Tally Ho!

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Kings of War Crusades Campaign - second battle of Tripoli

Seige failed - relief force not defeated

For our game this week we returned to the coastal Crusader force and its second attempt to capture Tripoli. This weeks scenario was an easy one, Invade - the winner is the one with the most points in the enemies half of the table.

The Saracens deployed with a large force of shooting cavalry on the left, looking to flank the Crusaders.  The centre was held by the bulk of the infantry, backed by the elite Mamluks. The right had a force of spearmen with some light cavalry support, aiming to blunt the expected knight attack.

Left flank of the Saracens

The centre

The right with lots of spears
The Crusaders did nt mass their knights as had been expected but instead deployed them on their left (opposite the Arab spears and more centrally as a reserve. The Byzantines held the right opposite the shooting heavy Saracen cavalry.

Byzantines on the right

The left - knights and light horse

The centre - plenty of heavy stuff
On the Saracen right both sides engaged in a skirmish with their light horse. Just out of shot if a unit of horse archers whose superior shooting meant the Saracens won this initial round. This tempted the knights into range who quickly found themselves bogged-down in a grind with the Saracen spearmen. Over the game they found themselves gradually driven back and broken down.      

On the Saracen left they advanced rapidly into range and began to bombard the Byzantines with archery fire. In an unusual moment the Saracens declined a flank charge with their light horse that was within the rules but the commander felt was a bit gamey - would this cost them the game?

The Byzantines charged their Saracen opponents and with help from a unit of knights  released from the reserve were able to rout them, leaving just two units of horse archers to hold the Arab left flank. Not looking good for the Saracens!

The flank looks weak

Hold them!
Centrally the Saracens opted to launch an attack with their spearmen and support from some cavalry and Mamluks. This went well and broke through the lines to threaten the Brother Knights in reserve. the Brothers eventually charged the Mamluks scoring 14 hits with 18 attacks

A line break for the Saracens
Back on the Saracen right they finally dispatched the final unit of knights and swung their spearmen into action against the Crusaders centre.

Finally on the Saracen left the horse archers were able to withstand a combined assault from the Byzantines and Knights against their hill-top refuge. A timely intervention from the second unit of Mamluks helped stem the tide.

The Saracens on their hill-top 

In the end the Saracens won by a decent margin of about 800 points. They had lost more troops than the Crusaders but had pinned them in their own half so limiting their scoring units.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

A tale of two forts - the opening battle

This weekend I was in Fishponds for the first pitched-battle of our latest KOW campaign that pits Salamanders against The Herd. The previous Vanguard battle was won by The Herd side, giving them upto a 300 point infantry unit in the battle. The scenario was PUSH in which you have to control loot 3 tokens and gain additional points if you get them across the half way line. There is a tie-breaker token in the centre.

This was a big game at 3000 points a side. I went for a tough core of Ancients, Tyrants, Ancients on Rhinosaurs and Skyraiders. This supplemented with Lekelidons, archers, heroes, and mage priests plus the Inspiration of the Ancients formation for additional inspiring. Finally I had a unit of Basilean paladins as a campaign requirement.

My deployment was a simple as a planned to counter-punch the fast Herd. My centre was Ancients / Tyrants with a unit of fearsome Ancients on Rhinosaurs on each flank. My refused left also had Skyraiders for shooting and a Skylord to tackle his monsters. Chaff was sprinkled in front along with Lekelidon and Artakl was ready to snip at heroes.  The Basilieans took the token

Salamander refused left

Salamander centre anchored on some impassable terrain 

Salamander right
The Herd spread their forces over a wider arc - the centre being composed of Guardian Brute heavy infantry and a Spirit Walker Horde. The left was fast-moving Eagles and Tribal Chariots whilst the right was Lycans and monsters. A Guardian Brute large infantry carried the tokens.
Herd left

Herd centre

Herd right
As planned I adopted a defensive posture in the first couple of turns hoping to disrupt The Herd with some well placed shooting . The results were disappointing with the dice a bit poor and the wounds easily healed by the three Shaman that had been deployed. The Herd advance was much more cautious than I had expected but they did edge closer to the half way line and throw out some chaff.  
Honours pretty even in the centre 

Chaff-off on the right
In turns 3 and 4 I focused my fire more taking out a couple of the lighter armed units and disrupting one of the Shaman with Artakl's shooting. I would like to have attacked on my right but only having one unit on AoRs was unable too without being double charged / flanked by the Eagles and Chariots.

The Herd token bearer was able to sneak over the halfway line and grab the central token in the 3rd turn. I made his life uncomfortable with some Lekelidon / Mage shooting. This was enough to send him scurrying back into his own half.  When the long-expected Herd charge came in I was able to withstand it and counter charge thanks to the many Fearless / Furious units in the army.

Ancients attack on the right.
In the end a narrow 4-3 loss as it was clear I could not catch The Herd token bearer.  Some things to ponder.
  • The army can have lots of Piercing (1) shooting that's pretty effective as its hitting on 3+ or 4+
  • I made a mistake in thinking only "proper units" could carry the tokens so could have used a Skylord instead of the Basilieans for more flexibility.
  • I waited too long before attacking with my centre / right and ultimately that did not allow me to challenge for the central token or get my own over the half way line.
  • The Herd heal a lot but the Shaman are vulnerable to being Waivered by my shooting.    

Skyraiders - finished just in time for the game

Friday, 8 March 2019

Kings of War Crusades Campaign - Battle of Damascus

Siege failed - Relief force defeated

This week we return to the Crusader forces taking the mountain route as they stand on the threshold of Jerusalem, needing only to capture Damascus to clear the way. The scenario for this battle was  Loot & Pillage -  where both sides try to destroy as much of the enemy as possible whilst holding one of 7 objectives each worth 200 points. 

The objectives were spread pretty evenly across the table so both sides deployed in a wide formation. The Saracens deployed with strong cavalry flanks and a weak infantry centre backed by the Mamluks.  
View from the Crusader right

Saracen's left

The centre with Mamluks in the distance

Saracen right with lots of horse archers

The long view from the Crusader left 

The Crusaders deployed with the Byzantines on their left, looking to hook around the flank. The right flank was a single unit of knights with some light cavalry support and the bulk of the force occupied the centre.

Byzantine's on the Crusader left

The strong central force

More of the centre and the solitary knights on the right
The battle began with a general advance from the Saracens as they sought to gain early control of the objectives and place the Crusaders under pressure. The Christian forces held back on the flanks to allow time for shooting and advanced cautiously in the centre.  The action was fairly even with both sides scoring hits but no major movement.

Crusaders capture the hill for now

On the Crusaders right they were badly outnumbered by the Saracens and things looked very dicey indeed. In the centre the Saracens were also faring well as their infantry pushed the Crusaders back off the objectives.

The Brother Knights face-off the Saracens 

Battle is joined on the hill

On the Crusaders right the Byzantines advanced against the weaker Saracen light cavalry but disappointingly they bounced-off and settled into a grinding melee.

Byzantines bounce off the light horse

Back on the right the Brother Knights found themselves largely surrounded and facing off against 3 units of Saracens. Despite a series of flank charges by the Saracens the resilient knights managed to see-off 2 units of light horse and 2 units of medium cavalry.  

Brother knights cut a swath through the Arabs
Eventually the Crusaders were able to beak through on the left as the Byzantines finally broke the resistance there and routed the bulk of the Arabs missile troops.

Two turns in the battle looked to be going badly wrong for the Crusaders with defeat seeming likely. They managed to turn it around in the last 2 turns due to the resilience and high armour of their heavy units. So an unlikely win with the Crusaders putting together 2000 points to 1000 points.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Kings of War Crusades Campaign - Battle of Tripoli

Siege unsuccessful - battle lost

For our game this week we return to the coastal Crusader army who had Tripoli firmly within their sights. The scenario selected was Loot - three loot counters were placed along the centre line with the winner being the one who controlled the most at the end of 6 turns. Units move is limited to 5" when carrying a loot counter.

The Saracens deployed with their cavalry in the centre and on the right, with the better troops in the centre. There left contained all the infantry. The Crusaders deployed with the Byzantines opposite the Arab infantry. The centre was a mixture of infantry / knights with an all cavalry left flank.    

The Saracens quickly spotted a flaw in the Crusader deployment - the eastern loot marker was only guarded by a unit of crossbowmen, who would need to move or be hindered in their shooting. So there was an all-out attack which overran the loot, allowing a unit of light horse to capture it in turn 1.    

Crusaders left

Eastern loot counter falls in turn 1

Away on the Crusaders right the Byzantines advanced against the weaker Saracen infantry force with the aim of pushing them back and taking the loot counter.

Byzantines ready to rock

In the centre large amounts of heavy horse were on the move with both sides pushing forward. The Saracens managed to snatch the central loot counter from the more cautious Crusaders but rapidly found themselves embroiled in a series of chare/counter charge moves which the heavier knights seemed to be getting the better of.    

Mamluks advance in the centre

Mass cavalry charge

Very messy in the centre

On the Saracens right with the loot token secured for minimal damage they turned their attention to the out numbered knights on that flank. It took 2 turns to finally break them and release some vital cavalry to move across to the centre.  

Out numbered but not out classed on the Crusaders left

Sneaky Arabs grab a token

The blow and counter-blow continued in the centre with the Crusaders slowing gaining an edge but being unable to break free and pursue the central loot counter slowing creeping towards the base edge in the hands of some heavy spearmen.


On the Crusaders right the Byzantines were tearing chunks from the Saracen infantry but somehow a unit of skirmishers had managed to snatch the final loot counter from under the Crusaders noses and make off with it.  

Bad day for the Saracen infantry

As we entered turn 6 the Saracens had managed to get one loot counter safely off the table and had possession of the other two, but both were under potential threat. The western counter was carried by a unit of skirmishers who were attacked by the Byzantine psiloi, who bounced-off leaving the Saracens 2-0 ahead. The central counter was under threat from several units of knights but some timely flank / rear charges has denied them the chance to intervene.  A timely 1-1 for Nerve also allowed a unit of Saracen cavalry to last an additional turn.  

The double 1 that may have saved the central loot toekn

So a 3-0 win for the Saracens but it looked like it might have easily been 2-1 to crusaders up until turn 6, so a nice tense game.