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.

The final situation against the Franks.

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

Warbands triumph over elephants.

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

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

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

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

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

From the other end of the field.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday two weeks ago was the first outing for a couple of new armies. One of these were my New Model Goblins, rebased to impersonate DBA armies, in particular those with elephants. As I’m now working on preparing for the second half of the CWC DBA competition and the second half of the IWC one, I decided to field them as Gobnovids, pseudo-Ghaznavids (III/63), one of the most popular armies of the second two books and therefore one worth getting familiar with. These were facing an army that John had just finished, his Later Swiss (IV/79). This is a pike army, which is strong against mounted—if it can protect its flanks.

I’ve been fairly slow writing this up; part of the reason is a lack of interest as the photos came out badly; I used the wrong setting on the camera. Anyway, it was a fun game with some surprising reverses of fortune. It started well for the Gobnovids, as they were the defenders (the Swiss have the same aggression as them). Seeing no reason to be nice, they laid out the minimum of terrain, some small patches of rough and a small steep hill. I suspect also that John may not have got the edge he wanted, as half of this terrain ended up on my baseline.

Initial Deployments: Swiss on the left and Gobnovids on the right. The Giant and Trolls look on from the camp.

After the Swiss had deployed I moved the two spear from right flank in exchange for a cavalry and a light horse (spider). Otherwise they would have done nothing, and the mounted seemed better suited to exploiting that flank. However the spear were facing pikes and possibly knights, so they weren’t in an ideal position.

From memory I had good PIPs at the start and advanced the right flank while wheeling the centre and not advancing the left much past the patch of rough. John seemed to decide that there was no point in letting me get things the way I wanted on the open flank, and advanced aggressively.

The armies close. On the right flank the spider and wolfriders face light crossbowmen, mounted and on foot.

John made my spiders (2LH) pay the price for their advance ahead of the rest of the line. He attacked them with his light horse supported by the light foot and they were destroyed when I rolled a 1.

Ouch! The spiders scuttle off.

Things just got worse for me when I rolled another 1 for the wolfriders against his psiloi. He rolled a 6 and they were gone. So much for a QK on psiloi! I’m sure I must have initiated this combat: 2-1 odds to me with a QK seemed pretty good.

The right flank starts to look tatty.

However, then the dice started to go my way and when John attacked in the centre and on the right; my psiloi and bow recoiled his light horse and crossbowmen and in the centre against pikes the commander was driven back while his left flank got a stick.

Blessed relief from dice hell!

I must have been scuppered for PIPs, as besides having the Ogres that were stuck recoiled, I did nothing. John swung into attack on the psiloi and they were destroyed (another 1-6), but my bow against his other psiloi returned the favour, and in the only other combat my overlapped bow got a stick against his pike.

The Goblins get on the scoreboard, but are now 3 down.

I then got PIPs to burn and the Ogres got out of first gear and rumbled into the pike creating bloody confusion. One peeled off the support of the only rear-ranked block, the other two charged into single-ranked pike, and a spear came across to support the bow. Things got off to a good start when my bow 6-1’ed his psiloi in shooting. Then the Ogres chomped up two pikes and it was all over.

The Ogre king of the Gobnovids revels in the slaughter of the Swiss pike.

  • Review:

You can read John’s account of this here.  He had a tough job trying to win with no terrain to support a flank. I don’t know if it would have helped if he’d tried to echelon leading on the right. I expected to win on my right wing, and very nearly lost there. In the end the dice evened up on that wing, as I got two kills to John’s two. When both of you have low combat factors things get very bloody and this, I think worked in my favour as I was able to win in the centre before the Swiss pike and knights could contact the spear on the left. That said, another low PIP roll on the turn I won would have seen the Ogres standing idle.

I’m becoming less obsessed by the dice, though it’s unnerving to open combat with a pair of 1’s. They evened out as the game went on: my rolls totalled 51, while John’s totalled 50 (such calculations are possible when you put the dice results in the photo!). There were more extreme results than is statistical, as of the 14 recorded combats (there might have been a couple I missed), there were three 6-1s (this should occur 1/18 times). And of the 28 rolls there were six 1s and eight 6s, when statistically each number should occur 4.67 times in 28 rolls.

What such statistics don’t tell is the effect of the dice in individual combats, as in combats with low factors the chances of doubling are much higher. Anyway, besides being entertaining to investigate, this analysis confirms that I got average dice, and average dice with the terrain advantages in this match-up were all that was needed.

Ogres and Goblins

8 August, 2010

The New Model Goblins.

The weather has relented enough for me to take some pictures of the Ogres and Goblins I painted last week. You can see all the New Look Goblins here. The figures are all Chariot from Magister Militum, and I’ve got a pile more waiting to be painted; however, these allow me to field two DBA armies that I want to try out on the table, either as armies to buy or as common opponents.

Three lots of Ogres, enough to model any elephant army in DBA.

From the side.

The Ogres are a mix from three packs. Previously I only had the three in a jockstrap; now I’ve mixed them in with some armoured ones. The command element has a goblin flagbearer and a drummer.

The spearmen, with psiloi support hidden behind.

The spearmen are a mix of armoured and unarmoured, with the armoured at the front. I’ve added shields; the front rank have shields from Outpost, while the back rank have my cardboard peltas. The spears are easily long enough to be used as pikes when I paint a few more stands.

With these figures, along with the ones I’d painted earlier and rebased last weekend, I have all the options for two armies: they can be Shamanid Goblins (Samanids, III/43c).

Shamanid Goblins: 3Ax on the left and the spider as 2LH!

Or they can be Gobnovids (Ghaznavids, III/63b).

Gobnovids with all the behemoths possible and an element of 3Bd (on left).

The Gobnovids had their first outing last Friday, which I’ll try to write up soon.