It would be fair to say that this round of the Northern League was a struggle. Graham and I take turns in choosing the armies we field and Graham picked Italian Condotta which, under the League gradings, is a class 2 army. This was helpful as we don’t have a great deal of choice when it comes to class 3 armies.
Having said that, we both knew that all the Italian Condotta armies have a handicap in the large number of compulsory average knights. We practised hard and often with varying results. In the end we placed the knights in two battle groups of sixes and one of four. We also spent some points on a battle group of four superior knights for real punch.
Even so, the plan was to deploy in depth in one quadrant and expand out quickly using the knights and the heavy foot to force the pace. Ideally, we wanted to choose the terrain or have some rough or difficult terrain to help us hold a flank. So let’s see what happened.
Game #1 against Greco-Bactrian (22-3 loss)
Our first opponent was Andy Ellis who normally plays with his brother but he couldn’t make it that Sunday. I think it was lack of brownie points!
Anyway, Andy’s army contained lots of light horse, cataphracts and elephants. More importantly he won the initiative and we played on the Steppe.
We deployed to our right as planned but the left flank always looked very vulnerable. The right flank did OK and the left held for longer than I thought but the centre was beset my highly manoeuvrable groups right from the off.
The pike block was dispatched very quickly and so was one of battle groups of knights. These looses created panic in our deep formation and it was soon obvious that Andy would only have to play steadily to break the Condotta.
We did manage to break two of Andy’s battle groups, one of elephants and one of knights, much to Andy’s surprise but it was too little too late.
Game #2 against Later Lithuanian (23-2 loss)
After lunch we faced the two Daves: Andy and Hutchby with a Later Lithuanian army. We thought we had a chance as Graham had played my Later Lithuanians quite a few times; that was until we lost the initiative without rolling a dice and prepared to invade the Steppe again.
As it turned out we again left the left flank open and deployed in depth. As far as the Condotta was concerned this was a rerun of game one.
The one difference was that the troops holding the left were much weaker that in game one and as a result the left flank was in trouble from the second or third move.
During the game is became clear that our opponents were a touch wary about the knights but they relaxed a bit when the Condotta knight's cohesion crumbled in contact.
One high spot was Dave Hutchby’s excellently painted figures. After the game we chatted and it turns out that Dave has recently set up a commercial painting service: Feronia Figure Painting. If you are in the market for a painting service I can certainly recommend Dave’s work.
The Italian Condotta army is below average in the FOG world rankings and I understand why.
The army is especially vulnerable if fighting on the Steppe as there’s no chance to channel your opponent and the list restrictions means it’s very hard to hold both flanks for long
The compulsory knights really have to be in battle groups of sixes for improved robustness but I’m afraid that even this doesn’t guarantee their effectiveness as this study in concentration shows:
We encountered real problems with the deep deployment. For this to work the front has to hold as any breaks can create havoc in the second line. If we use this army again then a wider deployment is a must if only to create more problems for our opponents. Refusing a flank totally just invites your opponent to attack on two sides.
Having said all this I don’t think we played particularly well and, as always with FOG, you have to play exceptionally well to recover from pivotal losses which we certainly didn’t do.
Whilst I was cropping the original photo of Graham I realised that there was a least four other members of MAWS in the background: