Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Drujistan Campaign

From the Histories of Letterman the Scribe:

It is with great sadness that I am writing about the failure of our campaign into Drujistan. Even though we were able to defeat the enemy in battle our forces were so worn and exhausted, they were unable to pursue them and destroy the survivors. Also, both Governor Mondyar and General Herodotos had been wounded during the battle and needed to be brought back to the provincial capital to recover.

The campaign had started on a high note with a rousing speech by Governor Mondyar to the assembled troops prior to setting out on the road to the ruined city of Yanaidar on the twentyfifth day of the month. For six days we had marched along the road encountering no resistance. The soldiers had begun to discount the tales of demons and other monsters that inhabited the hills and mountains of this forsaken land. Then on the night of the sixth day strange howling sounds were heard throughout the night.

Many of the men were unable to sleep though one of them, a mighty warrior from Cimmeria, seemed to take no notice. Named Conan, he served in one of the light infantry units, and had been given the title "O'Bryan" by the Ilyurz hill-men for his strength and prowess with weapons.

The strange noises ceased shortly before dawn and the army had its morning meal, broke camp and set out upon the road again. We had been on the march for about two-and-a-half hours, following the road along a river valley, when our scouts reported that we were approaching a village and that a large horde of the enemy's troops was approaching from over the hills to our left. According to the old map we were using the village was named Rabid Rabbits Rapids.

General Herodotos was somewhat stunned at first when the scouts reported that there were at least three of the enemy for every two of us, but recovered quickly and ordered the cavalry to form up off the road in order to allow the rest of the army to move up and deploy to face the enemy. The account of the battle follows further in this document.

One thing that should be noted is the strange behavior of Governor Mondyar prior to the battle. As governor of Sushan Province he had always taken great care of the responsibility that he had. Our people follow many faiths and he had always been respectful to them. His loyalty to the Kingdom of Iranistan and never been questioned and he had always been a good and efficient governor. Today, however, he was saying things that were totally out of character. These included, "I am opposed to the government of Iranistan", "The water god who's temple was destroyed was not of my faith and its destruction does not concern me", "I will quit my job as governor and move to Vendhya", "I do not want our forces to be known as the Army of Iranistan" and similar sayings. It was though he had been cursed by some spell of the enemy, yet when battle commenced he fought bravely at the head of the infantry, leading them in a charge against the loathsome man-apes of the enemy.

After the battle, while he was recovering, the priests examined him hoping to find any trace of a spell that would have caused him to speak in such a bizarre manner. Sadly, no trace of any such spell could be found. Governor Mondyar was arrested and charged with treason against the Shah, betraying the honor of the soldiers under his command, attempting to desert his duties as governor of the Province of Sushan, failure to bring retribution to the defilers of a temple of a god vital to agriculture of the people, and demeaning said god and his followers. His trial is due to take place on the eleventh day of this month.

General Herodotos was able to recover from his wounds. For his valiant actions during the Battle of Rabid Rabbits Rapids he was awarded the title of Weapons and Warfare Master by the Shah.

THE BATTLE of RABID RABBITS RAPIDS

The club game was held at the Atwater Library on Saturday October 31. The battle was set in Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age of Conan.

Commanding the Iranistani forces were Ray Jackson (Governor Mondyar) and Harold Windell (General Herodotos). Their army in order of march was 5000 regular cavalry, 1000 Auxiliary Cavalry, 2000 light infantry, 3000 auxiliary infantry, 6000 heavy infantry, and 10 elephants. Herodotos commanded the van and had the two priests with him. Governor Mondyar commanded the elephants, heavy infantry and the auxiliary infantry.  Their objective was the destruction of the village of Rabid Rabbits Rapids.

Ken Mackie commanded the Drujistani hordes. He placed the 3000 light cavalry wolf riders on his right, the Giants near his center, the Dahrkinshtorme Knights and their foot companions near the village, the 3000 archers were placed next to the village, and the 15000 warriors were scattered across the remainder of his battle line. Ken also had two magic users that he deployed near the center of his line. He placed his hero and army commander on the left at the village and his other general with the wolf riders.

We had expected several additional players to participate, but illness and last minute family affairs prevented them from arriving.

The Iranistani forces entered the table in road column in the order listed above and took four turns to get all units on table. Meanwhile the Drujistan forces advanced from their table edge.
Their two magic users did not fair well during the battle. One was lost during the first use of magic when Ken rolled a double three on two ten-sided dice and then failed to roll higher than a three on one ten-sided die. The other one blew up in spectacular fashion and set fire to the woods he was in by rolling a double ten a couple of turns later. For these rules magic works on the difference of two ten-sided dice with doubles causing that many hits against the caster. Failure to score higher than the number of hits results in the death of the magic user.

Ken's wolves attacked the elephants and a unit of heavy infantry on the Iranistani left while his giants moved up and hurled some boulders into a unit of Iranistani heavy infantry. Both sides exchanged some bow fire prior to the main battle lines engaging each other.

The Drujistani foot were armed with light spears and swords, except for the archers who were armed with bows and swords, the wolf riders had bows and light spears, the knights had lances and their companions had an assortment of heavy weapons. The Iranistani army had heavy infantry (the equivalent of late imperial Roman legions) with throwing weapons and some archers, light infantry with bows and light spears, auxiliary infantry of half spear and half bow, elephants with bow armed crews, and all their cavalry equipped with light spears and bows.

The Iranistani priests fared much better than their opposites. After the last of their opposites had gone up in a ball of fire they ganged up on the giants and caused enough damage to make them flee. The giants flight took them through one of the warrior units and they ended up routing also. Towards the end of the game the priests were able to target the Drujistan hero and slay him also.

The engagement of the two battle lines lasted a couple of turns. Finally enough of the Drujistan warriors broke that their army morale collapsed. Prior to this the auxiliary unit that Conan was with broke and Conan was last seen cursing at them in a vain effort to stop their flight. However, he ended up getting swept up into the rout. The Dahrkinshtorme Knights and their companions shrugged off almost every attack that the Iranistanis made against them. (Most of the units in the game were classed as five or six for their defense value - based on their armor and shields. The knights and their companions were classed as eight due to being completely armored with shields). The Iranistani elephants were finally routed also and fled off the table with no one in their path.

Both Governor Mondyar and General Herodotos were wounded in combat and removed from the battle as they led their troops in melee. The Drujistan general commanding the wolf riders also fell fighting the elephants.

At the end of the battle 1000 wolf riders, 9000 warriors and archers, and the giants were routed on the Drujistan side. On the Iranistan side 1000 heavy infantry, 1000 light infantry and the elephants had been lost. The Iranistanis were declared the winners, but due to the loss of Governor Mondyar and General Herodotos along with the shaken state of many of the remaining units they had to end the campaign into Drujistan.

Thanks to Ray for providing the hills, woods, roads, and stream for the game. The skeleton archers were painted by Steve Montgomery. Due to my forgetting to bring the box with the orc archers they were pressed into service for the game. Also, I thought that I had taken a picture with Ray in it, but it appears that I did not do so.

Positions at the end of the first four turns looking towards the village of Rabid Rabbits Rapids.












Positions at the other end of the road after the first four turns.












Ken, in the background surveying the battle field. The Dahrkinshtorme Knights and their foot companions are in the forground.










The Snot's Grays engage the heavy infantry next to the elephants while their fellows attack the elephants. The Auxillary horse are getting clobbered by the giants, Skintag and Goodtime near the center of the picture. Meanwhile the infantry battle lines of both sides are preparing to engage in hand-to-hand combat with their opposites.










Hal makes some adjustments.











The two battle lines contact.















The aftermath of the contact. The markers have a number on them and indicate how much damage each unit has taken.
Another view. This one shows the Iranistani cavalry taking punishment from the Dahrkinshtorme Knights and friends, while Conan and his auxillary unit are running for the rear just above them.




















View of the other end of the battle line at the end of the game.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Council chanber, Governor's Palace, Sushan Province, Iranistan

"Strategos Herodotos, what forces do we have available for the Drujistan expedition?"

"We have 6000 regular cavalry, 3000 barbarian cavalry, 6000 heavy infantry, 2000 light infantry, 3000 barbarian infantry, and 10 elephants, Excellency", came the reply. "We will have to leave some troops to guard the province, but most can be taken with us."

"Good. What are your recommendations as to which troops we should take?"

"We should leave 1000 of the regular cavalry and 2000 of the barbarian horse. That will be enough to maintain order and patrols while the main army advances on Drujistan. The territory we are invading is hilly and mountainous and infantry would serve us better. The elephants may also help as they have only recently arrived from the capital city of Anshan and the invaders have not seen them before."

"That will be fine.", Governor Mondyar replied. "Do we have any information on the enemy's territory?"

"Very little your Excellency. Mostly tales of demons, though none have been seen. Just strange howling noises. There are stories of a lost city named Yanaidar somewhere in the mountains. Our agents believe that the Yezemite cult may be located there. Their assassins have been responsible for the deaths of several important people. There is an old road that leads into the mountains that would probably be the best route to take. One of our scribes did locate an old map that indicates that the road would lead to that city. If the map is correct it will take about a weeks march from here to reach it."

"Then it will be best that we follow that road. As for the demons, we will bring some priests with us. The creatures that attacked our villages were ugly apelike things, but definitely not demons. They need to be punished for their destruction of the water god's temple and eliminating the Yezemites would also be good. Have the army prepared to march seven days from now. The end of the month will also see the end of our enemies."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

6mm projects completed

The following are some of the 6mm ancients units that I have completed this past year.
Three views of the Argyraspides. Figures by Rapier Miniatures. Unit is 10 deep by 24 wide. The figures have been based so that they may be used for both Field of Glory and Warmaster.














Chalkaspides

























Leukaspides






































Rapier phalangites with pike in upright position. Used for poor quality phalanx. Formation is 24 wide by 12 deep.













Early Achmaenid Persian infantry (Baccus and Rapier) I used the colors of the Immortals in the Osprey book.











Indian javelinmen. Heroics and Ros. I have some H&R chariots, H&R cavalry, Baccus javelinmen and Baccus elephants to finish.











Indian archers and elephants. Elephants by H&R and Irregular. Archers by Baccus and H&R











Carthagenian citizens and African spearmen by Rapier miniatures. Also being used for hoplites.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Projects completed

The following photos were taken with indoor lighting that I should have adjusted for. The background is actually white so there is a bit of color shift. These are 25/28mm figures that I have painted this year.
Three units of archers filling in as Bossonian archers for Aquilonia.












Two more units of archers.













Billmen







 
The following figures will be used in the club game on Halloween day.

Iranistan regular cavlary.














Iranistan regular heavy infantry.












Irregular infantry in Iranistan employ.














Irregular cavalry in Iranistan employ











Iranistan regular light infantry

Friday, October 9, 2009

Governor's Palace, Sushan Province, Iranistan

"How will Governor Mondyar react to the news", was all the aide could think of as he hurried down the hall to the governor's office. Arriving at the door, he gave it a hurried knock.
"Enter", came the reply.
"Your excellency, I have dreadful news. Another village has been attacked and this time the Drujistan invaders have suceeded in destroying the village and a sacred temple"
"This is too much. Twice before our army has driven them off before they could cause much damage. Tell the Strategos that he is to assemble as many troops as possible and prepare them to attack Drujistan by the end of this month!"
"Yes, your excellency"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prologue to Halloween Game


Ray has asked that I put on a game for the club on Halloween day. This will be a follow on from a previous game that I did for the club. The battle will be set in Robert E. Howard's Hyboria and be an expedition by Iranistan into Drujistan in retaliation for previous raids against Iranistan villages.

The previous games' battle field was as follows: a road from the north edge going through the village and heading off on the eastern part of the south edge. A large woods with some ruins in the northeast part of the table. A stream flowing from the north to the south about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way in from the west edge. A tower in the southeast part of the table. A bridge crossing the stream near the mill. A lake/marshy area with some trees north of the mill caused by a dam north of the mill.  There were ruins in the middle of the wooded area.

I ran this game twice. Once at a club meeting and once at a friends house. The raiders entered from the north with the objective of burning the village. The local defense force was outnumbered, but a relief force was due to arrive along the south road and aid them. The tower was inhabited by a wizard. The raiders in one battle were all orcs while in the other they were orcs with elf allies. The village defenders were humans and the relief forces were dwarfs in the game with the elves and knights in the other. In one raid the attackers were able to burn half the village while in the other they did not burn any of the buildings.

In the battle with only the orcs they also attacked the ruins and activated an ancient curse. For several turns they were harassed by two groups of skeletons. The skeletons wandered around based on the direction of the arrow on the die that was thrown for their movement and would attack whomever they came in contact with. Four sides of the die were arrows and the other two had "hit". If "hit" was rolled the skeletons crumbled to dust. In the same battle one group of orcs also attempted to move through the marsh and was attacked by giant spiders.

The wizard in the tower aided the villagers. The attackers also had magic users. The rules used 10-sided die for combat, morale, missile fire, and magic. Low rolls were needed for morale and high rolls were needed for missile fire and combat. For magic two dice were rolled and the difference between the numbers rolled on the dice would be the number of hits caused on the target. Doubles would cause that number of hits on the magic user attempting to cast the spell. To avoid death the wizard would have to roll one die and score higher than the number rolled for the double. In one battle the first attack that the wizard attempted resulted in a roll of double 10's! This caused the disappearance of the top of the tower in a mighty blast and a small mushroom cloud.

club game


Initial Greek Setup. Hal and my daughter.














Initial Roman setup. Ken (Cnaeus)on right side of picture and Gary(Gaius) on left side of picture.










 First turn

Roman right flank advances.











Roman cavalry under attack. Greek light horse moved through wood and gained a flank attack.











Action on Ken and Hal's (Herodotos)flank.












Action in center and Roman right.











Although outnumbered and outflanked, the Roman cavalry refused to die.












Ken turning Hal's flank. Ken also spotted an item in the rules that infantry could not charge cavalry. Having eliminated most of Hal's missile troops he would then proceeded to move his cavalry in front of the Greek phalanx in order to prevent it from attacking his infantry.






Fighting continues against Roman right flank cavalry. Infantry could join an ongoing melee, so Gary moved some cohorts into the ongoing fight.











The phalanx was able to advance and force the cavalry back, but Hal didn't have enough troops to hold the flank









Cleaning up. Gary and my daughter.












Ken and Hal











  Ray in the background preparing to take a photograph.







Our club fought a game in August. The pictures were taken by me and the following battle report was written by Ray.

Report for Battle of the Temple of Poseidon 87 BC

THE PROTAGONISTS:

GRAECO-MACEDONIAN GENERALS

HERODOTOS of "The Windy Dells" Strategos for Macedon and Commander-in-Chief, He also personally commanded the Allied Army's Right Wing which was all Macedonian. This person at one time was a Macedonian Marine. For most of his later life he was an Engineer. After retirement as an engineer, he became a Flower Merchant in Aigai before being called up to active duty as a Militia General during the Mithradatic War.

BUCEPHALOS of "The Boeotian Butlers" Strategos for Allied Greek City States of Boeotia He was Commander of the all Greek Allied Left Wing which really included a center "hinge unit." This person came from a long line of butlers. Before being called up to active duty as a Militia General he was employed in a supervisory capacity in the Boeotian Countryside by the Theban Postal Service. He was fond of telling Postal Patrons: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these competent carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

ROMAN GENERALS

Praetor GAIUS LIVIUS ZOSIMUS, Commander-in-Chief and also had personal charge over the Roman Right Wing (Legio V + infantry auxiliaries and heavy cavalry). A long time resident of Ostia and a Member of The Patrician Class. This person was a long service Civil Servant before becoming a Praetor (Cursus Honorum).

Legatus CNAEUS RUFIUS MACRINUS, Left Wing Commander (Legio IV + infantry auxiliaries and heavy cavalry). Member of the Equestrian Order (Thus Title "Esquire"). He originally came from Tuscany, but currently resides in a Villa in Umbria. This person had a varied career: He started as an agens societas benevolens (insurance agent), later he became a praeceptor musica ( music teacher), and just before the Mithridatic War an advocatus et iuris consulti (advocate/ attorney/barrister/lawyer). The Roman Senate appointed him as a Legatus under Praetor Gaius Livius for the Mithridatic War.

The Battle's Background

This WGS wargame was a hypothetical scenario taking place in Northwestern Greece close to the small City State of Astakos. A combined Army of Macedonians and Boeotian Greek City States tried to stop Roman reinforcements to General Sulla who had just begun a siege of Athens and its Port of Piraeus.

The First Mithridatic War (8985 BC) was a conflict fought between the Kingdom of Pontus and revolting Greek cities—Athens being the most prominent—led by Mithridates VI of Pontus against the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Bithynia. The war lasted five years and ended in a Roman victory which forced Mithridates to abandon all his conquests and return to Pontus.

Setting up the Wargame

The Atwater Library did not open until 9:35 AM. Set up of the wargame tables and moving furniture around took over fifteen minutes. Sorting Hal Windell's miniatures into two armies took over forty five minutes.

The Romans chose the side of the battlefield which had a light woods on their right flank, a ridge on their center, another patch of light woods on their left and The Temple of Poseidon (mostly in ruins) on their further left. Both the extreme Roman Left and Right Flanks had open ground.

The Greeks were left with an area of open ground on both of their flanks as well as a large stretch in their center. They had small patches of light woods in both their left center and their right center.

GAME TIME LINE

Game Turn One began at 10:35 AM. This was twenty-five minutes of just movement.

Game Turn Two began at 11:00 AM. This was twenty-two minutes of just movement.

Game Turn Three began at 11:22 AM. Movement took up thirty-three minutes. Combat took up to twenty minutes exactly.

There was a LUNCH BREAK from 12:15PM until exactly 1:00PM.

Game Turn four began at 1:00 PM. Movement took up thirty-five minutes. Combat took up to twenty minutes exactly.

Game Turn Five began at 1:55 PM. Movement took up thirty-five minutes. Combat took up to fifteen minutes exactly.

Game Turn Six began at 2:45 Pm. Movement took up thirty minutes. Combat took up to twenty minutes exactly.

The Game ended at 3:35 PM. Counting unit strengths and casualties took about ten minutes. Clean up took up about fifteen minutes. We were out of the Atwater Library by 4:00 PM--one hour ahead of the maximum time (5PM) allotted for the game.

Game Mechanics

Harold (Hal) C. Windell's own rules, The Ancient World, were created by him over forty-two years ago. As far as I can tell from my memory and existing copies, these rules have gone through four editions. Originally, The Ancient World, was a Simultaneous Move game of sorts with the winner of a die roll (on every game turn) deciding on which flank he would begin while his opponent moved on the opposite flank. This system was modified quite often by an umpire (normally Hal himself) to the more common Move & Counter Move. The Fourth Edition of The Ancient World (02 May 1989) uses a pack or packs of playing cards to determine moves i.e. the Umpire draws a Red Card and Romans move a particular unit, and so on. This was the system used at The Battle of The Temple of Poseidon. As Scenario Umpire, I drew the cards. ( I also did not shuffle them very well.)

Game Description
Ken's e-mail of 08/12/09 (which was sent to all of you) described the Battle of the Temple of Poseidon in a "fair and balanced manner" (like FOX News?); so there is no need for me to say more. The Sixth Turn was the decisive one because over a third of the Allied Right Wing (All Macedonian) disappeared. Four units of Macedonian Heavy Cavalry survived and these would have been able to join the rest of their Right Wing (all Light Infantry) which was "refused" ( bent back). Nevertheless, Ken's destruction of all the Macedonian Light Cavalry, and most of the Macedonian Heavy Cavalry, in effect "turned" that wing. In spite of this, the Allied Army would have been able to retreat without difficulty, especially because the "off board" ILLYRIANS (fresh, organized and tough) would certainly have helped cover the retreat.

The Romans lost 6,200 (124 figures) out of 20,850 (417 figures) soldiers. The combined Greek and Macedonian Army lost 4,800 (96 figures) out of 14,000 (280 figures) soldiers.

