Sunday, July 15, 2012

Battle of Kadesh 1275BC using Ancient Warrior Battles (003)

This is game 3 in playtesting my rules Ancient Warrior Battles rules (AWB) by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  AWB is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Battle of Kadesh (or Qadesh)
The Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II battles with the Hittite King Muwatalli II in Syria.

Here is a link of interest:

Wikipedia article

Most other sources I know of are not electronic e.g. Slingshot, Osprey and most recently the Hail Caesar rulebook has a Kadesh scenario.

Changes to the Bill Banks Scenario
I have roughly halved the number of units so it works on a 2'x2' battlefield.  The scenario had Sutekh possibly arrive first from the south, and then Ptah from the west.  I have changed this to Ne'arin from the south first, and Ptah from the west.  I was also tempted to change where Kadesh was etc based on some other scenarios, but decided to just run with what was in the book as much as possible.

2 Chariots, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
1 Spearmen, HI, light armour
1 Bowmen, HI, archer
1 Chariot, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
1 Bowmen, HI, archers
1 Auxiliaries, LI
1 Chariots, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
2 Spearmen, HI, light armour
1 Chariot, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
1 Spearmen, HI, light armour
1 Bowmen, HI, archers
1 +2 General (Ramses II) with Amun
1 camp

Breakpoint: 9 if all divisions on; 7 without Ptah, 5 without Ne'arin and Ptah.

5 Chariots HCH, archer, light armour

2 Chariots, LCH, archer
2 Spearmen, HI, light armour
2 Auxiliaries, LI
1 Skirmisher, SI, bow
1 General (King Muwatalli II)

Breakpoint: 9

The scenario calls for a general per Egyptian division.  In DBA a general gives +1 in combat and for tests. I  made each of the chariots high fortitude rather than add a sub-general to each division. Also, with the number of generals, the book suggests giving +1 PIPs per extra general.  I will make Ramses a +2 general to account for this. A +2 general in AWB means they can re-roll up to 2 move command die rolls per turn.

In hindsight, the Egyptian Chariots, for this battle, should have been classed a HCH with average fortitude and the Hittites HCH with high fortitude.  The difference between LCH and HCH Vs each other was nil (under this version - I have changed it so LCH are always classed as skirmishers, and then there IS a difference), and in fact the high fortitude gave the Egyptians a +1 advantage in combat.  Changing it around would reverse this.  Alternatively, and it may be what I would lean to, if class the Egyptian Chariots as LCH, high fortitude, and make the Hittites poor fortitude.  This would then account for the General attached to each division.

As per Peter Sides: Amun in the camp and P'Re on the board.
Ne'arin dices for entry per turn - arrives of a d6 of 5-6.  Once Ne'arin arrives, Ptah dices for entry and needs a 6.

Overall deployment - low hill in the centre


P'Re.  Note the Chariot is very old and needs a repaint.


Kadesh is bad going and only able to be entered only by Hittites (who then cannot leave or be counted in breakpoint calculation).  Kadesh cannot be attacked.
Both the Orontes and feeder stream are classed as a stream (+1 for defending banks).

Hittites are the attacker and go first.

The Hittite infantry are uncontrolled.  This works very similar to uncontrolled in Armati.  The group cannot be ordered to move, but will react to the enemy, charge enemy if they come in range and fire if they come within range.

The Game
Hittite Heavy Chariots move over the hill towards P'Re.  The other Heavy Chariot group wheel and advance toward the Amun camp. Light Chariots move around the flanks.

The Hittites advance towards the obvious targets
The P-Re division is made up of a Light Chariot and two Heavy Infantry.  The Light Chariot will do attempt a  wheel > 45 degrees - this is a 3+ order +1 high fortitude +1 supported so an auto pass (Compared to a to a 4+ to rotate in place .  However, the Heavy Infantry are not high fortitude but are support so can wheel on a 2+.  Note that the whole unit cannot wheel or the Heavy Infantry would end up behind the chariot.  Passed.

P'Re successfully turns to face the enemy
P'Re is now facing the Heavy Chariots and within 4cm so they need to take a proximity test and they charge down the hill. The Light Chariot fires at the charging Heavy Chariot who does not care.  The Heavy Chariot will have +2 in close combat first turn with heavy mounted vs foot. Note a Heavy Chariot with light armour Vs a light chariot with light armour  gets no special bonus in combat.  The advantage of the Heavy Chariot is against infantry.  Close combat sees the spearmen retreat and a Heavy Chariot retreat.  Note the Heavy Chariot does not retreat the full distance as the stream reduces their move distance.

P'Re after combat (green = disorder, black ring = depleted)
Meanwhile, Amun in the camp needs to reface as well.  The infantry did a small wheel to get out from behind the Light Chariot.

Amun successfully turns to face the on-comers (off picture to the top)
Hittite Heavy Chariot move as far as they can and make it within 4cm of the Amun Light Chariot (triggers a proximity test).  Even with a 1, the unit with Ramses fires back (1+ 1 supported +1 high fortitude +1 general attached). In the ensuing missile exchange all Hittites chariots pushed back.

Amun keeps the Hittite chariots at bay.

Muwatalli moves to the chariots facing Amun.

P-Re Egyptian archers and Light Chariot fire at the opposing chariots. And routs them (really low rolls for the Hittites).  Unexpected.  Well, it could have gone historical but a few bad dice rolls see P'Re survive.

Amun infantry wheels and forces a reaction form Hittite chariot who fires back and causes the Light Infantry to charge the Heavy Chariot but the infantry is pushed back.  Some missile exchanges between the chariots sees a push back on each side.

Hittite chariot pushed back firing on Ramses chariot but the next Chariot can fire at Ramses mount without retaliation (for no effect but a 1 will cause the chariot to be pushed back and disordered so will have to do something, and a Hittite light chariot is coming round the flank).  Hittite chariot charges the disordered Light Infantry that then routs, the chariot pursues into a Light Chariot and the archers.

Hittites among Amun.
The Light Chariot and archer both fire as it charges for no effect.  Archer routs in subsequent close combat while the Light Chariot is locked in melee.

On the Hittite left flank the Light Chariot charges (roll a 6 for command - it is a fair way from Muwatalli!) into the archers but it is a tie.

The Hittite light chariot (on the right) among P'Re

The Ne'arin enter.

Ne'arin enter with another ancient chariot (from ebay) requiring repaint

Subsequent combat sees the Egyptian archer retreat through the spearmen and the Light Chariot pursue into the spears who, already weakened, rout (lucky Ne'arin entered this turn as Egypt reaches 5 towards it breakpoint, which would break the army without Ne'arin on the table).  Light Chariot do not pursue.

The Hittite chariot doing an excellent job of mopping up P'Re

Hittite Light Chariot on Hittite right flank attempts to wheel and charge the camp.  Rolls a 1! so does not.  If it had, and managed to win the combat with the camp and begun looting, it would have made the Egyptians reach their breakpoint.  You have to feel sorry for the Hittites.

The Hittite chariot (foreground) with the camp so close but yet so far...(failed orders to turn)

Combat between Light Chariot and Hittite Heavy Chariot nex to the camp see Hittite Heavy Chariot rout.  It helped that Ramses moved at the end of the last turn to this chariot. Ramses must pursue (rolled a 6 so there was no way to stop the chariot wanting to follow) and contacts Muwatalli who is also gets a +1 for defending the stream bank (from a Ramses perspective, did not want this as now it is a general on general combat).  Lucky die rolls can see one side get a lot closer to their breakpoint very quickly.  They tied.  No effect.

Ramses Vs Muwatalli - combat is a tie.
Lastly, the Hittite left flank chariot would be at a -2 disadvantage if if went into close combat with the Egyptian Light Chariot (-1 disordered and the Egyptian Light Chariot is a +1 for high fortitude).  So it tries to rally off the disorder and succeeds!

Ne'arin chariot charges the flanking Hittite chariot but the Egyptian chariot retreats.

Ne'arin (at the bottom) advances to protect the camp

Hittite Light Chariot chariot wheels, charges the camp that loses the combat and the Hittite chariot moves onto it to loot.  This actually brings Egypt to its breakpoint and the game is over.

Endgame.  The Infantry never moved.  Still bits of Amun and 'Re around and Ne'arin never made it past coming on to the lower left.

Another game I enjoyed immensely.  Fast and furious, and the fact events went completely against the historical outcome (whether plausible or not is debatable) meant is was unpredictable as well. To me, it shows that, for the actual battle, Ramses had a little bit of luck on his side on the day.  Without taking notes, this game took about 50 minutes as well.  Not bad. I forgot one of my own rules in that Ramses could re-roll the action dice twice each turn.  This may have helped a couple of times, especially early on.  I clarified the camp rules and the light chariot unit tyoe and then released the first publicly available version of the rules (version 1.6). This is available on the Ancient Warrior Battles page at the top of the blog.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Battle of Megiddo 1479BC with Ancient Warrior Battles (002)

This is game 2 in playtesting my rules Ancient Warrior Battles rules (AWB) by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books - see the full list.  AWB is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Battle of Megiddo
The Egyptian Pharoah Thutmose III defeats a Canaanite coalition before the walls of the city of Megiddo.
I will be replaying this based on the Peter Sides scenario, but here are some other interesting links:

Wikipedia article
A description of the battle
A English translation of the Egyptian account
Another English translation of the Egyptian account
The Battle of Megiddo by Faulkner, 1942 - a great academic view (opens as pdf)
A WAB scenario
A scenario from Standard Wargames Rules (in development at May 2012)

Changes to the Peter Sides Scenario
Map size scaled down from 33"x22" to 24"x24". AWB has much faster movement rates than DBA so keeping the same depth is not a bad thing.
Troops numbers roughly the same as that suggested - they seemed to fit fine onto the reduced deployment map.
Battlefield has quite a few contours and slopes and have streamlined them only a little to make it easier to setup.

7 Chariots, LCH, archers, high fortitude, light armour
4 Spearmen, HI, light armour
2 Bowmen, HI, archers, light armour
1 Axemen, LI, light armour
2 Skirmishers, SI, bows, light armour
1 General (Pharaoh Thutmose III)
1 camp

Breakpoint: 10

Hyksos and Canaanite coalition
5 Chariots LCH, archers, light armour
3 Spearmen, HI, light armour
3 Runners, LI, light armour
3 Skirmishers, SI, bows, light armour
1 General (King of Kadesh)
1 camp

Breakpoint: 7

Follows Peter sides troops descriptions fairly closely but Hyksos has some light infantry instead of skirmishers.  I was tempted to make Thutmose III a better ranked general but Peter Sides has a comment in the book about ranking generals.  So I go with Peter, and have him as the same type of general as the King of Kadesh.  The King of Kadesh is significantly outnumbered, but holds all of the high ground.

One thing I did do, and would do differently if replaying the scenario, was convert the DBM Cv(S) and Cv(O) into non-skirmish chariots.  I believe the battle would have been similar but would make the chariots more fragile.  My rules did allow Light chariots to be skirmish or non-skirmish when I played the game, but have since made LCH only skirmishers.

Follows the Peter Sides deployment:

Megiddo deployment, Eyptian on the low ground, the high ground occupied by the Canaanite coalition (called Hittites in the pic).  Note the small round 2nd level behind the Cannaanite chariots is a steep slope.

View of the chariot face-off from Egyptian side

The Egyptian left

The Egyptian right facing the opposing infantry across the river.

There are a lot of slopes, so to get the right contours for the hilly terrain, I used folded curtain material over some hills and books.  This made it much easier to get the slopes in the right place than using the stepped hills I have. The downside is that it looks great in natural light, but as I only play at night the material is very reflective and the flash makes it look very shiny.  For Kadesh, I have bought some cheap less-reflective material as there are a few hills in that battle too.  Megiddo will just be a piece of brown felt as I have nothing remotely resembling a hilltop town. If only I was more motivated, I would make a hilltop town as I could reuse it for Qadesh.

Steep slopes (basically all the level 2 bits) are impassible to chariots.

The Game
Egyptians go first.
Starting from right to left, archery removes opposing skirmisher and generally breaks up the line. The Chariots advance to within 4cm of opposing forces to trigger a proximity test.  Hopefully the high fortitude will win out on the missile exchange. (the chariots were not within charge range at the start).

Chariots advance

One Canaanite chariots pushed back against the steep slope and destroyed.  A couple of others also pushed back in the missile exchange. Note that I forgot that chariots halve movement moving on a hill so should have only been pushed back 2cm, not 4cm.

Post bow fire exchange

Infantry force on the left is in reserve, just in case things go bad.

Canaanite turn from right to left.

A discussion on what might of happened: The rightmost infantry is upslope for an advantage, and does not really outnumber the Egyptian infantry opposite.  However, the lone HI is opposite 2 LCH and should be at an advantage Vs both - heavy Vs light, CO Vs Lo and upslope.  So they want to charge  and take a LI with them for the support.  Note that behind some of this infantry line is a steep slope so it is a well anchored flank.  After all that great discussion, they roll for the charge order - only on a 1 will it fail.  Rolled a 1.  I was looking forward to it, it seemed like a good tactical move but at least it was interesting to have the thought.

What might have been - the Canaanite heavy infantry could have charged the Egyptian chariot with a good chance of success...but failed the order roll.
Arrow fly thick and fast between the opposing chariots. Only one Egyptian chariot is pushed back (and disordered); all the Canaanites are pushed back.  There was quite a bit of fired-on test and return fire - both sides were at +1 (Egyptians for high fortitude, Canaanites for being uphill) so occasionally there were three exchanges before a result other than "return fire".

More arrow exchanges

Egyptian turn sees them try to rally the LI runners at far right - but no.  Bow-fire pushes back an opposing light infantry, but also ensures a charge by a HI unit.

Action on the Egyptian right flank.

The infantry are disordered by fire as they charge in.  Close combat sees the Egyptian archers and spearmen retreat (depleted and disordered) to the edge of the board (both archer and spearmen rolled a 1).  Canaanite spears choose not to pursue (i.e. they failed a pursue move command).

Post melee (rings are depleted, green bushes are disordered)

Rather than arrows, two Egyptian chariots, one with Thutmose, charge into and opposing chariots.  The advantage of this is that the two chariots are supported (+1 in combat).  The Canaanite chariots routs. The chariot causing the rout cannot pursue due to a steep slope in front of it, and Thutmose only inflicted a pushback which means they cannot test for a pursuit.

Thutmose inflicts sone damage but fails to follow it up.

The next lot of Egyptian chariots advance and force a proximity test on the opposing chariots.  Missile fire is exchanged and one Canaanite chariot cannot be pushed back very far due to the camp.  Although not explicit in the rules, the chariot cannot move though or enter the camp so is also depleted.  Another Egyptian chariot is also pushed back.

The Egyptian's get the better of the next round of arrows and combat.

The last two chariots fire on the infantry who counter charge.  One is disordered on the way in and light infantry is routed in subsequent combats.

Canaanite heavy infantry survives the charge, not like the light infantry that was on its left flank.

The Canaanite turn and the Heavy infantry is in combat with chariots.  Chariots now at -1 due to subsequent round of combat.  All combat is ineffective.  The King of Kadesh removes disorder from his attached chariot, and Canaanite HI (on the Canaanite left flank) charges an opposing spearmen unit as they  will be +1 in combat for support.

More action across the river.

Egyptian spearmen are pushed back.  The next Canaanite spearmen charges the depleted units that is didn't pursue last time.  The archers rout, but the spearmen mange to pushback the Canaanite spearmen.

Spear on spear.  The Egyptians, already the worse for wear, are routed.

The Egyptian turn and the luck runs out for Egyptian spearmen that manged to pushback enemy and they rout.  Other spearmen clashes see the Egyptians retreat, Canaanite spearmen pursue, and the subsequent combat again sees Egyptian spearmen routed off board.    The Canaanite spearmen pursue and end up just  millimetres away from edge of the board or they would have gone as well.

Canaanite infantry at the edge of the world

Egypt refaces some chariots so they can come up the main centre of the hill.  Thutmose does not charge opposing chariot as both are generals and would be an equal combat: 50-50 chance is a bit much.  But  the other Egyptian chariots charge the opposing the Canaanite chariots protecting the camp.  One pushed back, the other locked in melee.

Chariots in melee with spearmen are both locked in melee.

Combat in the centre

Chariots are forced to retreat in face of the spears.

Chariot in combat in front of camp retreats into camp edge and destroyed.

Combat in front of the camp.  The depleted chariot guarding the camp is about to be destroyed.
Egyptian chariot pursues into the other chariot who also retreats into the impassible camp and is destroyed.

Combat with the camp and is victorious and loots it for the rest of the game.

Egyptian chariot pursues into contact with the camp, the camp loses combat and victorious chariot enters into camp for looting for the rest of the game.

The King of Kadesh fires at the opposing chariots, who return fire and push back the King and chariot.  In the Egyptian turn, Thutmose charges the King of Kadesh (with support).  Why? Canaan is only one away from their breakpoint and Egypt is 3 away (and likely to be only 1 after the chariots that are likely to go at the end of this turn).  Thutmose chariot retreats - a gamble that did not pay off.

King of Kadesh forced to pursue and charges into a supporting chariot which is pushed back.

Combat next to the camp after the King of Kadesh pursues.

Egypt tries to advance reserve infantry but fails.

The Canaanite spearmen fails to charge the retreating Egyptian chariots. Lots of failed orders for the Canaanites this turn  - the depleted Egyptian chariots are ripe for routing and also the Egyptian camp is undefended but just cannot get any infantry to move over there!

The Egyptian cmp to the left is just ripe for looting.  If only the infantry would pass a move order!

The King of Kadesh forces the opposing chariot to retreat and charges into Thutmose.  Bad dice rolling by the King of Kadesh sees his chariot unit routed.

King of Kadesh's chariot is routed and he is all alone.

Canaanite have reached their breakpoint so game over.

End game overview

Took two hours to write it all down and take pics.  The game itself was 4-5 turns and would have been 50 minutes if just played.  So still quite fast. I did read the rules for some situations to ensure they worked OK, so that took a bit of time too.  I really liked replaying the game.  I got a sense of why the King of Kadesh deployed the troops where he did and a feel of possible tactics on the day.   While the deployments are likely conjectural, it was a fascinating and interesting and made me think a lot.  Always a good sign.