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.

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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.

Seleucids in Egypt

8 April, 2011

No, they didn’t meet Ptolemy or any of his mob, but rather they ran into some New Kingdom types. I got over to the Auckland Wargames Club, which now has Thursday night meetings (evenings suit me much more than weekends during the day) and played a couple of games with Philip, who’s taking part in the DBA tournament at Natcon later this month. He hadn’t played DBA since the MEDBAG day at the North Shore Wargames Club last year.

I went with the ‘c’ list for both games, taking the 3Cm and the 4Wb for the optional elements. Philip went for the ‘b’ list of the Egyptians, which gave him a 3Wb. In the first game I was the defender and put down two modest pieces of BGo on the edges (but back enough not to interfere with deployment) and a gentle hill.

The Seleucids deployed in front of a small wood.

The Egyptians deployed on the gentle hill.

This battle got off to a fast start, with the Pharoah advancing on the left flank with archers, drawn to the two 2Ps there like a bee to honey. They shot one of them with their first shot; 1-0 to the Egyptians. I then was attacked in the centre, and lost the Agema (4Kn). 2-0 to the Egyptians. My right flank was waiting to be rolled up, but then we unveiled our secret weapon! The scythed chariot powered into the gap left by the Agema, slaughtered the psiloi-supported blade there (now 2-2). The Egyptians tried to defeat it by attacking it with an unsupported blade; no luck (now 3-2). Antigonus had only one PIP, which he used to send the chariot into the rear of some archers. This was evens, but the chariot was unstoppable, and the game ended 4-2 to the Seleucids all thanks to an inspired bit of scythed chariotry!

The final scene. The swathe cut by the chariot is in the top of the picture, as is the Pharoah, interrupted in his plan to loot the camp. We had forgotten to roll for the camels, but they only recoiled the opposing chariots.

Game One was mine owing to some good luck, as I didn’t have anything to stop the Pharoah. However, Philip may have forgotten about command and control issues a little on his right flank too. All the same, the Egyptians got a lesson in what you do with ‘real’ chariots!

The two sides face off along the banks of the Nile.

For the second game we decided to alternate rolls and make Philip defender. He put down a waterway, a marsh and a wood. I got the edge I wanted, Philip didn’t go for a littoral landing, and I deployed on the far side of the wood in my deployment zone.

The Seleucids.

The Egyptians.

I got very low PIPs for quite a bit of the start of this game, and was slow to advance the Elephant; instead I took the Galatians and some psiloi into the marsh. Unlike the quick first game, this one was much more protracted. Things stalled for a while on the left flank, as the elephant didn’t have the PIPs to move. Eventually we came to blows there. This time the scythed chariot had no puff and the elephant went down to psiloi-supported blades. In the centre, my pike and general were having a hard time against archers (one pike element lost to shooting). I was up on factors, but not getting the doubles. Infuriatingly (from my perspective), a bow element shrugged off an attack by pikes with a warband overlap three times! By contrast in the centre the Agema couldn’t see off psiloi at 2-2 odds and went down straight away when flanked! Meanwhile, the Pharoah had been locked in combat with a pike for four combats, all sticks, and then I doubled him—hooray—only to be reminded he just fled!

It was balanced at 3-3 on the last turn; at great effort I’d destroyed two bow and the warband, but had lost the elephant, the Agema and a pike (and the scythed chariot). On the last turn Philip destroyed a psiloi (that I should have withdrawn) and a pike to take the game 5-3. It was a fun game and a deserved win by Philip, who broke up the battle lines to his advantage (there was only one ‘group’ on either side at the end of the game). Also I didn’t get the most advantageous match-ups: his blade avoided my cataphracts, and his chariots my camels. Good fun, and I’m keen to get to the AWC again soon for a similar evening.

At game's end. Note the sole 'group' in the marsh.

  • Review:

I’ve had a few games with the Seleucids now, but I’m still getting used to them. In particular, I may want to find ways to deploy the mounted that gives them more options. In the first game the scythed chariot in reserve worked well, but in the second my deployment of the cataphracts kept them from being terribly effective, or mobile. Also, where they were deployed, the pikes might just as well have been in single rank, as they didn’t get the back rank bonus against 2/3rds of the Egyptian army. Still learning how to use pike (and elephants, and …).

Last Sunday MEDBAG, the Middle Earth DBA Gamers, had their first meeting. We’d organized a DBA event at the North Shore Wargames Club. John had had a couple of games there with Philip the week before to create some interest, and on the day two others joined Philip from the North Shore Club (it was the third meeting of the month that falls on the fifth Sunday, so not a busy day); along with these ‘locals’ John and I got Joel along, making six of us. We each played four games in slightly over four hours starting around 11.30 and finishing around 3.30.

