Thursday, November 11, 2010

New England FoG AAR

Last weekend's New England FoG Regional Tournament is now one for the books, and with a total of 15 participants, including three newbies and a visitor from California, it was in my opinion, a rousing success. Playing the Dailami, I still had one of my typical tournament performances, finishing in the lower end of the middle portion of the standings, but there was great company, entertaining games, and a good variety of well painted armies.  The only negative is that other than myself, there was only one other Connecticut attendee - but Massachusetts and Rhode Island were well-represented, so it was a reasonably diverse crowd for a regional event.

I was going to try and post detailed after action reports of each of my battles, but I didn't get as many good photographs as I was hoping for, and I found that since I didn't keep detailed notes during my games, it is more difficult than I expected it would be to reconstruct the course of the fighting by reference to the pictures I did have and my faulty memory alone.  Because of this, I'll restrict my game descriptions to brief overviews only, including the photos that I think are of at least passable quality.

My first game was against an elephant heavy Gupta Indian army.  It included at least 10 stands of elephants and an assortment of protected medium foot archers, along with a battlegroup or two of armored lancers.  This was a good matchup for me, with the enemy infantry being inviting targets for my Dailami, whose armor allowed them to shrug off the bow fire they were exposed to while charging in.  The elephants were relatively easy for the drilled Dailami troops to avoid, and even when the elephants did get into combat, more often then not they proved the FoG adage of being "glass cannons" by failing a good proportion of their death rolls.

An Angry Line of Gupta Elephants
Dailami Advancing on Gupta Infantry
Dailami Troop Types in Action, Including Elephants and Ghilman

With all the time spent dancing around elephants, it took a while for the Dailami to crash into the Gupta infantry, but once they did, it went south fast for the Indians, resulting in an army break just before time was called, and wide margin victory for the Dailami.

Dailami Trying to Rotate the Battlefield
Although I was happy to get such a rare tournament victory, it also meant that after the first round I was in second place, with the resulting reward of being matched up against Matt, Mr. the King in the next round.  Matt is one of the best players in the world, and his Santa Hermandad army was designed to be as hard as nails. I knew that I would need every advantage going into the game in order not to completely embarrass myself, but things started going wrong right from the start when almost no terrain went down on the table to give my medium foot Dailami sections of the battlefield to find shelter in while facing tons of armored heavy infantry, pike, and superior, heavily armored knights.  In desperation, I tried to turn the battlefield 90 degrees in order to get into the little terrain that was available, and to try to find matchups that my Dailami could possibly win.  This attempt failed, and it appears to me that what most significantly contributed to this failure was that I put the light troop, skirmishing wing of my army too far out on the right wing so that it was unable to properly support the main battleline while simultaneously getting itself trapped by the better troops in the Santa Hermandad army.

Playing against a player as skilled as Matt, it was quickly becoming obvious that there was little more that I could do except try to score whatever points I could in order to retain at least a shred of my martial manhood. At least once the battlelines clashed on my right flank, just before my army broke, my unit of elephants were able to contribute to the fragmenting of one of Matt's units.  It was yet another overwhelming defeat for another of my armies.

Dailami Wings Separated

Light Troops Getting Trapped

Elephants Scoring Minor Victory Points

My last Saturday night game was even a bigger embarrassment.  In this game, I had to take on a Swiss army that was a bit of a swarm, with something like 15-16 battlegroups, almost all superior pike or heavy weapon armed.  The Dailami infantry didn't match up well against anything in this army, and since I was outnumbered in skirmishers, it was very difficult to hide in terrain without getting shot up.  I spent most of the rest of the night after the game trying to figure out how I could have played to get a better result, and I've concluded that I would have been better off waiting for the Swiss to contact me while holding a position just on the edge of the terrain towards my side of the table.  In this case, the Swiss infantry would have been channeled between terrain pieces, and possibly I could have hit them then one unit at a time.  Instead, I moved too far forward, making it easy for the Swiss pike and halberds to gang up on me.  And to frustratingly add to my difficulties, once battle got joined, I had two generals killed in the same combat phase and all the units seeing this of course failed their cohesion tests.  The result was that the center of my battle line had a giant hole punched through it, and with half my commanders out of the battle, it was impossible to rally just about anyone.  The final result was a 25-0 victory for the Swiss.

Swiss deploy to start the battle
Dailami too far forward
Swiss rout the Dailami

I guess I deserved to have my luck turn on me the way it did against the Swiss though, since just prior to starting the third round, I got extremely lucky in winning a dice-off door prize for a painted, combined Ancient German/Gaul army.  The dice-off was a fundraiser to benefit the Al Garnache Memorial Scholarship Fund that was set up in recognition of a wonderful guy that was recently taking from the gaming community after a fatal bout with cancer.  A great cause for a great guy - and I'm thrilled to have one of Al's armies in my possession.  Kind of made it worthwhile to go down in flames against the Swiss.

Sunday was a new day, and I had one more game to try and salvage a decent result out of the tournament.  I came up against an Late Achaemenid Persian army for a game that was personally for me the most enjoyable one of the weekend.  I got a little bit of terrain at the center of the battlefield to assist in my deployment, and even though the LAP had tons of very good quality cavalry to threaten medium foot dailami in the open, there was also a good number of hoplites and other lower quality infantry for my foot to aim at.

Here is a photo of the initial Dailami deployment showing that I learned my lesson finally about unsupported wings and brought my mounted in closer to the foot:

Here is also a photo of my opponent's targeted hoplites:

And another of the Persian cavalry horde:

The Persian cavalry knew that they significantly outnumbered my rank flank, and they concentrated on attacking there.  Below is a photo of my lancers dispatched in order to try and hold onto this flank long enough for my Dailami to hit the lower quality Persian foot:

Here are the "baby-man" hoplites turning and trying to run away from my Dailami:

Note my opponent's feeble attempt at a baggage camp.

My superior archers finally earned their pay, shooting an unit of ghilman type cavalry to fragmented, setting them up to break once charged by dailami in the next turn:

Of course, even though my lancers fragmented one of the Persians cavalry units on impact, in the following rounds of melee they couldn't achieve anything more until finally, my opponent rallied them all the way back to steady.  Of course, another one of my commanders was killed in the right flank cavalry fighting shown below:

And eventually, although still tenuously hanging on by a thread, my right flank was getting overwhelmed:

But now my Dailami were just a turn away from slamming into their hoplite targets - but it was too late! Time was called, and the game finished as a tensely fought draw.

So, all in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend, and Mr. Iverson did a fantastic job putting on this event for the Ancient gamers in New England.  The success of this has inspired me to try and put on something similar at a future date in Connecticut.  Time to start shopping for locations and calender openings.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this aar
    you're blog are in my "favori"
    french reader