At last another Cavalry army, surely I should be able to beat the Early Russians? Stephen Hopkins and I have been playing each other since the early days of DBM, and so we are old foes. The main difference between the two armies is that the Russians have one knight and two spear elements.
This game didn't see much tactical subtlety - big long line of knight, cavalry and light horse (Russian) meets big long line of cavalry with bow supports (Ayyubid) - an early success in shooting - (much helped by Stephen rolling pathetically low for PIPS, and needing to respond to my LH probes) saw me knock over the knight, so now I had six cavalry versus four cavalry and two light horse.. too easy thinks I. On the other wing my two light horse were successfully distracting a cavalryman and forcing Stephen to spend PIPS to support him with two psiloi. Over the course of the game, the light horse kept falling back before the cavalry who was often at 3-2 or 2-2.
On my right though, it was downhill all the way for me. A 6-1 on my general's wingman opened a gap, which I ran out of PIPS to fill, the cavalry on my right could not kill the light horse facing it, despite several attempts at 3-1 (Stephen stubbornly refused to roll low enough) - finally, we had both picked away till we were three elements down, but I had bow being advanced on by spear, and the future was looking grim..
As the game had taken some time, we now had a few observers and I decided to please the grandstand, and go for the win by engineering two combats - in one, I would have a 2-2 with no recoil for Stephen, in the other I would have a 3-3 between our two generals with neither of us able to recoil.
A win in both would win me the game, a win in the general combat would win me the game, a loss in the general combat and a win in the other would tie.. It seemed like the odds were in my favour.. Needless to say I then rolled 1 in the cavalry combat to be doubled at 2-2, and then another 1 cost me my general, and to add insult to injury a further nothing combat between his psiloi and my light horse and another low die roll (1) saw me lose another element... going from 3 down to 6 with some appalling die-rolling.
Oh well. Someone had to win it, but it seemed like the extreme outliers favoured Stephen. I certainly was frustrated at my inability to beat light horse with equal numbers of cavalry, and the 6-1 in his favour certainly was opportune, but on the whole a very even game. I felt I should have won, but didn't get a breakthough anywhere early enough to finish him off before he could get his heavier foot (spear) into action.
Overall the 3 wins from 6 games probably reflects the Ayyubids inability (on the day) to finish off an opponent who has been outmanoeuvred. In the games vs Scott and Owen, I had several bounds of combat where all I needed to do was roll the same or higher than my opponent, and 8 times out of 10 it didn't come off. Against Stephen, I just needed cavalry to beat light horse, and couldn't.
I could put it down to luck, but that seems unfair to my opponents who are all strong players. I will see them on the field of battle next time.
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