Classical & Roman Singles at Cold_Wars 2020
Sassanid Persian vs Alexander The Great
With the lengthy day in an increasingly chilly and damp Lancaster stretching towards dusk (not that we would know that in the stygian gloom of the theatre) the final game of 3 hove into view. Having despatched the Indians in round 1, now we faced their actual nemesis in the shape of the army of Alexander The Great.
The lists for the Sassanid Persian and Alexander The Great 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.
Alexander's army is most often a pick and mix affair, with many great troop types to try and fit together into a coherent whole. The mighty phalanx is often, in ADLG, relegated to something of an anvil and the other more dynamic arms of elephants and Companions circle dangerously to pick apart an unwary enemy
This Alexandrian army had come all the way down the I94 from Canada, and in their caravan were more pikemen than anyone could shake an 18-foot sarissa at, with a huge solid block of the phalangites stretching across the middle of the table.
One wing was, like, for sure, covered by a relatively small mixed Elephant corps, the rest had a huge block of Companions - an army being used in the historical manner.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Alexandrian army has a solid core of a massive phalanx, wider than the standard 6 units in the heart of its line. A larger than expected block of Companions sits to the right of the Phalanx, with Elephants guarding the left flank. The Persians have matched their Cataphracts and Dailami against the Phalanx, with the Clibanarii units extending the line at either end. The Clibanarii on the Persian left are surely looking to exploit the wide open space of the Makedonian right flank
Wassup? The Sassanids mix of Impact Sword Dailami and Cataphracts in the centre looked like they could be more than a decent match for the Phalanx, although on the Sassanid right the need to deal with the enemy Elephants may prove more tricky
Alexander and his army were squeezed up against the edge of the table, denying the Sassanid cavalry wing much space to time to exploit what limited flanks were available.
The initial attacking thrust of Alexanders army was, like, for sure, swift and powerful, as the Phalanx projected itself across the table at incredible speed.
With this juggernaut bearing down on them the Persians were desperately throwing pips to try and redeploy at least some of their own elephants out of the way of the Phalanx out to the flank, otherwise the meagre cavalry wing risked being run down at speed and crushed under elephant hooves
What's Going on Here Then?
The Alexandrian army sent its elephant corps drifting to the left, making things harder for the Sassanids to force a way down this flank with their cavalry, whilst the rest of the army starts to move forward. The Persians are concentrating on pushing their cavalry out to the left wing so it can outflank the advancing line of Companions and trip up their advance on the Persian Cataphracts
The Phalanx was also closing in fast on the line of Cataphracts, who checked their armour and sharpened their swords for what they expected to be a prolonged bout of close quarters combat as the steel-clad horsemen fought toe to toe with the Macedonian infantry for supremacy.
Further out to the Sassanid left wing (which would of course counted as the centre ground in a battle fought in any other country) clouds of Companions massed ominously, outnumbering the smaller numbers of bow-armed Sassanian Clibanarii by some margin.
it always ends badly I assure you! Why make gags only Ethan Zorick will appreciate??
Like, Totally Awesome!
The end of the Cataphract line was only moments away from being hammered into by the furiously advancing Makedonian nobility, their retainers and pet monkeys
The whole Alexandrian army seemed intent on bringing the Persians to battle at the earliets possible opportunity.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Alexandrians have suddenly picked up pace, catching the Persians out with the speed of their advance over the final few hundred tabletop yards between the two armies and now they are close to entering battle. This fast attack has prevented the Persians developing their planned attack on the right as their elephants now have to content with a Phalanx in their elephantine faces. In a similar vein the Asarvan Clibanarii on the Sassanid left find themselves a l;ittle too far away to affect the upcoming combat between Cataphract and Companion, and even now they are hastening back to join the battle.
In a flurry of hooves and a kicking-up of dust the Alexandrian skirmish screen fell back through the onrushing freight train of Companions and suddenly they were in combat red in tooth and claw with a large component of the Sassanian line
At the same time the flanking command of Clibanarii sat becalmed and pip-lite, unwilling or unable to respond. It was, like, Totally Awesome!
The Three Key Weapons of Alexander
The Companions slammed home and the Sassanid cataphracts were rocked back on their metal-shoe'ed heels as the force of the charge threatened to sweep them away at a stroke of the dice.
Hit markers tumbled like the snow in the Zagros Highlands as the Cataphracts certainly came off much the worse in these early round exchanges. Cool!
