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!
10 October, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Next I faced John, who’d just finished his Celtiberians. I used my Gauls.
I managed to meet his warband with my cavalry and used this to my advantage in a battle on a narrow frontage.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
19 January, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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!
11 April, 2011
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 Carthaginians got modest PIPs through most of the game, and they saw their opponents bear down on them very fast.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
The battle with the Numidians was still underway.
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 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.
After seeing how the Numidians had deployed, I thought better of contesting the woods, and swapped the mounted over to that flank.
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.
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.
Again, the Romans had wrapped it up very fast, and we learned it was a 4-0 victory to them.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?).
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!).
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.
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!
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: