The Worlds in Rome 2022
Khurasanian vs Rajput Hindu Indian
So, day 3 of the 2022 Worlds, and with a late-ish finish and a hotel meal safely behind me from the previous night the Khurasanians had climbed the table and were now in tantalising distance of the podium placings - with 2 games still to go
But, before that prospect could be realised, an elephant-sized hurdle in the shaps of my recent bogey-person Dave "Not from the Podcast" Dave Allen and an elephant-tastic Rajput Hindu Indian lay in my path
Or perhaps not, as he was pretty late to the table that morning
Anyway.. he eventually turned up, and those fails against the Allen-ator at Roll Call and the BHGS Challenge sat heavily on my mind mere moments after braving the Prosecco breakfast buffet and heading down to the well ventilated and air conditioned conference room.
My task today was to avenge those defeats, set up my army, and take on the Rajput Empire with my own lone-elephant version of the Khurasanian list
Hindu Indian has Elite Elephants, Medium Swordsmen to go in the gaps, and an array of Impetuous Rajput cavalry in that version of the list as well. Taking a non-Rajput option will give you a Tamil ally, and both also have some Elite Heavy Cavalry and Elite foot Guards to stiffen the line too. It's basically a better Classical Indian, but without the Mixed infantry formations and with lots of better stuff, especially in a 2-list format event
The lists for the Khurasanian and Rajput Hindu 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.
Both of us had plenty of Medium Infantry, and so we had managed between us to pick almost enough terrain to ruin the game before we even started, creating a patchwork of fields, plantations and field-covered hills from the organiser-supplied terrain selections to gum up the table
This already had made it almost impossible for the cavalry of either army to find all that much space to play in.
A waterway (OK, a river, but the organisers had run out of waterways by then) even ran along the left hand edge of the table to clutter things further still
What's Going on Here Then?
I'm quite happy with this terrain and setup so far. The Rajput lancers are going to struggle to do much with so much rough ground on table, and the Hindu army is weighted towards the centre, which I have pretty much refused.
By the waterway it also looks very feasible for my small cavalry component in the command I have deployed there to get through the terrain and capture the enemy baggage as they have very little to counter this with
The Khurasanian plan was based on the idea that the opposition would be quite slow and lumbering - the waterway-hugging left flank would rush forward led by the CinC, with the Elephant, Ghazi and Dailami corps plus a couple of mounted units who could either harass flanks or make a baggage dash early doors
This eclectic combination quickly lurched forward and exposed a small javelineer ambush which the Hindu's had hurled forward to hide in the hilltop field
Unleashing a Storm of Arrows (Now, that's a throwback eh!) the 2 Khurasani LI archers quickly scored a telling hit on the enemy skirmishers as they uncovered their hiding place
On the opposite flank the cavalry-rich Khurasanian command was squeezing itself past a narrow defile between the edge of the table and a dense plantation of vines (made and brought by me!)
They were clearly hoping to catch the Rajputs off guard by quickly overwhelming their flank-guarding Light Horse - while also shoving the cheap and sometimes resilient Peasant Spearmen into the faces of any Rajput Lancers who might be lurking to occupy them and freeing up the Khurasani and Turkic Ghulams to wreak merry hell on any lesser troops they could close in on and shoot up
The Hindus had a strong center packed with their best Elephants - but today they had nothing to fight except the suicidal urge to run for the Khurasani baggage and then be outflanked by both the Allied Dailami command on one side and the CinC's own Dailami on the other
Moving up cautiously, the Hindu army occupied a field, and then sat down, got out their packed lunches and began to decide what exactly these wildly expensive and opponentless troops should do next
The Dailami were quite happy to sit back and bide their time - the end of the Hindu elephant block looked attackable, but until they advanced any attack would mean coming out of the plantation and into charge range of the Rajput Lancers
The push on the Khurasani right wing had run into an unexpected Tibetan ally - no cataphracts, but a couple of Elite Heavy Cavalry Lancers had swiftly moved up to block the path of the tide of Ghulams.
The Tibetans shrugged off the worst that the Arabized horse archers could throw at them with ease, and even had the impudence to see theor own Light Horse inflict some damage on the Turkic Ghulams of Khurasan.
Seeing an opportunity, the Tibetans charged in, leaving the Khurasanians little choice than to countercharge and hope that weight of numbers and overlaps could offset the Tibetans' advantages of Impact capability and rather silly hats
Tibetan Cavalry Exhibition
The Khurasani plan collapsed in immediate tatters, as the two Tibetan units blew a huge hole in the Arabs line at first contacty, then flooded forward to widen it in a classic 9th Century Blitzkreig approach.
Suddenly the Khurasani army was on the back foot, needing to gather up as many odds and sods of LH as it could to pin the Tibetans in place and prevent them from rolling up the keystone block of Arabic spearmen who were so vital to the Khurasanian plan to neutralise the Rajput lancers, who were still lurking some distance away
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Light Horse can now "ZOC" enemy troops, which is a change for ADLG v4. That means they can no longer be ignored - if they get close enough to pin you, you have to do something about them. There was a convern this might be too powerful when the rules were released, but in practice it's not been much of an issue
The left flank waterside advance was now in full control of the once-contested hill, with Dailami and Ghazis secure in their upslope fortress and hurling insults at bemused and annoyed Rajput Cavalry on the flat ground below.
