Choosing DBA armies

28 May, 2010

I’m in the throes of choosing a post AD 450 DBA army for competitions. I want one that’s reasonably competitive, but that’s not its only requirement; I have to like it. I’ve been trolling the lists looking at armies and have found a few with combinations of troops that suit my tastes, such as Samanids (III/43c), Uigurs (III/11a), Early Muslim North Africa and Sicily (III/33) and even Hsi-Hsia (III/66). These have a nice balance of mounted, heavy foot and BGo infantry, but for none of them do I have much historical affinity, which is to say that I know next to nothing about them. I know the Samanids have lovely armour and I know a little about their troop types, but not one of their commanders’ names.

I already have some knights I could use as Anglo-Normans or Medieval German, which have a good balance of troop-types too, but I’m not enamoured with either. I know little about the German historical background (it doesn’t interest me much), and I can’t help but think of the Anglo-Normans, despite some nice looking armour, as the enemy! This all complicates the job of choosing an army somewhat! I’m tending towards the Byzantines, particularly the Komnenans, as I know a bit about their history. I could be persuaded to try an early Byzantine army, as that too has some interesting history around it. However, it seems it’s more historical to take them with loads of 2LH, which would be less attractive. Also the army would be an orphan, as I’m building armies around two periods: c. 225 BC and c. AD 1050, so that favours the Komnenans.

After my experience learning to use the Carthaginians, I think an army should have two important qualities: it should look good and it should be one that you like even when it’s losing. I think I the Komnenans have these two qualities (when I get the figures from Khurasan Miniatures), and I’d enjoy refreshing my acquaintance with Anna Comnena. It also will, in time, fit in with a lot of other armies around that period.

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