BBDBA Choices

23 October, 2016

As I said in my last post, I’ve got the figures I need for Conquest ready. However, after a couple of games of BBDBA I’m not sure what armies to take. I had a game of BBDBA last month. I won in the centre and lost on the flanks. Last Friday I had my second game, this time I took Gauls with a Spanish ally. Nick went Early Imperial Romans to see how I’d cope against knights.

I didn’t take any pictures, which was a pity, as it was fun game. I won decisively on one flank (I was the defender and laid out a few woods and a difficult hill). However, much like in the previous game, I lost elsewhere. This time, however, it was that I’d effectively fielded two commands against one Roman one, but the C-in-C was up against two commands, and had also put three elements of LCh on the far side of a wood; these were badly outnumbered, and could not get away from the place.

Even though I lost, I learned a bit more about BBDBA — my commander died when he rolled a 1, but he should have used his single get-out-of-jail +1. This reprieve might have been allowed me to turn things around, though I doubt it. His command broke, and the other two were too slow or too far away to redeploy against the remaining Romans.

What this taught me is that BBDBA is very different from DBA. Breaking a command is only a good start; you have to find a way to be able to redeploy to repeat the exercise. Choosing what commands are mobile and what commands have the most PIPs is crucial for this.

My choices for Conquest are (1) the Marian Romans with Numidian allies, (2) the Gauls with Spanish allies, or (3) later Carthaginians. After looking at what I hope to achieve, which is largely have an excuse to use the newly painted figures, I think the last of these is the best choice; I can use the new Spanish 4Ax, the new Gallic 4Wb, the new Gallic Cv and the new Numidian LH. I can also take 36 elements of Carthaginians (although some of the Spear do look a lot like they may be Greek or Campanian mercenaries).

One of the advantages of the Carthaginians is they are aggression 4, so they should get to deploy second (and if they don’t they can do a littoral landing to mess with the opponent).

My initial reluctance with this army was my concern about the Carthaginians as a DBA army, but I think it’ll do OK. That just leaves the choice of my medieval army. I was thinking of going Prefeudal Scots; I then thought about the Komnenan Byzantines, which have been my default choice for a while. However, I’m now thinking of a more eccentric choice — North Welsh with a South Welsh ally. It’s very fast and should bring on a result in no time at all! I could even look at constructing narratives for the Carthaginians and Welsh having gone to sea as a background to their battles; somewhat more violent versions of the voyages of Hanno and Madog!


Spanish Mercenaries

10 October, 2016

The restored Spanish scutati (existing elements in the back).

The restored Spanish scutati (existing elements in the back).

I got a few more elements completed this weekend. I completed four elements of 4Ax, which will be used for Spanish Scutati serving in Carthaginian, Syracusan and Roman armies. This project also saw three elements of 3Ax being rebased for the Spanish army and around six caetrae being substituted for scuta to make them proper scutati.

Viking 4Bw (Feudal Castings figures).

Viking 4Bw (Feudal Castings figures).

I also have rebased some of my Viking 3Bw and Ps to 4Bw to comply with DBA 3.0; the 4Bw get a combat bonus when in side combat with their 4Bd, so this seemed worth the effort. Once the Gauls are done, only the Norse Irish of my armies will need any rebasing for DBA 3.0.

Four Spanish 4Ax for service in foreign armies.

Four Spanish 4Ax for service in foreign armies.

The mercenary 4Ax are a combination of figures from Corvus Belli, which are no longer manufactured, and Xyston. I am really pleased with how they mix and I’m looking forward to getting the Gallic Xyston figures done to see how they look similarly mixed.

From the side.

From the side.

These figures have rocks added, along with small bushes. I’ve done the same for the Numidians I finished earlier, so they are now properly finished. I needed to refresh my supply of kitty litter, as the remaining ‘stones’ were all too small.

From the other side.

From the other side.

I’ve been using a wet palette when I paint, and I find it very effective, though it does expose those paints that I should really bin and get new ones; in particular, my black has turned and should be replaced. Next up should be nine elements of Gallic 4Wb; and then three elements of Gallic Cv. But I’m pretty good at getting sidetracked!

Update on painting

6 October, 2016

I had a great day at the Auckland Wargames Club (AWC) last Sunday. I took a few pictures and will write a report some time. It has started some projects that will keep me busy; see MEDBAG  for details of one, the other is Ancient Naval Warfare. I’m planning to get a few Langton 1/1200 ships and start doing this with some people at the AWC.

In the midst of this I need to get figures painted for Conquest, now only a month away. To this end I got the decals on the Spanish Scutati done yesterday; they are now much nearer completion. It’s a fiddly job, and I have nearly as many to do for the Gauls, though their shields without lips are easier. Here’s how the Xyston with CB shields mix with CB figures; I think they look great. I had to carve off two caetrae off three of the Xyston figures (why did I buy Caetrati?); I also have the Spanish scuta to correct some of my Scutati that had caetrae.


Four elements of Spanish scutati based as 4Ax for mercenary service in a number of armies.

After these are all finished, I’ll have four elements of 4Ax and I’ll be rebasing three elements of 3Ax (I had to get some of the figures with spears off existing elements). Then I’ll paint nine Gallic figures and rebase some of my 3Wb as nine elements of 4Wb (one is a command). Next are five elements of Gallic Cv, a Roman Cv command and a HotT Gallic Hero. I should be able to base four Norman 3Kn that are all but done too. I just need to avoid getting too sidetracked!


Recent Gaming

23 March, 2014

I’ve not kept up with reporting games I’ve played. Part of the reason for this is because I’ve only got a camera that is not all that satisfactory. I’ve taken better photos with my phone than with the small camera I’ve tried to use. The tripod is broken and can’t support the large camera I’d used for my gallery shots.
The other reason I’ve not been active on the blog is that I’ve been too busy painting (more in the next post). Anyway, I’ve played quite a lot recently, and had some very good luck. Here are some photos that aren’t too blurry.

  • Battlecry, 16 Feb 2014

Last month I got along to Battlecry for a day of demo DBA games. We got a bit of interest and should be running a competition next year as a result of this. We played DBA 2.2, as noted earlier on MEDBAG.
My first game was against Joel, a historical matchup of my Early Seleucids against his Classical Indians.

Early Seleucids face Classical Indians.

Early Seleucids face Classical Indians.

The Indians up close (some are hidden behind the trees.

The Indians up close (some are hidden behind the trees.

The Seleucids.

The Seleucids.

I should have been in serious trouble as the Indians came around my left flank in large numbers. However, they were obviously unfamiliar with scythed chariots, as mine proceeded to tear them to pieces. I came away with a lucky victory.

Chaos on the left flank.

Chaos on the left flank.

Next I faced John, who’d just finished his Celtiberians. I used my Gauls.

Gauls v. Celtiberians.

Gauls v. Celtiberians.

View from the Celtiberian camp.

View from the Celtiberian camp.

I managed to meet his warband with my cavalry and used this to my advantage in a battle on a narrow frontage.

Gallic cavalry triumphant.

Gallic cavalry triumphant.

I then faced Mike, who used my Carthaginians. I took my Syracusans. As we are both littoral, this involved a waterway, which ended up to my back. Mike went for a littoral landing.

Syracusan v. Carthaginians.

Syracusan v. Carthaginians.

I hurried to advance to reduce the potential for the littoral landing party to make trouble. I was able to sack his camp (the crucified Syracusan was a provocation!) and used my longer line to outflank his elephants. Another victory.

The Tarantines return from sacking the camp.

The Tarantines return from sacking the camp.

I think we played some more games that I didn’t take pictures of. The last on my camera was my Syracusans against John’s Celtiberians. I don’t remember for sure if I won, but I think my luck was pretty strong, and I used my advantage in cavalry to compensate for the vulnerability of my spear to his warband.

 Syracusans v. Celtiberians.

Syracusans v. Celtiberians.

Unrecorded is our final BBDBA game of Carthaginians and Celtiberians against Romans and Spanish. This was officially a draw, but I’m sure the Romans had the edge when we stopped.

  • Auckland City Guard

Since then, I’ve mostly played DBA 3.0. Joel’s visited after work a few times, and I’ve got to the City Guard again. We’ve had a lot of fun trying out his Aztec hordes of doom, and we tried out a number of permutations of knights against spear.
From memory the time before last we played: Normans v. Anglo-Danish, Early Crusaders v. Comnenan Byzantines, Aztecs v. Prefeudal Scots and Vikings v. Anglo-Danish. I think there was an Aztec v. Early Crusaders too.
Last weekend I took some photos:
Our first game was his Aztecs against my North Welsh.

The Aztecs meet the Welsh.

The Aztecs meet the Welsh.

The Welsh with their South Welsh ally.

The Welsh with their South Welsh ally.

The South Welsh cavalry got in the way of his archers and the spearmen got flanked; however, the Welsh had been making progress against the important Aztec elements.
Next we played Ptolemy against Lysymachus. The Ptolemaic army was quite different from what I expected. I tried a littoral landing of three auxilia in a line with side edge contact with the waterway. It seemed legal and threw Lysimachus’ plans to meet this treat. I got a narrow victory in this battle.
We then tried Carthaginians against Gauls.

Carthaginians drawn up against Gauls.

Carthaginians drawn up against Gauls.

Carthaginians with a random stack of skulls next to their camp.

Carthaginians with a random stack of skulls next to their camp.

The Carthaginians won in a battle stacked in their favour (though elephants don’t quick kill warband any more). Our final battle was the Carthaginians against Aztecs. I didn’t take any pictures of this. The Carthaginians took only one elephant, I think. They were lucky in a battle between their two 2LH and the Aztecs two 2Ps. I killed both of them, but had I not, my back was to a wood, and I’d have been very much at a disadvantage.

DBA in Auckland

19 January, 2014

  • Auckland City Guard
  • Last Sunday I caught up with Joel and John at the Auckland City Guard for some DBA. We used DBA 2.2. In the first game I got my Syracusans out against Joel’s new Carthaginians. It was a close game, but Joel pipped me 4-3. The second game we combined armies for a Big Battle DBA game: John and I led Gauls against Joel’s Marian Romans with Spanish allies. As defenders we deployed first. Our choice of open terrain in the centre with massed cavalry didn’t work. Our die-rolling was pretty shocking too – a humiliating defeat. The massed effect looked great, though, and attracted notice. I hope to get to that club regularly this year.

  • Painting
  • Those games inspired me to get my paints out again. I’ve got four camps that are nearly done out to finish, and seven stands of Successor  pike.

  • DBA 3.0
  • On Thursday Joel came over for a couple of games of DBA 3.0. He’s played that version a lot recently. I’ve not looked at it in ages. We tried my Seleucids (ll/19d) against his Marians for the Kn-Bd dynamics. It was close, as I lost my right wing to his cavalry. My general destroyed some legionaries, but I clinched the game by flanking his foot general with my imitation legionaries. The general had pursued beyond the support of a unit on his flank.

    I enjoyed the pursuing blades and pikes, though I wonder about blades against knights.

    The second game was my Prefeudal Scots against Joel’s Vikings. This was fun as the Scots now have Fast Pike. It was a game I lost on the flanks, as my light horse failed to sack the camp. However, I’m inspired to paint a Wb general for this army pike-supported double-ranked Wb could be very nasty,  though a LH and a Ps for the wings is a bit light!

    I liked the fast pike designation for the Scots. I’m keen to rebase my Welsh now. The 1066 period has become interesting again. Overall, I liked the way DBA 3.0 played.

