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My trip to Milan ITC 2016
This is my fourth year going to Milan for the ITC. This year may be my last year of joining ITC in a foreseeable future since I need to take care of my son's academic result. Thus I would like to prepare a summary for the trip this year in order to commemorate it.
I arrived at Milan on 3/3/2016 from Firenze. Actually I arrived at Italy on 29/2/2016 to pay a visit to Rome and Firenze. I arrived to Italy earlier because I wanted to reduce the effect of jet lag.
I am going to play Pool 3 and the composition of Team Yellow Dragon is as below:
Pool 1 - Marco Boniardi - Hittite Empire
Pool 2 - Albert Leung - Koguryo Korean
Pool 3 - James Cheung - Sui Chinese
Pool 4 - Herbert Wong - Burgundian Ordannance
My army composition is as below:
C1- CiC RCvS, 3 RCvS, 4 RKnF, 2 RCvO, 2 RLhF, 16 IHdO - 34ME
C2- SG RKnX, 2 RBwX, 4 RSpI, 2 RArt(O), 2 RArt(I), 4 RPsO, 20 IHdO - 30ME
C3- SG RKnX, 4 RKnX, 4 ILhS, 2 RPsO, 14 IHdO - 28ME
C4 - 6 RBgI - 12ME
This army is exactly the same to what my temamate, Herbert Wong, has used in ITC 2015.
4/3/2016 Friendly Game
Opponent : Marco Cioffi
Army : 2-83 Later Visigothic
Before the trip I have already arranged a friendly game with Marco on Friday, the day before the ITC. He was in the same pool as me.
This army was not designed to deal with warband army and I took extra care to deal with this army since Warband can quick kill 2 ranks of Hd in any terrain. My army could be melted away like cheese if those Wb could be able to reach my Hd. I used another version of Sui army so that I did not need to reveal the exact composition. The following was the army I used for this game.
C1- CiC RKnX, 4 RKnX, 5 ILhS, 6 RPsO, 12 IHdO - 30ME
C2- SG RCvS, 1 RKnF, 3 RCvS, 2 RCvO, 2 RLhF, 12 IHdO - 26ME
C3- SG RCvS, 3 RBwX/O, 2 RArtO, 10 IHdO - 18ME
C4- AG ICvS, 1 ICvO, 4 ILhS - 11ME
C5 - 6 RBgI - 12ME
I defended and chose 2 difficult hill, 1 wood, 1 BUA and an unpaved road. I successfully placed a difficult hill on my side and put nearly all of my Hd in it. Even though Hd suffers a -1 in CC in difficulty going, Hd could claim defending uphill while Wb did not enjoy support from rear rank. The odd is +2 verus +3, better than in open ground in which the odd was +2 verus +4. My right wing was open and suitable for cavalry action. I also placed my allied command on my left and hoped that it could delay the enemy long enough for me to achieve a breakthrough on my right wing.
I successfully put nearly all my mounted on the right wing and put a lot of pressure on the enemy cavalry. All my Ps also advanced forward to protect the flank of the mounted and also to delay the advance of the enemy warband.
I successfully disheartened Marco's big cavalry command but he immediately put away all his remaining elements from the front to avoid the command from being broken. At the same time I suffered from some bad dice and all my KnX and LhS in C1 were suddenly gone. Together with the broken of my allied command and the transmission of the ME loss, it was sufficient to break my army. 22-3 to Marco.
The game gave me some idea on how to deal with warband and if I need to face Marco again I was prepared. The game was very crucial as I really have to face Marco again in Game 3.
5/3/2016 Game 1
Opponent : Mark Gibson
Team : Mercenaries
Army : 3-65 Nikephorian Byzantine
My first games was against Mark Gibson, my teammate in ITC2014 and also the first runner-up in Chariot Pool that year. It was always good to play with old friend and I was also confident in dealing with Nikephorian Byzantine. The following is the OOB of his army:
C1- CiC RCvS, 5 RCvS, 3 RLhS, 2 IAxSm, 2 RPsO, 2 IKnF - 28ME
C2- SG RCvS, 5 RBwX/O, 3 RPsS, 2 RPsO, 2 RArtO, 1 IBdO - 18ME
C3- SG RCvS, 4 RBwX/O - 12ME
C4- SG RCvS, 2 RCvS, 2 RLhS - 12ME
C5 - 7 RBgF - 14ME
I was defender and needed to deploy first. My army was strong in mounted and needed room to deploy and thus I just choose a wood, a gentle hill, a BUA and an unpaved road. Mark choose a 2 FE rough hill and is able to land on the centre of the battlefield. This rough hill was crucial to what to be happened next.
