Author Topic: Dwarves + Greeks vs Carthage: Split Command, 2000pts  (Read 621 times)

Hannibal

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Dwarves + Greeks vs Carthage: Split Command, 2000pts
« on: August 23, 2013, 07:37:53 PM »
This week, saw the Dwarves in the market for some Greek companionship (not that kind of companionship, Marcus!) and Carthage getting offending at the stunities butting in on their racket (again, Marcus, shut up).  They decided to settle their dispute like men. . . men who violently and repeatedly stab those who disagree with them.  Unfortunately, the Dwarven general proved to be a better logistics officer than he was tactician, summoning up a ton of troops but with no knowledge on how to actually use them.

 8)


Carthage:  4 Libyan Foot, 1 Balearic Slinger, 1 Carthaginian Spearmen, 2 Elephants

Zzzzzzzzz....

Sorry, Scott's build was so frakking boring that I actually fell asleep typing it up.   ;D

Dwarves:  2 Dwarven Militia, 2 Battleaxemen, 2 Longbeards, 1 Illyrian Spearmen, 1 Thracian Warriors, 1 Boeotian Cavalry.

Greek units for review:

Illyrian Spearmen– Standard - 198 pts
O:(4*)5*/5*  D:2/1  Rge: 3.5"  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  4G/2Y/3R
Javelins.  O:(+2)+0/+0 when engaged. O:(+0) +1/+0 vs. cavalry or large units. O:(+0) +0/+2 when holding vs. charging cavalry or large.  D:+1/+0 vs ranged attacks.

Illyrians fought for gold and glory, in that order.



Thracian Warriors – Standard - 205 pts
O:(5)5/6  D:1*/2  Rge:-  Cge: 13  Mv: 5"  4G/2Y/2R
Impulsive.  D:+1/+0 vs ranged attacks.  No Lock Shields box.

Although poor soldiers, Thracianswere fierce warriors.


Boeotian Cavalry – Standard - 191 pts
O:(4)5/5  D:2*/2  Rge: 3.5”  Cge: 12  Mv: 6"  3G/1Y/2R
Cavalry, Javelins.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +1/+0 when charging.

The plains of Boeotian produced horsemen rivaled only by the famed Thessalians.


As you can see, we're testing out some of the more obvious advantages that Greeks bring to Dwarves:  not their Hoplites, but rather the Standard choices.  Fast infantry.  Affordable cavalry.  And the Illyrians, a here-to-fore not seen combination of javelins & spears.


A quick word:  several of the pictures ended up fuzzy, so I had to recreate the first three shots.  This resulted in a few things not being written on the cards or objectives put out when I recreated them (because I forgot about them until I was just typing them up). 


Deployment


Dwarves (L->R):  Illyrian Spearmen, Boeotian Cavalry (in the river), Longbeards + Battleaxemen in front of Militia, Longbeards + Battleaxemen in front of Militia & Thracian Warriors.

Carthage (L->R):  Elephants, Carthaginian Spearmen, Libyans, Libyans...Zzzzzzzzz...Libyans (behind Slingers), Libyans (in front of Elephants).

As far as unit groups (because of Split Command), I made one group of Longbeards+Battleaxemen+Militia group A.  The other trio became Group B.  The Greek mercs all became group C. 

On the left, I gave the Boeotian Cav an objective to move left and swing around the Illyrian Spearmen, who themselves had a Hold objective on the brush.  I figured the two of them could make short work of the Elephants, and between the javelins and the Boeotians, they'd be forced to charge my holding spearmen.  The rest of the units got Close, almost all with objectives:

--The left-Longbeards got a Close-Objective so they stayed in line and didn't do some wonky charge that exposed their flank to the Carthaginian Spearmen

--The left-Battlemaxemen and right-Battlemaxemen (each on the other side of the right-Longbeards) got enemy objectives so they didn't charge the Balearic Slingers in the flank, and thus expose their own flank.  This being Split Command and those two being in different groups, this could be a very real issue.  (Those unit objectives aren't in the picture because I forgot to add them when I redid them; you'll see them in later shots)

--The Thracian Warriors got Close-Objective to tuck behind my line a bit (I forget said objective when recreating the photo); I was trying to keep the Impulsive Thracians from running into the Elephant.


Advance!


The two lines closed on each other, and the Balearic Slingers get right up in the Longbeard's grill.  They'd eventually even do a point of damage against them.

It was at this point that I started getting an inkling of how hard it was going to be with Split Command.  I had too many fights where I needed to dance and maneuver, and since I grouped units geographically instead of thematically (i.e. "all the units I expect to Maneuver go into Group A"), I was going to have an interesting time.


le petite général


Here's what I'm talking about.

It's going to be my turn next.  On the right, I have a unit of Battleaxemen who want to Final Rush the Libyans, exposing their flank to the Elephants.  On the left of the Dwarf line (same side of the river), I have a unit of Longbeards who want to go to their objective, exposing their flank to, well, to every Carthaginian unit on the left flank.  The Libyans have angled back and the Elephants have changed course to come across the river and join in the "pinch the Longbeards" party.

The two Dwarf units are in different groups.  I can only spend Command Actions on one of them.  This is gonna suck.

The left-Battleaxemen, however, are happily oblivious to this.  The Libyans oblige them by charging and the Battleaxemen put them into the yellow.  Sadly, the Libyans pass their check (my turn next; this game would basically be over if Scott had failed his rout check there).


Left:  Flanked


Yeah...so the Battleaxemen took one for the team.  Toss away 394 pts or 248 pts...fairly easy decision.  Especially because I had Thracians who moved up in a position to flank the Elephants next turn.  All I had to do was for my Battleaxemen to survive, which meant I did something rather odd:  I played a blue Rune card in the Pre-Combat Courage phase.  I did it because, unlike the Red Rune cards, if I do that I'm not prohibited from playing additional blue Rune cards.

Which brings up a fascinating point:  I could, in theory, drop a Blue Rune card in Pre-Combat (against even, say, a Fear check).  Then drop a Red rune and a Blue rune card in combat.  3+3+3 = +9 courage.  That's an auto-pass for Shortbeards taking a Red check.  You have to drop 30% of your Courage cards to do it, but there are times when passing one check makes or breaks the game.

Anyway, I didn't do that (not enough Rune cards), but I did drop a Red one.  Plus a Hardened vs the Libyans.  And a Mettle vs the Elephants.  That's why those guys only took 4 pts despite flanking/pinching/charging Elephants.


Libyan Fail


This shot is a couple of turns later.  On the right, the Thracians have charged into the Elephants.  Since they're pinching the Elephants, the Thracians put them almost all the way into the Red over a couple of turns.  The Libyans and the Elephants, however, mulch the Battleaxemen and do 7 points to the Militia.  Luckily the Militia hold (I love Rune cards) and even do a pt to put the Libyans into the Yellow.

FAIL!

Yup, they blow a Cge 13 Yellow check, pretty much blowing open that flank.

In the center, the Battleaxemen are beating up on the Libyans pretty fiercely and are about to get flanked by the Longbeards (the Libyans in front of the Longbeards backed up, to draw them out of the fight or expose their flank because I'd have to charge if I didn't take command of that group).  It seemed like a good idea by Scott, until his Libyans routed from Militia.

On the left, I maneuvered the Illyrian Spearmen to be in front of the Elephants and the Boeotian Cavalry on their flank, so Scott wheels the Elephant to face both of them.  The Illyrian Spearmen would eventually do 3 pts of damage from javelin shots, taking 3 shots in the game (due to being on Hold for 2 of those shots) and would finish the game with one javelin-throw left in them.


Safari!


Again Split Command rears its ugly head and I have to choose:  let the Longbeards get flank or have my Illyrian Spearmen & Boeotians charge in for a Two's Company.  I opt to let the Longbeards go, because I'm going to own that flank (and, hey, T4 still means 1s to wound, even with a flank).

On the right, the Thracians and Militia cut down the Elephants, clearing that entire flank for me.

On the left, I DC both the Illyrian Spear and the Boeotian Cavalry to not charge and to maneuver so that the Elephants can only charge the Spearmen (and thus give me a flank with the Boeotians.

In the center, both units of Longbeards (finally) charge in and inflict murder.  But they take some thumps too:  the left-Longbeards take 3 damage due to an unanswered Force, while the Battleaxemen get put into the Red and Disrupt.


Endgame


On the next turn, the Elephants went in to the Illyrian Spearmen ("that fight isn't going to get any better").  The Elephants made murder happen (6 wounds) but took 2 pts and failed their Yellow check (Scott didn't have any Cge boosting cards left).

On the other side of the river, the left-Longbeards were put in the red but had to take a check themselves (both units passed).  The real insult was the Libyans who flanked the right-Longbeads.  Not only did the Longbeards pass their Yellow check, they turned sideways and swatted the Libyans away with 4 out of 4 dice causing wounds. 

And of course the Libyans routed.

At this point Scott threw in the towel.  Technically we were playing Total Warfare, but he was pretty much hopelessly outnumbered and out of position to defend against it.


Analysis:  So, obviously, Split Command kinda worked me over a bit.  I don't think I played bad per se, as much as Scott played better than me and exploited the fact that I couldn't respond to his traps.  My mistake was not seeing where those 'maneuver points' would be and chosing my groups accordingly.

One thing that I wondered about was unit selection.  I could have swapped out a unit of Militia for bowmen, and it would have done better.  The catch, though, is that the Militia on the right basically held out long enough for me to secure that flank.  Would the bowmen have gone there if I'd taken them?  If so, then I would have had a much harder time of it (unless, those Bowmen managed to help rout the Libyans earlier).

Basically, Scott had a plan and he executed it better than me, as evidence by the fact that my Longbeards sat out large parts of this game.  Its just that some crucial rout check failures torpedoed him.



Greeks Analysis:

--Illyrian Spearmen:  what's interesting is that I wish I'd taken Dwarf Spearmen instead and put it on the left, across the river.  Although the Illyrians's javelin attack is nice, if I had Dwarf Spearmen or even Battleaxemen over there (downgrading a Militia to Shortbeards to get them), I'd have plowed them right into the Elephants and then had an easier time flanking them with the Boeotians.  Because as neat as the Illyrians were, they're a flimsy D:2/1 & only mediocre Cge 12. And I can't play Rune cards on them to help them out.

Of course, Scott wouldn't have given me the flank and would have curled back, but being aggressive on the left flank would have let me send in the Longbeards a turn earlier (freeing me up to keep the unit on the right from being flanked).  So despite the coolness of the Illyrians, I can't say that they were a good unit, and in fact probably hurt me more than they helped me.

That being said, I like them as a unit.  Their ability to put pressure on guys with their javelins is very interesting.

One change I think I'm going to make is to charge them for the full 2 turns of javelin shots.  Being spearmen, these guys are going to go on Hold a lot, meaning they'll have the opportunity to get extra shots with the javelins before they charge in.  This would increase their cost to 207 pts.


--Boeotian Cavalry:  Scott summed these guys up pretty well: "they do a bunch of things, but none of them well."  That about fits, I think.  They're pricey for a flank defender unit, just a touch too slow to threaten a flank, and nowhere near strong enough to bust through any meaningful infantry unit.

But, on the charge they're still 4 Javelin shots, plsu 4 dice & an impact (and whatever charge bonus).  And 6" movers can still threaten a pretty big bubble.  And for a faction without affordable cavalry, they're a very useful unit.  With Dwarves, they me exploit openings for 80 pts less than the Antonians.

I think I'm going to let them go to 3G/2Y/1R instead of 3/1/2.  At first I was leery of it, because I didn't want Merc units to be better than in-faction units like Vet Equites and Spanish Cavalry, but I'm going to do it for a couple of reasons.  First, not being able to play faction-specific cards really hurts these guys.  Because if there's a Cge boosting card, its a faction specific, so these guys don't get it.

Second, Boeotian cavalry traditionally were pretty good cavalry.  From a theme perspective, I'm okay with them holding their own against Spanish Cavalry or beating up Equites.  A Roman general who leaves the Equites at home to hire mercenaries auxiliary cavalry actually is historically accurate!


--Thracian Warriors:  Wow, do I like these guys.  Scott felt that I let them get too far out, like he did last weekend, but I think I did okay.  The suicide play for the flank was probably the best I was going to get.  Certainly better than taking the Elephant on heads-up.

What keeps these guys from being too good, even in armies that don't have an affordable, high Courage, hard hitting, MC 5" unit is, again, the command card limitation. 


--In general:  I've harped on this several times, but I don't think it can be overstated.  Not being able to play faction-specific command cards really reduces the effectiveness of Greek units. 

It doesn't seem like much until you play them a couple of times.  Because when you take Spartiates, a big beefy Skill 6 spear unit, you want to play your best card on them.  And sometimes that's accuracy, but many times its some other card.

And not playing Courage cards makes these guys a touch unreliable.  The Illyrians today, for example.  Knowing I could blow a Cge 12 check at any moment and be done made me tread much more carefully against those Elephants.

Not that this is a bad thing.  I think there should be a premium for being able to take a unit that addresses a shortcoming of your list.  Frankly, I think the Greeks-as-allies is pretty close to where they should be.