Well, what a cracking day!! Mr Morris & Co certainly know how to put on a gaming day!!! Thanks to all the Newark Irregulars for their input into the day...brilliant stuff!!!!!
So, how did I do? Well, won one, lost two: had a stinking cold and cough so felt like sh*t anyway, but fortunately, had such fun that the malady was easily forgotten once the gaming began, although by game 3 I was beginning to falter a bit!!!!
In the end, I won a prize for 'best painted characters' (GB models) and for being in the winning faction (lovely Almoravid Priest-dude on a wooden display stand.) So that was nice!!
I had 3 great opponents and played all 3 scenarios.
In my first game, I played Chris Payne (I think that was his surname) with his Andalusians playing 'Cattle raid' from Age of Arthur.
He had a well-chosen army and got off to a flying start by destroying the attacking potential of my caballeros in turn 1. He killed half the unit with his mercenary X-bowmen, reducing my potential for overlapping and flanking and for destroying his light troops.
My infantry gained hatred for this scenario, which was great, as I simply advanced them up to take on the Andalusian spearmen while manoeuvering for the killer charge with the caballeros hidalgos. Where Chris lost the game was in moving his own mercenary knights along the road - he should have stayed in position flanking his foot and threatening my charge. As it was, I charged his archers, pursued into his knights, won the successive combat and forgot I had ferocious charge!!!! Tw*t!!!! Anyway, justice won out 2 turns later and I broke his knights, pursued and killed them. In the ensuing panic, virtually his entire army melted away, leaving me able to capture 2 out of 3 baggage bases and win a mighty victory. Had it not been for hatred on my peones, it would have been different, as they held on most of the game, even when flanked by 24 more spearmen... Lesson there: Learn your special rules!!!
Game 2: Lee McColl and Christian Spanish. This was where it all went wrong. he had a superior, but smaller force - 2 units of caballeros hidalgos, 2 of caballeros, 1 unit of X bow and some slingers gained in the bonus card round. I gained Sudanese spearmen in the bonus card round.
I basically attempted a mass outflank on his right and he was right to be worried, as it seemed to be working. However, he cunningly countered my audacious move with caballeros on his left flank by charging them with foot archers. I slaughtered those, but, in the pursuit, hit his general's unit in the flank. I lost the combat and the caballeros fled, leaving me in trouble! What followed was typical me: he destroyed both units of foot with his knights (despite arming them with throwing spears) - the Sudanese FBIGO'd but panicked when the peones were destroyed and the pursuit of the peones hit the running sudanese by HALF an inch!!!!! My general failed his panic test by throwing double 6 so my best unit ran - it rallied, but failed another panic in the very last turn again on double 6- can't recall why... but they panicked anyway and handed about 600VPs to Lee to give him a 1450 to 91 pt mighty victory!!! He was embarassed and I was gutted! However, I know where I went wrong! I should not have pursued those archers, but got behind his knights... Different story then, I feel!!
Game 3: Against Chris Stone and his Almoravids. Now, his was an example of a brilliantly chosen army list!! It was designed to play well and to win without being beardy. He fielded 2 stubborn units of mixed spear and bow, each with 2 drummers and a Sheik (massive close-combat monster - 3 attacks each!!) One unit had a priest so gained hatred. He fielded his ASB and a Christian captain in a unit of mercenary knights, then fielded 9 Ghuzz horse archers (basically nomad cav -BS4, parthian shite...err...shot, etc) and 3 units of foot skirmishers. No general - as he said, why throw points away? He didn't need one!!!!!! Stubborn, hatred, ld 8 on the knights anyway....
We played apilledo and I defended (with nearly all cavalry!!!). It was a predictable mess. The Ghuzz shot me to bits. I did eventually kill them in combat, but my caballeros and jinetes were all but gone, so were easily panicked by javelin fire. My caballeros hidalgos charged his and killed 1 model!!!! He killed 4 back - I threw 4 save throws on 3+ and got 4 ones-like most of my dice on the day - couldn't hit, couldn't wound, couldn't save and couldn't pass LD tests!!!!! Luckily, they were not caught in pursuit and managed to inflict a slaughter in turn a couple of turns later - Chris suffered similar saving-throw hell and I ran the unit down. But it was all academic. I held onto one booty base, but almoravid spear with a sheik will eat peones for breakfast, so the other two got captured. Close-run victory to Chris, but another 50 VPs and he'd have won a mighty victory.
So, why was it all so bad? Well, more than my usual BIG share of ill luck - 2 failed panic tests on LD9 with throws of 12 against Lee ... Unbelievably bad save throws against both Lee and Chris S with my caballeros hidalgos, but more than anything, bad army choice. I only had 1 decent combat unit. I should have fielded 2 units of caballeros hidalgos and not taken the 3rd character. The foot were useless in 2 out of 3 games. The archers and slingers killed nowt in any of my games really and it was only 'hatred' that made the peones useful in game 1.
However, despite taking a tw*tting, I enjoyed the day immensely as it was such great relaxed gaming fun. I maintained my current average of about 30% victories in WAB. I am beginning to realise that the only wins I get these days is against those with less experience of the game - and even then I often lose. Against good players, I usually get utterly mauled because I never maintain a decent battle-line, I don't manage to support my units properly, I'm reactive rather than proactive and I don't think ahead enough. I also play with armies I like rather than with armies I might use effectively (assuming one of those actually exists!!) Also, I hadn't played with this army for about 5 years and then I only used it about twice in its unpainted state, so I didn't really know what I was doing!! Still, events like this need players like me...every event needs its 'cannon fodder' players.
I certainly won't stop gaming with WAB. I'd be just as crap with any ruleset. However, I will think more about my army lists in future!!! I got it about right at Hot Lead with a really good AoA Welsh army that was mis-matched against Shieldwall opponents in 2 games - against other AoA armies, I am convinced it would work well (assuming I used it well, of course!!) so at least I am beginning to think better about it!!
And here is a call to those folk who are good at organising gaming days...we want more El Cid!!!! It's a great period, especially if you don't allow the later lists with lances and sh*t... Now, who else around here can I persuade to buy a load of Almoravid or Andalusian models so that I'm not always forced to fight Carl's Christian knights when playing this period???