Seleucid army ready

27 March, 2011

Seleucid army arrayed (options for the 'b' list).

With the completion of the knight elements I can now field a Seleucid armies for the last three options of the DBA list (II/19b-d: 279-83BC). Apart from the 3Cm of the ‘c’ list and the 4Bd of the ‘d’ list I have all the options, though a good number are currently being borrowed from the Later Macedonian army until I paint ones for this army.

Some of the borrowed foot: all but the two leftmost are really for the Later Macedonians and even the those two will need to serve double roles.

They are largely Freikorp figures with some Gladiator ones. More images are available at the Army Page here.

Definitely not borrowed! Signature elements of the army, the elephant and scythed chariot.

Also distinctively Seleucid: cataphract cavalry with masked helmets.

Seleucid cavalry done

27 March, 2011

Seleucid Companion cavalry and Agema.

I now have the knight elements finished for my Seleucid army. It’s now able to take the field, although it’s waiting on some elements and it’s borrowing others from the Later Macedonians.

From an different angle.

I’ve painted four elements. The first two are for the earlier period and consist of a command element of Companion cavalry (Freikorp HG22 with the commander from HG26) and another element of Agema, recruited from Medes (HG23).

Seleucid cataphract cavalry, fitting very nicely on their base.

The other two elements are both cataphracts (HG24). I described their painting over a number of earlier posts. I’m pleased with how the horn scale barding turned out.

Showing their other side.

The Seleucid cavalry is nearly done. I’ve got them painted and based. They’re just waiting for a wash and the flock. As it’s very humid here, I’m planning to wait a while before I do the wash. There are four elements, usable in three combinations. The earlier elements are two 3Kn; the command one is the Companions, more Macedonian in appearance and the other is the agema, apparently recruited from Medes and more eastern in their dress. The other two are two elements of 4Kn cataphracts. One of these is a command one. I’ve gone for similar colours with the earlier elements.

The companions and the agema. Until the wash is applied they look fairly garish.

For the period 279-205BC (II/19b) the two 3Kn are used; for the later periods (II/19c & d) the two 4Kn are used, although the commander can stay a 3Kn for the middle period (II/19c).

The cataphracts. There is no real commander figure for these. I just had to use gold paint and a white horse to mark one out.

Seleucid Progress

23 March, 2011

I’ve now undercoated the Seleucid cavalry, and Monday night I painted one of the cataphracts to see how they’d look. I’m reasonably happy. It’s a bit bright, but I prefer it that way. I’ve used a mixture of ‘Scaly Green’ and ‘Shining Silver’ for horn barding. I’ll use this for half of the figures, and ‘Brazen Brass’ for the rest. I could use a steel colour for the armour, as that was what at least some of them used, but I think the ‘Brazen Brass’ will look better.

The completed figure, not yet given a matt finishing coat, along with some figures only undercoated.

Now I’ve done my test figure, I’m hoping the rest will go quickly. I’ve partially updated their Army Page too,

Last Sunday I got over to John’s for the first time in a while and got in a couple of games of DBA. I decided to field a Seleucid army, using a pair of Polybian Roman cavalry for the 3Kn (they have quite long spears). As I’d not sorted out my boxes carefully enough after IWC, I found some of the elements weren’t where I thought. Therefore I fielded 2x3Kn (1=cmd), 1xEl, 1xSCh, 4x4Pk, 1x4Ax, 3x2Ps. The psiloi were able to hold their own against the Roman LH, and generally stayed out of the way of the 3Kn.

This was a vaguely historical match-up, allowing for a little temporal discontinuity! The Patsies were Eastern Romans who were on the offence both times, and had strayed back a few centuries, meeting Seleucids instead of Persians.

I laid out similar terrain in both games, a central small low hill and two small patches of BGo in opposing corners.

