So, on Sunday morning Chris and I got to Gordon's early to help with setting up - we were both providing some figures (Chinese and Koreans) for the game. It turned out that there would actually be two games in separate rooms. Upstairs, a small battle between the Korean field army under Eon Go-baek (Clive) and the Japanese 6th division under Kobayakawa Takakage (Mark).
|A view of the side-battle|
|Korean regular foot|
|Korean Righteous Army volunteers|
|Korean regular foot|
|These were meant to be Righteous Army volunteers but I didn't have enough figures so put out regular troops|
|Korean light foot archers|
|Korean light foot javelinmen|
The main battle was downstairs where most of the Chinese field army (with the Haengju garrison and some monks from the Army of the Sangha) would be facing off against the bulk of the forces from the other three Japanese divisions.
|Haengju is in the top left corner, with the garrison on foot in front - these were the only Koreans on the table at the start. The rest shown here are Chinese, mostly cavalry. The blue on the table edge is the Han river.|
The Japanese Battle Lines:
|The terrain piece midway up on the left and in the top right corner represent. siege fortifications built by the Japanese during the campaign. there were several of these.|
A (not very good) shot of the whole table:
|The long grey line snaking across the length of the table is a river|
Gordon told me to set out 4 bases of monks and a monk general base. They may or may not appear at some point. If Hyujeong (aka SongUn) was present, these had to be my "brigade A"
There were two bases of monks deployed on the table, representing about half of "brigade B" which had joined up with the Haengju garrison:
Over the following hour, the rest of the players arrived and we kicked off the games at about 10am after some chit-chat. Clive and Mark went upstairs for their side-battle, with Gordon going up to brief them on various matters. I was downstairs, so I wasn't able to take pictures as the game progressed.
Meanwhile, downstairs the main battle was ready to go. Chris and I split the Chinese/Korean forces between us - I took the right wing, Chris the left. Superintendent Song YingChang (Martin) wasn't able to join us unfortunately. After distributing our generals we waited for Gordon to come back down to confirm and explain any special rules and terrain. He'd previously emailed out some proposed special rules. One was that all Korean troops should face an additional minus on cohesion tests (= morale) where they are the result of arquebus fire. I successfully argued (using historical evidence* and events from the campaign**) that this should only apply to the Korean field army, not to the Sangha monks.
*At the retaking of P'yongyang the monks under Hyujeon led the assault on Mount Moranbang in the face of intense arquebus fire without faltering.
**"Kyoha-ri - glorious victory for the Righteous Army of Sangha!"
The Chinese/Koreans had initiative and so, Chris and I carried out our first moves. I was hampered by a number of things - lots of cavalry in a small area, lots of rough terrain to slow them down, a river (also rough terrain) to cross, not enough generals to double-move all the troops. Oh, and four of the cavalry were in "column of march" and would need to take a turn to deploy. This inevitably created some traffic jams, especially with some of my idiotic moves.
|Kuroda Nagamasa (Adam) moved some archers into the fortification across from Haengju|
|The Chinese left advances|
|And so does the Chinese centre|
|Adam discovered that the guns at Haengju weren't just a terrain piece :)|
We then broke for a short while as the side-battle had concluded upstairs and Mark had to head off early. It transpired that Clive had won that battle, which was about 15km North-East of ours.
Before Mark could go, Gordon wanted to announce the prize winner of the role-play part of the campaign. For each player he read out his notes of the things that had earned and lost them points. These reports were hugely entertaining and some of the things people had done were a riot (but probably in-character). There were assassination plots, secret treaties with the enemy, acquisition of supplies by dubious means, unauthorised usage of fleets ("No, no, no. Not me - I'm an honest monk. Honest guv!"), famous victories, invitations to the families of fellow commanders to enjoy hospitality on your estates, the burning down of Seoul (Boo! Hiss!) an many other things.
It turned out that I had won, squeaking it from Mark by one point. This was my rather splendid prize:
|There are some more pics at the end without the "scroll"|
Clive joined Chris and myself and took control of the Chinese centre for the rest of the game. We then played out the rest of the Japanese turn and started the next Chinese turn while Gordon cooked lunch (Japanese food washed down with Japanese beers - lovely!).
After lunch we resumed the battle.
|Hyujeong and a brigade of Sangha monks arrive on the table|
The fragmented Samurai wisely decided to dismount as light foot, then got broken by concentrated shooting and routed toward their table edge.
|Phil moves some Ashigaru onto the hill to protect his left flank which is exposed to rather a lot of Chinese cavalry|
|Adam's spearmen charge some Chinese cavalry|
|Two broken Chinese cavalry units...|
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?
The other broken unit was equally unlucky. They charged into the melee next to the fort, lost at impact and lost in melee. I can't remember which one caused the double-drop.
|I'm sure there was a Chinese general here a minute ago...|
With all the traffic jam issues and fights going on at my end of the table, I neglected to keep an eye on (and take pics of) what was going on in the centre. As it turns out, the Chinese left had been very successful and Chris was breaking through Andy's Japanese division. In the centre it was mixed but looked increasingly to be in favour of the Chinese, as Chris and I would soon be feeding troops in on the flanks (by this point I had already got some cavalry up onto the hill where the Japanese centre's left flank was half exposed). Within a few turns the rest of the Chinese field army would be arriving and maybe the Koreans.
We declared it a win for the Chinese and Koreans.It was a very enjoyable game.
Is there anything I would have done differently? Oh, yes...
I would have:
- Sent some of the cavalry around between the fort and the Han river
- Assaulted the fort with the Haengju troops when shooting wasn't having any effect (Adam's cohesion test rolls were so lucky; my shooting dice were crap a lot of the time)
- Sent my light horse further in to harass the infantry at the back rather than harassing the Samurai - that would have reduced the traffic jam at the river, allowing me to get the heavy cavalry over sooner
- Got cavalry up onto the hill and into Phil's left flank sooner
I'll leave you with some pics of my prize:
If Gordon writes up his notes of how the role-play points were awarded I'll post them for your amusement.