10 October, 2016
Sunday a week ago there was a very successful DBA day at the Auckland Wargames Club. As it led to other projects being planned, I’ve not got around to writing up any report until now. The format was friendly games; no set armies or points. I had five very enjoyable games.
- 1 – Marian Romans v. Alexandrian Imperial
My first game was against John, whose army is still being painted, so he borrowed figures from me. I’m pleased to say that they knew who their paymaster was, and fought accordingly!
I was the defender and laid down some Marsh and ploughed fields (I’d just made some new terrain; I realised later that Marsh is not valid for Arable armies). Appropriate to the weather that day the fields were boggy.Alexander, or his subordinate, took an elephant as well. He swung his knights out on his left flank. Things looked good when one squared off against some auxilia, who promptly 6-1ed him! It went from bad to worse from there with the general encountering elephants and this time the encounter went to script. The Kappadocian hillmen notched up their second kill, supporting some legionaries against hapless thureophoroi, and it was all over.
The surprising resilience of the Kappadocians secured a quick victory.
- 2 – Prefeudal Scots v. Vikings
The second combat was against Kieran’s Vikings. Again I was the defender and went for a marsh and a wood, which ended up being in the same corner.
The battle was a close one, where the Scots won first blood, when the Galwegians broke an element of Vikings. However, the centre was somewhat of a stalemate, with a lot of toing and froing. On the Scots’ right their Viking allies did good execution and contributed to a close-fought 4-2 victory. Terrain and the greater mobility of the Scots were significant factors.
- 4 – Later Macedonians v. Polybian Romans
After lunch I faced Joel’s freshly painted Polybian Romans. I decided I really should get my Later Macedonians out to meet them. Naturally in the face of unprovoked Roman aggression I was the defender again. I took two large terrain pieces to anchor my flanks and restrict the battlefield to the advantage of the phalanx.
The battle was close fought, with the battle going in the Romans’ favour on their left flank, while the Macedonians secured the advantage on their own left flank, destroying both elements of Roman velites. However, it was the steadfastness of the Macedonian blueshields that secured victory; despite being flanked by Roman cavalry they repeatedly refused to break. In the centre the Galatians made noble execution of Roman legionaries and the whiteshields (leukaspides) broke their opposing legionaries.
- 3 – Later Macedonians v. Polybian Romans
Actually, there is a report that prior to this battle the Macedonian general was troubled by a nasty dream in which his thureophoroi proved his undoing. Romans report that this was an actual battle, but the more reliable Greek chronicler disagree (the battle just described was actually our second, as the first was over so fast!). The Macedonians defended again. Their terrain was too small to constrain the battlefield.
The Macedonian thureophoroi attempted to defeat the Roman velites and were disgracefully defeated (they are prone to this; witness their routing by Spartan artillery). Philip V tried to stabilise things, but was defeated himself; the battle was over without the main lines having contacted.
- 5 – Prefeudal Scots v. Carolingian Franks
The last battle was against Mike’s Carolingian Franks. The Scots had got on their boats and visited France. It didn’t go well for them.
How the Galwegians got to be in the centre facing knights I don’t remember (I think I deployed and then moved the line along a bit to fit it in the legal area and didn’t check who was facing who. Unlike the bold Kappadocians at the start of the day, the Galwegians didn’t produce an upset against the Carolingian commander. The schiltons were under pressure and collapsed, but not before a few knights had fled in the face of the Scots cavalry.
All in all, it was a great day; there is another account of it here, and there are plans for more DBA action there soon.
4 October, 2014
The Vikings are one of the first armies I finished, and one that has extra figures to serve in other armies and to allow it to be used for other more fictitious armies, such as the Anglo-Norse, or fantasy Vikings.
The army is not short of 4Bd; I’ve divided them into two sorts, the more professional huscarls and the Bondi.
The figures are Feudal Casting, and some of the poses are ones I wouldn’t have chosen in the numbers I got, but the basis of this army was a DBA army pack with expansions.
