Monday, September 28, 2020

Battle Report: White Star/Red Star- Bomber Interception 2

Image from here:

I have been developing a few games pretty closely in the last year, but the one I have been playing the most is my Korean Air War game.  The working title is White Star/Red StarThis pits the United Nations forces against the Communist forces in the skies over Korea from mid-1950 until the the end of the war in 1953.

In late 1950, B-29 strategic raids were still being carried out against North Korean targets.  However, these raids were complicated by the arrival of the Russian Mig-15 on the scene.  They took a heavy toll on the B-29 bombers.  It was soon discovered that the F-80's and F-84s the USAF were using to escort these bombers were ill-equipped to deal with the threat.  The new F-86 Sabre was called into service to help escort the B-29s.   

On the North Korean side, the Russians were frantically training up North Korean and Chinese pilots to lift some of the burden off their own assets.  They could get these new pilots the planes quickly and easily enough, but it took time and combat experience to get them up to skill.  The North Koreans also soon learned that the LA-11 Fang was not up to challenge of the B-29 threat.  They would need the Mig-15s as well to protect the homeland.  

In early 1951, a squadron of B-29s from Japan are attempting to get to North Korea to unload on a factory complex.  However, they will have to cross North Korean air space to do so.  This squadron is being escorted by F-86 fighters.  The North Korean forward observers have detected the attack, and moved to intercept despite their Mig pilots not being fully up to speed.


3 B-29 Super Fortress- Experienced Pilots
2 F-86 Sabres- Experienced Pilots

North Korean Air Force
2 Mig-15s- Rookie Pilots
2 Yak-9s- Experienced Pilots
2 La-11 Fangs- Experience Pilots
1 Anti-aircraft Gun
1 Anti-aircraft Cannon

These are roughly equal point forces

This is a Bomber Intercept mission.  The B-29s will earn extra Kills by making it to the opposite board edge and off the board.  The North Koreans are trying to stop them.  The USAF is the Attacker in this mission.

The game uses Measurement Units instead of a fixed measurement system.  This allows players to match their models and boards.  Today I will be using a 48 x 48 MU board, with an MU being 1 inch.  We rolled for weather and found it to be Sunny with the Sun coming from the Western side of the board.  That will be on the USAF deployment zone's left. 

A few hills are added to the North Korean side of the board as the USAF approach North Korean targets.  These have no effect on the game at this point. 

The Sortie, Weather, and Attacker were all determined via the rules in the White Star/Red Star rules.   

Turn 1:
Detection Phase:
Both sides roll for Detection and the USAF is having some problems all ready.  The Bombers and their escorts are easily detected, but NONE of the North Korean assets are.  That means the USAF will have to deploy their planes on the board now, but the North Koreans won't.

The USAF can be deployed anywhere within 6 inches of their board edge at any height.  Once a plane type is deployed, all their peers must deploy within 12 MU of a plane of a similar type.  The B-29s push out as far as they can across the center of the board in a line abreast.  They are at Combat Altitude.  The F-86s go behind the middle B-29 on the board edge and at High Altitude.

No North Koreans are spotted at this time.

Rookie Phase:
All USAF Aircraft move ahead full.  There is no shooting.

Experienced Phase:
All USAF Aircraft continue to move ahead full.  There is no shooting.

Turn 2: 
Detection Phase:
This time, the USAF is much more successful at spotting.  The outlines of enemy aircraft are spotted.  The Bombardier in the lead B-29 also calls out the location of some North Korean AA swinging into position.

Since the North Koreans were not detected until Turn 2, they can deploy anywhere up to 12 MU in from their board edge.  The rules for aircraft of the same type still applies and is intended to keep them in some type of formation upon deployment.

The North Koreans place their La-11 Fangs first.  They are set-up to take on the lead enemy Bomber Head-to-Head.  They are at Combat Altitude.  The Fangs are followed by the Yak-9s.  They are flanking the La-11 and trying to take on the Bomber's wing man.  The Rookie Mig pilots are set up to sweep in from the Western Sun.  They are at Combat Altitude and turned to come in at the third Bomber at an angle.  The AA Gun and Cannon are last.  They are placed as a back stop and protection from any B-29s escaping the board.  

Rookie Phase:
The North Koreans have the most aircraft, so can choose to start moving first or second.  They choose to go second so they can see where the Americans end up and then use their numbers to converge on a target. 

The B-29 on the left of the USAF formation moves first.  It is quickly greeted by 1 of the Rookie Mig-15's flying towards it and opening fire.  It is a Long Shot, but the Mig manages to hit.  However, the B-29 is made of sterner stuff and weathers the shots.  The Mig still has plenty of ammo. 

The center B-29 lumbers forward.  The lead Mig dashes towards the same B-29 as his wingman, and also takes  long shot, but misses.  He also still has ammo.  

The last B-29 moves straight ahead.  No one is in range of his defensive guns.  The first La-11 Fang trundles towards his target.  The distance is too great for any shooting yet.  

The F-86 leader drops one altitude and moves to clear the way in front of the lead B-29.  The La-Fangs wingman follows his flight leader towards the lead B-29.  Meanwhile, the second F-86 turns to stay with his wingman, but stays at high altitude.  You can either turn or change altitude, so he chose to turn. 

