The Worlds in Rome 2022
Khurasanian vs Classical Indian
The next day dawned bright and warm, bringing with it the prospect of a mid-table game, a hearty breakfast and a schedule of gaming of uniquely Italian charm and efficiency, with the sequence of the days events comprehensively and perfectly explained in the one informative line of text that had been provided in advance of the tournament : "First game starts at 9am"
But, more importantly than that, the hotel buffet breakfast array included a large ice-filled bucket of bottles of Prosecco, so frankly all other bets were off, Italy was bloody marvellous, and the day was going to be wonderful !
With the warm buzz of breakfast boozing still ringing in all our ears, we finally got to see the draw and all sat down and started playing at (of course) around 930am, and for this second game my opponent was driving a Classical Indian list. Not wanting to risk a pip-disaster again, and also not fancying trying to out-Mongol a mobile wall of elephants and infantry bowmen, I elected for the more robust and traditional "B" list of my own, which included it's own Elephant Death Star, half a dozen Elite Dailami infantry warriors (some in their own allied contingent) as well as the more traditional array of mounted horse archers and lightly armoured lancers.
The lists for the Khurasanian and Classical Indian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at The Worlds in Rome can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Indians. Lots of shooting, not too much actual infantry combat power aside from the Elephants (of course) and a couple of Elite Guardsmen, and an always-difficult choice around a handful of chariots or a couple of rajput-style lancers in a standard build.
Other options are available, especially with the v4 innovation of War Wagons which can be pushed into contact, but 99/100 Indian armies will be pretty straightforward to anticipate their makeup. A grey-trunked fighting and shooting beast that loves the rough terrain.
The terrain had fallen fortuitously for the plan I had adopted - one of trying to fix the Indian army in one obvious place where I could assault it rapidly with all of my aggressive infantry and my own elephant, cutting through the soft squishy troops between the Indian pachyderms
A table festooned with woods, marshes and an impassable (which now I realise should legally have been in a flank sector rather than somewhat annoyingly in the middle of my deplyment area!) for the two forces to hide behind also delivered the type of bottling-up operation I had hoped for and then some
This terrain-forced deployment saw the Dailami on the extreme left, the CinC with all of the toys in the middle and then a mostly-mounted command covering off any thoughts the Indian may have had of sneaking a few mounted troops through the woods on my right
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Impassable terrain pieces must go in a flank sector. Some players are however incompetent idiots and keep forgetting this even though they have made the same mistake on several occasions before now too.
With almost no cavalry-friendly space on table, and the Khurasanian cavalry wing outmatching anything the Indians had comfortably anyway I even adopted a brand-new experimental approach and dismounted one of the Turkic Ghulams as an Armoured Medium Swordsman with Rear Support.
Swapping out an elephant-phobic cavalryman for a terrain-loving specialist archery-attacker with added anti-elephant bonus skills seemed very much like a no-brainer in the circumstances!
L'Art de la Guerre hint - You can dismount any cavalry in any army in ADLG if your opponent fields elephants, fortifications or War Wagons. It's a bit (ahem, "totally") difficult to justify historically, but it does mean that some of the most extreme mismatches in tournament play can be partly mitigated so that you can get a decent game every time, which is a typically pragmatic Herve-type thing (of which there are a number in this ruleset).
V4 has also toned down one of the more egreious dismount capabilities from v3, when Impetuous cavalry retained their Impetuosity on foot. This made for some ridiculously powerful armoured fanatical swordsmen, the like of which didn't exist as dedicated infantry in any actual army!
The Khurasanians own Dailami, brigaded with a Javelinman and another dismounted cavalry unit were off and running right from the get-go on the left flank - no low pip dice in this game at all !
With the Indians clearly expecting to drift towards the table edge as they advanced and sweep some cavalry out of the way, the appearance of such a dedicated set of anti-Indian-Army troops seriously discomforted the South East Asian forces and put them on the back foot almost immediately
The Indian Army!
On the other side of the forested area, the Indians had indeed thought to sneak their light cavalry round the extreme flank, and also push Kushan Lancers through a patch of uneven ground between forests to outflank the desert Persian army.
With units to spare though, and having second-guessed the Indian plan, more than enough Elite Ghulams were already looking to block the Lancers emergence, and a packet of Lancers and LH bowmen were bullying the Indian Light Horsemen into an early retreat
What's Going on Here Then?
The terrain, and deployment have gone really well for me, and I have succesfully anticipated both the enemy army structure and their deployment as well
Remembering to dismount some of my cavalry, and even bringing the figures along to allow me to do so is an even bigger bomnus - and surprise!
The Indian Lancers decided to chance their arm and push on through, hoping to somehow avoid being trapped against and in the terrain by the vigilant Ghulams
This game however the Ghulams were led by their own Commander, so were guaranteed to have enough command and control capability to move up and block the lancers emergence, no matter what the Pip Gods inflicted on their army that round
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Cavalry with their bases in any sort of terrain are seriously disadvantaged in ADLG - as in all other sets of rules too to be honest
Uneven terrain also means horsemen can't get up a good head of steam in their charge, so removes Impact capability too - in this case that combination of effects generated a 3-factor swing in favour of the Ghulams if they could force the Indian Lancers to fight them in a place where the lancers bases remained in terrain while the Ghulams sat outside it
The Khurasanian army was now in full attack mode, sweeping forward with more command Pips than it could sensibly use on occasion, and having the luxury of expanding out into a line with it's specialist anti-elephant Javelinmen unit in perfect position as well
The bowmen on the very extreme end of the line of Indian shooters and elephants were feeling more queasy than a wargamer who had offered to buy a decent sized round at the hotel bar before seeing the price list..
..and who had then grudgingly paid up, only to subsequently be told that we all qualified for a discount as hotel conference delegates.
Unsurprisingly, the Ghulams had indeed pinned the Indian lancers into the terrain - and to add insult to injury started peppering them with arrows. Prety much unable to get away, the Lancers contemplated a moment of imminent future timeless glory ...
L'Art de la Guerre hint - They could potentially get away - but only by doing a 2MU fallback move costing 1 pip per unit, and taking a hit as well in the process. Not a great option really, and a significant drain on Pips
Some troops could do an Evade move in this situation, but the Lancers have Impact capability, so this option is not permitted to them
The Indians had decided to force their way through the impasse - and had devoted a lot of effort and resources to save their troubled lancers
An overlap on either flank went some way to mitigating the Rajput's terrain-inflicted disadvantages, but committing an elephant was a lot of combat power that could surely have been applied elsewhere?
The other flank however needed the application of an Included General on a Mediocre cavalryman, moving into a dense wood in order to claw out a mitigating +1 for the Rajputs. Quite what blackmail-like hold the Northern Nobility had over the Indian Commander to persuade him to take such a risk was a mystery that remains unsolved to this day
What's Going on Here Then?
The Indians also realise they are badly outmatched by now, and are pretty much at the stge of committing troops to combat just to see if they can score a few more casulaties on the Khurasanian army before they are outflanked and defeated.
Combat against elephants is always something of a lottery, but the Khurasanian army list has more than enough firepower to down the infantry in between the elephants in short order and break the Indian army even should their elephants outperform the odds
On the opposite, more open flank the vangard of the CinC's command was in - and despite the seemingly inevitable situation in which the Arab Javelineer had ended up being destroyed instantly while NOT fighting the enemy elephant he had been specifically hired to take on, things were going well for Khurasan, with multiple telling hits on the full width of the Indian line
Elephant Rampage (against vehicles) !
The Indians were evaporating across the whole line of battle, and with their shooting ineffectual it seemed that nowhere were they able to stand up to the sheer aggression and combat skills of the Khurasanian infantry
The Indian army was not that big to start with, and with the Rajput lancers being swiftly destroyed by Ghilmen, who then managed to turn their attentions to the wood-trapped general as well suddenly the game was done, and the Indian army removed from the field of battle in plenty of time for me to go and get in a little more poolside action and a toasted sandwich from a little shop outside of the venue that offered an especially cultured and sophisticated range of beers in its fridge!
The Result is a decisive win for the Arabs
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 Khurasanian Commander
Ah well, that were a reet Bobby dazzler of ah result, finished in under 5 turns and a straight up smackdoon to rival tha best Tyneside derby results of many ah yeah. Ahn with the Saudis takkin over the 'Toon from naw on then there will be no more wins for the Maccums either, same as these Indians!
A rough and robust application of Dailami, and ye divvin' wanna be messin with those fellas in a dark chip shop alley on a Friday neet in Bigg Market.
Tha Indians didnae know where to loook, as we ran em dahn wi a geet walla load of charging and fightin'
That last game is no ganna be repeated like, Haddawaye and sh*te! Howay man! We gannin' doon the Toon to beat the queues for the top o'that pile if we is carryin' on in this vein methinks!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You Prosecco-addled, fizz-brained illegitimate son of an unsuccesful harlot! This result was down to a mismatch of list design, not anything to do with any spark of intelligence or win in your approach to managing your army or commanding your troops
At least this game may have managed to hammer into your dried-pea-inspired cranium that having more than 3 command points and an army that doesn't really need even as many as that to advance and attack the enemy is a better option than trying to juggle with chainsaws with both hands tied your back, as you did last night
Even the basest of puddle-drinking carrot-growers 3-legged deaf and lame dogs would of course have worked this out long since, but you are challenged in such awareness in a way which seems to cast a shadow even in the bright sunshine of this Roman summer's day as your black hole of intelligence sucks the life out of all in its baleful orbit
I can only see one bright spark of goodness here, in that I have been too busy walking around the other tables snickering malevolently and loudly in incoherent criticizm of the mistakes of everyone here who is not using a Carthaginian army to find time to see your beached-whale like pale carcass passed out on a creaking sun lounger by the side of the pool between this round and the next one. A lucky escape for my eyeballs, which had I seen the spectacle may have risked me needing to cast them out to try and forget the pale horror and rendered me incapable of seeing what you mess 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?