More Syrians

22 October, 2018

The Syrians are taking shape. It’s just a matter of doing belts and suchlike now; thought there’s a bit of that for the mounted elements. I got the minimum of foot done, the Ahdath militia and some javelinmen.

Syrian militia and javelinmen.

The photos show where I need to touch up moustaches, and the varnish is not matte enough for my liking.

Another angle.

The figures are Khurasan, but I’ve given some of them shields from Legio Heroica; the decals are LBMS. Their spears are a little cartoonish. I like their poses, and I’m fairly pleased with the palette for their clothes.

Another angle.

From behind.

The helmets could be painted as covered in cloth. I’ve not done that, but the turban that comes out the back of them looks a lot like hair. I’ve painted them as turbans based on the other figures.

Now I’ve just got seven elements of cavalry to go.


Ghulam, ghulam

3 October, 2018

The first of the Syrian mounted elements is now ready, a pair of ghulams. The figures are Legio Heroica, and paint up very nicely. I was in a bit of a hurry and they’re a little untidy.

Syrian ghulams.

I am trying to get the rest of the army done by the end of the week for a few games on Sunday; this was a good start. I got a bit distracted investigating what I’d need to morph these figures into other armies. Without too many figures, I could field Fatimid (III/66), Ayyubid Egyptian (IV/20) and Seljuq Turk (III/74). there are probably more from either side of the period too.

Another angle.

The ghulams are particularly nice troops, and I wouldn’t mind getting some more.

And another.


30 September, 2018

I’ve started to get some Syrians (IV/6) painted for DBA. I got them at the beginning of the year, but then things got busy, and I’ve only recently started to work on them. Here is the first finished elements – the baggage and an element of archers.

The Syrian camp.

Another angle.

Syrian archers.

Another angle.

The foot are from the Khurasan range, but as that range is not complete, I went for Legio Heroica for the mounted. this took a fair bit of preparation. Some of which was mixing up the shields with the Khurasan ones (which are little bucklers). I also used LBMS transfers for this army, which proved a lot easier than I’d first thought. The figures did not look too exciting until I got the undercoat on. I use a wash to pick out the detail; with that they really came to life.

The command element: ghulams and a drummer.

The ghulams.

Syrian or Kurdish cavalry.

I have one too many elements of ghulams, which do look very nice, and one too few of the Syrians; as they both fight as Cv I doubt this is too major. I wanted to avoid a hike in postage.

Bedouin horsemen.

Turkoman horse archers.

With all these figures primed and with banners and shields done, I’m keen to get them painted. The banners were a little tricky; I’d thought they’d slide to line up, but the PVA didn’t do that; perhaps I should have used a varnish on the back of the paper.

There are more elements of foot that I’ve prepped – 3Ax javelinmen, 3Wb ghazis and some 7Hd Ahdath militia. The army is not especially formidable. It does look nice, and provides a historical opponent to Crusader armies. I’m not sure what a single horde adds to a cavalry army, and I’m tempted to use an ally to avoid them; either Cilician Armenians or Crusaders are possible.

Conquest 2017

14 November, 2017

A few months back I decided to go to Conquest 2017. I’d not had much chance to play DBA this year and I was keen to get along, as I’d enjoyed the year before a lot. It also seemed a good motivation to get some painting done. Very kindly Keith, the organiser invited me to stay at his place for the event, something I really appreciated.

As I said in my last post, I’d chosen both my armies as a motivation to get more figures that I already had painted. However, I was rather slow getting them finished, and didn’t get much practice before the event. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple of games with Mike the Sunday before. this allowed me to try out the Normans in DBA, where they got a lucky victory against Mike’s Ottoman Turks. And it allowed my to try Pyrrhus’s army against them in BBDBA. This was invaluable, as I’d organised the army in such a way that it wouls have struggled, I’m sure, but with the suggestions of Mike, it did very well.

I’d organised the army as follows:

  • Command Wing (medium PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x LH, 4 x 4Pk, 2 x Sp, 1 x Ps
  • Centre (high PIPs): 8 x 4Pk (cmd), 3 x El, 2 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (low PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The theory was that the elephants would help the pikes create a breakthrough in the centre (hence the high PIPs); Pyrrhus would have the next best PIPs with much of the cavalry and the Oscans with the best BGo troops would hold one wing.

Against the Ottomans the Oscans were defeated as they had no BGo to anchor on, the centre did not make much progress, and the elephants were destroyed by LH, nor did Pyrrhus. With Mike’s suggestion I rearranged them as follows:

  • Command Wing (High PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x El, 3 x LH, 2 x Sp, 2 x Ps
  • Centre (Low PIPs): 12 x 4Pk (cmd), 1 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (Medium PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The centre was intended to be solid and just trundle forward, while I sought to win on the wings. Pyrrhus, in particular, had a potent mix of elephants, knights and light horse.

  • Friday games

On the evening I arrived I had a couple of games with Keith. I used my Normans and he used his Samurai. In the first game Keith experimented with 6Cv. My archery destroyed them with exceptional dice. As a result of this Keith changed to a CP instead, and in the second game it was his turn to see his single archer do wonders. We finished a game a piece.

  • Saturday Morning (Ancients DBA)

Pyrrhus had a dreadful morning; he died against Jim’s New Kingdom Egyptians and again against Gordon’s Seleucids. However, both of these were close games, and with a bit more care I might have won. The last game, against Keith’s Carthaginians, was more humiliating. Clearly concussed from his two earlier battles, Pyrrhus failed to roll more than 2 PIPs for the entire game. As a result he sat facing the Carthaginians until in desperation, after his camp was sacked and his cavalry wing was disintegrating that he sent his pikes in an attack against the Carthaginian foot. This failed, and the Carthaginians won a victory without any of their army breaking.


Pyrrhus attempts to break the Carthaginian foot to no avail (though he doesn’t die this time — photo taken by Keith).

  •  Saturday Afternoon (Medievals DBA)

For the afternoon competition my Normans had Viking allies and were:

4 x 3Kn (cmd), 2 x 4Bd, 3 x 3Bw; 2 x 4Bd and 1 x 4Bw (allies).

The afternoon saw the Normans facing Brian’s Rajputs. I made the mistake of having the Rajput fort, and the BGo terrain on my baseline. I abandoned the idea of trying to take the fort, and was cramped as a result. In the end I killed the elephant C-in-C with mine, but that was on the turn that my army broke.

The second battle was against Ben’s Yi Koreans. The Koreans occupied a wood on my left flank and proceeded to chip away at my knights that milled around in range. Meanwhile on my left flank my archers advanced out of a hamlet into firing range of the Korean cavalry. Their response was to charge, which largely failed, and saw them take casualties. They came back, this time with their general, and were again defeated, giving the Normans a lucky victory. If they’d waited a turn and attacked with their general, they may have had more success (then again they’d have been shot at). Credit should go to the Viking archers, who shrugged off an extended rocket barrage by the Korean artillery.

The final battle was against Jim again. His Free Company were not too different from the Egyptians, having fast blades and archers, but knights instead of chariots. The fast blades proved deadly, getting stuck into the Vikings, who had occupied a hamlet. They destroyed them, with the support of some knights, before my archers could break up his main line of battle. After that, they were able to roll up my right flank.

Overall, I won only one game that day, and finished very near the bottom of the table. However, the points system favoured results over a draw, which is a system I think is good: 8 points for a win, 1 for a loss and 0 for a draw. Losses and draws got points for enemy destroyed too.

  • Sunday (Ancients BBDBA)

After such a bad showing on the Saturday, I didn’t approach the BBDBA with much confidence, especially as I was yet to win a game of BBDBA. My first game was against Keith’s Early Asiatic Successor army (Demetrius). I’d faced it last year with my Carthaginians. This time, however, I was the attacker, which meant I got to react to the entire deployment of Demetrius. This proved very useful, as the Oscans had the chance to avoid Demetrius’ xystophoroi and to contest a hill on the right flank.

