Tuesday, 12 July 2011

II. Pinios - The Egyptians march through Greek lands. The Byzantines are thrown back to Thessaloniki

And so our campaign continues! Perhaps with each battle report I can offer some context on our series of battles: the campaign rules we employ come from a few rule variants for two-player campaigns from the fanaticus page and our own ideas. Our battles follow a 'piston'-like progress; we have a map of seven areas which are linked like a chain (Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Thessaly, Crete, Damascus, Alexandria and Cairo). The three first belong to the Byzantines and the three last to the Egyptians.

Our first battle took place in Crete, a 'neutral' area. From then we move on to the next area depending on who won. After our first battle, the Egyptians were the winners so the next battle is in Thessaly (Pinios is a famous Greek river).  I should note that there are cases when we move two areas directly because we follow a slightly complicated system of 'initiatives' in which a player may move back two places if he was beaten badly so that he can replenish his army. This relates to our 'reinforcements' system, a method in which we can account for casualties of former battles and decide strategically whether to attack, stand ground or retreat (in the campaign map). More in the next post :)

A short note in relation to the battles' outcome: the casualty margin in our battles is from a variant and from our own ideas. When an army loses three units, the player needs to roll more than the number of difference in casualties, otherwise he flees. E.g. If I lose 3 units and the opponent loses one, I need to roll (that round and every round from then on unless there are more casualties) at least 3 (3-1=2). If I roll less, my units flee (like in normal fleeing), 500 paces for all mounted and 300 for all infantry, until they reach the end of the board. That is why often an army loses after 3 casualties.

General Dukas prepares his troops to cross the river while he plans to move in the road with his infantry.
Olympus looms over the battlefield and Al-Muzzafar prepares to move his troops who are gathered on the right.
Will the Greek infantry march on the road quickly enough? The marginal Byzantine numerical superiority (11 vs 10) may prove decisive but speed is of the essence for Dukas. 
The Arabs are moving all their cavalry to the Greek left flank.
Dukas unravels his plan. More troops move to the right to follow the road, hoping to strike the Arabs on the flank. Two units of cavalry and a light horse are left to secure a small farm beyond the river which is not easy to cross. The Egyptian infantry stays back to defend the left flank, while a unit of psiloi climb the mountain. The Arab cavalry move inexorably. 
The Arabs smash on the kavallarioi (Cv) and two units are run over. The kwharizmians (Cv) and the berbers (Lh) celebrate and prepare to smash the Pachenegs (Lh).
It is done... The Byzantine left flank is destroyed and open to the Egyptian horse.
Dukas is shamed again. His slow advance on the right and his weak left proved disastrous.

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