Saturday, January 2, 2016

First Battle for 2016 - Skythians Vs Thracians

New year - new efforts to get some tournaments started (and hopefully finished - that doesn't usually happen!)

First up, I'm running an eight-army elimination tournament featuring various "barbarian" nations/tribes. Winners advance to the next round, and if they won decisively enough, may be able to force some of the losers (and perhaps some extra mercenaries!) to join their army. Hopefully the eventual winner will be large enough and strong enough to compete on an equal footing with my other larger "civilized world" ancient armies, such as the Republican Romans, Greeks and Persians. This way also gives me a chance to build up a barbarian character and follow his/her adventures along the way.

The four first round matchups are: Skythians Vs Thracians, Libyan/Sea Peoples Vs Picts, Goths Vs Picts (army #2), and Amazons Vs Ancient Britons.

Skythians Vs Thracians was an interesting matchup between historical neighbors with vastly different forces. The Skythians, led on this occasion by King Sakesfaris, were nomadic horse-riding people of the open Steppes. The Thracians, led on this occasion by King Rabocertus, were from the hill country of modern-day countries such as Bulgaria and Romania which formed the south-western border of the Steppes.

The Thracians were trying to defend a village (to the left of the above picture) that was under attack by the Skythian raiders, who had come looking for loot and potential slaves. The village was surrounded by some low foothills and some much higher hills, with a small wood to the north in the background. Hopefully, just enough difficult terrain to help the Thracians matchup to the all-cavalry Skythians.

As expected, the Skythians sent (most of) their horse archers forward to try and draw the Thracians out of their defensive positions. (Two units of horse archers were dispatched as an off-table outflanking force, to hopefully appear on the Thracians' southern flank and catch them off guard) With only one small unit of archers (on foot), the Thracians didn't really have any way of answering the hail of Skythian arrows that began to rain down on them, and were forced to push forward just to drive the horse archers back from the village.

Unfortunately, this was what the Skythians wanted. Their outflanking force arrived at just the right time to catch the left-most Thracian warband in a vice (pictured above), while King Sakesfaris and his heavy cavalry, using the higher hills for cover, were able to execute a similar flank attack on the right-most warband.

It was on the right flank that the Skythians were able to punch a hole in the Thracian defense (see photo above). In desperation, King Rabocertus led his personal bodyguard against the Skythian horsemen as they raced through the gap, but his unit was quickly overpowered, leaving him isolated and surrounded (see photo at top of post) and forced to surrender.

A decisive win then to the Skythians. King Rabocertus was forced to agree to supply troops to help the Skythians in their next outing, against the winners of the Libyan Sea Peoples Vs Picts battle. King Rabocertus was also forced to agree to marry his daughter off to King Sakefaris's grandson (to ensure his loyalty), and the Skythians may also pick up some extra mercenaries from Macedonia as a result of this victory. A nice little "empire" building up for King Sakesfaris!

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