Sunday, April 13, 2014

Losheimergraben: Prelude, a Flames of War Scenario

This is the second of three scenarios that cover the fighting around Losheimergraben on the first day of the Battle of the Bulge. This action takes place around the same time as the fight at Buchholz Station. It happened in the woods southeast of Losheimergraben, about a mile or so east of the fighting at Buchholz.

B Company, 394th Infantry Regiment, was located in prepared positions in the woods east of the crossroads. At 0530, the German artillery barrage began, beginning far behind the lines and slowly creeping eastwards. The artillery hit the company's positions between 0700 and 0730, wiping out the weapons platoon, but leaving the rest of the company pretty much intact. Luckily for the Americans, the artillery also caused casualties in the 1st battalion of the 48th Grenadier Regiment. The German attack was delayed while they withdrew the 1st battalion's casualties and repositioned the second battalion to attack. Around 0800, the volksgrenadiers of the 2nd battalion started encountering the men of B Company in their dugouts in the forest.

Scenario Description

American Forces - Confident Trained

  • Company HQ: ­ 1x CinC Carbine, 1x 2iC Carbine
  • Rifle Platoon: 1x Command Rifle, 4x Rifle, 1x LMG
  • Rifle Platoon:­ 1x Command Rifle, 4x Rifle, 1x LMG
  • Rifle Platoon: 1x Command Rifle, 4x Rifle, 1x LMG
  • Rifle Platoon: 1x Command Rifle, 4x Rifle, 1x LMG

German Forces - Confident Veteran

  • Company HQ: 1x CinC Assault Rifle, 1x 2iC Assault Rifle
  • Sturm Platoon: 1x Command Assault Rifle, 4x Assault Rifle, 1x MG42 HMG team
  • Sturm Platoon: 1x Command Assault Rifle, 4x Assault Rifle, 1x MG42 HMG team
  • Schutzen Platoon: 1x Command Rifle/MG, 6x Rifle/MG, 1x MG42 HMG team


  • The game is played on a 4' x 4' board.
  • The Americans set up on the  on western 24" of the board while the Germans set up on the eastern 16". There should be an 8" gap between the two areas, which is enough to move and assault on the first turn. 
  • The Americans set up one objective representing the company command post within 8" of the American rear edge and at least 8" from side edges.
  • The Americans start the game Dug In.


The left side of the map is a dirt road. The squiggly lines on the right side represent a stream. The green areas represent woods. We played the stream as rough, concealing terrain that only blocked line of sight to/from units inside of it. The idea was that the stream was slightly below ground level, so it would not interfere with units shooting over it.

Scenario Special Rules

After setup but prior to Turn 1, the Germans conduct two preliminary bombardments. The German player selects any American team on the board as the aim point of a 105mm bombardment. The bombardment is assumed to range in on the first attempt. The players then roll for hits, saves, and firepower as normal. The process is then repeated for a second team. The second target team must be different than the first. Note that this means that American units can begin the game pinned, as the Germans move first.


The Germans win if they can capture the American HQ by the end of turn six. They also win if they force the Americans to fail a company morale check. The Americans win by preventing the German victory conditions.


The order of battle deviates from the "standard" platoon listings in the book. We split the Americans into four platoons to better simulate their isolation in the woods. This does give the American a bit of flexibility, but the smaller platoons are also more fragile. The initial bombardment better simulates the actual battle, as the Germans did not have artillery on call due to a wire being cut. We also tweaked the setup so the Germans are in range to move and assault on Turn 1. Again, this better reflects the situation as the Germans stumbled into the American positions without much warning.

The 48th Grenadier Regiment received a lot of replacements over the autumn. The NCOs and officers were all combat veterans, but many of the soldiers were pretty green. To better reflect this, you can represent the German troops as Confident Trained instead of Confident Veteran. If you do that, you should double the number of German troops to two companies and play on a normal sized board.

Playtest AAR

We played the game three times. One was a smashing German victory, one a smashing American victory, and the third went down to the wire with the Americans passing a crucial motivation test to win in the end. We were pretty happy with the results.

The German tactics were to use the initial bombardment to pin an American platoon or two, then assault with the Sturm platoons. After that attack, the Germans would continue to force their way through the woods. The American tried a few different setups, generally setting up in depth, but varying platoon frontage. That seemed to work well, as the German was only able to assault one platoon at a time. The American would move to reinforce a weak area, but quickly dug in when possible to avoid casualties from the abundance of automatic weapons.

I think that six turns might be a little short, but it does make sure the Germans are aggressive. The small American units are fragile, so a few well coordinated assaults can quickly push the Americans to take a company motivation test. If that seems a little short to you, feel free to increase the game length to eight turns.


The Americans stopped the initial assault with heavy small arms fire. The woods forced the Americans to fight in isolated groups, and the sheer weight of the German attack eventually took its toll. Company B eventually withdrew to the crossroads, suffering over 60% casualties. The resistance disrupted the German time table, as they had planned on taking the crossroads on the first morning. Now they had to wait another 24 hours before they could attack again.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cold Wars: Muskets & Tomahawks Tournament

I played in a small Muskets & Tomahawks tournament at Cold Wars this past weekend. M&T is a set of skirmish rules focusing on the French & Indian War that was fought in North America in the 1750s and 60s. The game has fairly standard combat and movement mechanics, but uses a card draw mechanic to determine order of activation. Units get four activations per turn, but regulars always do two activations at once while irregulars and indians get a single activation per card. The missions are reminiscent of the era, such as scouting and raiding, but also include a bit of a role playing element with each side having a sub-plot independent of the main victory conditions.

I went with a force of Canadian Militia and Indians, thinking that skirmishing troops would be more useful than formed troops. It was mostly correct, although I might have been better off with some formed troops in the last scenario. The tournament was split into a British team and a French team, so with the Canadians I was part of the French team.

Here is my army list:
  • Canadian Officer
  • a unit of six Canadian Militia
  • a unit of six Coureurs de Bois (fur traders)
  • two units of five Huron Indians

Game 1: Scouting Mission

The first mission was a scouting mission, which requires you to move units into the four quarters of the board and then withdraw. My sub-plot was called "Negotiations" which required my officer to escort a civilian throughout the game and roll a die at the end of each turn to see if the negotiations were successful.

My opponent had a force that consisted entirely of indians! That meant that both forces were "scouts", which allowed them to move through the woods without penalty. In addition, his entire force and most of my force (minus the militia) had the "natives" ability, which gave them extra cover in the woods.

My plan was to have the militia guard the house and snipe while the other three groups would swing around and occupy the other three quarters.
Situation after my first two activations.

The trappers and indians move through an orchard.
My opponent decided to sneak through the woods on the left side of the board. The militia was waiting for them...
Wait for it...
When my opponent came out of the woods, the militia and trappers let them have it. We killed three indians, forcing a morale check. The indians fled, running back to the edge of the woods.
Its safe back here.
The game mostly consisted of moving, not shooting. I'm pretty sure that was a side effect of the force composition. In the end, neither side was able to accomplish its primary scouting mission, but we were both able to complete the sub-plot.

Game 2: Raid

The second mission was a raid. As the attacker, I had to set the two buildings on fire. This time, I faced off against some British light troops, some indians, and a group of British regulars.
Sneaking through the woods.
I made my way through the woods, and the light troops poured from the closest building. It turns out that they were sharpshooters! They blasted my militia, killing several guys and forcing them to rout off of the board. My indians and trappers returned fire, killing several of the sharpshooters and forcing them to rout.
The woods are clear!
At the same time, the British regulars came out of their building and set up in the field near the second building. I sent my trappers to keep them busy while the indians set fire to building number one. We exchanged some fire, and while there were light casualties, everyone kept their nerve.

Some of my indians snuck into a good spot behind some trees, exchanging shots with the British indians. We got the better of them, and they fled behind the building. Then the regulars switched targets from the trappers to the indians, unloading a massive volley that killed them all! Ouch!

I decided to take a chance, and ran my second group up to the second building out of sight of the regulars. At that point, the turn ended. My indians were ready to burn the building. His indians were ready to shoot mine. The regulars and the trappers faced each other in the field, both loaded an ready to go. The fate of the game would be determined by which group got the first activation...

