Practice games

15 January, 2019

Yesterday I caught up with Joel for some very enjoyable practice games. In the first two games Mithridates squared off against Sulla. I took the scythed chariot to assess its potential, as well as an Armenian ally of a 4Kn amd two LH: Cv (gen), SCh, four 4Bd, two 3Ax, Ps + 4Kn, two LH.

  • Mithridates v. Sulla

In the first battle, Mithridates was the defender, and went for a battlefield of two gentle hills, a hamlet and a patch of rocky ground (both RGo).

The two armies arrayed.

Mithridates.

Sulla.

This battle opened fast, with Roman psiloi advancing to face the scythed chariot. I opted to go after it with the Kappadokians, who were supposed to face the Roman cavalry. They killed it, but then were facing Roman legionaries, and the whole battleline was disordered. My combat dice were bad, but they shouldn’t have saved me from being dragged into such a disruptive effort to save the chariot. I lost.

  • Sulla v. Mithridates

The second battle saw Mithrdidates on the offence facing an impressive city in the Balkans (Diocletian’s palace).

The Roman defenders.

Mithridates.

This time the chariot got stuck into some blade, along with the cataphracts. In short order the chariot had destroyed some blades and advanced into overlap onto some psiloi that the cataphracts routed.

The Romans were limited by PiPs in their response, but they managed to destroy an Armenian LH (these had rushed forward to cover the cataphracts, and avoid being attacked by the Roman cavalry).

The Roman response on their right flank.

Mithridates decided to continue the attack with the cataphracts, and to send the chariot out to the left to attack another legionary element. The remaining light horse retired. The chariot failed this time, and the cataphracts got a draw with the legionaries — not good. Now we were 2-2, but I had only 9 elements to the Romans 10.

After combat, the chariot and cataphracts are destroyed.

There was a lull while we both reorganised (and battled low PiPs).

The armies regroup.

The Romans won this one too, as I committed the imitation legionaries at little chance of success. The psiloi on their right fled, leaving its neighbour to be overlapped. I was pressured into this, as the two Kappadokians in the woods were risking being overlapped when the Romans advanced against them. On reflection, the Kappadokians would have been better on the other flank to face the cavalry. They did little in the woods. Overall, the verdict on the chariot is that it’s not a super-weapon, but could add some interesting wrinkles to a battle.

  • Samanids v. Aztecs

After lunch it was the turn of the Samanids. First up they faced Aztecs (in the New World too, a first for the fabled Samanid navy!). The Aztecs deployed between two woods, while the invaders chose to deploy in the open.

The Aztec hordes (literally).

The Samanids

The Aztecs advanced beyond the woods. The Samanids saw an opportunity for their archers against the Aztec psiloi and moved them to their left as they advanced and methodically began to destroy hordes with their spear and cavalry.

Contact against the hordes.

In time we succeeded in killing all but one of the hordes (that one being the one that Joel had hoped would go, as it had a warband behind it, waiting to attack). We also got the two psiloi with two archers and a psiloi. In the centre one enemy blade had also been destroyed. However, one of our cavalry was destroyed, as had a bow. The enterprising enemy blade rushed through the gap he’d created and attacked our reserve, an element of archers. It survived the first round of combat, and then we surrounded it.

The blade is surrounded. The enemy general had retreated a little, and the remaining horde and warband can be seen in the background.

It survived, forcing us to recoil. The next turn it got that archer, while the general was able to attack my remaining archer that was in a wood, which broke in terror. I lost 4-3, though 8 of the Aztec elements had been broken! An excellent game.

  • Samanids v. Cortez

My last game saw the Samanids face Cortez (IV/19c) and his Tlaxcalan allies. This time they were defending. Their hills and rough going was all in one part of the battlefield, which they were defending.

Cortez.

The Samanids.

I hoped to neutralise the artillery with my spearmen, while the archers shot from the protection of the hill. Getting into position on the hill took time, and the first element of archers to make it over the crest advanced into a hail of arrows and fled. The other two did get themselves into position, but did not feel they had the numbers to advance, especially as an element of spearmen had been shot away by the artillery.

