Practice games

15 January, 2019

Yesterday I caught up with Joel for some very enjoyable practice games. In the first two games Mithridates squared off against Sulla. I took the scythed chariot to assess its potential, as well as an Armenian ally of a 4Kn amd two LH: Cv (gen), SCh, four 4Bd, two 3Ax, Ps + 4Kn, two LH.

  • Mithridates v. Sulla

In the first battle, Mithridates was the defender, and went for a battlefield of two gentle hills, a hamlet and a patch of rocky ground (both RGo).

The two armies arrayed.

Mithridates.

Sulla.

This battle opened fast, with Roman psiloi advancing to face the scythed chariot. I opted to go after it with the Kappadokians, who were supposed to face the Roman cavalry. They killed it, but then were facing Roman legionaries, and the whole battleline was disordered. My combat dice were bad, but they shouldn’t have saved me from being dragged into such a disruptive effort to save the chariot. I lost.

  • Sulla v. Mithridates

The second battle saw Mithrdidates on the offence facing an impressive city in the Balkans (Diocletian’s palace).

The Roman defenders.

Mithridates.

This time the chariot got stuck into some blade, along with the cataphracts. In short order the chariot had destroyed some blades and advanced into overlap onto some psiloi that the cataphracts routed.

The Romans were limited by PiPs in their response, but they managed to destroy an Armenian LH (these had rushed forward to cover the cataphracts, and avoid being attacked by the Roman cavalry).

The Roman response on their right flank.

Mithridates decided to continue the attack with the cataphracts, and to send the chariot out to the left to attack another legionary element. The remaining light horse retired. The chariot failed this time, and the cataphracts got a draw with the legionaries — not good. Now we were 2-2, but I had only 9 elements to the Romans 10.

After combat, the chariot and cataphracts are destroyed.

There was a lull while we both reorganised (and battled low PiPs).

The armies regroup.

The Romans won this one too, as I committed the imitation legionaries at little chance of success. The psiloi on their right fled, leaving its neighbour to be overlapped. I was pressured into this, as the two Kappadokians in the woods were risking being overlapped when the Romans advanced against them. On reflection, the Kappadokians would have been better on the other flank to face the cavalry. They did little in the woods. Overall, the verdict on the chariot is that it’s not a super-weapon, but could add some interesting wrinkles to a battle.

  • Samanids v. Aztecs

After lunch it was the turn of the Samanids. First up they faced Aztecs (in the New World too, a first for the fabled Samanid navy!). The Aztecs deployed between two woods, while the invaders chose to deploy in the open.

The Aztec hordes (literally).

The Samanids

The Aztecs advanced beyond the woods. The Samanids saw an opportunity for their archers against the Aztec psiloi and moved them to their left as they advanced and methodically began to destroy hordes with their spear and cavalry.

Contact against the hordes.

In time we succeeded in killing all but one of the hordes (that one being the one that Joel had hoped would go, as it had a warband behind it, waiting to attack). We also got the two psiloi with two archers and a psiloi. In the centre one enemy blade had also been destroyed. However, one of our cavalry was destroyed, as had a bow. The enterprising enemy blade rushed through the gap he’d created and attacked our reserve, an element of archers. It survived the first round of combat, and then we surrounded it.

The blade is surrounded. The enemy general had retreated a little, and the remaining horde and warband can be seen in the background.

It survived, forcing us to recoil. The next turn it got that archer, while the general was able to attack my remaining archer that was in a wood, which broke in terror. I lost 4-3, though 8 of the Aztec elements had been broken! An excellent game.

  • Samanids v. Cortez

My last game saw the Samanids face Cortez (IV/19c) and his Tlaxcalan allies. This time they were defending. Their hills and rough going was all in one part of the battlefield, which they were defending.

Cortez.

The Samanids.

I hoped to neutralise the artillery with my spearmen, while the archers shot from the protection of the hill. Getting into position on the hill took time, and the first element of archers to make it over the crest advanced into a hail of arrows and fled. The other two did get themselves into position, but did not feel they had the numbers to advance, especially as an element of spearmen had been shot away by the artillery.

What saved the Samanids was the slow reactions of the Spanish. In desperation the Samanid cavalry moved to outflank on their right flank. The response was a series of 1 PiPs. On the first, a single archer turned and shot at the Samanid LH, who recoiled to the edge of world. They paid for this by being fallen upon by the cavalry, who double-overlapped it and routed it. Another 1 PiP by the Spanish saw Cortez advance to face the cavalry. They ignored him and destroyed another archer. This continued until all three archers on that flank had fled. The Spanish response was to advance in the centre, but it proved too late; fast blade advancing uphill against solid bow in bad going made no headway. And the Samanid spear survived a round of combat against the Spanish solid foot.

Cortez advances on the Samanid foot.In the background the dire state of the Spanish left flank can be seen.

Meanwhile, the Samanid cavalry surrounded the Spanish artillery, while one cavalry sought to delay Cortez (they’d recoiled when facing him with LH flanking; now the LH joined the fight on the artillery. Cortez could only look on as his artillery joined the rout.

Cortez is unable to save the day as his artillery is destroyed.

The Spanish notice their left flank has broken and start to flee.

The final battle of the day was my only victory, and it owed a good deal to luck, but I enjoyed all the games, and learned a lot about using these two armies. In particular, I can see mastering archers as taking a while. Also, the scythed chariot is a challenge to use so that it disrupts the enemy, and not my own army.

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Conquest 2018, Pt. 2

13 November, 2018

After lunch on Saturday I had a chance to get my newly painted Syrians out. I realised, with relief, that they would not have to face Eric’s Hussites, and, with disappointment, that they would not meet Robin’s Ottomans. I’d had a couple of games the Monday before with Grant facing Normans impersonating WotR English, as there were two of those armies here, and I’d not learned how to face ranged elements well. I did better in the second of the games with Grant, which buoyed me up somewhat.

  • 1. War of the Roses English (Keith)

Their first encounter was with the Keith’s WotR English. And sure enough, I was defending. However, the English did not go for too much terrain.

The Syrians.

I deployed my Adath militia on a dificult hill and the rest of my army spreading out to the right of it.

The English.

Facing them the English deployed their artillery next to an enclosure (RGo) and on their open right flank they had a solitary cavalry, although their reserve would be able to reinforce it.

I hoped to attack the artillery with my javelinmen and archers; and I succeeded in getting the two Bedouin behind their lines, where they destroyed an element of billmen. The archers attacked the artillery on its flank, forcing it to turn to face. The English commander and the reserve billmen responded to the Bedouing threat. Overlapped by the billmen and attacked by the general, one of the Bedouin nearly won the battle, rolling 6 to 2. It was a stick!

Bedouin get behind the lines.

On my next turn, I rolled 5 PiPs and becoming shaken by the enemy shooting (one of the Syrian cavalry had broken), I charged into the echeloned enemy line. It was a disaster. I’d somehow miscounted the enemy, and my elements did not end up facing the ones I thought they would. My general outdid the English one, rolling a humiliating 1 to lose the game.

In hindsight, the attack was folly, but it it uncomfortable receiving fire, and I couldn’t see a way of improving the situation for the Bedouin (the Turkomans might have been able to join them).

  • 2. Aztecs (Colin)

For my second battle I was more comfortably defending, and I did not make it easy for the Aztecs, chosing a small hamlet (BUA), a gentle hill and a road.

The Aztecs, splendidly painted.

The Aztecs massed their hordes on their right flank and their psiloi on their left. I had the luxury of deploying to choose my targets. My javelinmen and the horde faced the psiloi, while cavalry faced the warband and blades. My light horse screened the hordes.

The Syrians.

On contact the general destroyed some blades and the warband went down to some ghulams. Elsewhere their general recoiled the other Ghulams, as did their psiloi my javelinmen.

Contact!

Their general opted to retreat to the hill, while the hordes flanked and destroyed a Bedouin LH. On my turn, the ghulams destroyed another blade, and the javelinmen and archers got a psiloi to break the enemy’s resolve.

Victory!

That was the last outing for the Syrians, as my next round was a bye. I was sitting second by my count, but my hope of winning rested on Keith’s English defeating Eric’s Hussites, as he had secured two more points in his defeat against me than I got in my defeat to Keith. As it turned out, his Hussites proved too tough for the English and I came second. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day — good opponents and good games played in a good spirit. I’d like to thank Keith for organising it!

