Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Smelly Yak Cheese

Buoyed by his army's improved performance against the Indian catering crew, Bobroes once more turned his thoughts towards securing control of the Kush, the wealth of the silk road, and of course the cute goatsies. However, on the march, word arrived that another Indian army had emerged from the sub-continent to challenge Ganasha and his Huns, so it seemed prudent to let them fight it out, then crush the victor. In the mean time, there was some unfinished business with the Tibetans, so waiting for the spring thaw, Bobroes pushed into Tibet to avenge their invasion of Persia.

His army caught up with the Tibetans who were encamped on a plain beyond a narrow pass. Two craggy hills narrowed the battlefield in the center, and between them a gentle rise offered a perfect spot for Bobroes to conceal his elephants.

As they crested the rise, the Persian scouts expected to see the Tibetan army arrayed in all its (modest) glory on the plain below, but while its camp was there, it was guarded by a scant half a dozen companies of troops. This meant one of two things*, the most likely of which was that the Tibetans were trying something clever, and that the rest of their army was held off the battlefield, and would be arriving from an unexpected direction.

Tibetan armies are usually small, but not this small.
However, King Bobroes was possessed of deductive skills to rival Sherlock Holmes himself,  and quickly deduced that there must be at least two Tibetan forces to arrive, and that since the left flank offered only a narrow pass onto the battlefield, one force would be arriving on the right, and that another was delayed in the center. Accordingly, he send his largest force forward and to the left to outflank the Tibetan delayed command when it arrived, while keeping another force in reserve near the central hill to lure the Tibetans towards the elephants concealed behind it**.

Flank march and reception commitee
He also prepared a warm reception committee for the Tibetans arriving on the right, blocking their way with a line of levy infantry, lining the craggy hills with light infantry to fall on their flanks, and sending his small reserve command, together with some heavy horse from the center to counter attack. A Tibetan command did eventually arrive as predicted, but not liking the look of the welcome, declined to advance, and the battle was over before the Persians could catch them.

A huge force of Tibetan cataphracts arrive.
Meanwhile the a huge Tibetan force arrived in the center, consisting of cataphracts and some light infantry. The Persian force on the left attacked their flank attempting to kill off the light infantry who might pose a danger to the elephants. Losses were exchanged before the Persians were forced to fall back to avoid a potentially disastrous head on fight with the Tibetan cataphracts.

The Tibetans had advanced some way towards the central hill,  but with the imminent arrival of the Tibetan flank march, Bobroes felt it was time unleash the elephants, who stormed out of ambush and down the center of the battlefield with astonishing speed (spent 6 pips to move them four times). However, while surprised, the Tibetans were confident in their ability to evade the clumsy beasts, and continued pursuing the Persians on the left.

Main Moves
The elephants continued their advance, supported by Persian cavalry from the center, while the small original Tibetan force moved to threaten their flank. The Persians on the left had worked back towards the center, and formed up for a final confrontation. The elephants in the center finally moved within range of the Tibetans, and Persian light horse rode fearlessly into the gap between the two Tibetan commands to threaten their rear. Finally the left wing charged ferociously into the cataphracts, killing one and pushing back the other.

Tibetans stand helpless after the feigned flight.
And at this point King Bobroes deployed his smelly yak cheese, declaring a feigned flight with the left hand command. This left the bewildered Tibetans rooted to the spot, unable to move away from the elephants, or to react to the light horse in their rear. On their next bound, the elephants stomped all over the Tibetan cataphracts, a Tibetan general fell to a rear attack, and the heavy cavalry fell on the disoreded pursing cataphracts. Unsurpsisingly, the Tibetans broke and fled under such a fierce assault.

This battle yielded another 23BP to be used for another attempt against the Huns. Unfortunately, a crushing Hun victory over the Indians had left king Ganasha in an unassailable position, and all the warring parties were forced to recognize him as King of the Kush and Keeper of the Goats***.

* The other possibility was a really bad spreadsheet error in Wayne's list.
** This was the same trick I'd used in the previous battle, but I thought that Wayne would think that I would think that he wouldn't fall for it again, and that therefore I wouldn't try it again.
*** Under the campaign rules, if the reigning king of the table defeats all the other players in succession, he wins the campaign.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Goat Jalfrezi, Home Delivery

Things hadn't been going so well since king Bobroes II inherited the throne after a disastrous battle against the Huns in the Kush. His expedition to India had yielded a military victory, but failed to produce the culinary delights needed to revive his army's flagging morale, and on returning to Persia he'd found an annoying Tibetan shopkeeper and his entourage (too small for an army, too large for a delivery service) hawking his Himalayan cuisine. Bobroes had a plan to defeat him so cunning, that you could pin a tail on it and call it a goat, but due to an unfortunate turn of events, and some tactical errors, was defeated, and forced to buy copious quantities of Tibetan delicacies such as lamb kebabs slow roasted over an open fire of camel dung, and fermented yaks milk lassies. Feeding this fare to his army had clearly done nothing for them, since on the next expedition to the Kush, they had broken and fled just as victory over the Huns seemed certain.

The meal we imagined
Still Bobroes believed that a really good meal or two would restore the elan of his fighting force. Word came to him that renowned eatery in India was now offering a delivery service, so  Bobroes at once dispatched an envoy, asking that they let bygones be bygones, and asking them to send a camel train of their finest goat jalfrezi, a hundred thousand poppadoms, and a few barrels of mango chutney. He and his men laid in the ale, booked the dancing girls, and eagerly awaited the feast.

Now while the Indians were to be congratulated on the forward looking ideas in the F & B business, since they'd neglected to invent high speed transport or refrigeration, their food hadn't traveled well. The Indians claimed that the maggots added both texture and flavor, but the Persian were having none of it, and refused to pay. A furious argument ensued that soon got of hand, and the Indian delivery people transformed into a rather large army (apparently they had previous experience with disgruntled customers). Anna-Toni Gupta appeared from nowhere to lead them.

Now while Bobroes had hoped for the best, he had planned for the worst, and had another cunning plan should the Indians prove troublesome. He had observed in previous battles that the Indian elephants gave his heavy cavalry a great deal of trouble, but that Indians tended to disperse them to protect their infantry against the Persian horse. Bobroes thus saw that if he had his own force of elephants, they would be able to charge through the Indian's center, trampling their foot and overwhelming any local elephant reserves. The Persian cavalry could pin the Indian wings without becoming too heavily engaged, while the elephants won the battle in the center. The key was to make sure that no word of the Persian elephant core reached the Indians, or they'd concentrate their more numerous elephants and win by weight of numbers.

The battlefield was open on the left, with the main feature being a gentle hill on the Persian side, and on the right were a scattering of orchards and enclosed fields. The Indians drew up in three commands. Their center consisted of a line of fast swordsmen (IBdF) backed by 3 elephants and a  general on another elephant. Their flank was supported by some bows and light infantry in the orchard. The Indian left was held by an allied force of well drilled spearmen (RSpI) and many light troops hiding in the terrain. Anna-Toni Gupta herself commanded the reserve command, consisting of archers and cavalry.

The Persian forces consisted of a large command of heavy cavalry in the center, with a few supporting light infantry, and a smaller force of cavalry on the right. However, to keep the elephant corps concealed, Bobroes and the largest command delayed their arrival on the battlefield.

Not the starting PIPs Anthony was looking for
As in previous battles, Indians were initially over-awed by the splendid sight of the Persians. The allied command refused to fight at all (although they did go on a long march around the battlefield) and rest of the army was less than enthusiastic. Anna-Toni needed all her wiles to keep her own forces motivated, and no time to persuade her allies to join the fray.

Nevertheless, the Indians advanced steadily forwards in the center. The Persians held station for a while to lure them on, before the central command turned and moved off to the left (carefully passing behind the hill to give the impression that there might be an ambush behind it), and the small command on the right was able to ignore the unreliable Indian ally, and move towards the center.

In the nick of time, a hero arrives
The Indians continued to advance, and then with impeccable timing, Bobroes and main force of elephants and cavalry arrived. Most of the later moved towards the hill on the left, while the elephants and other cavalry moved directly against the the Indian swordsmen in the center. The Persians who had started on the battlefield moved further around the left flank, while Anna-Toni herself, together with her corps of archers moved to counter them. The large Indian cavalry reserve moved to support the right of their sword line and face off the Persians on the hill.

As the battle line closed, things opened brightly for the Indians, with their archers shooting down an element of Persian Asavaran, and their swordsmen killing an elephant in the first charge. Thereafter, things went less well, with the surviving Indian elephants tearing a huge hole in the swordsmens line, and Persian cavalry applying heavy pressure on the rest of their line.

