Almoravid camels

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Andreas Johansson
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Almoravid camels

Postby Andreas Johansson » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:58 am

Hi,

I've been doing a little reading on the Almoravids lately, and while wargamer-ish detail is scant I've found several references to early Almoravid armies having few if any horsemen but plenty of camelry. This makes intuitive sense: we're speaking about armies raised in the Sahara after all.

Duncan Head suggests that there'd be little difference between a Lamtuna or Mafusa (which tribes formed the core of the Almoravid movement) camelman and a Tuareg one - one veiled man charging on a camel is much like another - so classification-wise these guys are probably Knights. The alternative is probably Bad Horse, since I can't readily imagine Jav Cav style skirmishing from camelback. Bad Horse wou'd make the abandonment of camelry seem more sensible, it is true, but then I belong to the school of thought that camel knights* being better than horseback cavalry is a rules artefact in the first place.

The shift to equine cavalry presumably happened after they got established in Morocco, but I'd be hard pressed to suggest a particular year. I was about to suggest the founding date of Marrakech as being as good a definition as any of "established", but I am reminded that the chroniclers can't agree which year that was. At any rate it should be before 1086 when Yusuf b. Tashfin crosses the Straits for the first time.

* There should be a word "chimelry" that relates to camelry as chivalry does to cavalry.

*****************************************************************************************************

A couple other comments on the Almoravid list:

Options like "only Almoravid in Spain" look like a fossil from a time when Almoravids shared a list with others.

There's no reason Turks should be restricted to Spain. I'd suggest separate lines for Andalusian Jav Cav, allowed only in Spain, and Turkish Horse Bow, allowed everywhere.

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David Kuijt
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Re: Almoravid camels

Postby David Kuijt » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:03 pm

Andreas Johansson wrote:Duncan Head suggests that there'd be little difference between a Lamtuna or Mafusa (which tribes formed the core of the Almoravid movement) camelman and a Tuareg one - one veiled man charging on a camel is much like another - so classification-wise these guys are probably Knights. The alternative is probably Bad Horse, since I can't readily imagine Jav Cav style skirmishing from camelback. Bad Horse wou'd make the abandonment of camelry seem more sensible, it is true, but then I belong to the school of thought that camel knights* being better than horseback cavalry is a rules artefact in the first place.

The shift to equine cavalry presumably happened after they got established in Morocco, but I'd be hard pressed to suggest a particular year. I was about to suggest the founding date of Marrakech as being as good a definition as any of "established", but I am reminded that the chroniclers can't agree which year that was. At any rate it should be before 1086 when Yusuf b. Tashfin crosses the Straits for the first time.

* There should be a word "chimelry" that relates to camelry as chivalry does to cavalry.


Hey Andreas,

Chimelry seems like something taken from a song in Mary Poppins. "Chim-chimelry, Chim-Chimelry, Chim-chim chimoo.."

Your timing on this comment is very good, as we are just starting the finalization of the Battle Cards, which includes the special rules for Charging Camels and Cataphract Camels.

Our current model for the Charging Camel or Armored Camel categories is as follows:
Charging Camelry or Armored Camelry

Cost: ½ per stand. Round fractions down (so a single stand with this ability costs 0).

Rules Change: Such camelry stands gain the following:

  • Dunes and Oasis are treated as open terrain for such stands, for all purposes.
  • Not shattered by enemy Elephants

In all other respects, they act as their main type (Knights if Tuareg Charging Camelry; Cataphracts if Armored Camelry).



That has exactly the issue you mention -- that Camel Knights are very strong against horsey combatants, which doesn't really match history and doesn't fit the fact that most camel-using peoples who had military success (conquering other cultures) switched to horses as soon as they could find, train, or afford them.

So here's another option we're discussing. This makes Camel Knights (Camel Cataphracts) into 3pt stands who don't fight nearly as well, but also lose some of the vulnerabilities of Horsey Knights:

Charging Camelry or Armored Camelry

Cost: -1 per stand.

Rules Change: Such camelry stands gain the following:

  • Fight in close combat as their base type with a -1 combat modifier
  • Dunes and Oasis are treated as open terrain for such stands, for all purposes.
  • Not shattered by enemy Elephants or Javelin Cavalry

In all other respects, they act as their main type (Knights if Tuareg Charging Camelry; Cataphracts if Armored Camelry).


That would make them both 3pt stands that are sometimes dominant, but pretty scary on both sides.

Comments?

DK
DK

Andreas Johansson
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Re: Almoravid camels

Postby Andreas Johansson » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:35 pm

First thought - and I'm primarily having hypothetical Almoravid camel-knights in mind here - is that they should probably still be shattered by Jav Cav, or they'd be too good against their replacements. 3:2QK can go either way, straight 3:2 not so much.

Otherwise I like it. Seems more like the sort of power level I feel camelry should have.

(Tangentially, the new proposal makes them rather similar in effect to DBMM Camelry (S), who mostly inflict and receive the same combat outcomes as Knights, but have combat factors of one less and treat dunes and oasis as good going.)

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David Kuijt
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Re: Almoravid camels

Postby David Kuijt » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:46 pm

Andreas Johansson wrote:(Tangentially, the new proposal makes them rather similar in effect to DBMM Camelry (S), who mostly inflict and receive the same combat outcomes as Knights, but have combat factors of one less and treat dunes and oasis as good going.)


Never played DBMM (or DBM, for that matter). I'm distressed to hear that someone else had the same idea first. To reassure myself, I'll pretend you never mentioned that...
DK

Andreas Johansson
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Re: Almoravid camels

Postby Andreas Johansson » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:38 am

Another Almoravid thought: it's tempting to to assume that the Saharan wing of the Almoravids continued to use camels in greater numbers than the Moroccan and Andalusian ones. However, the chroniclers more-or-less completely lose interest in events south of the Anti-Atlas after the death of Abu Bakr in about 1087.


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