Since Nikephorian Byzantine can be a very mobile army I put my C2 in front rank while supported by the RKnX in C3. I put all my mounted reserve at the rear and gave it the largest pip. With an unpaved road on my halve of the table I should be able to concentrate my mounted in any sector once Mark's deployment was revealed. Mark put all of his mounted on his left wing where the open ground was suitable for mounted action. However, he knew that his mounted was outnumbered both in quantity, quality and ME. Thus he put all his mouned at his side long table edge in order to be pinned down by my force. He put all the infantry at the centre and right wing and was ready to advance on the rough hill.
I moved first and I adanced my ILhS to be followed by all my artillery, RKnX, and all my mobile reserve. However, I could not pin down Mark's main force as they were too far away. Mark only left some delaying force, including some of his LhS, mounted AxS and ArtO, and all his main force retreated toward the rough hill. At the same time, Mark's BwX started inflicting damage on my HdO screen by shooting after clearing my first line of HdO by close combat.
My mobile force succeeded in destroying Mark's delaying force and I also diverted my KnX to my left wing in order to stablized my HdO screen as well as hoping to trap Mark's cavalry. However, Mark's redeployed most of his force on the rough hill. My main striking force approached the rough hill cautiously, avoiding being charged downhill by Mark's CvS. My C2 command was close to broke since it suffered a lot from the bow fire of Mark's BwX but at the same time my LhS was ready to advance to loot Mark's baggage. Time was called at this momemt and both side only suffered more than 10% loss. 13-12 to Mark.
Mark is a veteran player. He wittingly avoided combat with my main mounted striking force and without enough heavy infantry I was helpless in dealing his BwX in rough terrain. However, my big ME also helped me in surviving long enough to catch up Mark's delaying force. An interesting game.
5/3/2016 Game 2
Opponent : Neil Fox
Team : Barbarossa
Army : 2-82 Patrician Roman
With a total point of 79 we had to face another top team in Round 2. This time it was Barbarossa, a team we had faced for 3 consecutive years. In the last 2 years I had faced Thomas and Arnim and this time I was going to face Neil Fox, IMHO one of the best players in this tournament. However, I was not scared as my team has a pretty good record against Barbarossa. Neil was going to use Eastern Patrician Roman in year 477AD. I had faced this army before and was expecting a lot of LhS supported by KnF and KnX. I was totally wrong. The approximate composition of Neils's army is as below:
C1- CiC RKnF, 12 RAxS, 6 RPsO, 2 RPsS - 24ME
C2- SG RKnF, 2 RKnF, 3 RKnX, 6 RLhS - 24ME
C3- SG RLhS, 12 RBdO, 6 RPsO, 6 IPsS - 26ME
C4 - 6 RBgF - 12ME
This time I was invader and I choose 2 gentle hill and 1 wood. Neil choose 2 1/2FE DH, 2 1FE vineyard, 1 1FE BUA and an unpaved. I placed my wood on my right flank in order to have a flank secure. Then Neil put those 2 DH on my base edge and my left flank. With the help of the DH on my left flank he could be able to place a vineyard. Neil was able to put another vineyard near to my wood. Finally Neil wsa able to have a road running from one short edge to another and thus he was able to put the BUA on the centre of the battle. With no room my army to deploy and maneuver this battlefield was very bad for my army.
Neil deployed his AxS facing the BUA while supported by the BdO on their right. The mounted were all placed behind them to act as an reserve and the for finally coup de main. I put my C2 on front row with all the Art facing Neil/s BdO. It was supported by C3 which was in second row. AThe remaining mounted in C1 were placed at the last to deal with the main strike of the Roman. Actuall such a deployed was not good since the battlefield was full of difficult terrain and my mounted could not interpentrate the HdO I had only little room for maneuver.
What was going on next was a nightmare to me. Neil gave his AxS corp the largest pip and thus he was able to move his AxS freely inside the BUA. He kept his BdO and Kn out of my artillery range and at the same time sent his Lh to threaten my right flank. I was sitting duck as I was unable to counter the movement of Neil's AxS. My HdO were killled one by one by the AxS advancing forward from the BUA. After dealing all the HdO on my front row the AxS retreated into the BUA again.
