Classical & Roman Singles at Cold Wars 2020
200 Point format
With a win, some low quality pizza and another local Amish IPA under our belts and a leisurely jaunt around the huge yet sparsely attended traders hall to go shopping for bizzarre products of only marginal use meant that it was soon time for the second battle in this epic campaigning season for the cobbled together Sassanid army.
The opposition this time was from the opposite ends of both history and the known world - the 100YW French, replete with a wall of full-fat all tooled up Knights.
The lists for the Sassanid Persian and 100YW French from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Cold Wars can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The 100YW French is all about the Knights - anything else is a distraction from just piling lots of knights into the enemy and hoping for social class and noble blood to do it's work.
This is excellent if you happen to be an English army as you know to turn up with lots of longbowmen and to hide in a marsh that fills the table from side to side, but for everyone else you will need an answer to the Knights.
With an expectation of a tiny unit count in the highly costed French lines the Sassanid High Command had worked hard to secure a bald field of play, with only a handful of terrain items scattered as lazily and as sparsely as wargamers across the foyer of the Host hotel that morning.
What's Going on Here Then?
The field is as bald as a geriatric American politician with only random patches of terrain appearing on the edges. The French were presumably not looking for terrain which would hamper their Knights and the Sassanids clearly were playing at not being bothered either. The Persian army has deployed expecting, or being flexible enough to respond to any sort of deplyment from the French but they have wrongfooted the Orientals by clustering up in a tight pack on one flank ready to rush forward and pummel part of the Persian army before the rest can get into play.
The stage is now set for a race against time as the Persians seek to turn an inviting flank and the French look to get the game over and done with through frontal aggression before they are unzipped from their right.
The French had, like, for sure, turned out to be totally even smaller and even more Knight-ey than we had anticipated, so their dense packet of chivalry huddled together in one corner as the Sassanid legions stretched across the barren tabletop.
Cold Wars 2020
This fromage-tastic matchup placed strong (unbearable?) demands on the three Sassanid Elephants - toxicity personified to the fully plated-up French Knights, but also highly reliant upon their much more vulnerable Dailami (and even Levy Spearmen) to widen the frontage of the Pachyderm Corps as it sailed serenely forwards.
If the Knights were brave enough they could chance their luck against the Elephants and look to just charge in and overrun the jammy Dailami filling in the middle of the trunk-waving donuts of doom before the elephantine deep-fried pastry beasts would cloy their arteries and de-horse them in a metaphor which has clearly been taken far beyond what would be both safe and comprehensible
One of the two smaller Sassanian Clibanarii commands had started the game deployed far too wide. You do the math!
Immediately their commander urged his men and their steeds forward like proper American cowboys listening to Bruce Springsteen on their gas-guzzling car stereos
Moments later they were thundering across the endless square-state plains towards the flank of the enemy army
There was literally nothing to hold back this cavalcade of cavalry in their headlong gallop as they surged across the tabletop like the Wells Fargo stagecoach trying to make up for lost time after a particularly fruitless gas station stop in which the fridge had been bare in the accomanying small retail outlet
Not even a hypothetical locally elected Sheriff channelling the ghostly spirit of Roscoe P Coltrane waving a radar speed gun could have prevented the Sassanians arriving on the right flank of the massed cohorts of French Knights almost the moment the umpire blew the starting whistle of the game
Finding postable pictures of The Dukes of Hazzard has become
somewhat trickier recently due to that whole "flag" thing
What's Going on Here Then?
Sassanid horsemen are in the Kentucky Derby as they urge their steeds faster and faster across the acres of tabletop to try and turn the French flank. The rest of the Persian army is advancing either carefully - in the form of the Cataphracts, who are balancing the need to support the Elephants flank with the risk of being stomped by French Knights - or urgently in the case of the Elephant Death star which just wants to get into contact with anything in the enemy army as soon as possible.
This looks to be, like, for sure, developing into a game all about the pacing and timing of each attack from the 4 separate Persian commands. The Elephants and flanking cavalry need to make sure they are completely engaged and committed before the Cataphracts are hit, but if the Cataphracts hang back too much this will allow the French to concentrate enough force on the Elephant corps to give it a tough time indeed.
