Conquest 2018, Pt. 1

12 November, 2018

This is the sixth Conquest DBA competition I’ve taken part in; my first was in 2009, and then there was a hiatus between 2012 and 2015. This time I took my Later Carthaginians again and the Syrians. I didn’t get the veteran spearmen painted in time for the trip, but there were a couple of new figures, more Libyan skirmishers, and some Liby-Phoenician cavalry; both of these elements were heroic on occasions.

The first day was DBA and the Carthaginians had three battles in the morning. It started with the ill-omened discovery that the white shielded spearmen had had a shield fall off.

  • 1. Early Mycenaeans (Robin)

Up first was Robin’s Early Mycenaeans, with a menacing combination of heavy chariots and pike. I was the attacker.

Early Mycenaeans.

Another angle.

I was able to arrange my psiloi to neutralise his phalanx, and my spear and Numidians to face his chariots. On the flanks my match-ups were favourable too, and the general formed a reserve for the spear.

The Carthaginians.

Early up the new Libyan skirmishers routed some pike (6-1) and the blue shields did likewise to some heavy chariots; the white shields were less steadfast (disconcerted by the loss of one of their shields). The green shields recoiled the enemy general, while the Numidians suckered in their opposing chariots.

After the initial rounds of combat.

The battle developed rapidly; the general filled the gap left by the departing white shields, and the Numidians destroyed their opposing chariots. Meanwhile, the enemy general routed the green shields. However, the Numidians moved across and taught him a stern lesson, winning the game.

Victorious against one squadron of chariots, the Numidians then triumph over to the enemy general.

This was the first general’s scalp for the Numidians, but by no means their last.

  • 2. Palmyrans (Eric)

Next up I faced Eric’s Palmyrans. I was again attacking. These had a fort positioned with mathematical precision on the field. I opted to have the fort on my battle line, and Eric garrisoned it with a bow element.

The Palmyrans and their fort.

I deployed to try to take the fort on the first turn.

The Carthaginian deployment.

Another angle.

The white shields were comforted to see their shield returned owing to the magic of Blutak. On the first turn I saw the Palmyrans advance with fearsome speed, and I failed to take the fort. I was then hampered by PiP dice of 1 or 2 for most of the game. Early up the blue shields fell to the enemy commander, and the Libyan skirmishers were routed by cataphracts. Things were looking bleak, but then the green shields took the fort on a solo assault and while the Balaeric slingers scorned the dangers of the opposing cataphracts and light horse for three turns, the Carthaginian cavalry destroyed an archer. The white shields had destroyed a cataphract unit (showing the difference a shield makes!). However, the enemy commander had destroyed one of the Numidian cavalry.

Things swing back towards the Carthaginians. The new Liby-Phoenician cavalry shine against archers.

On the turn that the second archer fell, the Balaeric slingers decided they’d done enough and retired. The game was now balanced 4-4. I rolled a handsome 3 for PiPs (the most since the first turn). I decided to bring the spearmen out of the fort and attack again with the Numidians. The double overlapped general was defeated and the Numidians collected their second scalp.

After the general is routed.

This was a very satisfying victory. I could bemoan my PiPs, but my troops resisted shooting with great determination, and my combat dice were good when it mattered.

  • 3. Seleucids (Gordon)

The Carthaginian’s last outing for the day was against Gordon’s Seleucids. Again I was the attacker. And again I opted to face the phalanx with psiloi.

Seleucid deployment.

Carthaginian deployment.

The Carthaginians saw off the scythed chariot (against their spear). As the lines meet, Seleucid psiloi are overpowered by the Carthaginian cavalry and the Balaeric slingers flee the phalanx. However, one of the spear is routed by an elephant.

Early situation.

On the left flank the last psiloi fled, and the Seleucid general attempted to stabilise things. However, the Balaeric slingers demolished two elements of pike to win the game. The Gauls sat out their second battle, never moving.

Victory. The double-overlapped pike is destroyed.

The morning was hugely successful for the Carthaginians; all but the Gauls had been in the action, and the light troops had proved very dangerous.

Browny-con

8 October, 2018

Browny-con was organised by Grant at his house and was a great success — 8 players and six rounds of DBA. We used a scoring system, but were relaxed about army choices, going for match-ups at each round.

