Wednesday, 15 July 2015

I love pilgrims, but I couldn't eat a whole one.

NOTE: THIS POST IS WIP. 
This post is part scenario and part after action report. As the game starts with very little on the table the photos only show the game thus far. More to follow.

Tonight's game, at Graham H.'s request, is going to be a Crusade game using Ager Sanguinis 2. First I though about doing a straight up, line them up,  battle. Then, having a good memory of a recent scenario set by Charles Grant, I decided to do a 'wagon train' game.

This scenario is fairly simple. It is set in the First Crusade period. The Crusaders are travelling across Anatolia (Turkey) to reach the Holy Land. In their way are the Seljuks who see the Crusaders as a welcome source of slaves and concubines - Jihad, at this point, not having been thought of.

Anatolia is country of rolling arid hills, low mountains and wide vales, some of which are heavily wooded. In many respects it is the ideal terrain for setting a war game. After looking through a few images of the region, I settled on this type of terrain (but with slightly lower hills) to set the encounter: this is ambush territory.


The Scenario:
In the usual fashion for wagon train games I decided to set the game so that it will run lengthways up the table rather than across it. I decided to deploy the wagon train as part of the initial set up, and I decided, just add a little spice, to have the train in two distinct parts, one part well ahead of the other. 

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."

  • ......and it came to pass that in their rivalry Charlie le Chaplain sought to outdo the Abbot de Costello and pressed his following to be first into paradise.
The basics of the scenario are simple. The Crusader player must exit the far end of the table with as many civilians as possible. The Seljuks must prevent as many of the Crusaders exiting as possible.


This shot shows the initial set up and the deployment of the Christian civilians. Rocky hills (type II terrain and cover) surround the Crusader's route. A fast flowing stream (type II) crosses the route. Several woods (type II and cover to foot but not passable to cavalry) are marked by conifers; other trees are scenic only. The village, like so many in Anatolia at this time, is a ruin (type II and cover).

The Crusader deployment area has been delineated with Autumn leafed trees. 

You can probably just make out the Seljuk arrival point makers (small circular discs at the edge of the table); they mark the mid point of 36" wide deployment zones. Their are four zones that run along the right hand side of the table (as you look at it) and two that run along the bottom (just out of shot) of the table - the latter in the path of the Crusader advance.
The Crusader Forces:

The Abbot of Costello and his dishevelled band.

Abbot de Costello: (D8)

2 Pilgrim units (unshielded civilian fanatics, peasant weapons): D6 D6
1 Pilgrim unit (shielded civilian fanatics, mixed bow and spear): D6 D6


Charlie le Chaplain offers prayer as his followers move briskly past.
Charlie le Chaplain: (D10)
2 Pilgrim units (unshielded civilian fanatics, peasant weapons): D6 D6
1 Pilgrim unit (shielded civilian fanatics, mixed bow and spear): D6 D6


The Crusader player has three further commands he can freely deploy within the bounds of the Crusader deployment area (see notes on first pic).

Gerard de Pardieu: (D10)
1 Knight unit (heavy, shielded, couched lance armed elite fanatics): D12+1 D10
1 Seargeant unit (heavy, shielded, mixed crossbow and spear armed mercenaries): D8 D8
1 Seargeant unit (medium, shielded, mixed ordinary bow and spear armed stubborn mercenaries): D8 D8

Matta de Harri: (D10)
1 Knight unit (heavy, shielded, couched lance armed elite fanatics): D12+1 D10
1 Seargeant unit (heavy, shielded, mixed crossbow and spear armed stubborn mercenaries): D8 D8
1 Seargeant unit (medium, shielded, mixed ordinary bow and spear armed stubborn mercenaries): D8 D8

Lyintwous the Byzantine: (D12)
2 Mercenary horse archer units (medium, shielded, bow and javelin armed mercenaries). D8 D8.
Peter decided to depoly with his teeth clearly showing up front. I, as umpire, took control of Lyintwous and his Byzantines. When I deployed behind him he wasn't at all sure about me - which between Crusaders and Greeks is just as it should be. I think the name helped in this:  'lie-in-to-us' isn't too much of a concealed threat, but mistrust should, where appropriate be well stoked.

Crusader Victory Conditions:

To win the game the Crusaders must get at least half of their civilian units off the end of the table and have at least half of their martial starting force (not including expendable Byzantines) intact. Retreat is not an option. 

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."
  • All, without fear, went forth to seek His Domain. Yet the knights, knowing of the trials that would yet come, looked to preserve their strength even in the face of this enemy.
The Seljuk Forces:
Mudderfakir's troops (under Graham H.) were the first to arrive. They arrived at point 6; the end of the table; a blocking force.
The Crusaders were quick off the blocks and managed to get over the river and form a bridgehead before the Seljuks could react. The Christians were getting the cards and turns, repetitively ending on doubles, were not helping anyone.
Atabeg Mudderfakir (D12)
1 unit of Ghulam cavalry (medium, shielded, lance and bow armed elite professionals): D12 D8
1 unit of Seljuk horse archers (shielded, bow and javelin armed elite tribal cavalry) D10 D6
2 unit of Turcoman horse archers (bow and javelin armed tribal cavalry) D8 D6

Formalinonas Prince of Rum (D10)
1 unit of Ghulam cavalry (medium, shielded, lance and bow armed elite professionals): D12 D8
1 unit of Seljuk horse archers (shielded, bow and javelin armed elite tribal cavalry) D10 D6
2 unit of Turcoman horse archers (bow and javelin armed tribal cavalry) D8 D6



The last mounted commands are deployed. Graham forewent the deployment of his foot troops on two occasions. He regretted it. Because the foremost Crusaders advanced quickly and he was unable to occupy the wood opposite the village. His options limited, they appeared much further back - they are just in shot and about to pounce on the Abbot of Costello.

The Crusaders rear is well and truly exposed. Fearing 'the red hot poker' they start to form something approaching a defensive circle. Oh look, the Byzantines (centre) look like they are being helpful.

Diswaydatway of Tutherway (D10)
1 unit of Seljuk horse archers (shielded, bow and javelin armed elite tribal cavalry) D10 D6
3 unit of Turcoman horse archers (bow and javelin armed tribal cavalry) D8 D6

Itchi the old Ghulam (D12)
2 units of armed soldiers (shielded, heavy blade armed tribal infantry) D8 D6.

I have decided that the Seljuks of this area, being largely tribal, don't have a centralised command structure.The battle plan will be decided by a factionalised council of war. The Seljuk player will have to decide his deployment areas with an element of randomness.

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."

  • Knowing of the Crusader's arrival in their country Mudderfakir convened a council of war. At the council a dispute arose over how the Seljuks should dispose their forces.........

To simulate the random effect of this council, two edges of the Seljuk side of the table have been divided into three foot arrival point sections numbered, in this case, 1 - 6. At the start of the game, the Seljuk player draws a playing card (numbered 1-6) from a deck. One mounted command must be ordered to arrive here at the behest of the council. The Seljuk player may decide which sections his other two mounted commands will arrive in, but each must arrive in a different sector - one may join the sector of the 'council's choice'. All commands arrive separately regardless of entry point on Stratagem 4 cards (two in deck), one at a time.

As well as the mounted commands, the Seljuk player has a band of foot warriors raised and trained by the local 'head man'. An ex-professional soldier, he is called Itchi for reasons best left unspecified. This force may be secretly deployed in any wood or village unexplored by the enemy. Its location need not be specified until it is activated on the Stratagem 1 card.

Seljuk Victory Conditions:

To win the Seljuks must 'destroy' at least two thirds of the civilian units and have at least a third of their own starting force intact.

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."

  • The Atabeg Mudderfakir, though fearful of undermining his own power by a defeat, sought to curry favour with the Sultan by sending the Christians to him in chains...........
The end of the Crusader column is being enveloped. The Abbot has indeed been tardy - though rolling three ones for movement hasn't helped.
When Itchi's troops charge out from the wood onto the hapless pilgrims all looks lost. In the nick of time the Byzantines charge to the rescue. Some of the pilgrims are running, but now so are their assailants. 
Next week we will fight this confused battle to a conclusion.

14 comments:

Steve J. said...

Great looking table and figures and the names of the protaganists made me smile:)

ColCampbell50 said...

This should be an interesting game. Looking forward to the next reports.

JIm

Richard McGain said...

Nice scenario. What miniatures are those?

JAMES ROACH said...

Hi Richard,

Mostly, they are Perry and Gripping beast. If memory serves, the 'cattle' are WF bullocks, and the wagons are made up of Irregular Minis bits and pieces (including cut up ladders for wagon sides) and bits I had lying around. Some figures, like the guy carrying the cross, are simple conversions (that cross is is shaved down match sticks, he originally carried an axe over his shoulder). Things like sacks and tarps are just Milliput. On sacking, I find finger prints give quite a nice texture for finishing - usually a fingerprint isn't wanted, here it somehow works.

Richard McGain said...

Thanks,

I guessed Perry, so I'm on their store now. Gripping beat I haven't heard of before, so thanks.

Carlo said...

Very good looking game James. I look forward to the follow-up reports.

Simon Miller said...

Looks absolutely wonderful! Reminds me of some of the old Wargames Holiday Centre scenarios. I love the civilians.

Gonsalvo said...

Wagon rain/Convoy scenarios are a fun change of pace; I'm already considering doing a Napoleonic version next year.

DeanM said...

Superb looking game.

JAMES ROACH said...

Thank you, everyone.

Peter, retreat from Moscow? I must confess that I love the new Perry stuff for that. For that kind of scenario I think these would be perfect. Thankfully they have limited value otherwise: a good thing that has kept me out of that particular frying pan.

Engel said...

Another excellent looking game.

Engel said...

Another excellent looking game.

Nikko said...

Hello,
I'm Stuning about your great and very nice collections of miniatures !!
Nikko

Phil said...

Gorgeous, as always...a beautiful table and fantastic minis, civilians are so nice!