After a large session of Blitzkreig Commander Britcon began in earnest in its own special rather grey, damp Mancunian way...
My first game was against an Anglo Norman Army - I had fortunately thrown my name into the draw right at the beginning which gave me endless amounts of time under the Britcon "play until you die - and ideal way to start 6 consecutive games and make sure you really look forward to the next five" first round rules to attempt to break down the fabulous wall of well painted spearmen and dismounted blades facing me.
The entire Norman army deployed dismounted, anchored on a flooded river of their own choosing, and a wood that I had kindly provided for their other flank. The Normans held the open flank with a thin line of spearmen, and some underemployed cavalry, and also quickly expanded the handful of spearmen on the short side of the river to cut of that avenue as well...
Low pips all round initially meant little happened save for me admiring the painting of the Normans.
The Lithuanians sat back and so for the Normans the onus fell on them to attack. This was not really of my choosing, as the CinC was pip-becalmed and hung back, and the Teutons also were also puzzled and dithering.
As the lines clashed with the Lithuanian Hussite blades against the river facing Norman infantry, a Norman general decided to lead the way personally and soon - in that Bd (S) way of his - had gotten separated from his men, fighting a deep swathe into my line of blades.
The hussite infantry then closed behind him as swiftly and as permanently as a McNeils wallet when the landlord calls "Time gentlemen Please" when it's just about to be JD's round...and he was gone. But as the only dead element, the command saved its roll and the game continued, and with a line of Bd (S) already committed, his loss was little lamented or noticed to be fair as the two sides continued to knock each other about inconsequentially...
The second and central Norman command chanced their arm and pushed through into some rough going, taking on my Ax (O) with Bd (S) - it should have been touch and go, but the knights obviously were tripping in rabbit holes and catching their deaths of cold as a result - they fell like ninepins, forcing the Normans to bring up the Marcher Ax (X) reserve to plug the gap that was being held now by rather surprised Psiloi - who took their moment in the limelight by promptly killing 6 Ax (O) in one turn, pushing the Lithuanians back to the brink also..
On my left the Teutons were still considering how to take on a line of double ranked supported superior blades - the lone artillery and 7 LH command were doing nothing impressive - but one of the commands light horse managed to sneak past the flanks of the Normans, and charged gleefully towards the baggage.
With Norman baggage now being shipped back in truck loads to Lithuania where the Vilnius Smelly Cheese Appreciation Society were licking their lips in anticipation, the Frenchmen were starting to sweat. Would they be able to hold on ?
The Teutons spotted their opportunity to grab the headlines. With the Norman commands being thinned out, by losses and by the need to maintain a coherent frontage as they pushed forwards the Germans stepped up to the crease, and cover-drove the Norman spearmen imperiously to the boundary for a classy command defeat.
With the Norman centre crumpled, it became a game of avoid further losses whilst the FedEx packages continued to be sent back to the boys at home. A sudden outbreak of rain in the game prepared us both mentally for the walk back to the hotel and two turns later and it was game over - 10-0 with one command, all the baggage and a couple of other elements tipping the Normans to defeat.
16 Bounds of game, and close on 4 hours. What Fun! Can't wait for the next one...
Post Match Analysis
The extra bounds were definitely needed here for the Lithuanians, or it would have proved impossible to break down the solid line of Normans in the standard 3.5 hour game. As it was, the decisive elements were the Normans decision to attack across the RGo with superior blades - a dicey choice, which went immediately off the rails with some good combat results from the Auxilia - leaving the Normans with no serious reserves to commit to plug the gap.
The tables almost swing back when the non-serious reserves inflicted a heavy pasting back on the Auxilia, but with the ability to selectively pressure across the line the Liths were able to stabilize the situation and shift the emphasis of attack to the Teutonics, who did the business in some style.
However even at the end it needed all the baggage to take down the army - with the flank command of the Normans having just too much to do in supporting the flank of the main attack and maintaining a coherent frontage (in the face of artillery and wagon shooting) to keep the Teutons at a safe distance. With these two missions, adding a third of holding a large swathe of table against a light horse command with nothing else to do save probe for a gap turn after turn proved to be a step too far.
The pip Hammytastic Pip charts (adjusted for the death of the Norman General on my right) unsurprisingly show my 4 command army outpipping the Normans significantly
And this was repeated in the average scores