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Yuknoom takes to the Battle Road

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 1:21 am
by DrQuahog
Awhile ago I posted a report of the first outing of my new Maya.
Having a total of 3 friendlies with them under my belt, figured it was time to see how they would do in serious competition and took them to the US Open in Bedford Mass, just an atlatl toss from the famous Battle Road National Park of Lexington and Concord fame.
I figured knights would be a somewhat insoluble problem, but was curious to see if we could be competitive with such ++ opponents as pike, legionaries, and armored lancers.

My army consisted of an IC and 3TCs, one an ally. We had 3 troop types-
LF slingers, avg, unp;
MF warriors Sup,imp/swd/jav prot;
and fairly fighty archers MF avg,prot,lt sp.

2 units 8 warriors
2 units 6 warriors
3 units 6 Holkan warriors - as above but drilled
3 units 8 archers
2 units 6 slingers
The ally was the 2 small warrior units and 1 unit of archers.
Standard deployment was a center of the 2 big warrior units with a Holkan between them (so i could approach to javelin range without leaving a lot of overlaps for a staggered advance), one ally flank of the 2 warriors with bow in the flank, on the other flank Holkan and 2 bow units, with a Holkan in reserve.

Rd 1 vs Bob's French Ordonnance
A nightmare for our first test. Lots of Sup knights, lots of Sup pike, and decent shooty infantry to fill the gaps. Got a little terrain , but not enough to help. Perhaps there was some clever finesse tactic to blunt their advance, but I couldn't see it.
I attempted to overwhelm his left flank and hoped a ferocious charge would blow away his (relatively) soft center before the knight and pike shoulders crushed me, but even on the right flank my attack stalled. The knights chewed me up, his center held fine until the Swiss could get involved, even an attack on the far flank on even frontage against the poor pike stalled..
(Why is this man smiling?)

and it all just went to hell. 25-0, from which my score never recovered. An inauspicious start. Could be a long weekend.

Rd 2 Vs Phil's Early Republican Romans
Another challenge - his elite triarii had little to fear from Prot impact foot, and his legionaries would be ++ on me in melee. Perhaps a 50-0 start? :(
This time terrain proved to be much more forgiving. Phil said he wanted lots of terrain to protect the flanks of his small army. Perhaps a questionable tactic when that terrain is swarming with enemy.. (see under Lexington and Concord), but I see his point for difficult terrain, which would slow and disrupt attempts to void a frontal smashmouth contest.
In any case we ended up with a swath of rough terrain extending up the center of the board.
He placed his army on his left of it with his lancers on the extreme flank and the elephants in reserve.
A small delaying force of Numidian can did little to slow my flank sweep as he could not get too close because of the javelins.
The plan worked remarkably well - we smashed his auxilia on his right, the archers on the left shot the can to frag then charged and routed it, and he was left with a very Cannae like situation of troops being fed piecemeal into a concave snare. The elephants were disrupted by routers, and never got to the front line, though they had to be protected until the javelins were safely in melee anyway. At this point I was up 12 AP destroyed to 0.
(This picture is a little confusing as it is taken from the other table edge)
Still, Romans is Romans, and he fought on bravely, stiffened the line and did some damage to prevent a rout. Whereas for the first two hours his Sup troops couldn't buy a successful cohesion test (going about 2 for 10), by this time, perhaps out of desperation, they 'knew no fear'.

All that maneuver and constant fighting took a lot of (real) time, and as time was called we were 2" from his camp, but still without the elusive final kill for a win.
As they say, you're never as bad as you look when you lose big, and never as good as you look when you win big.'
Though the scoresheet said winning draw, we got a nice positive score and it sure felt like a win. There was hope...

Re: Yuknoom takes to the Battle Road

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:29 pm
by DrQuahog
Rd 3 vs Walt's Bosporans

I had expected Bosporans to be LC and lancers, but instead ran into about the most eclectic mix of troops I had seen in FoG. He basically took 'one of each', and ,for further confusion, seemed to scatter them willy nilly around his deployment zone with no hint of battle lines.
Naturally I responded with the most simple minded plan I could.

He had, as well as I can remember,surrounded by a cloud of skirmishers, from my L to R, Huns, LtSp Bosporan infantry, Sup Aux armored archers, lancers, more Bosporan inf, Sup Aux LtSp, full-service legionaries, more legionaries, more Aux and lancers. (Whew)
You can see my clever plan in action. This is our standard plan, we call it the 'Ghostbusters attack' ('GET 'EM'!) (That was your plan?)
As his units were acting independently, things broke down into a hodgepodge of separate melees.
The first clash was on my left center, where the lancers hit my line- charging en hate in a single rank. To his surprise they lost a base and got disordered on impact, then were javelined to rout after break off. The Bosporans on their left got disordered from seeing this, and left to be replaced by the archers.
On my far right things went very badly, as expected. With no anchoring terrain,our 'open wing' is somewhat sacrificial, and a crushing charge by a legion and some lancers sent our two flank units running.
On the right center legionaries hit warriors straight up, and it became an interesting slog of ++ vs overlaps, pure quantity vs quality, all Sup, which lasted the rest of the game without result.
In the center we thought the Bosporan inf would be our softest target, but that was not to be - they got the best of our relatively small force in an extended melee where we barely hung on.
Thus the extreme right was his, the left center was ours with penetration nearly to his board edge, and the center was doggedly fighting on.

Sadly, the battle ws decided due to some awful luck on our extreme left, the one place we held the biggest advantage. (Mercifully out of the picture.) We had 2 8 man fight archers, he had a unit of 4 Huns and a unit of 4 archers. In the firefight he disrupted then frgged one unit, routed it with a Hiun charge, eventually ran it down and got our camp. We charged his archers with our LtSp archers in twice his numbers, but we fragged on impact and route. The 6 AP lost from the failure of the 2 flank units cost the game.
A hard fought, very tough loss. While there may be no 'moral victories' this was not bad - once agin handling legionaries, dealing with lancers, and holding up to a unique and different enemy strategy. We got a decent score for a losing effort.

Rd 4 vs Alan's Arab Conquest

One of the more professional players who had traveled up from the South mentioned before the tournament that he would pay money to see the Maya face the Christian Nubians or Arab Conquest. Indeed it was a wild matchup- the vast majority of troops were Sup, but there was not one armored fig on the table.

Alan had two units of lancers on his right, (one of whom morphed into unarmed camels when we approached- what the hell?), a main line of Sup bow, 2 units of lancers, 4 units of Sup protected Off spear, (yum!), and spear and lancers on his left.
We Ghostbustered again, though this time we were fortunate to have nice anchoring terrain to protect us from the lancers on our right, so inclined slightly.
On the left we got a little out of line chasing skirmishers and phony camels, and a lancer charge hit us in the flank routing a unit and causing an awful mess. However the center went above our expectations. His schwerpunkt, his two lancer units, were disrupted by javelin fire, charged disrupted, fragged, and were finished off by javelins after they broke off. That left his archers all alone and they two fell to Imp foot. Thus, with his 'main hope' lancers gone, we were able to slam into his line of Off spear with Imp foot and an overlap.
As we should win the impact, and unlike most Off Sp he was not armored so melee would be favorable if we disrupted him and not that bad if we didn't, we figured this would go well - if impact foot can't win this one, why bring them? 8) - but we didn't expect it to go THAT well. All his units were disrupted on the charge, and the line rapidly deteriorated, breaking the army.
The main take home from this one was that javelins can be useful in defending against lancers, if we can get lucky.

So, after a horrific start, we now had one big win, one big loss, one narrow tough loss, one strong almost win. Pretty even, success in the tourney came down to Rd 5, vs an army of long pointy things, mixed with longer pointy things.

Re: Yuknoom takes to the Battle Road

Posted: Fri May 04, 2012 5:02 pm
by helot2000
Excellent report and thanks for sharing. Kudos for bringing a Mayan army to a tournament! You did really well with an impact medium army in an open tournament.

