An Old Midlish Rhyme
The wind from the North sings of heroes of Olde
The wind from the East makes our blood run Cold
The wind from the South smells of Spices and Gold
But the wind from the West tells of warriors Bold.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Turanian at the Gate

Since General Saromander's failure at the Battle of the Tower last winter, all had  been quiet, nothing but rumours and old faery tales to suggest that King Antiros had gained anything from his victory in that minor skirmish. Still, King Rossius the Unknown decided that it would be best to use the lull to his advantage, to strengthen the Kingdom of Turan, just in case. Restoring the City of Marakanda to its rightful place as business hub of Turan seemed like a good start.

One would think that a city of merchants wouldn't  be hard to entice with trade opportunities but perhaps his offer had been too generous  and they sensed a weakness to be exploited, or perhaps that vixen Sharazhad had hidden the offer. He had to admit to a certain fascination with the girl ever since their surprise New Year's encounter. Still, it had been a very generous offer to her as "Queen" of the break away city, third wife to the King of Turan for her, free trade for the city, the leaderless peasants to be granted overlords chosen from amongst the younger sons of the great Turanian houses, employment in the Turanian Border Patrols for the warriors. A very generous offer, he had even offered to take on three additional maidens of Sharazhad's choice into his harem despite the discord that might sow at home. And what was her response? The head of his envoy on a silver platter with certain body parts in place of a tongue!  Obviously the girl was looking for a more strenuous wooing. It was time for the Host to Gather again!

In an effort to delay the Turanian advance while the main army mustered, Queen Sharazhad led a small force of archers with some catapults from the city defence to a pass near the border. Once the local levies were mustered she found herself with 1 unit of light cavalry horse archers,  3 units of infantry archers, 2 units of skirmishing archers and the unit of artillery.

The Turanian army, as usual, depended on chance for their order of battle. From the south came a column containing 1 unit of light cavalry, 3 units of skirmishers, and 2 units of spearmen.  From the east came a column composed of 1 unit of light cavalry horse archers, 1 unit of infantry skirmishers, 1 unit of heavy horse archers, 1 of clibinari (armoured lance & bow), 1 of cataphracts and 1 elephant squadron.

With little room to maneuver, King Rossius pushed his light cavalry and skirmishers forward to cover the deployment of the heavy cavalry and elephants. The first unit of horse archers died quickly but while the left wing was unable to evict the enemy skirmishers from their hill, the day was well advanced before the final light cavalry unit broke.

As the losses mounted in the center and no threat to the Maracandan left flank appeared, the Queen began to shuffle troops towards the center but it was a slow business made worse by an apparent lack of messengers to carry orders (lots of 1's.)  A charge uphill by the Clibinari, Rossius at their head, was briefly held by the Marakandan horse archers. Seizing the moment, the Queen led a unit of archers into the flank of the Clibinari. It was a brave but unwise move. The Clibinari ignored the distraction, routed the horse archers and pursued beyond reach of the foot archers. Behind them, the Clibinari and Cataphracts charged in support. After a tough fight with the other 2 archer units, both cavalry units were repulsed.  

 Wheeling around, the Clibinari charged into the Queen and her archers just as the elephants lumbered up the hill from behind. The cataphracts sought to clinch the victory by charging back into the foot archers but had underestimated the effect of flanking fire from Marakandan skirmishers. (6 dice from the 2 units, 5 hits reduced to 3 by armour.) The Marakandan's were jubilant but, caught between lancers and elephants, the archers surrounding the Queen broke for the woods. The young Queen tried to rally them but she was pierced by an arrow. Luckily the woods were not far and her men gathered her up and carried her to safety. The Turanians had been bloodied but the pass was open and the sun still high in the sky. Luckily for Marakanda, King Rossius is not know for his speed or his single minded, aggressive prosecution of campaigns. 

After the last game, I decided to go back to turn sequence and order dice as used for the games last winter. It was the right choice, the whole thing felt just right and gave an interesting game lasting a bit over an hour.

Now to muster the Marakandan heavy cavalry into their proper squadrons and to raise the city militia, and maybe some more Turanians.


  1. Great battle report and I am pleased that the decisions you made re last winter's rules went well.Looking forward to the next battle and to seeing the city militia in particular.I have always had a liking for the underdog in terms of units.Not the Imperial Guard for me but give me militia anytime.I enjoy the challenge of commanding such troops in a game too.The joy of victory is even sweeter.
    Are you thinking of tweaking the rules further over winter or are you now happy with them for the moment?

  2. I have a fondness for the under dog troops as well but this is militia as in wealthy citizens of a free city under arms as in Athenians at Platea. Mind you, they are still unarmoured spearmen.

    I am happy with the rules as they are but am now going through and looking for minor inconsistancies or omissions (just realized I need a rule for over head bowfire, and also checking to see that each troop type has something to recommend it, something it does better than anyone else without there being no super troop type. I think that is the case but not everything has been tested.

    1. Daft question but were you using the grid in the above game? I must be tired asking that...

    2. I used the grid but have been doing my best to word the rules so that one does not need a grid to play. Just spent an hour doing clean up and tweaking the wording on a few things to be clearer (hopefully) and better reflect my intentions for each troop type. Now I want to play! but there is work to be done!

  3. Ross, I loved this quote:

    "Restoring the City of Marakanda to its rightful place as business hub of Turan seemed like a good start."

    It started me down the lines of:

    "Restoring the City of Marakanda to its rightful place as the Tourism hub of Turan seemed like a good start."

    There's something to be had there, surely?

    Great report sir!