Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Mortem et Gloriam - Game 24 - 2019/03/05


In the fourth game of Mortem et Gloriam tournament at CanCon 2019 I faced Khurasanian Dynasties army commanded by Carl.

I have never played against this army before and it was the first time I was about to play against Carl as my opponent. I was really looking forward to it because I saw the painting progress Carl made with his army when he posted photos online. It is great to meet new players too!

I must say that when I read information on the armies represented, just prior to the tournament, the first one I tried to get more historical background about was Khurasanian Dynasties one. It is quite unexplored territory for me and I am sure I will try to find some more proper books about both, the historical period and the dynasties.

In the meantime I had to come up with the plan on how to tackle this particular enemy! Here are the details of the force Carl brought this time:

Khurasanian Dynasties - Army List

Khurasanian Dynasties - Army List.

The first thing I noticed (after the Elephants of course! They are hard to miss!) is that Carl's army had a nice contingent of mounted troops with the ability to shoot. I really like the idea of a TuG type of cavalry with bows as they can be very efficient in slowing down much bigger force. In fact, I actually faced Superior cavalry armed with bows in my previous games against Arab Conquest. 

The additional presence of three SuG's of Horse Archers was a concern as well. They could either engage in successful shooting duel with my own light horse or shoot at my slow moving phalangites. 

In order to deal with the mounter troops I wanted to employ my own Line Cavalry that should have an advantage over Dilqhans. Provided they can catch them! If I could position Cretan Archers well then they should also help in dealing with Horse Archers. Either making them more reluctant to approach infantry line or even have a chance to shoot at them if they get close enough.

The infantry contingent comprised four TuGs of Spearmen and if I could engage these in one-on-one fights with phalangites I believed I could eventually grind them down.

However, the wild card, quite literally, were the Elephants. Their presence would greatly affect the way I could use my own cavalry. I thus wanted to use my light horse primarily to inflict some damage before inevitable melee. If I could engage the Elephants with phalangites after that, this threat could be contained.

Here is my list for the reference:

Early Seleucids - Army List


Despite the best efforts I was not able to force the battle in a more dense terrain. In fact, even secure flank was not available and we ended up with a single terrain piece in total! That did not make me feel comfortable at all. However, that was were the battle was to be fought and so I had to adapt to the circumstances.

However, I managed to slightly out-scout the opposing army and thanks to that I had a glimpse at what could be the final deployment of the enemy.


Early Seleucids vs Khurasanian Dynasties.

Deployment of the Armies.

Carl deployed his Spearmen first and as they were in wide but shallow formation I decided I would need to try and get to them with the phalangites. Due to open space I had to be careful with my camp and that is why Argyraspides and one TuG of phalagites was deployed closer to the center. 

Cretan Archers on the right were to protect the flank from the enemy Horse Archers and to cover the advance of vulnerable Thracians.

My own light horse SuG's were deployed on the left flank of the formation to shoot at the approaching Elephants and to help Line Cavalry in engaging with the enemy horsemen.

The plan was, cards permitting, to advance fast with the infantry to start the fight with enemy Spearmen.  The cavalry on the left of the battle line was to patiently maneuver and/or wait for the opportunity to attack their counter parts. And avoid Elephants at all costs!

Seleucids - Turn 1

Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions.

Phalangites advance at the double.

Both armies advanced towards each other but while Khurasanians tried to maintain an even battle line, Seleucids moved in oblique line. Only some light horse and single unit of line cavalry moved forward a bit further in order to intercept and slow down enemy forces.

Armies get closer.

Khurasanians - Turn 2

Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions

Elephants spearhead the attack!

The units closed the distance even further and the phalangites on the right were almost in the charging distance! At the same time Seleucid cavalry tried really hard to stay at the safe distance from the Elephants but be close enough to prevent any outflanking of the Argyraspides in the center.

Maneuvers continue.

Seleucids - Turn 3

Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions

Tarentine Cavalry working hard to distract the Elephants

Both armies sent their cavalry to chase off the opposing mounted skirmishers but neither of them managed to catch swift horsemen. However, Cretan Archers succeeded in inflicting enough casualties on one of these groups so that they had to disperse for good.

Phalangite units started spreading so that they could engage enemy Spearmen one-on-one.

Infantry units about to clash!

Khurasanians - Turn 4

Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions.

Phalangites at work

Infantry units finally engaged each other and there were casualties on both sides on the impact. On the other hand, the cavalry units on the center left were still maneuvering around each other, trying to find a good moment to strike.

More and more units are committed to melee.

Seleucids - Turn 5

Turn 5 - Sequence of Actions

Cavalry engagement.

Finally, cavalry units of both armies also engaged in melee. On the right Line Cavalry contributed to the fight against Spearmen with timely flank charge.

On the left, Companions and Line Cavalry charged against Dilqhans and Dilman. After a vicious but brief fight Companions emerged victorious and broke through the enemy formation!

Seleucids noted some important successes.
Khurasanians - Turn 6

Turn 6 - Sequence of Actions.

Phalangites are winning on the right.

Brave Spearmen could hold against Phalangites only for so long. With no support from cavalry either delayed or engaged elsewhere, their resolve broke and another TuG was routed.

At the same time, Seleucid Line cavalry on the left held its ground against all odds! And the Companions were already galloping to the rescue!

Companions are about to charge again!

Seleucids - Turn 7

Turn 7 - Sequence of Actions.

Companions charged right in time to rescue Line Cavalry surrounded by the enemies. Powerful attack by the Seleucids elite broke yet another enemy units. When the Phalangites routed third Spearmen TuG it was over. The remaining units of the Khurasanian army had to withdraw and concede a defeat.

The final stage of the battle.


Turn by turn animation summary.


Many thanks to Carl for a great game! I am really happy we were able to play 7 turns in the given time frame and reach the conclusion of the battle. It seemed to me that it worked because I had a clear plan in mind. Five minutes discussion on respective army lists prior to battle really helped too!

I am glad I managed to maneuver and position my units so that they eventually engaged preferred enemies. However, despite 15:3 victory in that game I would probably do a few things a bit different.

First, my depleted TuG of Line Cavalry in the right, although helpful in routing the enemy, was broken in the process. What I should have done instead was to allow Thracians to move to the same position. They would contribute exactly the same to the fight but as a fresh TuG they would have survived the fight.

Next, Argyraspides really should have moved towards the Elephants and try to intercept them. In this way the camp would have been safer and my own cavalry would have maneuvered with more freedom.

That concluded day 2 of the tournament and we were preparing for the final stage of the even and last 2 games of the competition.

Thanks for reading!


  1. The manoeuvring in this was awesome (at least cinematically, I don't know enough about the game to comment more than that!) but the best part was seeing the game come to a strong conclusion! It looked like both players were keen for a scrap, do you think your opponent fancied his chances / what was their plan with the spears?

    1. Hi Nick!

      Mortem Et Gloriam has the following mechanics, in general you alternate actions with your opponent. I can move a unit, then the opponent moves a unit and so on. That means both players have to constantly participate and keep updating their plans with every action.

      I like that the game look great for you, even without knowing the details. It is very good to know, both from the point of view of the system and the way I am presenting the battle. Thanks a lot, this is a very valuable feedback!

      If I were to guess (I didn't have a chance to discuss the way Carl wanted to use his Spears) I think that Spearmen where there to simply stop the Phalanx until the cavalry and Elephants roll the flank. Fortunately, my troops on the center left slowed the enemy down long enough for the other half of the army to break through!