The lines face off

Don't stand behind the elephants silly
The Indian elephants charged into their opposite numbers to fill the breach, but they were overlapped on their right. Their commander moved across behind the line to fill the gap, but the overlapped elephant on the end of the line was pushed back, leaving the commander right behind it. In the next bound, the Persians turned the unguarded flank, stampeding the elephants there, who in turn carried away the Indian commander. This series of misfortunes broke the Indian center.

On the left, the Persian cavalry had been slowly moving around the flank, slowed down by Indian light troops, and the need to form a line against the Indian cavalry reserve. Indian archers from the the rear came up to oppose them, supported by the CinC on an elephant. The Persians charged into the Indian bows, but to no avail. Then Anna-Toni herself charged into the fray, crashing into the end of the Persian line. Now an Indian queen* on an elephant is a fine sight to see, and this could have been very dangerous, but on home soil, the Persian heavy cavalry found some of the fighting spirit that had been lacking in previous battles.

An Indian queen goes down!\
Though slowly forced back, the Persian cavalry resisted the elephant borne assault for several bounds, even when attacked in flank by archers, keeping the Indian commander locked in combat, until eventually she advanced far enough to be surrounded and cut down herself. At the same time the victorious elephants from the Persian center crashed into the rear of the Indian cavalry, breaking their army.

So all in all the Persian plan worked brilliantly, but luck was certainly on their side. The Indian ally being unreliable was their first misfortune, and their pip dice were poor throughout the game, whereas the Persian ones were excellent, and the delayed command arrived at exactly the right time. The Indian combat dice weren't bad per se, but again, all the important combats went against them. Still all wins count, and the Persians bagged another 23 BP for later use in the campaign.

* And don't think we're talking about royalty here.

Monday, 8 May 2017

‘Can The Indians Curry Favour 
With The Huns?’
‘When The Hindus Became The Hindon’ts’

This is the final entry in the diary of Dyfyd Llewellyn. Following this entry his story becomes one of mystery and legend. As he states, his intention was to lead a new expedition in search of the mythical City of Goats. However, whether he actually found it is unknown for after this entry nothing substantial is ever heard of him again. There are stories of a 'white man of poetry and music' that unearthed 'a lost city of unspeakable treasure and goatly pleasure deep in the darkest Kush', but as yet no real proof has been found. It is therefore, impossible, no matter how fanciful, to link these myths with Dyfyd or to even accept that they have a sprinkling of truth. We can only hope that our protagonist continued to write his diaries and that one day they will come to light. 


4th May 1873
It's a beautiful morning here in the Kush. I must say that I have grown very fond of this land with its wonderful valleys and roaming hills. It reminds me of home, it does. We are once again ensconced on a battle field of the hero Ganasha. This is his last one apparently. As always, there is a long and entertaining story to go with it. As we broke our fast with a meal of goat curry and naan bread, the curry-wollah was good enough to recount it to us. So here it is: 

Desperate to hold on to their crumbling dynasty, the Hindus under Antonigupta attempted to invade the kingdom of Ganasha The Undefeated.  The Indians incursion followed the river towards this village nestled in the lush valley of Bileegoatpa (1). And this is where the Huns were waiting for them.  The valley is a wide open plain with only a small hillock to the south.

The spineless Antonigupta thought to scupper the Huns by bringing some of their cousins to fight against them. But this was not the extent of his lily-livered ploys, oh no sahib! So petrified of the Huns was he, that he deployed his levies in the front rank, while his army cowered behind!

Of course, Ganasha The Handsome arrayed his army with his levies to the rear – where they belong! To the fore were the cream of the Hephthalite nation. Horse archers were all that would be needed. In the centre was Ganasha The Gorgeous himself with the bulk of the army.  To his left was Fagash The Intrepid with a sizeable force. While to the right, the ever-faithful Zhang Zhung, Zhu-li-Zhu-li-Zhu-li Zhing-Zhang-Zhung and his lighter nomad horse archers.

And so the stage was set for the climactic battle of this long and bloody war. Would Antonigupta find his courage? Would he be able to muster an attack? Or, as the bookmakers predicted, would he crumble into forgettable dust?

The battle began. The Huns, having the initiative and seeing the weakness of the Hindu strategy went out to hunt. Ganasha The Swift moved his troops to their left wing. Fagash The Rapid swung his troop out to the left wing to encircle the enemy’s weakest flank. And on the left, the nomads dashed along the road to probe the opposite flank.

Awestruck by this display of might, the Hindus fully sensed their doom. Their audacity and underhandedness was now their downfall. To think that fellow Huns would face the wrath of Ganasha The Merciless! To think that they could forego the love they have for their Hunnic Overlord! The foolish Hindus were aghast to see the Utrigars refuse to participate in the battle (3). They pushed forward along their line and advanced toward the nomads on the river, but their sense of foreboding disaster permeated the battlefield!

As Ganasha The Astute maneuvered his men into position, so more of his guile was revealed.  From behind the hillock came forward Gudhash and his concealed command. Yet more troops were focused on the unsupported flank of the Hindus.

Desperately, Antonigupta pleaded with his allies to join the fight and save his exposed flank. The Utrigurs snubbed his pathetic mumblings and looked on in admiration as their rightful King Ganasha The Almighty dominated the battlefield. 

The Huns launched their attack on the left flank, killing many Indians in the first assault. Then Ganasha The Nimble initiated a feigned flight confusing and confounding the befuddled Antonigupta once more. His troops were at a loss and knew not what to do. The levy horde were bravest of all charging forward to at least try to save the day, while the nobles watched in despair. On the right flank the Nomad Allies had captured the bridge and left the opposing Indians stranded and unutilized (5).

In came the Huns again, charging down the Indian cavalry. Fagash The Nomadic continued to work his way around the enemy flank, while Gudhash The Aggressive launched into the Indian light horse who were trapped with their rears to the enemy and a bolting commander leaving them to perish!

This was all too much for Antonigupta’s command. The onslaught brought on by 3 Hephthalite commands was more than it could possibly take and it broke. Seeing the Indian commander shamed, the Utrigars knew it was time to join the fight. With a great cheer they launched themselves to battle, charging the Indian upstarts in the rear!

An thus the battle was won, and with it the Spice Road Wars. Ganasha The Righteous had prevailed against the continuous onslaughts of Indians, Tibetans and Persians. In the end, all 3 nations had been humiliated by the efficacy of the true KEEPER OF GOATS!

After the war, the kingdom of Hephthalites knew many years of peace and prosperity. It was a centre of culture, learning, spirituality and was regarded as the centre of civilization for many years to follow. Ganasha lived a long and fruitful life, tending his goats and marrying a beautiful Eastern princess from the kingdom of Prathum Thani. In his homeland and the lands of his enemies he passed into legend. In Tibet, Persia and much of India his name still provokes fear in the hearts of local people.

Fagash and Gudhash also passed into legend. Not content to pass up their nomadic and warlike lifestyles, they continued to lead Ganasha’s armies to many more victories. But that is another story…

Now, it has come to my knowledge that Ganasha founded a city deep in the Kush. A marvel it was supposed to be, with streets of gold and fountains of wine. People from far and wide came to this place to trade, learn and be blessed by the mighty Ganasha, who be this time was revered as a god! The halls and palaces were filled with beautiful women and fine goats. The legends say that the fabled city was protected from time and hidden from view by the magic of Ganasha's Queen. Gerupta Singh tells me that the city is still there and that Ganasha and his Queen still sit on the throne, tending their goats in eternal bliss. He also says he knows how to get there, a secret passage he says! So tomorrow we are heading out to find it...

1.    Anthony’s terrain choice was to place a non-navigable river and it ended up cutting a corner off the table

2.    Anthony brought a Utrigar Hun ally (from the campaign special rules)
3.    In the Hindu first turn they rolled 1 for the ally command, thus making it unreliable. Hehehehe – much to the delight of the Huns!

4.    Anthony had reserved 3 pips from his CiC’s first dice roll to try to bring the ally onside. Unfortunately, they did not respond with a high roll in the next turn and sealed the fate of the Hindu pretender!

5.    The right flank was a side-show. The fast light horse were there to pressure that flank and force a reaction to eat up pips. They did exactly what I wanted them to do and stayed out of trouble.


Well, that’s that! The Huns win the campaign after a long and tense run on the top table. In fact, I was the only player to hold onto the top table for more than 1 game. But I get ahead of myself…

The last game was hard to predict. Anthony’s army list (Hindu Indian) has a lot of options so he could configure it many ways. In the last game, he had taken a lot of cavalry and psiloi. I must admit I expected the same again – especially as that had been a very close game! I toyed with the idea of taking a 6 element elephant core and trying to smash my way through his army. In the end, I didn’t take it because of the following reasons:

1.    Every time I took elephants in previous games, they didn’t get into the fight and became a hindrance.

2.    The Indians can have a lot of psiloi that can kill elephants.

3.    6 elephants is 120 points, that is equal to 20 light horse

So, I opted for the light horse as they are maneuverable and still have a punch. I knew that I would be able to get around Anthony’s army in some way.

The battle itself couldn’t have gone more in my favour. First, the terrain was good for me. The river didn’t hinder me much. My hills didn’t really go where I wanted them. But, there was a lovely wide open table – perfect!

The deployment was also good for me. There was a huge gap on the wing, and in th ecentre  hordes in front of bows and elephants! As if I was going to engage that?! So, it was never going to reach me (hordes cost 2 pips just to move in a straight line – never going to reach me!) Then of course, the ally. Yeah, that was bad for Anthony and really sealed the game for him. There was nothing on his flank to stop me. So, the obvious move had to be refuse the centre and all-out-attack on one flank – but hey, I’m Huns, that was always my plan! Even if the ally had been there, it would have only been a matter of time before my 40+ elements of LH (s) swamped the small LH and average sized CiCs command.

So that was it, another game over in 5 bounds! Not what I really expected, but then neither were the 2 previous and uncommonly short games. I definitely learnt something on this campaign. The first two games I lost. After that, I realized that: a) the elephants were superfluous; b) focused aggression really works with Lh (s); and c) feigned flights are great as they give 2 free hits when I count S and get a +2…yeah!

Overall, the campaign was fun for me. I hope it was for the other guys lol. It really added reasons to think through OoBs, make devious plans, and create a silly narrative and characters. I am looking forward to the next one. Especially as we have all each won one campaign/tournament now!

This just leaves me with one last thing to say,

‘It’s good to be king!’

Sunday, 30 April 2017

‘Tibetan Ex-Knights Exit ‘
‘The Deli Lama Gets Sandwiched’

Once again we return to the diary of  Dyfyd Llewllyn as he continues his expedition to survey the Silk Road routes of Central Asia and the battlefields of the now rather extensively documented Silk Road Wars.

26th April 1873
Well here we are again, at yet another battlefield and yet another story of an army trying to push the infamous King Ganasha off his perch. This time it was those bloody Tibetans again. From what I have learnt , their leader ‘The Deli Lama’ was a great warrior, if not such a great general – oh, but I get ahead of myself! Let me start this tale as my friend Gerupta Singh relayed it to me.

Those bloody Tibetans with their bloody armour and bloody yaks were trying to invade again. This time they had thought to trap Ganasha The Almighty and his Hepthalites against this bloody marsh. But by now, you are knowing that Ganasha The Crafty is not so easily outmanoeuvred. He tricked the Tibetans into giving away their positions and manoeuvred his army to hold the high ground (1) With woods on his right flank and this large hill in the centre he was very happy indeed.

The foolish Tibetan sent his horse archers to the right, thinking to tempt our heroes to engage – and it bloody well worked, Sahib, because engage they bloody-well did… and with great elan! For the unwitting Deli Lama did not realise that the wily Hadhash The Brave had been sent to the woods to lie like a tiger in ambush. And it was like a tiger that he leapt out from his lair and pounced upon the enemy horse archers!

At the same time the Zhing Zhang  nomad ally general , Zhu-Li-Zhu-Li-Zhu-Li Zhing-Zhang-Zhu, loyally sent his horse archers forward to cut off the enemy’s retreat and exploit the large gap in their flank.

But this is not all. There was more to the brilliance of Ganasha The Well-Planned. For on this very hill he had hidden more Huns and a group of blessed elephants. Sensing the time was right, he pushed them forward towards the centre of the Tibetan army. It was with great fear and wobbling of the knees that the Deli Lama realised his doom had come! To add more pressure, Fagash The Wise sent a small group of Huns to skirt around the far left of the marsh, while he moved to the centre to support his King.

Well, it is true to say the Deli Lama was most disheartened by this turn of events. It was all he could do to form his troops into some semblance of a battle line. Just as they were doing this they were struck by the first attack of the main Hun force. Many Tibetan cataphracts were slain in this first attack, but they resolved to get their revenge and counter charge. Alas, this was not to be so. For the gifted Ganasha The Masterly, had another trick up his sleeve. 

The Huns broke away from the centre in flight before the Tibetans could strike back at them. But it was only a ploy to lure them on. Stalled the Tibetan response was to do nothing

Suddenly, the Huns turned again and charged back into the front of the knights, while on the right flank the nomads had worked their way around the rear of the enemy lines, trapping the Tibetan Commander in the process. 

And he was not the only general to be surrounded as on the opposite flank one of his subordinates was also isolated.
The Tibetans crumbled. The subordinate general was quickly dispatched. 

The Deli Lama… well, he fought like a yeti!  He repulsed the enemies that had surrounded him and managed to slip away from the battlefield as his army routed.

And so it came to pass, that the Deli Lama escaped but was still many, many miles from his home His journey would be long and arduous with many perils. And thus began the Waynyssey, the story of the shamed Tibetan chieftan and his journey home… but it is very dull and boring and I won’t make you suffer it, Sahib! (2)

So there you have it. Another great victory for Ganasha. I am told that we only have 1 more battlefield to visit before we move further along the Silk Road in search of Ganasha’s fabled capital, The Palace of The Golden Goat. (3)
1.    Wayne rolled a 2 and I rolled 1, so him doubling me meant he deployed first J
2.    Wayne is officially out of the campaign running as he has lost his 3 lives. However, he will play as the stand-in opponent for Bob on the bottom table as he tries to fight his way through the converging armies and back to Tibet.

3.    The current standing is Anthony and Bob have 1 life each, and I have 2 lives. Anthony is the next opponent and when I beat him I will have beaten each player consecutively and therefore become the Grand Poobah and Keeper of Goats without having to beat Bob (again).
This was one of those games where everything went well. The terrain fell quite well, and Wayne deploying first was a bonus, but not really a big advantage. It was obvious that he had a large force off-table somewhere and my main fear was that it would be a delayed command (which would have buggered up my attacking his flank). As it happened it was a flank march on my right and would have come on the turn after his army broke. His first move of bringing the LH too close to the wood set the tone for the game really. They were trapped and without them his flank was wide open. That only really left the option of pressuring his centre to stop them from protecting that flank. The match up for Wayne against the Huns is very hard as my army is far larger. I learnt from the errors of our first game and tried to keep the space open for the LH. As ever, Wayne defended well but the odds were too far against him. End result: 25-0 (I lost 3 LH(s) elements).

Next, Anthony and the Indians. Having learnt from our last game I have a plan. However, I can also rest on my laurels somewhat as I have 2 lives and can accept a draw, whereas he cannot (a draw = 1 life lost each).  

So, until the next (and final instalment), I bid you roll well and may the Goats be with you! 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Strategically Evading Elephants

....and then we rolled a  ....  ran out of time!!

Having chastised the Sassanids the Tibetan Traders moved back into Indian to check the Gupta Hindus for health and hygiene compliance with a view to franchise options.

But in the planning stages for this game we had a change of heart and opted for a campaign strategic approach and to leave the battle tactics to more opportunistic forces.  A (winning) draw was deemed a good outcome, rather than risking a loss as we really needed the potential bonus points for the following week when we would take our one remaining campaign 'life' into a sudden death (for the Tibetans) game.
A surprisingly usable battlefield for the Tibetans

Terrain was selected as an experiment, to see how a maximum sized 2FE Marsh could be successfully deployed to split an enemy force.   

As in past battles with the Hindus, if we could neutralise the elephants then our cataphracts would take care of everything else.  Cavalry was taken to be an elephant holding force and fast light horse to out flank the enemy.

Table layout suited a plan of withholding the centre to entice them to advance and double e envelope them thereafter.  A light horse screen was to deploy centrally then exit (probably) stage right, the cavalry behind the Lh was to U-turn and move rearward further drawing the Hindus in and exposing their flanks.  Artillery was sited using a psiloi filled marsh as cover to shoot crosswise on the table and maximise the chances of killing elephants.

Tibetans open the trap - Hindus take the bait.
Despite having an unreliable (internal) ally, the Guptas took the bait.  Into the centre they came, the cavalry evaded, further onward they came until their right flank was taking artillery shots.  

As the artillery can choose it's targets I eventually had the option to target an elephant general.  The general lost, I called the death and .... "HUH!!???!?!!" said Anna-Toni Guptha (in a voice that only he/she can manage) - "Huh!!??!!   
"That'll be a dead general, thanks!"

When informed that ArtS quick-kills El, it was discovered that this was a point unknown to the Chief Gupta Guide.  "Ohhhh" he said (again in a voice only he can muster) "Ohhhh....mutter, mutter".  Without their general the command was pretty much out of the battle thereafter.

Tibetan right wing in full control.  Hindus keep advancing.
On our right wing we massed our light horse and bottled up the allied Gok Turk superior light horse between the wooded hill and enclosed fields and waited for the main Hindu centre to pass and expose itself.  The other ally became reliable after a few attempts which wasn't perfect but didn't change our plan.  A small group of LhF were dispatched to go over the WH on that flank and deal to the baggage and attack the Hindu centre from the rear.  This prompted the Goks to attack into the 3/4 encircling reception committee where they were annihilated.

In the centre, our cavalry eventually turned to fight, poorly as it turned out. 

The final position taking - Fighting about to commence.
I was somewhat peeved at the CvO's inability to stall the ElO (& iBdF) as my calculations said a general falling back was to be expected although Anthony's judicious use of overlaps did shorten the odds a bit and the dice were unkind. The unfortunate rolls saw a few holes open up with elephants breaking through but with the higher PiPs available and support from other commands the situation was contained and the flank attacks were started in earnest.  

Clearly it was only a matter of time before the Hindus broke.

I wasted some valuable game time trying to get a battle winning rear attack on an elephant general but the measurements just wouldn't quite reach regardless of which elements were moved first to make room.  And in trying so hard for the kill I missed seeing the option to actually flank attack said general and turn him into a bad position (with a sudden death dice roll).

So as the clock ran down, we pushed ahead as fast as we could because the Hindus had
a) a generalless shattererted command where the Tibetan light horse were into the baggage and had direct access to (the somewhat distant) enemy forces' rear
b) a generalless disheartened command
c) a disteartened CinC's command but still with effective El.
d) a command with casualties but more importantly with Tibetans in immeadiate reach of serveral element rears' including their general's
Saved by the Bell!!  Hindus effectively surrounded and Tibetans closing in from two quarter in their rear.

But there wasn't quite enough time, it expired and the Hindu's 40% plus casualties & two dead generals hit them with a huge 10 penalty points against the 9ME (7 elements) the Tibetans had lost (out of 73) for an overall difference  of 8 - but giving a rather meagre 15-10 result.

Next game it's back to the Kush for a final "do or die" effort to take the King of the Table position from those gastronoically challenged Hepthalites.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Pulling The Persian's Rug From Under Them
Another Successful Mission By The Sassanian People’s Front Crack Suicide Squad

The following is yet another passage from the diary of Dyfyd Llewllyn, the intrepid Victorian explorer, who after departing Wales in 1871 lead an expedition to survey the Silk Road routes of Central Asia, and by coincidence the battlefields of the now well-documented Silk Road Wars of the 7th Century.

20th April 1873

It seems like I am going round in bloody circles on this expedition! I have become a tad fascinated by this rather splendid chap, Ganasha, and his exploits. It seems that he was not too shabby at all! And ‘bloody’ is the right word for this story, or at least that is what Gerupta Singh tells me. We are camped as usual on a hill overlooking yet another battlefield, and once again we are listening to the stories as told by the locals and translated buy my trusty guide. So without further ado, here is this bloody tale:

This is being a short story because this was a very short bloody battle, so I am having the time to tell you while we wait for the tandoori goat to cook. Our great King Ganasha The Handsome was still holding power in The Kush and by this time he was starting to get old and weary of these foolish upstarts trying to take his kingdom away from him. This time it was being the Persians of Bobroes II again and goodness-gracious-me, they were looking for revenge and had gathered enough troops to outnumber the Huns (1).

King Ganasha the unstoppable was not to be deterred. In fact, he was most incredibly angered by the audacity of these foreign devils and thought to smite them a mighty blow, by the grace of Shiva!
The two armies manoeuvred to be gaining an advantageous position but Ganasha was not able to secure the high ground that he was wanting. Instead he secured his flanks with a large wood and a rocky hill on his right, and on the left the rocky hill on which we are camping this very night and the village below. (2) Through his cunning, Ganasha was able to force Bobroes II to give away his army positions first (3) and then deployed his glorious Huns in a strong position.

It has been told for all these years that upon seeing the Huns so arrayed, Bobroes II was overawed, oh yes indeed! Seeing no other option, and not brave enough to lead the charge from the front, he resigned his troops to their fate, pushing them forward as he skulked at the rear like terrified skulking wollah!

The Huns responded in turn, pushing their centre forward. The Persians had sent light troops to harry the Hun elephants and these were summarily dealt with in the first charge. Fagash the Reserved at first tempted to try to out flanking the enemy, decided it was better to be remaining close to the main force and provide support (4). The third Hun general, Gudhash The Brave, also pushed forward to exploit the end of the Persian line.  Meanwhile, the Gok Turk, most ungracious allies of the enemy probed the left flank, looking for weakness in the hordes of infantry …a weakness that, by Shiva’s left booby, was found lacking!

So, the battle lines were drawn and the clash began in earnest. The initial charge of the Huns cleared the enemy psiloi but the Persian Assavaran held firm. The Persian counter attack was incredibly fierce and bloody. The Huns were taken aback but not dismayed (5) as they hurled themselves back into the fray. On the right, Gudhash The Aggressive pushed his troop forward, forcing the Persians to be commiting their reserve. On the left, the hordes held but were in a sticky position…Fagash The Distant was needed here!

The battle in the centre was as bloody as you have ever been seeing in all your days! The Persians fought back again with verve and many Huns were slain. However, now on either end of their line, the Hun elephants had reached the Persian cavalry, while in the centre, holes were to be appearing in Bobroes’ line. One of his sub generals was forced into the melee, while on the right, Gudhash The Valiant was also in combat. The Persians had already taken casualties and as FagashThe Timely rushed to support the troops on the left, Ganasha The Indomitable pushed his troops forward once again. This time it was too much for the forces of Bobroes and their army collapsed, once more fleeing the field in disarray and dishonour, the dirty shit-wallahs!  (6).

Ganasha The Long-lived retained his throne in a swift victory!

1     1.    The extra victory points meant that Bod was fielding 430 points to my 404 points… Pah!  
2     2.    I wanted a couple of gentle hills, but they both landed on Bob’s side of the table
3     3.    Bob scored double my score on the deployment dice, thus having to deploy first
4     4.    Swinging round the wood would have probably taken too long.
5     5.    I rolled really poor pips and could not exploit the position. However, the Hun light horse was        impetuous so the gaps were filled.
6     6.    One of the commands broke and the knock on effect took the command next to it, thus totalling  half the army.

An unexpected result in all honesty. I had put some thought into the OoB and command structure and terrain and this battle in some ways went as planned. I didn’t expect Bob to charge forward though, and I definitely didn’t use the two small commands as effectively as I would have liked. The fight in the centre was really bloody on both sides and quite a nail biter. My centre command was huge and could take losses, but the light horse died easily – especially with my low combat dice in one round!  The command was only a couple of elements from being disheartened. However, the LH did attack well and with overlaps and some low combat dice from Bob in the last round, they did enough damage.  With me losing 1 ME per element lost and Bob’s Cav S counting as 2 ME, I could afford to take losses and he couldn’t. Still, I think I was fortunate. I think this was quite possibly the shortest campaign game to date. We were in combat in round 2 I think and the whole game only lasted 4 rounds! 
So, Ganasha is still king with 2 lives remaining. Bob, Wayne and Anthony each have 1 life. Will the next game verses Wayne see our first elimination, or will the Tibetans find a way to knock the Huns off the top table?

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Goat Broadcasting Channel NEWS  


Ancient engraving sheds light on Tibetan Yeti legend!

An engraving dating from the 7th or 8th century AD has been discovered recently in a long lost cave deep in the Hindu Kush. The cave located just a few miles from Kabul was recently unearthed by archaeologists tracing the steps of Dyfyd Llewllyn a Welsh explorer from the Victorian era. Local diggers were petrified  by the hideousness of the creature in the engraving and refused to enter the cave. However, British experts were able to identify the piece and told us that the monstrosity pictured was the legendary Tibetan Wuwu Yeti, a fabled beast said to have fed on the dead carcasses of defeated opponents (the legend goes on to say that the Wuwu Yeti starved to death).

The Wuwu Yeti was thought to be a mythical creature but during the last few years there have been reports of such a creature in a number of places in Asia ranging from Bangkok to Hong Kong. Until now,  no real evidence has been presented for its existence, but the descriptions from contemporary witnesses match the repugnant creature from the Kabul engraving. Is this a coincidence or does this foul beast really exist?