Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Retrospective: Warmonger Charity WAB Tournament: 29 January 2011 (Intro)

The third annual Warmonger Charity tournament to benefit the American Cancer Society, organized by our local Warhammer Ancients fanatic and condottiero John Bianchi, was held on 29 January 2010.  One could also think of it as another fine excuse for me to field my (mostly finished) Nubian historical army, and to play a version of Warhammer Fantasy that actually doesn’t suck most mightily (and which is within a reasonable price-range for a full army), all whilst introducing myself to an anachronistic array of historical opponent from virtually every period of human history.

The Nubians are the third of my WAB armies, and by far the most random, relying as they do almost entirely on the hitting power of elephants, which are unpredictable creatures even at the best of times.  When things work, they tend to work great.  When they don’t, it’s either a brutal loss (for me) or a long, slow, grinding tie game (also fairly common).  And because the elephants are so not maneuverable at all, I can easily lose a game in the deployment phase.  Still, practice makes permanents, and the more practice I get with the Nubians, the better I (hopefully) can be with them.

What did I bring?
 My Meroitic Nubian army (using the Mauryan Indian rules) saw some dramatic modifications after their rough handling at Historicon 2010

In the original incarnation of the list, I had fielded two large blocks of mixed spears and archers, and several smaller units of skirmishing archers.  Over the course of five games, it had become clear that Nubian (and Mauryan) infantry is of dubious quality in a fight, and the difference between a block of (pricey) spearmen, and a block of (cheaper) bowmen is negligible in melee.  Furthermore, the skirmishing archers are far too brittle to be at all reliable, and were simply points wasted.  As a result, I gave up the spearmen and skirmishing archers entirely, choosing to field instead three blocks of formed bowmen, complete with command.  I expected they would put out comparable firepower, be far sturdier in the rare combats they were involved in, and prove less brittle (due to being able to use the General’s leadership value as formed units) in general.  Happily, these expectations all proved to be true.

I also discovered that Elephant Escorts were wildly useful skirmishing units, and one of the better skirmisher options in WAB.  They were particularly useful against enemy skirmishers, the primary weakness of elephants, and could even give light cavalry pause.  As a result, I found the points to bring a second unit of Elephant Escorts in my revised list.

1750 points:
  • General/Candace on (Mv6) horse, with Lt Armor, Spear, Bow, and Broadsword
  • ASB on (Mv6) horse, with Shield
  • 10 formed cavalry (Mv6) with Sword, shield, Spear, and full command
  • 3 Elephants, each with 3 crew (all with bows, lt armor, javelin, broadsword)
  • 2 units of skirmishing Elephant Escorts (8 models with broadsword, javelin, shield)
  • 2 Heavy Ballistae, each with 3 crew
  • 3 units of 16 archers, each with bow, broadsword, and full command
As a general strategy, I intended to deploy my archers and ballistae back slightly, with general and ASB nearby, and send my elephants (and escorts) forward to do as much concentrated damage as possible.  Archers and ballistae would either soften up elephant targets, or try to take out heavy/medium cavalry threats, and escorts would chase off enemy skirmishers, and possibly jump in to help the elephants in melee if they had the opportunity.  My cavalry (dubbed “the worst cavalry in the world”) would maneuver around a flank and attempt to look threatening, and maybe chase after some skirmishers or something given the chance.

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