Newer Normans

23 November, 2017

My first pair of DBA armies were Normans and Anglo-Danes. I didn’t entirely like either of them. I now have an Essex Norman army that has evolved out of getting some Essex dismounted knights, which I like, and getting given a bunch of Essex mounted knights years back. These knights had spaghetti spears and my interest in painting them was not high. When I replaced their spears I got a lot more interested, though progress is still slow, and there are many more elements that could be painted.

The Normans arrayed.

Currently I can field plenty of knights, mounted and dismounted, as well as archers and some very ragged horde. Spear, more archers and some pilgrims wait to be painted. These would allow them to morph into other armies around this time, such as Communal Italians and Early Crusaders.

The Norman camp.

I have quite an assortment of Essex camp followers and horde figures, so this camp was spoilt for choice for figures.

The mounted knights.

Another angle.

And another.

If you look closely at the banner in the last photo, you can see it’s unfinished. It should be a cross, but I used one off a round shield transfer, and forgot to paint in the centre. I’ve now done this.

The archers.

Another angle.

And another.

I somewhat regret giving the archers uniforms, of sorts. It was lazy. I almost mixed them up at the last minute, but didn’t. I didn’t take any pictures of the dismounted knights. I painted them ages ago. I’ll do that some time. The rest of this army, and heroes to allow it to morph as a HoTT army, are down the priority list at the moment; Mitanni come first, and then maybe Armenians and others to allow me to field a BBDBA Mithridatic army.


BBDBA Pyrrhus

22 November, 2017

In order to get my Successor and Hellenistic figures able to be fielded as a BBDBA Pyrrhic army I needed to get the Campanians painted, which I did. I also needed two other elements, one of Xystophoroi (3Kn) and one of Tarantine light horse. Fortunately I had these in my lead pile. The extra element of xystophoroi were originally Hellenistic heavy cavalry, but I can’t really see how they differ from the Freikorp xystophoroi. They’re nice figures.

Pyrrhus and his Xystophoroi.

Another angle.

And another.

The extra element of Tarantine light horse are Essex, but they match the Freikorp ones well enough.

Tarantine light horse.

Another angle.

And another.

Strictly I need to get a couple more elephants with turrets instead of using early successor ones, and paint a few more elements of pike, as two that I use for this army are actually Asiatic levy ones with trousers. However, as they fought bravely down at Conquest, I’m not in any hurry to do this.

Campanians at last

21 November, 2017

I’ve got a bit of catching up with putting my painting on the blog. I’ve spent a bit of time today using a new camera (and a tripod) and getting the settings right for the lighting I’m using. I’d say the results are better than what I was doing last year.

I have a nice little painting tray now, and storage for my paints.

The painting tray, lamp and other equipment.

The picture shows the lamp I use, one that has a magnifying glass built into it. It also shows my wet palette, which was working well last year, but now the baking paper is curling off the palette; perhaps it’s not damp enough. On the tray can be seen my Mitanni army taking shape. the foot should be done soon, and the chariot crew are progressing well. Then it will be a matter of getting the chariots assembled and painted, and the camp.

Otherwise I’ve updated the Army Page for my Southern Italian armies. The Campanians can now be fielded. I’ll aim to update the Numidians, Normans and Pyrrhic pages soon too.

The Campanian army.

Getting the Campanians done is quite an achievement, as they were started in 2010, and the figures may have been bought earlier than that!

Conquest 2017

14 November, 2017

A few months back I decided to go to Conquest 2017. I’d not had much chance to play DBA this year and I was keen to get along, as I’d enjoyed the year before a lot. It also seemed a good motivation to get some painting done. Very kindly Keith, the organiser invited me to stay at his place for the event, something I really appreciated.

As I said in my last post, I’d chosen both my armies as a motivation to get more figures that I already had painted. However, I was rather slow getting them finished, and didn’t get much practice before the event. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple of games with Mike the Sunday before. this allowed me to try out the Normans in DBA, where they got a lucky victory against Mike’s Ottoman Turks. And it allowed my to try Pyrrhus’s army against them in BBDBA. This was invaluable, as I’d organised the army in such a way that it wouls have struggled, I’m sure, but with the suggestions of Mike, it did very well.