Take me out to the ball game! The other "flanking" command was also finding its own flank as well, this time one which was nominally contested by a pair of French mounted troopers.
The mix of knightly horsemen and their supporting cast of lesser nobility contained some chunky poulet-nuggets with the capability to seriously check the Sassanian advance but their numbers simply were not enough faced with a much wider Persian line of fast-shooting mounted archers.
The Persians advanced at speed into close range, pouring arrows into the partly-caparisoned Gallic medieval nobility and their less enthused retainers.
As the Clibanarii swept forward they tasked the lighter-armed camel-riding baggage guards with outflanking the Frenchmen, adding a camel-like whiff of discomfort to the stereotypically garlic infused low level flatulence which emanated from their Parisian buttocks as they trotted across the bald green plain.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Sassanid left hook , like, for sure, totally slams into the hastily-assembled ad-hoc defence on their right having made good time across the unimpeded plains. At the same moment the other Clibanarii command on the opposite flank is also in action, seeking to pick apart by sheer weight of numbers a relatively small detachment of French nobles.
Other parts of the Persian army are not yet engaged, which suits them just fine but frustrates the eager Frenchmen no end.
By now the simple-minded plan from the simple-minded Sassanid generalship team was starting to come together as elephants closed in inexorably on the steel-clad line of French Knights.
Teams of low-level skirmishers exchanged arrows and crossbow bolts apace from close range. Awesome!
Unusually, they were now hogging the limelight as their role in protecting the capital troops of their respective armies became the focus of attention for at least a limited period of time.
And they're in! The elephant corps lumbered forward, two massive blocks of the terrifying beasts converging on a phalanx of terrified chivalric riders in a cataclysmic clash of technologies, civilizations and modes of combat. Cool!
The Sassanian infantry swarmed around the feet of their elephantry like panicking pedestrians around a Godzilla marching through downtown Tokyo, ebbing and flowing around the pachyderms assault to end up in flanking positions, piling yet more hurt on the Gallic horsemen.
As the centre of the table groaned under the weight of game-deciding combats, the Sassanians on the right flank were by now systematically picking apart the French flank force, with darting camels and surging packets of horsemen providing a foe which the Frenchmen were not fleet of foot enough to fully respond to.
Where the French could bring their Knights to bear the result was always bad for the Persians, but with speed and space to play with those frontal engagements were all too rare in this game of Dodgeball that the Persians were playing with the men from Paris.
Flip yourself a burger! As the left flank of the French army started to evaporate piecemeal the Persian Cataphracts received their orders - inch forward, stand firm against the enemy Knights for as long as you can, and pray that very soon more victorious Clibanarii will be arriving from your right to balance the odds in your favour.
Roll me a burrito hombre! On the opposite flank the tiny French force had by now been forced to resort to falling back in the face of a concerted 20floz-plus-sized elephant-led assault by the Sassanids.
Chivalric instincts combined with a dawning recognition that the entire flank of their army was now exposed, and soon the French Knights halted their falling-back and started to form a hastily-assembled new defensive line. The Knights had at last decided that time had come to stand their ground.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Sassanid Elephant Corps is now a wrecking ball carving a huge hole through the shocked and stunned chivalric nobles of the permier wine growing regions of the medieval world. Clibanarii are now adding injury to the elephantine insult by taking full advanatge of the disruption to dart behind the French lines on both flanks and mug unsuspecting knights and drag them to their doom. Cool!
The Cataphracts are inchhing forward towards combat, just fast enough to keep the enemy Knights in front of them occupied but not too hastily - their expectation was that they would lose against the French Knights, but if they could delay that until rest of the French army caves in under excessive monster truck-scale elephant pressure that would still be a good result.
While half the French Knights had just drawn a line in the sand, the others in front of them were already fighting furiously to avoid being stomped flat into the sand (or at least green felt) by the rest of the Sassanian elephant corps.
As the battle raged more and more troops from both sides were sucked into the maelstrom of combat. Like, Totally Awesome!
This was an outcome that favoured the more numerous hordes of the Persian empire than the small but high quality French nobility and their retainers.
Cadillac-tastic! Arriving at speed having pretty much swept away the French left wing screen, great hordes of horse-riding Clibanarii arrived and instantly started to influence the line of scrimmage between the Cataphracts and the Knights by the very simple and effective expedient of hammering into the rear of the French line of cavalry.