Conclusion

The late Elliott Derman (WGS Founder & Director) was fond of saying that, "Wargaming is not a spectator sport." I respectfully disagreed with him then and still do now: There are exceptions to this observation, and the Ancients Miniature Wargame fought on 08 August 2009 is one of them. I very much enjoyed being Scenario Umpire for The Battle at the Temple of Poseidon.

Raymond Jackson

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Field of Glory Fantasy Rules Playtest

Today Mike and I tried out several rules for a fantasy variant of Field of Glory. We recreated the battle from Robert E. Howard's story "Black Colossus". We did make several alterations to the opposing forces. Each side received a battlegroup of flyers and an extra mage. Natohk's army was changed to skeletons and the army of Khoraja got an extra hero.

The army of Khoraja had one battlegroup of 4 knights, five battlegroups of 4 bow,sword cavalry, one battlegroup of 4 impact foot, one battlegroup of 8 pike, one battlegroup of 8 light foot archers, one battle group of 4 cavalry lancers, and one two stand battlegroup of flyers.

Natohk's army (commanded by Mike) had three battlegroups of 4 light chariot bows, two
battlegroups of 4 cavalry -1/2 lance
and 1/2 bow, one battlegroup of 2 flyers, and six battlegroups of 6 superior mob 1/2 light spear/bow and 1/2 bow.

The first picture shows Natohk's deployment and the second shows Conan's. Conan also had a flank march with the cavalry lancers, two battlegroups of the cavalry bow, and the sub-ordinate field commander. My daughter rolled a twelve for the flank march which promptly arrived on the first turn
next to Natohk's camp (photos 3
and 4) which had been placed near
the right edge of Natohk's side of
the table. One of the bow cavalry
straggled, but the others appeared
on the Natohk's right flank. The two units of Khorajan cavalry would spend the rest of the game engaged in a desperate battle with the opposing skeletons and the second mage before finally breaking them.

Meanwhile, the rest of Natohk's
army advanced on the ridge line where the Khorajan army was deployed. Conan led two units of Khorajan cavalry and the nobles (knights) advanced to engage the chariots. The extra hero was with the knights. Bow fire from the chariots disrupted both units of cavalry archers, who evaded when the chariot unit on Natohk's right charged them. While Conan went to rally them the knights charged the other two battlegroups of chariots who also evaded. The chariots stood their ground when the knights, who had become disrupted from missile fire, charged them again. Conan rallied the first unit of cavalry he joined and led them in an interception charge against the chariots that had charged them. Although the knights did some damage to the chariots, they failed another cohesion test and became fragmented. The mounted archers did much better and were able to defeat the lone unit of chariots they were facing.

While all this was going on the Khorajan flyers had chased after the opposing flyers. We had to substitute some regular cavalry for the flyers. A short engagement occurred when Natohk's flyers turned to face them and promptly lost half their stands on impact (top of photo 6). The pursuit took the Khorajan flyers almost to Natohk's camp.

On the other half of the battlefield the horde of skeleton foot advanced on the ridge. Several turns of missile fire from both sides saw the Khorajan cavalry on their right flank break while the light foot archers held their ground with the aid of the mage who had joined them. The Khorajan mercenary pike advanced and tore into one of the skeleton groups while the lesser Khorajan nobles (impact foot) also engaged an opposing battlegroup.

Due to time limits we ended the game at this point. The Khorajan army had lost two units of cavalry archers due to straggling and routing while the Khorajan knights were fragmented and would also be lost. Natohk had lost his flyers and one battlegroup of foot. A second battlegroup of foot was also treated as lost along with his camp and one battlegroup of chariots.

In all both magic systems worked well without dominating the battle. The mage using the Hyborian magic system forced the flanking cavalry to take several cohesion tests due to hits and had to pass one death test when one of his casts backfired. The other magic system helped the Khorajan light foot archers pass several cohesion tests which could have resulted in the collapse of the Khorajan right flank if they had not passed them. Superior mobs of skeletons were found to be very hard to break. The hero with the knights had only a minor effect on the die rolls for the stand he was with. A couple of minor changes in the flyer rules were discussed