The Rus & Viking World at The Southern League R4 2022
The Rus vs Viking
After scrambling a quick coffee from the outside catering pod on the bucolic village green next to the venue, the second game hove quickly into view as if landing by Longship on the beaches of a Scottish Isle. And yes, that clunky metaphor does mean the opposition would be The Vikings!
The lists for the The Rus and Viking from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Southern League R4 can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Vikings - another solid infantry army, which has the potential to be full of both of the nemesis-types for the Rus. Viking 2HW mean win ties with spears, and they can also have a few beserker-style Impetuous foot with the potential to blow a hole in the Rus line with a Furious Charge. Not an opponent where the Rus bowmen would be all that useful either.
With both sides keen to line up and fight, a waterway narrowing the table to the left and some impassible woods on the Rus right flank the game seemed well set for a proper dice-fest slog.
Only a well-positined hill on my left looked important, and with the Rus defending and so able to drop an ambush marker there, it was entirely possible the spearmen could claim height advantage in the inevitable melee to come
L'Art de la Guerre hint - The defender in ADLG can place ambush markers that prevent an opponent using "march" (or "multiple") moves in that part of the table, slowing down their initial advance significantly. When you start playing it's easy to come to the conclusion that being the attacker and moving first confers you all of the advantages, but a little experience of using - or playing against - well placed ambush markers will end up changing that conclusion!
They attacked as if possessed with the spirit of Frigg's spume-soaked horny helmet! The Vikings had 2 stodgy heavy foot commands in the middle, and a bucketload of Medium Foot sweeping round the impassible forest of terrain on the Rus right flank as well
As the fleet-footed Vikings steamed forward through the lightly wooded parts of the tabletop only a handful of potential ambushes lay in their path.
The centre of the table was a world of linear combat waiting to happen, with the Vikings cheap yet numerous Vanilla Swordsmen almost perfectly matched against the line of Rus spearmen across the whole table width.
The advantages lie in the foreground with the Vikings Huscarls, and at sporadic strongpoints in the Rus line where bastions of Armoured and Elite spearmen vie with the occasional Armoured Varangian axeman to give a cuttting edge to the line of Ukranian stick-shovers.
Viking/Rus Connections and Origins
Neither side was that fussed - nor indeed that capable - in the strategy and tactics department
Instead they marched together as if on the parade ground of a much later and more professional military era
They attacked as if possessed with the spirit of Asmund the Coulrophobic's flat-packed meatballs and tomato sauce! Even the skirmisher action was little more that desultory as the inevitability of close combat drew ever nearer
L'Art de la Guerre hint - OK, so the handful of skirmishers aren't going to delay the enemy at all here - in fact, with the v4 change that means HI cant "roll down" when charging, their presence may even speed up the initiation of combat (so the enemy HI can only ever roll "long" when charging to clear them away).
However, they can shoot.
The odds aren't great (-1 vs +1, so needing a 3-factor swing in their favour on the dice to record a hit) but in a huge linear matchup like this a lucky shooting hit on the skirmisher-screen-free enemy battle line could end up giving one or two Rus Spear units a +1 in the inevitable sequence of imminent melees - and with all other things being equal, even a teeny tiny edge in a couple of combats is well worth having
The sole mounted unit on table was the Pecheneg cavalry who had joined the Rus Confederation for the day. they had been hiding in ambush, hoping to sneak out and run unopposed round the back of the Viking army
But with a wall of warriors closing in on them through the woods discretion suddenly beat valour and they skedaddled away to safety before being flushed out of their hiding place
Many of the warriors involved in the combat would soon be paying a visit to Valhallah, to be massaged by a team of heavenly virginial maidens, using scented oils made from Steffan the chicken-castrator's heathen nasal hair! In what is a bloody brilliant sequence of proper heavy infantry dark age sword and spear shoving and pushing close combat malarkey the two lines smashed together in the middle of the field of combat with an amazing crescendo of noise and fury
By now the Viking dead were turning as rancid as a dead cat trapped for months under Arshram the Turophobic's Swedish Codpiece! It was big, it wasn't clever, but by golly it tasted good!
Inevitably, heroically, one of the first casulaties was the Rus Embedded Commander in the middle of the line.
