Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Persians v Celts

Yeah, it never happened in recorded history, but one can imagine that if the Achaemenid Empire had continued to expand, the sons of Zarathustra would have faced stranger and stranger enemies. In the spirit of such weird what-ifs, I give you: Persians vs Celts.

Persians! (mine)

Celts! (played by M, another of the Rilesoc boys. Because we got a late start, I didn't really get a chance to admire his painting and I sure am not doing it justice with these crappy iPhone photos.

 We had better scenery this time, with a cuople of quaint little farms to witness the oncoming carnage.

The beginning of this battle was all about failing command rolls. We each had 3 divisions and on the 1st round, we both had 2 commanders fail to command. We justified it by saying that both teams were paralyzed with shock at meeting such strange opponents. ("Why are you brown?" "Why are you BLUE?") In subsequent rounds, my guys did get a move on and this picture shows my center reaching the meager protection offered by a grove of trees.

 Failing command rolls was terrible luck for M, and it plagued him worse than me throughout the fight. His right wing sat pretty still for the first few rounds. My extreme left wing, which faced it, drifted towards the center to help out there, leaving his two warbands far from any meaningful action. Meanwhile, my right wing was having a similar problem getting commands, but M moved his left (cavalry) wing towards me to take out my elephant, meaning that my guys who weren't moving still got to contribute when the battle came to them.

Because of these factors, chiefly M's command rolls, I was able to fight how I wanted to fight: move to within bow range, pepper him with arrows, avoid clashes of hand to hand combat (pretty much how I fought D's Greeks a couple weeks ago -- Persians are an archery-heavy, maneuverable force, which translates to fighting pretty cowardly). I was able to do this a lot as the Celts moved very slowly into battle. But as much as the dice were refusing M a decent command roll, they were kind to him with regard to missile attacks: few of my slingstones, javelins, and arrows hit, and M  made saves against most of the ones that did hit him. Lesson to me: do not count on winning games with arrows.

 Long shot of the table. In the foreground is my lazy right wing, commanded by Bayazeth who wanted to kick back with a bowl of mahjoun rather than do anything productive.

 M is pleased to finally get his warband into contact with my Bactrian hillfolk. A Celtic warband hits extremely hard on the initial clash, but here at the center of the board, I had considerably more supporting units.

 The warband drives the Bactrians out of the trees, but where are its comrades?

 M's unfortunate division which more or less missed the battle.

 My light cavalry performed a beautiful left-to-center sweep, hitting several units in the flanks and even helping to break a warband.

 My Nubians are going to have serious problems with the cavalry and chariots.

That was about as far as we got that day. We started late, played past midnight, and M had worked a full day earlier so we decided to call it a draw. M still had a lot of lead on the table but I had better strategic position. His guys also had more casualties, wounds from bows and slings that hadn't broken his units but would make them a little easier to break later. Inconclusive, but leaning my way, the Celts and Persians both withdrew to ponder this strange new opponent. They would meet again.

I transported my metal based Persians in this wooden box with magnetic strips on the bottom and side walls.

Coming soon: the most beautiful, newly painted Persian cavalry you can imagine.

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