Saturday 17 August 2019

Mortem et Gloriam - Game 39 - 2019/08/17


As you have probably noticed by now, Stephen is one of my regular opponents at the moment. We were also both preparing for a tournament in the frame of WinterCon 2019 event. Stephen, inspired by the most recent performance of Cretan Archers, decided to bring any army with his own Skilled shooters - Mamluk Egypitan.

I have never played against such a force. Although I played against armies with horse archers, the Mamluks are different. First, I was about to deal with TuG's of Skilled, bow armed cavalry. It means that Stephen did not have to worry about low break point for the army. And still be able to evade slow blocks of pike armed infantry. Second, Mamluk cavalry can fight too. Especially Superior Royal Mamluks that are Melee Experts armed with Short Spears. 

Here are the details of almost all mounted force I was about to fight against:

Mamluk Egyptian - Army List

My initial plan was to advance with the infantry as quick as possible, with one flank protected by the terrain if possible. Cavalry would guard the opposite flank. Although I expected inevitable casualties, I thought that the enemy would not be able to evade forever and that I could make up for the losses in melee. 


After pre-battle phase we had a secure flank in the mountains and I was a defender. It meant my camp was fortified, which was helpful against all mounted army. I could manoeuvre knowing it cannot be taken by cavalry.

There was a piece of uneven ground in the middle of the battle field too, which was great for Mamluks because it is considered to be rough terrain for units in Close formation. Which included my Phalangites but the Loose cavalry was not affected. 


Early Seleucids vs Mamluk Egyptian.

I deployed one group of Phalangites and Cretan Archers across the Amir's Mamluks, hoping the archers can do some damage at the distance. Second group of Phalangites was to follow through narrow passage. Although I needed to remember it is only for my infantry, while Mamluk cavalry had more freedom in manoeuvring. 

Light Cavalry and two units of Charging Lancers were deployed in the middle of the battle field to guard against Royal Mamluks. While one unit of Charging Lancers was deployed in between Pike blocks in case the enemy cavalry moved forward to slow down the advance of my infantry.

Deployment of the Armies.

Mamluks - Turn 1

Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions

Royal Mamluks

The Mamluks seized the initiative and advanced towards their enemies. The Royal Mamluks begun their enveloping manoeuvre, while the units on the opposite flank positioned to shoot at the advancing Seleucids. The first target, enemy skirmishers.

Seleucids responded with advancing on their left flank and sending one of the Phalangite units to stop the Royal Mamluks. 

Early stages of the battle.

Seleucids - Turn 2

Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions.

Seleucid Skirmishers vs Amir's Mamluks.

Both armies tried hard to achieve more advantageous positions than their adversaries. Maluks sent in their reserves through the uneven ground, using it to threaten the flank of one of the Phalagite units. That forced Seleucids to advance with the Companion Cavalry to intercept any charges.

At the same time the Mamluks evaded Phalangites on the left flank and focused on the enemy skirmishers.

Mamluks prepare to charge.

Mamluks - Turn 3

Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions.

Seleucid Skirmishers are chased away.

Seleucid skirmishers, in their attempt to exchange the fire with their enemies, created a dangerous situation. Mamluk commanders spotted an opportunity to create chaos among enemy ranks and sent in one of their units to attack. It resulted in catching Tarentine Cavalry, while Cretans and Horse Archers had to run away through their own units. More confusion followed and Mamluks made a breach in Seleucid lines.

At the same time, the attempts of Seleucid units to catch their enemies and force them to fight failed.

Chaos and confusion among Seleucid ranks.

Seleucids - Turn 4

Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions.

Final attempt by Seleucids to catch their enemies.

Seleucids made another attempt to catch their enemies but it failed as the infantry was simply way too slow to catch their mounted foes. One of the Charging Lancers unit clashed with the Mamluks but this fight was not yet conclusive.

To make things worse, Royal Mamluks continued their deadly shooting and this time the casualties were so heavy that the first of the Phalangite units broke. 

Only the night saved the Seleucids from complete disaster and they withdrew from the battle field.

Final positions of the armies.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.


Many thanks to Steve for a great game! Although I was totally out-manoeuvred and we didn't finish it, I think I learned a lot.

Mamluk force is very dangerous indeed. Combination of drilled units, professional generals and deadly shooting abilities means that it is very difficult to force this army to fight on your own terms. 

To make matters worse, I made mistakes with my own skirmishers. I created a situation where they had to run away through my own units. Instead of using them to slow down the enemy or even inflict some damage at the distance too, I ended up with a gap in the formation and units scattered and not supporting each other.

