Cold Wars 2020
200 Points Format Singles
OMG! A year late, with a worldwide pandemic in the meantime, but finally here are some battle reports from the 2020 (yes!) singles ADLG competition at Cold Wars 2020!
Cold Wars, as those of you old enough to remember the previous three reports may remember, was fought under the long looming shadow of impending pandemic lockdown, and pretty much has to have been the last major wargames gathering of any type held in the US.
I had taken across a small but perfectly formed mostly Legio Heroica Sassanid army to use in both Doubles and Singles, and having faltered at the last hurdle on the Friday, Saturday would see an experimental one-Elephant Sassanid army take to the 200 point field in the singles
But, before that moment comes around it is certainly worth a recap of the night between the day before and the day to come. Yes, an intrepid troop of maskless wargamers had eaten southern style BBQ-sauce slathered hunks of meat and fries in the Amish Country's finest Roadhouse Grill, consuming significant quantities of craft ales before the tail-end Charlies (me, Crotteau and Richard Woolford, our tame Kiwi.) broke from the pack to go visit the even less inviting Family Beer House next door.
As well as the many attractions (ie a barmaid who was forced to pretend to want to talk to us as there were no other customers) this place boasted one of the weirdest unwelcoming murals every committed to a beer-room wall - the sly southern sweaty crocodile.
With the pandemic casting dark shadows, and indegestion mixing the frothy local ales incoherently, the task of divining what tale was being told in this strage image consumed us for many hours.
Was the armadillo dead, or just asleep? And either way, why did it appear to be wearing no trousers?
Was the crocodile merely hot, or was that the sweat of guilt dropping from his brow?
The Old Man - was he judge, jury (and maybe executioner?) - or had he missed the whole armadillo-de-bagging incident and the croc was sat hoping he would fail to notice and allow the sweating beast to get clean away with whatever crime he had committed?
As the night wore on, the croc just looked more and more guilty - but as the closing bell rang out, we sadly realised that this was one mystery we might never find the answer to...
The next day dawned bright and cheery - apart from the foreboding sense of dead that in this case was not pandemic related, but more the realisation that a nearly elephant-free Sassanid army list with an Alan ally may be a bit crap.
I contemplated my other options, but sadly as the Amish Country's leading Theme Park and Family Attraction, Dutch Wonderland, was still closed for the winter, I realised that I would have to actually play in the ADLG competition.
Anyways, on with the games....
The first battle saw the mighty Persian Empire taking on what very oddly might even have been a possible historical foe had the dice fallen differently in ancient times, the Maccabean Jewish.
This was an army comprised mostly of aggressive Medium Impact foot, or "gnarly speedbumps" as the Sassanids liked to think of them, and it had wedged itself as firmly between a steep hill and a waterway as many years later a huge container ship would wedge itself in that same Suez canal waterway.
The question was would the Maccabeans prove to be as hard to shift as the Evergreen ...?
The lists for the Sassanid Persian and Maccabean 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 Sassanids were now regretting not bringing any Cataphracts to join their line of well-equipped shooting cavalry as they inched their way carefully forward down the edge of the waterway as only a visitor to the country who had over-eaten spicy food the night before and was facing the prospect of a long journey home later that day could do. The Judeans sat and waited, as immobile as if they were small lead statues.
The Sassanids had a small and unusual Alan Ally, represented tonight Matthew by these Mongol Steppe cavalry.
They had been deployed to skirmish away hopefully a large part of the enemy army, but the Judeans refusal to play that game had left them as bereft of interest from their opponents as a salad bar on the lunchtime pizza truck in the Cold Wars foyer.
The Sassanids were advancing painstakingly slowly, with a Mediocre Spear option for their Levy giving cause for temptation to the Maccabeans I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions Cavalry who milled around aimlessly in the rear echelons of the Judean army.
As the Jewish infantry parted and retreated like the Red Sea, the I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions lurched to the fore, triggering a simultaneous switch and bait from the Persians who rushed their sub-part spearmen out of the way to give the Asarvan a sight of the enemy. Gaps were now starting to appear as the Maccabeans shuffled their pack - this looked time for an enthused charge by the Persians!
The Maccabean Revolt
Maccabeans were boiling off the steep hill, at the same instant tempted by the thought of paltry Alan opposition and frightened by the inexorable logic of Medium Foot in the Open vs Mounted Opponents
This was the classic paradox, and that whole loose formation against cavalry thing had of course been a solid guarantee of combat failure since the first wargames rules were carved into tablets of stone by a dope-smoking, sitar-strumming long haired Phil Barker sometime in the late 1960's as Revolver by the Beatles played quietly in the far-off background.
Knowing the Maccabeans weren't going anywhere, the Asarvan decided to do a bit of that old Evading stuff, falling back as the I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions charged forward and exposing the elephant to its ideally identified opponents in a flash of equine buttocks and whisking tails.
Had the ICBTAC Cavalry made a heinous error of judgement ?
In fact, why not take the whole line back as well?
The Judeans were clearly going nowhere, so dragging them forward a smidge and buying more time for more shooting.
More time was needed, as so far the Maccabean infantry had proved themselves as impervious to the arrows of the Sassanids as the bartender last night had been to the many-fold charms of three wargamers who probably averaged about twice her age.
The Inevitable Jewish Revolt Video
As the Maccabeans inevitably felt the pull of aggressive action, they slipped and snuck forward like a gamer perusing the terrain stands in the Cold Wars trade hall on their 5th circuit, coming a little off the hill and towards the jostling Alans.
Moving almost as one, the long line of Sassanid Asarvan spun around with more grace and style than an Amish buggy turning left at a stop light and started to re-approach the line of grass-fed Judean warriors yet again.
The Persians elephant had hurled its big grey body ... sorry, that's a flashback to the chap in front of me at the breakfast line in my hotel... had launched an attack on the I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions, using it's innate elephantness to clobber their waiting-for-an-LBMS-delivery shields resilience.
At least that should take the most potent elements in the Maccabean army out of the game for a while, if not permanently!
Well.. maybe not. Exhibiting the sort of luck normally reserved for the first person to reach the Flea Market on a Friday afternoon the I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions had resisted the elephantine charge and inflicted an unwarranted reverse on the great beast.
More Judeans rushed forward to mob the poor hapless creature in a clear attempt to spread the gospel of the previous nights BBQ cuisine to the shores of the middle east and Iran... although with even bigger elephant-shaped portions (were that actually possible).
Anti Elephant Tactics
The beat evaporated in a puff of, well , maybe best not go there ...
Suddenly the Maccabeans were back and firing on all cylinders as they formed an utterly coherent line including their I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions to storm forward and launch into unmitigated combat against the now-shorter Persian cavalry phalanx.
The carefully enunciated flags of the rest of the army were also now taking up the offensive, launching themselves from their mountain fastness and into the Alans, who suddenly realised just what a small and easily overlapped command they actually were.
The Sassanids were having a more catastrophic morning than the waitress in the breakfast place who had been forced to try and make sense of our inarticulate mumblings of "maple syrup" and "sausages" in a combination of English and Canadian accents the like of which she clearly had never heard.
Epic combat of the highest dice-delivered order saw the Sassanid Cavalry General in his big blue bubble hats come a right cropper, losing spectacularly in a combat he should have won with ease with a series of deadly rolls which saw him fall from his horse and be trampled under a hail of Jewish sandals.
Astonishingly, as the dust of this creschendo of combat cleared, the mounted Persian warriors had come off by far the worst almost all along the line - markers sprung up like skeletons in a Harry Harryhausen movie to mark the erosion of Sassanid morale and effectiveness.
The Alans were faring much better - standing up as bravely as anyone who it is assumed will inevitably be called Alan possibly could do, the almost-Mongol horsemen had stemmed the charging tide of pedestrian Maccabees with aplomb and a sense of duty which seemed to outweigh their mercenary status
Or, possibly, that big old hill blocked their line of sight to the shambolic showing of their Persian paymasters and they'd just rolled kinda expected dice instead of stoofing things up at every opportunity.
No, don't look, it's not worth it...nothing to see here"
With one of the Persian commanders sent off to that great Fire Temple in the sky, the Sassanid line was astoundingly starting to fall apart like a terrain piece mede up entirely of badly glued sawdust shavings from the sweepings of an Amish person's stable in the torrential rain which had swept through Lancaster County the day before.
Gaps bigger than those in the teeth of what most Americans believe to be a stereotypical Englishman appeared in the Sassanid Clibanarii lines as fleet-sandaled Maccabean warriors raced forward to take up positions to mullah (wrong word) the Persians flanks.
The Alans were starting to realise than being Mongolian horsemen they really needed to be fighting enemies some several hundred, or even thousand years later than these resilient Maccabeans.
The lack of numbers in the allied command was really starting to be felt as the Judeans lapped around both flanks and got well stuck into the armour-less Medium Cavalry who supported the one HCv Commander in this bunch of steppe nomads from out of time.
Too many yellow markers by far were now on table behind the Alan line, and even with a gap to exploit surely the consideration of a break-off move must be rising in their little Alan-shaped heads by now?
The Persians themselves were also thinning out faster than the attendance at a convention held in the shade of a global pandemic where the players did not have a plausible excuse of being out of cellphone coverage to allow them to avoid taking panicked "come home now" calls from their partners/significant others.
The I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions in particular were carving a bigger slice through the Persians than anything available on the mid-morning Pizza buffet cart in the hotel lobby
The countless hordes of almost-Biblial Maccabeans were starting to wobble as well however, as gaps appeared in their lines in a wave of combats where the exhaustion of both armies suddenly translated into a wave ofdramatic evaporations and opportunities.
This was where the small-but-quality theory of the Sassanid commander (driven largely by the need to transport the army hand luggage) was starting to come undone, as the Persians were forced to resort to hurling their baggage guards forward to exploit the rapidly opening gaps in the Judean lines.
Why Hand Luggage...
The Alans lack of numbers was also suddenly coming home to roost with aplomb as multitudes of quality Maccabeans swarmed off the hillsides and surrounded the pseudo-Mongolian cavalrymen dragging them from their steeds and smiting them mightily to the ground.
The whole battle was teetering on the edge of a knife, in a Meat Loaf inspired paeon to the glories of the Great American Highway which visually dominated the otherwise unappealing view out of the windows of this exotic gaming space distinguished from the previous day's venue by the presence of, erm, windows.
The small but imprefectly designed Persian army had shed many of it's units and a General as well, but the Maccabeans were now carrying so many fluffy green pom-pom casulaty markers that they were too embarassed to allow photography from angles that showed them clearly.
As if by Judean magic, and in a puff of puff-balls the Sassanid line of top quality, Medium Foot destroying Cavalrymen appeared to be much shorter.
No-one could explain this phenomenon other than the Gods (or perhaps God) of Dice who today it appeared was looking down most kindly on the Judean Peoples Liberation Front and their fleet of foot legions of surprisingly resilient infantrymen.
The Persians had been halted in their four-legged tracks by the bravery and self-discipline of the redoubtable Judeans, slumping to defeat in a straight-up front to front slog.
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
My mighty empire spans the full extent of the historic forefathers the Achaemenids, we are the most glorious civilization known to mankind, and our normal enemies the Romans tremble at the mere sound of our names... but this outrageous shambles of pedestrians seem to have stumped our military advances.
As the greatest Persian Commander since the poorly-spun achievements of the Great Darius I did expect a straightforward victory here by dint of forming a line, advancing, shooting and then winning.
This of course did not come to pass and I now need to find a scapegoat to sacrifice so that my unblemished record of total success in 2 of the 3 previous games can be maintained
Perhaps this is a day for the Alans to shoulder the great responsibility of defeat perchance? Maybe if they had only actually appeared as Alans rather than some bodged together knockoff Mongols things could have and would have been better?
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You Persian fopwit, you dankish earth-vexing maggot pie! In the final reckoning youbarely managed to scrape a second place in this battle of two linear armies, and it is not hard to see why even for someone of your crass stupidity
Imagine if the opposition you faced could have placed their chosen terrains exactly where they wanted them? Yes, the tedious arable landscape surrounding Lancaster PA bears no resemblance to the seaside canyon into which you foolishly funnelled your unimaginative shoddy hot mess of an army to the evident delight of your grateful opposition.
Honestly, this was a paradigm example of why not to stay out late drinking crappy beers in an almost empty roadside family faux-Tex-mx dining experience. Frankly the Sweating Crocodile could have come up with a better plan than this one. How stupid do you have to be to realise that you needed to draw out the opposition from their fortress?
And, that self-inflicted wound of the Alans? And an unsupported lone elephant? Stone me backwards with an Amish Rock Cake dipped in Jack Daniels shooters! 2 Elephants and a couple of Dailami would have won this game on their own by the time the morning batch of hotel coffee had drip-percolated (yeah, I have no idea why America does that either?), but instead you had a badly designed army that played exactly into your opponents hands. A fully deserved defeat which I am sure will be repeated in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
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