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Doing the Saka swing

Page history last edited by Rob Brennan 9 years, 3 months ago

OK, it's well-documented now that the Child run of results came to a juddering
halt on Saturday, and last night I was being teased about not having posted my
game-reports yet - something about only siging when I'm winning! ;o)

So - my list (roughly - this is from memory at work so forgive me if it's
slightly off):-

CinC - Irr Cv(O), 5 Irr Cv(O), 7 Irr LH(F), 6 Irr Bw(I) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME -
Sub1 - Irr LH(F), 15 Irr LH(F) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME - 5.5/7
Sub2 - Irr LH(F), 9 Irr LH(F), 8 Irr Ax(O), 4 Irr Ps(O) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME -
Baggage - 3 Irr Bge(I) - 3ME - 1/2

Hmm - I think that one of those is missing a LH(F)? I had no stratagems. I
thought that I would do scouting the proper way, and Feigned Flight on a 3' wide
table seemed to be asking for trouble.

Anyway, to the action!

Game 1 - Mike Bennett, Massagetae.

My army was forged for games against successors, so naturally I was pitched
against Mike Bennett and his Massagetae in round 1. Ah well, it's far from
unhistorical, two asian-end Skyths duking it out for control of the sea of
grass. I invaded, and the important terrain was a long gully placed by Mike in
my left hand deployment area, a little way in from the rear and side angling up
toward the centre of the table, and an elephant-friendly patch of rough on my

I deployed with the all LH(F) command on the left, behind the G, then the CinC's
archers in the gap between the end of the gully and the scrubby flat with his
mounted behind, and the Ax/Ps command all in the SF on the right. This may seem
to be the wrong way around, and perhaps in retrospect it was, but I thought that
I reasoned (correctly) that the El were likely to be on the right and that was
where I wanted the Ax and Ps, and I though that with reasonable PIPs I could get
into and through the G before it caused a problem.

Mike had LH, Ps and Cv on my left, facing the gully, more horse archers in the
middle and his indian ally (2 El, LH(O) and mixed foot) on the right. They were
echeloned, with the Ps on the left furthest forward and the Indians hanging

The game developed swiftly on the left, where a series of 1s for PIPs in the all
horse-archer command left me with little options. Mike's Ps got into the gully
before I could get in and out again (I probably should have deployed in there,
but I had wanted to keep my options open) and we scrapped furiously at his 2 to
my 1 - at those low factors it was far from 1-way traffic and I felt that I was
gaining control at the centre-end, and losing it at the table-end end.

In the centre, my CinC's Cv advanced to have at the enemy Bw(I) (who were formed
1 deep) and my own Bw(I) got forward to take pot-shots at the enemy Cv and
Indians. This was the focus of the game, and more anon.

On the right, I tried to advance as fast as I could, but again was hampered by
poor PIPs. It can be frustrating to be a manoevre army like Skythian and roll
low PIPs! Mike sent forward his Indian LH(O) to try to hold me off, but they
swiftly retreated back to the far right corner. The Indians came forward
somewhat, and my Ps engaged the Pk(F), and promptly were spent, one after the
other. Mike's LH from the center command had come across the Indians and were
now massed on the right - an engagement developed between his LH(F) and my
massed Ax, largely to my detriment...

The heavy mounted (well, Cv(O) both sides...) in the centre crashed. A Cv beside
my CinC fell, and Mike hit me with his own Cv(S) CinC and an overlap - 4(S) to
3(O), and I won! Phew. And then the LH(F) beside me killed the Cv(O) next to
the CinC, and opened him up. "That doesn't look very helpful", I commented. As
usual, I had poor PIPs the next bound, but the 2 I had enabled me to slam in the
hard flank, the CinC himself and a Cv beside him to take on a protruding
Massagetae on a double-overlapped Bw(I) (with a double overlap), expecting to
take off the overlap from my CinC. Bounce goes the Cv at 4:2 against the Bw.
Ah well, 3:3 with the hard flank is still a good shot to win the game. 1:6, my
CinC is dead. Oh bother! Command disheartened.

Elsewhere, my right-flank mounted charged into the Skythian mounted, with an
overlap on the Cv(S) SG. We got lucky everywhere (at last!) and (thanks to the
wing-man bonus) ended-up with a 3:2 shot on the double-overlapped general.
Sadly, it failed, and that was my last chance gone up in smoke. Next bound,
Mike duly creamed the CinC's disheartened command and did enough elsewhere to
break the army.

I lost, DBMM won - fantastic game, tension, excitement, never played Mike before
in DBMM, all decided on a 6-1 reversing the expected outcome at a crucial
moment. Who could ask for more?!

2-23 - 0 Rampage points.


Game 2 at Rampage, and my finely-tuned anti-Successor army is pitted against Jim Gibson and his massive Illyrian monster...

My list (correct version this time!):-

CinC - Irr Cv(O), 5 Irr Cv(O), 7 Irr LH(F), 6 Irr Bw(I) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME - 5.5/7
Sub1 - Irr LH(F), 15 Irr LH(F) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME - 5.5/7
Sub2 - Irr LH(F), 9 Irr LH(F), 8 Irr Ax(O), 3 Irr Ps(O) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME - 5.5/7
Baggage - 3 Irr Bge(I) - 3ME - 1/2

We invaded Illyria.  The initial dice fell for just after dusk, but we agreed that neither of us could be bothered with night attacking.  The table wasn't as badly cluttered as I had initially feared.  There was a bit of rough stuff in the centre of my deployment area and a gentle hill just in my half on the right.  Some more bits in Jim's rear that played no part in the game.  I knew that Jim would be big and wide, and that throwing LH(F) into Ax(S) was probably a recipe for disaster.  My infantry would be outclassed but Ax(O) were probably a reasonable bet for holding back his advance in sacrificial bits.

Reasoning, therefore, that Jim may look to see a flank march, I decided to delay the arrival of the all-LH(F) command and deploy to one side of the table.  Ideally, Jim would split his forces to meet the anticipated FM on the side where the main army would be, would wheel the troops facing empty space and then find 16 LH(F) coming in on what would now be his flank.  Ah well, it looked good in my head...  :o(

My deployment had the CinC on the left, Bw to the front, Cv behind them and LH(F) outside.  My Ax and Ps were in the Rough in the centre with their LH(F) in reserve.  The right of the table was let empty.

Opposite us, Jim had a line of Ps stiffened with a bit of Ax(S) slanting back, with more Ax(S) from that command as part of the main battle-line.  The centre was 2-3 deep Ax(S).  The right was more 2-3 deep Ax(S) with a couple of LH(O) covering the flank.

Jim completely ignored the threat of the flank-march and didn't really start to swing his right as I had hoped, just ploughed forward. I think that he had low PIPs there, so straight ahead and turn-in later was probably his only option.

The battle started on the left, of course.  After a desultory potshot with the Bw(I), the mounted moved through and Jim charged - to his doom.  Several Ax(S) vaporised on contact with the Cv(O) and a hole immediately appeared.  However, poor PIPs and a messy situation prevented me from really following up as quickly as I would have liked - it looked at one point as if the Cv would be able to ride through and demolish that command by annihilating the Ps, then roll up the flank, but I just couldn't pick through the bits and pieces and odd flank-covering angles that I was presented with.

In the centre, a couple of brave Ax(O) advanced to slow the marching enemy, and then things got heated with Ax(S) vs Ax(O) and supporting LH(F) in and around the rough. It was all looking rather scrappy and generally doomed, with the centre command beginning to run out of LH(F) as more and more were spent, when the delayed arrival came on.

The delayed LH(F) didn't get involved in that fight but instead threatened to ride around along our own base-line and up the right-hand flank.  However, the presence of that many LH(F) also made Jim have to consider what his safe options were and that bought time.  Unfortunately, the ride to the right stalled as the Illyrian Ax(S) had now managed to come so far forward that we couldn't get far enough away to march or even to be safe from being ploughed into.  They were on the GH, and a charge uphill wasn't really a sensible option.  The pair of LH(O) covering the Illyrian flank were just enough of a threat that I couldn't ignore them and try to race past - they would cover the end of my column and then I'd be hit in flank and pushed off the side of the table.

Things were getting clearer and cleaner again on the left, as the Cv began to mop up more Ax(S), and the game was beginning to look finely balanced.  Some of the CinC's LH(F) were coming around the outside and rear of that command - and suddenly time was called, catching us both by surprise.  The game hardly seemed to have got started and we had both thought there was a lot of time left.  No more moves, combats only.  One shot at glory for the CinC's command, and it was enough to break the Illyrian left.

The Saka had inflicted 30+% and lost not that much, for a 15-10 victory, but only 1 Rampage point.

This was a tough ask for either side.  I think that if I had deployed all three commands and charged, I would have lost pretty comprehensively, but equally Jim had difficulties forcing the pace against my lads.  The delayed arrival came on with a 6, so if I had flank-marched on the right I could have made life interesting, but as Jim noted he could have turned around his rear line of Ax(S) (as lights, Ax(S) can do a 180 turn for 2 PIPs) and fought me to a standstill.

Game 3 at Rampage, and my finely-tuned anti-Successor army, having fought Massageate and Illyrians must be due something narrow full of Pk and Kn(F) wedges now surely?

No - Mike Pickering and Early Pre-Islamic Arabs.  A wall of Bd(I) and LH(O)...

My list:-

CinC - Irr Cv(O), 5 Irr Cv(O), 7 Irr LH(F), 6 Irr Bw(I) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME - 5.5/7
Sub1 - Irr LH(F), 15 Irr LH(F) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME - 5.5/7
Sub2 - Irr LH(F), 9 Irr LH(F), 8 Irr Ax(O), 3 Irr Ps(O) (1 Bge(I)) - 20ME - 5.5/7
Baggage - 3 Irr Bge(I) - 3ME - 1/2

Naturally (Ag 4) the Saka invade Araby.  The table ended up very cluttered. There were dunes on the left and right just inside my half of the table, a difficult hill on the left flank the rest of Mike rear was cluttered with rocky flat.  My centre was a clear plain, but I had no room to manoeuvre on the outside.

On the basis that Mike was big and unwieldy, but not very vulnerable front on, I decided once again to try to just attack half his army, but this time to flank march.  The obvious flank march would be on the right, due to a difficult hill and a dune narrowing the available space on the left. However, my Ax-command wouldn't worry overmuch about the dune and there was room to deploy the LH in the gap there. The hope was that speed of the LH would allow me to intervene from the left flank even if Mike had managed to transfer all his army to the right.  I therefore stacked the on-table commands on the right - CinC and Cv all the way out, with the mounted behind a thin screen of Bw(I), and LH(F) in the dune intending to spring out as soon as possible.  The massed LH(F) (4 deep) were beside them - left flank hanging in the air.  :o)

Mike deployed first so, without the benefit of seeing what I was about to do, spread the table.  On the left were Ps kind of in the target zone for my flank-march, then a line of 2-deep Bd(I).  The centre command was a lot more 2-deep Bd(I), with some Ps in reserve.  These two commands were 24ME each!  The right was Mike's mounted wing, mainly LH(O) but with some camel LH(I) in the rear.

It quickly became apparent that I had misjudged the deployment in the dune, as I couldn't get out and Mike bottled me up with LH(O) just outside.  I couldn't understand why he hadn't used his camel LH(I) for the job, and after the game he admitted that he had completely forgotten about them - three games in the day (and roasting heat in that hall!) can take their toll even at 240AP.  However, the majority of the LH(O) were facing Bw(I) backed by Cv(O), and he didn't fancy that combo as I pushed it at him.

The Bd(I) line pushed up toward the deep central LH(F) formation, but Mike soon got into difficulties at the edge of his push - the flank of the Bd(I) needed protection, but the LH(O) couldn't do that in the teeth of archery and cavalry.  So Mike used his CinC to do the job, set at an angle behind the Bd.  And that was when things went wrong as somehow (I forget how - the games and heat took their toll on me too) I found myself with Cv and a hard flank on his LH general, and bagged the big man.  That disheartened and then broke the LH command and exposed the flank of the Bd(I).  While my LH(F) chased off the remnants of the arab mounted, my CinC and his Cv were hammering into Mike's line from the right and carving out Bd(I) as fast as they could.  I was losing LH(F) from the central command, but mainly only spent, so it wasn't hurting too badly.

The flank march arrived just in time, about 6-7 bounds into the game to catch a few fleeing Ps and to join in the pursuit as the Arabs finally broke, for a 23-2 result.

In retrospect, the flank march was a waste of time.  I would have been better served getting the Ax and Ps to dominate the dune on the left and using them as a springboard from which to launch the LH(F) of their command.  At the very least, it would have distracted the PIPs from Mike's left-hand command, which was beginning to claw into the flank of my central LH(F) block.  I haven't delayed or flank marched in competition for ages, probably the best part of 18 months, and I found myself doing so twice in three games due to the terrain and sheer mass of the opponents.  In neither case was it particularly successful.  Still, I have re-established that I will do it - so future opposition can no longer assume that it's not going to happen!  :o)

A great day's gaming overall, and back to mid-table obscurity for me.  The ding-dong loss in the morning against Mike was probably the most truly exciting (no disrespect to the other two games or opponents) as the armies were so evenly matched and it was decided on a 6-1 reverse.  240AP is a great format for 1-day events.  3-2-1-0 scoring also makes a difference.  I wouldn't want to go over to that as a general rule, but it makes a change which is always a good thing.  I came last of the four WARboys, and amusingly the other's Rampage scores were the reverse of their 25-0 scores - John Hickman came top of our pile of dogs, 6 Rampage points and 46VP, then Steve Rathgay with 5 and 47VP, then Jon Smith with 4 and 48VP!

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