The quality of shooting of the Mamluks is high and I quickly discovered that. I am not sure how to address that issue at the moment. If I were to send my own cavalry they could have been shot to pieces even quicker than my infantry. 

However, I need to come up with a different plan for sure. Perhaps aiming at minimising the casualties in the games against similar foes should be the main goal?

I hope that despite unfinished game, you found it interesting and entertaining.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Pawel,

    Thanks for posting such great AAR's. I enjoy reading them and animations make it easy to understand the action. One thing I keep noticing, is it seems as if none of your games are finished [one army breaking]. As a new player to MeG and coming from ADLG, I wonder if its something with the rules, or the space/force ratio? You get through 4-5 turns but they are not conclusive. Whats your opinion on why the results are more akin to draws, with more maneuver than actual melee/shooting? I think in most all my ADLG games, we played to a conclusion in 2.5 hours. Interested in your feedback on this.


    1. Hi Dave,

      Thank you very much for your comment and kind words! I greatly appreciate that and I am very happy to know that the way I present the reports helps to understand the flow of the battle!

      It is true I am not finishing my games most of the time. I think I am the main reason. Despite more than 40 games I have played so far, only recently I started having these with the conclusion. In addition, according to the data from a few recent tournaments, the ratio is between 60% and 80% at the events. And some of them allow 3 hours per game instead of 3:30 hours we had at WinterCon.

      There are a few factors I noticed that contribute to the fact I am still rather slow player:
      - I didn't know my army - I was not sure what the units can and cannot do against particular opponents - it means that I was simply very cautious and it took longer to commit to the fight.
      - I didn't know the impact of the terrain - because of that I had to spend more time thinking on how I would like to deploy.
      - I didn't know the opponent - the way the armies are deployed means I don't even know what is the exact composition of the opposing force until it is deployed. It means it is difficult for me to anticipate the enemy formation. As a result I may sometimes attempt to re-deploy certain elements or simply have them in a wrong spot.

      I tried to address it by:
      - Learning about the capabilities of my own army - usually by sending them against any opponent in the games and observing the outcomes
      - Preparing certain type of terrain so that I know what I am going to place - it saved me time in pre-battle phase
      - Choosing to keep good cards for scouting in the pre-battle phase so that I have a chance to out-scout the opponent. If I succeed it may help to deploy some units in a more efficient way.

      I also noticed that my army usually needs more than 5 turns to either win or get broken. It may also contribute to the fact the battles are not conclusive. I still need to plan ahead better and have a clear idea of how I want to deploy (even if I don't know what type of units I am facing and where they are going to be) and how I need to manoeuvre.

      At this stage I often find myself in a position where I need to re-act to the enemy movements and/or think longer on what to do next.

      All in all, my games are not fair reflections on the system itself. I have a lot to learn still. I think I improved thanks to a few things I mentioned above as in my recent 7 games, 4 or 5 of them were conclusive.

      I do hope it is a trend that will continue and that I will keep improving so that I can play sufficient amount of turns to reach the final result if not in all, then at least in majority of the games. So that they are even more entertaining than usual!

      I think that it is reasonable to reach a conclusion in 3 hours. I just need more practice. I also wonder what I can do in between the games to be better prepared as well. I hope writing and analysing reports is helping in that matter as well!


  2. Pawel,

    Thanks for the feedback. It was sort of what I thought. In a lot of your games, your main battle troops are somewhat slow moving pike blocks, and if you don't double march them at turn 1, it will be hard to get them in action in order to try and force a conclusion. As a very new player myself [not played a full game yet-just doing the suggested 4 game learning battles], I can understand that the lack of knowledge with the troop types, and opponents, would make you slow down. I found, with ADLG, to identify my battle winners, try and put them in the best situation, and then put the pedal down, so to speak. Sometimes aggressiveness is a weapon itself. Keep up the great work on the AAR's. What do you use for your battle animations? I would love to do that on my blog too.


    1. Hi Dave,

      I definitely plan to write the reports from all my games! I think the next ones I have to prepare will be more interesting because majority of the games were finished.

      It is a good advise about the battle winners, usually that's the Phalangites. I want to push them to the fight as fast as I can. What I need to improve is the initial deployment and anticipation where they may be the most useful.

      For the maps I use Battle Chronicler: However, I need to prepare a separate map for each move and that takes some time. I then use free website to combine the maps for the animation.