WAB AtG Imperial Meltdown
Saturday arrived a bit gloomy, but cool, so that was a nice walk across the highway as we all prepared for another belly filling buffet breakfast at the Hosts dining room. After that it on to the long anticipated meltdown event organized by myself, Don Effinger, and the other participants. The notion at first was to set aside Saturdays gaming to a National Invitational Championship event . But soon after chatting with most of our colleagues, we decided that WAB really doesnt benefit from such a format, and we would all prefer to just play historical games against some of the players that we dont get to play. The players were open to my suggestion that we play a round robin tournament style team game loosely based on Alexanders Diadochs (early Successors). This allowed me to play some of the great contributors to the WAB Alexander the Great (AtG) effort, allowed us to play historically balanced games, and allowed for some testing of some ideas for the Successors book that is currently still being reworked.
One everyone was in agreement, we sorted out the players. Initially we would have ten players aligned loosely as East and West, but some folks had to drop out and we eventually down to eight players. These were divided into the West and East, to make for balanced teams, and to try to allow player new opponents. The details of everything in the Meltdown as it was called are posted in the players guide at: www.ancientbattles.com\imperial_meltdown_04.pdf
One will note that AtG was used as a basis for all the lists, thus allowing all of us a chance to play each other, sometimes for the first time, even though I have corresponded with many folks for years now as they blind tested the army lists and special rules. New special rules were tried out, and each army was to defend a small representative baggage camp. This was a fun addition and allowed each player to dress up his camp as he saw fit. The camp dynamics created some interesting game play, even though few camps were overrun if any in the 24 games played.
Don Effinger went "all out" on his camp representation :)
Each player would play a faction:
The Worst of the West consisted of:
Joe Derochers and Adam Hughes Eastern Satrapal army (Joe had other commitments that day and Adam took over after round 1)
Don Manser playing Seleucus
Mike Bruck as Antipater
Myself as Antigonos
The Bleak East consisted of:
Mike Reardon playing Ptolemy.
Steve Schifani using the AtG Greek Mercenaries list
Don Effinger as Perdikkas
Vince Salvato as Chandragupta the Mauryan King.
Play would revolve around four pre-set tables which represented territories typically fought over during the Diadochian wars. As part of the cooperative effort players volunteered to produce terrain based on the maps I posted. Don Effinger built a cool coastline as part of his Syria and Egypt Map, Vince made new green hills for India, Mike got a temple for Greece. I used this as an excuse to build my Grendel Greek temple, and get out my Walmart foam cutter and make some decent hills.
Once we were set up the games went like clockwork for these veteran players. The initial matches went smoothly as players vied to control the tax convoys in the middle of the table. Control of these could determine the players worth.
Copplestone camels and Castaway Mules made up my baggage items.
My first match was against Mike Reardons Ptolemaics (borrowed mostly from Tony Edwards who unfortunately could not come this year). This game went well for him as initially he ran off my Tarentines and threatened my flank. His phalanxes got in the first charges and drove my troops and Demetrius off the table. Here the center Dogs head of Thessaly broke up my line and I never was able to counter his punches. A good fast paced game though.
With the round done, we took a break, noting that my leaderboard seemed to have me keeping the bottom firmly weighted. See the following for the results. www.ancientbattles.com\atg_imperial_meltdown_ldr1.jpg
Round two started after a quick Mercenary auction in which the side that had won the most loot in the taxation scramble had the advantage. The Greeks had won the 5 and Ptolemy won a 4 .. two 3s were shared by Seleucus and Peithons faction.
This advantage allowed the East to win three of the five auctioned mercenary units which were divied out to the lowest ranked players.
The East was clearly on top.
I was to play Steve Schifanis victorious Greeks in Egypt. Steve as Leonnatus had pounded Mike Brucks Macedonian Homeland security forces and actually killed Antipater, so my work was cut out for me. The other tables saw Perdikkas face Cassander (since Antipater was dead) over Greece, Chandragupta faced Seleucus over India, and Ptolemy and Peithon duked it out over Thessaly.
Players were not to play the same opponent, and ostensively were not supposed to play on the same table, but that kind of broke down.
My game plan against the Greeks was to hold tight and hope that the terrain would offer me a counterstrike against his phalanxes as it turned out two thing turned against me. One Steve refused to make any mistakes, and suddenly I was seized by some bad omens in my GI tract I waited for a point where I felt I had the match-up I wanted but launched the most uncoordinated assault. The Greek skirmishers turned around my elephant, my cavalry and General routed, and soon I was much more interested in a run to the mens room than finishing out the game as I sat in the thinking room I ruminated how other famous generals had bad stomachs when it cost them the most! I had hoped to hold high flying Steve to a draw and help my team this round. I had even forgot my lucky seven roll, which could have stopped the bleeding at on critical juncture. But alas my forfeiture allowed him the clearest lead on the tote board. I could only hope that the next round would see the Greeks cut down to size. Antigonos could only regroup as best he could. On other fronts the West fared much better with Seleucus routing the Mauryans, and Peithon overcoming Ptolemy, Cassander and Perdikkas (who should have been demoted to Eumenes, but I forgot) played to a draw over Greece. The leaderboard tightened up but I was even deeper in the trench of last place after my abysmal 16-3 loss.
Round Two saw the West clawing back:
The mercenaries were returned to the pool, and re purchased. Since the West had not captured any camps the East maintained their advantage and again won three of the five units.
The final round would pit me and Antigonos against my arch rival Don Effinger and his Loyalists. I never have beaten Don in WAB (due mostly to his dice rolling). Don did his best to continue the streak. The other matches were: Peithon against the Greeks (the Wests last hope to topple their revolt), Seleucus would play Ptolemy, and (Bindusares) would take over the Mauryans against Cassanders hard marching army.
My game with Don was our usual match-up of brouhaha vs. brains, and dice vs. genius. Dons bellowing and gesticulating eventually drew a crowd, and even kept Duncan MacFarlane entertained as my deft moves and brilliant strokes were blunted by Dons dice rolling left and right. At one point I had a chance to rush his camp with my Tarentines, but they foolishly focused on ineffectively shooting the Eumenes and his traitorous ASB holder Antigenes. My phalanxes held firm even against his awe inspiring Silver shields (mostly because my Indian mercenaries effectively shot out a rank from them!
Some of my units ran off.. securing Don a pathetically small and dubious victory.
My mercenary Greeks and veterans held his center in a long see saw battle neither side could bust through.. at one point Don made a series of 4s on re-rolls, and the time limit ended the game in a draw. Since some of my units were routing and Don had (as usual) rallied everything of his, he gained an extra point towards team victory. It was a good game, I made mistakes, and we both forgot the special rules allowing cavalry to FBIGO from elephants, luckily that did not impact the game.
The results of the other games came in. The Greeks had won again, defeating Peithon clearly. The Indians had drawn against Cassander, and Ptolemy kicked Seleucus out of second place.
The final leaderboard:
All in all I was happy how the event worked out. There were a few problems with the special rules.. but mostly because of how I arranged them. (Mainly everybody forgot that Cavalry could FBIGO from elephants, and that the Greek skirmishers were NOT used to elephants).. other rules that worked well were the camp rules, the dismounting of characters was a big hit (and useful), and the caltrops worked to thwart players with elephants from running rampant. The balanced army lists worked well, except the Greeks with oracles was quite a problem for all the light troops and enemy elephants. I expect that if WAB in general does not deal with this then the Successors book may have a solution!
Thanks to all who participated and had fun. I did!
Cassander battles his way into India!