In DBA 3.0 the 3Bd are different from the 4Bd, which makes the raiders worthwhile to have based differently.
Next up I’m painting some Khurasan Vikings as a Hero element for HoTT. However, I have a bit of a backlog in the painting queue, so I may not get to them for a while! At least I’ve finished with the rebasing!
23 March, 2014
When I last wrote, I said the next project would be to paint seven 4Pk for my successor armies. Well, they’re over half done, but others have jumped the cue.
The biggest project has been to rebase all my old armies. I had started this before I went to Adelaide, and a lot of my HoTT elements were all but done, just waiting for the flock. The impetus to restart this project was a desire to see how knights and spears compared under DBA 3.0. This got me redoing my first two armies, the Normans and Anglo-Danish. I also flocked the HoTT elements while I was at it.
Next, I rebased the Welsh, Irish and Vikings. This has taken quite a while, and is now almost completed. I’ve innovated by using No More Gaps to hide the bases. It adds more time to the job, but is worth it.
In the process of rebasing I got enthused with my Dark Age armies and the potential to use them for HoTT. I’ve now got the Scots Isles and Highland army complete again (it was demobbed for SBH figures. This started with the plan to create a Thegn general for the Prefeudal Scots so that they could have a 4Wb general with rear rank support and flanked by pike, something that’s likely to tear holes in most lines of foot. When I learned that the Scots Isles and Highland army is going to have a lot more choice in DBA 3.0, I decided to paint up the four elements of 4Bd I needed to get this back on the table. I’ve also painted a few more archers in mail to make their 3Bw more imposing. I also repainted the 5Hd.
So that’s some of what’s been jumping the cue for painting. I’ve also done a few HoTT elements, some Prefeudal Scots and Irish Lurkers — skirmishers on a 40×30 base along with a dog each. Finally I did a Cleric element — three medieval monks. Magicians and Heroes will follow.
- Song of Blades and Heroes
I’ve also been painting a few figures for SBH, actually quite a few. I’ve now finished thirty foot, and three mounted knights and a Hippogriff rider are close to being done. Most of these are Essex early medieval figures, dismounted Norman knights and Norman spearmen and archers. This adds some useful variety to my SBH range, but also is a way of getting started on painting some of these figures for an Essex Norman army. The rest are six halflings, two mailed Highland archers and a Druid from the Tabletop range. I’ve got more figures from Tabletop’s fantasy range. They’re a little larger than most of my figures and are very much ‘adventurers’, as they all have backpacks and other equipment. The wizards won’t quite look right in HoTT, but will be useful for SBH.
The other big activity for SBH is making terrain. I made a river (or a stream) using No More Gaps on a T-shirt. I rounded this out with a small bridge and then added a few tokens for treasure — chests, barrels, etc. I’ve done a tent and a small hut. And I’ve also made some hedges using Scotch Brite on iceblock sticks. The next stage for SBH is really dungeon tiles when I get a chance.
Those seven elements of pike should be finished next. Then I suspect I’ll be working on HoTT stuff: heroes, wizards, but also a dwarf and an elf army. More fantasy SBH figures may get done as well. I’ve started putting together a 3Cv for my Welsh; the North Welsh can have a South Welsh ally, who has to include the general element. I find this a bit odd — Welsh with two 3Cv seems too much. I might also work on the Normans, but I reckon the elves and dwarves will be more attractive.
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.
20 June, 2011
Yesterday I got along to a 28mm DBA day at the Auckland Wargames Club. It had been proposed by Jerome, who on the day asked me to organize things. As we had no map and no theme—the armies were what people chose to bring—I went for what I could remember of the system described by Chris Brantley on Fanaticus:
We went for random rounds that led to the loser becoming the winner’s vassal. After three rounds there were two equal factions and we decided the winner with a game of BBDBA.
The participants were:
Andrew: Sea-Peoples (I/28)
Alistair: Spartans (II/5a)
Mark: Gauls (II/11)
Steve: Marians (II/49)
John: Marians (II/49)
Jerome: Early Franks (II/72d)
Mike: Vikings (III/40b)
Richard: Ghaznavids (III/63b)
This made for a preponderance of blade armies, making my Gauls a better choice than I’d thought. I’ll only describe my games, except to say all the games came to a result apart from one in the first round between John and Andrew; they started late and their blade were only bouncing each other back when we called time.
In the first round I faced Jerome, who’d not played DBA before. Our armies were fairly similar, except my Gauls had more cavalry. Jerome stayed in a big wood initially, and when he started to move, he didn’t have enough PIPs to get fully out of it. I hoped to contact his general with my cavalry and overwhelm him, but I ended up making contact with my warband on his, and owing to the effects of pursuit it soon developed that I had the edge, as I could get rear-rank support when he was still in BGo. I lost my psiloi on one flank, but got a 6-1 on a double-rank Wb and from there the advantage stayed with me.
My second game was against Ghaznavids; it was a match-up I didn’t expect to do too well at, as my Warband would not like his two elephants. However, Richard, had not played DBA since version 1 and didn’t know about the second move of warbands. I was blessed with a plenitude of PIPs at the right time and was able to get warbands into his spear. On the first round my cavalry bounced off his, but on the second I got a pair of warbands against the spear next to his elephant general and a psiloi onto the general. The dice smiled on me; both his spear fell to my warbands and then my psiloi rolled 5-2 on his general for a surprise victory. Richard would not have allowed me to get so close if he’d known about warbands’ charge move.
For the third round I had the victors meet. I faced Sea People and didn’t get the table edge I’d hoped for. The Sea People deployed between two hills. I ended up losing as I got dragged into fighting in the centre rather than waiting to win on my right flank. This happened as I tried to provide overlap support on the right flank, which drew my cavalry forward to provide it. My one attack on the right flank (which took 4 PIPs to coordinate) was repulsed without success. In the centre my general was double overlapped and rolled a 1, silly chap!
At the end of this round Andrew commanded me and Alistair, who had defeated Richard: one elephant recoiled into the other, oh dear! Richard had a point that this was a consequence of the depth of 28mm elephants. What happened was one elephant was recoiled then attacked in it flank. It turned to face, and coward that it was, recoiled again into the other elephant. In 15mm it would have recoiled behind the other elephant. The Spartan camp was a rhino being led away in chains; now they could use an elephant, or at least bits of one!
John faced Steve, and the resolution of this Roman Civil War was that Steve was his vassal as was Jerome, who had defeated Mike. Mike and Alistair decided to sit out the final battle, leaving Andrew and John to attempt to bring their inconclusive opening battle to a result. This time with allies. Andrew was the aggressor, so we got to match up our armies to our advantage. Andrew faced John on the flank with BGo, I faced Steve on the more open flank and Richard’s cavalry and elephants faced Jerome’s warbands with a bit of wood in the way.
On my end of the field I was hampered by low PIPs (1s) for about 3 turns. I decided to try to get my cavalry across my front and around the Roman flank. I was very lucky to do so without getting caught. Meanwhile, the Ghaznavids had lost a light horse to warband who closed the door with their second move. He then advanced against the Romans, hoping to get the elephants at the warband. However, his cavalry were swept aside by the Romans and it was all over in the centre.
I then had great PIPs. I was able to get my general behind the Roman line to attack their psiloi, something I can’t remember ever managing before. The warband had the PIPs to double-move into overlap and combat. It was looking good. The general despatched the psiloi. The cavalry on the flank had overlap from a warband; 3-2 odds and the Romans had nowhere to recoil. They got a stick, sigh! From there it all went wrong. The next combat was no longer 4-4 odds, but 4-5 and was recoiled. The last two were doubled and the Gauls were broken. But for that second combat I might have broken the Romans and kept the game alive. It was a victory for blades; curse their tenacity! Steve’s Marians soaked up the pressure from most of two armies and came out with barely a scratch!