The Yak-9's turn into the USAF's right flank B-29.  The lead Yak takes a long shot.  Despite the extra dice to avoid damage, the Yak's aim is true and the first USAF Bomber goes down!  First blood to the North Koreans!  

Experienced Phase: 
In this Phase, only Experienced Pilots can continue to take actions.  That leaves the two North Korean Mig-15s out of the fight.  However, the North Koreans choose to make the USAF go first.  

The left wing B-29 Super Fortress closes in on the Mig-15s and its defensive guns open up on the lead Mig.  Due to the attack angle, he is not shooting into the Western Sun or as a Deflection shot.  The Experienced B-29 crew manages to snag the Lead Mig, who fails their Maneuver test to avoid damage.  He is shot down!  Scratch 1 Communist! 

The La-11's wingman tries to clear a path to the B-29 and takes on the F-86 in front of him.  He opens fire and gets an impressive set of box cars, but the F-86 jinks out of way and avoids the incoming fire.  The Fang still has ammo left.  

Despite being attacked, the lead Sabre targets the lead Fang and opens fire at combat range.  However, his shots fail to find their marks.  Thankfully, he still has ammo to stay in the fight.  

The lead Fang also keeps the mission in mind, and heads straight for the B-29.  He lines up a shot and opens fire.  It is a Long Shot.  He manages to blast the B-29's wing off, and the plane begins a quick descent as parachutes appear in its wake.  Down to 1 Bomber left!  

The last F-86 drops down on the La-11's wingman.  He is very close and opens fire with his .50 Cals.  He sprays the propeller driven plane with fire.  The North Korea manages to evade for a few moments, before a burst of bullets tears his motor apart and he begins to fall from the sky.  

With their target downed, the remaining Yaks bank in towards the USAF Sabres.  The trailing Yak manages to get a shot off at the zooming jet.  It isn't enough to down the USAF pilot.  

Turn 3:
Detection Phase: 
All Planes have been detected, so no additional action is needed.  

Rookie Phase: 
The North Koreans still have more planes on the board.  However, they see one of the Fangs is still in danger, and decide to go first.  The Fang fighter banks hard and heads into the Western Sun.  

The USAF moves the last B-29, which finds the La-Fang and the Mig-15 in its Defensive fire range.  It opens fire on both.  It misses the La-11, and the Mig-15 evades the incoming shots by jinking.  The Rookie Mig-15 turns away and tries to evade from the B-29's guns.    

The lead Sabre angles towards the La-11 but can't get the angle on the slow moving plane.  The Yak-9s continue to turn in towards the last B-29, but they are out of position.  The last F-86 gains altitude and moves to stay away from the Yaks vectoring in on his position.  

Experienced Phase: 
The North Koreans are still going first.  

The lead Yak continues its pursuit of the last B-29.  The Lead F-86 goes back to High Altitude, as it signals the location of a North Korean AA gun to the B-29.  The Yaks wingman stays on his leaders wing, while the F-86's wingman turns back to his boss, both at High Altitude.

The B-29 climbs to High Altitude to avoid the AA gun's fire. The La-11 Fang's terrible climb rate helps the Communist keep the B-29 in his sights as he slowly ascends to match the Bomber!  Since you move and then shoot, the Bomber's defensive guns would not have a shot once it got to High Altitude compared to the Fang's Combat Altitude, this could cost the USAF the game!  

The La-11 opens fire as it struggles to gain height.  The bright sun does not hinder such a close range shot, but it is a Deflection shot The shots pepper the B-29 with 2 hits.  The Experienced USAF pilots make their Maneuver checks and score 1 success despite the extra dice from Deflection.  The last B-29 is shot down over North Korea!  

That leads us into....

Turn 4- Disengagement Turn
With all the bombers shot down, that leads us into a disengagement turn.  All aircraft will attempt to break-off for the Communists, but a kill for the USAF pilots could allow them to make this a tie game!  

Detection Phase:
No action needed as all planes are on the board. 

Rookie Phase: 
The North Koreans decide to go first and try to move any planes that are potentially in danger.  

The La-11 dives back into Combat Altitude, its engine no longer struggling.  The wingman Sabre drops back to combat altitude.  However, the NK AA Cannon fires on the Sabre, but the shells are easily avoided by the nimble craft.  The lead Sabre also drops to Combat Altitude.  

The Rookie Mig-15 breaks hard into the sun to get home.  The two Yaks move to escort their Fang comrade.  

Experienced Phase:
The North Koreans go first and the La-11 Fang drops to Low Altitude and out of reach of the F-86s this phase.  

The lead F-86 banks hard and angles in on the Mig-15 that is trying to break away.  He is not shooting directly into the sun, but the Mig is still at long range and a Deflection Shot.  He takes the shot anyway.  The USAF pilot gains a single success, but thanks to the extra Maneuver from deflection the Rookie manages to avoid getting shot down.  

The Yaks follow the Fang down to low altitude.  However, the Sabre has a special rule to drop two altitude bands, BUT then the last F-86 would not be able to turn in and get the proper attack angle.  The Sabre escorts will have to break off and head for home.  

The North Koreans win with 3 Kills to 2 Kills.  

The numerical superiority of the North Koreans paid off in spades!  The slow speed of the defenders turned out to be a benefit as they could manage to get into and stay in position when taking on the B-29s.  Heck, even the poor ability of the La-11 to gain altitude ended up helping this time!  That is not normal.  That said, if one of the B-29s would have been able to break past the skirmish line, there would be very little way for the North Koreans to have gotten back into position to stop the USAF from getting their Bombers off the board.  

The mechanics of this game are very simple, but I found myself having to make tough choices about when to change altitude vs. when to turn.  When to turn 20, 45, or 90 degrees and lose speed?  Change altitude to avoid contact, but at the cost of speed to my objective?  Was it better to try and maneuver or bulldog through.  Take a low probability shot, but risk running out of ammo now, or try to make an attack stick anyway?  

I can imagine some people disliking how the Rookie, Experienced, Ace phase plays out as an Ace in a Mig could move up to 21 MU while a Rookie in a Yak move 4 MU, or vice versa a Ace in a La-11 Fang could fly 12 MU compared to a Rookie in a Sabre flying 7 MU in a turn.  However, I find this a simple and easy way to differentiate the inbred, killer instincts of a deadly pilot from a conscript that barely knows how to fly.  It seems plausible to me that a Pilot learning how to fight in a Mig-15 could be downed by a B-29's gunners, like what happened in this game.     

Overall, the game worked as intended.  I think the next step for me is to get some of the 1/600 aircraft from Tumbling Dice to paint up.  There are also aircraft from the period available in other sizes from 1/600 to 1/144.  However, the price point and size of the Tumbling Dice models seem like a good fit for what I want my air battles to look like on a 3x3 to 4x4 foot table battle.          

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Monday, September 21, 2020

On The Painting Desk- Finish It!

This year, I had some big painting projects to complete.  First, I wanted to complete my Men of Bronze armies, and second I wanted to finish off my Heirs of Empire 6mm armies.  I managed to complete both of these tasks earlier in the year.  However, that wasn't the end of my "Pile of Shame".  In fact, I still had a handful of Copplestone Casting Gangsters, some Gangster buildings, Fantasy miniatures, and some All Quiet on the Martin Front Scorpion Drones to finish off. 

Thankfully, I am having a pretty productive year on the painting front.  I have painted up to 66 models or bases this year.  Let's take a look at some of the Models I painted to finish off my Pile of Shame....

Here is about where I was with my Gangster models:

Here is about where I was with the buildings: 

And these were some assorted minis in my Pile of Shame to paint:

I managed to paint a lot of gangsters this year!  I look forward to taking a lot of "action shots" of these models to help flesh out the photos in my Turf War rules.  I want the rules updated with new pictures so that I can get it on the Wargame Vault.  I plan on having that done by the end of the year.

Two gangster gals....
A boss, his girl, and a hitman....
Those were the last few gangsters I had left, the rest have shown up previously on the blog in On the Painting Desk posts.  So, you can see I was also working on some buildings in the background, and those turned out like this.....

The start of my town.... Los Mundos
The 4ground models for the Chicago Way come pre-painted and go together really good.  They might be just a tad more detailed and complex than I really needed (or enjoyed) putting together, but they do look the part when done!  All the little posters and leaflets look amazing on the finished models.  

Here is a sample of what some of the pictures in the Turf War  will end up looking like.  This was just a quick test with no lighting set up.

So, then I turned my attention to the Scorpion Drones.  I painted these with some remorse.  They are the last models I have to paint for All Quiet on the Martin FrontI do not expect any replacements anytime soon, even though the game was purchased by a new company they are redesigning the line.  It makes me a bit sad as I loved the old Martians and American models.  I am sure you will see more of these guys when I start playtesting my post-Martian Apoc skirmish game. 

Scorpion Drones
I was getting to the end of my "Pile of Shame" and was afraid if I painted them all I would die.  You know the old saying about a gamer who paints all his models, right?  So, I took an evening to make and paint up some Ork Submersibles for Aquanautica Imperialis: Battle for the Depths so next time I play I would not need to use paper templatesThese guys used all paints and materials from Big Box Retailers, so they were ultra cheap to make.

Finally, I had two last miscellaneous Fantasy models to paint.  They were both from Reaper, one was Bones and the other was Dark Haven metals.  The old Bones sucks to paint, but the new Bones Black is much better.  Of course, Reaper's metal is always good!

These ladies will probably feature in local D7D campaign (If COVID ever ends), my Frostgrave wizard's warband, or Rampant Swords.  However, these were the last of my unpainted models.... EEK!

Thankfully, some new ones came in the mail!  Plus, I have a whole Early Republican army on the way...

Wow.  That was close.....

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Monday, September 14, 2020

Battle Report: Heirs Of Empire- Perdiccas vs. Persian Rebels II

I finished painting my 6mm Diadochi armies from Baccus Miniatures and I wanted to celebrate with a game of Heirs of Empire.  This was the game I built to use these armies in.  It focuses specifically on the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death.  As an added bonus, I am going to add the rules for Heirs of Empire on the Wargame Vault so you can pick them up for yourself!   

Today, we are going to look at a side show operation after the Conference at Babylon established Perdiccas as the Royal Regent.    

After Perdiccas solidified his position as Regent defending Roxanne and her unborn son, he had a great deal of work formalizing and consolidating Alexander’s gains.  This was no longer a campaign to push the boundaries of the empire, instead it was stabilizing the internal arrangements of the Macedonian Empire.  This included regions bypassed by Alexander for various reasons.  One of his first goals was to re-open the old Persian Royal Road.

Perdiccas turned his attention to a Persian Satrap that had still been loyal to the old regime.  This rebel still possessed a formidable force and threatened the re-opening of the roadway.  Perdiccas mustered the army and marched to overthrow the Satrap. 

History does not record who this was, but we do know that Perdiccas fought two battles with his Persian foe before defeating his army in central Anatolia.  We fought the first of the two battles, and the Persians barely scraped by with a victory.  The mighty Silver Shields were laid low!  

Now, Perdiccas has sent the Silver Shields off from his Royal Army to escort a caravan of Gold to the royal treasury.  They will not be with the army as they need time to rest and recover after their defeat.  This will give them time to stay out of Perdiccas' hair for a while.  After all, Antigenes and his veterans were spoiled pre-Madonnas.  Historically, at some point the Silver Shields were sent on such a mission and separate from the Royal Army.  We know nothing of the Persian Satraps forces.      


Perdiccas' Royal Army

Right Wing:
Companion Cavalry

Bronze Shields
War Elephants
2 Theuropheroi

Epilektoi Cavalry

Rebel Persian Satrap

Right Wing:
Epilektoi Cavalry
2 Asphract Cavalry (Javelins)

White Shields
White Shields

Left Wing:
2 Skirmishers
2 Archers

Both armies made changes going into this rematch.  Perdiccas ditched the Silver Shields and replaced them with War Elephants and some Skirmishers.  The Persians removed the Theuropheroi and replaced them with another Archer unit and Skirmisher unit.  Both of the removed units were disappoint for their respective armies last game. The Persians also changed up the composition of their Wings. 

We randomly rolled a scenario, and got a Breakthrough instead of a Set Piece Battle.  That means, Perdiccas needs to get 15+ points of troops off the opposite board edge in 8 turns to win.  That could be tough as he is out numbered with a more "elite" force.  However, the re-alignment of the Persian wings may give him a chance to out-maneuver the Persians with his cavalry wings. 

This scenario makes sense with Perdiccas objective of opening the old Persian Royal Road, and taking the rebel Persians main city. 

We follow the guidelines for set-up found in the Heirs of Empire rules.  Today, the battle will be played on a 48MU x 48MU board.  1 MU is 1 inch. 

We decide to place the Royal Road down the center of the board stretching from edge to edge.  We decided movement on the road would be at +1 MU.  A small cluster of buildings is along the center edge.  It is an old Persian messenger station and its perimeter is difficult terrain.  Along the Macedonian right we placed rugged hills.  On the Persian right are some fields.  They are all difficult ground.  The fields and the hills may hem in and hinder the cavalry operations of both sides.

The Persians have their Cavalry wing cover the gap between the fields and the villas.  The Center confidently moves up the road.  The Persian left is the weakest, as it is covered by the Skirmishers and Archers.  However, the depth of their formation will make it hard to break through there.  Their flank is anchored by the cliffs.  A formidable position.  

Persians Deploy
The Macedonians are the Companion cavalry across from the skirmishers and archers, the center is across the road and approaching the buildings.  The Epilektoi are close to the left wing and ready to move up between the fields and messenger station.    

Turn 1: 
Both sides roll up Commander's Gaze for their armies.  The Persian rebels do not roll very well, and end up with about 5 Gaze.  Meanwhile, Perdiccas gets the best possible roll with 10 Gaze.  He easily bids 6 to the Persian 2.  

Perdiccas' army moves out.  Everyone moves forward.  The Companion Cavalry stays with the battle line.  The Left Wing Epilektoi moves to the edge of the plains and pivots.  However, they seem content to not stray too far ahead.  The Persians do not try to interrupt.  On their turn, they also move out across the line and move towards the center of the board.  The idea is to narrow the field of battle and pin the Macedonians away from the edge of the board. 

Turn 2: 
Again Perdicccas' gets a perfect Commander's Gaze roll, while the Persians are lack luster.  This time, the Persians do no bother to bid any Gaze, as they may want to use their limited number.  Perdiccas bid 6, to shut the Persians out of going first.  

The Royal army moves forward again.  This time, the Elephants and Light Infantry make for the left side of the villas, while the Skirmishers cross behind and get ready to enter the compound.  The Macedonians remember how hard it was to dislodge the Persians from the Oasis last time they met.    The Epilektoi Cavalry waits and falls in behind the Elephants.  The Phalanx continues up the road, with the Light Infantry and Companions with Perdiccas covering their flank.  The Persians again do not interrupt.  

The center White Shields boldly move up the road, supported by a unit of skirmishers.  The Skirmishers get to the edge of the Post-Station and toss their javelins and rocks at the Royal Skirmishers, but are just out of range.  On the Persian Left, the skirmishers eagerly rush forward and also throw some Javelins, but are far short.  The Archers stay back and let the Skirmishers screen them. 

On the Persian right, the Javelin armed Asphracts close the gap and pepper the Perdiccan Theurophoroi with Javelins, causing them to lose 3 Courage, but they do not waver.  The Persian Commander holds back with the Heavy Cavalry and waits for a potential enemy break through.  
Turn 3: 
This time, the Commander's Gaze rolls are not so lopsided.  Perdiccas gets 6 to the Persians 5.  The Persians have a tough decision, use Gaze to try and go first, or save it for Evades and interrupts?  Perdiccas needs his for charges.  Perdiccas ends up bidding two to the Persians 0.  

On Perdiccas's right, the peppered Thuerephoroi decide to try to charge into the Persian light horse.  The Persians try to Evade, but are just barely caught by the Light Infantry thanks to a Pursue.  Both sides take a beating, but the Asphracts lose 2 Courage compared to the Infantry's 1.  The Asphracts also begin to Waver.  The melee is pushed back towards the Persians 2 MU.  

The unengaged Persian Cavalry goes into Open Order and falls back to act as a buffer for any break throughs.  Then, the Asprachts and Theurophoroi on the left annihilate each other and rout.  The Skirmishers and the Bronze Shields keep fighting in the Villas. 

Meanwhile, Persian Skirmishers on the Persian left charge into the Perdiccan Light Infantry and Companions respectively.  It goes bad for the Persians with the Light Infantry annihilating the Skrimishers, but losing 2 courage, and the Companions doing the same but only losing 1 Courage.  That may have been a bad idea! 

With Persian Momentum spent, the Royalists took over.  With the timely charge of the Perdiccans Skirmishers into the Post Office, the Persian skirmishers were decisively pushed out of hte area, and reduced to 1 Courage and wavering.  Once out of the buildings, a flank charge by the Epilektoi sent the Persians reeling into rout! 

The War Elephants made for the Persian bulwark to break through.  However, the troops with the Elephants started to Waver after seeing their fellow light infantry get routed.  

On the Persian side, the fleeing Skirmishers caused the lead White Shields to start to waver.  The Archers also decided to Collapse.  This left the Persian Left completely open!  That Skirmisher charge WAS a bad idea!  

Turn 4: 
Well, the tables turned pretty quickly with some ill-conceived offensive on the Persians part!  They were trying to tar pit the enemy units, but they simply obliterated the Skirmishers and caused a collapse of the Persian left flank!  The Persian losses limited their Commander's Gaze to 6 total spread across the two wings, while the Macedonians had 9 spread across three wings.  The Persians bid 2, and the Perdiccans 3.  

With the left flank gone, Perdiccas immediately rode hard to get past the Persian army and into the gates of the city beyond.  The Persians try to seize the initiative, and do so successfully.

The Persian Cavalry re-formed and the Javelin Asphracts attempt to chase down the Companions.  However, without any Commander's Gaze remaining, they can not charge to catch up or attack with their Javelins.  With that, the Perdiccans re-gain the initiative with a Commander's Gaze.

The War Elephants charged into the Persian Satrap and his bodyguards.  The horses were not pleased to be so near such smelly, big animals.  However, the Persian line held, only losing one courage and being pushed back 1 inch.  Now, one of their best chances at stopping the Perdiccans was tied up in combat. 

The Light Infantry on the Perdiccan right moved up towards the road and tossed their Javelins at the wavering White Shields, causing them to lose another Courage.  The White Shields used a Commander's Gaze to remove their wavering status.  

The Perdiccan Epilektoi pivoted and made for the enemy city, following the lead of their Commander with his Companion Cavalry.  Finally, the wavering Perdiccan Skirmishers rallied.  

Things look bad for the Persians this time. 

Turn 5: 
This time, the Persians rolled up 5 Gaze to the Perdiccan 6.  The Perdiccans bid all 6 to go first, the Persians bid 0.  They opt to hold it for interrupts and re-rolls. 

Perdiccas and his Companion Cavalry successfully ride off the board edge and towards the Persian city gates.  They have Broken through, but it isn't enough to win yet.  The Persians attempt to interrupt, and succeed.  

The Persian light horseman go into Open Order, turn around, and charge into the Perdiccan Epilektoi, using up all of their Commander's Gaze.  It is a flank charge.  The clash dissolves into a swirling melee, but the heavy cavalry clearly have the upper hand over the Javelin wielders.  The Asphracts have 1 Courage left and are wavering, to the Epilekoti's 3 Courage.  

The Persian White Shields charge into a Perdiccan Thuerophoroi with a desperate battle cry.  The fighting on the roadway's edge is fierce, and the White Shields lose 1 Courage and begin to waver.  However, the Light Infantry decides to break and flee, their Courage spent.  

The War Elephants and Epilektoi bodyguards keep hacking at each other, The Elephants keep wavering and are pushed back with the loss of 2 courage.  However, the Persians also lose 1 Courage. 

In the End Phase, the Perdiccan Light Infantry flees.  The Bronze Shields and Skirmishers see it, but do not waver.  All the Macedonian Royalist pass Collapse tests.  

Turn 6: 
This time, the Persians have more Commander's gaze with 7 total.  The Perdiccans have 5.  Persians bid 0, while the Perdiccans bid 1.  

The Macedonians start with the Cavalry fight.  This time, it is one sided as the Thessalian Epilektoi annihilate the Asphracts.  The Persians try to seize the initiative and fail.  

The War Elephants push back and manage to surge into the Persian horseman, reducing them 1 Courage.  However, they do not Waver!  However, the effort costs the War Elephants a Courage as well.  

The Perdiccan Skirmishers emerge from behind the Post-Office and toss their Javelins to reduce the White Shields a further Courage.  they fail their Morale test, and since they were all ready Wavering.   They break and flee.  

The Bronze Shields hold position in the buildings.  However, the last White Shields is not content to let them hold Persian ground.  They charge in an try to dig them out.  Thanks to re-rolls both units lose a point of Courage in hard fighting. 


In the End Phase, the first White Shields unit flees.  The remaining Persians pass their Collapse tests.  

Turn 7: 
The Persians have the most Gaze, but even going first there is no way to stop the Perdiccan Epilektoi from leaving the board and breaking through.  The Perdiccans bid all of their Gaze with 2, and the Persians bid 3.  

The Persian Satrap and his bodyguards reduce the War Elephants to 1 Courage, but can't break them.  However, they avoid losing any further Courage and do not rout!  

In the center, the Phalanxes keep pushing on each other.  Both sides lose a point of Courage, but do not Waver.  The Skirmishers join in and cause the White Shields to be pushed back from the buildings.  The tide is turning against the Persians there as well.

Finally, the Thessalian Epilektoi of Perdiccas' Royal Army just barely prances off the board towards the Persian satrap's city gates.  

Decisive Perdiccan win!  In the history books, it took Perdiccas two battles to best the rebel Persian Satraps along the Persian Royal Road.  The same happened here as the Persians won the first battle, but Perdiccas returned and decisively beat the Rebels.  The losses were pretty lop-sided in this battle, 2 Macedonian Light Infantry to most of the Persian army.  Ouch! 

It is pretty obvious that I got too aggressive at the end of Turn 3.  The intent was to bog down the heavier and quicker Perdiccan troops into a tarpit of Skirmishers, that would delay the Macedonians long enough to keep them from being able to clear the board edge.  That was a huge mistake as the Skirmishers were quickly blown away and the Archers fled.  It would have been much better to keep them as a force in being and a threat.  Instead, I handed them to the Macedonians on a silver platter.  Woops!  

The War Elephants were tough to crack and just stuck around.  That tied up my reserves.  They were a good addition to the Perdiccan army.  The Skirmishers are also tough to weed out of difficult terrain, as it should be.  Missile fire was again surprisingly effective in weakening enemy units.  Finally, the reduced charge ranges of +3 MU helped make Evade and Pursue useful skills again.  Overall, a fun game despite me blowing it.   

Perdiccas cavalry unit was able to storm the gates of the rebel Satrap's city while his Royal Army mopped up the rest of the Persian army.  To the Persian troops, Perdiccas was merciful and allowed those useful to him to join his own army.  However, he was less than merciful to the Satrap.  His family was ritually tortured, as was the Satrap himself.  The cruel treatment was custom for the region, but Perdiccas' fellow Diadochi marked it out as a sign of Perdiccas' cruelty and "easternization".  It sowed the seeds for the coming break-up of the Diadochi as each decided to try and grab Alexander's Empire for themselves.  

That was in the future.  For now, the Royal Road had been re-opened.  Travel across Asia Minor had been restored.  Perdiccas and the Royal Army had been victorious.  Now, the elaborate funeral procession for Alexander could begin.  

Monday, September 7, 2020

Battle Report: Heirs of Empire- Perdiccas vs The Persian Rebels

I finished painting my 6mm Diadochi armies from Baccus Miniatures and I wanted to celebrate with a game of Heirs of Empire.  This was the game I built to use these armies in.  It focuses specifically on the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death.  As an added bonus, I am going to add the rules for Heirs of Empire on the Wargame Vault so you can pick them up for yourself!   

Today, we are going to look at a side show operation after the Conference at Babylon established Perdiccas as the Royal Regent.    

After Perdiccas solidified his position as Regent defending Roxanne and her unborn son, he had a great deal of work formalizing and consolidating Alexander’s gains.  This was no longer a campaign to push the boundaries of the empire, instead it was stabilizing the internal arrangements of the Macedonian Empire.  This included regions bypassed by Alexander for various reasons.  One of his first goals was to re-open the old Persian Royal Road.

Perdiccas turned his attention to a Persian Satrap that had still been loyal to the old regime.  This rebel still possessed a formidable force and threatened the re-opening of the roadway.  Perdiccas mustered the army and marched to overthrow the Satrap. 

History does not record who this was, but we do know that Perdiccas fought two battles with his Persian foe before defeating his army in central Anatolia.  We also know nothing about these battles, so they make good fodder for our battle reports here!

We will be using the Perdiccan Army list on one side, versus a Minor Satrap list on the other side of the board.  They are of equal points. 

Perdiccas’ Royal Army
Right Wing:
Companion Cavalry- Perdiccas

Silver Shields
Bronze Shields
2 Thureophoroi

Left Wing:
Epilektoi Cavalry

Persian Satrap

Right Wing:
Epilekotoi Cavalry- Satrap

2 White Shields
1 Thureophoroi
1 Archers
2 Skirmishers

Left Wing:
2 Asphracts (Javelins)

We don’t know too much about the forces involved, so some assumptions have been made based on the Persian Royal Army during Alexander's campaigns and the later forces Perdiccas used during the wars of the Diadochi. 

I randomly rolled up a Set-piece battle.  This aligns a bit with what we know about the history.  Perdiccas faced the rebel Persian Satrap and fought two battles before defeating him.  A set-piece battle would fit right in for such a campaign. 

The rules for terrain placement simply specify have one item of terrain per each 24MU x 24MU foot section.  We will be playing on a 48MU x 48MU board. 

On one board edge there is a river meanders on its way.  This will help secure the flanks as it is dangerous terrain.  The opposite short board edge has a series of rocks and hills, making it difficult terrain.  In the center is watering hole with a small oasis next to it.  The watering hole is impassable. 

Persian Deployment
The Persians anchor their left flank on the river, with the Macedonians using the river on their right flank.  From left to right the Persians are Epilektoi Cavalry, then Thureophoroi, White Shields, Archers, White Shields, Skirmishers, and then the two Javelin Asphracts.  The Macedonians follow the standard Companions, Thureophoroi, Silver Shields, Bronze Shields, Thureophoroi, and then Epilektoi on the left flank. 

Perdiccas' Deployment
Turn 1: 
Both sides start by generating Commander's Gaze.  Dice were rolled by the wings of the army and a total Commander's Gaze was established.  Since this will mostly be a maneuver turn, Perdiccas decides to use all of his Gaze to go first.  The Persian used 6 of thier 8.  Perdiccas wins and starts to move out.

The Theurophoroi pivot and move out first, followed by the Phalanx.  They stay in their initial formation, but pivot slightly to bypass the oasis.  The Companion Cavalry stay with the main line.  Meanwhile, the Epilektoi move to cover the pass between the watering hole and the mountains.

The Persians did not try to interrupt at all.  On their turn, the Persian Asphracts go into Open Order and sweep forward to front of the army, hoping to get into range to harass the Regent's battle line.  They stay in Open Order to maximum maneuverability, but at the risk of being Disordered.

The rest of the Persian forces move up boldly, with their skirmishers and archers to the fore.  The Heavy Cavalry also stays with the battle line.  They are cautiosly waiting to see what the Peridccans do.

Turn 2: 
Both sides generate Commander's Gaze.  Both sides have 7 Gaze.  The Persians bid  3 to the Perdiccas' 5.  The Center army move sup and takes position, while the left flank Heavy Cavalry move into the pass boldly.

Before the Companion Cavalry can move, the Persian Asphracts try to steal the initiative with a Gaze point, and succeed.  They ride up towards the far sides light infantry, and use a Commander's Gaze for the lead unit to shoot.  However, the Macedonians expected such an attack, and were prepared.  The shots cause no Courage loss.

The Persian center moves up.  One of the Skirmisher units uses Move and Shoot to throw Javelins at the Epilektoi but the horseman are just out of range.  The Persian General announces a charge and his horseman gallop into the Macedonian left wing.  The Macedonians use their last Commander's Gaze to Evade, but a dismal roll sees their attempt fail.  Both sides roll poorly, and no Courage is lost.

Perdiccas and his Companions move to the front of the right wing and prepare to try and roll up the Theurophoroi on the Persian left.

Turn 3:
This turn both sides need to conserve their Gaze for charges and re-rolls.  Both sides end up bidding 2 Commander's Gaze, so they roll off for control.  The Persians win the roll-off.

A skirmisher unit from the center goes into Open Order, and then launches a support charge to help their Satrap in the Battle with the Epilektoi.  In retrospect, the Perdiccan Heavy Cavalry should have counter-charged instead of trying to Evade the Persian charge.  Now, they lose two Courage to the combined Persian Onslaught and inflict non-in return even with using their re-rolls.  The Thessalian Cavalry of Perdiccas begins to waiver.

Perdiccas tries to interrupt but fails.  The Persian Asphract form up out of Open Order and launch a combined barrage at the Macedonian light Infantry on the Center Left.  That unit is pounded by arrows and begins to waver as well.  Persian Skirmishers rush into the undergrowth of the Oasis and take cover, while the Theurophoroi on the Persian left form up and brace for impact from the Perdiccan cavalry charge.

As expected, Perdiccas squares up and charges into the Persian light infantry at full gallop!  They do not have enough Commander's Gaze to try and Evade.  The charge is decisive and the Persian light infantry are pushed back, and turn to flee!

The battered Perdiccan light infantry uses 1 Gaze as their Commander Rallies them, then charge into the Oasis to clear out the Persian skirmishers.  The heavy undergrowth makes the fighting up close and intense.  The Skirmishers lose 1 Courage and are pushed back.  However, they do not waiver.

In the End phase the Persian Theurophoroi are removed as they flee for their lives! The Persian Archers and White Shields pass their Morale checks.

Turn 4: 
The Persians have terrible Commander's Gaze rolls, which will allow Perdiccas to capitalize on his penetration of the enemy flank.  Perdiccas bids 3 to the Persian 0.  He gets Initiative.

He starts with his Companions riding straight through the fleeing Persian Light Infantry and into the Archers behind.  There is no point trying to Evade, so they get hit.  They are hit hard and are pushed back 3 MU, but hold.  They are wavering though.

The Perdiccans Light Infantry charge the Asphracts,  The horseman Evade, but the Light Infantry are nimble enough and catch them.  The battle is intense and the it pushed back into the White Shield phalanx, which devolves into a swirling melee.

The Bronze and Silver Shields march forward and seal off the oasis from enemy flank attacks.

The Persians can finally act, and the White Shields marching towards the gap charge into the whirling melee between Cavalry and Skirmisher.  The extra weight of numbers is enough and the Perdiccan Heavy cavalry breaks and flees.

The Asphracts do not have enough Commander's Gaze to break into Open Order and flee, so instead they fire into the oncoming Bronze Shields and reduce them 1 Courage.

In the fight for the Oasis, both sides fail to put a dent in their foe due to the heavy cover.

In the End phase, the Perdiccan Heavy Cavalry flees the board.  This frees up the Persian troops in the pass, but it maybe too little too late.  No Perdiccan troops see the Thessalians flee, so no Morale tests are needed.

Turn 5: 
Without a Left Wing, Perdiccas' ability to generate Commander's Gaze is weakened.  The Persians have 9 Gaze to Perdiccas' 4.  Perdiccas bids 3 to the Persian 4.

The Asphract switch to Open order and Flank attack (not enough gaze for a charge) into the ongoing melee between the Perdiccan Theurophoroi and the other Asphracts and White Shields.  It is another brutal battle where re-rolls were used, but the Perdiccan light troops turn and flee for their lives!

The Persian general breaks into Open Order and charges into the Oasis to attack the rear of the Perdiccan Light forces there.  The unexpected rear attack is enough to destroy the Perdiccan troops there.  They also flee for their lives!

The rest of the army tries to maneuver around the lake to get into position for phase 2 of the battle.

However, the Silver Shields see the exposed Asphracts swirling around and charge into their side.  The support unit is blown apart.  Just narrowly missing a general rout as the melee with the Theurphoroi was resolved.   

The Companion Cavalry also stalls against the Archers, as they lose 1 Courage apiece.  Even with the wavering the archers managed to strike back!

Both Perdiccan Light Infantry forces flee the field, and one Asphract unit flees from the Persian side.  All troops who can draw LOS to their flee friends pass their Morale checks.  However, Perdiccas has now lost over half his force and will need to make a Collapse tests with TN of 5.  The Persians have lost 11 points and will need to make them at TN 4.

Perdiccas passes all of his Collapse tests.  As they are elite units, they have higher Discipline and are less likely to collapse.  The Persians are not so lucky.  One of their Skirmisher and their last Asphract unit decide to run for it.  They flee the battle.  Traitorous dogs!

Turn 6: 
Both sides have lost a wing, so Commander's Gaze will be more evenly determined.  The Persians roll poorly and start with 3, to Perdiccas' 7.  He bids 4 Gaze, the Persian 0.

He starts with the Companion and Archer battle.  This time, the Archers are routed by the horseman.  However, the Companions are out of position.

The Silver Shields and Bronze Shields line up and charge into the Persian White Shields, who gamely counter-charges!  The elite Perdiccan unit is shocked by the ferocity of the native Persian attack!  The Silver Shields lose 1 Courage and begin to waver, while the White Shields are fine.  In fact, they push back the Perdiccans!  This could be trouble.

A rear charge by the Persian General on the Phalanx also causes another 1 Courage loss.  The rest of the Persian army tries to maneuver back into the main battle.

Turn 6: 
Like many ancient battles, it all comes down to a swirling melee in the center of the field of battle.  Perdiccas has 5 Commander's Gaze to the Persian 3.  he bids 1 to go first, and the Persians bid 0.

Luckily for Perdiccas, his Companions had enough Commander's Gaze to switch into Open Order, turn back to the main battle, reform, and then charge into the rear of the Persian White Shields.  Boom! Copious amounts of re-rolls were used as the climactic battle played out.

The Silver Shields and Perdiccas dished out 4 Courage loss, with one outstanding unapplied hit.  The Persians also dished out 4 Courage loss.  This was enough for the enemy to be broken!  The Persians were destroyed as were the Perdiccan troops.

The Collapse tests after the carnage say the last White Shield unit flee for safety!  However, the Skirmisher unit in the Oasis held their ground and claimed the Oasis for the Persians.

Final Thoughts: 
Persian Victory!?!  No wonder why it took Perdiccas historically 2 battles to defeat the Persian rebels!

This is the first time the Silver Shields have tasted defeat on the battlefield.  It is a bitter fruit.  What a swirling battle that went down to the last dice rolls.  The way wargaming is intended.

How did it play?  Well, running out of Commander's Gaze was really, really bad.  It limited what you could do and when you can do it.  For example, if Perdiccas could not have gotten his Companion Cavalry re-arranged for the final rear charge, his troops would have lost in the center.  Asphract light cavalry were also caught in the open when they ran out of Commander's Gaze as they could not stay mobile.

The 45 degree turn restriction for units that can not go into Open Order also forces you to think how and why you are going to deploy and move them.  You must plan ahead to where the battle is going to be, not where it is now.  Restricted movement also made lining up charges a bit more complicated.

Finally, Cavalry is the hammer.  However, the phalanx anvil hits the hardest of all the units.  Ka-boom!  This battle was decided in a Phalanx battle just as the Diadochi intended.

I look forward to the re-match!

I was using 6mm models on 60 x 60 mm bases and 1 inch as a single Movement Unit.  However, the rules are scale and base agnostic.  The definition of a "Unit" is very loose.  I could have just as easily used my 28mm troops and played the same battle on a slightly larger table, and potentially using 1 inch MU's or Half Inch MUs instead.

If fighting the Wars of the Diadochi seems like it is up your alley, I suggest you go the the Blood and Spectacles Wargame Vault page and pick up your own copy.

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