It was the Warclouds Convention in Christchurch this Waitangi weekend. Eight of us got together to have the first practice tournament of ADLG before the Nationals at Easter. 200 points, 2 hour games.
The following lists were used:
- Pyrrhic - Kerry
- Graeco-Bactrian - Jim
- Chola Indian - Me
- Tang Chinese - Brent
- Warring States Chinese - Andre
- Samurai - Josh
- Norman - Ian
- Later Persian - Rex
ADLG (L'Art de la Guerre) is the popular new French Ancient's Wargaming rule set. When I say 'new', I mean it is new to us here in New Zealand. The rules have been around for a while in France, and are actually up to the third edition so are well playtested by now with good English and Spanish translations available. They seem to be the new go to rules for Ancients in Europe, America and Australia, with tournaments booming again.
Having played about 10 games now I can see why. ADLG has enough detail to keep you interested, but simple mechanics that don't strain your brain and are new player friendly. Number of figures and playing area are less than you need for other rule sets which helps for entry level. Plus the nicely presented full colour rulebook comes with all the army lists too so you will only ever need the one book. Tim Porter has this excellent resource page with lots of links about it.
I must admit that reading the rules I thought the combat system seemed too simplistic at first. Both sides just roll a D6 and add a factor from 0-3 depending on opponent, with a few modifiers, to see who damages the enemy. At first glance this seemed like bit of a crap shoot, but in reality the odds do generate quite a reasonable set of results and you start thinking about sensible tactics pretty quickly. You can certainly dice your way in and out of disaster, but this is not a bad thing I think, and is kinder for new players, and likely more historical too I would say.
I've played a first few games using cavalry armies to learn the rules, but decided to pull out my Chola Indians for this tournament. I've used this army for about 15+ years across multiple rule sets so I was looking forward to seeing how they did. The Chola army is all elephants, swordsmen, and bowmen (and a few levy cheering on from the back, but they don't really count!), so very different to a cavalry army.
Game 1: Chola vs Samurai
First up I faced Josh's Samurai army, which was mostly medium swordsmen with bow, quite a few of them also being elite. I immediately regretted the fact I hadn't brought enough light infantry to screen all my elephants from shooting (something I should have known as it has been important to do that in all other rule sets too for heaven's sake!). So I decided to put my elephants in a second line, ready to fill the expected holes in my first line and hopefully win a war of attrition.
However, the Samurai managed to keep a solid line and my reinforcements ended up coming in too piecemeal and disorgansed. Things died much more quickly than I expected...
(Incidentally the 28mm figures in the Samurai army were being used to represent the 3 generals).
Game 2: Chola vs Pyrrhic
Next was Kerry using a Pyrrhic army. The Pyrrhic heavy foot took some fire on the way in, but quickly ground down my medium foot and resisted my elephants. I think I did about 8-9/24 break points to them in return. Not unexpected given the tactical situation, and was a dumb idea to go head to head with heavier troops like this. LOSS.
Game 3: Chola vs Tang Chinese
Forgot to take a picture of this one! But against Brent's Chinese cavalry army my Elephants and bowmen prevailed. An outflanking maneuver by the Chinese cavalry caved in my left flank briefly, but stopped when it reached the elephants and more bowmen. I think he got got about 10/25 of my elements. WIN.
Game 4: Chola vs Warring States Chinese
A hard fought game against Andre, and the first one where I decided to throw my generals into the charge with the elephants. The extra +1 and furious charge and ignoring of armour by elephants saw them smashing things up very nicely in this game. I lost about 16/25 of my breakpoint I think. WIN.
Game 5: Chola vs Norman
Didn't even have time to breath! One turn to move to charge range, two rounds of combat and the game was over. Ian's Norman heavy cavalry evaporated as they charged head on into my elephants and bowmen, including charging uphill at my line in the centre of the table. I lost 5/25 of my breakpoint. WIN.
A good weekend of ancients wargaming was had by all. I'm pretty sure ADLG will become the new go to rules for ancients here too, and draw in new players as well as the oldies. It's simple, quick and fun, and the lower entry level in terms of needed figure will help. Despite being rusty on the rules on the first day, I had 3 games easily finished by 2pm after a 9am start, and time for lunch etc. 2 hours should be plenty of time for these games. I look forward to some bigger games too, and in 28mm also.
Secondly, I must get some better scenery, and maybe casualty markers! I bought a few better quality pieces from Clinton who was along with his goodies today, and told him the right sizes so he can make some stock for the Nationals. Looking forward to it.