In the first game I doubled a LH with a Ps in a one on one combat first up, but didn’t have the PIPs to gain any advantage on that flank. On the other flank my SCh disappeared to a Kn, but a Ps held out at bad odds for a couple of turns against a LH, before the knight saw it off. Things were looking grim on that flank, but luck smiled on me and I attacked in the centre. Needing to push back his psiloi-supported blade with my elephant to set up an attack by 3Kn on his psiloi-supported Ax, I did better and 6-1 him, making it 3-1 to me. The 3Kn took out the Ax, who were now double overlapped giving me a 5-1 victory (not including the SCh). However, a turn more and his knights would have been into the rear of a block of pike.

The second game saw John advance his LH on one flank. In my first move I was able to attack the flank of them with my SCh. It got one recoiled into the other. It then pursued into the other and got it in the next turn. As my ambition for the day was to see the SCh in action I was very happy! John then advanced his 3Kn towards this flank, supported by auxilia. I had a 4Ax and a 2Ps over there and rather than go for the rest of his army on the low hill, I decided to send my elephant and a knight to help. The elephant failed to contact the knights, but met auxilia instead and was killed. The SCh rolled evens against a 3Kn and was gone too. The knight got a Ps, however, and it was 3-1 to me. I spent a while trying to get a lone 4Ax, who was flanked, but resisted for two turns. John was menacing my light foot with his knights, but rolled a 1 PIP when he could really have made trouble. I got 6 PIPs the next turn and was able to take out his Wb with my knight commander, and a blade with the other knight (I think). Anyway, it was another victory to me, owing largely to the splendid scythed chariot.

I enjoyed using the Seleucids and am keen to get the proper 3Kn and 4Kn elements for them done. I’ve finally got them undercoated. The 3Cm would be next.

Seleucid Cavalry

20 March, 2011

I’m making slow progress on a few elements of Seleucid cavalry. These are Freikorp figures and rather nice, but with some nasty flash in places. I’ve finally got them cleaned up and ready to undercoat. They had some crud between their spear arm and their body, evidence of worn moulds. It took me a while to clean this off and drill out their hands. I had about a 50% success rate with the hands and after gluing on the xysta I decided to repair the hands somewhat with green stuff. This is a first for me, but I’m pretty pleased with the result.

The elements are two of 3Kn, one being a command. This consists of Attalos of Pergamum from HG26 and two Seleucid Companion Cavalrymen (HG22). I decided on a standard from the Carthaginian command set (CA11), as I’d got a few spare as part of my order. There seemed to be something similar shown in Duncan Head’s book Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars. I used the same for the other command element to create a bit of continuity in the army. The second 3Kn are Seleucid Agema cavalry (HG23) and have slightly different barding (more eastern) from HG22 and are wearing pants.

The two 3Kn figures. Attalos is in the middle and the Agema are on the right.

The other figures are cataphracts (HG24) for two 4Kn. One will be a command, but whether I try to put a cloak on the commander or not is undecided. They currently only have a standard to distinguish the command element from the other one.

The cataphract figures.

These figures, when painted, will allow me to field a Seleucid army; I have the elephant and scythed chariot already, and the rest of the foot will be generic Hellenistic ones at this stage. That aside, apart from the 3Cm and the 4Bd, I’ll have all the options for the armies of II/19b-d, the ultimate kitchen sink armies!

Pre-feudal Scots rebased

13 March, 2011

I’ve updated the army page for the Pre-feudal Scots. They had been rebased a while back, but I’d not got around to doing the finishing flocking. They were needed as a stand-in army for Greg at the IWC, which was the spur to do the flocking. They look much improved I feel.

The new look Pre-feudal Scots.

The old-look army.

I’d like to redo the rest of my Early Medieval armies, but I can’t see it happening at the moment. I really need to finish the Normans/Anglo-Normans to make it worthwhile, and I just don’t have the time. The only project I might get done is painting a couple of Seleucid knight elements to allow me to field that army (with generic Hellenistic pikes and light foot).

In this day of the competition I took my Komnenan Byzantines, whom I didn’t expect to do too well, but who actually surprised me. I suspect if I was more observant of my opponents, I’d have picked up that they were nervous of their potential mobility.