In the centre my pike general deployed to the right of the opposing general, and on the left Pyrrhus deployed in reserve to meet the bulk of Demetrius’ elephants and knights. The advantage of deployment was complemented by favourable dice, and in the centre the pike to the right of Demetrius’ central commander was destroyed; he was soon flanked, but never flinched, and the centre remained otherwise static.

On the right, the Oscans hoplites withstood elephants and elephants successfully, and the auxilia were able to overcome opposing peltasts in order to start to threaten the cavalry general of that wing.


The Oscans approaching Demetrius’ left flank. Their hoplites face pike and elephants thoroughly undaunted.

However, it was on the left wing that the battle was decided. Demetrius had tried to change elements to avoid his knights facing elephants, but this left a hole in his line, and Demetrius himself had had to leave the reserve to join the battleline.

In the initial clash elephants faced off; one each fled, which gave the opportunity for one of Pyrrhus’ to attack Demetrius himself. This was the decisive combat, and the elephants finished off the commander giving Pyrrhus the advantage. He continued to exploit this by eventually overcoming pikemen facing his hoplites, as well as other casualties that I don’t remember now.


The crucial point on the left flank; elephants have fled in both directions, but one of Pyrrhus’ is able to turn on Demetrius himself.


The same point from a different angle. The pikes facing hoplites can be seen.

Meanwhile, some of Pyrrhus’ pikemen, dressed as Persian levy pike, had been defamed by Demetrius before the battle. Proving him wrong they eventually defeated the opposing pike (with cavalry support), breaking Demetrius’ second command and giving me my first BBDBA victory.


The beleaguered Demetrian pike general remains steadfast, but to his right his command collapses as Tarantine cavalry move up to overlap another pike block.

In the second battle I faced Brian’s Classical Indians. In this battle his fort was less dominant. However, when I looked at the terrain I considered trying to fight for the woods on my left with the Oscans. However, they would then face HCh, while the elephants of Pyrrhus’ command would be closer to his psiloi. I had the wings the other way around, which left me with only two psiloi to try to control the woods.


Pyrrhus faces Classical Indians.


Pyrrhus’ deployment from another angle.


And another angle.

As the battle unfolded, the Indians attempted to redeploy radically to face my deployment, and I tried to get across the board rapidly to trap his chariots behind his elephants and his line in disarray.

The plan met a hitch when the two psiloi were quickly destroyed by opposing archers. The elephants now risked being shot at and Pyrrhus and his knights were a cautious distance to their rear. In this unfavourable situation, the elephants decided to advance. They were met by opposing elephants, including the C-in-C. The odds were not good, but the dice gods favoured them, and I 6-1ed the C-in-C, doubling him. If Brian used his +1 the damage was worse, as he still died, fleeing into a HCh. He chose to die on the spot. All but one of my elephants was quickly destroyed, but the last one hatched a devilish scheme; attacking an elephant that had fled to the baseline. The hope was to lose, as he’d flee into a sub-general! He succeeded in this low devise, and in true Pyrrhic fashion succeeded in demoralising the command!


Just before contact. The elephants are almost in contact, while the Oscans are still a turn or two off. The game mat is one that I got on eBay from Poland. I’m pretty happy with it. The picture is another of Keith’s


Another picture by Keith of the same point. The psiloi can still be seen in the marsh on the left flank. The central command has a couple of elements of pike in reserve to replenish the back rank of the pike block; they are struggling to keep up.

My two remaining commands were now facing two headless chicken commands and the low PIP one. We ran out of time, but it was still closely balanced, although the Oscans were starting to look dangerous. All in all a great battle with its chaotic elephant battles!


The end of the battle with the Oscan auxilia looking dangerous. Even the camp was on the move!