An then the game ended! Part of the mission is that it has a chance to end early, which forces the raiding player to be aggressive. In this case, that's what happened. Neither of us completed our main objectives, but I was able to complete my sub-plot. My sub-plot as "romance", so my officer was busy hooking up in the woods while we were trying to raid the village! Rank has its privileges...
Everyone has a bead on everyone else!

Game 3: Encounter

This mission was basically a straight up fight. The goal was to destroy or rout 2/3 of your opponent's force. In this mission, my opponent had two large groups. One group consisted of provincial militia and one group of light troops.
Board layout, pre-setup.
I decided to put the indians in the woods on my left, the militia into the huts in the middle, and swing the trappers into the woods at the top of the map. If everything worked, my opponent would be stuck in a small area and I'd be able to fire on him from three sides.

Things mostly worked as planned, although my guys couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. He worked his way over a snowbank to take pot shots at the indians.
The British leader taunts us!
The indians forced them back through shooting, then charged over the snowbank to fight them in hand to hand combat! We got the better of them, killing four or five guys and forcing them to retreat. The provincials got the next two activations, however, so they were able to move up and shoot. One indian group was totally destroyed while the other miraculously survived. The hunters peppered the now exposed militia, but wasn't able to do anything. The game ended at that point, resulting in another draw.

Overall, I had a ton of fun. The game is pretty faced paced, and both sides wait to see who will activate next. There seemed to be a lot of draws, but everyone was learning the system, so we tended to take a bit longer than usual. By the end of the event, we were actually moving pretty well. If only my guys could shoot strait!

Thanks a lot to Tom Keegan for running the event and Architects of War and Loyalhanna Outpost for sponsoring it. I can't wait to play again!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ghost Panzer: Quick Out of the Box Review

I picked up Ghost Panzer over Christmas break. It is the sequel to Screaming Eagles, part of the Band of Brothers series by Worthington Games. I played the learning scenarios a couple of times, and while I did a few things wrong, I definitely thought that the game had potential. There are two features that make the game unique: fire combat and "proficiency". They definitely give the game a different feel. I'll need to play it a bit more to fully appreciate how all of the components work.

The combat system is designed to generate suppression over casualties. Here's how it works... A unit has a firepower value and casualty value. A typical German line squad has a firepower of 6 and a casualty value of 4/7. When a unit shoots, you adjust the shooting unit's firepower by any modifiers that are applicable, such as terrain, open ground, etc. You then roll a 10 sided die. If the roll is less than the modified firepower, the target unit is suppressed. If the difference between the modified firepower and the die roll is less than the first casualty number, the unit is fully suppressed and suffers a step reduction. If the difference is less than the second number, the unit is eliminated. There are two levels of suppression, and once a unit is fully suppressed, additional suppression results have no effect.

Here's a shooting example. Lets assume that the German squad (firepower 6, casualty value 4/7) is shooting at a Russian squad (firepower 5, casualty value 3/7) across the street in a wooden building. The modifier for the wooden building is -1, so the German's final firepower is 5. If he rolls a 5 or less, the Russian squad is suppressed. If he rolls a 1 or a 2, the Russian squad is fully suppressed and suffers a step reduction. If he rolls 6 or higher, there is no effect. Coming back the other way, the Russian starts with a firepower of 5, which is reduced to 4 if we assume that the German squad is in a wooden building, too. He will suppress the German on a die roll of 4 or less, but cannot step reduce it.

The effects of suppression are simple.They reduce the morale of a unit. This is significant because a unit must pass a morale check to do anything... move, shoot, etc. Normal units have a morale of 10, so they can do anything that they want. A suppressed unit has a morale of 5 or 6, meaning that they have about a 50/50 chance of doing anything. You also don't roll the morale check until you try to perform the action, so you don't know how your units are going to react. A fully suppressed unit has a morale of 1, so its very unlikely to be able to do anything. You recover one level of suppression at the end of the turn.

Proficiency is the other interesting concept in the rules. For infantry, there is simply a "proficient firepower" which is a bit less than the normal firepower. German squads have a proficient firepower of 5, while Russian line squads are 2 and SMG squads are 4. You use the proficient firepower whenever you fire after moving or use defensive fire. Its an abstraction that measures your ability to adapt to different situations.

Vehicles have a separate proficiency value. Whenever a vehicle wants to do something that is a bit more complex than just moving or shooting, it has to make a proficiency check. Most German vehicles have a proficiency of 8 while most Soviet vehicles are 5 or 6. Vehicles are required to make a check when they defensive fire, fire after moving, and fire at long range. This makes the Germans a bit more flexible than the Russians. It also encourages a more fluid battle, as there is a significant defensive benefit to moving to offset the offensive penalty.

I managed to play a face to face game a couple of weeks ago. We played the initial infantry scenario vaguely reminiscent of the venerable Guards Counterattack from Squad Leader. I don't remember many details, but the Russians managed to win in the end, pushing the Germans out of the target building. We both thought that the game mechanics worked well and are excited to try the armor rules.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Buchholz Station, a Scenario for Flames of War

I've been doing a bit of reading on The Battle of the Bulge recently, focusing mostly on the northern sector. This is the area where the 6th SS Panzer Army was supposed to break through. The American divisions located in that sector, the 99th and 2nd infantry divisions, put up a significant resistance, which delayed the breakthrough and contributed to the overall failure of the attack.

This is a small scenario that captures one of the encounters on the morning of the first day of the offensive. The 12th Volksgrenadier Division was supposed to take the Losheimergraben Crossroads and allow Kampfgruppe Peiper to break through along that route. One regiment attacked the crossroads from the north, while a second regiment attempted to flank it from the south west. The flanking force moved along a railroad line and ran into an American unit located at Buchholz Station, much to the surprise of both sides. They traded rifle and artillery fire for several hours, but the arrival of some towed anti-tank guns forced the Germans to retreat. This scenario represents that battle.

Buchholz Station, December 16th, 1944

American Forces

Company L, 394th Infantry Battalion, 99th Infantry Division
Rifle Company:  Confident Trained
Setup: One rifle platoon and the company HQ sets up within 4" of the chow truck. The other rifle platoon sets up in Ambush. The rest of the forces enter as Delayed Reinforcements. See also SSRs 1 and 3.
  • Company HQ: ­ 1x CinC Carbine, 1x 2iC Carbine
  • Rifle Platoon: 1x Command Rifle, 6x Rifle, 1x Bazooka
  • Rifle Platoon:­ 1x Command Rifle, 6x Rifle, 1x Bazooka
  • Rifle Platoon: 1x Command Rifle, 6x Rifle, 1x Bazooka
  • Weapons Platoon: ­ 1x Command Carbine, 3x M2 60mm mortar, 4x M1919 LMG
  • Trained Towed Tank Destroyer Platoon ­ 1x Command .50cal Recon Jeep, 2x Recon Jeep, 1x Command Carbine, 2x M5 3in gun (late)
  • Mortar Platoon: 1x Command Carbine, 4x 81mm Mortar

German Forces

Elements of 1st Battalion, 27th Fusilier Regiment, 12th VG Division
VG Rifle Company: Confident Veteran
Setup: All platoons set up in the SE half of the map no closer than 16" from the center line. See also SSR 2.
  • Company HQ: 1x CinC Panzerfaust Assault Rifle, 1x 2iC Panzerfaust Assault Rifle
  • Sturm Platoon: 1x Command Panzerfaust Assault Rifle, 4x Panzerfaust Assault Rifle, 1x MG42 HMG team
  • Sturm Platoon: 1x Command Panzerfaust Assault Rifle, 4x Panzerfaust Assault Rifle, 1x MG42 HMG team
  • Schutzen Platoon: 1x Command Panzerfaust Rifle/MG, 6x Panzerfaust Rifle/MG, 1x MG42 HMG team
  • Mortar Platoon: 1x Command SMG, 2x Observer Rifle, 4x 8cm mortar

Scenario Special Rules

  1. The American mortar platoon sets up off board and never enters play. All American Command stands can call in fire. It doesn't count as a unit for company morale, so the Americans will have to lose three platoons before they begin to roll to see if the company breaks.
  2. The German mortars set up off board, but the Observer Teams do set up on board. It doesn't count for company morale, so the Germans have to lose three platoons before they begin to roll to see if the company breaks.
  3. The Americans start the game with two Rifle Platoons and the HQ units on board. One of these platoons can set up in Ambush. The other platoon must set up within 4 in of the chow truck. Everyone else enters as Delayed Reinforcements. The tank destroyer platoon must be the last platoon to enter the map.
  4. Because of the surprise nature of the attack, the Americans are not in Prepared Positions. In addition, neither side can fire or call in artillery on their first turn. 