Syrians ready to fight

4 November, 2018

The Entire Syrian Army.

After what seems a long time, I’ve finally got enough figures finished so that I can field the Syrians. All the mounted options are painted, but there are more foot options that I have still to paint. For strict accuracy if I want to be able to field all the options for IV/6 I’d need to get a different command for IV/6c and one more Syrian cavalry (I’m using a Ghulam element instead).

The last four elements were the Bedouin light horse and the Syrian cavalry.

Bedouin Light horse.

Another angle.

From behind.

Another angle.

This army has plenty of light horse and cavalry, but it doesn’t have much interesting infantry support. It’ll just have to rely on its good looks!

Syrian Cavalry.

Another angle.

From behind.

Another angle.

It’s going to be a bit of a rush getting the Carthaginian veteran spear finished in time for Conquest; however, I have fallback figures, so it’s not the end of the world if I don’t.

Turkomans

1 November, 2018

Turkoman Light horse.

The Syrians are a little closer now, with two elements of LH finished. These are Turkomans. The Legio Heroica figure are very nice, but they have quite a lot of crud on them, which shows up as one with a large ear, and another two with large hands. I tried to clean them up with a Dremel, but didn’t really get all of it.

Another angle.

From behind.

Another angle.

Next up will be the two Bedouin LH and then finally two Syrian Cv. I should get them on the table at least once before travelling to Conquest with them.

I’ve also got myself a paint shaker from Robart, and I like it. I’ve order a whole lot of empty bottles like the Vallejo ones and plan to move all my paint into them; I expect a lot of the paints will need to be chucked, which is not a bad thing. The spur for this was the decline of my GW Brassy Brass. I eventually decided to buy the Vallejo equivalent and like it. And one thing led to another (as it does when you’re procrastinating about an essay!).

I got a can of Molotow Matt Varnish; it’s better than the Testors I’d been using, which is really satin. However, these figures still look a bit glossy, so may need another coat.

More ghulams

28 October, 2018

I’ve been busy this last week, and the progress on the Syrians has not been much. However, yesterday I got a bit done; all the remaining elements are a little closer to completion, and I completed the command element, the Syrian commander with his ghulam bodyguard.

The Syrian Commander.

The army is now halfway done, with just two more elements of cavalry (both Syrian) and four elements of light horse (Turkomans and Bedouin). They should get done later this week.

Another angle.

From behind.

All the Ghulams.

Strictly one of these elements should be Syrian cavalry, but getting the extra pack of figures would have pushed up the postage. The extra ghulams will allow these figures to morph into other armies in time.

More Syrians

22 October, 2018

The Syrians are taking shape. It’s just a matter of doing belts and suchlike now; thought there’s a bit of that for the mounted elements. I got the minimum of foot done, the Ahdath militia and some javelinmen.

Syrian militia and javelinmen.

The photos show where I need to touch up moustaches, and the varnish is not matte enough for my liking.

Another angle.

The figures are Khurasan, but I’ve given some of them shields from Legio Heroica; the decals are LBMS. Their spears are a little cartoonish. I like their poses, and I’m fairly pleased with the palette for their clothes.

Another angle.

From behind.

The helmets could be painted as covered in cloth. I’ve not done that, but the turban that comes out the back of them looks a lot like hair. I’ve painted them as turbans based on the other figures.

Now I’ve just got seven elements of cavalry to go.

Ghulam, ghulam

3 October, 2018

The first of the Syrian mounted elements is now ready, a pair of ghulams. The figures are Legio Heroica, and paint up very nicely. I was in a bit of a hurry and they’re a little untidy.

Syrian ghulams.

I am trying to get the rest of the army done by the end of the week for a few games on Sunday; this was a good start. I got a bit distracted investigating what I’d need to morph these figures into other armies. Without too many figures, I could field Fatimid (III/66), Ayyubid Egyptian (IV/20) and Seljuq Turk (III/74). there are probably more from either side of the period too.

Another angle.

The ghulams are particularly nice troops, and I wouldn’t mind getting some more.

And another.