This was an enjoyable day; it had a good turn out and all the games were played in good spirit. Some of the players decided DBA wasn’t what they liked; the fast-play rules have their own quirks that need to be learnt, and there is nothing in the rules to allow for better quality troops. Thank you Jerome for proposing the day and Andrew for providing me and Steve with armies.
This is the second such event at the AWC; I hope there will be more. I may try to encourage something similar to be organized at the North Shore Club, perhaps in 15mm and with a theme. It makes for a fun day.
23 November, 2009
Last week I painted up three elements of 7Hd for the Battle of Hastings. I also finished all the figures I need for the King Magnus campaign.
These are all Essex figures, some of which I got by trade from Paul Potter. They are pretty primitive looking figures, some are armed with lumps of wood or crude stone clubs. They’ll be used in campaign games for emergency reinforcements. The middle element is made up of figures without trousers, so it’s particularly suitable for the Welsh and Pre-feudal Scots, who don’t hold with such fashion!
I also finished one 3Sp and two 3Bw for the Welsh (Feudal Castings, of course). Until I’m inspired to paint the early Welsh option (lots of 3Wb), that’s all of them for now, though I do have the figures for some more command elements, particularly another mounted one, but I think other projects will take priority.
And I’ve done some more Viking archers (also Feudal Castings), only to decided that if I make the Anglo-Norse huscarls immune to QK, they won’t need any more light troops. Still, I’ve now got enough archers for two Viking armies, and I’ve probably got the blades too, if I painted the rest; again I can’t see that being an immediate priority.
15 November, 2009
Well, I finally fought the battle between Harald Hardrada and Harold Godwinson that was the main point at which the alternate history for the King Magnus campaign branches from regular history. I decided not to make it a close refight of the battle of Stamford Bridge, but rather make it a regular DBA encounter between the two armies. I was thinking it’d be a walk-over for the Vikings as they out-classed the bulk of the Anglo-Saxon army (Bd v. Sp), but it proved to be an enthralling encounter.
Harald had defeated the Northern earls at Fulford and was advancing on Harold when the two armies met near Stamford. Harald had 11 blade, of which 4 were his huscarls, 6 were hird and one was an element of tag-along raiders (for variety!). He also had some berserks. Against this Harold met him with 3 elements of huscarls (4Bd), 8 elements of fyrd (4Sp) and an element of skirmishers (2Ps).
Harald was the aggressor and Harold met him along a road where two low hills faced each other. To one side of them was a wood. Harold was fortunate in getting the edge he wanted and deployed so that the fyrd would be able have the advantage of the hill. He deployed between the hill and the woods with his huscarls and anchored the line with his skirmishers in the wood.
Harald saw a number of ways of attacking this deployment. He opposed the fyrd with himself and his huscarls along with the berserks. He hoped to get around the hill with the berserks. He then opposed Harold and his huscarls with his hird. He hoped to be able to flank and destroy the skirmishers in the wood and turn the line on Harold.
Harold in turn could not see anything he could do but wait and try to strengthen his left flank. For the first four turns the Vikings advanced while Harold wheeled the fyrd to occupy the hill.
On the fifth turn the berserks attacked a lone group of fyrd guarding the flank, but were repulsed. On the next turn, with only one PIP, Harald detached some of his huscarls to support the berserks. Meanwhile, Harold deployed a second fyrd to strengthen this flank.
On turn seven Harald attacked. While he and the huscarls waited at the foot of the hill, on the right flank the detached huscarls and the berserks tore the opposing fyrd to shreds. The huscarls rolled 6-1 and the berserks 6-2 (I’ll just give the dice rolls, attacker-defender)! On the other wing, however, things did not go so well. The skirmishers repulsed the hird (2-6) and Harold nearly destroyed the hird opposing him (1-6).
Harold in reply advanced on the hird, but despite recoiling the enemy he destroyed none (had he not retired the skirmishers to prevent them getting flanked, however, with their overlap he would have!).
On the next turn Harald finally assaulted the hill. With the end fyrd flanked he had a good chance of destroying another element, which he did. Otherwise he forced the fyrd to retire up the hill. However, on the left Harold, despite being overlapped on both sides, fought to a stubborn standstill, rolling his second 6 in combat. The fyrd in the centre also fought to a stalemate. Significantly, Harald had committed to this fight the hird that had been hanging back in the centre to stop flanking attempts on either half of the Viking battleline.
Harold was staring defeat in the face: the fyrd on the hill was on the point of collapse. Nevertheless, he launced himself into the fray and destroyed the hird in front of him (his third 6!).
Harald, low on PIPs (2), could only react to Harold’s attack on the fyrd, but with the skirmishers having fled, he was able to flank Harold’s huscarls. These, however, proved stubborn and fought to a stalemate (4-5).
With this reprieve, Harold was still hanging on. He was now able to flank the hird in the centre. This resulted in another element of hird being destroyed. He continued his ferocious form rolling another 6, but the hird in front of him only recoiled, rolling 3. Better still, the huscarls that were flanked threw back their attackers (3-1).
Harald continued to have low PIPs (2 again), and decided to end things by sending the berserks against the fyrd on the hill. It’d make a good spectacle from his vantage point. This used both his PIPs. Unfortunately, these fyrd, buoyed on by what they saw their king doing below them, completely routed the berserkers (1-6)! Suddenly the battle that had looked to be all over for the Saxons was in the balance!
In contrast to Harald’s dithering, Harold was all action (6 PIPs). The element that had flanked the hird last turn now rounded on the huscarls, while he moved the fyrd on the hill and the skirmishers to shore up his flanks. Harald’s huscarls proved as tough as Harold’s, though fortunately it was a stalemate (5-5), as otherwise the flankers would have recoiled into their own men! However, on the other flank it appears the hird were losing heart against Harold’s household professionals, having failed to break them when they were flanked. Harold rolled his fourth 6 and broke the hird in front of him (who rolled a 1). Remarkably the huscarls that had fought off their flankers repeated the exercise (6-1)! Harald’s hird was in flight and he was forced to retire from the field surrounded by his huscarls.
What a remarkable battle! I really thought the English didn’t have a hope, and I wasn’t happy with their plan, which was to sit and wait. When the flank on the hill crumbled, there was nothing they could do about it. In hindsight it was the committing of the hird that was ZOCing the two fyrd at the corner of the English line that was Harald’s undoing, but he was also handicapped by poor PIPs and some very dogged fighting by the English huscarls. It was quite neat to see how the huscarls on both sides fought—on both sides they shrugged off flank attacks. Otherwise, Harald’s gamble with the berserks only confirms the essential solidity of spear; they’re no walk-over.
Where now with the King Magnus’ War campaign?
I knew it was tempting fate to fight this battle. Still, Harald’s still alive and it’s reasonable to think he could retire from the field with his huscarls in good order. He would then retreat back to Norway, leaving Harold to meet William. As Harold has fought so valiantly it’s only reasonable that he get to refight this battle. If he loses (not a forgone conclusion by any means) I’ll assume that the Battle of Navenby that I fought a while back was Harald’s return to the North and rallying of the fyrd there against William. The campaign would then be back on track, assuming that Harold does as he’s supposed to against William!
I’m not sure what to do about Harold’s casualties. Do I allow him to make good the loss of the 3 fyrd, or do I fight this like a campaign with him down 3 elements? Alternatively I could give him some hordes to make up the numbers (though I’d have to paint them!). While I’m at it, I should really repaint Harold’s standard! The St. Andrew’s Cross dates back to when he was going to be a Pre-feudal Scot!