  • SBH
  • While searching out the figures for my Wb general, I got out some Normans for a SBH warband. These are Essex foot and Khurasan mounted. The painting table is getting crowded!

    P.S. my 200th post!

    Yesterday I had a game of DBA with Ieuan, the first in a while. He went Seleucids, and I went Polybian Romans. It was over very quickly when I rolled two 1’s in combat first up and got shredded by his pikes and cataphracts. No pictures of this battle!

    Today I caught up with an old friend, Craig,  over from Brisbane, part of the Kiwi diaspora. We decided to have a game of DBA. He went Seleucids, and I decided to try the Cathaginians against them. At this point Ieuan decided he wanted to join in and we went for a game of Double DBA. Ieuan took Galatians as allies to the Seleucids and the Carthaginians took some Spanish allies. The Carthaginians were the defenders, but I was pretty sure this was a Carthaginian invasion of Asia Minor after a successful war over the Romans. They had the support of Spanish allies, while the Galatians and Seleucids attempted to repel them. We could have gone for a later Seleucid army, but decided to choose the army that gave the Galatians a SCh. This meant the Seleucids had the ‘b’ list and no SCh (until I buy and paint another one!), but two 4Ax and a 4Wb as their options. The Carthaginians went for two elephants and three psiloi (as all their Gauls were in use!)

    The Seleucids and Galatians rush towards the Carthaginians and Spanish a few turns into the game.

    The Carthaginians got modest PIPs through most of the game, and they saw their opponents bear down on them very fast.

    The whole battlefield from the Carthaginian perspective.

    The Seleucids secure their wing with Thorakitai and Thureophoroi in the marsh.

    While the Carthaginian elephants go looking for warbands to terrorize a gremlin gets into the photo.

    While the Galatians rush forward, the Spanish struggle to get out of line while exiting the wood.

    Carthaginian elephants support the Spanish against the Galatians.

    The right wing was soon engaged against the Galatians and, despite the Seleucids sending the Cretan archers to support against the elephant, it soon defeated a double-ranked warband. However, on the open flank the Galatians got the better of things, and after chasing off the Spanish light horse, they proceeded to destroy two Scutarii and two Caetrati, though not before losing another warband to that elephant.

    The battle hung in the balance for the Carthaginians. They needed to defeat the Galatians quickly, before the Spanish were destroyed or all fled. Fortunately for them, the Seleucid Thureophoroi lacked bite, and the Spanish on that wing repelled them twice. Meanwhile, as the Seleucids manoeuvred to attack the Carthaginian spear, the Carthaginians seized the initiative and attacked themselves. They really had no choice, as a pike block faced their psiloi support and if they waited they could expect this to be recoiled, leaving the two wings very vulnerable to the Seleucid cavalry. On the right flank they recoiled the Agema, but on the left flank, where they faced the commander and had no overlap, they did even better, routing the Seleucid commander with a 6-1! Only then did the central spear element grudgingly give ground to the pikemen.

    The Seleucid commander quails before the indomitable Carthaginian spear and flees (the spear in the centre shown recoiled did this after this crucial encounter on their left).

    Now each of us had a broken command; however, the Galatians faced a difficult task of facing the Carthaginian elephants. And in the end it proved too much when the elephant attacked their cavalry and got the Numidians as support. They break and with them goes the last spark of resistance in the Galatian army. Hannibal has a beachhead in Asia Minor!

    As the Seleucids and Spanish flee, the Galatian horse find elephants supported by Numidians too much and this elephant, which was responsible for the rest of the Galatian loses wins the battle.

    • Review:

    This was an interesting battle, and a close one, that was decided all too soon by a 6-1. The 3Kn Seleucid general has so far proven a bit wet, and had we gone for a later list, the ‘c’ one, not only would this have fitted better with a possible alternative timeline of a successful Hannibal going east, not as an exile, but as a conqueror, but the Seleucids would have had the cataphracts and camels. Furthermore, the Galatians would have had a psiloi instead of the SCh, and this would have been invaluable against elephants! We may try to refight this battle with those lists.

    2nd Punic War Day at AWC

    8 November, 2010

    Today MEDBAG had its biggest event to date; that said, it involved as many participants as the event at NSWC, and there were even as many games; however, this time they were themed, which added a good deal of interest to the event.

    There were six of us, and Andy provided the armies (with a few Gallic warbands from John, as Andy’s were double-based). I’d decided I’d like to go Syracusan, as they were an army I’d not tried before, and Steve expressed an interest in Spanish, so it occurred to me that we could make the two sides IWC DBA competitors v. the Rest. So we made John our leader with the Romans and faced Andy with the Carthaginians, Joel with Numidians and Mike with Gauls. We decided to go with three opening rounds, then lunch followed by the BBDBA to decide the ruler of the Mediterranean. It was a good format that wasn’t too hurried; we had everything finished around 3.00, and we must have had our first battle under way around 10.45.

    • Round 1: the war begins.

    First up I faced the Carthaginians. They’d gone with two elephants, two warbands and two psiloi (1x3Cv (Gen), 1x2LH, 2xEl, 3x4Sp, 2x3Wb, 1x3Ax and 2x2Ps). I’d decided that we should have to settle on one army for all the battles, as half of us had no choice, so why should the other half. Therefore I went for a spear general, a warband, a cavalry and an auxilia (7x4Sp (1=Gen), 1x3Wb, 1x3Ax, 1x2Ps, 1x3Cv and 1x2LH). Joel decided that speed was of the essence and went for six 2LH (including the commander) and six 2Ps! The Gauls were 3x3Cv (1=Gen), 8x3Wb and 1x2Ps) and the Romans and Spanish were as per the book.

    I reasoned that I was unlikely to get a cavalry advantage with a cavalry general and a foot general was less likely to get in trouble. He would also give the bulk of my army more oomph and force me to attempt to win with the spear, rather than try to ignore them and their psiloi support and win with the rest. It was an approach that received some comment from other players. At worst, I hoped the sight of a general in the midst of those tasty spear would provoke the warbands and elephants to do something rash and allow my higher factors to prevail over their QKs!

    I was the defender in this battle, a situation I maintained (everyone want to have a piece of Sicily!). This was even though we all had aggression 0 for the purpose of the campaign. I placed only one wood and a pair of gentle hills, but Andy kindly got the wood in the centre of my battleline. I decided to deploy on one side of it and the Carthaginians lined up opposite me.

    Initial Deployments: Syracusans facing the Carthaginians.

    No inspiration came to me for swapping elements, so we started to advance on each other. I expanded my line, and the crafty Carthaginian wheeled to endanger my cavalry, who risked being recoiled off the edge of the world by his general.

    However, first blood went to me on the open wing, where I sent in the Gauls, Spanish and Tarantines (dressed as Numidians!). The Gauls put the Libyan skirmishers to flight and the Spanish doubled their fellow countrymen, while the heavily disguised Tarantines recoiled the Numidians.

    Go Spanish! Opportunities are created on the open wing.

    Nevertheless, the Carthaginians got to make contact, which was less than ideal, but given their greater mobility always likely to happen unless they rolled a 1 when within 200 paces of me. Despite this, I weathered this storm, although a spear fell to the Gauls. I was then able to overlap the Gauls with the valiant Spanish and drive them to perdition!

    Looking good at 3-1 to the Syracusans.

    Then it went crazy; my misdressed Tarantines routed the bemused Numidians and I had enough to win, but the elephants creamed my spear, taking out the general, another spear and the psiloi support. It was now 4G-4 to the Carthaginians and my turn!

    The elephants make a big ugly hole in the Syracusan line!

    Fortunately the Spanish continued to excel and with 4 PIPs they were able to charge an elephant with spear support and rout it. A narrow victory, won by mercenary valour!

    The Spanish had a hand in four of the five kills—outstanding!

    Meanwhile, reports reached us that the Romans had defeated some Gauls, despite the Gallic psiloi destroying an element of Roman cavalry. 4-2 to the Romans.

    Initial Deployments: (Blurry) Romans facing the Gauls.

    The battle with the Numidians was still underway.

    Initial Deployments: Numidians facing the Spanish.

    The Spanish were on the ropes, three down, but at this point, they obviously finished their siesta and demolished four of the Numidians to win; most of these were psiloi killed by their general, who was more than once flanked by the pesky blighters, but ended up swatting three of them. In fact, the last combat was 2-2 for the game, and it went the Spanish general’s way.

    The Spanish general shrugs off swarms of psiloi!

    The Carthaginian side had been whitewashed, though two were very close affairs.

    • Round 2: the whitewash continues!

    Next it was the turn of the Numidians to visit Sicily. I saw no benefit to giving them terrain to play in and lined up my spear to meet them.

    Initial Deployments: Syracusans facing the Carthaginians.

    After seeing how the Numidians had deployed, I thought better of contesting the woods, and swapped the mounted over to that flank.

    Initial Deployments: after the swaps.

    I opted to steamroller down the field with my slow-moving foot to leave the Numidians less room to play in. This was a strategy aided by cripplingly low PIPs on their part and redoubtable defence by two elements of hoplites that didn’t deign to flinch before mere skirmishers, even when overlapped. For all that, things didn’t start well, as the Spanish, heroes of the last battle, made an early departure. At this point, the Numidians had control of the woods and the freedom to turn my flank. My mounted were off repelling an attack on the camp. However, despite all the numbers they brought to bear, the two elements of hoplites they turned to face just kept on recoiling or fleeing the skirmishers.

    Attempts to dislodge that unsupported element of hoplites only got them angry!

    At the same time my cavalry were slowly driving an attempt on my camp off the table.

    At this point it all started to look quite easy, as the Numidians didn’t have the PIPs to trouble me. The cavalry took out a lone psiloi (or two) and the foot just kept trundling down the field. It was all Joel could do to slide one light horse a turn out to the side. One, however, didn’t get away in time, and was chased off the table, giving me a surprising victory.

    Victory to the Syracusans; in the centre the Numidians must have finally got one of those redoubtable hoplite elements whose steadfastness gave me the game.

    Again, the Romans had wrapped it up very fast, and we learned it was a 4-0 victory to them.

    Initial Deployments: Carthaginians facing Romans.

    As for the Spanish, they again waited until they were 0-3 before getting serious, and then in a twinkling they made it 4-3!

    Initial Deployments: (Blurry) Gauls facing the Spanish.

    The Carthaginian confederation was handed their butts on a plate again, and there were rumblings of discontent about their leadership.

    • Round 3: the Carthaginians are deposed!

    Feeling very confident I faced off against the Gauls. After dealing to light horse and elephants, I was confident I wouldn’t be troubled by some naked barbarian warbands. Again we had to deal with unwelcome foreign holidaymakers on our beautiful shores, and again I put down a minimum of terrain.

    Initial Deployments: Syracusans facing the Gauls.

    As the battle developed I attacked the Gallic psiloi with my Spanish, but they were not able to regain their mojo from the first battle and only recoiled them. We also attacked their cavalry, getting two recoils, but then the Gauls hurtled into contact, scorning overlaps. We held up pretty well, losing only one element of spear that lacked psiloi support.

    After the Gallic charge.

    There was a round or two of tense encounters until I had my big chance, I had double overlaps on a warband, 5-2 to me … and he 6-1ed me. I should have known; in my experience warbands love to have their backs against the wall! That destroyed my psiloi support and it was all getting too horrible.

    The dreaded 6-1!