The Americans set up on the left (NNW) while the Germans set up on the right (SSE). I used individual trees, but feel free to set up clumps of wooded terrain, since one large mass of woods would be a bit dull. The chow truck and the objective buildings are clearly marked. Note the walls around the buildings in the NW corner of the map. I included an opening to make it easier to enter and exit the area, but feel free to tweak as appropriate.

Victory Conditions

The Germans are attacking into the Station from the southeast. The two large buildings are the scenario objectives. The Germans win if they take and hold either of them. The Americans win if the Germans haven’t captured an objective by Turn 10. If either side fails a company morale test at any time, then the other side wins.


  1. William C. C. Cavanagh, The Battle East of Elsenborn. South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword, 2012.
  2. Stephen M. Rusieicki, The Key to the Bulge. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2009.
  3. Hans Wijers, Battle of the Bulge. Volume One: The Losheim Gap / Holding the Line. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2009.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Book Review: The Devil's Adjutant

I read The Devil's Adjutant by Michael Reynolds while on a recent business trip. Even though it purports to be a biography of Jochen Peiper, its really about the battle group that he commanded (Kampfgruppe Peiper, or KGP) during the Battle of the Bulge. There is a chapter on Peiper pre-Ardennes that describes his time as a Nazi who served in the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolph Hitler throughout the war, and fought in many battles on the Eastern front. Leibstandarte translates as "bodyguard", so he was originally part of Hitler's bodyguard, and the 1st SS Panzer division was drawn from that cadre. There is also a chapter on his post-war life, where he was convicted of war crimes, served 11 years in prison, lived in France, and was eventually murdered by French Communists. However, the bulk of book is a day by day, blow by blow account of the fighting centered around KGP's attack during the battle.

The author does a really good job of correlating official histories and personal interviews with many of the combatants. The author spent a lot of time using both American and German sources, and its quite interesting to see how the two sides viewed the same action. He was also able to interview veterans from both sides. The author was unable to interview Peiper, so his commentary was taken from post-war interrogation, some of which should be taken with a grain of salt. The book has excellent maps and a very comprehensive order of battle for 1ss Panzer and the American 30th Infantry Division, both of which make it easy to follow the battle. You end up with a pretty solid picture of the "campaign", even if it only lasted a little more than a week.

I was inspired to pull out my copy of ASL's KGP maps and scenarios when I got home! I compared the KGP maps with those in the book, and they are pretty similar. I took a quick look at the scenarios, and they seem reasonable, too. The book was published after KGP was released, so it wasn't used as a reference for the game.

I think that Avalon Hill could have published a KGP III that focused on the battles around Stavelot. There were quite a few battles over multiple days, both over the bridge and the villages to the west. I also think that you could do an interesting game focusing on the entire campaign, either at a platoon or company level. A TCS module would be very interesting, although you would need a lot of vehicles. I am planning on putting together some scenarios based on the action, although I'm not exactly sure what rules set I'm going to use.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stooge Con 2013 - Part II

I described my army lists in Part I of this post. Now I'll give a short report on each of my games.

Game 1 vs Ming Chinese (Jim Naughton). This was my first game in a couple of weeks, and my rust really showed. It was made worse by the fact that a) the weather was mist and b) Jim really has my number. The board had some steep hills on my right flank and a small patch of rough going on my left. Jim set up his cavalry on my left flank, his gunners in the steep hills on the right, and his big gun line in the center. I set up my knights and cavalry opposite his cavalry, my spears opposite his gun line, and the Dailami opposite his gunners.

I felt pretty good about the setup. I figured that I could use the mist to screen my guys as I closed. However, I didn't realize that it would force my commands to roll pips independently. Ugh. Still, I figured that I'd be able to drive the right groups forward and delay out of range until I got some pips. Sadly, it didn't work that way. The allied command was unreliable, and, of course, the cavalry command also got 1 pip. Instead of hanging tight, I decided to press on, figuring that things would work out. Dumb, dumb move. The attack sort of stumbled forward. The allied command activated, then promptly rolled a 1. The knights ended up right next to the rough going, and a Ps ambush killed two of them. That meant that they hit the cavalry line a bit disorganized, and I lost another two, breaking the command. On the other flank, the Dailami hit the gunners and started taking casualties. His light horse then hit my bows supporting the attack and quickly disposed of them. Another couple of bad rolls and the Dailami command broke. I had lost one or two other stands by then, so the whole army broke. What a beating...

Game 2 vs Teutonic Order (Dave Shepps). Once again, the weather played a critical role in this game. I decided to go with the B List in this game, as I didn't want my Kn(F) fighting the Teutonic Kn(S)! Dave set up with the knights in the middle and bows and light horse on either flank. I put my spear in the middle, the Dailami on my right flank, and the cavalry horde on the left. As the game started, I pressed hard with the cavalry while soft pedaling with the other two commands. Several bounds into the game, it started to rain. Knowing the that bows were now at a disadvantage, I attacked aggressively with the cavalry and the Dailami. The Dailami tore into the bows, and I keep feeding them into the melee until all of the bows were dead and the command was broken. On the other flank, the Cv(S) survived one bound of ineffective bow fire and then slammed home, quickly killing them. My other cavalry and light horse attacked the opposing light horse, finally killing enough to break that command, and therefore breaking the army. Luckily, I was able to avoid direct confrontation with the knights. Those guys were scary!

The cavalry attack the Teutonic left wing...
...while the Dailami attack the right.

Game 3 vs French Ordonnance (Jim Wood). This was the first game that I played on Saturday. Jim was playing French Ordonnance. Once again, I wanted to avoid the Kn(F) vs Kn(S) matchup, so I went with the B List. There was a large woods on my left flank, but the rest of the table was wide open. I put the Dailami command near the woods, the spears in the center, and the big cavalry command on my right flank. Jim had three fairly similar commands consisting of artillery (S and I), bows (S and O), and knights (S). He deployed them on the half of the table with the woods forming a semi-circle around his camp. It was an intimidating sight, but I had a plan to attack it.

The main attack came from the cavalry wing. I used the light horse to screen the guns, then took the Cv(S) on a wide flanking move. The rest of the Cv(O) moved to 10 1/2 inches away from the guns and stopped. I was able to maneuver the Cv(S) into favorable overlaps against the Bw(S). It took several turns, but I was able to kill most of them. That freed up two units on the edge, and I was able to break the command by killing an Art(I) organ gun. There were still a few scattered units, so it would be a while before I'd be able to get into the flank of the next command.

The second part of the attack involved the Dailami. I moved the light horse from that command into a screen position while moving the Ax(S) in column through the edge of the woods towards the guns. They were able to approach without getting shot, but then Jim moved his dismounted knights (Bd(S)) to cover them. I was able to hold them off using the woods, then drive a few pairs of Dailami into the bows and guns. The Ax started to slowly grind them down, killing a Bw and Ax. But they were both S units, so it took a lot longer than I had hoped. Long enough for us to run out of time, since the cavalry was on the other side of the board, and I still needed to kill a few more units to break the command. In the end, I broke one of his commands and he broke none of mine, so it was a minor victory.

Game 4 vs New Kingdom Egyptians (Dave May). I decided to go with List A for this game, hoping to send my knights against his warband. As they say... "Be careful what you wish for!" There were some steep hills in the center of my setup area and a few rough patches in his. Otherwise, things were pretty open. I set up my three Arab commands slightly back, allowing the ally command to set up anywhere in front. The spears refused the left flank, the cavalry was in the center, and the Dailami were on the right. Dave set up all of his units in the left half (relative to me) of the board. He had a blade and bow command on the far left, followed by the warband block in the center, with an extended line of blades and bows on the right. He also had a pip dump command consisting of a general in a chariot and a bunch of Ps(I).

I was able to set up my knights across from the warbands and sent them straight in. It was a glorious attack... that completely failed! I lost a stand of knights in the first bound and two stands of light horse in the second. In retrospect, sending in the light horse to guard the flanks was a mistake. Anyways, it took a few more bounds before he was able to kill another stand and break that command. I was a bit bummed... five bounds in and I was down a command.

