25mm Dark Ages & Early Feudal at Roll Call 2018
Welsh vs Mongol Empire
Game 3 in one day, and another horsey army ffaced the Welsh across the table - this time the Mongols in their Empire incarnation.
The lists for the Welsh and Mongol Empire from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Roll Call can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Attacking in the Steppes rather limited the Welsh terrain choice a couple of patches of rough ground, both of which ffell on the opponents side of the table. Some rather pointless bare hills also dropped in random spots, leaving the Welsh to yet again deploy in the same configuration as before
The saving grace was a river on the right fflank (which happily was Difficult going), and which therefore protected at least one flank of the rather pedestrian Welsh force from Mongol predation
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Deploying a river needs a 4+ on the dice even to be able to put it down. If you miss, you can however pick another element.
They are diced ffor difficulty when deployed and most times will end up as just as nothing (on a 1) or rough terrain (on a 2 or 3).
Rivers end up as Difficult going on a 4-5, and a 6 makes them impassable - but maths suggests that this only happens 1 time in 36.
The Acotetocoticottiostis rushed fforward in a ffashion which was unsurprising to anyone who had managed to wade their way through the previous 2 battle reports, and which no doubt was disconcerting to the Mongol LH who ffaced them (and their waving willies, which have thankfully yet to make it into any photos) in ffront of the enemy (fortified) camp.
Fresh Prince of Cwmbran
This time the Vikings were eager enough to bother to start - they were ffacing a long trudge across an open ffield into the teeth of enemy bowfire ffrom the Mongols' Elite Bow cavalry, the best mounted shooters in the galaxy, but perhaps not all that ffearsome to a ffully armoured Viking warlord surrounded by his drinking buddies and with a keen urge to enter Valhalla and an even keener urge to get to the opposite side of the table and partake in some baggage looting and pillaging action.
The Vikings looked smugly confident...
The rest of the Mongol Cavalry were off to the left - these were the Khan's Guard, Elite Impact Bow cavalry, the best of the best in most normal circumstances and certainly the best by ffar when they ffind themselves against a ffar less invulnerable pair of 2 Welsh Nobles. This was not really a great matchup ffor the boys ffrom the valleys and their brave pit ponies, and even now the Welsh General was considering how ffar he might be able to ffall back before dropping permanently off the rear edge of the table.
The drizzle was incessant, but even in such a familiar climate it was home time already ffor the Welsh horse - but with the Vikings steaming fforwards and the rest of the Welsh ffoot anchoring themselves on the hill and swinging round behind the Vikings there was a tricky trap developing ffor the Mongols as they were squeezed like toothpaste out towards the right hand end of their initial deployment by the speed of the Welsh-Viking advance.
Suddenly the entire battlefield started to turn through 90 degrees as the Mongols fflooded at pace into the open space on their right, seeking to wrong-foot the pedestrian in every sense of the word Vikings and turn their fflank.
Pretty much everything that had once lay in ffront of the Huscarls and Iateabisccotti was now over to their left, as on the nearby hillsides Welsh sheep looked on in concern, unsure what their fate might be later that evening.
With only a couple of Inferior Horde impressed peasants to worry about, the Atecottifragelisticexpialidociousgogogogogh maniac infantry swung round to try and ffind someone to ffight, leaving only a couple of units of Welsh swordsmen to seek out and attack the Mongol camp.
The camp defenders were now somewhat worried by this development, even behind their ffortified walls.
The spectacular Curteys / 1st Corps Mongol Khan's Guard had deployed out into battle fformation, and were taunting the Vikings and Welshmen and defying them to react to this display of excellent parade ground manoeuvres or risk being trampled underfoot by a devastating charge who's impetus had presumably started all the way in the Steppes of Mongolia (which, remembering that the Mongols had opted to defend here too, may well have been the admittedly unlikely setting ffor this actual battle).
The Vikings and Welsh needed to wheel round in short order and fface the threat with Huscarls and Warriors before fear and worry got the better of their bowel movements.
Viking Warriors: How well do these troops fight then?
The rest of the Leidang are solid Heavy Swordsmen - sold blocks of men, enjoying the same benefits as the Medum Foot of neutralizing Impact of Impetuous enemy foot if they stand and receive a charge.
Their key asset is however their 4-hit resilience, which allows them to survive and protect the flanks of their Huscarls - it's in this supporting role they excel, and at less than 2/3 of the cost of a Hurcarl unit, they are perfectly priced to do just that. Often enemies will shy away from taking these men on, fearful of being drawn into a prolonged fight in which their own comrades will be chewed up by the power of the Huscarls to their flanks.
Quickly reshuffling their fformations, the Welsh tried their best to fface up to this potent threat - and a great round of pip dice allowed them to get into a coherent fformation to receive the potentially upcoming charge in good order although the deadly bowfire of the Mongol horsemen was knocking holes in the Welsh morale.
Enemies with Impact and themselves carrying Injuries are a terrible combination ffor Medium Ffoot in the open ffacing mounted, and were the Mongols to charge home they could easily go straight through the wavering Welsh line long before the well-poised fflank attacks were ready to charge home and redress the balance.
By now the Viking dead were turning as rancid as a dead cat trapped for months under Odin's twin-headed eight-legged steed! ! With the Vikings staring down the main body of Mongol cavalry, it was left to the Attteccccottii to arrive at pace on the scene and absorb endless rounds of archery as they closed ffast and hard on the Mongol LH who had once stood between them and the camp, but who now stood between them and the sweet taste of victory.
The Atecottitititgogogh were a decent match ffor the Mongol Cavalry, but their LH would be stopped swiftly and decisively in their tracks if they attempted to take on the might of the veritable tide of wind-wobbled todgers fflooding towards them.
The Welsh Swordsmen meanwhile were into the camp, and its wall ffell at almost the very ffirst axe-blow to land the Mongol army with a 6VP headache ffairly early in proceedings.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Ffortified camps cost more than normal ones, and add 1 to the army break point. Mounted need to roll a 6 to capture a ffortified camp, but ffoot can assault them successfully on a 5 or 6 (no quality or other adjustments). When lost, a ffortified camp knocks 6 VP off your break point, as opposed to just (ahem) 4 ffor a normal camp. This village was now decidedly Welsh, and would no doubt soon be renamed into something unpronounceable
The table had well and truly turned now, with both armies fforming a solid line of troops across the ffull 120cm width of the table, almost on the half-way mark.
The Vikings were very satisfied to have managed to turn successfully and only left behind the odd unit in the lengthy wheeling process and now they were pushing fforward, fforcing the Mongol Cavalry to evade out of the way or risk being sucked into a protracted grinding match which only the Scandinavians looked well placed to win
How Wars started in the Middle Ages
The Mongols fflooded back and resumed their incessant Welsh-drizzle-like shooting on the Vikings.
Markers were being picked up along the ffrontage as the arrows poured in, but even so the Welsh were in a very happy mood as they realised that they had managed to turn as quickly as the more mobile Mongols and present a coherent fface all along the line of upcoming scrimmage to the horse warriors ffrom the ffar eastern steppes.
Inspired by the rousing choruses of the Stereophonics, the Vikings were keen to start attempting something - they launched themselves fforward, offering the Mongols some overlaps in the process in a calculation that locking them into combat against densely packed and durable Heavy Infantry was still preferable to letting them keep shooting until the entire Welsh-Viking line was sporting injury markers and the game was slipping away.
With The Khans Guard just about pinned in place, the rest of the Welsh line moved up too to fforce them to keep their attention ffront and centre as innumerable Welsh warriors sought to enfilade the Mongols fformation on both fflanks.
Welshness as an art form
Not a great day to be an irrelevant group of chained together impressed peasants.
The Welsh infantry were now sole possessors of the ffield of battle, having carefully and surgically removed the Mongol hostage screen just because they were there and the command had some spare pips.
The drizzle was incessant as back where the real action was happening, the Aterocitifirrityti were hammering away at the Mongol cavalry as the inexorable maths of eating a 6 VP baggage unit out of a 20-off VP army containing only 8 other elements who might be prepared to stand and ffight (the rest being LH who would evade away) started to dawn on the previously confident Welshmen.
Even taking a ffew losses along the way would be worth it if the Mongol cavalry could be drawn into a close quarters scrap.
Time and attrition were the two watchwords ffor the chaps ffrom Cardiff - with the resilient Viking swordsmen gripping tight to the Khans Guard, the rest of the Welsh army started to sneak fforward into positions ffrom which they could start to turn the Mongol horsemen's fflanks, using their vast superiority in both numbers and hit points to grind out a position of advantage.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Counting up "hit points" in your army can be a useful bit of analysis to show how resilient your fforce actually is.