    Although we held our own in the cavalry encounter, the warband shredded us, and we lost another two spear to them, including the general! 5G-0 to the Gauls.

    All over, rampant Gauls.

    The dice went Mike’s way in the combat that mattered, but he’d effectively made my longer left flank ineffective, so it was a well executed victory.

    Meanwhile, not caught on film were two more victories; the Romans were 3G-2 to the Numidians, catching their general, and the Spanish, showing more alacrity this time, were 4-2 to the Carthaginians.

    • Round 4: Master of the Mediterranean.

    Over lunch the Carthaginians yielded control of their faction to the Gauls. In fact, with heavier losses than the Numidians, they dropped to the bottom of their faction. With the only loss, I was clearly the loser of our faction. The Spanish, with their habit of waiting until they were three down before getting serious were second, and the Romans retained their supremacy.

    The Romans decided that the Gallic upstarts needed to be put in their place, and led us into Gaul to do this. They had a reinforced command (two extra 3Cv), and I lost two elements of 4Sp, but kept my foot general. The Carthaginians dispensed with their Gallic mercenaries, and the Gauls took more 3Cv. The battlefield had two woods on each flank and some gentle hills in the rear. The table was 6’x4′, so we started 9″ in compensate (that should have been 12″, perhaps).

    Initial Deployments: Gallic Empire on the left, Roman on the right.

    After seeing where the Gauls placed their camps we decided to meet them repeating the match-ups of the last rounds. John was somewhat dubious of the wisdom of my facing the Gauls again, but I suggested that his cavalry was better able to stop the Numidians than anything I had, and if he formed up close to me, I could rely on his blades for support. I joked that this was the Cannae stratagem; I had the weak centre that would suck the Gauls forward while our wing closed in on them.

    The Romans had to deal with greater numbers of Numidian light horse (5) with three cavalry, and it got bloody. Eventually, however, his superior factors prevailed and the Numidians broke. Meanwhile, the Carthaginians were attacking the Spanish auxilia; they had better odds generally, but they were not able to find an attractive target for those elephants.

    In the centre I’d formed up with a narrow frontage to face the Gauls. Just before contact I thought my light horse would be better to face them than single-ranked warbands; however, the light horse, unnerved at such brazen nakedness, fled. Not a good start; fortunately the spear held firm and flung back the warbands. In fact, they took two of them out on the left end of the line, as the Carthaginian elephant wasn’t able to get close enough to prevent an overlap.

    Despite those Tarantines, the Gauls are repelled with heavy losses!

    In my turn I think I only had a few PIPs, but was able to get the Romans to attack the Gallic cavalry opposite mine. Mine were then free to attack some Gallic foot; at 3-0 on these rash overlapped fools, they ought to have done some damage, but instead only got a recoil (or was I actually recoiled?).

    While a cavalry battle is fought near the trees on the right flank, the Syracusans stand firm in the centre.

    Fortunately the Gauls were now engaged with their cavalry against the Roman legions, and didn’t have the PIPs to contact my spear. On the downside, I had only one PIP and could only attack with my cavalry again, this time with success. The Gauls were now 3 down, though I lost a spear to one of their warbands (but had a reserve behind it!).

    Action photo! One Gaul falls to the Syracusan cavalry.

    Victory came to my general, who redeemed himself for the last battle, when he broke the two warbands opposite him, demoralizing the enemy C-in-C’s command.

    After having his bodyguard routed in two of the previous battle, the Syracusan general, not afraid to return from a battle without his shield, finally secures victory for his Roman masters.

    When the Gallic warbands fled, the rest of their alliance turned tail. Soon, they were sending ambassadors to sue for peace with the Romans. The Syracusans, despite playing an important part in the Roman victory, could look forward to being sacked by paranoid Romans at a future date if they should appear too powerful, but such is life!

    The battlefield at the end. The Numidians had been in flight for one turn when the Gauls broke.

    This battle brought to a close a very enjoyable day. The Syracusans remained frustrated in their dreams of empire, but being Greek, of sorts, could count on better historians (as Sallust famously admitted) than the Romans, and secure a victory in words, at least, over their masters! The success of the IWC-bound DBA players I took as a good omen for us at that competition! It was interesting that, like at NatCon, one side was markedly more successful than the other; this time, by contrast, the armies were more different to each other. Anyway, I’m already planning future events on this model. Thanks to all who took part, and Andrew, in particular, for providing the figures.

    See also the reports at Steve and John’s blogs for reports and more pictures:

    Sunday week John and I caught up with an old friend, Craig, over from Brisbane. It was a chance to see the Polybian Romans on the table. We met at the Auckland Wargames Club, where Craing saw a number of old faces. We had three games. The first saw the Carthaginians and Romans square off, the next was between the Gauls and Spanish and the last was a Double DBA where the Romans and Spanish faced the Gauls and Romans. It was a fun day, though the last game went on a bit (it would have helped had we read the BBDBA rules more carefully!).

    • Game 1: Romans v. Carthaginians.

    The first game was between me and Craig. Craig opted for the Carthaginians and took an elephant, an extra cavalry and two warbands. Predictably the ‘peace-loving’ Romans were the defenders (was there ever an aggression factor more in need of correction!). They decided the Carthaginians would like BGo more than they would and decided to deny them it. They went for two gentle hills and a small wood.

    The Carthaginian general, still reeling from a deleterious caffeine experience (worst cup ever!), managed to get the very edge he didn’t want and was required to deploy with the wood in his deployment zone. The Romans went first and put their Triarii on a hill on the left flank, and deployed the two legions with psiloi support in the centre.

    Initial Deployment: Romans facing Carthaginians.

    The Romans decided to advance fast and the Triarii were required to move up to prevent the legions being flanked. This put them at severe odds facing the elephant and the other Carthaginian mounted. The Carthaginians saw no benefit in advancing their centre and left flank, but wanted to sweep around on their right. All that stood in their way was the Triarii and a general who wasn’t sure he wanted to be there!

    The lines meet. The Carthaginian cavalry flees, and the Triarii face long odds.

    Things did not go well for the Romans. The Triarii fell before the Carthaginian elephants and an element of blade went down to Gauls. It seemed the bungled deployment of the Triarii was reaping its well deserved consequences. At this point the general, who had hovered to the rear as the Triarii came to grief decided it was time for a last fling of the dice. The Carthaginian general was unsupported, so he attacked him at even odds. A small chance of destroying the general (and an equally small chance of dying himself). He liked to think of it as a form of devotio, rushing into the midst of the enemy to die in order to win divine favour.

    Well, the gods didn’t destroy him, the fight only saw the Carthaginians recoil, but the act seemed to have the effect of galvanizing the beleaguered Romans, who finally broke an element of Carthaginian spear.

    In the next turn it was all over. The Carthaginians had only a few PIPs and could only plug the line with some Libyan skirmishers, and attack the Roman general with Numidian support. The general recoiled and then the legions swept all before them. The Libyan skirmishers fled, the overlapped spear were destroyed as were two elements of Gauls. In no time it went from 0-3 to 4-3!

    The final position showing the hole the legions had created in the Carthaginian line.

    The game illustrated how resilient blade armies can be. It was a lucky victory, and what will the Roman general say to the senate: ‘You did WHAT with our veteran troops!’ In future I suspect a more defensive, and historical, posture for the Triarii might be in order!

    • Game 2: Gauls v. Spanish.

    The next game was Craig as the Gauls against John as the Spanish. In a battle where both have no aggression, the Gauls got off to a good start and were the defenders. They deployed minimal terrain to prevent the Spanish lurking in it and to give their cavalry an edge.

    Initial Deployment: before two element swap.

    The Spanish prepared to send two psiloi into the wood, so the Gauls brought a cavalry and their psiloi over to meet this threat.

    Initial Deployment: Gauls rearrange their flanks.

    As the battle began, the Gauls had a small chance to get an edge when their left flank met by choosing to attack. If they could recoil the central element they would have overlaps at 4-2 for the other two. It didn’t work and the Spanish were able to pile on the pressure on the flank.

    The Gallic attack on the left flank made no impression, being recoiled, and now it begins to be outflanked.

    Remarkably the outclassed cavalry held on here, but the block of warband showed less resolve and fell apart before the Spanish attack, managing to destroy only one of the Spanish Scutarii. The battle here and a general lack of PIPs prevented the Gallic right from ever seeing combat, yet it was that cavalry and their general that might have given them the edge.

    It's all over! The right flank is destroyed. The only Spanish casualty was a 3Ax that is shown lurking behind their 2LH.

    Warbands against Auxilia is a tough match-up. It might have been better for the Gauls to have held back the left flank to allow the right flank to engage. Also they could have looked to put more pressure on that flank, as once the six double-ranked warbands were engaged little was left over. Another tactic would be not to double-rank, and try to get the overlaps.

    A footnote to this battle was that the Spanish commander continued his cowardly form from the previous game, rolling at least another one in his first combat, and it is his lack of resolve that kept the Gallic cavalry on that flank alive.

    • Game 3: Romans and Spanish v. Carthaginians and Gauls.

    We finished the day with a game of double DBA. I took the Carthaginians with Gallic allies and John took the Spanish again in alliance with Craig using the Polybian Romans. The Romans were defending, and laid down a fair amount of BGo. The Spanish deployed to dominate this rough terrain, but left only a thin centre: the two elements of cavalry! The Roman deployment was more conventional. In response the Gauls deployed their cavalry where they would make the Spanish nervous of leaving the woods, and their warband where they would encounter the Romans head-on. The Carthaginians opted for their mounted in the centre, where they could go after the Spanish cavalry.

    Initial Deployments: from the Carthaginian side.

    Initial Deployments: from the Gallic side.

    The Carthaginians soon came to regret the placement of their camps, as the Spanish threatened them with a quick march down the central road. Fortunately the Spanish proved short of PIPs owing to low PIP dice, and their commander being out of range.

    Indeed, their commander was not feeling happy. He was outnumbered 2-1 by the fast-approaching Carthaginian mounted, who included an elephant. However, by dint of hard fighting they held off the first attack.

    The Spanish general finally rolls a 6!

    On the other flank the Spanish succeeded in destroying an element of Gallic cavalry, which helped relieve the pressure on the Romans, who had lost an element of legionaries to cavalry on that flank.

    The Spanish destroy one cavalry, but the Gallic commander had recoiled the central element of the block of Roman blades, removing the psiloi support and setting up the destruction of another blade.

    Luck couldn’t save the beleaguered Spanish commander forever, though his light cavalry gave the elephant a hard fight; only with the commander gone and the Spanish becoming demoralized did the light horse finally break.

    The Spanish light horse narrowly miss out on destroying the elephant, but their commander, flanked, is less bold.

    With the Spanish giving up the fight, some of the pressure came off the Gauls, but they’d lost two warbands, and along with the cavalry were at the point of breaking. Given that one cavalry was badly trapped it seemedonly a matter of time before they copied the Spanish by fleeing. Their commander, seeing this, decided to go out with a bang, and order his surviving warbands into a desperate attack on the other Roman flank. If they won in the centre at 4-6, they would be at 4-4 and 2-4 for the other two combats (best not to do the odds if this didn’t happen!). The warriors had obviously decided this was too unlikely and broke on contact, rolling 1, 3 and 1 against 6, 6 and 4. From being three down the Gauls went to eight down! That said, if those rolls were reversed, it would have been the Romans who broke.

    The Gallic warbands disintegrate before the Romans like chaff in the wind.

    At this point it would have been a good idea if we’d read the victory conditions for such a game, as we assumed it was now a matter of breaking the Romans or the Carthaginians, yet actually totally destroying the Spanish would have been enough.

    The Gauls, those left, held easily as they still had a commander, though the surrounded element of cavalry didn’t survive. The leaderless and more scattered Spanish started to stream towards the rear. This proved a real nuisance for the Carthaginians, who couldn’t get past this carefully timed succession of troops fleeing down the central road.

    The Spanish proved a real distraction, as did a lack of PIPs (the Gauls wallowed in an obscene amount, for which they had no use!). This led to the Carthaginians forgetting about the Numidians that had advanced on the Roman camp then dithered. They were eventually destroyed by the Roman general, not without a fight.

    The Numidians recoil the Roman commander, while the Spanish block the road.

    Time seemed to move slowly as the Romans moved glacially back to their camp, while an element of blades with a psiloi in support inched towards the Carthaginian camp. The Carthaginians managed to sack the Roman camp with some Libyan skirmishers, but couldn’t get the right match-ups to get the last element they needed.

    The camp is taken, but elsewhere the Carthaginians can't get a result.

    At this point I wondered if I could leave the camp, or whether the Libyans were too busy looting it. I was too tired to penetrate the opaque organization of the rules to settle this (I was confused by the silly rules around BUAs, which are in the same section as camps). I decided to err on the side of caution and make the Libyans stay in the camp, though their ability to flank the Roman general might have proved decisive. The fight in front of the Roman camp continued for a couple of rounds more (I got a turn’s reprieve when Craig got only one PIP and couldn’t advance on my camp), but eventually the Romans did reach the camp and it was all over.

    The Romans take a dim view on donkey beating!

    This was a fun game, though it dragged at the end, and it would have been very different if we’d read the rules carefully: John would have been trying to survive rather than provide speed-bumps to the Carthaginian advance. I would have had two warbands to root out three auxilia and a psiloi from the right-hand wood and an auxilia, two psiloi and the spear to get them out of the other wood. Sacking their camp would have counted towards the losses, I presume, and the lack of a general would have seen elements breaking and leaving the woods, where they would be vulnerable to the Carthaginian mounted. In such a scenario, I’d not have needed to go after the Romans, as they had already lost an element, meaning once all the Spanish were gone they’d have been over half destroyed.

    This was only my third game of BBDBA, and my first when I wasn’t playing against someone who knew the rules better than me. It was very useful for getting me actually to read the rules (all one page of them) carefully, even if only after the game!

    I enjoyed the day, and the chance to get my four completed armies from the period of the 2nd Punic War onto the table.

    A backlog of battles

    3 October, 2010

    • Ancient Spanish v. Carthaginians.

    I’m a good way behind in writing battle reports and the last few don’t have any photos either. The week before last Joel got around for a game in the week after work, the first time in a while. The Spanish had just been finished, so he chose the Carthaginians to face them. He ended up being the defender and had opted for no elephants (strange that!) and three warband.

    The Spanish have no choice and over a very empty battlefield they chose to attack at speed. This was because they had a wood on their right and the Carthaginians had a steep hill on their right. After deploying, the Carthaginians opted to swap their two 3Cv elements to the right of this hill in place of the two 2LH. This ended up causing severe command and control issues, as they got repeatedly low PIPs.

    The Spanish deployed in two blocks of three psiloi supported auxilia with two psiloi in the woods and the cavalry in reserve. The psiloi were able to face the Numidian LH at even odds and came out to face them with the Spanish cavalry. The left flank block of auxilia was more cautious, trying to block the Carthaginian cavalry, while the central one charged up the middle.

    What really gave the Spanish the game were three 6-1s in their favour. The first took out a pair of double-ranked 3Wb that were overlapped. The second removed (from memory) a 2LH. The Carthaginians managed to get a 3Ax with their spear, but it was too little too late, and the central block of auxilia got another 3Wb. Against such dice, the Carthaginians had no answer. The general behind the hill just made it harder. Clearly the Spanish liked having their camp to themselves!

    The Spanish camp obviously brought them good luck in their first outing against its erstwhile possessor!

    • Review:

    Rolling sixes is always a great way to win! The Spanish did use their speed to deny the Carthaginians time to overcome their bad initial PIP rolls. Psiloi-supported Auxilia are good against Warband, but if the game had degenerated into a shoving match, as might have been more expected, the Carthaginians would have had the edge.

    • Ancient British v. Patrician Romans.

    Sunday last week I got around to John’s for a game. He used his Patrician Romans, who now have two completed elements of 4Bd (which look fantastic). The rest are still bare metal. I decided to try out the Ancient Britons, who I’m thinking of taking to Conquest. It seems only proper as I won them at that competition last year. John took 1x3Cv (gen), 2x3Kn, 2x2LH, 2x4Bd, 2x 4Wb, 2x4Ax and 1x2Ps. I took 6x3Wb (1=gen), 3xLCh, 2x2LH and 1x2Ps.

    As the defender John laid down a wood on one edge of the board and a couple of gentle hills. I chose to put this wood on one flank. I deployed my warband on a hill with one chariot on the right flank where the wood was (realizing too late that John’s Auxilia would own this!), and the rest of the mounted along with the psiloi on the other flank facing John’s mounted. John had his Auxilia and Psiloi in column on his left to rush into the woods, and his blades and warband in line facing my warband with his mounted on his right flank.

    This game lasted quite a while. I advanced off the hill hoping to take the Roman blade and warband while screening the auxilia with my chariot. Unfortunately at the critical moment my PIPs evaporated for what seemed ages. The chariot was caught by the auxilia who then ZOCed my warband. Furthermore, the blades faced my warband with a kink at the point where their general was. No matchup was very attractive, and I was sitting at over 200 paces, so to contact needed PIPs for a double move.

    The whole thing could have gone far worse, but on the left flank I sent in my chariots, light horse and psiloi against John’s light horse and knights. I succeeded in killing both his light horse; in the first round with a lucky result (doubling one LH) and in the second round by sending in my psiloi against the other with a LH flanking it. In these fights my chariots were lucky not to die to the knights, as at least one of them was overlapped. I managed to get one knight flanked and attacked to the rear. It stuck one turn but died the next. However, with the game 3-2 to me I had to survive two attacks on my warband to get another crack at winning on the left flank. It was not to be; the knight took out a rear rank warband and the psiloi-supported auxilia with an overlap got the rear-rank warband on the other flank.

    • Review:

    My big mistake was not to put the wood in John’s set-up zone. Where it was gave a flank to John and something for his auxilia to do. For all that the Britons nearly did it despite PIP starvation in the mid game. They’re a fun army I think I will take to Conquest.

    • Gauls v. Later Swiss. 02.10.10.

    Today I went to the Auckland Wargames Club for a DBA day. As it turned out this was not well attended, to put it mildly. Still John and I had two good games.  The first was my Gauls against his Swiss. He took the option of a 6Kn instead of a 6Bd. This game was soon over when my general was 6-1ed by his 2LH when I attacked them with an overlap against me. This was only the second combat of the game. We decided to keep playing and treat this as a recoil.

    I was the defender and went for a large central wood and two steep hills in opposite corners. One of these was on my right flank and that was where the action was. John kept his two psiloi on his hill to stop a cavalry of mine from scooting down a road to his rear. For my part I shielded this flank with my psiloi and that cavalry. Meanwhile the commander and the other cavalry went over to the right flank in an attempt to get around it. This is where they met John’s 2LH. I had sent the bulk of my warband (5 of them) into the woods where they had a stand-off with John’s pike and knight. The other three warband were on the hill.

    As the battle progressed (in the alternate reality where my general didn’t die), John advanced four pike to support his LH against my cavalry and three warband. Even worse than in the game the weekend before I had atrocious PIPs. My general chased the 2LH to the edge of the board before doubling it. My warband then started to get stuck into his pike. One came out of the wood and peeled off the rear rank, only to get double (was that another 6-1? I think so!). Then my general got adventurous and tried the same trick on the side. He was recoiled and quickly surrounded by the pike he’d attacked and one of the pike that had stayed back.

    He got a stick the first round, and this is when things got interesting. In my turn I got enough PIPs to attack his pike in detail (single-ranked pike against warband, yummy!). I managed to make it 3-2 that turn, unfortunately my casualty was my general. For around four turns I could not get that next pike, even though it was single-ranked and overlapped! Things were getting grim at 3-3 with the 6Kn approaching when I finally got him at even odds. The honours were evenly spread: 1G-0 to John and 4-3G to me; though my general might have wondered at my putting him into harm’s way so many times!

    * Review:

    I could do with not risking the general so much. The first time it seemed reasonable, as the risk was small and I stood to open up that flank; the second was not sensible. The problem was frustration at poor PIPs.

    • Ancient Spanish v. Gauls. 02.10.10.

    After a quick lunch we had another game. I used the Spanish and John took the Gauls. It was a chance for a historical match-up. I was the defender and went for two woods and a steep hill. One of these ended up on John’s right flank and the others on my left flank (the hill) and right flank (the wood). I opted for two blocks of three psiloi-supported auxilia again. One was in column on the hill and had a pair of psiloi and the light horse next to it on the left flank. The other was between the wood and the hill with the general behind it.

    I needed to advance my central block fast to avoid having the left flank out of command range. I did this, despite not really wanting to face most of the Gallic cavalry (his general went close to the wood to support the action that developed there.

    As it turned out the battle on my left flank sucked up all our attention so that the Gallic left never got into action. Things started well with a rear-supported warband going down in a confused action with the psiloi and light horse. The auxilia had to deploy out of column and struggled to get psiloi support. Some bad luck led to an auxilia and its psiloi support going down. I then made it 3-3 when an auxilia and a psiloi flanked another warband. At this point I committed my general to the battle, to avoid the auxilia being overlapped. It was a risk, but he had good odds. Unfortunately he was a total coward, rolling three successive 1s in combat, eventually falling when flanked. My risk undid me and I lost a general for the third time that day!

    • Review:

    This was a fun battle. It developed fast and could easily have gone the way of the Spanish. The committing of the general was a risk as he could be overlapped; it was to avoid the auxilia facing a warband at 2-2, odds where it could easily be doubled. Still, it was probably a risk best avoided.

    I’ve updated the army page for the Ancient Spanish, who are ready to fight now. The Carthaginians will have to find a new camp, and the Spanish cavalry may soon get to fight, after being painted months ago.

    All the Spanish available to me; it's more than is needed, but they're popular as mercenaries.

    These figures have ‘steel paper’ stuck to their bases to make for better storage; I’ve now done this for the Komnenans and the Celts as well (the Carthaginians had been done for a while). I also tried ‘Ogryn flesh’ on their faces, but I can’t say it did anything that the Klear wash before hadn’t done, beyond deepening their tan!

    The flocking saw the last elements for the Komnenans completed: their camp, their Kontarioi (4Sp) and the second element of psiloi. These are my best paint job, but they’re done.

    The psiloi (Museum slingers), kontarioi and camp (Essex mules, a Chariot dog, Outpost foot and Museum monks).

    I’ve still got a lot of other elements waiting flocking (notably the Pre-feudal Scots and some early feudals), but I’ve made a start on the Chariot Polybians. I’m also thinking I should do a few more CB Celts so that the Gauls can face Carthaginians who have Gallic mercenaries, but it’s probably not so urgent.