  • Tim’s Italian Condotta

This was a fun game, where Tim insisted on having a littoral landing. His knights arrived in a block in the middle of the field. We surmised this was at the Doge’s insistence, as they had no plan after this. They looked splendid, however, and the Doge perhaps enjoyed the spectacle from his galley.

Nevertheless, the knights, aided by two light horse, put up a good fight and my attempt to encircle them did not succeed in eliminating them. One of their light horse went down, and I chased the other to the far corner of the board with a cavalry and a light horse. One of the knights was also destroyed, but I had lost three too, and had to fall back on my archers, who destroyed another knight. In the last turn, Tim attacked the cavalry facing his light horse with a psiloi overlap. The odds were 2-1 to me, but a win to him would give him the game. The dice gods smiled, and I doubled the light horse.

Attempting to stop the knights from getting away from the waterway almost lost me the game. It became a slog where overlaps to me only gave even odds against the knights. Still, letting them get out to deploy would not necessarily done me much good either.

  • Adrian’s Samanid Persians

My next game was against an army I’d considered taking myself (if I’d decided to buy and paint it!). I like the Samanids; they remind me quite a lot of the Later Carthaginians. I was the attacker and deployed with my archers in some rough in the middle of my line. Adrian’s forces came out between two small steep hills with the centre of an elephant flanked my auxilia on the open side and psiloi-supported spear in the centre with two bow next to them, then the general. On his right flank, he had two cavalry and a light horse.

I attempted to go after his right flank with the knight, a cavalry and a light horse. He then reinforced it with his general, and I pulled a light horse across to help, deciding also to retire. Unfortunately, the speed of the knight meant I was still in range. He attacked and I lost the cavalry; I was lucky not to lose the others. I had three PIPs, I could not retreat them out of danger and if I lost them I lost the game. It looked grim, so they decided to go out fighting. The light horse facing the general stayed put and gained a bow support. The other two charged into combat. The knight stuck, but the light horse rolled a 6. Adrian rolled a cocked 5; it wasn’t badly cocked, but it saved my life, as his reroll was a 2. The next turn my knight destroyed the opposing cavalry and his general beat a hasty retreat. I must have got the other cavalry on that wing, as I was three up. I decided to charge his elephant with my general and the rest of the cavalry. This was to get a 3-1 attack on his flanked auxilia. The first time this didn’t succeed, but my line held and I got it on the second try to give me a lucky win.

  • Jason’s Anglo-Normans

The third game was a disappointment, as I attempted to redeploy my mounted from one wing in column. I’d made it too, it seemed, but when I went to check they were not ZOCed by his advancing knights (they weren’t), Jason said he had the move to make this happen. I had no way of knowing if he did, but it wasn’t really a question of proof; he had moved the knights, taken his hands off, gone on to another move. If he wanted to redo his move, he had to ask my permission, which I was perfectly entitled to deny (p. 8:  ‘a legal tactical move cannot be taken back once the element has been placed’). I shouldn’t have let him turn it into an issue of whether he was telling the truth. Caught in the ZOC I went down 0-4G, ending my run and tarnishing the morning, indeed the whole event!

  • Stan’s War of the Roses English

Stan deployed on a low hill with a blade centre and two flanks of three 3Bw. On his right flank was a large wood. I advanced two 2Ps into it on the first turn, and then advanced the auxilia and blade after them. However, with little movement from Stan (he finally advanced just off the hill) and 6 PIPs, I advanced my cavalry only this left flank. It was anchored by a light horse in the centre to avoid a bad overlap, and it had an overlap on the left flank. However, I had no success. I was thrown back along the line, losing two 3Cv, though the light horse only recoiled.

On Stan’s turn he advanced on the light horse, hoping to flee it and set up good odds on an overlapped cavalry with psiloi-supported blades. The light horse didn’t flee, but recoiled to provide an overlap and keep the odds at 3-2 in his favour. A 6-1 in my favour brought me back into the game, and even though I only had a single PIP, I was able to take out an unsupported blade to set myself up for an unlikely win. Unfortunately, my General rolled a 1 when shot at by supported archers, going down on a 1-4 roll. Stan got another element and took the game. I felt my initial attack was unlucky, though its odds weren’t stunning, but my comeback more than made up for this!

  • Stephen’s Later Crusaders

Stephen deployed his camp in a corner and spent most of the game advancing his bow in column up through a wood on the flank onto a road. They saw no action. Nor did his knights. However, with five spear and a cavalry he nearly beat me, owing to my overconfidence that combined with lacklustre early combat dice saw my general back into his cavalry with no room to spare.

The cavalry and a spear on a gentle hill looked an easy prize and would open up the left flank. I had all my cavalry against it and a light horse. That seemed more than I needed and I had the PIPs, and the poor judgement, to pull off two cavalry to advance on the main body behind this attack. Sure enough I was driven down the hill and lost two cavalry to blocked recoils. I feel Stephen was a gentleman not to push how much room my general had on his second recoil, as it had no room to spare. At this point I hung on, eventually killing the cavalry and one of the spear, but my knight twice could not destroy an unsupported spear even with an overlap to help. There was some desperate fighting, and my general survived the risk of friction kills. In my last turn, with one PIP and the crusader knights and bow finally getting in range, I charged this spear again; this time it had rear support and finally we swept them away to take the game 4-3.

The winning moment from Stephen's side. The knights, supported by light horse, have just destroyed two spear.

If I’d taken my time with the troops on the hill, it could have been an easy win, though the melee that developed consumed all Stephen’s PIPs as he fed his spear into the fight. Had it developed differently, his knights and bow might have got into the action and changed things.

  • Rhys’s Early Burgundians

(Going down in a flurry of 1’s)

While my early battle results had gone against me in the previous battle, any hope they would come right in this battle were soon disappointed. Artillery shot a knight to death (1-4 dice). Low PIPs stopped quick closing for action and I lost on both flanks fast. A light horse destroyed by knights made it two (another 1 for combat, think); mutual shooting destroyed a bow (low again) and an attempt to salvage some dignity in what was likely to be my last turn was not aided by PIPs. A light horse charged bow, only to be doubled, while a flanked light horse did survive an attack by cavalry for some pride. Overall, though, this was a battle I never even got a chance in, as it was over so fast.

  • Review

Overall this was a really enjoyable day that capped a really enjoyable event. However, the incident in the third round really has left a bad memory, as that player went on to win the competition and his trouncing of me gave him the points to do it. I feel I let down others by allowing such unsporting behaviour to prosper. It shows, perhaps, my inexperience, and the fact that in DBA I’ve not previously run into players that would try something like this. I can’t believe that he didn’t check for himself when moving them that he ZOCed me if it was that important. It’s the sort of thing I’d have  measured carefully; I’d certainly not dream of asking to extend a move that couldn’t be measured—but he wasn’t even asking, rather assuming I was seeking to question his right to do it, and challenging his integrity in so doing, very shabby!

For the first day of the IWC I used my Later Carthaginians, generally with both elephants and all the warbands.

  • Luke’s Ptolemaic

The opening game saw me with a waterway to my rear and Luke attempting a littoral landing with a Kn and a Ax. I destroyed this with an elephant and some Wb, but I eventually lost 4-3 as I advanced my spear too far in the centre while this was happening. Before my victorious flank could do anything, the centre was defeated in detail by pike.

The tendency to be in too much of a hurry was a feature in this game and in most of my games; not surprisingly, they usually came to a result well within time!

  • Greg’s Polybians

Next up I faced my own Polybians, loaned to Greg, as his armies were trapped in a Christchurch hotel. I deployed my spear in a column on a road. These were able to road march up to his Triarii on his left flank. However, in the centre my elephant was not able to make things happen and I lost my general for a 3G-1 defeat.

  • Keiran’s Polybians

Then there were more Polybians. Keiran was new to the game and up from Christchurch for a break. I gave him a fair bit of advice. I had some early success when I destroyed his Triarii in the centre with double-ranked spear (who doubled the one opposite, setting up 4-3 odds with double-ranked Wb next to them. However, I was unable to exploit this success. My elephants on the right flank did little, and I moved my LH too far in a flanking move (I didn’t calculate where he’d be after his advance!). Meanwhile on my other flank his cavalry savaged my psiloi-supported auxilia, who could really only hope to buy time. This was a 4-2 defeat.

