Later in March this year I had a game of HOTT with Ieuan. He had 1 Dr, 1 Cl, 1 Hr, a Bs (Bears), a Wb (Berserkers), 1 Lu, 1 Bd (cmd), 2 Bd (Vikings). He beat 2 Mg, 1 Bh (Trolls), 1 Bs (wolves), 2 Lu (Irish Ps), 1 Wb (cmd), 3 Wb (Irish).

The Cl makes the Mgs useless (as did low PIPs!). But heartbreakingly for Ieuan the Dr never showed. Clearly he’s a coward. Winning was no consolation for Ieuan!

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Early in March this year I had a game of HOTT with Craig. He had a Cl, an Art, a Hr, 3 Bw and 4 Sp. I had 2 Mg, 1 Dr, 3 Wb and 3 Bl. His general was the Hr, mine was a Bl.

Craig was defender and went for a lot of terrain—a river to irritate my Mgs and woods to inconvenience my Dr. I got the edge I wanted, with the river running from my edge to his . This put a series of woods in the middle of the widest part of the board. I ignored the opposite side of the river and Craig spent some time getting his 2 Sp and 1 Bw over there across. I had to put my Wb in the woods, opposite his Bw and my Bl opposite his Art and Sp. My Mgs set up behind the Bl.

Not much happened in the woods—the Bw neutralized the Wb. The Cl made the Mg ineffective, and I couldn’t for the life of me roll a 6 for PIPs! I destroyed his Art with my general, who had a Mg as flank support against the Sp. The Mg lost and had to recoil. It’s base is so deep that it encountered another Bl behind it by about 5mm (or less). It passed through behind this Bl, which was crucial to what happened next—Craig could flank my Cmd with his Sp (the Mg’s ZOC had vanished!) and attack my Cmd with his Hr. He killed my general, but as I had killed more APs (3 for the Art!) I was still hanging on hoping for a 6 PIP. Eventually he killed a Wb and it was all over—bloody Dragon! After losing I tried the Dr out, as a what-if. In its turn after arriving it could have attacked the Cl, which was staying out of the woods providing anti-Mg support to the army. It would have been 6 v. 4. I won this hypothetical combat, after which the Mgs would have become effective.

All in all very interesting. The deep base of the Mg was very significant, something I’d not thought about. It was an odd game, as there were few mounted troops, and a lot of terrain. The dragon was very remiss!

Back in January 2008 I had another similar game where Ieuan was the defender and insisted on terrain in the middle of the field. We had commanders on opposite wings out of command range of the other wing and separated by a steep hill—very peculiar. We were burning PIPs trying to react on the non-commander wing.

Yet more armies

11 July, 2009

I’ve added pages for a number of DBA armies:

Norse Irish

Pre-feudal Scots

Scots Isles and Highlands

Viking

Welsh

Battling around hills

10 July, 2009

This is a short report from a battle with my son over two years ago. It’s not very detailed. I’m not even sure whether I was Norman or Anglo-Norman. Ieuan’s terrain placement made for an odd game.

Ieuan and I had a battle this evening. He was Pre-Feudal Scots defending and placed two large steep hills fairly centrally. I advised him to defend on one flank with some spear and put his cavalry on the other. In the middle were two columns of foot trying to get onto one of the hills.

It was fairly scrappy—our generals were on one flank and the hill blocked their vision and complicating command and control. My psiloi slowed up his deployment on the hill; eventually I won by defeating his spear on one flank and capturing his camp—a first. My psiloi were very effective in stopping his warbands coming to the aid of the spear. However, one of them—the freshly painted Feudal Castings element acquitted itself superbly and wiped out 3 spear single handedly! We kept going and I managed to hang in, surviving having my general overlapped and flanked, but he finally destroyed my last two spear and his LH finally got the upper hand against the knights they faced.

It was something of a first for me—no linear deployment. All good fun.

Photographing figures

9 July, 2009

I’ve finally worked out how to set the aperture of the camera to take a close-up photo of a group of figures and get them all in focus—hooray! The downside is that the exposure is so long that I really need to take the pictures during the day (or get some expensive lights, which I can’t see happening). Until then, the photos will have a yellowy tinge to them.

The Nores Irish amy; the back figures are as in focus as the front ones

The Norse Irish army; the back figures are as in focus as the front ones

Normans v. Saxons

9 July, 2009

This was one of the first games of DBA I played back in December 2007. It was with the newly finished Tabletop Normans and Saxons and is perhaps interesting mostly for the mistakes with the rules that I made. Hopefully I’ve learnt a little since then!

The Norman army encountered the Saxons drawn up on a low hill. Beside the hill, to the right of it for the Normans, ran a road. On either side of the field, midway between the two armies was a wood.

The Saxon king and his huscarls had drawn up on the hill, they had archers in support behind them. The fyrd was drawn up on either side of them, the majority on the road side and a few on the other side of the hill to prevent outflanking.

In game terms the Saxons had gambled on terrain that suited them and got the position they wanted. The battleline when it advanced to the edge of the hill was impossible to outflank without going through the woods.

The Normans drew up their knights in the centre with some Breton cavalry on the left flank and the spearmen on the road. On the right flank were the light infantry and light cavalry.

They advanced quickly, the cavalry as a line, the spearmen along the road and the light infantry into the woods with the light cavalry following alongside them.

The Saxons advanced to the edge of the hill (I wonder if that is still technically uphill?).

The Normans advanced the spearmen two deep almost into contact and moved the light cavalry and infantry and cavalry to give them flanking support (the cavalry to the left and the infantry to the right) . The knights continued to advanced steadily, but slowed to keep line as the Bretons entered the wood.

The Saxons waited.

The knights continued to advance; the spearmen made contact, confident of the impunity of their flank support. The flank support either recoiled or fled, as indeed did the spearmen.

At this stage the knights made contact as a line, along with the spearmen their supports. The spearmen this time destroyed the fyrd in front of them, as did the Norman general. Otherwise the attack failed, though fortunately with only one element of knights attacking fyrd on the hill breaking.

The Saxon huscarls and fyrd flanking the Norman general who’d advanced into the gap he’d created were able to attack his flanks—the knights flanking them had recoiled. On both the Norman flanks the Saxons saw an opportunity to attack knights that had recoiled into the woods and advanced on them. Aided by an overlap they succeeded on both flanks; the Normans were close to breaking.   The combat that really mattered, against the Norman general, however, was a stalemate.

The Norman general, flustered, was unable to issue many orders, beyond having knights advance on the huscarls he faced to give him flanking support. It was enough to destroy those huscarls.

The Saxon king, alone on the hill, saw a chance to attack some knights still regrouping after the first attack. Huscarls that had offered overlap support on the attack on knights in the woods now turned to flank these knights, whom the king charged into contact with. In a hard fought battle the king emerged victorious. The Normans broke, but it was a close fight and the Saxon king might well have fallen himself.

The woods proved crucial to victory, the hill less so. The knights’ charge uphill was pretty reckless, but it doesn’t take much for them to get lucky. However, as they advance they never gain overlaps, but in recoiling make things progressively grim!

They’d have been wiser to work on the flank, but Ieuan was in a hurry! LH are actually pretty deadly against spear, and came close to making a mess! I learnt about moving before this game—all group moves are either wheels or straight ahead. Very awkward. One tactic would be to flank the spear with knights and hope for it to create overlaps for the knights—they needed something to lift the odds!

A month later I added this by way of review:  there were multiple errors here: firstly overlaps due to pursuit, then turning to flank while in ZOC. Nice to see I’ve learnt a little.