Even being an Armoured Elite Spearman could not save him from a first round terrible dice roll, as the Rus Abbot looked on with some sympathy from the adjacent unit
L'Art de la Guerre hint - With an embedded General giving the Rus unit a +1, Elite status adding a further +1 to any "bad" rolls of 1, 2 or 3, and Better Armour also conferring an additional +1 if they are losing after dice are rolled, the Rus Commander's unit only takes a hit in 3/36 possible outcomes, and actually wins in 24/36 outcomes.
It then requires a further, additional roll of 1 to kill the General - an almost totally guaranteed 1 in 72 occurrance!
The story of the battle was developing as if it were being told in a tapestry woven from the threads of Arshram the Turophobic's chicken-hearted Longship! The Rus were up and over the hill, with the Vikings declining to attack them atop it.
This was of little concern to the Rus, who basically wanted to get as many dice rolling as they could before the pseudo-flank-march of the Viking Beserkers arrived on their right flank from its pleasant woodland walk
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Bowmen can shoot from a hill over friends as long as their target is at least 1UD away from those friends (p59). Given most units are 1 UD deep, that means it's pretty rare indeed for this to actually happen.
That moment seemed to be getting ever closer as the Vikings beserkely emerged from the copses and plantations blinking and shaking their much be-twigged hairstyles, ready and willing to assault ... erm, not that much actually.
The Rus Theme Park in Kyiv (really!)
As the hand to hand fighting continued in the centre the Vikings were recording the most hits, but the wickedly effective Rus drone surveillance was allowing them to concentrate their own telling blows in a few key areas.
As the Rus suffered gradual attrition across the line, the Vikings started to look around nervously at the potential for holes to open up in their own formation through which a Rus counterattack would surely flood?
Suddenly, Viking fences started failing all over the playing park as the Rus pressed forward relentlessly and punched hole after hole in the once solid Viking army.
The pseudo flank march was still rearranging it's trousers under close range harassment from some Ukranian youths as the battle elsewhere seemed to be moving to a decisive point
The flanking force's attempts to get involved were also being further frustrated by ther own Huscarls, who had chopped their way through the end of the Rus line already
This was clearly a good result for the Huscarls, but did have the effect of placing the woodland wanderers even further away from anything they could actually hit!
Suddenly, dramatically, the Viking army collapsed like a deck of runic playing cards as the hammer blows of the Rus atttacks broke the Scandic morale, and multiple flurries of flank attacks saw the Vikings lose a cascade of casulaties in quick succession
The Result is another win for Zelensky and the boys as the Rus incur 16 hits out of 25, and the 24 break Viking army is routed!
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 The Rus Commander
We have now moved onto the front foot in our war of national emancipation and have in this battle firmly put to bed the invasion of our own brothers and ancestors, which is a bit of a weird feeling but satisfying nevertheless
This was a result for Klitschko-like resilience in the face of toe to toe punishment beatings handed out by both armies. A line of combat this long exceeding the borders of the illegally occupied Donbas region resulting in a win for the Kyvian Rus military forces, created by our skirmisher shooting and our hardcore hard-as-nails Armoured and Elite units, and Embedded Generals. While they stayed alive of course.
Having even a small number of units with superiod technology to our monochrome conscripted opponents tipped the balance, allowing us to achieve significant breakthroughs and also interdict their supply chains and rear areas, denying them the opportunity to bring up reinforcements in as timely a manner as their plan to win required
A competition of the Enemies of the Kievan Rus is so far proving that the Enemies of the Kyvian Rus are being defeated one by one. Long may it continue !
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
That certainly put the mockers on any hope of ever seeing your army attempt anything more ambitious than a paradeground display of standing in a straight line, didn't it?
My big horny helmet throbbed in anticipation when the Vikings tried to unseat you with a bonafide outflanking move through seemingly difficult terrain, but as it turned out all this ended up achieving was to take away some of their fighting power and allow you to outmatch them in a straight up linear fight on the rest of the table.
If they had held back with the line of warriors and given themselves more time for the woodsmen to arrive things may have been different, but it was not to be.
Other than that the expedient of having a load of average guys and a handful of really really tough dudes to stiffen their resolve seems to be working more than adequately for you; perhaps it means you have found a strategy which your mind, and your men, are both capable of achieving
Let's see if it can work a third time in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition