Whilst the editor in chief is enjoying some quality time with his clan, the intrepid Mark Fry ventures to the West Country . It’s the hottest weekend yet in the glorious summer of 2017, it’s the weekend of Father’s Day and that means it’s time for Colin C to arrange for a Art de la Guerre competition, and Mr Fry has some rather nice new toys….
My Khmer Commander (‘you can never have enough parasols Pot’) leads his elite Guard spearmen in the attack on the Communal Italian centre
Yes folks, as promised your roving reporter (on a scorching June weekend) suffered the extreme heat at B.I.G (Bristol Independent Gaming) to bring you yet another hot off the press report of a cracking weekend of top-level LadG gaming*. This competition saw 15mm scale 200pt armies drawn from the Feudal Medieval era, fighting it out over 5 tense games. There were in the end c.18 players (with a couple playing a tag-team on the Saturday or Sunday keeping the numbers even) and we even had a few LadG ‘celebrities’ attending – such as Steve ‘the Hacker’ from Clevedon, Tim (BHGS Ranking controversy) Porter and the organiser himself, Colin (formally known as Prince) Cavanagh and several top-ranking central London LadG ‘professionals’, amongst others. In fact the event was even graced by a ‘royal visit’ when the ‘great Don’ arrived unannounced on the Sunday, passed amongst the players generously dispensing both rules adjudications and play advice, before departing as quickly as he arrived, for a Father’s Day nosh-up. “Gauwd bless’im!”
*readers will be sad to note that our illustrious editor (Digger Baldwin) was not in attendance as he had a pressing and highly important family engagement elsewhere (a special birthday party I gather).
So on to the meat of the event, and in the true spirit of what the organiser intended (c.C12th feudal medieval armies) yours truly opted to field a 9 elephant strong Khmer Empire army with Burmese allies. Needless to say I paid for my churlish bravado by ending up in the lower half (third quarter) in the final results but it was fun … although my last game against a certain Chris (controversy) Jackson was a bit of a challenge. For those what are interested & there were a few at the event itself, here is a look at my army list:
Khmer Empire and Champa, with Burmese allies, NB: Khmer elephants with light bolt-throwers mounted on them shoot as light artillery, but fight as ordinary elephants (outstanding!). And here it is fully deployed (in Game 2)
A full list of the Runners and Riders was as follows:
1. Colin Cavanagh – SSWG: 178 Anglo-Irish
3. Dave Allen – CLWC: 193 Ghaznavid
4. Ian Mackay – CLWC: 184 Komnenan Byzantine
5. Steve Price – Berkeley: 209 Teutonic Knights
7. Tim Porter – CLWC: 160 Rus
8. Mark Fry – Berkeley: 167 Khmer Empire and Champa
9. Hubert Bretagne – CLWC: 181 Communal Italian
10. Jesse Schoor – CLWC: 178 Anglo-Irish
11. Mark Clarke – Birmingham: 150 Viking and Leidang
12. Ian Speed – Birmingham: 210 Samurai
13. Phil Mackie – Devizes: 187 Later Crusader
14. Chris Jackson – Cardiff: 187 Later Crusader
16. Harrison Pearce – MKWS; 181 Communal Italians
17. Mike Bennett – CLWC: 193 Ghaznavid
18. Dave Saunders – CLWC: 148 Feudal Spanish
Battle 1). against a Papal Communal Italian (with a Sicilian ally) – an army that I know well. The game started off badly for my opponent Darrell Pearce, as his ‘Brilliant’ allied Sicilian commander took one look at a wall of rampant Khmer elephants and went all cautious and unreliable. In fact, despite recovering his courage later in the game he should have stuck with his first instincts and legged-it, as I went on to crush all his Almughavars underfoot and give his papist paymasters a serious kicking as well. A 20-17 win to the Khmer.
Battle 2). against a Ghaznavid Arab and I was up against Dave Allen (a known tough opponent) – the Ghaznavid would have been my 2nd choice over the Khmer. I lost this game 20-16 as Dave smashed my weaker Khmer command, the one with the Elephant artillery – which he hit it with a mixed command of Elite elephants and elite MF impact – so out fought my ordinary MF spear & ordinary elephants in a straight fight. However I made one of his cavalry commands evade off table and then started to mangled his 2nd cavalry command with my Burmese combo of elite elephants & MF bowmen, I was also within 1 MU of his Camp, but I broke just before I could capture it.
Battle 3) – against a Komnenan Byzantine (a very interesting army) played by Ian McKay (another very experienced player). He chose his terrain very wisely – a gully and some woods – both of which totally buggers up the jumbos. He also dismounted 8 of his 10 Medium knights (as HF armoured spearmen) and dismounted 4 of his Byzantine MC (as MF Bowmen elite) – you get the idea. He also had a mobile command of 6 LC bow.
