Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My new way of After Action Reporting

I'm trying an experiment in AAR (After Action Reporting) for my Ancients. I've come up with a different way of doing it with a simple Visio template and some elbow grease.

The Scenario is a Byzantine vs Seljuk rading force that has been brought to bay, using my DSR Mass Battle rules.

The Byzantines:
1 x Cataphract Cavalry (12 cavalry)
2 x Kaveleroi (24 cavalry)
2 x Spear Infantry (32 infantry)
4 x Skirmish Javelin (32 infantry in 8 subunits)

Seljuk Turks:
3 x Cavalry (36 cavalry)
2 x Sword Infantry (24 infantry)
2 x Spear Infantry (24 infantry)
3 x Skirmish Cavalry (24 figs in 6 subunits)

The Seljuk loot is just off the board to the North (top) of the map and is the reason they just can't run away.

Of course, each side has an army leader that is attached to a unit of that side's choice for the battle (indicated on the map by the name followed by an asterix).

Initial Dispositions

The Byzantine plan is to base its infantry on woods H6 and try to use missile fire to discomfit the Seljuk infantry (they are weaker than the Byzantine in armor and in numbers per unit). The cavalry is to stay alert for opportunities to counter the Seljuk Cavalry. The leader is present with the Cataphracts.

The Seljuk plan is try to overwhelm the Byzantine Left by taking 2 cavalry units around woods H6. The Cataphracts are better cavalry, and the Kaveleroi are equivalent to the Seljuk cavalry. The leader is positioned with the 3rd cavalry unit able to intervene on either flank as needed.

Both sides sent forth their skirmishers to little effect as the Seljuks swung around woods H6 and positioned themselves to start raining arrows down upon the cataphracts (who would reply in kind). The Byzantines managed to anchor their line on the woods, and the Seljuk infantry slogged forward.
The first clash

By turn 3, both sides came together. The Cataphracts shrug off the arrow storm (as expected) but do little damage to the Seljuks. The skirmisher screens set to on each other, neither side gaining the upper hand.
The Byzantines bend

The Seljuks close with the Cataphracts and he is forced to bring over one of the Kaveleroi for support. The plan is now to defeat the Seljuk cavalry flank attack as quick as possible. The Byzantine right flank is moved back. Meanwhile, the infantry comes into contact with each other, with the lighter Seljuks coming off the worse, but passing their morale checks with flying colors.
The Seljuk flank attack defeated

By turn 6, the Seljuk cavalry flank attack has been repulsed (albeit at a higher cost to the Cataphracts and Kaverleroi than desired) and they have to clean up the last Seljuk cavalry unit there before swinging back to the sagging Byzantine right flank. The Byzantine Spears are holding their own, but taking losses nonetheless as they are forced slowly back. The cavalry on the right flank holds back as the skirmishers go to work on each other.

End game approaching

The Seljuk cavalry on the flank and the Kaveleroi manage to run each other off, leaving the reduced Cataphracts to hurry off to help the Byzantine flank. And just in time, as the Seljuk cavalry (with the leader) have pressed the Kaveleroi on that flank and routed them. At this moment, fate intervenes, and a stray arrow catches the Byantine leader (with the Cataphracts) through his facemask, killing him. The Cataphracts scatter, taking with them the hard-pressed Kaveleroi. With this, the Byzantines reach their Army break point and lose.

All in all, it was an interesting game that came down to near the end (the Seljuks rolled well on their morale checks while the Byzantines rolled average otherwise the Byzantines should have won). The skirmisher screens were a wash until the end, when the Seljuks got lucky killing the Byzantine leader.

If there was one thing the Seljuks should've done was to put their leader with the flanking movement (he increases melee and morale checks). Byzantine Cataphracts can be a beast to bring down. Getting into a shooting match with them should've been a losing propostion, but was neccesary to allow the infantry time to close with the Byzantines. 

It took almost as long to create this post as it was to play the game (a little over an hour), as the upload time on blogger was very slow. I like reading AARs myself, and the clearer they are, the better.

Let me know what you think of the style !

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