Biblical at Warfare 2022
Achean (Mycenean) vs Ancient Bedouin
Game three, after a rush around the very busy Warfare trade show to plan some purchases for the less busy Sunday, and this time the opposition was a Bedouin army that managed to match the Achean horde in size, at a whopping 28 break point
The lists for the Achean and Ancient Bedouin from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Warfare can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Bedouin unsurprisingly feature a load of camels, the once-invincible twin-archer versions that haunt many WRG 1-7th edition players nightmares. They also have wild charging infantry, and like most armies in this era can add a few interesting allies too - in this case the textbook Assyrians, which here are manifested in the shape of some Heavy Chariots and a supporting cast of mixed shooters
The Bedouin were a wily and cynical bunch - the allied contingent of Assyrian mixed shooters and chariots had been placed squarely in the centre where these non-Bedouins would almost certainly see the heaviest of the fighting.
Arrayed facing them was Nestor and his Pylians, with Achilles on the left and the more standard Achean command on my right - against a wall of camelry!
A man on a camel rode out,
of his prowess, he had not one doubt.
But Acheans with spears,
quickly dialled up his fears,
Meaning this time he'd end up with nowt
(Homer, The Silly-iad)
Diomedes' Sacrilegious Headdress! This was warfare as Barker intended, the two biggest armies in the whole competition advancing towards one another jiggling their dice nervously in their pockets as they trudged forwards.
Achilles had a pretty steep mountain to climb in this one - metaphorically speaking of course - in the shape of an uncountable horde of fanatical impetuous Bedouin tribesmen screaming across the table at pace towards the left hand end of the Achean line
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Impetuous Swordsmen (like these Bedouins) count a +1 in the first round against most other infantry for the wildness of their charge, and also inflict extra hits (the "Furious Charge" capability) if they win in the first round too. The exception is when they face enemy Swordsmen who choose to stand their ground to receive the barbarians charge - in which case the +1 is cancelled, but the "Furious Charge" capability is retained. So, as long as Achilles and his men stand to receive the Bedouin charge ..and then don't lose in the first round .. their better quality and weaponry should see them through
A rare shot taken from the opposite side of the table shows the massed Camelry approaching the solid line of Achean cow-hide shields and archers.
As has been traditional since all wargame ADLG were invented, the camels are highly vulnerable to infantry archers, and a Rafa-bought yellow marker denotes how the well-aimed archery of the Achean bowmen is already denting the enthusiasm of the Bedouin riders for a combat which they really don't want to engage in, even when fully intact
Astoundingly, this along-the-line shot appears to demonstrate the outbreak of a minor incident of so-called "tactics" on the part of the Acheans, with both of their flanks hanging back to try and delay the initiation of combat against the enveloping flanks of the Bedouin host.
Put another way, if you wanted confirmation that Achilles and Nestor had been unable to put down a Waterway to narrow the table, this is it in a nutshell!
It's a gang of young lads holding spears,
on a flat open field, it appears?
But their line ain't that wide,
Foes'll get round each side,
As tactics go, it'll sure end in tears!
(Homer, The Silly-iad)
The sand-crazed Bedouin warriors were into action - unable to resist the urge to charge forward and attack anything in their path they had swung around to engage Achilles and his Myrmidions at the end of their line.
This was about as good as it would get for Achilles - the Myrmidions needed to withstand this initial assault, and then try and cut through the enemy units in front of them faster than the clumsy Bedouin infantry could shimmy onto the Myrmidions flanks
All of that "Hero" stuff was going to be needed right here, right now!
How Does This All Work Then?
Achilles command here on the left is the only one to be meaningfully different to the rest, through the addition of Achilles and his Myrmidions. Its makeup is as follows:
Achilles and the Myrmidions are a very small, but very potent rough terrain force, with their Impact Sword allowing them to neutralise any blocks of Impetuous Swordsmen as found in many Biblical era armies - otherwise the Acheans would only have Bowmen and LF to hold a flank resting on terrain, or go through any terrain in the centre of the table.
Including Achilles in a Myrmidion is a bit of a risk, but the rest of the command is unlikely to do much once engaged so won't need many pips, and an Elite Armoured Include General is also kinda hard to kill.
He is also Ordinary in this list, so only counts as one point of losses if killed - and that +1 for being a General in combat is pretty powerful in a Biblical era when squishy, unarmoured and non-elite opponents are the norm. And anyway, there needed to be some romance in the list design!
Any, yes, in a rare example of history and in-game mathematical odds collaborating to generate a consistent result, Achilles and his Myrmidions were indeed slamming their way through the shocked and rocked Arabs!
Exploding the unwashed warriors at first contact, Achilles suddenly found huge vistas of open space appear before him and his men.
If anything, too many enticing targets were now on offer after the initial combat sequence heroics had been resolved
The Bedouin camelry had no real answer to the advancing spearwall of Achean cowhides and pointy sticks, and the robust aggression of the kinda-Greeks was by now starting to cause the camel-riders to disperse in panic across the table
As the camelry fled backwards, the flanks of the Assyrian Chariotry were fast being exposed to second echelon Achean troops lurking behind the constantly forward-creeping wall of spears
With their flanks exposed, the time for Assyrian dithering was over. Tough as the task was, they simply had to drive through the Pylians now, or they might never have such a good chance to do so again.
L'Art de la Guerre Odds
These Pylian spearmen are the only ones in the Achean army with Rear Support, which greatly increases their ability to withstand a Heavy Chariot charge by both giving them a +1 if they lose (after dice rolling), and by cancelling the Chariot's "Furious Charge" capability thus reducing the number of hits they receive if they do come out as losers overall in the first round.
Without Rear Support the odds would look more like this:
Quite a bit more painful for the spearmen, eh?
While this head-butting nonsense was going on, Achilles was quickly and effectively dismembering pretty much anything with two legs and a whiff of Bedouin body lotion on the opposite side of the pitch.
Between the Myrmidion's armour, better quality and they better command and control, the Bedouin tribesmen's ferocity was being left for dead far too often for their liking in the copious desert dust
The Assyrian contingent was however doing their bit to hold up their alliance with the Bedouin tribes as a shining example of international military co-operation, as their mixed archery units defied the odds to start to knock holes (and markers) into the supposedly solid line of Achean heavy infantry.
Odysseus' Lascivious Basilius! The chariots however had largely stalled, and with enemy archers poised to roll up their flank the opportunity for a stunning breakthrough was fast ebbing away.
Mycenean Era Greece
Achilles was however by now so confident of wrapping up his victory against the Bedouin foot that he had sent half of the Myrmidions away to go help fix the overly-long struggle that his spearmen had somehow gotten themselves into.
The Bedouin camelry had no real answer to the archery and spearman combination offered up by the Achean troops, and their only option was to fall back in increasing disarray as the pointy-stick pedestrians inched ever further forwards
Soon the dromedary troops would have to start to choose whether to fall off the edge of the world, or whether to stand and fight.
The Assyrians were still giving as good (or often better) than they were getting, with their infantry in particular shrugging off their supposed Mediocre combat status (as a mixed formation of warriors and archers) to gain the upper hand across most of the line of battle.
But, gaps were now appearing in both lines, and the Acheans had more troops ready to take advantage
The last of the Bedouin infantry now found themselves firmly in the crosshairs of Achilles and his by-now motley crew of assembled troopers
Chariots, archers and the indomitable Myrmidions were all arrayed for battle, poised to finish off the task of erasing all traces of Bedouin military prowess from this part of the Farnborough tabletop
Achilles knew victory was within his grasp, and carefully made sure yet again that he was keeping the backs of his ankles firmly pointed away from the enemy at all times in this end phase of the battle.
The squeeze was really on for the Camelry now, as increasingly tired Achean infantry tried to make that final push to close out the game
Camel Spiders vs MegaBugs!
Menelaus' Massive Molars! In the centre the Assyrians had broken through the line of cowhide covered spearmen, but their flanks had collapsed at almost exactly the same moment
Seemingly their lack of ability to protect the flanks of their chariot force had allowed Achean archers to roll up the line of wheeled battle carts, removing the Assyrians ability to exploit any of the gaps they might have engineered at the same time.
The camelry made one last desperate assault, but it was not enough - the Acheans had toughed it out in this battle of attrition with Achilles heroics tipping the balance and propelling them to a third win, suffering 21/28 casualties for a 85-25 win
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 Achean Commander
This was a classic victory, smashing a desert-dwelling rabble of tribesmen into the far distance to finish the first day of this campaign on a resounding high. The names of the Acheans will be bellowed loudly from the ramparts of many biblical-era fortresses who's exquisite tilework will eventually be taken to museums in Western Europe in a wave of cultural theft the like of which has never been seen other than in every imperialist adventure ever to be visited upon this rich region throughout recorded history no doubt.
The camels had no answer really to our "shove and shoot" tactics on my right, and Achilles did his business and left no trace at all of his opponents as they were wiped from the face of the earth by his Myrmidions and their swinging blades
And we have also proved that this army can press forward and take the game to an opponent as well as wait for their attacks to dash themselves on our cowhide shieldwall
This is truly the apogee of Mediterranean civilization, and I cannot imagine any greater empires than mind will ever grace these clear blue seas!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Come, just try to claim this as a victory for your so called strategy, and do so loudly so that all around too may know: and surely forthwith your dark blood will flow forth about my spear as I point out with great force the many errors you made here but somehow got away with?
Truly you rage with baneful mind, and you know not at all to look both before and after at the immense level of casualties your army absorbed in chasing such a partially impotent force of cameleers across this vast open field. You extended your lines so far in this headlong dash that the cameleers almost did for you - wide open spaces are the antithesis of your strategy, as you yourself have said that it is always best that the Achaeans must try to wage war in safety beside their ships?
In this victory snatched by luck from the jaws of attritional defeat, honour surely ought the Olympian to have given into the hands of the Bedouin, not yours? Zeus who thunders on high, how can anyone ditch their defensive tactic immediately after one successful game? In so doing you honour yourself not a bit
Were you truly the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon would have done more than dishonoured you for this. You are a turncoat, and one who has taken and keeps an ill-gotten prize through his own arrogant act.
Perhaps we will see yet another teeth-scraping victory in which your plan is totally ripped up in the next game?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?