I’d organised the army as follows:

  • Command Wing (medium PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x LH, 4 x 4Pk, 2 x Sp, 1 x Ps
  • Centre (high PIPs): 8 x 4Pk (cmd), 3 x El, 2 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (low PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The theory was that the elephants would help the pikes create a breakthrough in the centre (hence the high PIPs); Pyrrhus would have the next best PIPs with much of the cavalry and the Oscans with the best BGo troops would hold one wing.

Against the Ottomans the Oscans were defeated as they had no BGo to anchor on, the centre did not make much progress, and the elephants were destroyed by LH, nor did Pyrrhus. With Mike’s suggestion I rearranged them as follows:

  • Command Wing (High PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x El, 3 x LH, 2 x Sp, 2 x Ps
  • Centre (Low PIPs): 12 x 4Pk (cmd), 1 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (Medium PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The centre was intended to be solid and just trundle forward, while I sought to win on the wings. Pyrrhus, in particular, had a potent mix of elephants, knights and light horse.

  • Friday games

On the evening I arrived I had a couple of games with Keith. I used my Normans and he used his Samurai. In the first game Keith experimented with 6Cv. My archery destroyed them with exceptional dice. As a result of this Keith changed to a CP instead, and in the second game it was his turn to see his single archer do wonders. We finished a game a piece.

  • Saturday Morning (Ancients DBA)

Pyrrhus had a dreadful morning; he died against Jim’s New Kingdom Egyptians and again against Gordon’s Seleucids. However, both of these were close games, and with a bit more care I might have won. The last game, against Keith’s Carthaginians, was more humiliating. Clearly concussed from his two earlier battles, Pyrrhus failed to roll more than 2 PIPs for the entire game. As a result he sat facing the Carthaginians until in desperation, after his camp was sacked and his cavalry wing was disintegrating that he sent his pikes in an attack against the Carthaginian foot. This failed, and the Carthaginians won a victory without any of their army breaking.


Pyrrhus attempts to break the Carthaginian foot to no avail (though he doesn’t die this time — photo taken by Keith).

  •  Saturday Afternoon (Medievals DBA)

For the afternoon competition my Normans had Viking allies and were:

4 x 3Kn (cmd), 2 x 4Bd, 3 x 3Bw; 2 x 4Bd and 1 x 4Bw (allies).

The afternoon saw the Normans facing Brian’s Rajputs. I made the mistake of having the Rajput fort, and the BGo terrain on my baseline. I abandoned the idea of trying to take the fort, and was cramped as a result. In the end I killed the elephant C-in-C with mine, but that was on the turn that my army broke.

The second battle was against Ben’s Yi Koreans. The Koreans occupied a wood on my left flank and proceeded to chip away at my knights that milled around in range. Meanwhile on my left flank my archers advanced out of a hamlet into firing range of the Korean cavalry. Their response was to charge, which largely failed, and saw them take casualties. They came back, this time with their general, and were again defeated, giving the Normans a lucky victory. If they’d waited a turn and attacked with their general, they may have had more success (then again they’d have been shot at). Credit should go to the Viking archers, who shrugged off an extended rocket barrage by the Korean artillery.

The final battle was against Jim again. His Free Company were not too different from the Egyptians, having fast blades and archers, but knights instead of chariots. The fast blades proved deadly, getting stuck into the Vikings, who had occupied a hamlet. They destroyed them, with the support of some knights, before my archers could break up his main line of battle. After that, they were able to roll up my right flank.

Overall, I won only one game that day, and finished very near the bottom of the table. However, the points system favoured results over a draw, which is a system I think is good: 8 points for a win, 1 for a loss and 0 for a draw. Losses and draws got points for enemy destroyed too.

  • Sunday (Ancients BBDBA)

After such a bad showing on the Saturday, I didn’t approach the BBDBA with much confidence, especially as I was yet to win a game of BBDBA. My first game was against Keith’s Early Asiatic Successor army (Demetrius). I’d faced it last year with my Carthaginians. This time, however, I was the attacker, which meant I got to react to the entire deployment of Demetrius. This proved very useful, as the Oscans had the chance to avoid Demetrius’ xystophoroi and to contest a hill on the right flank.

In the centre my pike general deployed to the right of the opposing general, and on the left Pyrrhus deployed in reserve to meet the bulk of Demetrius’ elephants and knights. The advantage of deployment was complemented by favourable dice, and in the centre the pike to the right of Demetrius’ central commander was destroyed; he was soon flanked, but never flinched, and the centre remained otherwise static.

On the right, the Oscans hoplites withstood elephants and elephants successfully, and the auxilia were able to overcome opposing peltasts in order to start to threaten the cavalry general of that wing.


The Oscans approaching Demetrius’ left flank. Their hoplites face pike and elephants thoroughly undaunted.

However, it was on the left wing that the battle was decided. Demetrius had tried to change elements to avoid his knights facing elephants, but this left a hole in his line, and Demetrius himself had had to leave the reserve to join the battleline.

In the initial clash elephants faced off; one each fled, which gave the opportunity for one of Pyrrhus’ to attack Demetrius himself. This was the decisive combat, and the elephants finished off the commander giving Pyrrhus the advantage. He continued to exploit this by eventually overcoming pikemen facing his hoplites, as well as other casualties that I don’t remember now.


The crucial point on the left flank; elephants have fled in both directions, but one of Pyrrhus’ is able to turn on Demetrius himself.


The same point from a different angle. The pikes facing hoplites can be seen.

Meanwhile, some of Pyrrhus’ pikemen, dressed as Persian levy pike, had been defamed by Demetrius before the battle. Proving him wrong they eventually defeated the opposing pike (with cavalry support), breaking Demetrius’ second command and giving me my first BBDBA victory.


The beleaguered Demetrian pike general remains steadfast, but to his right his command collapses as Tarantine cavalry move up to overlap another pike block.

In the second battle I faced Brian’s Classical Indians. In this battle his fort was less dominant. However, when I looked at the terrain I considered trying to fight for the woods on my left with the Oscans. However, they would then face HCh, while the elephants of Pyrrhus’ command would be closer to his psiloi. I had the wings the other way around, which left me with only two psiloi to try to control the woods.


Pyrrhus faces Classical Indians.


Pyrrhus’ deployment from another angle.


And another angle.

As the battle unfolded, the Indians attempted to redeploy radically to face my deployment, and I tried to get across the board rapidly to trap his chariots behind his elephants and his line in disarray.

The plan met a hitch when the two psiloi were quickly destroyed by opposing archers. The elephants now risked being shot at and Pyrrhus and his knights were a cautious distance to their rear. In this unfavourable situation, the elephants decided to advance. They were met by opposing elephants, including the C-in-C. The odds were not good, but the dice gods favoured them, and I 6-1ed the C-in-C, doubling him. If Brian used his +1 the damage was worse, as he still died, fleeing into a HCh. He chose to die on the spot. All but one of my elephants was quickly destroyed, but the last one hatched a devilish scheme; attacking an elephant that had fled to the baseline. The hope was to lose, as he’d flee into a sub-general! He succeeded in this low devise, and in true Pyrrhic fashion succeeded in demoralising the command!


Just before contact. The elephants are almost in contact, while the Oscans are still a turn or two off. The game mat is one that I got on eBay from Poland. I’m pretty happy with it. The picture is another of Keith’s


Another picture by Keith of the same point. The psiloi can still be seen in the marsh on the left flank. The central command has a couple of elements of pike in reserve to replenish the back rank of the pike block; they are struggling to keep up.

My two remaining commands were now facing two headless chicken commands and the low PIP one. We ran out of time, but it was still closely balanced, although the Oscans were starting to look dangerous. All in all a great battle with its chaotic elephant battles!


The end of the battle with the Oscan auxilia looking dangerous. Even the camp was on the move!

For my last battle I faced Andrew’s Akkadians. I was the defender, for the first time in the competition. I deployed anchored on two patches of boggy ground. It was an interesting matchup against fast pike, and the Akkadians swept in very fast. However, the Epiriots proved too good, beating them at every point. In particular, the Akkadian horde on the hill facing the Oscans proved absolutely cowardly, and in the centre the Akkadian general, facing hoplites, was flanked and when the dice came up equal, the solid foot had the advantage and won.


Pyrrhus facing off against the Akkadians.


The Akkadian deployment.

However, it was Pyrrhus, in the only battle of the day he saw combat, that destroyed multiple elements. He came up into the battle line as it extended while his elephants tried to avoid facing psiloi. His inspirational leadership routed the enemy before him, and he took his second victory of the day.