A few missed games at either end missed all the rounds, and we scored 5 pts for a bye. Otherwise it was 8 for a win, 1 for a loss and 0 for a draw and you subtracted losses for your win and added kills for your loss or draw. The scores were:

Benny 35
Mark 32
Simon 30
Grant 28
Dave 26
Philip 24
Joel 23
Nick 18

Camps sacked and generals killed were (Camps sacked – Generals killed):

Benny (0-2)
Mark (0-1)
Simon (0-0)
Grant (1-2)
Dave (0-1)
Philip (1-0)
Joel (0-0)
Nick (0-1)

My games were:

1. Mitanni v. Sea People (Philip)

The Mitanni destroyed the Sea People using their light option (Psiloi and Fast Auxilia). It was their six chariots that proved superior to the auxilia and fast blade they met.

2. Campanians v. Polybian Romans (Joel)

Joel fielded a lovely BUA (Diocletian’s palace). I had him have it on his side and charged into contact with him, hoping to win on my left flank where I had fast auxilia and cavalry against his cavalry and psiloi. My centre crumbled (hoplites not enduring against blade), and things looked hopeless when my general 6-1ed his to turn around the game. I then destroyed the psiloi and cavalry on my left wing. It was a very jammy victory!

3. Mitanni v. Ugarit (Dave)

What I did to Joel, Dave did to me. I had the factors, I thought, in this battle — I had solid auxilia facing fast auxilia and I had a LCh facing a psiloi on the other flank. The dice went against me and I was 6-1ed repeatedly, losing my General and five other elements in an absolute rout.

4. Mitanni v. Midianites (Grant)

Mitanni face Midianites.

After lunch I faced Grant’s Midianites, and was grateful to finally be defending, avoiding sand dunes. I went for my heavy option of solid auxilia and solid bow. The battle was tipping in Grant’s favour when one of my bow was destroyed, but the dice went my way and I rolled up his flank and won quickly.

5. Late Carthaginian v. Pyrrhus (Benny)

Carthage faces Pyrrhus.

This was a game I thought I had; I managed to get my elephant to face Pyrrhus. All I had to do was QK his Kn general. Unfortunately, to do this I’d moved the elephant in front of a pair of Gallic warbands. If I’d moved the warbands first, I might have avoided this. It was a sideways shuffle. Predictably the elephant had to recoil — twice! On my left flank a psiloi was destroyed by an enemy one, allowing it to close the door on my auxilia, ending the game.

I was lucky to avoid losing two LH to a situation on the other flank. Benny’s LH and cavalry had advanced on opposite sides of the hamlet, so they were not lined up. The Numidians were positioned to ZoC both of them. Benny attacked with the Cv and the Numidians conformed (as he couldn’t). He then could close the door with the LH. Fortunately I won the battle. It’s an odd situation. Benny’s cavalry couldn’t advance as a group, as they weren’t one. He didn’t set out to create such a situation, but it was a nasty one.

Numidians before being attacked by cavalry with a LH overlap.

6. Mithridates v. Marian Romans (Nick)

Nick’s bad luck continued. He took an artillery element in the middle of his legionaries. It faced my Sarmatian Kn flanked by pikes. On my left flank the Romans had more BGo troops than I did facing each other across a wood. Nick’s PiPs were terrible, which prevented him from moving into the woods. He attacked with his legionaries, leaving a gap for the artillery to continue shooting at the Sarmatians. I was lucky to avoid losing anyone in these attacks, but got to charge the Sarmatians at the artillery and close the door on the legionaries in the gap with some LH. The gap widened, and after surviving a turn the artillery was destroyed. This gap was one that the Romans couldn’t fill, hampered by bad PiPs and poor combat dice.

It was a great day; most of the battles played very quickly. There’s talk of getting some HoTT armies together next.

Recent games

7 October, 2018

This year I’ve not had many games of DBA, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve played. In the middle of the year we had a series of games organised by Grant at his house that he called Browney-con. I’ll finish the write-up some time soon. Otherwise, last month I caught up with Nick for a game of BBDBA at the AWC. My Carthaginians lost to his Polybian Romans, but I did take away from it a better combination of commands.

Carthaginians (right) facing invading Polybian Romans last September.

