballing into the losely packed Chinese archers (against whom they enjoyed a +2 vs 0 basic factor advantage), this matchup would struggle to get much better than it currently was for the Pyramid-loving side of the table right.
Ginete! Try as they might, that taunting of the Kyreneans was still failing to tease the Chinese Chariotry into making an unguarded charge into the waiting spearmen.
The Greek allied contingent had event left a tempting overlap for the wheeled warriors to take advantage of on one end of their line, but still the stoic cart-riders refused to play ball, biding their time and waiting for the more pedestrian components of their army to carve a larger advantage elsewhere on the field before charging in.
The ambushers were slowly starting to be Pac-Man'ed up by the munching Guard Bowmen - but it was a slow old process, and with low level dross infantry to their front the Chinese infantry were more than giving as good as they got, knocking great holes in the line of spearmen and shrugging off the deleterious effects of having a teatowel-wearing professional archer poking his little pointy dagger into their ribcages as they fought.
Cartoon Qin Unification!
Remember that big gap in the line of Spearmen? Well, so did the Chinese Heavy Infantry staring into it.
With a step to the left and a jump to the right suddenly Warring States Guardsmen and CHariots combined in a flurry of attacks to pounce on the discombobulated blobs of stand-alone spearmen who littered the middle of the board in a rather haphazard fashion.
Doof! Straight through in one round went the Cantonese Infantry, changing the dynamic in the middle of the table dramatically - especially for the Kyrenean commander who looked nervously to his left, and saw that his own flank was now totally unprotected.
The patience of the Chinese Chariot Corps was soon about to expire as opportunities opened up before them in a way not seen since the last the producers of Carry On Cleo realised they could recycle the set and costumes from the Burton-Taylor version of Cleopatra !
Ahmed Vasouvalaki's Words of Wisdom
Yeah, well, this whole "advance in a long line and the opposition gives up" theory of battle does have its limits it would appear.
Mainly they seem to arise if the opposition refuses to give up, and instead deploys a coherent but shorter line of much better troops, and drives them forward to punch a hole in my wall of nonsense that I have no way of filling.
Maybe I need to find a different set of rules where a glitch in the points system will mean I can actually fill the table with some sort of combat-capable troop type instead of this shambolic wall of tosh I am trying to win with here?
Malaka! The Elite quality of the Chinese troops was counting all across the width of the table by now, shrugging off the width of the Egypto-Greek forces with disdain and a faint whiff of soy sauce.
The Egyptian Medium Spearmen on the end of the line had already lost one unit in frontal combat, and they started to wonder if they had about themselves an air of monosodium glutomate as the Chinese warriors hungrily carried on their assault in the expectation of munching another one of the spearmen fairly soon after devouring the first.
As if reading the runes at the altar of the Great Pyramid of Cheops' almost-a-laxative tea-towel headdress, (and conscious that a flank attack was imminently incoming), the Kyreanean General decided that heroism was the better choice rather than almost guaranteed humiliating defeat.
The spearmen boldly ran at the enemy chariots at speed, crashing into them off a very short run-up to see if there was some dice-based miracle to pull out of the bag while they were still on table.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - The factors for Spearmen charging chariots are not good - Spearmen are at a base factor of +1, with the Chariots starting at a base of +1 also, but also claiming an additional +1 for Impact as they have caught the Spearmen on the move. The presence of the Greek General in the unit on the left adds a +1 to this unit, but this is negated by a +1 for the Chinese LH providing overlapping "Simple Support" to the Chariot he is fighting. Both the Chariots and these Spearmen have armour, so no advantage there to either side. If the Chariots win they inflict extra hits on the Greeks due to first-round Furious Charge.
Kalimera! Both the Chariots and these Spearmen have armour, so no advantage there to either side. If the Chariots win they inflict extra hits on the Greeks due to first-round Furious Charge.
If the Chariots had blinked first and charged home, the first round factors would have been +1 for the Spearmen (Base of +1, and an additional +1 for receiving a mounted charge at the halt) and the Chariots Impact would have been cancelled when charging stationary spearmen, leaving them one factor down overall.
Finally, after far too long a delay (or so it seemed) the sheer meat-weight of the close formation Hoplites in the Egyptian force had trundled over the top of China's super-resilient bowmen, allowing the Hoplites to advance to a position to start to mess with the staying power of the right hand end of the Chinese line.
This seemed like it would come not a moment too soon, as the more lightly equipped Egyptian spearmen started to wilt under the sustained pressure of Oriental aggression.