When I told my family I wanted to attend this tourney, my teen son said, "You can't win locally, what makes you think you can win nationally?" My response was "maybe I'll get good draws?" :)

Re: Yuknoom takes to the Battle Road

Posted: Sat May 05, 2012 1:16 am
by DrQuahog
So Sunday morning and a big game. As said, a win here and I go home feeling real good about the weekend and the Maya, a loss and an ok performance but a mild disappointment.
I faced Justin's Medieval German States.
(Or something like that.) Just like my game with Alan's Arabs, tho one had an oddity - that one had not single armoured fig, this one did not have a single mounted trooper on either side.
Justin's army was divided into three separate hedgehogs- each centered around big 12 base pike units. His right had a poor pike unit, Off spear support unit and a scrubby rear support unit. The center had an average pike unit and 2 Off spear supports. The left had two poor pike units backed by scrubs, and on the extreme flank a spear unit supported by armored halberds and crossbows. I've seen this army before - it is designed to be very hard to break. With 16 battle groups an 'attack wing' designed to beat the pike can clear out a side, but the army is still far from breaking unless you can have success on two distant wings.
There had been some discussion of poor pike over the weekend, given all the French Ordonnance armies. They were considered to be one of the most cost effective BGs in the game. Melees between Maya warriors and poor pike did seem to be interesting, sweaty palms affairs, and it seemed clear that this confrontation would be decisive.

We took the offensive, and the battle divided into the action against his three unit groupings. On our left we sent one sacrificial unit to take on his wing. We held up against the pike/spear combo for one delaying turn, then broke. The poor pike became overcome with battle lust, (delusions of mediocrity), and maintained contact through three rounds of pursuit against the faster Maya, to the disgust of his general. In the center we squared off against the average pike/spear paring, blew away the spear quickly and settled into a slog with the pike which eventually went our way. (Yay!)
On the right the Germans held back. We tried a flank sweep with our Holkan and 2 archer units to draw troops away and weaken their line before the inevitable massive warrior on pike clash.

As the main clash drew never, we had some bad news and good news. Our right flank went very badly. Our initial charge on the Spear did not impress them, never a good thing with impact foot, and the archers who were to support them could neither shoot well nor maneuver in the contact zone, so he brought up supports on either side of the spear, routed the Holkan, and the halberds and spear took out the archers for good measure.
In the center, however, things continued to go well. His reserve unit dithered as to whether to block the woods or support the pike, ended up doing neither and getting surrounded in the rout. The entire center was ours.

Und zo down to business. With his center in disarray and his halberds off killing archers his pike had no flank support when the Maya hit.
We disordered the right hand unit, but the left, with a general and shlubby rear support, held the charge. However, despite the ++, his poor quality vs Sup and our overlap, personally exhorted by the Great Yuknoom himself, caused his troops to fee quickly. Both pike ran, taking their scruffy friends with them.
Thus the scorecard read victory on the left for him, but only one BG killed; we got 4 in the center and 3 more on the right center, he got 3 on my right. This was where his unbreakable army design paid off - with 7 broken units we had little chance to pick up the last. One BG short again.
In 'garbage time' as the period was ending he rallied his average pike and his battle crazed victorious pike actually ran down some LF slingers ,(DAMN)!, so a minor winning draw for me turned into a very minor losing draw. No biggie there.

Thus the Maya finished the weekend just about even on game results, but rather minus in overall score, largely due to the awful score of the first game. An encouraging result, an infantry army that suits an aggressive style and is at least in with a chance against most opposition. A thank you to all my opponents, and the organizers, for a weekend well spent.

Re: Yuknoom takes to the Battle Road

Posted: Sat May 05, 2012 1:20 am
by DrQuahog
helot2000 wrote:Excellent report and thanks for sharing. Kudos for bringing a Mayan army to a tournament! You did really well with an impact medium army in an open tournament.
Thanks for that! I agonized about choice before painting up the army - let's face it, Maya are hardly 'morphable' into anything else, and I was pleased to have exciting, competitive games against some challenging opposing troop types.