This weekend we had more games at the AWC (no photos this time). My Carthaginians went against Nick’s Polybians again. I was the attacker, and made things difficult for myself by deploying first! I possibly created an opportunity for myself, as my left flank was the high PIP command with all my Cv and LH. My right flank ended up in rough going against Nick’s high PIP command of Cv and 4Ax. Great dice allowed me to redeploy four of the Numidians to the right flank. In a tight encounter they managed to destroy that flank for the loss of only one Numidian. However, the command on that flank collapsed on the same turn, losing their Wb commander and two of their Scutarii.

Remarkably, the centre of Sp was unharmed, as was the left flank, apart from the Numidians that had done their march. That flank was in a stalemate with the Triarii. In fact, the spearmen were overpowering the Legionaries, and had inflicted a loss, as had the Wb general before he was killed.

The battle came to a conclusion with the Numidians ignoring the two demoralised commands facing each other and marching to the centre of the field to attack psiloi there. The spearmen had another success and in the last turn completed their great performance by killing another element of legionaries. The Numidians had already broken the command, however, with their attacks on psiloi, and the Roman high PIP command lost their general too.

After lunch we had two games of DBA. My Mittani were unsuccessful against Grant’s Midianites and Kieran’s Minoans, whereas Nick’s newly painted Later Crusaders were successful against Kieran’s Japanese, and Grant’s Ayyubid Egyptians. It was a really enjoyable day and there’s talk of more games too; hopefully we can get a campaign underway.

AWC Chariot DBA Day

10 April, 2018

This DBA Day took place at the Auckland Wargames Club on 18.12.17. Nearly four months on I have no great memory of the individual battles, though I enjoyed the day greatly. The participants and their final points were:

Name – Army – Points
Grant – I/6b Early Bedouin – 32
Philip – I/7b Early Libyan – 25
Kieran – I/18 Minoan – 23
Nick  -I/22a NK Egyptian – 21
Mike – I/24b Hittite Empire – 18
Mark – I/19 Mittani – 17
Simon – I/34a Later Hebrew – 15
Dave – I/20a Ugaritic – 13

My first battle was against the Ugarites. I either won or it was a draw that I was ahead on. I do know my horde were victorious, which is grounds for celebration on its own.

The Ugarites with their heavy chariots.

What the Ugarites saw.

Towards the end, when the Ugarites had suffered several loses.

I next faced the Egyptians and was rapidly defeated, if I remember rightly. I guess I blotted that defeat out!

Against the Egyptians.

From above.

And from the other direction.

After lunch I played the Hittites. I think I lost again, but I don’t have the score sheets any more.

Facing the Hittites.

Another angle.

The last battle was against Hebrews, and I know I won this one. However, I’m pretty sure the deployment in the river was illegal.

What the Hebrews could see.

I think I destroyed the two psiloi and then triumphed over the auxilia that came forward to meet me.

Some statistics for the day are:

Own general killed:

Grant I/6b Early Bedouin 0
Philip I/7b Early Libyan 1
Kieran I/18 Minoan 2
Nick I/22a NK Egyptian 0
Mike I/24b Hittite Empire 1
Mark I/19 Mittani 1
Simon I/34a Later Hebrew 2
Dave I/20a Ugaritic 0

Enemy generals killed:

Grant I/6b Early Bedouin 3
Philip I/7b Early Libyan 1
Kieran I/18 Minoan 1
Nick I/22a NK Egyptian 0
Mike I/24b Hittite Empire 0
Mark I/19 Mittani 0
Simon I/34a Later Hebrew 1
Dave I/20a Ugaritic 1

No camps lost or taken.

Mitanni

5 April, 2018

This army was started at the end of 2016, and finished at the end of last year, with the all the foot options (10 elements) being done first; and the six LCh done just before a Biblical themed DBA day at the AWC. The figures are Chariot figures from Magister Militum and I’m pleased with the way they came out.

I’ve always liked the way the heavily armoured Mitanni charioteers looked in the WRG book Armies of the Ancient Near East. It’s from that book that I learnt they were the developers of the iconic light chariot and the economy to field them. As a DBA army they’re not fantastic, but do look very good.

All the Mitanni.

All the foot.

A compulsory horde and bedouin psiloi.

Another angle.

Two archers, either 4Bw or Ps.

Another angle.

And another.

Two spearmen, either 4Ax or 3Ax.

Another angle.

The six chariots.

I had the idea to put the chariots on an angle and then have the crew face forward. Unfortunately, there was no room in the chariot to allow this to happen, and now it’s a little ambiguous what the front edge is.

From the front.

And the side.

The rear.

The other front.

Conquest 2017

14 November, 2017

A few months back I decided to go to Conquest 2017. I’d not had much chance to play DBA this year and I was keen to get along, as I’d enjoyed the year before a lot. It also seemed a good motivation to get some painting done. Very kindly Keith, the organiser invited me to stay at his place for the event, something I really appreciated.

As I said in my last post, I’d chosen both my armies as a motivation to get more figures that I already had painted. However, I was rather slow getting them finished, and didn’t get much practice before the event. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple of games with Mike the Sunday before. this allowed me to try out the Normans in DBA, where they got a lucky victory against Mike’s Ottoman Turks. And it allowed my to try Pyrrhus’s army against them in BBDBA. This was invaluable, as I’d organised the army in such a way that it wouls have struggled, I’m sure, but with the suggestions of Mike, it did very well.

I’d organised the army as follows:

  • Command Wing (medium PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x LH, 4 x 4Pk, 2 x Sp, 1 x Ps
  • Centre (high PIPs): 8 x 4Pk (cmd), 3 x El, 2 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (low PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The theory was that the elephants would help the pikes create a breakthrough in the centre (hence the high PIPs); Pyrrhus would have the next best PIPs with much of the cavalry and the Oscans with the best BGo troops would hold one wing.

Against the Ottomans the Oscans were defeated as they had no BGo to anchor on, the centre did not make much progress, and the elephants were destroyed by LH, nor did Pyrrhus. With Mike’s suggestion I rearranged them as follows:

  • Command Wing (High PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x El, 3 x LH, 2 x Sp, 2 x Ps
  • Centre (Low PIPs): 12 x 4Pk (cmd), 1 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (Medium PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The centre was intended to be solid and just trundle forward, while I sought to win on the wings. Pyrrhus, in particular, had a potent mix of elephants, knights and light horse.

  • Friday games

On the evening I arrived I had a couple of games with Keith. I used my Normans and he used his Samurai. In the first game Keith experimented with 6Cv. My archery destroyed them with exceptional dice. As a result of this Keith changed to a CP instead, and in the second game it was his turn to see his single archer do wonders. We finished a game a piece.

  • Saturday Morning (Ancients DBA)

Pyrrhus had a dreadful morning; he died against Jim’s New Kingdom Egyptians and again against Gordon’s Seleucids. However, both of these were close games, and with a bit more care I might have won. The last game, against Keith’s Carthaginians, was more humiliating. Clearly concussed from his two earlier battles, Pyrrhus failed to roll more than 2 PIPs for the entire game. As a result he sat facing the Carthaginians until in desperation, after his camp was sacked and his cavalry wing was disintegrating that he sent his pikes in an attack against the Carthaginian foot. This failed, and the Carthaginians won a victory without any of their army breaking.

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Pyrrhus attempts to break the Carthaginian foot to no avail (though he doesn’t die this time — photo taken by Keith).

  •  Saturday Afternoon (Medievals DBA)

For the afternoon competition my Normans had Viking allies and were:

4 x 3Kn (cmd), 2 x 4Bd, 3 x 3Bw; 2 x 4Bd and 1 x 4Bw (allies).

The afternoon saw the Normans facing Brian’s Rajputs. I made the mistake of having the Rajput fort, and the BGo terrain on my baseline. I abandoned the idea of trying to take the fort, and was cramped as a result. In the end I killed the elephant C-in-C with mine, but that was on the turn that my army broke.

The second battle was against Ben’s Yi Koreans. The Koreans occupied a wood on my left flank and proceeded to chip away at my knights that milled around in range. Meanwhile on my left flank my archers advanced out of a hamlet into firing range of the Korean cavalry. Their response was to charge, which largely failed, and saw them take casualties. They came back, this time with their general, and were again defeated, giving the Normans a lucky victory. If they’d waited a turn and attacked with their general, they may have had more success (then again they’d have been shot at). Credit should go to the Viking archers, who shrugged off an extended rocket barrage by the Korean artillery.