The Triarii in the centre may have been a distraction; they stretched my line further than I want it to. As I see it, against Polybians Carthaginians have to try to win on one flank and attempt to delay or avoid contact on the other.

  • Stephen’s Early Imperial Romans

After lunch I faced Stephen Malone’s Early Imperial Romans. Last year these armies had met and I had to confess at the time I had no plan. This time I was more confident. However, Stephen proved as wily as before, and I showed I’d not learned too much. He advanced his cavalry, encouraging me to go after them with my elephants, only to retire the cavalry to allow his artillery to have a shot at the exposed pachyderms. One was soon a casualty. Against the other he had a lot of fun attacking it with his cavalry general and seeking to get it to back over some warband that had advanced in its support. He soon had the two warband destroyed, one bouncing into the elephant, the other being trod on. However, my general,supported by the Numidians, advanced across the field and attacked some psiloi-supported auxilia, which they destroyed. The elephant attacked a cavalry and it was now 3-3. Unfortunately that brought it into range of the artillery, if I remember correctly, and it was all over with a well-deserved victory to Stephen.

I picked up the tip that retreating was often a valid tactic, and promised not to be suckered by it again!

  • Stephen’s Lydians

Next up was a battle with Stephen’s Lydians, described here. Just as Stephen was frustrated by my warband’s refusal to die when it pursued into double overlap, and my Numidians scorn of his light horse, I was delighted by their display. It allowed my spear to shine. I thought they’d got his general, only to remember they’d only fled him; despite this, the combination of cavalry and spear proved too much for his auxilia and I got my first win.

  • Connor’s Polybians

My last game of the day was Polybians again; this time I got their measure. I got Connor’s general and three others for a 4G-0 victory. I think Connor, the youngest competitor, was getting a little tired, and he missed a few opportunities to get back at me, but after losing to Polybians twice already that day, I wasn’t feeling inclined to point these out to him.

All in all, despite the poor results, I had an enjoyable day, and felt I was in with a chance in each battle, particularly if I hadn’t been in such a hurry!

IWC Pregames

5 March, 2011

The week before the IWC competition I got around to John’s again for a game of DBA. I got the Komnenans out this time. It was a close game that John has described here . I could have defended on my right flank better had I kept two light horse on a hill rather than bringing them onto the line. On the hill the warband and auxilia on that flank would have been reluctant to tangle with them. As it was, despite a few turns of valiant resistance, they were overwhelmed before I could win elsewhere.

At the IWC on Friday I had a number of friendly games. The first was with my Komnenans against Iain’s Later Crusader, a historical match-up. I took three bow and a knight. I was the attacker and Iain put down a waterway and had a littoral landing of two spear. It took me ages to defeat these spear with a cavalry and a knight. The game ended with a narrow victory to me. My centre was scattered, and I lost my general, yet it was 4-4G at the end of that turn and on my turn I rolled 6 for PIPs and out of three shooting chances I got lucky against one of Iain’s Bw to win, but at 5-4G, in the tournament I would score 6 to Iain’s 5, so there wasn’t much in it.

My second game was against Andrew who had dropped in to have a look around. He used Iain’s Greco-Bactrians against my Carthaginians, and describes the battle here. It was a fun game and good to see a fellow blogger in the flesh.

My Carthaginians then faced Connor’s Polybians, and beat them by keeping the spear back and advancing the elephant and commander up one flank, around a wood, where they took the camp. It was a risky tactic that worked as Connor tried to advance on the spear but didn’t make contact before I’d taken the camp. He might have been better to wait for me with his foot.

I then played Connor’s Early Burgundians with my Komnenans; I don’t remember what happened here. I also had another game with the Komnenans against someone else that left no lasting impression.

After dinner Steve and I had a game in our hotel room, his Hungarians against my Komnenans. This was one I won narrowly, though I no longer remember quite how. All-in-all, a great way to get into the swing of the competition.