Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Friday, August 22, 2014

Europe aflame!

There hasn't been a huge amount of gaming going on here of late, but I do have Europe Engulfed on the table and have been playing through 1939 in a (very) desultory fashion.

So far the poor old Poles have been wiped out. It was not unexpected, but they took such a hammering that the French behind their fortifications bestirred themselves and attacked the Rhineland.

Unfortunately, an offensive spirit did not bless them with a great deal of success, and there will be hell to pay once the panzers get back from Warsaw...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams

Feeling a bit crap tonight. When I turned on the computer this morning one of my facebook buddies had posted a comment and link to the effect that Robin Williams had died, most likely by his own hand.

It registered as a "wow,that's sad" moment, and then I continued on with all the things that fill a morning when you're on holiday and have got to help get the kids ready for a family outing.

As the day went on and I had some time to think it dawned on me that Robin Williams - the inspirational school teacher, the deliverer of Will Hunting, the mad comic, the dad who wanted to see his kids, the guy like a crazy uncle who you sometimes didn't know how to take, but whose presence you took for granted - had died, and by his own hand.

I guess when you've got to a certain age most of us have had a few run-ins with suicide. People we know, friends, family members, family members of friends, friends of family members, kids who lived down the street, old school mates and so on.

In dark moments we might even have thought about it - more or less abstractly - ourselves.

What makes this one so hard to bear is that had it been someone else who was in despair you know Robin Williams the man would have been right there urging that someone to get help, to make a call, to wait another day, to laugh or cry, to give themselves time to let things get better.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he couldn't do that himself, and if even Robin Williams can succumb, how much harder is it going to be to convince others who are struggling with life that it really is worth living?

What a sad day, what a terrible loss, and what a hard lesson.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Start of my gaming week

We have a bit of a break this week, so I've gone for something of slightly longer duration that usual.  Not sure how far through I'll get, but we'll see...

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Rules

Have had a fair bit on the old plate of late, but am pleased to report some good sets of ancients rules either just released or going through playtesting. William Butler's Scutarii, Simon Miller's To the Strongest, and Mark Lewis' Sword and Spear have all caught my eye for one reason or another.

Hopefully more to see on these here sooner rather than later.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Star Wars bargain

It's not often I find a really good bargain on hobby related stuff in Japan, but I did today.  I popped into the second hand store down the road to have a look at the guitars they have in at the moment and serendipitously happened upon these in a corner at a ridiculously low price.  They are from 1998, unopened in the original packaging, and each costing about the same as an ice cream.

I'm not actually much of a Star Wars buff, but I know a few people that are, and if they don't want them I'm sure my boy will when he gets a bit older.

Now, I just have to find some space to store them!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Game day part 2 - Ipsus

The second game that Luke and I got through on Sunday was Ipsus.  We used the scenario from Strategos I, but changed it a little based on Luke's reading of the battle.

The Antigonids, commanded by Luke, consisted of the following:

8 units of average phalangites for 40,000 men
1 unit of average heavy infantry for 5,000 men
1 unit of levy heavy infantry for 10,000 men
1 unit of levy light infantry for 10,000 men
1 unit of average light infantry for 5000 men
1 unit of average light cavalry for 2,500 men
4 units of veteran heavy cavalry with an average leader (Demetrius)  for 5,000 men.
1 unit of average heavy cavalry for 2,500 men
1 unit of Indian elephants for a total of 50 elephants
1 average commander, Antigonus.

The allies, under yours truly, were thus composed:

2  units of veteran heavy cavalry for 2,500 men
1 units of average heavy cavalry for 2,500 men
1 unit of levy heavy cavalry for 5,000 men
2 units of average light cavalry for 5,000 men
1 unit of Indian elephants for 50 elephants
4 units of inexperienced Indian elephants (we classed them as African jumbos) for 200 elephants
2 units of average heavy infantry for 10,000 men
7 units of average phalangites for 28,000 men
2 units of levy light infantry for 20,000 men
1 unit of scythed chariots for c.125 chariots
2 average commanders in the persons of  Seleucus and Lysimachus

We used our own deployments rather than attempting any historical one.

Moving first, the Antigonids put out a strong centre of phalangites and a combined arms force in the left centre. Light infantry and elephants were thrown forward in an effort to dominate the middle of the battlefield, and the heavy cavalry was split three left and two right. Demetrius commanded the cavalry on the left and Antigonus was in the centre.

The allies deployed light infantry and elephant screens forward in the centre and centre left, sending most of the cavalry to the right in an effort to counter the influence of Demetrius. The phalanx formed up to match the enemy line, with the scythed chariots deployed centre right.

Deployment, with the Antigonids on the right of picture
The Antigonids advanced in the centre and on the extreme wings.  The left centre was kept back due to a poor command roll; nonetheless, the initial attacks were successful, scoring two hits and shattering a unit of levy light infantry which, caught without heavy infantry support, was unable to negate the second hit.

After 2nd Antigonid turn
The allies replied by advancing to attack with the cavalry on the right. For all their efforts, only one hit was scored on Demetrius' force.  The enemy skirmishers were driven off in the centre, but the scythed chariots were notably ineffective.  With commands running short, on the left a decision was made to extend the line wider rather than advance in support of the forward elephants.  Three hits were made this turn.

After 2nd allied turn
The failure to support the elephants was seized upon by the Antigonids.  The elephant screen was shattered immediately and this galvanised the attack all along the line.  Demetrius, putting himself in the forefront, oversaw a devastating attack on Lysimachus in the cavalry battle on the left.  There were six hits and one shatter this turn.

After 3rd Antigonid turn
With the battle in the balance Lysimachus threw everything into an attack on Demetrius, but the gods were smiling upon the latter and the allied cavalry were ineffective.  Elsewhere, two hits were scored.

After 3rd allied turn
Twin assaults at opposite ends of the field now struck vital blows against the allied cause.  Lysimachus was killed in an attempt to rally hits on his zone, which caused a general panic, carrying off the cavalry and in a cascading effect, the fragile elephants nearby.  In their centre right the combined arms force made a crushing attack, leaving only one enemy unit on the field, and that spent. Five hits were scored this turn, including a shatter and a general killed.

After 4th Antigonid turn
Rousing themselves at last, the allies drove into the central phalanx and the redeployed elephants made short work of the enemy left wing. Five hits and two shatters were scored.

After 4th allied turn
Demetrius now sent the cavalry around to encircle the enemy phalanx and put the fear of death into them. Two more hits saw two more shattered units, and this was enough to send the entire allied army into headlong flight.

The allied army at the time of its collapse
It was another one-sided battle, this time 114 to 39 to Luke and his gallant men.  Dice were again a major factor, but as we were in charge of our own deployments, I cannot help but feel that I left my left weaker than it should have been and made a couple of decisions which, in hindsight, look suspiciously like tactical mistakes!

Again, a thoroughly enjoyable battle, and one-all was pretty fair reflection of the day's play.

Here also is Luke's take on the action, which will give a slightly different perspective!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Game day - Raphia

I was fortunate enough to have Luke make the trip down for a game day on Sunday.  He brought down his impressive collection of Naismith Macedonians mounted on 80x80 bases and the plan was to do a Successor battle or two and discuss a few things that he's been working on for his own projects.

First up we did a Raphia refight using Lost Battles.  Luke took the Ptolemies and I the Seleucids under Antiochus III. We used the 'historical' deployment and got straight into the action.

Under the Lost Battles rules, The Seleucid forces are represented thusly:

3 units of Indian elephants equating to 120 beasts and 6000 supporting light infantry.
2 unit of veteran heavy cavalry with an average leader (Antiochus and his guard) for 2000 men.
2 units of average heavy cavalry for 4000 men.
1 unit of average light infantry for 4000 men.
7 units of average phalangites for to 28,000 men.
2 units of levy phalangites for 16,000 men.
2 units of levy heavy infantry equalling 16,000 troops.

And the Ptolemaic forces come out like this:

1 average commander (Ptolemy).
1 unit of veteran heavy cavalry for 1000 men.
1 unit of average heavy cavalry for 2000 men.
1 unit of average light cavalry for 2000 men.
2 units of African elephants representing 80 beasts and 4000 skirmishers.
1 unit of veteran phalangites for 2000 men.
11 units of average phalangites equating to 44,000 men.
2 units of levy phalangies for 16,000 men.
1 unit of average heavy infantry for 4000 men.

Deployment, with a smiling Ptolemy Philopater
The Seleucids start with a refused left and the bulk of the phalanx in a strong central position.  The elephants are on each wing and Antiochus is on the far right leading his veteran cavalry.

Ptolemy has advanced on the centre left and on the right.

Ptolemy has first move, which he uses to bring up the phalanx and advance on his right to engage the refused flank.  His attacks are not especially successful, resulting in only two hits.

During the 2nd turn

The Seleucids press the attack on the right and apply as much pressure as they can in the centre and against Ptolemy's zone.  They score seven hits and an all-out attack, which is a pretty good return if I do say so myself.

After the 2nd Seleucid turn
The Ptolemaic forces hit back as strongly as they can, but only three hits register.  Importantly, two of them are against elephant units.

After the 3rd Ptolemaic turn
Antiochus now breaks through on the right and the phalanx continues to make good ground against the enemy.  Four hits are scored, and one unit is shattered.

After the 3rd Seleucid turn

Pressure on the Seleucid left tells and a unit of levy heavy infantry is shattered.  With two other hits also scored, the Seleucid left is now looking vulnerable.

After the 4th Ptolemaic turn
Antiochus advances around the rear of the Ptolemaic forces.  With the enemy both in front and behind them the light and mounted troops in Ptolemy's zone flee in the face of another successful attack.

In an attempt to preserve the left the cavalry takes off on what is euphemistically called an 'outflanking' manoeuvre.

After the 4th Seleucid turn

A strong showing sees four hits scored by the Ptolemaic centre and centre right, but they cannot break through just yet.  The veteran infantry on the left, threatened with overwhelming odds, begin to march off the field.

After the 5th Ptolemaic turn. Ptolemy has wisely repositioned himself.
Antiochus sends a unit to sack the enemy camp and turns himself into the rear of Ptolemy's centre.  The phalanx continues to push and under this pressure the remainder of the enemy army breaks and runs, with thousands presumed slaughtered in the pursuit.

After the Ptolemaic collapse. The man himself has vanished...

It was an entertaining but pretty one-sided game. There were some tense moments on the Seleucid left, but more than anything this was a battle decided by dice and (I'd like to think!) by the judicious positioning of Antiochus' victorious cavalry to have maximum impact on the Ptolemaic morale.

The final victory points favoured Antiochus 111 to 34, but the return match would not be such an unhappy one for our guest...

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