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.

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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.

Last Friday, the night before I went to Conquest, I got in one final practice game of BBDBA with Nick. I’d looked over the Runners and Riders and suggested he try out a Palmyran army with its mixture of bow and cataphracts. He was able to get his Early Imperial Romans to do this.

I’d settled on my commands before I left. I’d chosen them to correspond to the different PIP dice. the C-in-C was Hanno, commanding the largest contingent and having the high PIP dice. With 16 elements, it required 6 casualties to break.

Hanno's command.

Hanno’s command.

This command had two elements of elephants and four of Gallic warbands. The hope was that the elephants would create overlaps for the warbands and increase their chance of breaking through. The command also had three elements of spear, and four of cavalry (including the commander), along with a light horse and a pair of psiloi.

Gisgo had the mobile command, designed for bad going and for outflanking. It got the middle PIP dice. It had 10 elements and broke after 4 casualties.

Gisgo's command.

Gisgo’s command.

This command had a high proportion of Spanish mercenaries; three elements of scutati, two of caetrati, one of Balaeric slingers, Gisgo command of Spanish cavalry, another of Spanish light horse, and finally a pair of Numidian light horse.

The final command was led by Hiero, a Greek mercenary commander. Like Gisgo’s command it was 10 elements. It was intended to hold the line and got the low PIP dice.

Heiro's command.

Heiro’s command.

Hiero had six elements of spear, three of Sicilian Greeks, and three of Campanians. He had two warbands, including the redoubtable Androgeus and a reserve of a psiloi and some cavalry.

  • Against the Palmyrans

The game against the Palmyrans saw the Carthaginians attacking. There was an oasis, two difficult hills and some rough going. The Palmyrans deployed across the entire line, with the bulk of their cataphracts in the centre.

The Palmyran deployment.

The Palmyran deployment.

I’d made the mistake of putting my camp behind the oasis and therefore could not simply ignore the right flank. I decided to have Hiero’s command hold the right flank and Gisgo on the left flank.

The Carthaginian deployment.

The Carthaginian deployment.

Gisgo's command facing a difficult hill.

Gisgo’s command facing a difficult hill.

I was relieved to learn that bow could not shoot into the difficult hills, and this gave some solidity to the left flank, but the warband strung out in the centre facing cavalry was not a good situation. Hiero might have been better there, and the warband could have been in the oasis.

After a few turns of advancing.

After a few turns of advancing.

I don’t remember the details now, and as my luck was not equal to rectifying errors in deployment, my photography ceased!

The centre is about to engage.

The centre is about to engage.

I had a problem with how to attack in the centre when my right flank was not advancing. I made the mistake (in retrospect) of attacking the Palmyran bow with my cavalry. It didn’t work, and delayed the attack of the elephants; however, whatever the cavalry did, the elephants faced trouble with support.

A warband breaks, and Hanno rushes to fill the gap.

A warband breaks, and Hanno rushes to fill the gap.

Gallic cavalry recoil from the Palmyran bow.

Gallic cavalry recoil from the Palmyran bow.

More warband break and Gisgo attempts to fill the gap.

More warband break and Gisgo attempts to fill the gap.

Spanish scutati are broken by archery and more warband die.

Spanish scutati are broken by archery and more warband die. Hanno remembers to use his get out of jail +1 and avoids being defeated.

Palmyran cataphracts break Gallic cavalry.

Palmyran cataphracts break Gallic cavalry.

I think Hanno was defeated when flanked, and his command broke. This was a battle that I never really had an advantage. I think my main mistakes were:

1. Choosing the bad going to deploy from. It might have been better to have inflicted its disruption on the Palmyrans.
2. Putting my camp behind the oasis.
3. Sticking with the deployment despite the way the warband had to be stretched across the centre facing mounted.
4. Deciding to go for the bow of the right command rather than support an attack by the elephants.

It wasn’t a good note on which to set off to Conquest.