With my C2 gone Neil's BdO advance forward to deal with my C3. It was not a good idea to use KnX to fight against BdO as KnX counts as inferior against Bd and Bd can gain support from second rank of Bd even though Kn can quick kill Bd. Furthermore, my mounted would easily be hard falnked by the Axs in the BUA which were occupied in a very good central position. Neil also advanced his mounted against my second line of HdO with the support of the AxS which were redeployed from the BUA. It was basically a slaughter of HdO and with my second line of HdO were picked up one by one C3 was also gone. 25-0 to Neil.
6/3/2016 Game 3
Opponent : Marco Cioffi
Team : Gepanta
Army : 2-83 Later Visigothic
I was happy to face Marco again as he is a very nice guy. On the other hand, both side were ready to face each other and thus this time the game would be more intense.
I was invader this time and I chose 2 1FE difficut hill. Marco chose 1 2FE wood, 1 1FE BUA and 2 1/2FE rough going. Marco placed his wood on his right falnk and thus his right flank was secured. One of my DH was also landed on Marco's side and thus his main deployment area would on his left wing. Another DH was landed on my side and I put it on my left flank so that I hope that the main killing ground would be on the open area on my right wing. However, Marco placed his BUA on his left short table edge and also able to place 1of his RG at the centre of the battlefield. Thus he successfully blocked my mounted movement on both wings and force me to face his impetuous warband at the centre. This terrain was no good for my army.
Marco deployed his big cavalry command on his left wing, warband in the centre and psiloi on his right wing. His KnF were held in reserve. I put my C2 on the left wing with artillery facing Marco's difficult hill and C3 on my right wing with all my LhS facing Marco's cavalry in order to lure them forward so that I can have my decisive cavalry battle. C1 was held in reserve to deal with any situation. I put my C1 the biggest pip and should be able to deploy in any threaten area in 1 bound.
Marco quickly advanced his cavalry and warband forward. With the protection of the rough going, my KnX could do nothing against the advance of those warband. My pip dices on the first bound were very bad with only 2,2, and 1, I was unable to adjust my line to face the onsalught of Marco's warband and cavalry. I had no choice but to sacrifice my LhS to engage Marco's cavalry in order to buy some time. Luckily the charge of those LhS did inflict some damage and barely able to give me some time for my mounted reserve to arrive.
With the loss of my LhS I was able to form a line facing the warband and cavalry. Mt psiloi were also able to delay the advance or even change the course of advance of some warband column. Although my mounted were superior in quality than that of Marco's cavalry, this time my RCvS and RKnF could not inflict much casualty on his cavalry and in turn suffered some loss on KnF. Luckily my KnX were able to kill all the warband on the front row which were in good going. This stop the advance of some of Marco's warband and they remained staying inside the rough going for the rest of the game.
With the help of big ME I was quite sure my army would not be broken as happened in my last game. At the same time I was unable to break Marco's army as I was also unable to break Marco's cavalry command by my mounted reserve. My aim this time was not to loss any point to Marco. The crisis came when some of his warband finally able to contact my artillery and heavy foot. If my artillery and heavy foot were gone my C2 command might broke. I did not have too much reserve left to deal with the situation. Lady Luck was smiling on me at this moment and I was able to hold long enough. I also disengaged my mounted reserve and formed a cohesive line. Time was call at this moment and the final score was 13-12 to me.
Overall a very tight game and if Marco had better luck he might be able to break at least one of my commands. On the other hand, I was also unlucky as my KnF could not do any real damage on Marco's cavalry. Marco is a very nice guy and hope that I can play against him in the future.
6/3/2016 Game 4
Opponent : Diego Zullich
Team : Alabardieri di Trieste
Army : 2-76 Koguryo Korean
My last match was going to play against Koguryo Korean of Diego Zullich. Diego is an old friend of Team Yellow Dragon. He has sold his Sykthian army to one of my friends in Hong Kong in 2014 and i have helped in bringing the army back from Milan to Hong Kong! Moreover it was nice to face against Koguryo Korean as my teammate, Albert, also used this army for the competition and thus I have played against this army many many times before. Actually I once considered using this army for this year competition and I was confident I could have better result in this match.
C1- CiC RKnX, 4 RBdO, 4 RBwO, 8 RPkO - 24ME
C2- SG RKnX, 3 RKnX, 12 IPkF, 4 IBwI, 4 IPsO - 24ME
C3- SG RKnX, 4 RKnX, 9 ILhS, 4 IPsO - 27ME
C4 - 6 RBgI - 12ME
The strength of this army are the combo of RKnX and ILhS supported by good solid heavy infantry. Regular baggage also helped to boost up the total ME. Its aggessive rating is zero and thus most of the time it can choose ample terrain and move first. However, being located in Cold climate region most of the invader will choose Spring to invade Koguryo Korean since there is chance that Korean's irregular LH may suffer from combat disadvantage after its side's 8th pip dice due to malnourished.
I was the invader and I choose to invade in Spring. I selected a 2FE of wood to cover my left flank so that I could concentrate all my mounted on my right wing to force a decisive cavalry battle. I also put some of my HdO inside the wood so that they would not be attacked by either the KnX or the heavy infantry of the Korean. I was also able to have a unpaved road on my own half of the table and thus i could move my mouned reserve from the centre to my right wing very easily. Diego choose a 1 FE of wood, 1 FE of BUA and 2 1FE of rough hill. Since he also want to have a decisive cavalry battle he placed one of the rough hill on my right wing so that his infantry could occupied the hill to support his cavalry movment on my right wing.
The weather score was 1 and thus Korean's ILhS would suffer combat disadvantage after its side's 8 pip dice. As expected, Diego concentrated all of his ILhS and most of his KnX on my right right wing and were supported by BwO, BdO and PkO which were all occupied on the rough hill. He also advanced his C2 on my left wing to threathen my C2 infantry command.
I also moved my mounted reserve from the centre to my right wing, to be supported by KnX from from C1. My C2 was to delay the advance of Diego's C2 and hopefully my Arts can do some damage on his BwI or KnX. Diego has placed his C3 on his side of his rough hill and out of reach of my LH. Without infantry support I dare not to advance beyond my side of the rough hill as it will be overlapped or flanked by the Diego's infantry on the hill. My plan was to wait until after Diego's 8 pip dice and the his ILhs would be suffered from combat disadvantage.
Diego's IBwI and IPkF were checked by my Ps and Art and suffered some casualties. On the other hand, I need to deploy my KnX to absord the bowfire of Diego's RBwO firing from the hill. After several bounds of inaction I decided to move my LH within striking distance of Diego's LH since it was close to Diego's 8 pip dice. Realizing his LH would suffer from combat advantage, Diego struck first. I finally had the cavalry action I was looking for in these 2 days. That day was not Diego's day. He threw a lot of 1 in the ensuring cavalry battle and all of the sudden all of his LH were gone. Even his KnX could not be able to quick kill my CvS. I advanced my KnF with the cover of the KnX to deal with Diego's remaining KnX. Finally his C3 was broken.
Seeing his C3 was broken, Diego retreated his C1 infantry into the rough hill and I had nothing to deal with it. At the same time my infantry C2 command were also hard pressed by his C2 command and thus I moved my mounted reserve from the right wing to the centre to support and hopefully could be able to break Diego's C2 Command. This move tokk times and Diego halted his advance of his C2 and withdrew backward to safety. Time was called when i was ready to advance again to deal with his C2 Command. 14-11 to me.
This game was the game I was looking for and the only real cavalry action in these 2 days. Diego was suffered from a lot of bad dice and otherwise i may not be able to break his C3 Command so easily.
My final score was only 39 and ranked 17 out of 20. My result was poor comparing with my past records:
My teamates, Albert and Herbert, were ths second runner up of Pool 2 and Pool 4 respectively. My other teammate, Marco Boniardi had a score of 53 and ranked 8 in Pool 1. I was Clearly the weakest link in my team. However, they did not scold me for performing badly. On the other hand they suported me all the way back to Hong Kong. I am so blessed that I have such wonderful teammates.
I also treasured the moment with other fellow wargamers. It was nice to chat with them and excahnge information and idea about DBMM and other wargaming.
I have to miss ITC for at least one year in order to look after my son's academic performance. However, I surely will be back in the future as I always treat ITC as the festival to meet friends.
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