The final battle was against Jim again. His Free Company were not too different from the Egyptians, having fast blades and archers, but knights instead of chariots. The fast blades proved deadly, getting stuck into the Vikings, who had occupied a hamlet. They destroyed them, with the support of some knights, before my archers could break up his main line of battle. After that, they were able to roll up my right flank.

Overall, I won only one game that day, and finished very near the bottom of the table. However, the points system favoured results over a draw, which is a system I think is good: 8 points for a win, 1 for a loss and 0 for a draw. Losses and draws got points for enemy destroyed too.

  • Sunday (Ancients BBDBA)

After such a bad showing on the Saturday, I didn’t approach the BBDBA with much confidence, especially as I was yet to win a game of BBDBA. My first game was against Keith’s Early Asiatic Successor army (Demetrius). I’d faced it last year with my Carthaginians. This time, however, I was the attacker, which meant I got to react to the entire deployment of Demetrius. This proved very useful, as the Oscans had the chance to avoid Demetrius’ xystophoroi and to contest a hill on the right flank.

In the centre my pike general deployed to the right of the opposing general, and on the left Pyrrhus deployed in reserve to meet the bulk of Demetrius’ elephants and knights. The advantage of deployment was complemented by favourable dice, and in the centre the pike to the right of Demetrius’ central commander was destroyed; he was soon flanked, but never flinched, and the centre remained otherwise static.

On the right, the Oscans hoplites withstood elephants and elephants successfully, and the auxilia were able to overcome opposing peltasts in order to start to threaten the cavalry general of that wing.

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The Oscans approaching Demetrius’ left flank. Their hoplites face pike and elephants thoroughly undaunted.

However, it was on the left wing that the battle was decided. Demetrius had tried to change elements to avoid his knights facing elephants, but this left a hole in his line, and Demetrius himself had had to leave the reserve to join the battleline.

In the initial clash elephants faced off; one each fled, which gave the opportunity for one of Pyrrhus’ to attack Demetrius himself. This was the decisive combat, and the elephants finished off the commander giving Pyrrhus the advantage. He continued to exploit this by eventually overcoming pikemen facing his hoplites, as well as other casualties that I don’t remember now.

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The crucial point on the left flank; elephants have fled in both directions, but one of Pyrrhus’ is able to turn on Demetrius himself.

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The same point from a different angle. The pikes facing hoplites can be seen.

Meanwhile, some of Pyrrhus’ pikemen, dressed as Persian levy pike, had been defamed by Demetrius before the battle. Proving him wrong they eventually defeated the opposing pike (with cavalry support), breaking Demetrius’ second command and giving me my first BBDBA victory.

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The beleaguered Demetrian pike general remains steadfast, but to his right his command collapses as Tarantine cavalry move up to overlap another pike block.

In the second battle I faced Brian’s Classical Indians. In this battle his fort was less dominant. However, when I looked at the terrain I considered trying to fight for the woods on my left with the Oscans. However, they would then face HCh, while the elephants of Pyrrhus’ command would be closer to his psiloi. I had the wings the other way around, which left me with only two psiloi to try to control the woods.

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Pyrrhus faces Classical Indians.

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Pyrrhus’ deployment from another angle.

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And another angle.

As the battle unfolded, the Indians attempted to redeploy radically to face my deployment, and I tried to get across the board rapidly to trap his chariots behind his elephants and his line in disarray.

The plan met a hitch when the two psiloi were quickly destroyed by opposing archers. The elephants now risked being shot at and Pyrrhus and his knights were a cautious distance to their rear. In this unfavourable situation, the elephants decided to advance. They were met by opposing elephants, including the C-in-C. The odds were not good, but the dice gods favoured them, and I 6-1ed the C-in-C, doubling him. If Brian used his +1 the damage was worse, as he still died, fleeing into a HCh. He chose to die on the spot. All but one of my elephants was quickly destroyed, but the last one hatched a devilish scheme; attacking an elephant that had fled to the baseline. The hope was to lose, as he’d flee into a sub-general! He succeeded in this low devise, and in true Pyrrhic fashion succeeded in demoralising the command!

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Just before contact. The elephants are almost in contact, while the Oscans are still a turn or two off. The game mat is one that I got on eBay from Poland. I’m pretty happy with it. The picture is another of Keith’s

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Another picture by Keith of the same point. The psiloi can still be seen in the marsh on the left flank. The central command has a couple of elements of pike in reserve to replenish the back rank of the pike block; they are struggling to keep up.

My two remaining commands were now facing two headless chicken commands and the low PIP one. We ran out of time, but it was still closely balanced, although the Oscans were starting to look dangerous. All in all a great battle with its chaotic elephant battles!

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The end of the battle with the Oscan auxilia looking dangerous. Even the camp was on the move!

For my last battle I faced Andrew’s Akkadians. I was the defender, for the first time in the competition. I deployed anchored on two patches of boggy ground. It was an interesting matchup against fast pike, and the Akkadians swept in very fast. However, the Epiriots proved too good, beating them at every point. In particular, the Akkadian horde on the hill facing the Oscans proved absolutely cowardly, and in the centre the Akkadian general, facing hoplites, was flanked and when the dice came up equal, the solid foot had the advantage and won.

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Pyrrhus facing off against the Akkadians.

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The Akkadian deployment.

However, it was Pyrrhus, in the only battle of the day he saw combat, that destroyed multiple elements. He came up into the battle line as it extended while his elephants tried to avoid facing psiloi. His inspirational leadership routed the enemy before him, and he took his second victory of the day.

This was my first victory against Andrew in a series of encounters that would have gone back to 2009, so I was pretty pleased. I suspect the unfinished bases of his troops may have demoralised them.

  • Summary

The competition was a lot of fun. All the games were played in good spirits. I learned a lot about how hamlets work and came away considering a number of projects. Perhaps one day my Norse Irish will have a Brian Boru CP, or I’ll make a CWg for some Communal Italians. Also I will have to make a hamlet.

I’d like to thank Keith for organising the competition and for having me stay. The venue, the Woolston Club, was also really pleasant. I miss anything similar, to my knowledge, up in Auckland. Finally Comics Compulsion deserve thanks for running the overall competition.

Update after nearly a year

10 October, 2012

I’ve not had much time for gaming this year. For a while I was looking at getting into a bit of ancient naval wargaming, but moved to Adelaide before I could go further with that. I got a few games of DBA with Joel before I left and the Mithridatics had their first victory. Otherwise, I was going to try to play SBH: it’s more portable, and the community isn’t riven by disputes over rule changes, which has rather soured DBA for me. However, when I saw that Cancon would be using DBA 2.2, I thought it’d be fun to get along next year. I’m still deciding on armies; I’m tending towards Mithridatics (the last chance to use SCh while they’re fun possibly), but if I took Seleucids I could field 3Cm, who are also slated for emasculation. I have fewer options for a later army, but if I decide to take a different one from last time, it’d likely be the Pre-feudal Scots; they’re hardly dynamic, but they’re not pathetic. It’s a choice between them and the Komnenans, as I have nothing else ready.

In Adelaide I’ve played a few boardgames, particularly the new edition of A Game of Thrones, which is quite satisfying in its permutations. If I bring a few armies with me for Cancon, I may look to get in contact with DBA gamers there. I’m going to be there for another year.

While on holiday in Melbourne I’ve had a couple of games of DBA with Steve. We played Imperial Germans against Communal Italians. The Germans won decisively, but I can’t really remember how. We then played Papal Italians against Communal Italians. This time it was a victory for the commune, as their Knight general managed to destroy a Horde and a Psiloi. The Carroccio stayed firm on one flank, despite heavy pressure from the opposing spear.

Last night we tried Libyan Egyptians against Neo-Assyrians. The Neo-Assyrians were hard pressed by the Libyan archers, who recoiled them a long way back before being caught by the Assyrian cavalry. After that it was only a matter of time. The highlight for me was the Assyrian general’s charge into the Meshwesh (4Wb), who were reputed to be invincible. They died, but the general forgot about his pursuit and on the next turn the other Meshwesh turned and recoiled the general into a 3Wb; their boast of invincibility was not so empty, though by then it was too late and the rest of the army was in flight.