Thursday, 1 March 2018

L'Art de la Guerre BadCon 2018 Tournament

A thing happened last weekend that hasn’t happened for a good while; I went to a wargames tournament.

Way back when DBM was king, this was a regular thing, but when Field of Glory took over, a ruleset that was very much not for me, I dropped out.

Over the last few months however, L’Art de la Guerre has gained significant traction in the UK and my club (Durham Wargames Group) has dived headfirst into this new game.  OK, its one its third edition and has been played on the continent for about 10 years…but its new to us. 

So, as ever, the Field of Glory crew were off to the BadCon tournament at Burton and as it’s a doubles event, my friend John asked if I’d partner up with him for the weekend away.

Sure, why not?!

So, the Tournament parameters were as follows:

350 points any book 1000AD—1250AD.
No Heavy Knights allowed.
Rules and table size as per 300 point game

OK.  Interesting.

John and I had a bit of a chat, and settled on a couple of armies, mostly it has to be said, based on the figures we had available!  Anyway, the two front runners were Nikephorian Byzantine and Tamil Indian.

We set about throwing them at each other, and at other proxied armies with two purposes in mind; 1. test the relative armies, and 2. try to learn the rules a bit more!  Because, lets face it, these rules are new to us and we seriously needed some practice.

For various reasons, best not gone into here, we decided on Tamils.  Oh go on then; mainly we chose them because they were fun to use.  We liked the fact that the impetuous troops forced you to be aggressive, and that we have a troop mix that could take on both mounted and foot troops with a fairly good chance of winning.  The only downside was if enemy knights going into our impetuous swordsmen – bad news there!

Anyway, here’s the list.

350pts / 45 units

Command 1
Competent commander
2x Med Cav Mediocre
2x Elephants
3x Med swordsmen impetuous
3x Bowmen
2x Lt Inf javelins

Command 2
Ordinary commander
2x Elephants
3x Med swordsmen impetuous
2x Levy
2x Lt Inf javelins

Command 3
Competent commander
3x Med swordsmen impact elite
3x Elephants
3x Med swordsmen impetuous
3x Lt Inf bow

Command 4
Competent commander
2x Med Cav Mediocre
2x Elephants
3x Med swordsmen impetuous
3x Bowmen
2x Lt Inf javelins

The next stage was to try the army out against another team.  John and I hadn’t played together before, so we needed to figure each other out.  We therefore had a couple of practice games against Mal and John and their Samurai army that was also going to BadCon.  Its safe to say we considered this a serious army to face, as it had a lot of advantages over ours.  In practice there were some losses and some wins, but lots and lots of learning.

The big weekend came and we drove the 3 hours south for a weekend of games, beer, Chinese food and general recreation!

So to Saturday morning and the games.  Our first ADLG tournament game…

Games in full swing - i'm sensing a certain demographic tendency to the participants.

In our first draw we found ourselves facing another South East Asian army in the shape of Martin Routh and Andy Wallace’s Khmer and Cham list.  Although they were about the same size as our army, they’d crammed 13 elephants into it compared to our 9 and some of theirs had artillery on their backs!  The payoff was that they infantry wasn’t quite as good.

John carfully places our levies, enruing we know exactly where they'll die.
We'll ignore the fact that our village and their field are the wrong shape...

The Khmer Burmese allies, because 9 elephants wasn't enough...they look splendid though!

The elephants clash!  At this stage, we're surprised to be in good positions on both flanks, but all the action is up front - there's ivory and trunks everywhere!

And as the battle dies down, our Tamils emerge from the carnage victorious!
It was a fairly brutal up-front fight and to our surprise we managed to pull a win out of the bag.  Martin and Andy were great chaps to play against and it was a fun, challenging game.

Happy to have our “only win” for the weekend, we set about lunchtime with gusto before rolling up for the second match of the day.

It’s at this point that I forgot I had a camera, mostly because playing ADLG is really quite intensive.  There’s a lot of concentration required.  So sadly I don’t have pictures from the rest of the weekend.

However, game 2 was against the largest army in the tournament; Dave Allen and Gordon Jamieson’s Christian Nubians.

This was quite a surprise as the army was filled with impetuous camelry!  This was ably supported by cavalry and infantry of course.  We lined up to find ourselves overlapped, but then Gordon dismounted his camelry, presumably no fancying their chances against our wall of elephants.

The game ensued and not only was it our closest match of the weekend, it was also possibly the most enjoyable wargame I’ve played in my *ahem* years of gaming.  The battle went right down to the wire and in the final turn, we were both teetering on our armies breaking.  We had the advantage of playing the crucial “break turn” and with a couple of points rallied back and a couple of kills inflicted we took the narrowest of narrow victories!  Dave and Gordon were top chaps and worthy opponents, and I very much enjoyed chatting with them throughout the weekend.

So John and I ended the day 2-0 up.  This was very much unexpected.

The evening passed in a blur of whiskey and Chinese grub, and Sunday morning came too quickly, and we started of course on the “top tables”.  This meant we’d be fighting other teams that had wins from Saturday.

Checking the draw we found ourselves facing the sort of army we’d expected to dominate – in the shape of Chris Tonge and Tony Parkin’s Communal Italians.

The armies lined up and facing us was a vast screen of skirmishers behind which there was a vast wall of very unpleasant European knights with heavy spearmen in support.  These would make short work of our infantry, but hopefully our elephants would do the business.

The game kicked off and our opponents engaged in some impressive mounted dressage with knights making a bid to get round our flanks.  Only our trusty infantry archers would stop them!  We adopted out usual, and so far highly successful (and only) tactic – a headlong charge into the jaws of death!  We charged the skirmishers off, smashed into the knights and their supporting spearmen and…

…in the swirling melee our swordsmen were cut to pieces.  Nil desperandum however as out elephants were having a field day and the Communal “Italians” (actually a farrago of European nations) knights were falling like nine-pins!  The battle didn’t last long from there and soo we’d won a fairly comfortable victory.

John and I were now 3-0 and neither of us could really believe it.

And so we came to the final battle and we thought it likely we’d be matched against Feudal English.  We didn’t mind that too much.  But then, it turned out we were facing Tim Porter (Madaxeman) and Adam Worsdale with their Samurai.
Having trained against Samurai armies we knew this could very much go one way or the other, so we pitched in and set up.

It’s safe to say that the terrain was disastrous for us.  We had a plantation splitting the battlefield and the Samurai had a hill to plant themselves on, pretty much shutting off our right flank.  So it fell to me on the left flank to try and do some damage while John held his flank back – attacking uphill would be a guaranteed loss.

Following our standard tactic I pushed in quickly, making it through the Samurai archery relatively unscathed.  That said I was severely outflanked with the Samurai cavalry threatening to envelop me, but I managed to contain the threat with my archers.

Then the lines clashed and a spectacular round of impact fighting saw the Samurai army essentially break.  Die roll after die roll went my way and despite taking losses in the ensuing melees, it was all over bar the shouting and two turns later the Samurai broke!

Pictures from Tims Facebook page.

The nellies approach...its all still in the balance...

The lines clash, the dice gods smile on our elephants and its all over...

Tim and Andy were fun chaps to play against and indeed we didn’t have a bad experience in any of our games.

We really couldn’t believe it, but in our first ADLG Tournament John and I had won!!

I expect this won’t be our last tournament, even if its our last trophy.

Edit: Our final opponents view of the action.


  1. This is a very nicely laid out blog post.

  2. The other side of Game 4 is now online as well at

    or in video on YOutube