Saturday 29 July 2017

L'Art de la Guerre (ADLG): C'est manifique!

Tim's Polybian Legion face off against Seleucids - think this is an ex-Chasseur army

Yes, yes, yes, yes!

It's been months since I've had the time to blog, let alone game or paint, and filled with contracts, travel, report writing, book editing, and family. Not to mention cold, wet, and cold - did I mention the cold? One morning my car was so frozen, I couldn't open the doors - its cold!

Elephants and pike await the Romans... again!

A few weeks back as work was dying down, Tim from our local wargames group asked if I wanted a game and offered to take me through L'Art de la Guerre; lets face it, the replacement for DBM(M) and FoG; and as this seems to be a set of rules growing in popularity locally, I enthusiastically agreed.

I then had a second introductory game yesterday using my Seleucids against his Polybians (see photos), but lets just focus on the game that followed.

I played Tim's son Justin in the third game. Neither of us own the rules, nor have read them properly and it was our first game after only two introductory games with Tim.

The legion begins its sneaky maneuvers to split the pike blocks.

This is the amazing thing that happened, after set up and only two turns, and given we had the two page reference sheet to hand, neither of us had need of the rulebook or further guidance. That's how straightforward, simple, and well designed this ruleset is.

Remarkable and must be the first time in twenty years of gaming that when some weird event or occurrence has cropped up in an early game, it hasn't warranted precious minutes thumbing through a rulebook. ADLG is like the synthesis of DBx and FoG. Like after years of committed struggle of development for DBx and then its antithesis FoG, out from the clouds of evolution emerged ADLG.

Pike command gets ready to face the Princeps. I finally got to use the pike and command  I painted earlier this year.

I'm sure we missed some things, like remembering some pike and my Xystophoroi were Elite and I can see there's a lot more subtelty waiting to be uncovered, but the basics are so well designed that it didn't really matter.

I winge and moan constantly about what I want from a ruleset, given the brain power my work requires - oh woe is me, my life is so hard... not really - but I never thought there'd be an ancient/medieval set of rules which was straightforward enough to want to play on a Friday evening, talking bollocks with mates, while eating junk food and drinking coke.

Two pike commands face off against the Princeps command and Hastati/Triarii command.

I remember when FoG came out I thought it was going to be the bees knees for ancient/medieval gaming, then I played it. '++' minus '--', makes a positive, carry the '+', unless its impact troops on a Tuesday... what? Arrgh! Who won that #@^*& combat?

I remember staring open mouthed at a DBM tournament as the rules guiding movement were explained to me yet again, 'you can't do that, because the distance from the front corner, divided by the isosceles, across the zone of control, while holding your tongue in the right position, means that a troops expanding from a column, can't move across the face of an enemy element, until 4PM on a Thursday, unless the angle of attack is less than 30 degrees and all elements end directly facing at least one enemy element...' - WTF? I just like playing with toy soldiers!

Also, having been burned by FoG and having foolishly bought the majority of supplements, like DBA 3.0, all of the army lists you could feasibly want, are included in the ADLG rulebook.

Xystophoroi doing what they do well, smashing lighter enemy cavalry.

The only bad thing I can remotely come up with is that you don't need a lot of figures for an army - which really is a positive. You'll need figures somewhere in the number between DBA and DBM/FoG, which means most of my figures will stay in their boxes for ADLG - but then that's what Hail Caesar or WAB is for (does anyone actually play WAB anymore?).

ADLG is a nice surprise and though I'm a little late getting into it, I can see why everyone is raving about it and the armies behave pretty well on the battle field as well.

Unsupported elephants against lighter, javelin armed, troops - say goodbye to the elephants!

In one game my massive and long pike block was bisected and outmaneuvered by legionaries, my elephants were overcome in rough ground by medium javelinmen, and in another my unsupported elephants were eventually overcome by a line of determined legionaries while my Xystophoroi mowed down Roman cavalry. Nice.

So ADLG is a good ruleset and to be fair, while derivative, it sits squarely on the shoulders of its predesseors and it does that really well.

The pike block systematically and deftly turned, game over man!

I've just ordered a copy and am looking forward to many more games in the future, but to be fair if someone still wants a quick game of DBA 3.0, I'll be up for that as well because its the perfection of that line of games. As for FoG, well at least in all the supplements I've got lots of good reference material in the photos and Osprey pictures.