What saved the Samanids was the slow reactions of the Spanish. In desperation the Samanid cavalry moved to outflank on their right flank. The response was a series of 1 PiPs. On the first, a single archer turned and shot at the Samanid LH, who recoiled to the edge of world. They paid for this by being fallen upon by the cavalry, who double-overlapped it and routed it. Another 1 PiP by the Spanish saw Cortez advance to face the cavalry. They ignored him and destroyed another archer. This continued until all three archers on that flank had fled. The Spanish response was to advance in the centre, but it proved too late; fast blade advancing uphill against solid bow in bad going made no headway. And the Samanid spear survived a round of combat against the Spanish solid foot.

Cortez advances on the Samanid foot.In the background the dire state of the Spanish left flank can be seen.

Meanwhile, the Samanid cavalry surrounded the Spanish artillery, while one cavalry sought to delay Cortez (they’d recoiled when facing him with LH flanking; now the LH joined the fight on the artillery. Cortez could only look on as his artillery joined the rout.

Cortez is unable to save the day as his artillery is destroyed.

The Spanish notice their left flank has broken and start to flee.

The final battle of the day was my only victory, and it owed a good deal to luck, but I enjoyed all the games, and learned a lot about using these two armies. In particular, I can see mastering archers as taking a while. Also, the scythed chariot is a challenge to use so that it disrupts the enemy, and not my own army.

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Mithridates redux

6 January, 2019

The Mithridatic army has had an overhaul. Symbolic of this is the SCh. I’d stopped using it. Partly this was because it’s not that effective, but possibly as big a factor was that it didn’t look that good any more. It’s scythes bumped into everything; it disrupted its own battleline with them, and they got bent, looking shabby. I decided to shorten them. It may not look as dangerous, but it will be more attractive to put on the table.

The old scythed chariot with longer scythes.

The renovated chariot with more manageable scythes.

Otherwise, I’ve added five new elements of figures from Corvus Belli. One of these is Cappadocian infantry (3Ax). I now have two of these.

Cappadocians.

Again.

The other four elements are imitation legionaries. They are actually veteran Carthaginian spearmen, but are too good not to use as legionaries.

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Imitation legionaries.

Another angle.

And another.

These have the same shield colours as the original Carthaginian spearmen. There are five more elements to paint, for BBDBA, and they will allow me to use them for a Mithridatic BBDBA army that has an Armenian ally.

Speaking of Armenians, I have all the figures for an Armenian DBA army; this is not too high up the painting queue, but I have painted four elements of them to use as an ally for Mithridates; these are two elements of cataphracts (4Kn). These are Freikorp figures, actually Parthians (after I bought them, Freikorp brought out an Armenian range). They have good poses, but the detail is not great in places, such as their faces.

Armenian cataphracts.

Another angle.

And another.

The other two elements are horse archers (LH).

Armenian horse archers.

Another angle.

And another.

Along with the camp that I painted last month, this army is largely new elements. I’m hoping its TLC will make it fight better.

Mithridates with an Armenian ally.

I’ve got a few more elements finished, and a number more very close to being finished. The first is the Command Wagon of my Communal Italian army (III/73a) that is taking shape. It is a morph of my Norman army, though I’m yet to paint most of it — the six elements of communal spearmen, the two elements of communal crossbowmen and the two elements of Contandini infantry (hordes). I’m actually planning to take a Medieval German ally (IV/13a), which allows more knights (3Kn/4Bd), and another element of crossbowmen. These are all started. I made the transfers for the Carroccio’s banner and the shields myself. I was following the picture in Ian Heath’s Armies of Feudal Europe (no. 94 on p. 111). I noted that some of cities (Bologna and Parma) had red banners and a cross on them. I somehow took from this a yellow cross, though when I reread the book I discovered that it should have been white.

The Communal Italian Carroccio.

Like the rest of the army, this is an Essex model. I chose to keep it to a 40 x 40 base, so I’ve not used the oxen. After I decided on this, I saw a very nice Carroccio with oxen. One advantage of the 40 x 40 base is that I can present the wagon side on.

Another angle.

The model came with a single monk (the one holding the crucifix), but I came across a few more while I was painting it, and decided to fill out the wagon a bit. These monks have picked up some dirty habits, courtesy of refreshing the ink in my wash just before doing them! They’re not just there to add moral support either; that monk in the middle is kneeling. If he stands up he’s a monster (a Museum miniature) … Beppo abandoned his questionable early life as a wrestler for a life of prayer, but should the wagon be under serious threat, he may revert to his old character, so watch out!

And another.

The wagon is guarded by a select guard of uniformed troops.

From the rear.

The occasion that led me to finding the other monks was my decision to finish off my Mithridatic army. Part of the work is to do the camp— Mithridates tent— which was guarded, I believe, by a stag, a bull and a stallion. I’ve had these figures for a long time; I even started painting them, in a desultory sort of way, so it’s good to get them done finally.

Mithridates’ tent.

Another angle.

And another.

Mithridates’ army will be joined by an Armenian ally that can add more horse archers and some cataphracts. These are under way. I also decided that I could use the Carthaginian veteran spearmen as imitation legionaries, which would be an incentive to get them finished—well, some of them. I’m also doing another element of Cappadocian infantry also by Corvus Belli. In all, this will represent eight new elements for the army (and a ninth if the camp is counted). Here’s the first of the finished spearmen/imitation legionaries.

Carthaginian veteran spearmen (or are they imitation legionaries?)

Another angle.

And another.

Once I’ve got the Armenians and Carthaginians done, it’s back to the Italian spearmen and crossbowmen (who got demoted in the painting queue last week).

Browny-con

8 October, 2018

Browny-con was organised by Grant at his house and was a great success — 8 players and six rounds of DBA. We used a scoring system, but were relaxed about army choices, going for match-ups at each round.

A few missed games at either end missed all the rounds, and we scored 5 pts for a bye. Otherwise it was 8 for a win, 1 for a loss and 0 for a draw and you subtracted losses for your win and added kills for your loss or draw. The scores were:

Benny 35
Mark 32
Simon 30
Grant 28
Dave 26
Philip 24
Joel 23
Nick 18

Camps sacked and generals killed were (Camps sacked – Generals killed):

Benny (0-2)
Mark (0-1)
Simon (0-0)
Grant (1-2)
Dave (0-1)
Philip (1-0)
Joel (0-0)
Nick (0-1)

My games were:

1. Mitanni v. Sea People (Philip)

The Mitanni destroyed the Sea People using their light option (Psiloi and Fast Auxilia). It was their six chariots that proved superior to the auxilia and fast blade they met.

2. Campanians v. Polybian Romans (Joel)

Joel fielded a lovely BUA (Diocletian’s palace). I had him have it on his side and charged into contact with him, hoping to win on my left flank where I had fast auxilia and cavalry against his cavalry and psiloi. My centre crumbled (hoplites not enduring against blade), and things looked hopeless when my general 6-1ed his to turn around the game. I then destroyed the psiloi and cavalry on my left wing. It was a very jammy victory!

3. Mitanni v. Ugarit (Dave)

What I did to Joel, Dave did to me. I had the factors, I thought, in this battle — I had solid auxilia facing fast auxilia and I had a LCh facing a psiloi on the other flank. The dice went against me and I was 6-1ed repeatedly, losing my General and five other elements in an absolute rout.

4. Mitanni v. Midianites (Grant)

Mitanni face Midianites.

After lunch I faced Grant’s Midianites, and was grateful to finally be defending, avoiding sand dunes. I went for my heavy option of solid auxilia and solid bow. The battle was tipping in Grant’s favour when one of my bow was destroyed, but the dice went my way and I rolled up his flank and won quickly.

5. Late Carthaginian v. Pyrrhus (Benny)

Carthage faces Pyrrhus.

This was a game I thought I had; I managed to get my elephant to face Pyrrhus. All I had to do was QK his Kn general. Unfortunately, to do this I’d moved the elephant in front of a pair of Gallic warbands. If I’d moved the warbands first, I might have avoided this. It was a sideways shuffle. Predictably the elephant had to recoil — twice! On my left flank a psiloi was destroyed by an enemy one, allowing it to close the door on my auxilia, ending the game.

I was lucky to avoid losing two LH to a situation on the other flank. Benny’s LH and cavalry had advanced on opposite sides of the hamlet, so they were not lined up. The Numidians were positioned to ZoC both of them. Benny attacked with the Cv and the Numidians conformed (as he couldn’t). He then could close the door with the LH. Fortunately I won the battle. It’s an odd situation. Benny’s cavalry couldn’t advance as a group, as they weren’t one. He didn’t set out to create such a situation, but it was a nasty one.

Numidians before being attacked by cavalry with a LH overlap.

6. Mithridates v. Marian Romans (Nick)

Nick’s bad luck continued. He took an artillery element in the middle of his legionaries. It faced my Sarmatian Kn flanked by pikes. On my left flank the Romans had more BGo troops than I did facing each other across a wood. Nick’s PiPs were terrible, which prevented him from moving into the woods. He attacked with his legionaries, leaving a gap for the artillery to continue shooting at the Sarmatians. I was lucky to avoid losing anyone in these attacks, but got to charge the Sarmatians at the artillery and close the door on the legionaries in the gap with some LH. The gap widened, and after surviving a turn the artillery was destroyed. This gap was one that the Romans couldn’t fill, hampered by bad PiPs and poor combat dice.

It was a great day; most of the battles played very quickly. There’s talk of getting some HoTT armies together next.

BBDBA

6 August, 2016

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Recently I was reminded that Conquest was coming up at the end of this year; Keith’s planning a new format with some BBDBA for the last day. It’s got me motivated to see what I could field if I were to attend. I don’t have enough figures for any army to be made up of 36 elements from one list. I’d need to field 24 elements from one list and take an ally. This precludes taking a successor army, which is a pity, as pike are better with solid wings, something they struggle to get in normal DBA. At this stage I’ve got a few armies I’m looking at:

The Republican army at Thapsus led by Scipio and Labienus and aided by their ally the Numidian Juba. I’m painting the Numidians now, and I’m looking at rebasing Spanish to make enough 4Ax. Otherwise, I’m pretty much able to field this army. I would look to get a few more elephants, though. I’m not normally a big fan of Roman armies, but the any that resisted the tyrant Caesar is OK, especially with honourable leaders such as Labienus and Cato the Younger.

Another army is a Mithridatic one with an Armenian ally. I’d need to paint a bit more to get this one ready. It’d have two solid wings of light horse and auxilia, a centre of blade or pike and enough knights to be a threat.

I could also put together a Syracusan army with a Carthaginian ally.

Anyway, along with getting these armies ready, I’m reluctantly planning to rebase my Gauls as 4Wb; I’m hoping I can get some rather nice looking Xyston Gallic foot nobles to mix in with the Corvus Belli ones to add some further presence to each element. I also have plenty of Gallic cavalry to look at painting. Perhaps they could be another BBDBA army!

Belated battle reports

6 November, 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I went to Cancon at the start of the year, but never got around to posting. I took Mithridatics (II/48) and Comnenans (IV/1a). I ended the competition in the middle, winning my early games and then falling back in the second half. I generally fielded the blade option for the Mithridatics.

I didn’t get to play much DBA otherwise. When Steve visited at the end of June we played a few games, but after that I’ve not played anything until last Friday when I visited Melbourne to catch up with Steve and take part in Tormentus with the Monday Knights at the Auburn Bowls Club.

This was a fun tournament of four games. You only had the same 12 elements for the whole tournament and the terrain was set. I decided to take the Mithridatics with their blade option. I won two and lost two. The one element we couldn’t meet easily was the knight, and I lost to an army with seven of them; I did get the first kill and I might have had a chance if I’d not tried to go after his bow with some blade, breaking up my line. The last game was against some Vietnamese; as luck would have it my opponent ended up with a swampy river and a wood in front of him. Again, I might have won if I’d kept my forces together and gone into the swamp with my blade, auxilia and psiloi. Instead, I sent the light troops around the flank. We got to three each and short of time when I went into the swamp with some overlaps, but really a bit of a forlorn hope. I lost.

There were a lot of awards; more than there were participants; I got one for having travelled the furthest and one for the best looking army. I was somewhat surprised by the second, but most of the armies were put together from bigger ones, while mine was made for DBA. However, it is a hodge-podge of manufacturers and in need of repair; the commander’s standard has broken as has the dagger of the sacrificing priestess.

That weekend Steve and I had a couple more games, two of Song of Blades and Heroes. I’m keen to play this more; when I get settled after I finish in Adelaide, my first priority would be making some decent terrain for skirmishing in 15mm. Steve had some houses and good hills, trees and a river that really made a difference. I’m thinking of using the campaign setting of the World of Greyhawk for a simple campaign set in the devastated Duchy of Tenh. It’s a setting that seems suited to a campaign and I already have the figures for it, particularly goblins, dwarves and elves.

More Imitation Legionaries

31 December, 2012

Late Hellenistic imitation legionaries. Two have red shields and could be Ptolemaic; the one with green shields would be Seleucid.

Late Hellenistic imitation legionaries. Two have red shields and could be Ptolemaic; the one with green shields would be Seleucid.

  • Imitation legionaries

With a brief flurry of painting I go my Mithridatics ready for CANCON 2013. All my paints are in storage, so it took a bit of effort to get them out to do three 4Bd elements. I’d already prepped them, so they didn’t take long once I started. These elements allow me to field the late Ptolemaic and Seleucid armies. which have two and one element respectively. I’ll also use them to fill out my Mithridatic army.

From behind.

From behind.

The figures are Freikorp Thureophoroi and Thorakitai; I’ve given them pila from old-style Freikorp Romans. They may not have used them, but it helps make them clearly imitation legionaries.

From the other side.

From the other side.

The Mithridatic army has five elements of imitation legionaries. I’ve decided to use one element of Romans, as Mithridates had some Marian exiles fighting for him; then there are two elements of Marian figures mixed with Thorakitai, but with Marian shields. And finally two of the new legionaries. It is a nicely hodge-podge collection of legionaries, in keeping with the rest of the army.

Mithridates' legionaries: the two blue-shielded elements have a mixture of Marian Roman figures and modified Thorakitai. The middle one are straight Romans, exiled supporters of the Marian faction. The last two have more obviously Hellenistic equipment.

Mithridates’ legionaries: the two blue-shielded elements have a mixture of Marian Roman figures and modified Thorakitai. The middle one are straight Romans, exiled supporters of the Marian faction. The last two have more obviously Hellenistic equipment.

  • CANCON

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m attending CANCON next year. I’m looking forward to it. I didn’t play that much DBA last year, though I started to get a few games in November. I’ll be taking a few armies to Oz when I return; I reckon I can get all my Classical armies (though I’m leaving behind the Ancient British chariots, LH and extra Ps to make room. As it is, I’ll have a stack of armies for the period of around 300 BC to the start of the principate. One army that doesn’t fit is the Komnenan Byzantines, who I need for the second day of CANCON. I’ve used it before and like it, not that I’m terribly successful with it. My other armies from Books 3 and 4 are either not finished, needing to have their bases upgraded, and/or not very competitive. I was tempted to try the Pre-feudal Scots; they’re not terrible, but are a bit of a challenge. If I wanted to keep with a similar army for the first day, I could have gone with the Syracusans. However, I’m keen to use the SCh before it is emasculated, so Mithridatics it is; I can make a fairly spurious link with the Komnenans by pointing out they’re from the same region!

Another shot of the Mithridatic legionaries.

Another shot of the Mithridatic legionaries.

  • Mithridatics completed

The Mithridatics are a somewhat cheesy army for competitions in Australasia, as down here you are generally allowed to choose what elements you’ll use before each battle. The option to substitute five 4Bd for a SCh and four 4Pk allows you to transform the army’s capabilities. Against most foot the blade are very powerful, but against armies with a lot of knights the combination of pikes and a scythed chariot should be pretty potent. That said, I’m unsure what to field against armies with pikes and knights, though I suspect the blades are a better bet.

The Mithridatics arrayed with the legionary option.

The Mithridatics arrayed with the legionary option.

The army has a strong selection of BGo troops; it’s able to vary the combination of Auxilia and Psiloi to give more rear support for the blade, or to create a block of three Auxilia with one Psiloi for support. The army also has a choice between a 3Kn, a 3Cv and a 2LH. The 3Kn is probably the most useful, but I really like the figures for the 3Cv and I don’t get to use them enough.

The same army from another angle.

The same army from another angle.

I’ve updated the Mithridatics army page too.