The Waving Flag: ADLG: Northern League Round 2 (Manchester, 07 May 2023)

Thursday 11 May 2023

ADLG: Northern League Round 2 (Manchester, 07 May 2023)

It's fair to say I had to force myself to attend this round: I have a lot going on at the moment.  Not least the residual upheaval surrounding my recent relocation.

When this year's themes were announced I thought I'd be able to field a new Arab army in this round.  No chance: I've still got to finish the heavy cavalry.  I had to borrow four bases of heavy cavalry from Gareth Jones: thanks Gareth.

Kevin Johnson at the day's organisational nerve centre.  Thanks Kev.

I was surprised by how long it took me to get ready on Saturday.  Nothing was in its usual place.  I'd unpacked things in new places and everything took longer to find.

Of course I forgot a few things (play sheets etc) which was annoying.  Then I ended up with one too many army lists (see below).  To cap it all, I didn't realise that my camera wasn't set up properly until right at the end; so apologies for the quality of some of the photos.

The match to decide first place.  Or was it?

Event Summary

Event Northern League Round 2
Date 07 May 2023
Rules Version ADLG 4
Theme Dark Age & Feudal (194-1329 AD).
No Heavy or Foot Knights.
Venue Magdalene Centre, Eccles, M30 8JD
Army Andalusian Arabs
Army list 133.0.01
Army date 800 AD
Entrants 17 players in 16 teams.
My results 10th of 16 with 157 points. 1 win, 1 draw & 1 loss.
All results Final placings.

Mea Culpa
After the event I discovered I played with a list that wasn't the one that had been checked.  The differences involved only the generals.  The checked list had Brilliant, Competent, & Unreliable generals.  The list I used had Competent, Brilliant & Included generals.  Thankfully, this doesn't change the points values.  Both are legal.

In my defence it turned out I'd printed two lists: the one that was checked and an older one that I ended up using throughout.

The checked list was printed after I'd been messing about with my list writing spreadsheet: it now produces a "packing list" of units to take to the competition.  Part of the messing about involved switching the attributes of the generals to check that it calculated the right number of generals.  Clearly, I forgot to switch them back when I'd finished testing the new feature.  Doh!

Strategy & Review
This was my very first Dark Age list: for any rules not just Art de la Guerre (ADLG).  It contains a lot of infantry and deliberately so.  I wanted something different from my usual choice of medieval cavalry based armies.

It has one heavy infantry command with supporting archers and javelin men.  One command of medium infantry spearmen to contest rough going and an all cavalry command with elite impact heavy cavalry for punch on a flank.

Amazingly, for an army I'd never used before, this approach worked reasonably well and I scored heavily in the first two games.  The medium foot command did almost nothing all day; except die slowly.  I may have to rethink this command.  The javelin armed light horse in the cavalry command proved very effective when they had enough space.

Where I had problems it was usually due to command and control issues.  The "Competent, Brilliant & Included" set of generals is sub-optimal: the "Brilliant, Competent, & Unreliable" set of generals will be better.  I may have handicapped myself: serves me right.

Overall, a pleasing set of results.  It was my best ADLG performance in a long time.  I even won a competitive game!  Onwards and upwards.

Game #1

Opposition Martin Routh & Paul Carter
Army Low Countries
Army number 243
Army date 1297
Initiative Won
My Posture Attacking
Terrain Plain
Game time Timed out.
Attrition Scores 10/24 to 20/24
Decisive No
Points 52 to 40
Result Draw

This was the most relaxed and enjoyable game of the day.  The mug shot above sums it up nicely.  Almost wall to wall mediocre pike; quite a challenge.  My all cavalry command worked the only open flank and completely destroyed an enemy command: much to my surprise.  Elsewhere the bowmen in the enemy battle line proved an easy target for the heavy infantry.  I was four points from my first ever ADLG V4 victory, and 2 mm from the enemy's camp, when time was called.

Game #2

Opposition Thrasyvoulos Drakoulis
Army Qara-Khitan
Army number 228
Army date 1210
Initiative Lost
My Posture Attacking
Terrain Steppe
Game time Not recorded.
Attrition Scores 18/24 to 25/24
Decisive Yes
Points 85 to 25
Result Win

It didn't surprise me when Thrasyvoulos opted for steppe terrain.  It worried me though: my record in the steppes is poor despite fielding many steppe armies.  He had a small flank march which arrived almost straight away.  My javelin armed light horse did sterling work against this command killing their included general.  Elsewhere my elite heavy cavalry did well against the enemy heavy cavalry; the heavy infantry did the same against their mediocre opponents while the LMI archers and javelin men, seriously damaged the enemy's elite heavy cavalry and light horse.  Under pressure everywhere Thrasyvoulos began to rue his luck with the combat dice.  My first competitive ADLG V4 victory duly arrived.

Game #3

Opposition Chris Tofalos
Army Feudal Scots
Army number 184
Army date 1297
Initiative Lost
My Posture Defending
Terrain Mountains
Game time Not recorded.
Attrition Scores 25/24 to 13/26
Decisive Yes
Points 20 to 90
Result Loss

Another wall of mediocre pike.  This time with an ally of bow armed swordsmen.  They attacked me in the mountains to boot.  I was optimistic at first but had terrible luck with my command and control dice not helped by losing my included general.  This left me frozen in place in some very dodgy tactical situations.  Where I did make progress I couldn't seem to create a big enough opening. I worried Chris in a few places with the cavalry command but elsewhere his pike fought well.  When most of my heavy spear had died I knew it was over.  The one saving grace: it took Chris a long time to grind me down.  A loss but not a walkover either.

Closing remarks
The second photo above shows Rob Taylor and Mike Bennet engrossed in the battle for what they hoped would be first and second place.  This turned out not to be the case.  Thanks to my heavy defeat to Chris Tofalos, and Mike and Rob drawing their third game, Chris claimed first place.  Mike and Rob were second and third respectively.  This was a surprise and an interesting twist with which to end the day.

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