2011-03-16

Cold Wars 2011: Saturday

Saturday had two big events with a free slot for shopping.

Luckily, the "good old days" of playing 4 new rule sets and coming home with 4 new armies to paint are long gone!  I managed to buy relatively little this time around. Besides picking up some random stuff at the flea market and more bases from Gale Force 9, I also got a 15mm Hordes of the Things army from Splintered Light.  They have really beautiful figures.  I chose a mixed Undead force, with dwarves, humans, centaurs, goat men, and even an undead elephant.

Hordes of the Things: Good vs. Evil

The Diceman. Some people call him... Tim.
The morning event was Hordes of the Things in 25mm.  I brought my Elves of the Offwhite Tower, but I never defended; so I never got to place my "vaguely flesh colored" tower, as David Kuijt described it.  My army was comprised of 3xSp (gen), 2xBd, 3xSh, 2xKn, 1xMg.

In the first round, I faced Rich Baier's Lord of the Rings Orc army, and lost.  Next, I faced Frank Popecki's Dark Elves, and lost.  Finally, I faced David Schlanger's Haradrim, and lost.

I like Hordes of the Things, but so far in a very different way than DBA.  It's a very similar game to DBA from a rules perspective, but the different element types require very different strategies than DBA.  HotT seems like a game I want to play mostly for the fun and cinema of it, while DBA feels like a game I want to get better at.

Campaign Theme: 4th War of the Diadachoi

For me, there are two main events that bookend every convention: BBDBA doubles at the beginning, and the Two Davids campaign event at the end. This time around, the campaign included Alexander's successors and some outlying barbarians, during the 4th war of succession.

This was an interesting mix of armies. The successors all had heavy pike armies, but most of the other armies had light foot or spears. In many theme campaigns, the very different army compositions are typically not close to each other on the map, so you usually face a comparable enemy. On this map, the light armies were all over the place, so any Pike army that wanted an easier target could probably find one.

Successor campaign map
I played Lysimachid (II/17): 1x3Kn (Gen), 1x2LH, 4x4Pk, 4x3Ax, 1x2Ps, 1x4Sp. I hadn't tried a 4 pike army before, and I really enjoyed this one; even against armies with 6 pikes. I initially wanted to play Kassandros, who has an elephant instead of a spear, but I think I'd prefer this army to have more PIPs available to maneuver the light foot, instead of dragging an elephant around with me.

In the first round, I played against Alex Bostwick's Bithynians: mostly auxilia.  He defended, and I beat him in a fairly straightforward, unmemorable battle.

Frank
In the next round, I faced Frank Popecki with Antigonids: an elephant and 6 pikes.  He attacked, and sent his elephant with 3 other elements around the far side of a wood.  I decided to respond by sending a larger portion of my force to that side, to try to isolate them from their general and kill them when they were out of command.

The strategy was working fairly well, until he took a risk and killed off one of my Auxilia in the woods.  After that it was a very intricate, tactical game, but he had the upper hand and eventually won.
DOOM!  But I won...
In the third round, I faced Alex Halkiadakis and his Aiotolian League: a few spears and a lot of psiloi.  This was going fairly well, as I punched a hole in his spear with my knight general and exploited the gap.  He had heavy losses, and I could win by killing only one more element, so I took a risk.  I sent my spear against his light horse with an overlap on one side, and used my general to flank him on the other side.  This left me without a recoil, so I'd die if I lost the battle... but since it was 4-0, that was only possible if we rolled a 6-1 split in his favor.

We rolled a 6-2, and the combat was tied so neither of us moved.  Alex sent his general against the rear of mine, who turned to face.  It was his 5 to my 4, and if I recoiled I died.  Things weren't looking good, and then... another tie!

On my bound, I brought up my psiloi to compensate for the missing overlap, and closed the door with my light horse so I would actually kill his element, and got rid of his light horse before my general recoiled (but lived).  That was a close battle that came down to only a few rolls.

Next, I faced Alex Bostwick again, with him attacking this time.  I killed a psiloi early, which was lucky; because in the next combat I sent my Knight general against his light horse with one overlap: 5-1.  Again, I had a huge chance of winning, but I'd die if I lost... but I'd only lose on a 6-1 split in his favor.  In retrospect, since this was not a game winning move, I probably should've been more careful; but I wouldn't be saying that unless we rolled 6-1 and I lost, so obviously that's exactly what happened.

The game wasn't over yet, because he hadn't killed more elements than I had.  I held on for a few turns through even more locked combats that I would've preferred to win, but with my moves requiring 2 pips after losing my general, it didn't take long for him to take out one more element and win.

In the final round, I faced another player whose name I forget, and who wasn't originally signed up for the event so I can't look it up, either... sorry about that :)

It was another 6 pike army with an elephant, aren't they all?  I defended and deployed 3 pieces of bad going diagonally across the board and a road down the center.  There was enough space for my 4 pike between the bad going, but not his 6.  My plan was to catch his flank of his pike as he tried to push through the bad going, or crush him in the bad going if he tried to take the central hill.

Early on, things were going well, but eventually he started catching up.  We ended up in another very tricky tactical battle with elements all over the place.  He killed a fourth element before I did, and took victory at 4-3.

The event was a lot of fun, as usual.

The main mistakes I know I made in this event were taking some small risks of losing instantly, and taking advantage of short-term tactical benefits while failing to maintain coherent battle line.  I noticed several times when I was broken into too many groups.  I know the decisions that brought me there made sense at the time: I was intending to win with combat odds that were in my favor, not to lose and end up spread all over the place.

I enjoyed playing the Lysimachid army, but I have mixed feelings about it overall.  I guess I'm not inspired by it, even though it's quite fun to play.  I think it worked well in this campaign event: if I attacked I could choose an enemy who had more light foot and would likely place terrain; but if I was attacked it was most likely by a 6xPk army so I could deploy bad going and gain an advantage. 

I may not play this army again soon, but I think a triple Lysimachid or triple Kassandros army might be a better alternative than double Alexander with Mountain Indians.

It was another great convention!  Now I'm looking forward to Post Tax Day BBDBA in Columbus, Stoogecon here in town, and Historicon.

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