I won initiative and selected (unsurprisingly) steppes as the terrain type. Luckily for me, all the awkward terrain (2 areas of brush - I was able to remove the gully!) fell on one flank, in Alan's half, leaving the bulk of the table clear.
The Early Successor army:
Alan obviously realised that the wide open space on his left was perfect ground for my lancers to exploit, and equally perfect for his pike phalanx (5 x 8-base BGs). In his centre he had a BG of Thorokitai, another BG of offensive spears and A BG of cavalry. On his right wing he had 2 BGs of light horse (Javelin-Light Spear) and a pair of nelliephants. He only had a small contingent of foot skirmishers.
On my left wing, I deployed my 2 BGs of light horse, supported by a BG of protected lancers. On my right wing was the BSB. I had a lot of foot skirmishers this time - 3 x 6-base BGs of archers and 2 x 6-base BGs of javelin troops (I was expecting rather more nelliephants).
Hindsight being such a wonderful thing, what would I have done differently? For starters, I should have left my BSB as the last 4 units to be deployed to keep Alan guessing as to exactly where they would be. I would also not have stretched my line quite so far, as I had left my centre quite weak.
This was very much a game of two halves - of the table. On my right wing, the pikes and the lancers trudged towards each other at a pace very much slowed by wheeling as blocks, Alan trying to position his phalanx to avoid being outflanked, me trying to get my lancers into a position where they could outflank his phalanx. In retrospect, it would have been better if I had just taken the BSB straight ahead then broken it into smaller battle lines or individual battle groups for the final pre-charge manoeuvres.
During the BSB/Phalanx movements, my archers were doing their best to get into position to shoot ineffectively against the pikemen. It might have been better if I'd deployed them as a battle line - lesson learnt for next time.
Positions after Alan's first moves
Hang on a second - I think I see now why my light horse pushed themselves so far over to my left wing - they spotted another unfeasibly huge glass of ale and were going for it!
Meanwhile on my left and in the centre, things were much more active. Alan was pushing his light horse and skirmishers forward through the rough and trying (but failing) to get his cavalry to do something clever. eventually they did, which meant that I needed to divert my protected lancers away supporting the light horse on my left wing to get into a position to deal with them. Unfortunately they didn't quite get their in time and a BG of my archers had been charged and caught by Alan's javelin skirmishers. They did succeed in flank charging the javelin troops, but in the next turn got flank charged by Alan's cavalry. With all the disruptions, base losses and multi-way melees it got very confusing working out how many dice we each had in each part of the brawl. Eventually both my BGs broke.
While all of that was going on, there was a light horse melee going on on my left wing. One of my LH groups had chased off some of Alan's javelin troops, stopping their charge short as nelliephants were in the way. Alan's LH then charged into my other LH and javelin troops, resulting in the LH failing to evade and being caught in the rear. It was broken shortly afterwards, pursued to my table edge by Alan's LH. The javelin troops somehow survived and tried to hold up Alan's other LH group, which they did amazingly well. My "free" LH group were in a perfect position to catch Alan's LH that had pursued my routing troops to the table edge - they would either have to stand and fight (and were likely to lose), or evade off the table. My LH would then be able to go to assist the javelin troops holding up his other LH group, flank charge them, then scoot through between the scrub to loot his camp (whilst avoiding his nelliephants).
"Errr, why haven't we scored any hits in this melee?"
"Tamsin's crappy dice rolls"
Back to my right wing, and the "real battle" (where all the expensive troops were lined up taunting each other but not actually doing any fighting yet). Finally my lancers had managed to get into charge range of the phalanx (sadly not disrupted due to pathetic shooting by my archers). As this was now the final turn and I was down on points, there was nothing to lose, but everything to gain, so I allowed the meatheads to try to do their thing.
Impact rolls - Alan won every impact (not surprising - steady pike against lancers). What was surprising was that only one of the 3 lancer BGs that charge missed its Cohesion Test and dropped to disrupted.
Melee phase: the meatheads didn't roll a single hit; Alan's pikes all rolled at least one hit. Amazingly all 3 BGs passed their Cohesion Tests, although one did fail the death roll and lost a base.
If we hadn't run out of time and the game had continued, the battle would have swung very much in my favour:
- Alan's centre troops (cavalry and spears) were about to be surrounded by skirmishers, preventing (or at least delaying) them from closing on the flanks and rear of my lancers
- My light horse were about to finish off his light horse, leaving his right flank open for them to scoot round into his rear (or to join in on the fight against his centre)
meatheadsmost excellent lancers had got themselves into a perfect position to start rolling up Alan's phalanx. His end BG was facing being charged frontally by one BG of lancers whilst simultaneously being flank-charged by another. As that would have given me the advantage in both impact and melee, plus the disruption from the flank charge would likely have seen that group break,bursting through the adjacent group when it routed (causing another disruption) with the chain reaction of cohesion tests which would follow over the next turn or two as each pike block in turn got hit in the front and flank.
Overall it was a very enjoyable game (preceded by a delicious chicken jalfrezi with naan).