John had made some game boards, and we used preset terrain; Each of the locals played each of us and then we finished off by playing one of the locals again. I used my Komnenan Byzantines for the first three games, and went with the same army for each of them: 4x3Cv (1 = cmd), 4x2LH, 3x4Bw, 1x4Bd. There were a few times when the 3Kn for a 2LH would have been useful or a 3Ax and two 2Ps for the three 4Bw, but until I’ve given this configuration a few tries I’m not sure how to use them, so figured I’d stick with it for practice.

  • Game 1: Early Carthaginians

First up I faced Andrew who had Early Carthaginians. The Carthaginians are one of his favourite armies, I think, though he usually plays in 25mm. He’d not played DBA for a while, and his rules were 2.0, which proved to have a few important differences from 2.2. As the defender, he deployed to protect his camp against my greater mobility.

Initial Deployments: two elements of light horse are mostly out of sight on the right.

I deployed with light horse on each wing and the archers and cavalry in the centre. I soon became uneasy about his heavy chariots on the right wing and regretted advancing my light horse so far. I started to retire the light horse on the other flank for support, but they didn’t get any big burst of PIPs to get into action. Instead, a messy action developed in which I destroyed his cavalry and a HCh at the cost of one 2LH (and a rather exposed right flank. I might have had the edge here, if I’d not advanced my archers against his spear (hardly necessary and scarcely wise!). Andrew had a turn to make me suffer with ugly recoils and it was all over.

Before the end; overlapped Kavellarioi faced psiloi-supported spear and overlapped bow face spear; neither can afford to recoil!

  • Game 2: New Kingdom Egyptians

Next up was Philip with his New Kingdom Egyptians. I think I was the defender, and I soon had cause to regret the deployment of my bow—facing his blade! I also had my light horse facing his archers, and seemed a bit like a possum in the headlights with both!

Initial Deployments: Again there are light horse on each wing.

His archers advanced into range of my stationary cavalry on the left and started recoiling them; I just didn’t seem to have the PIPs to do anything there; I think I was lucky not to lose many elements, only one, I think. In the centre his blade met my archers and to my great surprise I 6-1’ed one of them with supported fire. It would be my only real success, as on the right the combined efforts of my cavalry and light horse were not enough to destroy his chariots, and when he created a ‘buttocks of death’ situation for my general with a warband, it was all over. His chariots had also destroyed a 2LH on the left flank.

The final position; the absence of the warband and the general make a big gap on the right flank.

  • Game 3: Early Myceneans

My next game was with Kendall; we were both playing for our first victory. He was using Myceneans, though his list was for 1.1 (not a huge difference). He ended up with a gully along his deployment area and stuck his camp behind it protected by a pair of pike on each side. After I saw his deployment I used one 3Cv to block the gap between the rough going on my left and had all the 2LH on the right flank, though one was attached to the line of 3Cv because of this element swap.

Initial Deployments: Komnenans on the left.

The game went my way because Kendall didn’t know that 2LH QK spear and pike under 2.2, so he moved his pike out on his left flank to meet my 2LH, who made a fair bit of work eating them up. On the other flank, he stomped a pair of my bow and one of my cavalry. Surprisingly the Turkopouloi survived this combat; in fact, they successfully took out his general, making it a great battle for light horse. The Komnenans got their first victory in a close battle.

The light horse have surrounded the last of the pikes and in the centre the Mycenean general has been destroyed.

  • Game 4: Carthaginian Civil War

For the last game we played one of the home team again. Andrew and I decided that a Carthaginian civil war was in order, so he got his Later Carthaginians out to face mine. This might have been from the Truceless War with the mercenaries at the end of the First Punic War (except for the presence of elephants on both sides). I was the defender, and had to deal with my spear being targeted by his elephants and warbands. I did this by swapping them for the Spanish (3Ax and 2Ps).

Initial Deployment: my spear swap out of the way of his elephants and warbands.

The initial combats went my way, and I had him two down, with the elephants trampling his Spanish 3Ax and I think a spear coming to grief, but the he fought back, and while his warband and my Spanish fought inconclusively, he took out my two elephants with a single element of Numidian skirmishers.

Midgame and things favour seem to favour my side. Despite the beach to my back, Andrew wasn't tempted to try a littoral landing.

It got increasingly desperate, but fortunately my Gauls were able to attack his elephant from BGo (they had a toe on that hill). They recoiled it into another element and he was four down. At the time I thought he could have QKed the Gauls if they lost (and I’d have lost my fourth element); only later did I read a post on Fanaticus that pointed out they were safe in BGo (good to know!). A lucky victory for my Carthos!

  • Review:

It was a very fun day. All the games were played in a friendly spirit, but then you kind of expect that with DBA. I lost twice with the Komnenans, but each time I could see an obvious mistake, and I could certainly do better next time! I’m also getting better with the Carthaginians. I certainly don’t worry about whether they can win or not any more—thankfully.

I’m looking forward to a similar event at the Auckland Wargames Club later this month. Thanks to John for organizing this and to Philip for hosting it. Hopefully it’ll be the first of many more.