I sent the cavalry after the extended bow line. I used the light horse to screen, then attacked with double ranked Cv(O). It took a few bounds, but I was eventually able to grind down the bows and break them. I had been marching the Dailami like mad, and they were able to provide a bit of support in the attack. Dave attacked them with his pip dump general and managed to kill an aux stand and its supporting psiloi on my flank. I was then able to surround him with Dailami and their cavalry general and kill him. Of course, it wasn't enough to break the tiny command, as he made sure to allocate two pips to it next turn. Sigh.

The Egyptian chariots hold off the Arab cavalry.

Now we each had one broken command, and it would be a race to see who could break a second. Rather foolishly, I inched my spears forward after the knight command broke. The warband slammed into them, quickly killing two, but the attack stalled after that. I was able to delay them using the general and a light horse stand from the broken ally. In the center, I had to make my way through some broken chariots and blades. By the time I did that, a group of unbroken chariots arrived to prevent my cavalry from getting into the flanks of the warband. I think I would have been able to overwhelm them, but I had to kill way too many to break the command. In the end, neither of us were able to break the last command and the game ended in a draw.

The Dailami butcher some skirmishers, but don't make it to the camp.

Overall I went 2-1-1, so I was happy with the army's debut. Interestingly, I had better results with the three command "hammer" list than the four command "rapier" list. I do think the army is a winner, but it does so very slowly. It doesn't have any troops that can quickly kill opponents, but it is very resilient. The biggest enemy is time, so its worth working on ways to attack more efficiently. I'm definitely going to use them again in tournaments later this year.

I had a great time at the event. Thanks to Howard for running it, Legions Games for hosting it, and all of my opponents. I'm looking forward to playing them all again. (Well, except for the Ming. I hate those guys... :-)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stooge Con 2013 - Part I

My local club sponsored a DBM event this past weekend. I have been working on an early Arab army and was eager to try it in competition. The tournament used an open format using either the DBM or DBMM army lists.

I decided on the Umayyad Arab list (III/31, DBMM) set in 680 AD. My A List was the one that I used the most during play test. It consisted of four commands, three Arab and one Central Asian Ally, and was designed for maximum mobility:

Reg Cv(O) - CinC
9x Irr Cv(O)
3x Irr Cv(S)
6x Irr LH(O)
19 EE - Breaks on 7

Reg Cv(O) - SG
8x Reg Ax(S)
4x Reg Ps(O)
4x Irr Bw(O)
2x Irr Ps(O)
16 EE - Breaks on 5.5

Reg Cv(O) - SG
12x Irr Sp(I)
6x Irr Ps(O)
16 EE - Breaks on 5.5

Irr Kn(F) - AG
4x Irr Kn(F)
4x Irr LH(F)
6x Irr Bw(I)
15 EE - Breaks on 5

The theory was to use the allied command and the CinC's command to double team one of the enemy's commands. The spear would anchor some part of the line, and could double as a pip sink, since it wasn't designed to do fancy moves. The Dailami command would dominate bad going and be a threat to light troops and bows.

The B list was a hammer to balance the first list's rapier. It consisted of three large Arab commands:

Reg Cv(O) - CinC
14x Irr Cv(O)
7x Irr Cv(S)
3x Irr LH(O)
25 EE - Breaks on 9

Reg Cv(O) - SG
4x Irr Cv(O)
8x Irr Bw(O)
9x Reg Ax(S)
3x Irr LH(O)
25 EE - Breaks on 9

Reg Cv(O) - SG
16x Irr Sp(I)
8x Irr Ps(O)
21 EE - Breaks on 7

The theory here was pretty simple. The spears anchor the center, the Dailami attack through terrain on one flank, the cavalry attack in the open on the other. The big commands assured that I could take a lot of punishment before breaking. The huge cavalry command would give me a good shot at dominating one of the flanks. The biggest downside, of course, was that the commands were pretty clumsy. Looking down 21 cavalry stands can be pretty scary, but I often found that I could only engage with half of them, so I had a lot of guys standing around doing nothing. That said, losing all of the Cv(S) wasn't enough to break the command, so it could fight for a long time.

I'll describe my games in the next post. Slight spoiler, things did seem to go according to plan, except for the game that was played in the mist! :)

The Sultan orders his troops forward!