Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Conan Trailer - R Rated

Another trailer for the upcoming Conan the Barbarian film has been released - this one rated R.  I feel a bit better about the prospects of this movie now.  The scenes seem to show a sensibility that is raw and visceral in a sense similar to Robert E Howard's prose.  Of course, given how fast-paced and cinematic an actual Howard story is without the need for alteration or embellishments, it's difficult to understand why Hollywood producers can't simply adapt one of the unsurpassed tales by the master himself.  Maybe it's because this looks to be an origin story, the first in an anticipated franchise of future movies, and Howard never actually wrote an origin story himself for his hairy brute.  Yes, there were allusions to his "birth on a battlefield" and such, but never an actual complete story.  The earliest story in the Conan "chronology" is probably "The Frost Giant's Daughter", and although that is one of Howard's finest yarns, I can't imagine it as a feature-length adaptation.

Well, we only have to wait until August to see how enjoyable this Hollywood pastiche will be.  Meanwhile, once again, here is the latest trailer:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ancients League Again at Jacob's

Once again, we ran an Ancients Gaming Day in the basement of Silver Eagle for the New England FoG League.  We had five players this time - all from our Western Division, with one player even coming over from West Point in New York.  I got to play two games with my Successors using a revised 800 point list that eliminated the elephants, added an unit of Elite Phalangites, and threw in a few more light foot skirmishers.

My first game was against Phil's Samurai.  This one went very well for me.  Phil tried to out flank my pike blocks, putting all his generals on his wings.  Unfortunately for him, the Samurai's lack of skirmishers allowed me to get all my pike blocks into his medium foot, essentially at the same time, while his generals were all off gallivanting.  Phil lost all of the impacts, failed most of his cohesion tests, and from that point on, things went from bad to worse for him.

Successor Advance on Samurai

Samurai Waiting
My second game was against Mark's Assyrians, where things went just as badly for me as they went well in the first game.  I thought that I had the game won early when I got two units of Superior Lancers into a heavy chariot unit at the same time, and then had my elite phalangites in an overlap position in the following melee.  Alas, my dice went completely south, and instead of a massive penetration through Mark's center, I ended up loosing a third of my army.  Mark has written a very nice AAR of the battle from his point of view, and since it reads so well, I thought I would post it here (with his generous permission), rather than continuing with a less colorful account of my own.  Here it is:

-Assyrians and Successors…4 June 2011

-FOG League play at Jacob's in Simsbury today.

Assyrian Chariots

    A Successor Army is a terrible thing to see marching down upon you.  A wall –nay, a veritable prickly mountain of pikes – supported by superior armored lancers, with cretan bowmen, horse archers, slingers, javelinmen and tough armored hoplites hovering about and backing them up … and with four generals leading them!

    …Having seen what they had done to Phil’s Samurai in the morning game, I pondered how to face them with my Assyrians….

    I did at least win the scouting toss, having a pip on the die advantage, and so I got to choose terrain – hilly, which mean there would BE terrain.  Of course, there was lots of lovely terrain – a gully, a plantation, some brush and steep hills…all of it but one piece of brush winding up on the successor side of the table (!).  Ack.

At least I got to see his 14 units start deploying first, before matching them with my 10….
Armored Assyrian Infantry

    Now the Assyrians are a good army.  Only 10 units, but five of them superior (three heavy chariots, guard light spear-sword armored heavy foot, superior armored sword-light spear cav, with a back rank of bows).  Two good big medium infantry light spear sword front, bows in the second rank, a heavy armored infantry unit of the same, plus a light horse archer unit and the luggage boys (the ‘davids’ – poor slingers).  Three generals, one of them at least a Field Commander…

    Peter did the big chunk of pikes in the center, with lights to the flanks, medium infantry as supports to the rear.  I did TWO armies as he noted, one on each flank – the cavalry and most of the infantry on the left (west), the chariots, lights and one infantry on the right (east).  His lancers is placed dead center of his army, planning as he said to head them right in on the chariots, beat them and win a solid fast victory.

Initial Deployment - Split Assyrian Army

    I held back my main lines, moved forward on the flanks.  On the right there was a steep hill he put some javelins on, supported by some horse archers.  I winkled him off that hill with sling and bow shots, and then came up to it with infantry and a heavy chariot…

    Peter dove straight ahead, taunting my chariots to charge his slingers – which the damn fools obliged  (first two turns I failed every CMT and Cohesion test, even having superior chariot unit go down a level from incidental fire from slingers, and got forced to charge forward and bang into his lancers….

    ….but then, the dice turned, and my lancers, tho down a pip in the initial impact, held on – and with a general leading each unit, turned the tide and began beating the lancers (!).  As they held, the troops I had marched up towards the hill did a solid left face and began bearing down on the flank of his lancers….

    …to buy himself time, he threw his slingers in front of my flankers, rolled to stand his ground knowing they would die from being charged by heavy chariots and light cavalry…but again, all he wanted to do was buy himself a turn to turn the tide back and take out my chariots…one of which was now overlapped with pikes (!)

    Again, my chariots for a second time held – and his slingers did not, and BANG his flank collapsed as my chariots and light horse ran down his slingers and my infantry column marched down the line into the flank of his lancers….

How did I lose this one?

    Light infantry running, lancers hit in flank and breaking THROUGH the supporting pikes – disordering them just as the pursuing heavy chariots and infantry banged into these shaking pikes..and crack (!) they too broke…four units …slingers, pikes, his two superior lancers, running and being pursued – and then my pursuing infantry roaring into his medium hoplite types – who became disrupted and who also broke…

    With a third of his army streaming away,  Peter still pushed on with his main pike force against my “other army” to the west, which was waiting for him (but not coming closer in the center…but which was sweeping around the flank).

    Bowfire from my medium infantry second rank archers disrupted one pike unit…so he turned it around, pulled it back behind others to try and rally.  The medium armored infantry who took their place to screen them also got pinpricked – but could not recover cohesion before my armored heavy infantry slammed into them…a turn before his pikes engaged my guard.

    The mediums broke and ran, and I continued my swing with infantry…

    Then the pikes hit the guard – armored light spear sword superior, with a general…and the guard held.  And held.  And held again….

    On the far flanks, another drama played out.  A race on the right as his one breakaway horse archer rode hell bent for my camp…with my horse archer chasing him, and being literally just a whisker behind, so I could never charge him…but I kept shooting him in the rear….

    On the far left, my cavalry pushed and pushed and pushed his cretan archers and horse bows back and back and back…until he finally made a stand in front of his camp …and his bow fire knocked my good cavalry down one then down a second level to fragmented…..

    …and thus scored a point – a single point – in the game for the Successors…for Assyrian cavalry supported by infantry knocked down his horse archers also to fragmented, and on my next turn I charged – and they broke, and that was the 14th point…

    Successors 1, Assyrians 14.   (Tournament points are different, but that was the break point)

    Where luck deserted me the first two turns, and my plan to hold back my chariots to get in a turn or two of bowfire at his lancers failed, they did however stick it out and pin him until the flank attack hit…and that good luck in holding on – if barely – more than made up for the initial disappointment…and in Assyria tonight, there is much rejoicing….

I hope that was enjoyable.  I had a great time, and now have gotten in half of the games I need to get done to finish league play.  I'm still hanging onto third place in my division, so I remain in position for a playoff berth.