As the Persian flanking force stood and watched the battle on this flank at least was already threatening to slip away before they could intervene
What's Going on Here Then?
Alexander's rapid advance has caught the stunned Sassanids cold, with the classic simplicity of a frontal attack with overwhelming force totally flat-footing the tricksy Persians before they have time to realise their mistakenly aggressive deployment. The Cataphracts look set to be overwhelmed with both Comkpanions and Pikemen crashing into them like a great Makedonian wave of hurt. Elsewhere, the battle has not developed as quickly as the Makedonians hold back where they lack an advantage and the Persians fume impotently as their bow-armed heavy cavalry struggle to find a place in the battle plan or narrative on either flank.
Dude! On the opposite flank the lumbering Alexandrian Death Star was slowly starting a Saucer Separation as it dithered about which tempting target to go after first - the Sassanid Elephants or their force of Cavalry who were trying to push a passage down the extreme edge of the table.
The Dailami and the rest of the Sassanid Elephant Corps were however in a much less difficult situation.
They knew their job was, like, for sure, to slam into the phalanx, cut it to pieces like peeling an orange with a specially designed orange peeling tool from Bed, Bath and Beyond (or possibly Williams Sonoma following their recent upgraded paint job) and smash the anvil of the Alexandrian army clean in two.
But the mighty Phalanx was as wide as it was unsubtle, and in that expanse it had considerably overlapped the Dailami and fond itself with men and pikes to spare to join in with the Companions in assaulting the steady line of Sassanid Cataphracts..
As the long spear carrying infantry charged forwards in the near-stygian gloom of the Host's Theatre the Cataphracts braced themselves to use their own Impact., armour and Elitness to hold back the tide - but sadly with little success as markers sprouted everywhere
Seeing the moment of truth fast approaching the Dailami also piled forward into contact with their pike-hefting enemies, as their mounted wingmen south to distract the Alexandrian elephants with a series of close range card tricks, and Youtube videos of cats shown on their large-format pre-Samsung-Korean handheld devices, and of course some close quarters archery.
Alexanders skirmish screen was not impressed, and the elephants behind snickered to themselves like teenagers at the back of a yellow school bus in anticipation.
As the Companions, like, for sure, totally started to unzip the supposedly solid line of Cataphracts the other fleet of wingmen cavalry returned to the fray, beating their way through a cloud of midge-like Greek skirmishing horsemen who had gotten in the way of the seemingly not so clever Sassanid plan to engage and then roll up the Alexandrian flank.
The Cataphracts however were being eroded far faster than the Sassanids could get into their flank - things were looking decidedly iffy on Steve's side of the table. It was like, a Total Bummer man!
What's Going on Here Then?
The Phalanx is now rolling over the Dailami and the Companions have pretty much already rolled the Persian Cataphracts as the stunned Sassanid start to realise the cutting edge and beating heart of their army has been ripped clean out by Alexanders men. The Persians lack enough men to stand up to the extra-wide pre-Successor army and in this game width is beating armour by some margin. The Persians Asarvan cavalry are just about back in the game, but their arrival seemes more likely to be one which allows them to see an Alexandrian victory at close quarters than to influence th eoutcome in any meaningful manner.
The Dailami had charged home successfully, but were still about as far from smashing the hole they had hoped into the line of pikemen as the lunchtime culinary options on offer in the foyer of the Host were from anything recognisable as actual edible food.
The Sassanid Empire
Suddenly, in a flurry of metal scales the line of Cataphracts gave up the Sassanian ghost and started to return in droves to their own metal storage bunker, clearly preferring the utter darkness of the biscuit tin to the gloomy ambiance of today's gaming room.
The Companions were victorious across great swathes of the front line,and were now looking for more victims, as the Persian flank force realised it had arrived too late to make enough of a difference to the Cataphracts fate
The Dailami and Elephants continued their inconclusive slogging match - this was far from the heroic and decisive breakthrough the Persian hillmen had hoped to achieve, and the longer the battle dragged on the more likely it became that the Phalanx would gain the upper hand.
Alexander, the Mini-cartoon
The Great Wall of Cataphracts was crumbling fast now along its' entire length.
Pikemen surged forward like an unstoppable wave of overpriced and slightly underwhelming IPA into the spaces recently vacated by the fast-departing mail clad horsemen.
One by one, the Sassanids started to implement their own self-inflicted lockdown period and return to their storage facilities in great numbers.
