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Thracian vs generic Macedonian for testing the +20% theme

 
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jamiepwhite
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:00 am    Post subject: Thracian vs generic Macedonian for testing the +20% theme

The Oracle and I headed for Jacksonville on our monthly or so trip to play ancients at Steveís Gym. The day being Labor Day, our favorite Chinese restaurant was closed so we had lunch at Jenkinís BBQ instead. I liked it, the pork sandwich was good but the chicken sandwich was even better. French fries with barbecue sauce on them was different and tasty.

Due to the discussion on Thracian handicapping, we decided to play a test game at +20% Thracian versus a typical Macedonian early successor list. Derek drew up a fairly standard Macedonian list, from memory it was

Six units of 2 RC LI JLS Sh

Six units of 4 RC HI/MI P Sh

Two units of 4 RC MI LTS Sh

One unit of 2 elephats

Two units of 4 RC LMI LTS JLS Sh

Four cavalry units, three were companions and one Thessalian

One unit of 6 IA/IC MI JLS Sh (galations?)

Three units of 2 RC LC JLS Sh

The Oracle and I spent about an hour while driving down and eating lunch looking at the three Thracian option of Hill, Low, or Getai. Getai bring the option of arming the LC with B instead of JLS, even with a 20% bonus that didnít help any. Low brings the option of mercenary hoplites or allied Greek troops, but MI LTS just didnít look appealing against pike and elephants. Hill had some limitations, no HC, no supporting Greek or mercenary troops, but it did bring 1/3 IA. This seemed plausible that we could at least build up a decent list built on the theory of barbarian hordes. So, with some thought to favorite lists of irregular foot players like Chris Damour or Jake Kovel, we came up this list

Thracian (Hill tribes)

Six units of 1IA 11 IC LMI Ĺ LTS, JLS Sh

Twelve units of 2 IA LMI Ĺ LTS JLS Sh

One unit of 8 IC LI JLS

One unit of 6 IC LI B

Two units of 2 IB LC JLS, one to be the sub and the other CinC

This isnít the most efficient Thracian list, but it worked pretty well on the table. The LI units stood around on the end of the line with IA units in between the large blocks of IC LMI. 19 scouting points was enough to keep up with the pike army, so the Oracle and I deployed the foot across the table. The CinC wandered around in the rear while the sub wandered around the right flank in a one unit command. Initially we were going to split up the commands but thereís not point trying to command the IAs. Much easier to line them up and send them off.

Terrain on the table top was light, a brush on the left and some woods on the right. The elephants flank marched to the left, not showing up till bound 6 or 7. One unit of companions flank marched to right, they showed up on bound 5 I think. The six pike units deployed in a line in the center with the two hoplites to the right. The two peltasts were in the brush and the Galations were to the far left.

The Thracian left flank went pretty quickly, getting impetuous charges off into the Galations after running over a LI unit. The combat lasted one round with dice of +6, +5, and +3. Eventually one of the peltast units came over and cleaned up the wounded Thracian units saving the Galation unit. The center was more of the same, the smaller units trying to line up clean hits on pike units or take them in the flank when the larger blocks were recoiled. Some IA units rolled up and would wreck a pike block, others rolled down and got wrecked. One companion unit in center tried charging a Thracian unit in the open hoping I would fail the waiver, but I passed, rolled up, and nearly routed the companion cavalry back through the pike line. Further on the right, the hoplite units didn't fare so well. They got caught unsupported, couldn't countercharge, got routed by the first up roll and the second unit shook. All the way on the right, Thracian LI and LC stared at generic Macedonian LI and LC until a Companion cavalry flank march arrived. That started to break up the stalemate by routing the LI but the LC evaded to hang around and stall.

The last three bounds were interesting and focused on the steady attrition of Thracian unit in their command while trying to push the generic Macedonians over their limit before arriving flank marches and recovering units could save them. So numbers went like 7/21, 9/21, and finally 11/21 for the Thracian to retire while the generic Macedonians kept hovering at 10/22, 11/23 (Companion arrived, recovered a pike, lost a pike, etc.) and 11/24 (elephant arrived, lost a pike, recovered a pike, etc.) The Thracians almost dragged the generic Macedonians into retirement with them, as the fate of the generic Macedonians hung on passing an uneasy RC waiver. Derek passed a waiver for once though so didn't crash into retirement.

Overall, I would try the Thracians at +20% in the theme if I could scrape up the nearly 100 elements of irregular LMI that are needed.
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Ed Kollmer
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject:

Really neat!
Thanks for the AAR
I played against Thracians a long time ago.
All those IrA blocks really rolled over me.
WOW a 100 El of Thracians is daunting
EK
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:46 pm    Post subject: Thracians in theme

Thanks for the write up - I looked at the list, but without 2HCW I think they will struggle. Pike is just too much better - so 20% is probably OK - Nice battle report - glad the barbeque pork was good
Still undecided on composition - but generic Macedonians with lots of Elephants is my likely choice
Robert
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jamiepwhite
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:17 pm    Post subject: More Thracian comments

If you can find enough irregular LMI figs, the list will work decently. But I agree with your point, it's much easier to play the pike and elephant lists well than to play the irregular LMI lists well. You might spend an hour lining up the troops to get off decent attacks and then just roll down horribly wrecking the whole effort.