PHAROH THUMPONt'NOSE !
Yia Mas! The bold, brave and heroic charge of the Kyrenean mercenaries had not exactly worked out as planned, with the lumbering Chariotry inflicting a bone-crunching 5 hits in total on the shellshocked spearmen.
Teetering on "3-hit RED", the Kyrenean commander knew that in only moments from now he would be consigned to whatever the Kyrenean equivalent of Valhalla (Kyrehalla? Valrene? Or am I now basically just making up names for an as-yet unwritten self-published Sci-Fi novel of dubious quality? Who knows... ) as the rest of the Chinese army attacked his invitingly open flank.
As predicted, the Warring States managed to find more than enough spare troops to totally eliminate the Kyreneans and their leader, but at the same time the Egyptians also managed to finally, finally wipe out the last resilient survivors of the Chinese Ambush.
This left the centre-right segment of the table in some disarray, with not a single unit in combat at the end of the turn. Perhaps it was time for an early Christmas truce, and a bit of trench football perhaps?
Driving Tractors at Shop Dummies - Chinese Chariots recreated!
The Warring States army was looking for easy ways to push the Egyptians over the surprisingly close finish line of 30 total unit casualties, and an easy unopposed run to the baggage from a couple of light horse archers looked very much top of the wonton-eaters shopping list.
Embarrassingly the only thing left to hand for the Egyptian commander was some of the backstop Mediocre Cavalry, who were pressed into ZoCCing service to pin the enemy archers and seek to delay the inevitable by a few moments more.
With the Chariots Triumphant (Was that an old FoG list book?) and now free to roam at will, the Egyptian army was forced into assembling a hastily cobbled together Kampfgruppe-style assemblage of random units to shore up the fast-crumbling Great Wall of Cairo.
Sadly the equipment lying to hand was mostly of the Mediocre Spearmen category, with barely a Jagdpanther or KoenigTiger in sight - much to the glee and amusement of the happy Chinese Charioteers.
As many of the men fell under the baleful influence of the Sphinx's almost-a-laxative tea-towel headdress, the Egyptian army were now teetering on the brink and the number of places they might finally succumb were legion.
Appropriately however, it was the turn of China's Mediocre Crossbowmen, out on the Chinese right flank which the Egyptians had targeted as a weak spot and aimed for their own victory, who did the final deed.
The impressed and impressive peasants dug deep and pulled out a stunning win against the Elite Guard Archers (with 2 hits down already no less) to tip the North African Desert Dwellers to ultimate defeat.
The Result is a loss for the Egyptians, with only 17 out of 24 of the Warring States break points down, for more than 30 of the Egyptians.
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 Saitic Egyptian Commander
What nonsense! I refuse to accept this result, or my part in it, or indeed the involvement of my troops, or my army list selection or even my choice of terrain pieces.
More importantly still, the dastardly use of a clever selection of high quality troops attacking in a measured way on a relatively narrow frontage, and making full use of rough terrain which totally negates any combat abilities that my army, was most unfair and against the spirit of me being the biggest and most winningest genius in the combined histories of both Greece and Egypt.
Quite how one should react to such a set of reverses is hard to fathom, manily as it has rarely ever happened to me before in my untrammelled record of total continuous victory
I could perhaps try and see if there is anything to learn from this defeat, but probably better just to walk away and work out how best to set up my own competition circuit where only my brilliant tactics are allowed to win.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You hapless son of a big bag of adultery, what a comeuppance you were served here today by this veritable rotating buffet of top quality Chinese warriors - and how richly you deserved it as well.
Tozz Feek! This was not just a complete and utter repudiation of your lazy and one-dimensional army choice and monocular tactical lens, it was also a shamefully arrogant half-hearted unthinking defeat for which blame rests totally at your door. The matchups may not have been great for you, but they were pretty much the same as the previous game against the Romans and there you did try something better than lining up parallel to the rear edge of the table and advancing to defeat.
Advancing to the edge of terrain which you were incapable of entering with almost any of your troops is a totally different kettle of fish compared with your genteel yet effective wheel in the game against Dave from The Podcast, so your lack of memory from a game that ended only hours ago is staggering.
You have now demonstrated that your unbeatable army and genius tactics are indeed extremely beatable and about as far from genius as it is possible to be. Today, it was as if you came from behind a cow - perhaps this afternoon will see you showered with yet more shit in the next game. Allah Yakhthek!
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition