Conquest 2018, Pt. 3

17 November, 2018

The final day of Conquest was three BBDBA games. A lot hinged on the initial dice roll for who was the invader and got to set up second. As an army characterised by Phil Barker as particularly aggressive, the Later Carthaginians should have had the advantage here, but on this occasion they allowed themselves to be invaded for the first two battles.

  • 1. Polybian Romans (Keith)

The first battle was against Keith’s Polybian Romans. I placed two large marshes and a difficult hill. The command with the Gallic Warband commander set up behind the hill; the spear were in the middle and the left flank with the C-in-C had a marsh occupied with two psiloi.

The Carthaginian right flank and central commands.

The two armies opposed; the Carthaginian left flank command can be seen in the foreground.

The Roman right flank and centre.

Their left flank.

I came to realise that the terrain was not working to my advantage, and things stagnated with neither side able to make much progress in the time was called. On the left flank the cavalry had to retire before the advancing foot.

Initial advances.

Working at correcting things.

On the right flank the warband struggled to move over the hill, and the command range of the commander slowed down the advance of the psiloi, who were needed to support the Spanish scutati.

Slow progress on the right flank.

At the time the game ended the Carthaginian centre was almost broken (a flanked spearman refused to break), the warband were starting to put pressure on the right flank, but were disorganised by the hill. On the left flank a stalemate had resulted.

  • 2. Athenians with Thessalian allies (Colin)

Against Colin’s Greeks, the Carthaginians were again defending. Colin had cavalry seeking to destroy exposed psiloi on my left flank, and on the right flank they had Thessalian cavalry facing the Numidians.

Athenians with Thessalian allies on their left flank.]

The opposing Carthaginian left flank.

Their right flank and centre.

Things did not go altogether to plan for the Greeks, and the Athenian cavalry were briskly destroyed by valiant Libyans. This precipitated a collapse on that flank.

Libyan javelinmen gloriously see off Athenian cavalry, while Numidians rush to fill an anticipated gap.

The Numidians were trying to bolster the threat to the left flank. As it turned out, two of them could turn round, while two stayed to exploit the advantage. The Athenian light troops were no match for the Spanish, and soon the Gauls were ululating their way forward.

The Athenian right flank starts to fold as their light troops break and the Gallic warbands surge forward.

On the other flank, things were not so happy.

Thessalians have the Carthaginians at a disadvantage.

However, the Carthaginians had a lucky escape, when the Thessalian commander was killed.

Disaster for the Thessalians as their commander is killed.

For all this, the Thessalian cavalry still had the Carthaginians at a disadvantage.

Despite the loss of their general the Thessalians continue to apply pressure.

The Gauls broke the Athenians right flank, but not before two warbands were broken. They spent a few turns mopping it up (in hindsight I should have remembered that it should have been removed after losing half of their elements; this was possibly crucial). Meanwhile, the Carthaginian centre was faltering and eventually broke.

The Carthaginian centre breaks.

When time was called I need one more element to win. I might have got it had I remembered that a command is removed as soon as half of it has been destroyed; I might have gained an extra turn to get that last element. For all that, I was under pressure on the right flank and had my centre collapsing.

  • 3. Seleucids (Gordon)

Finally, in the last game I was the aggressor against Gordon’s Seleucids. I exploited this to the hilt in choosing which commands faced which.

The Seleucid left flank facing Carthage invading Syria.

Their centre and right flank.

Taking note of where the Seleucid cavalry was, the Carthaginians chose to have their light troops in the centre to face the phalanx. Their spearmen would hold the right flank defensively, and the cavalry on the left flank could exploit their numbers against psiloi and light horse, while the Numidians faced the xystophoroi.

The Carthaginians meet the phalanx with light troops and the elephants and chariots with spearmen.

Massed cavalry face the beleaguered Seleucid right flank.

The two armies opposed.

The light troops advance while the spearmen wait.

Cavalry swarm forward on their left flank.

The Seleucid scythed chariots proved ineffectual, and the centre and right flank waited while the left flank sought to exploit its advantage. It did this rapidly. It lost two Numidians to the xystophoroi, but in the end prevailed so that the cavalry could chase down the exposed psiloi. Meanwhile, the rest of the Seleucids were advancing, but were unable to gain a significant advantage, and the phalanx was waiting to be rolled up on its exposed flank. At this point the Seleucid general capitulated.

The Seleucid right flank has collapsed and the phalanx is defenceless. The Seleucids capitulate.

The Seleucid elephants on their left flank had routed some Spanish scutati, but overall had made little impression in the short time they had before their other flank collapsed.

I was pleased with how the Carthaginians performed. I think the aggression dice is hugely significant for BBDBA. I wonder if deploying with alternating commands might not reduce this a little.

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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.

Libyans

18 October, 2018

Libyans from Liverpool.

I’ve got quite a few figures started, but got a few elements finished over the weekend; one of them is some Libyan cavalry for the Later Carthaginians. These aren’t strictly necessary, but they seemed to have a bit more character than the staid Liby-Phoenicians. They’re certainly hairier!

Libyans and Liby-Phoenicians.

I also painted an element of Libyan skirmishers. This gives me three elements for using in BBDBA; again it’s not really necessary, but they’re nice figures.

Libyan javelinmen.

And here they are with their more established compatriots (there are a few more consorting with elephants).

BBDBA Libyans.

And finally, the figures that sparked off these purchases — a LH command for my Numidians. To justify buying them, I bought a whole lot of other CB figures …

Numidian commands.

Another angle.

Now I need to finish my Syrians, and the nine elements of Veteran Libyan and Liby-Phoenician Spearmen. They’re all started.

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.

Despite plans to start a regular evening DBA meeting this year, it’s yet to happen, but I have caught up with Nick for a number of enjoyable games. One back in January saw a BBDBA contest in which my Marian Romans with Numidian allies were defeated by Nick’s Romans. We didn’t take any photos. I think my Numidians forgot to be defensive and were defeated before I could win elsewhere.

A fortnight ago we had a couple games using some of my newer armies. My Numidians defeated Nick’s Marian Romans.

The Numidians face Roman interlopers in a very green season in Numidia.

The Romans’ view.

I rushed forward to trap the legionaries next to the woods. I didn’t succeed, and I had the auxilia on my left that I didn’t want to meet with psiloi. From memory I was on the verge of defeat when I was lucky enough to create a hole in the line of the blade (I’d been falling back; I’d lost my only psiloi on the right and my commander was trying to retreat over the hill). This brought me back into the fight, which was looking over for the Numidians. I had been saved by good PIPs that allowed me to retire the general while keep pressure on in the centre. I was lucky to win.

The next battle was between my Campanians and an Italiot Hoplite army. It was fought on a battlefield with no Bad Going, but only a boggy and a scrubby patch, both Rough Going.

Campanians facing Italiot hoplites.

The Italiots.

My Hoplites created a breakthough in the centre, but I was so obsessed with winning on the flanks I didn’t exploit it. Instead, when I rolled 1 PIP I chose to take a risk with my general facing enemy cavalry so that I could develop an advantage on my right flank. This cost me the game, as my General was 6-1ed and destroyed. The Italiots managed a close victory.

Last weekend we caught up again. I got the Marians and Numidians out for a BBDBA game. Nick fielded his Early Imperial Romans. This game was interesting, as my centre destroyed his in record time and my Numidians were able to break their opponent with this support. I’ve not seen blade go down to blade so fast before. My dice were very good. the element that did it was a ring in. To get the 10 elements of legionaries I needed I used an element with different shield patterns. These are an element for my Mithridatic army, one I’ve described as Marian exiles fighting for Mithridates. Clearly they are dedicated defenders of the Republic.

The heroic Marian exiles.

The game was nearly over before the left wing made contact. My elephants were still stuck in rough going (my new hamlet), and I was nervous of the Roman knights.

The righteous defenders of the free Republic face off on hills against the supporters of the tyrant Augustus.

The EIR wing on my left, cavalry, knights and auxilia.

The EIR centre, auxilia, blade and bow.

The EIR wing on my right, blade, auxilia and rogue Numidian LH.

The battle from the side; the centre led by Cato is between two difficult hills; Juba’s Numidian psiloi are on one hill while his imitation legionaries, elephant and cavalry are in rough going; Labianus on the right wing is in a hamlet with elephants, cavalry and solid auxilia; he has psiloi and fast auxilia on the other hill.

Clearly the Numidians were not keen on fighting each other, as there were a number of rounds of combat that saw no casualties on that wing; the Romans were not so delicate in their attitude to each other. This is my first victory with this Marian BBDBA army. I’m still not sure how to get it to work well. I will probably get my Carthaginians out as a BBDBA army again soon. They are similarly winless, but I now have a better idea of how to organise commands.

Numidians

5 April, 2018

The Numidians are now compliant with DBA 3.0. I have been very disciplined this year and only bought one pack of figures (I saw them on TradeMe). They were Corvus Belli Numidian archers. I can now have my fifth Ps as archers instead of javelinmen. Painting this element is an excuse to update the page, and to take the photos again with a better camera.

All the Numidians.

The camp (a mixture of Old Glory and Freikorp figures, as well as Donningtons and Essex, I think.

Another angle.

And another.

An elephant or some archers.

Another angle.

And another.

The archers, for full DBA 3.0 compliance.

The javelinmen.

Another angle.

And another.

The cavalry.

Another angle.