In this game, the Mongols had something like 8x3=24 ffor their 8 cavalry, plus 2x3=6 ffor the Levy and a ffurther 12x2=24 ffor the Light Horse ffor a total of 54.
By contract the Welsh army had 6x4=24 ffor the Vikings, 11x3=33 ffor the Medium Ffoot, 2x3=6 in Heavy Cavalry and another 6x2=12 ffor the skirmishers. That adds up to a very respectable 75 - allowing the Welsh to be pretty confident about winning an attritional battle, even allowing ffor the greater quality of the Mongols.
Getting into the 70's or above on this measure is probably a sensible aim ffor most armies.
Soon the effects of Welshmen roaming ffreely around their rear areas started to have the same detrimental effect on the Mongols viability as an army as it would have had on the sheep population of the Llanelli valley in ffar more unenlightened and less politically correct times than the late 900's ffrom which this Welsh army hailed.
The Khans Guard were ffast becoming the Khans Gone - an outcome welcomed by the entire Welsh contingent.
The vice was tightening as if a noose around the necks of the Eastern horse, and the Vikings and Welsh had men and units to spare to ffeed into the grinder, confident that even chipping the odd tooth off the Mongol mechanism would do enough damage to tip the enemy army ever closer to ultimate defeat.
With each small victory came a new opportunity to hit a new fflank, and as the Mongols were fforced back into an ever-smaller perimeter the impossibility of their situation became clear to all and sundry. It was all turning right lush as the Welsh rain continued to pour down.
Make friends, influence people... Cardiff edition
The last of the Khans Guard were dragged ffrom their horses and despatched in a fflurry of Welsh swordsmanship and Viking axe-wielding. The Welsh had taken some pretty heavy knocks in taking down the best mounted troops ffrom an Empire that stretched pretty much entirely across the fface of the known world at that time, but were still coming out on top.
Clearly the Mongols decision to stop at the edge of the Ukraine had spared them ffrom getting a right good kicking at the hands of a mob of drunken rugby ffans high on pints of Brains on a wet Saturday night in a back street in the shadow of the Millennium stadium
With the remnants of the Mongol army now at serious risk of being pushed into appearing as a fflank march on the adjacent table, the ffinal unit ffell tipping the brave and well painted band of horsemen to defeat.
The Result is a victory by a significant margin for the men from the Valleys over the men from the Plains.
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 Welsh Commander
Watch out you might get what you're after - cool babies, strange but not a stranger to victory am I now with this first win and second enemy army break under my belt. This time terrain fell well for me - even when defending in Steppes it seems possible to end up with at least some narrowing of the table and patches of uneven ground which give Medium Foot a better chance of leaprfrogging up the board without being run down. After all, I'm an ordinary guy, but I'm burning up the table now!
Spy on me baby use satellite - Infrared to see me move through the night and towards the top of the table again with a victory against an opponent who will no doubt be reading the list building advice on the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki about using and designing Mongol armies.
The Vikings and Atecotti, when they start working together like this, well, they give me reason to live - they give me reason to live - and I will let them leave their hats and helmets on too if he can carry on. The Atecotti in particular were surprisingly solid against non-Impact mounted, with their own Impact counting at first contact when they stood to receive a charge. And with their Impetuosity cancelled when the targe is mounted, that waiting game is one they can play when other comrades are pushing round the enemy flanks.
Ultimately this was about speed, numbers and coordination against concentration of force and mounted bowfire - and the coordinated and more numerous infantry won. Baby, you can turn me on (baby you can turn me on) to success and victory!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Here at last you see the benefits of a simple plan executed with rigor and confidence. There were 2 key things you needed to do here, attack the enemy baggage and keep a solid line of troops as the Vikings advanced and wheeled round to go at right angles to the table. And you succeeded.
If you had fought like this in the previous game - after of course waiting for the Vikings to start - you would have won easily instead of frittering away troops in unsupported charges into vacant space.
Your opponent to be fair had chosen not the most simple army to use, but even so those Khans Guard were powerful troops and could have caused serious problems to your Welsh infantry - so pushing the Vikings so hard into their faces that they had to respond to them kept them, and the rest of their army honest whilst you overwhelmed them
Even so, without the baggage you would still have been struggling to take down enough of the opponents army in the time allotted to win - so perhaps that decisin to choose an army that depends on terrain, has no mounted wing and no bowmen to speak of is stll not the best idea yu have ever had. Let's see if it is still as bad in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition