Saturday, October 2, 2021

Battle of Tell Dapur: A Playtest

With all of the remote gaming, rules' development, and playtesting conducted during the Tuesday gaming sessions over the last twelve months, Ian decided to toss his development hat into the ring.  Although relatively late to the party, my understanding is that Ian's rules, Rein-Bow Warriors (RBW), have been in various states of development for a number of years.  Now, he has added RBW group playtesting into the fray of his Late Bronze Age rules.

RBW saw its first group outing a couple of weeks ago as Ian hosted a remote game using 6mm figures.  I was unable to attend but Ian made it through his first remote hosting trial undaunted.  To follow up, I offered my 25mm Biblical collections and table to a remote playtest session for Ian and myself on Thursday.  We wanted to further development and work out any kinks before dropping it onto the group as a whole. 

What follows is the battle report of my first encounter with RBW.

Ian put together a hypothetical battle between the Hittites and Egyptians near the ancient Tell of Dapur with deployments as,

Battle Deployments
courtesy Ian Lowell
I translated Ian's deployments (while rotating the battle 180 degrees) into,

Initial deployments
Initial Deployments
Hittites
Egyptians
With Ian commanding the Hittites and I commanding the Egyptians, on to battle!
Ian's remote battle view from webcam
with three cameras from which to choose.
Chariots and flanking skirmishers head out onto the plain.
Chariots kick up dust as they drive forward.
Egyptian chariots on the left.
Hittite chariots in action.
The third pair of Hittite chariots swings out onto
 the Hittite right while enemy chariots clash in the middle.
  The chariots in the center pass through each
 other firing arrows as they pass.
Yellow circles denote a chariot "No Enter Zone for foot."
Close-up of clash on center-left.
Egyptian slingers pass a Mettle Test as the
Hittite chariots approach.
Egyptian bowmen on right flank are not as lucky
 and waver at the sight of oncoming chariots.
Battle seen from Hittite left.
Chariots wheel around and pass back through
 each other a second time.
Egyptian front line shudders at approach of enemy chariots
(green dice showing erosion of Mettle).
Intense chariot battles rage as the third Hittite chariot
 pair begins harassing Egyptian slingers via caracole.
Out of missiles, chariots retire to resupply.
Back to the supply wagons!
Egyptians resupply.
Hittites resupply.
With chariots out of battle, the fight is continued by foot.
Hittite skirmishers on the Hittite left put a halt to the
 Egyptian advance on that flank while Egyptian bowmen
 begin to make their presence felt.
Infantry advance.
Shaken by javelin fire from skirmishers,
Egyptian infantry buckles when attacked by formed troops.
  They flee in rout. 
Egyptian bowmen keep up a heavy fusilade.
The Hittite line is beginning to break apart.
The battle is in the balance.
Distant view of the game in progress.
  A bit messy on the far end, I think.
Chariots are back in action but not for long.
Chariots retreat for the rear after a brief clash on the left.
The Hittite army is breaking for the rear.
With the Hittite King wounded and his army crumbling
 around him, he orders a retreat.
Victory to the Egyptians!

This battle provided a very interesting introduction into the design of Ian's RBW.  I have been monitoring game development as he sends out bits of documentation, explanations, graphics, and reference sheets leading up to the game.  Many concepts were foreign to me and I was not sure what to expect.  After a few turns of maneuvering chariots and combat, game design and application began to gel.  An enjoyable playtest and a very interesting perspective of Late Bronze Age warfare.  Oh, and while my figures are not based in accordance with rules' specifications, my basing scheme worked fine.

Ian and I have a second playtest scheduled for Monday to reinforce changes made during this game.  On Tuesday, we host this battle for the weekly, remote gaming group.  

Thank you, Ian, for a very enjoyable five hour gaming session!

46 comments:

  1. Looking forwards to it. I shall have to catch up on the documentation Ian has been publishing to his FB group.

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    1. I look forward to the group game too. Ian's documentation is under revision so expect changes by Tuesday. For me, it was difficult to see how the different pieces of the QRS worked together until getting one game under the belt. Learning By Doing may be the best approach at this stage.

      Ian has a FB Group?

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    2. Rein-Bow Warriors. Plus he posts to the Monday Night Group page as well. Sometimes.

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    3. Well, not being on FB, my loss, I guess.

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  2. Replies
    1. It was an interesting game! Many interesting concepts to piece together.

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  3. I am glad you are able to get in some remote gaming!

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    1. Scott, I have enjoyed at least one remote game a week over the last 12 months with the exception of a brief hiatus while we suffered through reconstruction of the basement bedroom suite.

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    2. Wow! That is an active schedule.

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    3. Indeed! For me, remote gaming a been a great discovery.

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  4. Interesting report and clash of armies not often seen. Very good.

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    1. Thank you! Armies not seen often is true. First time my Hittites have seen battle.

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  5. A great looking table and figures Jon - you could have let Ian win though, seeing it was a play test of his rules and all! Still., people always say you learn more from losing - well, the losers say that anyway!

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    1. Thanks much, Keith!

      Rather than a competitive game we were both trying to figure out how the game worked in practice. My bowmen in the center were the deciders this time. I know I learn more from losing but I gain good insight from winning too!

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  6. The chariot rules look interesting and more in line with how I imagine chariot warfare of the period actually worked. It certainly requires a bit more thought than just charging into formed ranks of infantry.

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    1. Hi Lawrence. Operating chariots within the boundaries of these rules requires somewhat of a rethink on chariot warfare on the wargaming table.

      While my knowledge of wargaming the Bronze Age is not vast, I have not seen this approach in a set of rules before. As you say, very interesting...

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    2. Ian has been banging the drum for a re-evaluation of chariots in early warfare for as long as I've known him. I find his arguments completely convincing, especially after having seen some of these things close up (there's a really nice one in the archaeology museum in Florence, that no one visits). They obviously aren't shock weapons in the way we would think of them crashing into things, but they are shock weapons in terms of over aweing an opponent.

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    3. I visited the archaeology museum in Florence but do not recall seeing a Hittite chariot. There was an excellent example of an Egyptian chariot and it was surprisingly a very lightweight design. There are good examples of Egyptian chariots in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo too.

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  7. Nice to see chariot armies on the table. The opening with the mobile chariot phase seems ‘proper’. Is it possible / likely that this initial phase could be sufficiently decisive that victory could occur before the infantry v infantry clash?

    Is 5 hours one of your longer remote sessions!

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    1. Hi Norm. Yes, very good to see my Biblicals out on the gaming table.

      The chariots have an impressive movement rate compared to the foot sloggers. Comparatively, chariots can move 13x the rate of advancing infantry. While untested in this game, it will interesting to what chariots can accomplish in the open field when unopposed by enemy chariots. The situation and capabilities of chariots in these rules leads one to reconsider chariot warfare.

      Five hours is a long session (and likely one of my longest) but it passed quickly and effortlessly.
      Some of that time was spent talking about the rules and other stuff.

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  8. Very intresti report Jonathan!
    Best regards

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  9. I've been enjoying seeing these forces grow. Great to see them in action.

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    1. Yes, it is very rewarding to FINALLY see these armies in battle.

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  10. Very nice game Jonathan! You mentioned the chariots kicking up dust and there seem to be cotton markers to this end. Is this part of gameplay? And is there some sort of ammunition track once the chariots retired to their supply wagons? Or have I completely misunderstood? 😅

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    1. Glad you like the look of battle, Mike!

      Yes, the cotton markers demarcate essentially the "Do Not Enter" zone occupied by swirling chariots. Foot entering into this area suffer penalties although I do not recall what those penalties are. Maybe foot was actually prohibited from entering? Yeah, I think that might be it. I will confirm in Monday's game.

      There is chariot ammo supply to track. Once exhausted, chariots must return back to base to spend three turns in resupply.

      You have a good eye!

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  11. Lovely to see your Biblical forces in action! I really like how the chariots operate, much more in keeping with how I feel they would havd been used!
    Best Iain

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    1. Great to get these long idle troops into battle. The vision of swirling chariots is not one sees on the gaming table in many rules.

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  12. With a somehow too similar initial deployment it is looking very exciting how the battle turned out. Two very similar armies both with their chariots as the eyecatcher. I very much admire your report for showing precisely how the fighting developed. Congratutalions to the mighty god-king of Egypt!

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    1. Thanks, Andrè. Very pleased to see that the report narrative was well-received! Two similar armies with a few distinctions. The hittite held an advantage in chariotry; the Egyptians maintained an edge in bowmen. In this battle, the Egyptian bowmen were quite effective.

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    2. It would be very interesting how you would turn the difficult sources about Kadesh (1274 BC) in a satisfying scenario and how that would be played in a game.

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    3. Kadesh would be an interesting challenge to fight with these rules. Perhaps after the rules are stable, Kadesh may be considered?

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  13. Very interesting Jonathan. Hopefully we will be seeing more of RBW.

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    1. There will be more. A second game today and a group game on Tuesday. We should see plenty of action.

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  14. Nice to finally get those armies on the table. And they both look great and suitably massive. 😀
    Seems like a nice evening of gaming.

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    1. Very nice to get these armies out and onto the table. “Suitably massive”; I like that! Good gaming session for sure. Five hours is a long remote session, though.

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  15. That's a nice looking game and an interesting set of rules. As always your units look superb!

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  16. Impressive table and miniatures Jonathan. The rules are intriguing and worth looking into.

    Cheers, Ross

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    1. Thanks! The rules have some interesting concepts.

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  17. Excellent looking armies Jon and nice to see those chariots in play 👍 you are certainly churning through the periods and rule sets. Five hours of remote gaming phew ! Dedication. I will get planning on our next adventure 😀

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    1. Thanks! Great to see this armies out and about. Five hours is long especially standing and moving around the table the whole time. Wargaming is fatiguing.

      Looking forward to seeing you have in store next.

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  18. Amazing looking armies Jonathan. There is something just so cool about chariot armies! The rules seem very interesting! Great AAR.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, chariot armies draw a lot of attention when on the table.

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  19. Sounds like a terrific game, other than the Hittite loss ;) Glad to see more rules for the period coming out!

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    1. It was a fun exercise, Markus. An additional two more games are in the books.

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