This would hurt..
Unstoppable French forces
By now both flanks of the French army were in utter disarray, as on the Sassanid left the powerful thrust of the elephants and supporting Clibanarii had smashed through the defensive line and now all flavours of Persian mounted troopers were running amok in the rear of the French army.
Everywhere the French turned there were seemingly yet more Persian forces looking to pull them from their saddles and do heinous deeds to their well-metalled carapaces at close range with pointed sticks and other implements.
The French were now not so much an army as a scattering of self-isolating noblemen, all fighting their own private wars.
Outnumbered and surrounded the French combat component simply ceased to exist as Sassanians ran amok. Like, what a Total Bummer man!
The Gallic army was now hanging on by its fingernails, kept in play only by the morale-boosting presence of hordes of support troops who continued to cheer unenthusiastically for their better-bred lords and masters.
Even the Cataphracts had done Persia proud this battle, resisting the fearsome initial charge of the enemy Knights and then slogging it out in a protracted bout of hand to hand combat to grimly achieve a position of some superiority as the battle started to wind down to an inevitable conclusion
With the centre gone, even those Knights failing against the Cataphtracts had yet more ignominy to be poured upon them.
Arriving with a triumphant trumpet, the still-intact elements of the Elephant Corps steamed into the rear of the last surviving noblemen
This was the moment the odds were tipping the game finally out of reach of the French and recording a huge victory for the men from the East!
The French army has been well and truly stoved in on both flanks, with a huge grey rapier also thrust through their very heart by the Sassanid Elephant Corps.
The Cataphracts have taken heart from the success of their colleagues and even they have performed surprisingly well against the tide of French nobles, but really this has been a game of careful timing, with thrusts coming in from all angles at the right sequential times to precisely skewer Gallic pride and defeat their army.
The Result is a crushing win for Persia!
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 Sassanid Persian Commander
Hey there Buddy, this was a stunning left hook, worthy of Frazier or Ali themselves that has won us this game in spectacular fashion against the fully armoured enemy horsemen. We have struck a blow for our own form of despotic middle eastern monarchy against the equally despotic and exploitative central European medieval monarchy of those cheese eating Frenchmen!
The epic gallop across the open plains undertaken by our mounted wing was a scene ripped out of the heart of a great Western movie, with only a stage-coach and some saloon-bar fight action seemingly missing from the near-textbook-perfect execution of this movie scenario. In it the Sassanid 7th cavalry arrived in the nick of time to support the sterling work being done by our Elephant Corps in slamming the Frenchmen from their steeds and into the ground before stomping them with their big elephanty feet.
Yet again as in the first game it was a process of delaying and avoiding frontal combat for as long as possible where we were disadvantaged, and then starting to commit in order to pin the enemy in place so they could not then react to our sweeping flank attack which did so well for us in this battle. Tactics and strategy came together as perfectly as Mac and Cheese to leave behind just a gooey sticky mess of congealed cold nonsense by the time we had finished with the French nobility
A stunning game which has set us surely up for a great victory in our third game as well, and with that a massive trophy to take home to celebrate our newly expanded Americo-European empire?
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
This was a skin of the teeth moment extended over a couple of hours, as the French started forward secure in the knowledge that you had expected an army which can only fill half the table at best to somehow fill the whole damn thing. Your cavalry on your left flank started so far from the nexus of action that they may as well have been playing in a tournament in Europe rather than appearing on the gaming tables of North America at this juncture.
Gallop as fast as they could, they still barely arrived in time before the strangely slow French Knights managed to build up a head of steam and get into your Cataphracts and Death Stars - perhaps the fear of your cavalry riding into an open gap at their rear slowed them down, but instead they may have been better just ging hell for leather and fighting what was in front of them rather than waiting for your cavalry encirclement to appear over the horizon?
Quite how yu managed to sneak past them on the right flank as well is also utterly beyond me - this should have been a barn door slammed in your faces by the forced of Chivalry and poulet-roti, but instead you even managed to secure some camel joy on that wing too.
This is developing an inexorable logic and momenty, and I am sure that as a result a spectacular fall from grace from a great height awats you in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition