Classical and Roman at Lisboa 2022
Achaemenid Persian vs Alexandrian Makedonian
The following day, after a large meal containing all of the major food groups (Shellfish, together with beer, and also red, white and Port wine), and a repeat of the worlds cheapest breakfast we were all back in the Museum - and by "back in" I actually mean "right in the back of", as a grim series of results had seen us relegated well beyond the main room and onto the tables which had a definate whiff of "the loser will be blown away by cannon fire" about them
My opponent for the morning session started in encouraging fashion, by informing me that he was both rather unskilled in speaking English, and still hideously drunk from the night before. Well, to be more accurate, his colleague informed me of this - and soon after explained to his opponent Gordon that on reflection he too may also be still under the influence of alcohol consumed mere hours earlier too
All in all an encouraging start, as it was becoming clear that our reputation as chumps has gone before us, and our opponents were now self-handicapping themselves in order to make a reasonable game of the matchups
The lists for the Achaemenid Persian and Alexandrian Makedonian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Lisboa can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Alexandrian - the Alexandrian army just before he gets the crazy toys. That does mean relying on the power of the Phalanx, and the cutting edge of the Companions. It worked for Alex, but picking the later option with Elephants and more interesting stuff is always tempting for the average wargamer
It had transpired that there was quite a lot of quite nasty terrain on table for this battle, with a hill well placed for the Alexandrians to anchor one flank upon, and a large wood to my right which I'd really struggle to send much past without the risk of it getting caught and defeated piecemeal by superiod Makedonian cavalry forces
The Phalanx were also pretty clearly going to have to deply to the left of the hill and wheel forward, so to counter this I decided to mass both main commands on the left, sweep round to attack the right hand end of the Makedonian line while trying to avoid combat with the Phalanx as long as possible
The Light Horse command was sent on a flank march on the right, hoping to arrive behind the Alexandrian army and swiftly move to sack their camp in a move which surely no-one would see coming?
Keen to get stuck in the Sparabara and cavalry on the Persian left wing raced forward out of the blocks and made a bee-line for the traditional peltasts and rather vanilla cavalry anchoring the end of the Alexandrian line.
Unable to come up with a suitable ice cream based metaphor to describe their situation, the Medium and Heavy Cavalrymen just sat in place and hoped that their Strategist Commander would find something more for them to do other than wait to melt away under the hail of arrows heading their way.
Pasteis de Nata! The Satrapal Persian cavalry meanwhile had a much clearer task - delay the Phalanx as long as possible to buy time for the Persian flank march to arrive, and the left-hook to get its shooting boots (eh?) on against the opposite flank of the enemy forces.
The Makedonian Phalanx
Alexander shook off his historically appropriate booze-induced headache and started to roll the Phalanx and the rest of his army slowly forward in response to the surging Persian advance.
With nothing much on the Persian right wing, the whole Makedonian force was being inexorably drawn to gap between the terrain pieces, with a stellar quality battle between the Mighty Phalanx and the Really Rubbish Persian Archery Platform an almost inevitable anticlimactic moment looming large in the narrative further down this very page
What's Going on Here Then?
The first-mover advantage has allowed the Persian army to pin the Phalanx back in it's starting zone, and without it's own set of skirmishers the Makedonian spearmen have no neans of driving off the harassing Persian horsemen so can only advance cautiously under th ehail of arrows
A lopsided Persian deployment has also pretty much taken the Thracians out of the battle already, and their low-grade General is also struggling to motivate them to speed across the table to swing around the Persian right flank
Cristiano Ronaldo's Sporadic Bouts of Insincere Humility! In a rare moment of military unity the Elite Immortals and Not So Elite Sparabara both started to open up their buckets of archery prowess and hurl the pointy shaped contents at the Peltasts at the end of the Makedonian line.
A thin screen of skirmishers were bravely mandated to soak up the volume of fire, but even they had little scope to dodge between such a thick rain of arrows from the deeply effete men from the East
With the Phalanx now committed, Thracian peltasts boiling gently through the wooded area and yet more Makedonian horsemen thinking of sneaking around the terrain to make a run at the Persian baggage, Cyrus' Satrapal Cavalry decided that their task was in fact to face off the enemy Cavalry, and they beat a retreat back to cut off the would-be looters at some pace
The Siege Wagon was in position, ready to be a short-term irritant and stumbling block for the mighty Phalanx
The pride of Alexander's army was aiming itself straight at the ridiculous contraption, soon to engage in yet another round of the classic quiz, "Have any of my opponents read the rules about how the hand to hand opponents of War Wagons can't claim overlaps against them?"
With three Companions threatening to burst through the gap between the Phalanx and the Thracian Peltasts, the rather hapless Chaldean spearmen were also now rushing across the table too in their seemingly endless mission to be impaled by high quality lance-armed enemy horsemen after a short but desparate struggle in every game of the entire tournament.
Piri Piri Chicken! The Satrapal Nobility shut the door firmly on the aspirations of the Makedonian horsemen, and then started pinging archery at them to add, well, arrows to insults as they waited for the flank march to arrive and give Persia a decisive advantage with which to initiate combat
What's Going on Here Then?
The Persian left wing is now in place with both Sparabara and Immortals combining against the same target for the first time this weekend. The Alexandrian army has extended its line to the rear edge of the table with standard Cavalry, allowing the Persians Horse Archer Satrapal Guard to join in the shooting spree, secure in the knowledge that they are better than the non-shooting Greeks in combat as well
With the Phalanx slowly closing on a load of nonsense in the middle, and the Makedonian left wing still largely out of the game there looks to be plenty of time for Persian shooting to devastate the end of the Makedonian line, thus exposing the bythen fully engaged Phalanx to a deadly flank attack. The Persian flank march now also has an unimpeded route to the baggage when it finally arrives
Peniche, Nazare and Matosinhos! The pressure was starting to tell on the right hand end of Alexanders line, as the reality of an army in which everything bar the two Chaldean Spearmen could shoot was becoming blatantly obvious to all and sundry
Thus far the Makedonians were just about hanging on, but the ablative shield of skirmishing infantry were starting to lose heart at being asked to suck up so much punishment and so many arrows - and the two cavalry were visibly wilting as Persian mounted archery treated them with sheer contempt
The Successors to Alexander
As the Makedonian skirmish screen finally fled in terror (wearing what now looked like a very decent impression of an arrow-based porcupine disguise) the Sparabara and Satrapal cavalry stepped smartly up and started hammering the hapless Peltasts and semi-Greek horsemen at close range.
As the sun beat down outside, things were really starting to hot up across the whole battlefield here in the Museum!
L'Art de la Guerre hint - "Close Range" isn't actually a thing in ADLG - you are either in range or you are not. But by getting within 1MU of the enemy you severely limit their opportunities to do any clever dancing about escape-ey sorts of moves, so getting right in the enemy's face when you have an advantage is usually the right thing to do (even for archers).
Oh Happy Day! Yes the Chaldeans had managed to forced-march their way behind and past the Archery Platform and Wallpaper Pasting Table Of Doom and insert themselves firmly in the eyeline of the hyper-cool Companions.
With Satrapal cavalry also weighing in, and with arrows flying down from the top tier of the mobile department store tower (where the haberdashery department provided hat pins to act as arrow points) suddenly the creme of Alexander's army was facing an unpalettable choice of attacking some cheap as chips soldiery who were actually quite optimized for facing Companions
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Spearmen, supported, but also Mediocre vs Elite Heavy Cavalry Lancers is pretty clunky, as both sides most likely will neutralise one another at impact.
The Spear start well, with a base factor of 1 and an additional +1 if/when the Cavalry charge in. The Cavalry have a factor of Zero against Heavy Foot frontally, and the infantry Spear capability also cancels the Companions Impact too.
The reason its likely to be inconclusive is that if the Spears roll high they deduct 1 from any roll of 4,5 or 6 for being Mediocre, and if they lose they get to add +1 in to account for their Rear Support. The Companions also add +1 to any (poor) roll of 1,2 or 3 because they are Elite, and also add +1 if they lose due to having better armour, giving both sides mitigating factors to turn defeats (and, in the case of the Spearmen, victories) into ties.
The presence of Rear Support for the Spearmen also negates the usual "Furious Charge" extra hit that Impact Cavalry would normally inflict on any infantry they beat in the first round of combat
Yes! The Wheeled Wallcovering of war was back in combat, this time against the Mighty Phalanx who joined the long list of opponents throughout the weekend to utter the Immortal (see what I did there?) line; "
What, you don't get overlaps against War Wagons?" .
Not that it appeared to matter unduly, as the apex military predator of the Makedonian martial ecosystem triumphed almost immediately against the comedy airborne platform for trainee Persian missile armed sykdivers with a love of interior decoration
As the wagon yet again collapsed in a flurry of wooden splinters and soggy patterned paper the Chaldean Spearmen suddenly realised that they too would soon face the wrath of the Phalanx as vast open spaces appeared in front of the Phalanx on the once wagon-cluttered battlefield.
Bacalhau a Lagareiro!
But by now the Persian Flank March had arrived, just in time for its Guard Cavalry Bodyguard and embedded Commander to strike a decisive blow on the cavalry on Alexander's left wing. Off in the far distance yet more lighter horsemen raced toward an undefended and now quivering baggage camp.
Bola de Berlim! as they say in Amarante!
Caldo Verde! With the right flank cavalry of Alexanders army now well and truly routed, Persian horsmen were flowing around the rear of the right and centre of the Makedonian army at some speed.
Knowing their horsemen were riding to the rescue, the Immortals and Sparabara decided that they too could risk combat against the Peltasts and Pikemen of the main body of enemy foot and started wreaking terrible damage on the fast-collapsing right wing of Alexanders army
Bolinhos de Bacalhau! Even with the Phalanx bearing down on their flank, the Chaldeans were giving a very decent account of themselves against the embattled Companions, stemming the fury of their charge and drawing upon reserves of Persian horsemen to further erode the Makedonians will to resist
The Peltasts collapsed like a deck of Greek Alphabet and Roman Numeral inscribed playing cards as the wildly attired Immortals and Sparabara coordinated their attacks with the Persian horsemen arriving at speed in the semi-Greek's rear areas.
Vasco de Gama's Airport Lounge Access Pass! The small but high quality Aleandrian forces were teetering on the brink of total collapse as their flank imploded and troops were removed from the table in Persian fistfuls
Finally, the galloping horsemen of the Persian flank march made it to the enemy baggage camp, and as the many other previous casualties looked on in horror and despair, the looters tipped the Alexandrian army to defeat
The Result is a stonking victory for the Persians, galloping through 8 turns in just over 90 minutes of game play!
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 Achaemenid Persian Commander
I am crowned the Mightiest of Kings of Kings, Lord of all I survey, Master of Europe and Asia Minor. Alexander is vanquished, the Persian hegemony restored, all is well in the world especially as I can now sneak out early and think about a cheeky pre-midday beer as well!
This was a great victory for my men in a battle in which I had to come up with a totally new tactic, and concentrate all my firepower on one flank while refusing the centre, inctead of concentrating it on both flanks while refusing the centre.
Fortunately my men achieved this with great aplomb, and the timely arrival of the flank march merely hastened the inevitable demise of the plodding enemy army in the face of my mesmerising brilliance.
The greatness of the Persian Everlasting Empire is now guaranteed, at least until the last game of the weekend. It is only a shame my colleagues and team mates are not as brilliant as I.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Looking at this as a victory for tactics makes me think that thou has not so much brain as ear-wax. The terrain and the army of your opponent made any other tactics save those you employed such obvious folly that not even you could be tempted to stumble badly into that swamp of mistakes
Thou art the cap of all the fools to consider that this game did aught but run on rails toward a victory against a still inebriated opponent which you then followed up by attempting to top up your own inebriation quotient yet again
Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon, then I sould spit on you from a great height and with all the cannon in the museum to hear such claims
Threadbare juggler! Do not even claim the flank march was an act of intelligence - merely a response to the fact there was nowhere on table for it to fit, which then resulted in great fortune when your opponent walked his phalanx into your trap. Let's see if the opposition is as accommodating in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition