Tournoi de Grande Amitie: “Diplomacy” with Swords   1 comment

At the start of yesterday, I wasn’t sure I was going to the event.  I had a horrible, evil headache.  I have a headache every Saturday (really), but this was the worst-of-the-month variety.  Jenny says they’re migraines, I don’t know.  But I figured if I got some coffee and some aspirin in me it’d turn out alright and headed to Starbucks (no cream in the house).  Well, I had a Guenievre First Rule violation halfway down to Fuquay, but picked up Miguel and his lady, Sunny, and we rolled on down to site.  I was pretty sure I’d be marshalling all day with sun glasses on and not shouting too much, and offered my services as such to Tiernen.  Didn’t bother getting out of my mundanes except to swap my shirt with a tunic.

Then we started laying out the field of battle, with four houses.  And I looked at it, and the scenarios, and thought “Fuck, I’ve got to go suit up and fight this bastard.”

The town: A square with four houses and intermittent obstacle walls in between.  Assigning a random orientation, Red Team’s house was on the North West, Black Team on the SW, Green on the SE, and the house of no-team on the NE.  Green’s door faces Black’s house, and Black’s faced Green’s.  Red’s faced no-team.

We started off by running Dreya’s (hereafter known as Caelia) authorization, which she passed.  (Congrats, Caelia!)  It went fine, except for a badly timed lunge by her usher which resulted in a stiff shot from her stop thrust.  Her immediate next pass put the same shot on him with a nice, gentle touch, and that pretty much settled it.  My students are still batting a thousand.

She and Tristan became scholars of the Academie, and I got to pass off my blue scarf to her, as I think she’s got the same sort of praecepticidal tendencies that inspired me to embroider the scarf the first time around.

We then assembled the teams, and mine (Black) looked pretty good: Daemon, Ysane, Benjamin, Caelia, and me.  Red team had Percy, Giovan, and Tristan, and Green had Galen and Letia.

Scenario One: Grab the Loot

Bags of loot were scattered at random around the lot.

Now, think back to the description of the field.  There’s an empty house.  Next to it are the Green and Red houses.  Furthest away from it, Black.  Yeah, we were at a pretty steep geographic advantage.

Since Daemon and I were moving slow, I sent Benjamin, Caelia, and Ysane out to grab loot while he went to take the Red house and I took the Green.  I got into the Green house while they were out grabbing loot, and was able to hold them outside of it for a good minute before I finally had to sit down due to a garb failure in my chausses, and pretty soon after that I got it in the face.

I think Green ended up with the win on that one.

I didn’t like how my plan worked but was short on brain power (and a provost, Daemon having gone off to fight, so Miguel subbed in on our team), so I let Benjamin do the thinking.

The next couple runs through of the scenario went the same way, with Green and Red splitting them.

Somewhere in here, Padraig, #12 on the Provost List, re-authorized and joined my team, kicking Miguel back to MiT duty.

Scenario 2: Grab the Scarves

The field was littered with scarves of the various team colors, the job was to run out and grab your scarves, one at a time, and bring them back to your house.

It started off as a kind of general brawl, occasionally grabbing a flag and trying not to die, while others ran out and snagged up flags.  At the end of it, I think Red had the win.

We started figuring out that getting the low hanging fruit first was the wrong strategy, and also that moving in a little more concentrated fashion would do the trick.  Green was moving as a cohesive unit, from and to its house, Red still spread out, and Black would pulse out in unison, sweep an area, play a little, and return.  At the end of the last one, Black had almost twice as many scarves as its opponents, for our first win of the day.

Scenario 3: Capture the House

Each house had a flag pole in it.  The goal was to tie your flag to the top of each flag pole.

Letia asked stupid questions (see my Pet Peeves), trying to screw with my plans, which was especially funny since they weren’t my plans.  Benjamin, Ysane, and I had all been talking, and we had a whole bag of tricks.  It does my heart good to have my enemies spending their efforts trying to think like me, rather than coming up with a plan of their own.

