Conquest 2018, Pt. 3

17 November, 2018

The final day of Conquest was three BBDBA games. A lot hinged on the initial dice roll for who was the invader and got to set up second. As an army characterised by Phil Barker as particularly aggressive, the Later Carthaginians should have had the advantage here, but on this occasion they allowed themselves to be invaded for the first two battles.

  • 1. Polybian Romans (Keith)

The first battle was against Keith’s Polybian Romans. I placed two large marshes and a difficult hill. The command with the Gallic Warband commander set up behind the hill; the spear were in the middle and the left flank with the C-in-C had a marsh occupied with two psiloi.

The Carthaginian right flank and central commands.

The two armies opposed; the Carthaginian left flank command can be seen in the foreground.

The Roman right flank and centre.

Their left flank.

I came to realise that the terrain was not working to my advantage, and things stagnated with neither side able to make much progress in the time was called. On the left flank the cavalry had to retire before the advancing foot.

Initial advances.

Working at correcting things.

On the right flank the warband struggled to move over the hill, and the command range of the commander slowed down the advance of the psiloi, who were needed to support the Spanish scutati.

Slow progress on the right flank.

At the time the game ended the Carthaginian centre was almost broken (a flanked spearman refused to break), the warband were starting to put pressure on the right flank, but were disorganised by the hill. On the left flank a stalemate had resulted.

  • 2. Athenians with Thessalian allies (Colin)

Against Colin’s Greeks, the Carthaginians were again defending. Colin had cavalry seeking to destroy exposed psiloi on my left flank, and on the right flank they had Thessalian cavalry facing the Numidians.

Athenians with Thessalian allies on their left flank.]

The opposing Carthaginian left flank.

Their right flank and centre.

Things did not go altogether to plan for the Greeks, and the Athenian cavalry were briskly destroyed by valiant Libyans. This precipitated a collapse on that flank.

Libyan javelinmen gloriously see off Athenian cavalry, while Numidians rush to fill an anticipated gap.

The Numidians were trying to bolster the threat to the left flank. As it turned out, two of them could turn round, while two stayed to exploit the advantage. The Athenian light troops were no match for the Spanish, and soon the Gauls were ululating their way forward.

The Athenian right flank starts to fold as their light troops break and the Gallic warbands surge forward.

On the other flank, things were not so happy.

Thessalians have the Carthaginians at a disadvantage.

However, the Carthaginians had a lucky escape, when the Thessalian commander was killed.

Disaster for the Thessalians as their commander is killed.

For all this, the Thessalian cavalry still had the Carthaginians at a disadvantage.

Despite the loss of their general the Thessalians continue to apply pressure.

The Gauls broke the Athenians right flank, but not before two warbands were broken. They spent a few turns mopping it up (in hindsight I should have remembered that it should have been removed after losing half of their elements; this was possibly crucial). Meanwhile, the Carthaginian centre was faltering and eventually broke.

The Carthaginian centre breaks.

When time was called I need one more element to win. I might have got it had I remembered that a command is removed as soon as half of it has been destroyed; I might have gained an extra turn to get that last element. For all that, I was under pressure on the right flank and had my centre collapsing.

  • 3. Seleucids (Gordon)

Finally, in the last game I was the aggressor against Gordon’s Seleucids. I exploited this to the hilt in choosing which commands faced which.

The Seleucid left flank facing Carthage invading Syria.

Their centre and right flank.

Taking note of where the Seleucid cavalry was, the Carthaginians chose to have their light troops in the centre to face the phalanx. Their spearmen would hold the right flank defensively, and the cavalry on the left flank could exploit their numbers against psiloi and light horse, while the Numidians faced the xystophoroi.

The Carthaginians meet the phalanx with light troops and the elephants and chariots with spearmen.

Massed cavalry face the beleaguered Seleucid right flank.

The two armies opposed.

The light troops advance while the spearmen wait.

Cavalry swarm forward on their left flank.

The Seleucid scythed chariots proved ineffectual, and the centre and right flank waited while the left flank sought to exploit its advantage. It did this rapidly. It lost two Numidians to the xystophoroi, but in the end prevailed so that the cavalry could chase down the exposed psiloi. Meanwhile, the rest of the Seleucids were advancing, but were unable to gain a significant advantage, and the phalanx was waiting to be rolled up on its exposed flank. At this point the Seleucid general capitulated.

The Seleucid right flank has collapsed and the phalanx is defenceless. The Seleucids capitulate.

The Seleucid elephants on their left flank had routed some Spanish scutati, but overall had made little impression in the short time they had before their other flank collapsed.

I was pleased with how the Carthaginians performed. I think the aggression dice is hugely significant for BBDBA. I wonder if deploying with alternating commands might not reduce this a little.

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Goblin Stronghold

14 November, 2018

The Goblin’s stronghold.

Years ago I started a stronghold for my HoTT Goblins. I made the base and chose the figures, but never got around to finishing it. This week I finally got it out and got it finished. It’s fairly macabre. Are the Goblins preparing a barbecue?