This was my first victory against Andrew in a series of encounters that would have gone back to 2009, so I was pretty pleased. I suspect the unfinished bases of his troops may have demoralised them.

  • Summary

The competition was a lot of fun. All the games were played in good spirits. I learned a lot about how hamlets work and came away considering a number of projects. Perhaps one day my Norse Irish will have a Brian Boru CP, or I’ll make a CWg for some Communal Italians. Also I will have to make a hamlet.

I’d like to thank Keith for organising the competition and for having me stay. The venue, the Woolston Club, was also really pleasant. I miss anything similar, to my knowledge, up in Auckland. Finally Comics Compulsion deserve thanks for running the overall competition.

A few updates

13 November, 2017

It’s over a year since the last post. Straight after Conquest I got busy with a new job; it’s quietened down a bit now, but I’ve not got back to the blog to update what I’ve been doing recently. Since I last posted, and mostly in the last few months, I’ve played a few games of DBA, and got a couple of armies finished. These were preparation for Conquest 2017, which was last weekend. Therefore, it’s time to get some reports posted.

Firstly, when I decided to go to Conquest, I decided on two armies that would encourage me to get some armies finished, much as I’d done last year. This time I decided to get my Normans to a stage they can be fielded. This involved finishing four 3Kn that had been mostly done for over a year or more. In addition, I did a camp and three 3Bw. There are stacks of Sp to do, and more crossbowmen and archers, but I could field the Normans. I’ll look to getting the rest done soon to allow these to morph into some of the other armies of that period, such as Early Crusaders, Communal Italians and Papal Italians.

The other army I decided on was Pyrrhus for BBDBA; this required me to finish the Campanians to be Pyrrhus’ Oscan troops. It also required an extra element of xystophoroi (3Kn) and Tarantine cavalry (LH). In all, this was 8 figures of 3Ax (four were already done), 9 figures of Oscan cavalry and 5 figures of 3Kn and LH. What was particularly pleasing was that I didn’t need to buy any of these; I actually reduced the lead pile a little.

I’ll post some pictures of these figures soon. Otherwise, I played a couple of games of DBA with Joel a while back, and some with John and Nick (also now a while back). Finally the weekend before Conquest I got to the AWC for a game of BBDBA with Mike. This proved invaluable, as Mike critiqued my decisions around the commands I’d created. The changes were very effective at Conquest.

The Sunday was three BBDBA games. Points were given for breaking commands and for winning.

  • Game 1: Mark B (Palmyrans)

With my high aggression I was unsurprisingly the attacker against Mark’s Palmyrans. Mark went for an open battlefield with terrain only on one wing.

Palmyran deployment.

Palmyran deployment.

With a preponderance of cavalry facing my left wing, I thought I could meet it with Gisgo’s light horse and psiloi. Unfortunately, I forgot that light horse now can be double ranked, in which case they are 3-2 against psiloi.

The Carthaginian deployment.

The Carthaginian deployment.

The plan was that Hanno on the left wing would overpower the foot facing them, while Hiero held the centre and Gisgo the right wing.

Unfortunately, the dunes on the right wing hampered the cavalry outflanking, although they did destroy the three 3Bw on that wing. However, good shooting in the centre saw Heiro’s warband and cavalry shot, while Gisgo’s troops fought like demons to survive.

The Palmyrans on the Carthaginian right wing.

The Palmyrans on the Carthaginian right wing.

Despite their bravery, the centre collapsed, as did Gisgo’s command. In hindsight it would have been better to have had Hanno and Gisgo swap positions. Gisgo could have contested the dunes with his scutati, the LH could have stood up to the cataphracts, and the psiloi might have stood up to the bow, if they moved quickly. Hanno’s elephants would have worried the cataphracts, and the spear and cavalry could have supported them.

Mark also suggested that I might want to rethink my commands around two commands of 13 and one of 10. I’d certainly give it some thought.

  • Game 2: Keith (Asiatic Early Successor)

Against the aggressive Demetrius the Besieger, I was still the aggressor, but as he was littoral too, I had him worried that I might do a littoral landing.

The two armies arrayed.

The two armies arrayed.

Demetrius placed his elephants in the centre with large pike blocks on either side. Light troops and cavalry were on his wings.

Demetrius' left flank, wary of ship-born invaders.

Demetrius’ left flank, wary of ship-born invaders.

Demetrius' right flank with xystophoroi and cavalry.

Demetrius’ right flank with xystophoroi and cavalry.

Hanno thought to use Gisgo’s psiloi to neutralise some of the pike and his light horse to face the knights. He would take the right flank and attempt to break through the pike with warbands supported by elephants.

Hanno's deployment on his right flank.

Hanno’s deployment on his right flank.

Hiero in the centre and Gisgo on the left again.

Hiero in the centre and Gisgo on the left again.

Gisgo soon discovered that his scutati were outflanked by the light foot in reserve. The bad going on the right flank again slowed up the attack by Hanno’s cavalry. However, the psiloi did very well. Destroying half a pike block and stopping them from advancing. The scutati were even more resilient than in the last battle and scorned to be outflanked. Gisgo, despite being outclassed had his opposing command on the back foot. Hanno’s elephants and warband were doing good work on the right, but his spear did not like the elephants they faced, and Hiero was wilting before the pike.

Nevertheless, in the turn on which my commands broke, I was one of breaking two of Demetrius’ commands. The warband just needed to destroy another pike block, and I think that Gisgo was threatening the C-in-C having outflanked him.

Despite Gisgo’s heroics, I think in hindsight I should have gone for the same order of battle as I should have used against the Palmyrans. Gisgo would have been more effective on the right and Hanno on the left.

  • Game 3: Greg K (Eastern Patrician Romans with Later Pre-Islamic Arab Nomad Ally)

Surprisingly against Greg’s Romans I was the defender. This time I deployed with Gisgo on the right facing bad going that had congregated there. Hanno was on the more open left flank.

I took quite a few pictures of this game, so I’ll let them provide the commentary.

Carthaginian deployment.

Carthaginian deployment.

The terrain facing the Carthaginians.

The terrain facing the Carthaginians.

The Roman right flank with pre-Islamic Arab allies.

The Roman right flank with pre-Islamic Arab allies.

The Roman left flank with legions, warbands, archers and psiloi.

The Roman left flank with legions, warbands, archers and psiloi.

The Roman centre with auxilia, knights and a light horse reserve.

The Roman centre with auxilia, knights and a light horse reserve.

The Carthaginians surge forward.

The Carthaginians surge forward.

Gisgo's psiloi make a double move to contest the woods.

Gisgo’s psiloi make a double move to contest the woods.

Gisgo's scutati enter the woods.

Gisgo’s scutati enter the woods.

The Roman auxilia move to meet the elephants.

The Roman auxilia move to meet the elephants.

Hanno's cavalry advances to face the Arabs.

Hanno’s cavalry advances to face the Arabs.

Roman knight face Hiero's spear.

Roman knight face Hiero’s spear.

The centres about to clash.

The centres about to clash.

Psiloi flee.

Psiloi flee.

The auxilia are swept away by the elephants.

The auxilia are swept away by the elephants.

The Arabs are under pressure, but the Gallic warbands are split, losing mutual support.

The Arabs are under pressure, but the Gallic warbands are split, losing mutual support.

Hanno's spear and warband are ridden down by knights.

Hanno’s spear and warband are ridden down by knights.

The Roman light horse rout the elephants.

The Roman light horse rout the elephants.

Gisgo's command is under pressure.

Gisgo’s command is under pressure.

Hiero resists a flank attack, but the Carthaginian centre is gaping.

Hiero resists a flank attack, but the Carthaginian centre is gaping.

Hiero was eventually destroyed while flanked and his command broke, as did Hanno’s. I was looking to inflict one more casualty on the Roman central command to break it, but the gap created by the two elephants was one I couldn’t fill.

I came last in this competition. I didn’t get any points, as I failed to break any commands, though I got close in both my last two games. Despite failing to win, I enjoyed the games, and I learned a lot about how to play BBDBA.

I took a morning flight to Christchurch, which all went smoothly. I even saw Comics Compulsion, the shop that hosts Conquest, while catching a bus from the airport. The first day was six games using ancient armies for the first three and medieval for the last three.

  • Morning games (Ancient armies)

My Carthaginians were my army for the morning. With an aggression of 4, I was pretty sure I’d be the attacker most games, and I was. I fielded 2 Cv (cmd), 1 El, 1 LH, 3 Sp, 2 4Wb, 1 4Ax and 2 Ps.

  • Game 1: John (Polybian Romans)

As expected I was the attacker against John, who was borrowing Keith’s Polybian Romans. I should have made him deploy on the side with the wood. It proved to be a handicap to me.

The Carthaginian deployment is cramped by a large wood.

The Carthaginian deployment is cramped by a large wood.

The Romans advanced rapidly, and I lost my Numidians by foolishly trying to get them in front of the woods when before the Roman cavalry arrived. My troops fought doggedly on the right flank, and I started to win on the left, but that needless loss of the Numidians cost me the game, which was a 3-5 loss after the warband was broken, and the auxilia and a spear.

The end, after casualties on the right flank, but success on the left.

The end, after casualties on the right flank, but success on the left.

  • Game 2: Mark B (Palmyrans)

I was the attacker again against Mark’s Palmyrans. I was nervous of his cataphracts, but he was even more nervous of the elephant. He deployed near the camp and spent time manoeuvring. I rushed forward, reasoning that I had more hope of catching him before he’d finished his manoeuvres. As it turned out, I won a decisive victory in record time, as his general went against Androgeus while overlapped. 3-2 odds with knights against warband is good odds, but with is back against the wall, Androgeus 6-1ed the unfortunate general and added another head to his collection.

The Palmyran deployment.

The Palmyran deployment.

  • Game 3: Jim (Greco-Bactrians)

My last game of the morning was against Jim’s Greco-Bactrians. In this game I was able to extend my left flank enough to destroy three elements, but in the last turn I couldn’t find any more there, and my centre was buckling to the pikes they faced. I lost again, 3-4.

The Greco-Bactrian deployment.

The Greco-Bactrian deployment.

  • Afternoon games (Medieval armies)

In the afternoon I deployed my Komnenan Byzantines. These are similar to the Carthaginians in their use of mercenaries. They differed in having aggression 1. I fielded 4 Cv (cmd), 4 LH, 1 3Kn, 1 4Bd, 2 4Bw.

  • Game 4: Gus (Mongols)

First up I was the defender against Gus’ beautifully painted Mongols. I achieved a very rapid victory; 4(G)-1, I think. I can’t remember the details, except that my dice were very strong.

The Mongol deployment.

The Mongol deployment.

As the game was over so fast, we had a rematch. Again I was the defender. Again it was a quick battle, but this time it might have gone Gus’ way, but my monks clearly were praying harder, as my dice again stayed strong. At one point our generals were each overlapped, but it was mine that triumped in a 4(G-2 victory!

The Mongol rematch.

The Mongol rematch.

  • Game 5: Brian (Medieval Scandinavian Union with Medieval German ally)

My next game was against Brian’s Medieval Scandinavian Union with Medieval German ally. I was the attacker this time, and Brian had to use a waterway. I knew Brian was a tough opponent, and when I saw he had a party set aside for a littoral landing, I stymied it with my light horse, that deployed up against the waterway in two columns.

The light horse patrol the beach.

The light horse patrol the beach.

The landing party of 3Bd and Cv off to the side.

The landing party of 3Bd and Cv off to the side.

The landing party had to deploy behind the main body of the Scandinavians. Low PIPs made the initial contact slow, but when it came the Byzantines continued to roll high in combat and broke an element of 6Kn, and then another. It was 3-0 to me. However, getting the final element was not easy, and when Brian got his spearmen into combat I lost both the bow. In the final turn I finally got my fourth element, only to lose my knights (I think) to a 6-1 going against me. The battle ended as a 4-4 draw.

  • Game 6: Keith (Wars of the Roses English)

I was the attacker in my final battle, against Keith’s Yorkists. Tired after the last battle, and bereft of inspiration in the face of unattractive terrain, I nevertheless attacked (the artillery made it hard to sit back). I foolishly got my light horse destroyed and lost 0-4.

Facing the English.

Facing the English.

The Yorkists.

The Yorkists.

I enjoyed the day greatly. I was very pleased with the way I played against Brian, who I’d played before some years ago. He finished first. I was surprised to finish third, as I had only two wins, but these were big ones, and all but my last battle were hard-fought.