The Hindu Elephant Corps had finally committed itself to one direction (some of them having been big BTS fans until that point) and was wheeling slowly around to try and do something constructive, even as the small but still competent cavalry component of the Khurasani CinC's force was emerging from the terrain to begin to bully light camelry on the opposition flank
What's Going on Here Then?
The right flank is not going as planned, but with a path to the baggage, and a very professional-feeling mopping up operation on this left wing (which has seen almost all of the Hindu's "cheap" troops swept from the field of play) the game is still leaning in my favour.
The Hindu elephants are welcome to come and try and assault my forces atop a hill - especially as they have left behind some Vanilla Swordsmen and LF which my Dailami ally can now go and try to attack without the fear of being drawn into combat with the Elite Elephants
With some considerable feats of arms, and a lot of "thank god LH have ZOC's in v4" the right wing had now stabilized again, to a degree anyway.
The Tibetan's initial succesful advance had been checked, and the remaining cavalry on both sides were now jostling for position to see if they could gain a decisive advantage in the latter stages of the game
Whether the Bedouin LH Impact facing an Elite HCv Impact General quite agreed with this analysis is of course up for some debate
The waterside wing suddenly opened up into a vista of galloping baggage thievery of the highest order, as the Khurasani cavalry and javelineers proved way too much for the Hindu outriders.
The jubilant men of Khorasan could smell loot by the cart-full.
Break Points Ahoy!
With the Hindu elephant corps now committed to the left, it suddenly seemed like a good time for the Dailamites to surge out across the open ground and dash from one terrain piece to another
Vanilla-flavoured Hindu Swordsmen braced for the impact of a charging Zupineer body of elite Afghani-Irano warriors intent on doing what they had been planning to do all game - avoiding elephants, doing casualties to sub-par opponents and trying to win the game on their own
With the Hindu's sub-par infantry now wiped out entirely from this flank, and their baggage captured as well, the Rajput Noble Cavalry were now wondering if it might be possible to build a Rajasthani and Surashtranese Empire entirely without these seemingly useless serfs and peons who had collapsed like an undercooked naan bread in the face of Persian aggression
The game was by now deep into the end phase, and the Hindus were starting to see the writing on the wall - and it read "you will lose, why not chuck some stuff in and see if you can claw back some respectability?"
The Hindu Elephants launched a spectacular charge uphill into the waiting Khorasani line - even sending their Rajput Cavalry into the hilltop field they themselves had placed on table.
Everything was suddenly up for grabs as Khorasani casulaties mounted - but no, in a feat of heroic and long-overdue (after my previous 2 games against Dave) dicetasticness, the Khurasani forces repelled the opposition and hurled their mighty pachyderms back down the hill and into the Hindu afterlife!
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Dave has a rather spiffing Elephant Rampage marker on table here, after his elephant was killed. Routing elephants can cause damage in any direction, most often behind them but sometimes to the side or even in front. This marker shows where on a roll of a D6 the hit is takene
With style, panache, and no small measure of extreme luck needed on both sides, the last act of the battle saw the Khurasani commander join in with his already-injured Ghulams to fight the Tibetan Commander
Pulling yet another great feat of heroics (aka dice) out of the bag right at the death, the Khurasani leader struck back at the high plains cavalrymen and in the process dragged the rebellious Tibetan princeling from his saddle and trampled him underfoot, winning the game at the very last stroke of midday!
The Result is a narrowest of wins to throw off the curse of Dave Allen!
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
Wor lads haddaway and gobbed on tha cufrse of tha Allenmeister reet proper like in this match
We wuz wel aheeed like, until tha last knockins when we was almoost gannin doon. But that bravery of me lads and hespecially me generals did us reet proud like, ahdn put tha Allen back reet in his leetle box.
Ah greet victory for keepin calm, not rooshin aboot like, ahnd havin a reet proper gander at what might be ooot there faci n' oos.
Ah may be reet near tha top like, but ah is tellin ya, divvin' dunchus, man, or I'll fettle ye
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Thou art a fobbing hell-hated boar-pig to think this was anything but the luckiest of victories, andone which you snatched from the very jaws of defeat after looking like for so long you had this comfortably in the bag. Calling this a victory to end a curse is a parody, a fallacy, and a slur on your opponent - methink’st it is thee who is a general offence, and frankly every man should beat thee or be themselves forever cursed!
Thou cans't not be but a artless weather-bitten mumble-news to have lost so many men from a position of such advantage. Quite how your right wing failed to deal with an opponent consisting of merely 2 cavalrymen and some light horse is beyond me - although yet again I suspect that the lack of Elite Lancers in your own army is much to blame, as your force is designed in the main to go forward, so tooling up the troops who cannot do so seems a ridiculous waste of points
Forsooth! Thou art a pernicious rude-growing miscreant who also yet agains failed to spot the possibility of a Tibetan ally, and the extra cavalry poke that would give this Rajput army. Poor planning leads yet again to poor results, for the millionth time I find myself writing this truth
Verily, ye be a warped rude-growing pumpion who has somehow climbed too near the top of the greasy pole through luck, not skill The final round will hopefully be your justified undoing