Another angle.

I have started to move my paints to dropper bottles, and it seems I’ve mixed the Goblin green thicker than I did in the past. These two are very dark, while the axe-wielding one is much lighter (I painted him years ago). The Goblins are Chariot figures, and the other figures are all Donningtons.

And another angle.

I hope to get some more HoTT figures painted soon; Heroes and Magic Users for my human armies to start with.

Conquest 2018, Pt. 2

13 November, 2018

After lunch on Saturday I had a chance to get my newly painted Syrians out. I realised, with relief, that they would not have to face Eric’s Hussites, and, with disappointment, that they would not meet Robin’s Ottomans. I’d had a couple of games the Monday before with Grant facing Normans impersonating WotR English, as there were two of those armies here, and I’d not learned how to face ranged elements well. I did better in the second of the games with Grant, which buoyed me up somewhat.

  • 1. War of the Roses English (Keith)

Their first encounter was with the Keith’s WotR English. And sure enough, I was defending. However, the English did not go for too much terrain.

The Syrians.

I deployed my Adath militia on a dificult hill and the rest of my army spreading out to the right of it.

The English.

Facing them the English deployed their artillery next to an enclosure (RGo) and on their open right flank they had a solitary cavalry, although their reserve would be able to reinforce it.

I hoped to attack the artillery with my javelinmen and archers; and I succeeded in getting the two Bedouin behind their lines, where they destroyed an element of billmen. The archers attacked the artillery on its flank, forcing it to turn to face. The English commander and the reserve billmen responded to the Bedouing threat. Overlapped by the billmen and attacked by the general, one of the Bedouin nearly won the battle, rolling 6 to 2. It was a stick!

Bedouin get behind the lines.

On my next turn, I rolled 5 PiPs and becoming shaken by the enemy shooting (one of the Syrian cavalry had broken), I charged into the echeloned enemy line. It was a disaster. I’d somehow miscounted the enemy, and my elements did not end up facing the ones I thought they would. My general outdid the English one, rolling a humiliating 1 to lose the game.

In hindsight, the attack was folly, but it it uncomfortable receiving fire, and I couldn’t see a way of improving the situation for the Bedouin (the Turkomans might have been able to join them).

  • 2. Aztecs (Colin)

For my second battle I was more comfortably defending, and I did not make it easy for the Aztecs, chosing a small hamlet (BUA), a gentle hill and a road.

The Aztecs, splendidly painted.

The Aztecs massed their hordes on their right flank and their psiloi on their left. I had the luxury of deploying to choose my targets. My javelinmen and the horde faced the psiloi, while cavalry faced the warband and blades. My light horse screened the hordes.

The Syrians.

On contact the general destroyed some blades and the warband went down to some ghulams. Elsewhere their general recoiled the other Ghulams, as did their psiloi my javelinmen.

Contact!

Their general opted to retreat to the hill, while the hordes flanked and destroyed a Bedouin LH. On my turn, the ghulams destroyed another blade, and the javelinmen and archers got a psiloi to break the enemy’s resolve.

Victory!

That was the last outing for the Syrians, as my next round was a bye. I was sitting second by my count, but my hope of winning rested on Keith’s English defeating Eric’s Hussites, as he had secured two more points in his defeat against me than I got in my defeat to Keith. As it turned out, his Hussites proved too tough for the English and I came second. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day — good opponents and good games played in a good spirit. I’d like to thank Keith for organising it!

Conquest 2018, Pt. 1

12 November, 2018

This is the sixth Conquest DBA competition I’ve taken part in; my first was in 2009, and then there was a hiatus between 2012 and 2015. This time I took my Later Carthaginians again and the Syrians. I didn’t get the veteran spearmen painted in time for the trip, but there were a couple of new figures, more Libyan skirmishers, and some Liby-Phoenician cavalry; both of these elements were heroic on occasions.

The first day was DBA and the Carthaginians had three battles in the morning. It started with the ill-omened discovery that the white shielded spearmen had had a shield fall off.

  • 1. Early Mycenaeans (Robin)

Up first was Robin’s Early Mycenaeans, with a menacing combination of heavy chariots and pike. I was the attacker.

Early Mycenaeans.

Another angle.

I was able to arrange my psiloi to neutralise his phalanx, and my spear and Numidians to face his chariots. On the flanks my match-ups were favourable too, and the general formed a reserve for the spear.

The Carthaginians.

Early up the new Libyan skirmishers routed some pike (6-1) and the blue shields did likewise to some heavy chariots; the white shields were less steadfast (disconcerted by the loss of one of their shields). The green shields recoiled the enemy general, while the Numidians suckered in their opposing chariots.

After the initial rounds of combat.

The battle developed rapidly; the general filled the gap left by the departing white shields, and the Numidians destroyed their opposing chariots. Meanwhile, the enemy general routed the green shields. However, the Numidians moved across and taught him a stern lesson, winning the game.

Victorious against one squadron of chariots, the Numidians then triumph over to the enemy general.

This was the first general’s scalp for the Numidians, but by no means their last.

  • 2. Palmyrans (Eric)

Next up I faced Eric’s Palmyrans. I was again attacking. These had a fort positioned with mathematical precision on the field. I opted to have the fort on my battle line, and Eric garrisoned it with a bow element.

The Palmyrans and their fort.

I deployed to try to take the fort on the first turn.

The Carthaginian deployment.

Another angle.

The white shields were comforted to see their shield returned owing to the magic of Blutak. On the first turn I saw the Palmyrans advance with fearsome speed, and I failed to take the fort. I was then hampered by PiP dice of 1 or 2 for most of the game. Early up the blue shields fell to the enemy commander, and the Libyan skirmishers were routed by cataphracts. Things were looking bleak, but then the green shields took the fort on a solo assault and while the Balaeric slingers scorned the dangers of the opposing cataphracts and light horse for three turns, the Carthaginian cavalry destroyed an archer. The white shields had destroyed a cataphract unit (showing the difference a shield makes!). However, the enemy commander had destroyed one of the Numidian cavalry.

Things swing back towards the Carthaginians. The new Liby-Phoenician cavalry shine against archers.

On the turn that the second archer fell, the Balaeric slingers decided they’d done enough and retired. The game was now balanced 4-4. I rolled a handsome 3 for PiPs (the most since the first turn). I decided to bring the spearmen out of the fort and attack again with the Numidians. The double overlapped general was defeated and the Numidians collected their second scalp.

After the general is routed.

This was a very satisfying victory. I could bemoan my PiPs, but my troops resisted shooting with great determination, and my combat dice were good when it mattered.

  • 3. Seleucids (Gordon)

The Carthaginian’s last outing for the day was against Gordon’s Seleucids. Again I was the attacker. And again I opted to face the phalanx with psiloi.

Seleucid deployment.

Carthaginian deployment.

The Carthaginians saw off the scythed chariot (against their spear). As the lines meet, Seleucid psiloi are overpowered by the Carthaginian cavalry and the Balaeric slingers flee the phalanx. However, one of the spear is routed by an elephant.

Early situation.

On the left flank the last psiloi fled, and the Seleucid general attempted to stabilise things. However, the Balaeric slingers demolished two elements of pike to win the game. The Gauls sat out their second battle, never moving.

Victory. The double-overlapped pike is destroyed.

The morning was hugely successful for the Carthaginians; all but the Gauls had been in the action, and the light troops had proved very dangerous.

Syrians ready to fight

4 November, 2018

The Entire Syrian Army.

After what seems a long time, I’ve finally got enough figures finished so that I can field the Syrians. All the mounted options are painted, but there are more foot options that I have still to paint. For strict accuracy if I want to be able to field all the options for IV/6 I’d need to get a different command for IV/6c and one more Syrian cavalry (I’m using a Ghulam element instead).

The last four elements were the Bedouin light horse and the Syrian cavalry.

Bedouin Light horse.

Another angle.

From behind.

Another angle.

This army has plenty of light horse and cavalry, but it doesn’t have much interesting infantry support. It’ll just have to rely on its good looks!

Syrian Cavalry.

Another angle.

From behind.

Another angle.

It’s going to be a bit of a rush getting the Carthaginian veteran spear finished in time for Conquest; however, I have fallback figures, so it’s not the end of the world if I don’t.

Turkomans

1 November, 2018

Turkoman Light horse.

The Syrians are a little closer now, with two elements of LH finished. These are Turkomans. The Legio Heroica figure are very nice, but they have quite a lot of crud on them, which shows up as one with a large ear, and another two with large hands. I tried to clean them up with a Dremel, but didn’t really get all of it.

Another angle.

From behind.

Another angle.

Next up will be the two Bedouin LH and then finally two Syrian Cv. I should get them on the table at least once before travelling to Conquest with them.

I’ve also got myself a paint shaker from Robart, and I like it. I’ve order a whole lot of empty bottles like the Vallejo ones and plan to move all my paint into them; I expect a lot of the paints will need to be chucked, which is not a bad thing. The spur for this was the decline of my GW Brassy Brass. I eventually decided to buy the Vallejo equivalent and like it. And one thing led to another (as it does when you’re procrastinating about an essay!).

I got a can of Molotow Matt Varnish; it’s better than the Testors I’d been using, which is really satin. However, these figures still look a bit glossy, so may need another coat.

More ghulams

28 October, 2018

I’ve been busy this last week, and the progress on the Syrians has not been much. However, yesterday I got a bit done; all the remaining elements are a little closer to completion, and I completed the command element, the Syrian commander with his ghulam bodyguard.

The Syrian Commander.

The army is now halfway done, with just two more elements of cavalry (both Syrian) and four elements of light horse (Turkomans and Bedouin). They should get done later this week.

Another angle.

From behind.

All the Ghulams.

Strictly one of these elements should be Syrian cavalry, but getting the extra pack of figures would have pushed up the postage. The extra ghulams will allow these figures to morph into other armies in time.