Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Solo testing Harran 1104 AD - Battle Report. Part 1.

The Battle of Harran is one of those scenarios that could be set up and played in several ways.

  • It could be done as a rigidly programmed game where the players have little chance of changing what actually happened tactically on the historical day. 
  • It could be done as a straight forward encounter war game where only the initial deployments are used, everything is 'known' and the game is simply fought without special rules. 
  • It could be done as a partially programmed game where what actually happened become what Featherstone referred to as 'military possibilities'; a game where the players have some control of their army's tactical progress unless a historical event is activated by chance and supersedes it.
Of course, I'm going to go for the third option. But, here's the rub, as a scenario it will be the hardest option to balance.

Even before the battle has started, I've changed the position of some flanking terrain. I've moved the village, farm land and river on the Saracen's right flank. Moving terrain in this scenario is easily done; although a short description of the battlefield exists its exact location is unknown. Indeed, a village does not feature in the description of the battlefield at all. I put one there to hinder any ambition Jekermish might have of making an unhistorical wide flanking movement. 

Jekermish still doesn't really have this option but now he has the option to attack on the opposite side of the river obliquely, rather than lie in ambush. 

I've decided to use Ager Sanguinis 2 rules because it is easier to add a 'military possibility' programme to them and because I like the changes to the sequence decks. Before you ask, very little of Ager Sanguinis 2 is written down. Ager Sanguinis 2 is Ager Sanguinis with major changes to the sequence decks and minor changes to the rules based on game developments in Ager Proelii, which itself was a development of Ager Sanguinis rules tailored for the Punic Wars. I'll try, where appropriate, to outline rule changes in this test report.

Initially, I'm going to try the scenario with these four special rules:
  • All of Jekermish's units will be discovered if any of his units move or shoot, or a Crusader unit crosses the river and comes within 72 inches. 
  • All of Bohemund's units will be discovered if any of his units move or shoot, or a Saracen unit comes within 12 inches.
  • Bohemund's units cannot move until discovered, any of Baldwin's units reach the river, Saracen close order cavalry cross the river, or Jekermish is discovered.
  • When a Saracen "Stratagem" sequence card is turned, Baldwin's units are in uncontrolled advance until rallied from pursuit. Whilst in uncontrolled pursuit, Baldwin's units must move full allowable rate, rolling for motivation normally, on all Crusader "March" cards, attempting to close and melee with the nearest unengaged enemy unit.
I'm quite happy with three of the special rules but I'm unsure about one of them. I'm not very confident in the rule regarding Bohemund's movement restrictions. I'm not sure if they are too restrictive or not restrictive enough. Historically, when Baldwin's army made it's unplanned advance over the river, Bohemund decided not to support his ally and, whilst Baldwin and his army were being slaughtered, he marched away. But, that wouldn't make for much of a game so the military possibility of his participation must be made likey - we'll see.

Because I'm playing this game as a solo scenario I must take two decisions, for fair play, before the game starts. 

  • Bohemund will move to support Baldwin at the first opportunity.
  • Jekermish will move to attack if Baldwin's units do not reach the river before both the end of the turn following the play of the second Saracen "Stratagem" card.

On non related Fiasco fronts, I'm busy painting stuff for the Marignano 1515 demo game next year, and my Italian Wars collection. I've knocked up about a hundred new figures so far, mostly shot, crossbowmen, and some rather nice mounted arquebsier. I'll post some pics soon. 

I've also made some new, and for a change interesting, lead mountain purchases, more anon.


pancerni said...

It is with interest I'll folow your thoughts and changes in the 'solo' game. Sounds like fun.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, looking forward to seeing how the scenario will turn out and how you solve the problems.