Tally Ho!

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Kings of War Crusades Campaign - battle of Aleppo

Siege successful and relief force defeated

The Crusaders taking the mountain route moved onto their second target at the fortress of Aleppo. This weeks scenario was Push in which both sides have three tokens, with the winner being the one who gets the most tokens over the half-way line after 6 turns.

The Saracens deployed all their shooting cavalry on the right, most of the infantry in the centre, and much of the heavy cavalry on the left along with the spearman horde. The mamluks and infantry horde each carried one of the tokens.  

Saracen left

The centre 

Massed archers on the Saracen right

The Crusaders deployed the Byzantines and two units of knights on the right, the infantry in the centre, and a mixed light / heavy cavalry on the left. The tokens were all placed on a unit of foot knights deployed behind the Byzantines.  The plan was to hold on the left and attack on the right to push the knights over the line in the later turns.

Crusader left

The centre

Byzantines and knights on the right

The Saracens pushed forward on their right with their large force of mounted archers. Under this firestorm the light cavalry quickly melted away leaving the knights alone.

On the Crusaders right the Byzantines quickly got stuck into the Saracens medium cavalry and quickly found themselves bogged-down in a protracted and fairly even fight that would rage for the bulk of the battle.

The Saracens spearman horde also advanced towards the enemy and immediately attacked a tempting unit of light cavalry that stood in their way. This opened-up a charge lane into which a unit of Knights and a unit of Brother Knights leapt.  Despite the loss of thundering charge against the spearmen the knights combined charge began to wear-down the spearmen.

Knights get stuck into the horde

To and fro with the Byzantines

Over on the Crusaders left they came under heavy fire from the mounted archers but their superior armour meant they were able to withstand the attack.

Tiring of the pesky pelting the knights on the left launched an assault which pushed-aside a couple of units of Saracens and generally stabilised the flank.

Knights hold the left

Back on the Crusaders right the spearman horde has been vanquished, along with its precious token. This meant the way was now open to attack the flanks of the mamluks who also carried a token.  

The knights break through

By the end of turn 4 the Crusader line was stable and the foot knights carrying the tokens heading for the centre. One Saracen token had been captured and a second was in severe danger.  So victory was declared for the Crusaders.

Mamluks-eye view

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Kings of War Crusades Campaign - second battle of Antioch

Siege successful - Battle drawn

Having been defeated by the Saracen relief force in the previous battle the Crusaders on the coastal route again found themselves before the gates of Antioch. The scenario was Pillage, meaning points were scored for holding objectives at the end of the game. One was deployed in the centre of the field with 2 deployed by each player; not within their set-up zone and not within 18" of another.

Long shot from the Crusader right

The Crusaders opted to split their objectives between their left and right flanks, with both just outside their deployment zones. They loaded the bulk of their cavalry on the right flank and the infantry on their left. The Byzantines occupied the centre.

Crusader right

Crusader centre and right

The Saracens placed both objectives on their right and deployed the bulk of their infantry guarding these, with a small cavalry force on the extreme right. The Saracens left contained the medium and light cavalry, with the Mamluks in reserve.

Saracen left 

Saracen centre
The Crusaders moved first and advanced across the line hoping to close the distance as quickly as possible with the Arabs. The Saracens sought to create some charge lanes by pushing forward their light cavalry to tie-down the advancing knights. They also harassed the crossbow horde with some skirmishers and generally sat-back to shoot the advancing Crusaders.

The Crusaders spear horde quickly seized the objective closest to their set-up zone while the knights and Byzantine cavalry generally got stuck into their opponents. At this stage things looked poor for the Saracens - a couple of unlucky morale roles left them outnumbered and against heavier opponents on their left.    

Although things looked bad for the Saracens as we hit turn 5 they were putting up some resistance against the knights as the Mamluk reserves joined the fight. On their right the Saracen infantry was unscathed and facing weaker opposition.

So it was that Saladin took a risk and abandoned the objectives being guarded there and attacked with the infantry.  This proved a successful move and the Crusader infantry fell back under the advance.  

Turn 6 ended with both sides holding 2 objectives and 1 contested, so a draw.

The Crusaders certainly had the advantage early-on but this scenario is all about the end-game. In hindsight the knights started too far from the Saracen objectives to mount a serious attempt at capturing any of them. So although they smashed the enemy they did not influence the battle outcome.    

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Kings of War Crusades campaign - second battle of Turbessel

Fortress captured and relief force defeated

For this battle the scenario generator threw-up Dominate - where points are scored for all units within 12" of the oasis at the end of the game.

View from the Crusader right

View from the Saracen right
The Crusaders adopted a simple plan - the knights and light horse massed on their left looking to deliver a strong flanking attack. The Byzantines occupied the centre along with the crossbows to provide a solid base of fire opposite the oasis. The Crusader heavy infantry formed a refused right flank.

The Saracens opted to mass most of their horse archers on the right, so opposite the knights. The Mamluks were in support on the right. The Saracen centre and right was a mixture of infantry and medium cavalry.

Facing a large number of horse archers the knights opted to push full-steam-ahead, using the light horse as cover to shield them the Saracen shooting. Within 2 turns the Crusaders heavy cavalry was engaged across the line and eating into the lighter Arab horsemen.

In the centre the Saracens edged forwards but came under sustained fire and the advanced became bogged down as they sought cover to preserve their forces.

After some initial hesitation the Saracens attempted to outflank the Crusaders on the left but found there way blocked by a spearman horde and a unit of foot knights. This quickly settled into a grinding match that would tie-up the Saracens for the rest of the game.

On the Crusaders left the superior numbers and quality began to tell as the Saracen line unravelled, with units routed and holes appearing that opened-up flank charges.

By the end of turn 4 the Saracens right was all but destroyed and the centre weakened badly. It was clear that the Crusaders had one as they had plenty of potential scoring of units able to move into the centre zone in turn 5.

A brutal game with the massed knights overcoming the massed horse archers.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

A tale of two forts - the opening round

This weekend a slip-slided my way over t0 Fishponds on a snowy and crisp winters morning for the opening round of a combined KOW / Vanguard campaign pitting my Lizardmen against the Herd. Full details can be found here. We're alternating skirmish and pitched battles, with the former influencing the later in a small way.


In the first scenario the Basileans are defending a beacon to stop the Night Shades from using it summon reinforcements for the coming battle. I went with a solid force of 1*Vet Sergeant, 2 * Sergeants, 1* War Wizard (Salamander emissary), 2*Paladin Defenders, 3*Men-at-arms, and an Ogre Palace guard.

My simple plan was to position the Paladins on the beacon as my best defenders, with the Veteran Sergeant in support for his Inspiration effect on morale roles. The others would be divided to slow-down the enemy advance and play for time.

The first move was pretty uneventful as the Basileans formed a defensive chordin around the beacon and waited for the attack, in what seemed like decent positions.  

An early error lead to the loss of the War Wizard but the more devastating blows came once combat was joined. The normally resilient Basileans evaporated under a blizzard of "exploding 8's*" from the Night Stalkers and 1's / 2's from me.

* a Vanguard mechanic where any hit / save where you throw an 8 means you get to throw another dice, and they can chain!  

By the start of move 4 the Basileans had been annihilated without causing a single kill to the enemy - very unusual for them. The main characters survived but little experience was accumulated.

Desperate to regain some ground the Ogre was dispatched to the fighting pits where he won enough gold to make the total haul up to 24 gold. 

So what went wrong? The loss of the War Wizard was a simple error of timing as he got left exposed. The very bad run of dice by Basilea / excellent dice by the Night Stalkers exaggerated the result a little. Perhaps though I should have sought contact with the Paladins and used other units to protect the beacon.