Tally Ho!

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.  

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Kings of War Crusades campaign

This week the diary-gods conspired to have players from only one side available for the game, so we opted for a non-campaign battle in which I took the role of the Saracens. The scenario was Eliminate in which you must destroy as much of the enemy as possible. We went for 2500 points with cavalry heavy armies.

Both sides settled on a similar plan of massing their main attacking force on their left whilst looking to hold their right with a defence centred around a spearman horde.

View from the Saracen left

View from the Crusader left
The Saracens began the battle by advancing on the left with a large number of bow-armed units, whilst refusing the right flank opposite the bulk of the Crusader knights. Early rounds of shooting were rather in favour of the Saracens, prompting the Crusader right to advance rather than seeking to hold the flank.

Saracen left attacks

As the Crusaders main attack on the left moved into range the Saracens were faced with the classic KOW dilemma of whether to take a charge that may leave you flanked or sit back in the hopes of a strong counter. Being out numbered on the right I opted for a sacrificial Mamluk charge to buy time for my main attack to strike home.  

Mamluk death ride

This was somewhat successful in that the Crusaders right crumbled allowing my cavalry to roam freely in their rear mopping up a few units. On my own right losses mounted though and as we entered the last turn I was slightly behind on points.

The last turn was a classic case of remembering the scenario. Despite being ahead the Crusaders attacked the Saracen spear horde ensconced on hill and bounced-off. The follow-up counter charge resulted in a units of knights being killed and the Saracens winning by a narrow margin.  
The vital moment!

A tense game and one where oddly doing nothing would have served the Crusaders best in the last turn.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Kings of War Crusades Campaign - battle of Antioch

Siege Failed, Crusaders defeated

The first battle on the southern route had the Crusaders trying to defeat a force attempting to relieve Antioch, The scenario selected was Eliminate in which each sides 3 most expensive units were the targets, along with a single central objective. Its an interesting one as you must decide when to risk your most powerful units in the combat. With 3 players aside we went for 3100 points and a 10' table.

The Crusaders deployed with the Byzantines drawn-up deep on the left, the main crusader force in the centre and a refused right flank of knights / light horse. The target units were spread across the line with only the Templars hidden at the back.   


Part of the centre

The refused right flank

The Saracens opted to hide their best units (Mamluks and spear horde) in the second rank. Their left was mostly horse archers, the centre contained the bulk of the cavalry, with most of the infantry on the right opposite the Byzantines.

Horse archers on the left

A cavalry-heavy centre

Refused right with the spearmen hiding away
The battle opened with Crusaders advancing in the centre and the left. The Byzantines were more cautious, advancing a couple of units into bow range of the defending Saracens.

The Saracens had massed their Lance & Bow cavalry in the centre with additional support from more horse archers and light horse. Two rounds of focused fire quickly removed the Crusaders spear horde, scoring vital victory points and making a hole in the centre.  

Saracens clear the centre
On the Crusaders right they pushed forward against the weaker Saracen force in the hopes of causing carnage with their knights and turning the flank. Some doughty defence delayed them but it would not last for many turns.  

Crusaders have the edge on their right

With the loss of the infantry horde in the centre the Crusaders had to attack with their knights but found themselves against several ranks of  Saracen troops. The archers weakened the knights with the Mamaluks finally unleashed at them.

Crusaders attack but are outnumbered

Saracens pounch

The Crusaders found themselves with a disputed formation allowing the Saracens several flank charges or 2-1 opportunities. This proved decisive as the Saracens were able to gobble-up the Templars and a couple of knight units.

In the final move the Crusaders had caused rather more damage than the Saracens but critically had lost all three of their target units without killing any of the enemies. We assessed the outcome would have been 10-3 to the Saracens on victory points.

Crusaders mount a decisive attack but all a little late

So a decisive win for the Saracens. You will notice there is little mention of the Byzantines - they  were initially quite cautious, only launching any meaningful attacks late in the game. More aggression from them may have reversed the result but it was perhaps the good use of the Saracens firepower that set the tone.