At the start, Red bolted for the no-team house.  We bolted for Red’s house.  We got theirs, repulsed Green’s attack on ours, and ended up with two houses while the other teams each had one.  But the goal was to capture them all, no time limit, no nothing.  We fought with Red a while.  Then we teamed up to crush Green, and found out the problem: Rez point was outside of the house, so we could bottle Green up in their house and pick at them, but they could go rez and attack us from the flank.  It was a draw, and no team had the capacity to grab a third house while holding two others.

Eventually the marshal decided to take away rezzes, which changed things mightily.  Black recoiled to our houses, Red and Green picked at each other then recoiled, Red and Black picked at each other, then decided that the two of each team remaining would go kill the four remaining Green team members.  We bottled them in their house and picked at them.  Tristan and Miguel were the two from Red, Benjamin and I the two from Black.  We dropped Letia, who was leading the Green team, then another of the Green, but they had legged Tristan in the process.  I did some quick math, stepped back, killed Tristan, Benjamin jumped Miguel, and we turned and killed the last two Greens.  Man that was great.  So we got another win, and tied Red for second in total wins.

Miguel was, not angry, but annoyed with me for breaking the deal with him.  Of course, he admitted he knew it was coming, and was only about a half second behind me in trying the same thing.  It felt like nothing so much as the game Diplomacy, which I played a lot through high school.  Diplomacy is a pretty awesome game, like Risk if you took away the dice and the cards.  You can have as many military units, army or navy, as the number of big cities (i.e. Paris, Brest, Marseilles; London, Edinburgh, Liverpool; Moscow, Kiev, St. Petersburg, Sevastopol) that you control.  And you end up in a situation just like we had with those houses:  Turkey alone can’t conquer Austria-Hungary, but if it gets Russia’s help, the two of them can split it, so they do, right up until A-H is almost dead, and either Turkey or Russia jumps the other.  The game is won by being the first to turn on your allies without exposing yourself to the enemies you’ve already made.  I have a tendancy to play it with brutal honesty:
“Okay, Russia, you can attack me with A-H’s help.  But Italy or Germany is going to attack A-H and you’ll end up with your ass exposed and no assistance while A-H jumps your empty cities to support its own defense, and then I’ll be able to counter-attack, wiping you out AND splitting A-H with Italy and Germany.  I’d rather split A-H with you, but of course once A-H is done we’re probably going to end up fighting each other again.”

Later, Miguel gave me a new motto, and I shall embroider it on a white flag of peace: “Fuck it, there is no truce, it’s Wistric”

Melee Practice

So after all this fencing, I held a bit of melee training.  The baronial fighter practices have a low turnout, so I wanted to take every chance I had to train them up.  A few minutes later Galen came walking up and said, basically, “So, I notice all the people out here are the ones who show up at Thursday practice.”  Yep, we had Galen, Benjamin, Letia, Tristan, and Caelia, along with Miguel.  I’m a little disappointed that the people who don’t get to do as much melee practice on a weekly basis were sitting on the sidelines watching us.  Last War of the Wings, we fought mixed in with the rest of the barony.  I’m going to be really tempted to insist the Kappellenfechters move as a unit at WotW.  I also want to get them out to any other melee event where we can represent.  Potentials:

Summer War, near Richmond, July 3-5

Assessment, at Triplett’s farm, July 10-12

Pennsic.  Well, one can dream 😀

Journey to the Crusades (I think this has melee)  in Palmyra, VA (3 hours away) September 11-13

Lessons Learned:

  • A coordinated, less-skilled force can defeat an uncoordinated, more-skilled force
  • Remember Rule 4.  Think about Rule 4 a lot.  Then think about it some more.
  • Share command planning (or even better, let somebody else do all the work).  If they expect Montgomery, they’re gonna be really confused when they get Patton.
  • DFB’ing at the last second, while unproductive, is still fun

How did it work out for the rest of you?

Posted April 19, 2009 by wistric in Events

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