Wednesday, August 4, 2010

8-9 July 2010 Historicon Warhammer Ancients Tournaments (Intro)

This review of my games at Historicon 2010 will be somewhat different than normal.  Instead of writing individual battle reports for all my games, I’ll do a more general overview of my results, and what I learned while playing.  I’m doing this for two reasons:

(a) I was playing a completely new army list, and completely new army, using unit types I’ve never fielded before in Ancients games.  As a result, I don’t know that a detailed analysis provided by me would be terribly useful.

(b) I have enormous difficulty writing up battle reports for games that I didn’t much enjoy.  This is not to say that I had no fun at all, but let’s just say that one person cheated, one person was a bully, one person was both, and one other surprisingly lacking in social graces.  This meant that the games with the several other gamers I played with were somewhat overshadowed as a result, although I did have good fun with several quality opponents.

I put together a Meroitic Nubian force (Sudan circa 100 AD) as my third historical army (the other two being Dacians – Hungary circa 90 AD – and Burgundians – eastern France circa 1470 AD), and because no Nubian army lists exist for Warhammer Ancients, looked for a set of proxy rules based on the three basic concepts reflecting a historical Nubian army from this period: lots of archers, lots of elephants, and not a lot of armor.

Ancient Nubia – also known as Kush – has been particularly intriguing to me not only because of the relative paucity of information about what historically is one of the oldest civilizations of the world (and a long-time competitor with Egypt), but also because many of the leaders of this civilization were warrior-queens, known by the title as Candaces (Kandakes).  The Candace Amanirenas, for example, was a fierce one-eyed woman who fought the Romans during the period of Augustus, defeated several Roman armies, and returned to Meroe with statues of the Emperor.  She then took the heads of the statues and buried them in the steps of a temple in Nubia, so that they would be stepped on by the feet of her subjects.

Map of habitable areas of ancient Nubia.  After the peace treaty between Augustus and Amanirenas,
the border between Rome and Nubia was fixed just north of Aswan and the first cataract
(at the top of this map) for another three centuries.

The best part to this story is that it was long considered apocryphal – until several such heads of Augustus were found buried in ruins in modern Sudan some years ago.

In the end, I decided to use the Mauryan Indian army lists (from the Alexander supplement) as the basis for the Nubian force I constructed.  The Indians had many bow options (I simply chose not to use the longbow option in the list), many elephants, and not a lot of armor.  The following is the list I put together:
  • Candace (Queen) on horse, with bow, spear, and light armor
  • Army Standard Bearer on horse, with shield
  • Priestess of Apedemak (inspires Hatred in attached unit)
  • 1 unit of 10x Light Cavalry (movement 6”) with shield, spear, and full command
  • 2 units of 30x mixed spearmen (with large shield) and archers, with full command
  • 2 units of 13x skirmishing archers (with warband rules)
  • 1 unit of 8x skirmishing elephant escorts (with halberd and shield)
  • 3 elephants (each with mahout and three crew, armed with bows)
  • 2 heavy ballista (Str5), each with three crew
The list relies rather heavily on the threat and punch of three elephants, with two blocks of infantry (one of the subject to Hatred due to the Priestess) providing backup.  It can also put out a decent amount of firepower.  At least, that was the theory -- and it was time to put it to the test.


  1. I once knew a Gregory? Does that mean I no longer know him???

  2. Thank you for your well-worded comment on theback40k, you accomplished what I couldn't and I am grateful for it. That whole post from sandwym was one big massive facepalm. People just don't understand how scientists work...