The 2HCW troops would be much easier to line up and attack with, but on the other hand they would suffer for that as well in later bounds.
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:26 pm    Post subject: Thracians in theme

Agreed - with LTS I guess at least the cavalry is not much threat - but you will struggle to beat good pike - hence 20%
I never rely on luck as the only way to win, and to me without 2HCW that is the requirement
Robert
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Ed Kollmer
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:14 am    Post subject:

So that's what I'm doing WRONG.
"never rely on luck as the only way to win,"
Ed Hope for a Lucky roll Kollmer
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:33 pm    Post subject: Irregular foot

I have not run the numbers - but will do it in my head here.
assume 32 man Pike block - 154 points reg C
36 man Thracian unit mixed A and C (LTS front rank does not help for -2 as you want to be impetuous
Pike charging
24 @4=72
THracians charging impetuous 36 man unit - half LTS half Irr A 187 points
9@4=27
6 @3 =15
42 total
Pike rolls up 1 - thracians rout
Thracians rollup 1 - 2 ranks IRR A - its a lock -Thracians are tired
Thracians rollup 2 and pike are even or down - pike become disordered - 2 factor dice roll is a lot - gets worse if 4 wide or only 1 element of Irr A
Better hope that your dice are red hot - it can win and big because Macedonians have fragile morale in general - but I don't see it winning the tournament
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Bill Low
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:00 am    Post subject:

The trick for barbaroi fighting a pike army is to make the pikers uneasy ... which is relatively easy, since they are mostly C (at best) ... with a single cause. If the pikemen cannot charge, the numbers shift pretty significantly.

Other thing is to factor-in 2HCW in the front rank ... which is under consideration ... makes a difference, esp. vs. HI pikers.

Scott has run Thracians in big blocks, as has Todd Kaeser, and I believe found them to be sturdy, durable and effective.

Besides ... the lead is very handsome on the table. Wink
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:11 pm    Post subject: Thracians in theme

I agree with 2hcw - without I do not believe they can win multiple games - I would advocate for 2HCW - then it is a great fun army to play that may surprise people - without you would have to be very lucky
I would love to see them on the table - give them 2HCW
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scott holder
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:54 pm    Post subject:

The 2HCW is a siren song option. Surprised Wink
Here's why I believe this.

You have to run the Thracians in big blocks and make the entire front rank Irr A. You need to move fast and hit quickly because you're trying to optimize the number of rounds you're in contact.

Yes, I'm saying that a barbarian trash army has to stay in contact for as long as possible. Why?

It gives you more opportunities to roll up. Those 12E units, as long as they're not shieldless, have an amazing amount of staying power. The idea is grind down the opponent by staying around and eventually rolling up. If you don't roll up, you don't deserve to win. Razz

If you put 2HCW in there, you can't do that. I've played Thracians both ways enough and have become a big believer in avoiding the 2HCW like the plague.

I do think the size of the army is crucial here. At 1600pts in some kind of Open environment, yeah, too many other lists can butcher Thracians because they have more troop types and combined arms that Thracians simply can't handle, ie., you typically aren't in a position of always slamming into people early and start the grinding process. However, at 1200pts, those opposing options are far more limited whereas your Thracians are doing the same thing.

Love me Bill's Thracians at 1200pts. Wink

scott

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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:34 pm    Post subject: Thracians in theme

Todd and Dan ran Thracians in teams - 2HCW did very well came close to winning - believe Bill, Dave and Ben won with Romans.
I hear your argument- but even with LTS the numbers are ugly - 3 frontage if you lose round 1 - you have 13@2 pike has 24 at 4 or better - so 26 vs 72 - up 3 on the diuce is the first time you may win assuming pike does not roll up as well and if you were not before you are now tired and disordered - its a very tough battle to win after first round - and in fact you need to be getting to the more range to have any chance- 2HCW takes you there
Robert
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Frank Gilson
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:23 pm    Post subject: 2HCW

Well, let's look at 2HCW in the front...against HI/MI Pike.

Assume the pike are carefully shepherded and not uneasy...and Thracians have no way to force them to be (no Elephants, no Chariots)...and pike get to 80p (not unreasonable, as they are regular, counter fairly well, Thracians have to watch out for Companions, etc.)

Oh, wait...Companions...LTS,JLS,Sh for Thracian front 2 ranks is a heck of a lot better than 2HCW,JLS,Sh/JLS,Sh when facing Companions charging you flat (due to the -2 the Companions won't inflict 1 CPF unless you shake from your waver).

But...let's look at the 2HCW math against Pike.

12E Thracians against 8E Pike.

Thracians are 6@7, 3@4, 4@3...for 55. +1 (+3 for front rank) gives you 96. +2 (+4 front) gives you 103.

Pike are 24@4 for 72. Pike won't be routing. +1 will disorder/tire the Thracians and equal (with 96) the Thracian +1.

Let's say the Pike get disordered by this (Thracians win), but very little chance of routing the pike (near zero, you would had to have hit halted pikemen and rolled up). Pike don't recoil, of course, if starting steady.

Bound 2:
First off, the Thracian unit needs to make sure nothing in the Macedonian army is hitting that overlap they've got sticking out as that could be a disaster.

Anyway...Thracians have 9@4 (tired) and 5@3 for 40. Pike have 16@4 for 48. Thracians need to roll up again...a +1 has them do 69 (not a rout or additional disorder on the pikes, but a win and causing a recoil).

Thracian unit cost 160. Pike cost 154.

You can see that 2HCW makes the fight a little better, but you're really not going to rout the pikemen without a complementary big down roll from them...and you make yourself much much more vulnerable to Companion charges.
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