Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Northampton, February 2011
Kadesh is coming
This is a quick reflection on BattleDay preparation session no. 2. The Battle of Kadesh - an Armati treatment.
This may well be what my group does for the Battle Day. If not, it may contribute to the Armati game being presented on the day.
I last had a good long look at Kadesh at the beginning of this decade. I did a special presentation when Roll Call (still in those days a show as well as a competition) was at Kettering Leisure Village.
'Kadesh, Three Ways' was a little battleday, really, as I put on the battle 3 times each day, using 7th edition, DBM and Armati. Most participants (some of whom were committed DBM players) preferred the Armati version of the game as it remained fairly coherent. One DBMer who shall remain nameless described the battlefield in the DBM game as looking like somebody had just got several boxes of figures and tipped them out on the table.
Despite being a criticism, of course, that is very much what happened. As Pre' and Ne'arin converged on the camp of Ramesses and Amun, Muwatalli's concealed chariots fell on Pre's line of march, dispersing them and pursuing on and into the camp. Only then to be bounced out and back across the Orontes by Ramesses, his personal retainers and the fortuitously arriving chariots of Ne'arin.
So, forces entering the fray from at least four directions. Not untypical of the somewhat shapeless engagements of this period - but a potential shambles for wargames systems more generally conceived to handle two sides deploying more or less opposite each other across a definable battlefield.
By now, of course, you will be following Ian Russel Lowell's briefings on the battle in Slingshot, and our starting point was a topographical table set up by Ian representing the whole area of the battles fron Pre's crossing of the Orontes up to the camp of Amun and Pharaoh.
For this familiarity session, we used Ian's venerable 6mm forces on mock Armati bases, and the area was set up 'map -like' on a North/South axis.
For the finished project, the scale is almost certainly 15mm, and the orientation will likely rotate by 45 degrees or so. Ian also passed me a giant figure of a Pharaoh in the grab Ramesses attributes to himself at the battle - fighting without armour. It looks to be about 60mm or so ...
I have tarted it up a little (we intend to persuade Will - Mr Armati - that this giant should be Ramesses's 'general' figure in the game.
(Ramesses - up close and personal)
Certain that is the way Ramesses would have had himself represented).
The game itself went fairly well, but it is heavily dependent upon an entirely revised 'Chariot friendly' Armati, and it is important to get the various bodies deployed and orientated appropriately if you want the basic rules to generate for you a narrative that follows historical events.
Of course, that is a key design issue in itself - how much do you want to manipulate/mandate the course of the reconstructed event so it mirrors the historical battle. Or how much leeway do players and chance get to generate an entirely different outcome?
That supposes you agree on what really happened.
(Ramesses in a more conventional scale)
There is more on Kadesh in Slingshot and on the website (where you can become a member if you want to follow Ian Russel Lowell's series in the magazine)..