Thursday, July 17, 2008

Skirmish - First US Tournament

Well, we went to Dallas last weekend, and met up with some of the Okie posse (Ray Summers, Monty Walls, Pat Sweeney), & played in my first US tournament. This was with Field of Glory (FOG) rules, 650 points, only published army lists.

I borrowed my army from Ian Buttridge, the extremely able & genial umpire, and used Aragonese:
3x4 Kn Superior Hvy Armoured Undrilled
8 & 6 Almughavar - MI Impact foot, sword, Superior, Prot, Undrilled
8 MIlitia, HI Off Spear, Armoured, Poor, Drilled
4 Jinetes, LC JLS, Protectd, avge, Undrilled
8 Crossbows, LI, Xbow, Unprotected, avge, undrilled.

Game 1 was Komnenan Byzantine, on a close table - woods on the left,
impassable cliffs on the right, and a bunch of uneven ground at the foot of
the cliffs, giving a choke point about 2.5 foot wide in the middle of the table.
I aimed the almughavars & LC down the uneven ground, the knights at the
gap, the LI into the woods, and the spear in reserve, near the woods. He
deployed MI archers opposite the uneven ground, Skutatoi beside them,
Elite Varangians next to them, Frankish knights (H/armoured), then
Byzantine (armoured) knights, then opposite the woods more MI archers.
He put 3 LH groups in front of Skutatoi, Frankish knights, and Byzantine

We both pushed forwards as fast as we could, but in turn 2, he had a
sudden rethink and decided the archers opposite my Almughavars might not
like the matchup, and reversed them - they spent the rest of the game
running back to the camp. Then, as my knights thrust forward, I charged my
Jinetes at the LH opposite them, and he elected not to evade (because it
would disorder the Skutatoi, but to stand. As I had POA in impulse and
melee, I massacred them (altho without killing a stand), so they routed -
through the Skutatoi, disordering them. He then detached his general from
the Varangians to try to rally them, a fairly pivotal mistake.

On my left, his archers were (unsurprisingly) pushing my LI back briskly, and
managed to rout them with shooting (some poor dice throwing didn't help
that). The archers then turned inward to threaten the flank of my knights.

Meanwhile, the main lines clashed - On impulse, all was equal, except that
the Varangians got disordered (I had a general in the front rank there, so we
were both effectively elite: they also lost the melee, but retained cohesion &
dropped a stand, giving me an overlap. In the rest of the melees, our CinCs
met in the middle, both leading identical HArm Knights, and drew; and my
knights defeated the lighter Byzantines, disordering them.

Of course, my victorious knights then got struck in the flank (disorder), then
lost the impulse combat (not allowed to fight back as facing enemy to front),
and became fragmented, then (of course) lost the melee and ran like girls.
Our CinCs tied again, and the Varangians lost again, dropping another
stand and fragmenting. I should add, the Byzantine general was now at the
back of the table, having failed to rally his LH. Oh, yes, I forgot - I got
overambitious with the Jinetes, and got stitched up by his 2 remaining LH

In my turn, the Almughavars plowed into the Skutatoi, fragmented them,
then routed them in melee, while the Poor spearmen charged the Byzantine
archers - who of course had had to extrude beyond the woods to fight- and
were compelled to also charge into the disordered Byzantine knights, due to
the angle of charge.

This turned out to be a good idea, as the spearmen fragmented the archers
on first impact, then routed them in melee: and fragmented the Byzantine
knights in the melee. Our CinCs drew (again), and the Varangians lost
again, but again didn't lose cohesion - however, the test for the Skutatoi
routed them (at last!), and the cohesion test for that disordered his CinCs
knights, while the routing archers caused the Byzantine knights to rout,
which test in turn caused the CinC to fragment. With 5 routing units and a
fragmented Knight unit, that was the game, 18-7.

Game 2 was against Lance Gamble, who had Federate Romans - and his
Patrician list was the worst possible, I think, for this sort of open comp.
There was virtually no terrain, and game was a walkover - I deduced that
the only matchup that might help him would be lancers against my MI
Almughavars, so I ensured that didn't happen, and once deployed, he didn't
seem to think of trying to redeploy (given that his mounted were all undrilled,
probably just as well I suppose).

Anyway, from the left, I deployed LH, the small Almughavars, all my Knights,
the big Almughavars, then the Poor spear. He deployed 1 unit of Hun Cav
(Bow/Sword), 3 units of 4 Cav lancers & 1 of cataphracts opposite my
Knights, then his 2 x10 Warband (O), then 2 6s of Auxilia.

I saw no need for finesse here & just rolled forward. The only change I made
was to push the small Almughavars out to meet his Huns (where they spent
the game staring at eachother ), and pulling the LH inside them to flank the
lancer line. Essentially, just rolled forward, and POAs did for him all down
the line.

From the right, my Spears got into one of his auxilia palatine (the other
being distracted by crossbowmen), and having armour and an overlap,
massacred him. The big almughavars caught his Warband in 3 ranks, giving
up an overlap and being Avge vs Superior, and got massacred just as

His other warband were only briefly a speedbump for the first of my knight
units, while his combined cav - he rather mismanaged these, so that they
were forced to charge while outside the cataphract charge reach - got
equally slaughtered by Knights enjoying overlaps and POAs for armour &
lances. All in all, in 2 turns I managed to rout 8 of his 11 units.

Game 3 was against the guy who'd defeated Monty (just), with Seleucids. I
thought this could be ugly, with Pikes and 2 units of Elephants, none of
which bring joy to the eye of the charging Knight, but, well, not so much.

The table had a fair amount of broken & rough ground on the right, but
otherwise essentially open (a couple of irrelevant low hills). He deployed with
his cavalry (Huns, sup Companions, elite Agema all in 4s on my left, then
elephants, then pike (resting on the uneven ground), then 4 LH, 2 units of LI,
and an ambush of 6 Thracians.

I deployed all my knights on the left, then the Almughavars opposite the
Pike, then Spear opposite the uneven ground, then LC & LI. Initially he
pushed forward with the skirmishers & LH, and more slowly with Pike &
Elephants & cav, while I pushed the end 2 knight units, held the third back
somewhat, and angled left with the almughavars and spearmen.

He got a bit incautious with the LH, who got chased off by a charge of
spearmen, then - to my amazement - when I charged my LH at his 2 6s of
skirmishers (right at the join), he evaded. I'm fairly sure if he'd stood, the
combination of shooting as I came & melee would have crunched me, but
there you go. As it happens, I caught both units in the back when evading,
and mullered them (drop 1 for hit in the back, lose the impulse - one broke
then - then lose the melee - the other broke then). That relieved any anxiety
I had about the flank of my spearmen, so the foot slanted hard across the
front of his army/

I couldn't quite get into charge reach of his elephants, but my big
almughavar unit charged into the pike, hitting both units, while my spearmen
hit the end element of the pike (not accidentally, I'd cribbed this idea from
Ray) - led by a general, to negate the Poor. The spearmen lost the impulse,
but passed cohesion, then expanded out to gain an overlap in melee, which
they won. The big almughavar unit covered itself with glory, winning the
impulse and the melee, winding up the pikes as fragmented.

In his turn, he charged one elephant unit into the small almughavar unit, and
pushed the other towards my knights (not quite getting in charge reach),
while his Skytian Cav and lancers pulled back in front of my knights,
unsurprisingly. The elephants lost & disordered, then lost again, passed
cohesion, but failed their death roll - that of course caused them to flee &
expire, being 1 element strong, so the small almughavar unit pursued into
the flank of the other elephant unit. Meanwhile the big almughavar unit
broke their pike opponents, and the spearmen fragmented theirs. The
fragmented pike then broke on testing for routing friends, which caused his
LH beside them to disorder.

On my next turn, we did for the other elephant unit (hit in the flank, losing,
and failing death roll so it expired), and my LH charged his disordered LH,
beat them and they dropped 2 1s, to rout in the impulse phase - that meant
7 routed units of 11, for an astonishingly easy win, 25/0. I didn't lose a stand,
in this one.

I'll let Monty describe his tale of woes, pausing only to observe that I don't
consider Lydians to be viable out of period, now.

Fairly pleased to have won a tournament straight off the bat, but it was pretty tiny, only 6 people, so not too difficult, I suppose.