Wednesday, August 4, 2010

8-9 July 2010 Historicon Warhammer Ancients Tournaments (Classical Results)

Ancients Tournament, Classical Division

In a change of pace for me – I have played in the Chivalry division (1200-1500 AD) division for many years – I entered the Classical (400 AD and before) division with my Nubians.  In what was possibly one of the more…interesting…aspects of the tournament (and something that managed to very neatly suck out what enjoyment I’d had during the course of the three games I played), I realized later that the tournament organizer had not been joking when he told me I had intentionally been matched up against three armies with drilled infantry – the bane of an Elephant army list.  Out of 12 players (and 11 possible opponents), only four fielded drilled infantry.  I faced three of those four, twice being re-matched in later rounds to ensure I faced drilled infantry.  The tournament standings (and round-by-round results) that support this grim conclusion are all available online.  Ah, organizer shenanigans.  How exciting.

Despite this, I somehow managed to pull a draw in all three of my games, and finish a moderately respectable 5th out of 12 total players.  And by the end of the third game, I felt I had a fairly solid grasp of what I should be doing with my Nubians on the tabletop.

Game One: Me vs. Chris Buckley (Spartan Greeks and allies)

This game hinged on two key errors by yours truly that led to a draw instead of a possible Nubian victory.  Although my elephants all charged merrily into ranks of hoplites, I declared (and implemented) my charges poorly, and ended up clipping the unit of Spartans as well as the adjacent phalanx units.  As a result, Chris’ best combat unit, complete with general, was in combat with my elephants, backing up his phalanxes.  Second, I foolishly charged one of my infantry blocks into combat as well – foolishly, because (as I note elsewhere), this simply gave the Greeks a softer target to strike at, to win a close combat.  The game ended after only three turns, but that was to my benefit – a longer game would have resulted in my elephants eventually being surrounded and driven off, and the loss of more of my units to the grinding slow-motion power of the Greek phalanx.

The Spartans are the elite gentlemen with red cloaks on the left. 
Notice how a poor charge of the non-Spartan Greek Phalanx in the center,
would result in the Spartans being clipped and dragged into the combat, as well.  Oops.

This picture is here because Chris' Greek phalanxes are very, very pretty.
Click on the picture for a close-up of the detail.

Game Two: Me vs. Don Perrin (Early Imperial Romans)

A wild whip-saw of a game, the Romans and Nubians simply lined up across the field and ran at each other.  I managed to successfully charge two units of (Drilled! Stubborn!) infantry with my elephants, run down one, then kill the Roman general and standard-bearer.  The Romans responded by wiping out my skirmishers, trapping and destroying my largest infantry block, then throwing my general under the feet of the nearest elephant until she finally fell down for real.  At various points, each of us was winning or losing the game, and by a lot – but at the game’s end, we had destroyed about two-thirds each other’s forces, and ended up in an almost perfect tie.

Those are Roman Legionnaires marching forward in column.
It's all very pretty right until the point where the little toy soldiers start dying.

A Nubian elephant, and a block of fanatical Nubian infantry,
introduce themselves to the Roman general.

At first glance, this looks bad for the Nubians.  But actually,
all those Romans are busy fleeing.  Then the Candace bites it and
the Nubians pull a draw out of the jaws of overwhelming victory.

Game Three: Me vs. Mike Kennedy (Early Imperial Romans)

This game called for hidden deployment of each of our forces, and when the morning fog rose, we each saw that the other player had deployed in a refused flank, concentrating most of their forces in a fairly narrow frontage.  The Nubians and Romans marched toward each other, and several Roman units failed to allow charging elephants to pass through harmlessly.  However, with only limited assault support, the elephant assaults were inconsistent, and Mike had three unengaged blocks of drilled, stubborn infantry still with which he was able to maneuver about and threaten my flanks.  The game ended in a bloody draw, but not for lack of trying on the Roman part to tear apart one particularly vicious Nubian infantry block over several turns of close combat.

This is what happens when a Drilled Infantry unit fails to let an Elephant pass through.
Here we see a Nubian Elephant (and cavalry) busy stomping an Auxilia unit into the ground.

This is what happens when a Drilled Infantry unit passes an Elephant through.
That’s a Nubian infantry block about to get pounded by two units of veteran Romans,
while the Elephants accompanying them putter around in the Roman backfield.

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