With Sandy having arranged a naval encounter with German Michael (a WWI engagement with figures so small, both fleets could have fitted on one beer mat), I had agreed to a rematch (grudge match) with young Alasdair’s mechs, as part of Georges ‘Tears of the Desert’ Dragon Rampant campaign. I did this with the full expectation of taking a severe kicking! We both fielded the exact same armies as our last encounter, when Al totally annihilated my Knight of Ni to a man! However, this time things would be different…..
The terrain was set up and both of us were happy with it and, by dice roll, it was decided that Al would attack. I used my usual deployment for DR (elite riders on each flank, heavy riders bang in the centre with heavy foot and heavy missiles to fill the gaps. (perhaps I should rethink that?)) Al set up in the middle of the table, giving my cavalry lots of room to outflank him.
The Knight of Ni prepare to face their sworn enemies.
The Mechs (looking completely unworried)
As the attacker, Al went first and moved his leader and heavy foot into the woods to their front and cast “wall of spears” on his light troops, to increase their armour value in melee. Last time I fought Al, I had major problems getting my army moving, and when they did, they stood around wondering where all the arrows were coming from. Not this time, though. My right flank cavalry moved forward at a trot, as did the heavy cavalry and infantry in the centre. Unfortunately, that brought them in range of Al’s units hiding in the trees.2 volleys later and, after taking a measly 2 casualties, the heavies did a “Brave Sir Robin” and bolted from the fray!!!
The elites advance on the right.
The heavies and crossbows make steady progress in the centre
Things then began to turn my way. Al’s “wall of spears” protection was not effective against missiles, so my crossbows turned one of them into pin cushions! So, one unit each routed. I then sent my heavy foot forward to deal with the second light unit. This was not as easy as I had hoped. Heavy foot are more effective in defence than attack anyway, and the protection spell on the lights made them quite stubborn. However, with the help of a few crossbow volleys and the arrival (better late than never) of the left flank elites, the second of Al’s units was dispatched.
The heavy foot charge into combat
Second mech unit driven off
However (yes, I am aware how many times I use that word) that proved to be the high point for the bold knights. Over on the right flank, the elite riders got too close to the units in the woods and were unable to stop themselves in a “wild charge” into the enemy heavy foot. Normally, I would not mind this, indeed, I would encourage it. Alas, the penalties for mounted units in woods are horrendous. So, after 1 round of melee I inflicted no casualties, but lost 3, my elites pulled back, battered. Al then (rather unsportingly, I thought) then shot me in the back on the way out and inflicted 2 more casualties. At the start of the next round, the one single, solitary, rider failed his morale test and was removed from the table. As this also happened to be my army’s leader, this caused a morale check for all units on the table. The crossbows lost this test and that, effectively, removed them from the battle. The remaining elite riders and heavy foot attempted to close to attack the remaining mechs, but were shot to death in the attempt.
The elite riders charge into the woods (idiots!)
So, another win for the mechs and my winning streak comes to an end, as I predicted it would. There are, none-the-less (see, I can use other words), some positives: Al is not invincible, if you can get into melee with some decent units (and not in woods) his infantry can collapse fairly quickly. Also one of his favourite spells (wall of spears) is useless against missile troops. I may change my army composition for next time (and there will be a next time)….
The Rabbit of Caerbannogg feasts on another bold knight….
We finished early enough for Jack and Derek to suggest we join in a game of ‘What a Tanker’, the latest rules from the Two Fat Lardies to be play tested at SESWC. I’ve played them before and found them to be fun, easy to understand and quick to play.
Al and I took a PIV each with Derek taking command of a StuG. Jack had a sherman, along with Campbell and Douglas (Al’s father) who had also finished their DR game in good time. Campbell took a firefly and Douglas the second sherman.
It was a bad night for Campbell. He was looking forward to causing havoc with the firefly’s big gun, but he didn’t count on me ignoring Jack’s sherman and getting a flank shot on him which cooked his goose (and his tank). Jack then charged across the table so he and Douglas could gang up on Al. This they did and Al’s PIV was left a burning heap on our left. I had also charged at high speed across from the right and eventually scored enough hits on Jack to take him out. Douglas, on the other hand, nearly drove us demented (yeah, OK…). The amount of hits Derek and me put on his sherman, there wasn’t a scrap of paint left and the sound of ricochets echoed round Normandy!! Ridiculously lucky dice rolls run in that family….. Derek finished him off eventually and the Germans were victorious.
I didn’t take any pics, as the battery on my phone was running low, but there are some on the facebook page:
When I left, Sandy and Michael were still playing with their little ships. So, as yet, I have nothing arranged for next week, but that will be sorted soon (at least before Thursday).
More next week and remember, it’s just toy soldiers….