In order to do something different than just our standard Field of Glory Ancients tournaments, the group of people that I regularly game with wanted to have some Ancient gaming with a format that was a bit more relaxed. And something that didn't require people to play three games in a single day in order to get their fix of Ancient gaming. We still wanted to allow for pick up games that would still be meaningful (if not as intense as tournament gaming), and that would let people schedule games at their own pace. In response to these wishes, we have put together the New England Ancients League 2011 Season, and we had our first set of games in a kickoff day at the Hobby Bunker in Malden, Massachusetts last weekend.
We're just getting started, but it looks like the league is going to be quite a success. 17 players signed up, with 8 hailing from the Greater Boston area, one from Central Massachusetts, one from Western Massachusetts, 6 from Connecticut, and even one from West Point in New York. Since we have gotten so many players, the league is broken into two divisions with the 8 Boston players in the Eastern Division, and the rest of the players playing in the Western Division. Each player is to play a minimum of 10 games between now and the Labor Day weekend in September, playing no opponent more than once. They are supposed to play all the players from their own division, and at least three players from the other one. In order to encourage people to play as much as possible beyond the minimum, if a player completes more than 10 games, then only their top ten scores will count towards the standings, with each game being scored as per the standard Field of Glory scoring system. Players can schedule games whenever it is mutually convenient as long as they finish a minimum of 10 games. Games are to be either 800 or 900 points, using 15mm figures as the default. 25mm games can be played, but both players would have to have the same armies in both 15mm and 25mm scale. Each player can select any single army they like from any Field of Glory supplement, but they must select a single year that the army is designed for - within that restriction, they can vary their lists as much as they like from game to game.
Anyway, 6 games were played at the Hobby Bunker last Saturday. For myself, I am using an Early Successor (Macedonian) army, with a year of 277 BC. I got to play two games at the Bunker, one against a tough Swiss army, where I got a 10-10 tie, and another against an Anglo-Dane army for a 25-0 victory. Temporarily, at least, this has gotten me into first place in the Western Division.
I wanted to post more detailed AAR's from my games, but most of the photos I took came out unacceptably, and I didn't take enough notes to recollect everything that happened in the games. What I can state is that on one occasion against the Swiss I had an unit of thoratikai being charged from two directions where I forgot to go into orb formation to prevent a flank attack, and that in both games, none of my elephants died while they also did a great job contributing to combat results (either for getting hits, or reducing my opponents chance to pass cohesion tests because of losing at least partially to elephants).
So, I wish I had better pictures, but here are ones that came out well enough that I don't mind posting them here:
Two games down, and eight to go. That shouldn't be too much of a problem. Hopefully everyone will stay committed to the league, even those players whose first games don't go well for them. Of course only counting your top 10 scores, dropping games that didn't come out well gives a player a chance to salvage something from a slow start. And since we are letting multiple teams in the playoffs, you don't have to actually win your division to enter the post-season. The way it is going to work is that the top three players from each division will make the playoffs. In the first round, the top finishers will get a bye, while the second and third place players will play a wild-card game with the winners advancing to the semi-final match against the first place player from the opposite division. Then the semi-final winners meet for the championship with the playoffs targeted to finish before the Thanksgiving Day weekend. That will wrap up the 2011 season and set us up hopefully to do it again in 2012.