IWC Day 2: Medievals Competition

8 March, 2011

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!

12 Responses to “IWC Day 2: Medievals Competition”

  1. Prufrock Says:

    Hmm, sorry to hear about the incident there, Mark. I certainly wouldn’t have expected anyone to be that sneaky and would have been taken by surprise just as you were.

    Giving the benefit of the doubt was the sporting thing to do and I admire you for having given it in a tournament situation. That he took advantage of it in that way and then went on to win the comp must be particularly aggravating, but you did what you thought was right so you should not in any way hold yourself responsible for what was a failure of character on the part of your opponent.

    Hopefully you’ll get to meet him on the boards again and administer some gaming justice!


    • Mark Davies Says:

      Well, it was more I was thrown off balance by the demand and didn’t think what I should have said until afterwards. At the time I was protesting that I had no way of know whether he had the move to get there, which he turned into a challenge to his honesty, although that wasn’t really at issue. He never asked to ‘redo’ his move, but regarded it as his right to ‘update’ it.

      An additional factor was that I was one of the umpires and didn’t want to appear to be throwing my weight around. I should have asked the opinion of another umpire. I guess I could have been better at thinking on my feet. I’ll know for any next time!

  2. Twr Says:

    It is interesting to note you played three of the final Medieval Tournament on Sunday.

    With hindsite do you think the b option would have been better?

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Yes, against Rhys the dice simply deserted me, against Stan it was close and against Jason it was a farce (though I suspect I’d have struggled to win even had he not adjusted his move into ZOC).

      I think the ‘a’ list is more interesting than the ‘b’ one. I could do with more practice facing knights, but I prefer the flexibility and speed of cavalry.

      My biggest disappointment was in not getting the Pechenegs into any camps; they live for loot!

      • Twr Says:

        As a non playing party I was surprised at how well the Wars of the Roses army did. I have never rated this army very highly under DBA.

      • Mark Davies Says:

        Very true, and I thought I had them, until my general rolled a 1!

        They are an army which has a solid base of six bow. This perhaps gives it some predictability in deciding on how to use it, which isn’t always a bad thing.

  3. Stephen Says:

    Great reports Mark. I admire your ability to recall details of the games – I have more hazy memories of mine.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks. I got these done waiting at the airport–the advantage of a laptop. Day 1 was much more hazy!

  4. Jason Says:

    In fairness to me this is what happened from my perspective. I measured the distance my Bw could move, then measured how far the Kn could go with the Bw keeping pace – by eye I’d ZoC’d the Cv. I moved the Kn and then the Bw, the Kn had moved short (only just over 80 paces), I then moved the Bw up. Mark then advised me that the Cv were not ZoC’d and I said well I still have movement left with the Kn as it was patently obvious that I was moving forward to ZoC. Mark said how do I know where they started, which to me is an issue of honesty. I said I was happy for him to ask anyone and that I would comply with the decision. Mark said no and let me finish my movement.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for you comment. I think there was a miscommunication in what I was trying to say. When I said there was no way of knowing where the knights had started, there were a number of steps missing in what I was trying to get at. From my point of view, you had finished that move and moved onto another one. Therefore, you could not adjust it. Once you’ve moved something it can’t be unmoved or adjusted, unless it was moved illegally. However, by convention, you can ask the other player if you can change your move. You didn’t ask me, but told me you had the move to adjust it. This put me on the back foot. I couldn’t see where the knights had started, and from my perspective I thought they had moved their full distance. My comment was to that effect: I had no way of verifying where the knights had started; in that situation it is an imposition to ask to adjust a move, and you weren’t asking. To me, you appeared to be expecting to be able to change your move as of right. The question of honesty was a side issue, but one that my reply made on the spot perhaps invited.

      From my point of view, I was staring at a train wreck waiting to happen; even if my cavalry weren’t ZOCed, they would be struggling to deploy usefully before you contacted me. When you didn’t ZOC me I thought I had a chance; if you could have ZOCed me and hadn’t, that was an oversight on your part, and if it mattered that much, in your shoes I would have measured it to be sure. If I wasn’t sure of where I’d be moving, I’d have left some marker to show where they’d started; you didn’t do either of these things, and yet expected to be able to adjust your move. This was an imposition on my good nature that I didn’t appreciate.

      Ultimately, for me it came down to how it was presented to me. If you kicked yourself for making such an oversight and asked me if you could repair it, I might have let you. But it would have been a stretch as there was no marker to show where the knights had come from (and it was a competition). Instead, you presented it to me as something that you were within your rights to repair. Taken aback by this I didn’t press the point as much as I should have, but it left a bad taste.

      • Jason Says:


        Thank you for your reply to my email and for publishing my response. I play a hard game but a fair game and I’m sorry about how you felt regarding our game.

        I agree that there appeared to be an issue of miscommunication in our game, I do not feel that I “demanded” or believed it was my right to move my figures. I believed that I had ZoC’d the cavalry, you pointed out that I was just short – to put the issue beyond doubt I advised you that my Kn had moved short to allow the Bw to join them as a group. You quite reasonably pointed out that you didn’t know where my Kn had started and I tried to explain by showing you how the movement was measured and the intention of the move. I did say at the time that I was happy for you to ask someone else and that I’d comply with the ruling.

        As I said, I think it largely comes down to a miscommunication – it is clear that you believed I was demanding to correct my move and that I considered the whole issue to be one of honesty – this was not my intention. I felt that what I’d set out to do was plain and I believed the ZoC was closed, but if there was any doubt I was happy to rectify it by leaving the Bw behind and making full use of the Kn’s additional movement. When you raised your concerns I tried to explain, but I was more than happy to leave it with an independent third party. I accept that it was then up to your good nature about whether my figures were originally where I said they were, however, if you were uncomfortable about it, I would have preferred if you had asked for a second opinion at the time and not harboured some animosity.

        I can understand that you feel aggrieved, however, I believe it would have been better to say something at the time rather than after the recount had been made and imply that I’d only won the tournament through unsporting behaviour. I note that our result was 12-0, it would have had to come back to a 9-3 for me to have definitely placed second. My record for the two days was 9 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses, to imply that I only won the tournament through some form of shabby play in one game is unfair.

        For my part in perpetuating a breakdown in communications I apologise – I don’t think that there is any point in continuing to labour the issue between us, we were hardly playing for sheep stations and there are much more important things for Australians and New Zealanders to disagree on (like the Rugby).



      • Mark Davies Says:

        In terms of miscommunication I would stand by my impression that you expected to be able to make the adjustment (and they were clearly out of ZOC, by around half a centimetre). It wasn’t a question of ‘Can I’, but ‘I can’. As far as asking for adjudication, I only remember you saying that I could ask anyone whether you were honest, which as I said was beside the point. You certainly attempted to explain what you had been trying to do, but there was nothing as reference to where the knights had started. They had been wheeling, and the outside of the wheel seemed to have come quite a way from my perspective.

        I agree it would have been better to have said something at the time, but I was so busy I only really had a chance to reflect on it when it was all over. Then, my annoyance was as much with myself for not having been able at the time to articulate the exact nature of my disagreement.

        As far as shabbiness goes, that is probably going too far; it was meant to be somewhat jocular, something that Captain Mainwaring was fond of saying. I certainly don’t harbour any lasting grudge.

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