The battle was slow to start with as I advanced on his infantry (dug in behind the Gully & Wood) and we both headed for each others Camps (which we both captured). In the subsequent combats the HF spears held my jumbos and minced my MF spearmen – even when I was at advantage in the gully (very poor dice on my part – but being hit in the flank also didn’t help!) and the combo of his LC bow and MF bows just picked off my LF & Elephants on a targeted 1:1 basis. He also used his Brilliant commanders to great effect and was expert at dashing around dicing off casualties (a good bit of learning). We ended on a 20-6 result in Ian’s favour that didn’t really do justice to the close state of many of the melees (before rallying off).
A sorry state of affairs in Game 3 – as my army is the filling in a Komnenan Byzantine ‘sandwich’ Yikes!
So I went home still with some hope in my heart.
Sunday dawned, with clear blue skies over Bristol and another scorcher of a day!
Game 4) was against a Leidang Medieval Viking (with German allies) – so masses of HF spears and HF Huscarls. At least I didn’t need to worry about being out flanked this time. This was a fast & furious game against Mark Clarke (a true gent). As no terrain fell in the centre of the table, both of us just lined up & went for each other. The Jumbos did their stuff – even the artillery caused enough pre-melee casualties to pay for themselves. However, HF spear & also HF with HCW are tough opponents and even with 3 BPs on them these units fight back very effectively.
My MF spears – even on the ends of the lines – were my weak link and after some ferocious fighting I eventually lost 20-20 (with the Viking 3 BP off also breaking) – the last round of combat could have given it to either of us.
A critical moment as my combined MF elite spear and ordinary elephants hit the Viking line, which holds.
Game 5) against Chris ‘controversy’ Jackson and I knew this was going to be a ‘difficult’ sort of game, as Steve Price had played him in the morning and got him all excited! He was using a Later Crusader (apparently) – which in the right hands is a very tough army – especially as this was the Richard I variant with the mixed HF spear-xbow units. He had hordes of impetuous medium knights + HF spear + HF mixed spear-xbows + a couple of mounted Turcopoles. To make life even more difficult (for both of us) he chose to attack in the Desert – so the table was broken up with sand dunes, brush and impassable terrain (deep joy). I won’t bore you with the ‘dithering’ of his main battle-line as 6 mounted Medium knights did the hoki-koki and advanced and then turned around and headed back away from fast advancing Elephants; as I just flung my forces across the table at him. I had a slight ‘jolt’ to start with as my Burmese ally went all shy in game turn 1 – only to throw a 6 next go and proceed to charge forward and blow a nice neat hole in his over-confident infantry line. On the near flank my artillery jumbos were toughing up his elite knights and even killed off Richard I in melee (hurrah!). Then Colin called time and as we quickly counted up it became clear that whilst Chris had inflicted 6 casualties on me (1 dead jumbo & 4 other BP markers) I had inflicted 20 BP on him against his total of 21! So a very, very close draw! Maybe I should have asked for a recount (in the spirit of all such close encounters or asked for postal votes to have been disqualified … but that did seem churlish at the time). Leaving aside the issue that there were echoes of Pelennor Fields about it (his all white ghostly ‘Army of the Dead’ verses my Mumakils!) I am also sure we’d both forgotten that Chris’ mixed HF spear-xbows fight as mediocre in melee and he’d thrown a couple of 5s & 6s to save him from death against the elephant charges. Ah well … you live & learn.
Chris Jackson The King of the Undead (the way is closed, it was made by the dead & the dead keep it!)
In summary – the elephants work very well. They are not so great once they get into melee, particularly with HF spear or worse against HF HCW (axes/polearms etc) and as you cannot rally-off casualties they are very vulnerable to archery – but I would most certainly use this army again. I need more practice with the Khmer but as it spans a period from 802AD to 1431AD it covers at least 3 LadG sub-periods. Also I need a ‘crib sheet’ on all the various Elephant rules – the fact that a Gully reduces them to a ‘0’ in combat and negates their impact ability was a very painful learning indeed.
It was a great event – many thanks Colin – I’ll be back next year as apparently Cry Handbags! (unleash the dobbins of war) will be back on the same weekend in 2018 – Colin was overheard to mention something about it needing to coincide with a very special birthday date …???)
Mark is next to be seen at Devizes (Attack!) playing in the Flames of War (Early War) and then at Grimsby in September were we continue our 6mm Cold War Commander campaign and my trusty Danes, Dutch Marines and German paratroopers will be holding the Commie menace to account.
I thank yea!
PS: some chaps from Central London Wargames Club came 1st & 2nd … “they comes down ‘ere, takin our trophies, drinking our beer, eating our curry and frightening our wimmin. I asks you!”