The Dailami were suffering a similar if not yet quite so dramatic fate as the slow and inexorable push of pike began to shave off their supports and scatter hit markers around like dead person confetti.
Secret Life of Alexander the Great
With the Cataphracts by now almost totally eliminated the Companions had been freed up to stage a valiant defence of the flank of their master's army against the onrushing Sassanian Clibanarii.
Not only had the Greek Nobility smashed through the fully armoured Persians frontally, they were now proving more than capable of holding their lesser armoured brethren back as well.
Cadillac-tastic! With the Persians losing confidence Alexanders mounted component swarmed around the embattled horse archers and assailed them from all sides, dragging them from their saddles and pulling them to their doom
Flip yourself a burger! The Dailami were now reduced to isolated pockets of survivors, frantically hoping that the Alexandrians had enough time to break the Persian army before their own mercenary bodies were impaled by pikemen arriving at speed from all directions.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Phalanx has steamrollered the Persian centre, treating Dailami and Cataphracts with equal distain, aided competently by the mighty Companions. Tattered remnants of the Sassanid wings are all that remain to try and salvage some small gruel of points from the onrushing wall of defeat they now face.
Roll me a burrito hombre! The game was drifting fast towards an unsatisfactory conclusion for anyone of an Iranian persuasion (unless they happened to be romantically attached to a certain Mr Alexander T Great), in much the way as Darius' battles against Alexander had done in real actual history I guess.
Seeing the writing on the dimly lit wall the Sassanids launched as many attacks as possible, hoping to notch up a few more points before succumbing to near inevitable defeat
The Dailami even resorted to the shameless tactic of breaking off from combat from their slower moving foes to try and but a few more seconds of precious time before their colleagues crumbled to dust across the entire frontage of battle
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Yeah, faster moving non-Impetuous troops can always break off from combat in ADLG, but of course only in their own turn, and in the movement phase as well. That means if you initiate combat there are at least 2 rounds of fighting before you can get to break off - your turn and the next enemy turn. It's kinda a rare thing to happen, and is also a little cowardly too!
Desperation hung in the air like droplets of antibacterial surface spray cleaner (or possibly that's what it was anyway?) as the Persians hurled idiotic attacks at the Greek exiles in a vain and unsuccesful attempt to claw respectability out of this game.
The battle ended at the point it had pivoted, with the Persians unable to overwhelm the Companions. A crushing defeat to end the run of two previous victories which saw the Cold Wars trophy head back up the highway to Canadia!
The Result is a swift and crushing defeat for Persia.
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
From back home in the bayou I believe we shall gloss swiftly over this one as quickly as possible - perhaps I can hire a spokesperson to try and change the subject to something else entirely whilst spouting a tide of half truths and outright lies whilse I skulk off into the darkness at the edge of town here in Amish Country and try and find out what else I coudl be playing at this convention as this game certainly seems to have escaped me
Given our opponents deplyed in a textbook historical fashion and advanced at speed to slam into us with their best troops as soon as possible yet at the same time held back a bit where they might be disadvantaged, I am struggling to understand how our own gimmicky cobbled together army managed to falter and stumble against such a historically deployed and managed foe?
Surely in the world of tabletop games this nonsense of actual simple historical tactics is a fig leaf behind which onlt scoundrels hide?
This has been a chastening experience and one which fills me with horror and dread about how tomorrows 3 singles games will turn out
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You over clever idiocy managed eventually to bring all of its various chickens home to roost in one massive fell swppo, descending like a bald eagle on the dice tower of your efforts and carrying it away to be dashed into a million MDF pieces against the harsh rocks of utter humiliation. And about time too I might add
Your fancy-pants army failed to take advantage of its features in any way whatsoever, as you lined up on the start line and allowed them to be run over. The field of play has enormous depth and width but you squandered both in the very moment of commencing and after that there was less chance of finding a way back than there was of an Amish buggy-rider overtaking a BMW M3 on the outside highway
But, in all of this debacle you also failed to do even the most simple, important and obvious thing in these situations - attempt to blame your doubles partner! Steve gets off almost scott free here, despite the fact your Death Star was crushed and your flanking cavalry achieved precisely nothing it surely could have been possible to take the photos so as to make it look like it was his fault?
Tomorrow brings less troops, a smaller table but the same army to bear. It will be fascinating to see how you do with less capable help
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