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.

Advertisements

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.

Xystophoroi

17 July, 2011

Ptolemaic Xystophoroi.

I’ve completed two elements of Xystophoroi. They are Freikorp figures with spears from Xyston. They are for a Ptolemaic army; however, they can be used for quite a number of other armies. I’m close to being able to field a whole swathe of successor and Hellenistic armies, though not in opposition to each other. The biggest hold-up is two more elements of elephant. One is an Early Successor one with a pikeman sitting on its back. The other is an unarmoured one with a tower. The first of these would allow me to do a whole range of early successor armies, the other would be for the Ptolemaic army and for a Pyrrhic one. Otherwise, there’s a lack of pikes. My next project may be about seven elements of pikes to allow opposing pike blocks (one of these would be a command element for Antigonus Monophthalmus).

From another angle.

I have two elements of 3Cv ready to go too, but they are waiting for decals on their shields (which are in the post). These are for the Syracusans, but can be used by a number of other armies, though I’m not sure when shields started to be used, making them less useful for some of the earlier armies.

I’ve updated my armies page with a list of all the new armies I should soon be able to field!

From the rear.

Otherwise, I darkened my Seleucid elephant a while ago; it was much lighter than the two Carthaginian ones, so I gave it a drybrush with a darker grey, which I think improves it.

A more tanned Seleucid elephant.

Yesterday I got along to a 28mm DBA day at the Auckland Wargames Club. It had been proposed by Jerome, who on the day asked me to organize things. As we had no map and no theme—the armies were what people chose to bring—I went for what I could remember of the system described by Chris Brantley on Fanaticus:

http://www.fanaticus.org/discussion/

We went for random rounds that led to the loser becoming the winner’s vassal. After three rounds there were two equal factions and we decided the winner with a game of BBDBA.

The participants were:

Andrew: Sea-Peoples (I/28)
Alistair: Spartans (II/5a)
Mark: Gauls (II/11)
Steve: Marians (II/49)
John: Marians (II/49)
Jerome: Early Franks (II/72d)
Mike: Vikings (III/40b)
Richard: Ghaznavids (III/63b)

This made for a preponderance of blade armies, making my Gauls a better choice than I’d thought. I’ll only describe my games, except to say all the games came to a result apart from one in the first round between John and Andrew; they started late and their blade were only bouncing each other back when we called time.

In the first round I faced Jerome, who’d not played DBA before. Our armies were fairly similar, except my Gauls had more cavalry. Jerome stayed in a big wood initially, and when he started to move, he didn’t have enough PIPs to get fully out of it. I hoped to contact his general with my cavalry and overwhelm him, but I ended up making contact with my warband on his, and owing to the effects of pursuit it soon developed that I had the edge, as I could get rear-rank support when he was still in BGo. I lost my psiloi on one flank, but got a 6-1 on a double-rank Wb and from there the advantage stayed with me.

The final situation against the Franks.

My second game was against Ghaznavids; it was a match-up I didn’t expect to do too well at, as my Warband would not like his two elephants. However, Richard, had not played DBA since version 1 and didn’t know about the second move of warbands. I was blessed with a plenitude of PIPs at the right time and was able to get warbands into his spear. On the first round my cavalry bounced off his, but on the second I got a pair of warbands against the spear next to his elephant general and a psiloi onto the general. The dice smiled on me; both his spear fell to my warbands and then my psiloi rolled 5-2 on his general for a surprise victory. Richard would not have allowed me to get so close if he’d known about warbands’ charge move.

Warbands triumph over elephants.

For the third round I had the victors meet. I faced Sea People and didn’t get the table edge I’d hoped for. The Sea People deployed between two hills. I ended up losing as I got dragged into fighting in the centre rather than waiting to win on my right flank. This happened as I tried to provide overlap support on the right flank, which drew my cavalry forward to provide it. My one attack on the right flank (which took 4 PIPs to coordinate) was repulsed without success. In the centre my general was double overlapped and rolled a 1, silly chap!

The Gallic general cops out, and it's all over against the Sea People.

At the end of this round Andrew commanded me and Alistair, who had defeated Richard: one elephant recoiled into the other, oh dear! Richard had a point that this was a consequence of the depth of 28mm elephants. What happened was one elephant was recoiled then attacked in it flank. It turned to face, and coward that it was, recoiled again into the other elephant. In 15mm it would have recoiled behind the other elephant. The Spartan camp was a rhino being led away in chains; now they could use an elephant, or at least bits of one!

John faced Steve, and the resolution of this Roman Civil War was that Steve was his vassal as was Jerome, who had defeated Mike. Mike and Alistair decided to sit out the final battle, leaving Andrew and John to attempt to bring their inconclusive opening battle to a result. This time with allies. Andrew was the aggressor, so we got to match up our armies to our advantage. Andrew faced John on the flank with BGo, I faced Steve on the more open flank and Richard’s cavalry and elephants faced Jerome’s warbands with a bit of wood in the way.

The battlelines are drawn. The Sea Peoples on hte right with the Gauls in the forefront.

From the other end of the field.

On my end of the field I was hampered by low PIPs (1s) for about 3 turns. I decided to try to get my cavalry across my front and around the Roman flank. I was very lucky to do so without getting caught. Meanwhile, the Ghaznavids had lost a light horse to warband who closed the door with their second move. He then advanced against the Romans, hoping to get the elephants at the warband. However, his cavalry were swept aside by the Romans and it was all over in the centre.

I then had great PIPs. I was able to get my general behind the Roman line to attack their psiloi, something I can’t remember ever managing before. The warband had the PIPs to double-move into overlap and combat. It was looking good. The general despatched the psiloi. The cavalry on the flank had overlap from a warband; 3-2 odds and the Romans had nowhere to recoil. They got a stick, sigh! From there it all went wrong. The next combat was no longer 4-4 odds, but 4-5 and was recoiled. The last two were doubled and the Gauls were broken. But for that second combat I might have broken the Romans and kept the game alive. It was a victory for blades; curse their tenacity! Steve’s Marians soaked up the pressure from most of two armies and came out with barely a scratch!

The final result. The Ghaznavids are in retreat and four Gallic warbands have been broken. Meanwhile at the other end of the field little has happened.

This was an enjoyable day; it had a good turn out and all the games were played in good spirit. Some of the players decided DBA wasn’t what they liked; the fast-play rules have their own quirks that need to be learnt, and there is nothing in the rules to allow for better quality troops. Thank you Jerome for proposing the day and Andrew for providing me and Steve with armies.

This is the second such event at the AWC; I hope there will be more. I may try to encourage something similar to be organized at the North Shore Club, perhaps in 15mm and with a theme. It makes for a fun day.

Painting Progress

15 June, 2011

It’s over two months since I posted on here. I’ve not had much opportunity to do any painting, and this Sunday was the first time in ages I did any. I decided I really wanted to see my hoplites completed, so I got to work that night hacking off shields, which involved removing glued-on spears, and cleaning up the Freikorp ones. Monday night I attached the shields using green stuff and last night I glued the spears back on and undercoated the new parts. They are now ready to paint!

Essex hoplites with Freikorp shields. The from left stick is a command element. In the background are some Seleucid light troops that have languished for two months!

The green-stuff part was the least pleasant, as it doesn’t set for a few hours, and I couldn’t tell how strongly attached the shields are (I still don’t really know). Gluing the shields went very easily, as they slotted back into the spot they had previously. Can’t wait to get these guys painted, as along with the two I’ve done, I’ll have eight 4Sp and need only a couple of cavalry to have a complete army (Syracusan or any number of later hoplite armies!).

I placed a large order for Gladiator figures. This was to get discounted postage, but also because they have quite a few packs of a single pose. I bought some of their hoplites, as I decided the Essex ones weren’t going to work with their ugly shields. I’m now happy with the modified Essex figures that have Freikorp shields. However, I painted an element of the Gladiator hoplites to see what they looked like.

Hoplites: from the left, Gladiator, modified Essex and Old Glory Campanians.

The Gladiator figures are a little squat against other manufacturers. In particular, they seem to lack necks!

From the side.

From the other side.

Gladiator have a good range of light troops, and there is some variety in these packs. I like their javelinmen and slingers in particular. I’ve painted up an element of each of these and of their Thureophoroi.

Gladiator archers, javelinmen, slingers and Thureophoroi.

From another angle.

These will be used in the Later Macedonian and the Syracusan armies.

Retrofitting hopla

17 November, 2010

I’ve been looking for good hoplite figures for a while. I guess I could go with Xyston, which are doubtless very good, but likely to be too big and are a hassle with their undrilled hands. I got some Gladiator hoplites, but am not really satisfied with them (though I’m yet to paint any). I actually like the Essex hoplite, but its shield is a travesty, being too small and having no rim. What’s a hoplite with a crap hoplon?

The old Essex hoplites.

I found a way around this when I got some of the hopla from Freikorp (for their HG17). I found it was actually quite easy to remove the Essex shields, although the spear had to come off as well (and it’s a whole lot easier if the figures aren’t based!). I used a craft knife and as the metal is very soft they came off without much effort, better still the arm stayed on! I painted the Freikorp shields up quite a while ago, but did nothing until last weekend about actually attaching the shields to the hoplites. I only have 8 of the Freikorp shields, so I painted up another element of hoplites and attached the shields using green stuff (as the concave backs made for poor contact with what remained of the figures’ arms.

The retrofitted hoplites.

One thing I’ve found with the Freikorp shields is that they seem to be quite porous, and washes are very dark on them, even after adding a transfer. By contrast, the Essex figures have very shallow detail, which means washes don’t pick up as much detail as on some figures. For all that, I like the pose of the Essex figure and the variations of armour and helmets that stop them being too uniform.

From another angle.

The hoplites are going to be used for a Syracusan army, though I’m sure they can morph into quite few other hoplite armies. Before I order any more shields, however, I have to paint some of the other Freikorp figures I’ve ordered, to check they’re a range I want to get more of. I’m working on a Seleucid elephant (HG10a), which I think has great animation, and compared to the CB one is a breeze to put together. I’m also working on a scythed chariot (HG27), which is very attractive, though a little big for the base. I’m also painting a command for the Later Macedonians from HG20 and HG21 and some Tarantine cavalry for these and the Syracusans (HG25).

Finally, I’m doing an element of Macedonian pike (HG03). These are nice figures, with a good pose and variations on the head position and helmet. The shield is also appropriately smaller than a hoplon. Once these are painted I’ll order some more of those hopla and the figures I need to complete the Hellenistics as Syracusans, Seleucids, Ptolemaics and even Pyrrhic (I only bought samples of the cavalry first up, but based on these I’m very happy with their range).

And another angle.