Sunday, 14 September 2014

Solo testing the Harran 1104 scenario - part three.

So we come to latest solo testing session. I played the game for a couple more turns. This is what happened.
 Baldwin's knights supported by Crusading foot sergeants tangle with Saracen heavy and light cavalry cavalry in an attempt to buy some time for the Antiochenes to come up.
 Baldwin's lieutenant, Joscelin, is still in uncontrolled advance and charges into a mass of Saracens under Soqman.
 Bohemund and Tancred are advancing in support as fast as they can and their line is becoming disjointed and vulnerable.
 Baldwin's time is running out. Now flanked, his situation is dire.
 The general situation looks like this. The Eddessans under Baldwin and Joscelin are scattered all over the place and being pressed by overwhelming numbers of  Saracens everywhere. Baldwin's cavalry are destroyed and Baldwin is killed.
 Joscelin's knights are flanked but, somehow, he manages to beat them off. He is cut off from the rest of his force. He is surrounded. 
 Bohemund forms a line at the foot of the hill. Tancred is more tardy (he rolls some rubbish motivation dice). Just across the river....
 ....Joscelin, with losses and in disorder, tries to break out.
  The dice are in his favour yet again!.....
 .....and, by some ungodly miracle, he makes it back to his own lines.
 New lines are forming. I am, BTW, liking this scenario set up less and less: The table edge is becoming a hindrance to free movement.
 Behind the Saracen, an isolated band of foot sergeants is surrounded and pounded to destruction. The Saracens are poised for their final thrust....
.......and that is where I choose to leave this battle because I have learned all I need to know. I have learned:

  • That the special rules regarding all of the contingents largely worked to an acceptable extent. The only one that might need tinkering with is the one regarding the compulsory advance by Baldwin's army (including Joscelin of Turbessel). I think I might change the definition of the Saracen's Stratagem card to an immediate Momentum March (plus one move for infantry and cavalry) card affecting Baldwin's army. This will ensure at least one lurch forward. Baldwin's units must rally or move at full rate on subsequent March cards to move to with the easiest to reach enemy, and then attempt to resolve melee. I think I will keep both Stratagem cards in the deck, but have only the first apply, Hmmmm.
  • I found that Jekermish was overly strong in unit quality. I will change the composition of each of the Saracen forces whilst maintaining the numerical strength of each. The overall numbers and types of units will not change. I will also downgrade some of the command group Motivation Die to D10. Only Soqman and Bohemund will be D12.
  • The sequence decks were quite nicely balanced so I will make no changes there - the new expanded types of card worked nicely.
  • Rivers. The general terrain rules in AS don't work that well for troops in rivers. As a blanket rule I think that there should be a penalty modifier equal to the type of river - e.g. in this battle a type II river gives a down 2 modifier - to all troops in it and the other terrain type modifiers should be ignored. If the river bed is firm, cavalry reduce the penalty by one. Troops defending the bank get the terrain advantage modifier.
  • Finally, I stopped the battle where I did because instead of it being a free flowing battle on a fairly open plain, it became a head on assault, by the Saracen, on an artificial isthmus created by the table space. I need to try to prevent this somehow. The change of axis, largely due to Jekermish's position and direction of attack, will usually create an artificially closed flank. I am going to have to orientate the table differently to extend the Crusader's left rear and / or the position of Jekermish; Jekermish might even be lost as an 'independant' army.  I fear that the game will generally do what it did in the solo test and become an end to end, rather than side to side, battle unless I do something fundamental to the initial set up. 


Gonsalvo said...

That's when playtests are most useful - when they show you what doesn't work the way you want before you run the game at a convention!

Jay White said...

Outstanding stuff. Your figures are painted to the highest standard and your games and reports are always a pleasure to read. Keep it coming!