For my last battle I faced Andrew’s Akkadians. I was the defender, for the first time in the competition. I deployed anchored on two patches of boggy ground. It was an interesting matchup against fast pike, and the Akkadians swept in very fast. However, the Epiriots proved too good, beating them at every point. In particular, the Akkadian horde on the hill facing the Oscans proved absolutely cowardly, and in the centre the Akkadian general, facing hoplites, was flanked and when the dice came up equal, the solid foot had the advantage and won.


Pyrrhus facing off against the Akkadians.


The Akkadian deployment.

However, it was Pyrrhus, in the only battle of the day he saw combat, that destroyed multiple elements. He came up into the battle line as it extended while his elephants tried to avoid facing psiloi. His inspirational leadership routed the enemy before him, and he took his second victory of the day.

This was my first victory against Andrew in a series of encounters that would have gone back to 2009, so I was pretty pleased. I suspect the unfinished bases of his troops may have demoralised them.

  • Summary

The competition was a lot of fun. All the games were played in good spirits. I learned a lot about how hamlets work and came away considering a number of projects. Perhaps one day my Norse Irish will have a Brian Boru CP, or I’ll make a CWg for some Communal Italians. Also I will have to make a hamlet.

I’d like to thank Keith for organising the competition and for having me stay. The venue, the Woolston Club, was also really pleasant. I miss anything similar, to my knowledge, up in Auckland. Finally Comics Compulsion deserve thanks for running the overall competition.

I took a morning flight to Christchurch, which all went smoothly. I even saw Comics Compulsion, the shop that hosts Conquest, while catching a bus from the airport. The first day was six games using ancient armies for the first three and medieval for the last three.

  • Morning games (Ancient armies)

My Carthaginians were my army for the morning. With an aggression of 4, I was pretty sure I’d be the attacker most games, and I was. I fielded 2 Cv (cmd), 1 El, 1 LH, 3 Sp, 2 4Wb, 1 4Ax and 2 Ps.

  • Game 1: John (Polybian Romans)

As expected I was the attacker against John, who was borrowing Keith’s Polybian Romans. I should have made him deploy on the side with the wood. It proved to be a handicap to me.

The Carthaginian deployment is cramped by a large wood.

The Carthaginian deployment is cramped by a large wood.

The Romans advanced rapidly, and I lost my Numidians by foolishly trying to get them in front of the woods when before the Roman cavalry arrived. My troops fought doggedly on the right flank, and I started to win on the left, but that needless loss of the Numidians cost me the game, which was a 3-5 loss after the warband was broken, and the auxilia and a spear.

The end, after casualties on the right flank, but success on the left.

The end, after casualties on the right flank, but success on the left.

  • Game 2: Mark B (Palmyrans)

I was the attacker again against Mark’s Palmyrans. I was nervous of his cataphracts, but he was even more nervous of the elephant. He deployed near the camp and spent time manoeuvring. I rushed forward, reasoning that I had more hope of catching him before he’d finished his manoeuvres. As it turned out, I won a decisive victory in record time, as his general went against Androgeus while overlapped. 3-2 odds with knights against warband is good odds, but with is back against the wall, Androgeus 6-1ed the unfortunate general and added another head to his collection.

The Palmyran deployment.

The Palmyran deployment.

  • Game 3: Jim (Greco-Bactrians)

My last game of the morning was against Jim’s Greco-Bactrians. In this game I was able to extend my left flank enough to destroy three elements, but in the last turn I couldn’t find any more there, and my centre was buckling to the pikes they faced. I lost again, 3-4.

The Greco-Bactrian deployment.

The Greco-Bactrian deployment.

  • Afternoon games (Medieval armies)

In the afternoon I deployed my Komnenan Byzantines. These are similar to the Carthaginians in their use of mercenaries. They differed in having aggression 1. I fielded 4 Cv (cmd), 4 LH, 1 3Kn, 1 4Bd, 2 4Bw.

  • Game 4: Gus (Mongols)

First up I was the defender against Gus’ beautifully painted Mongols. I achieved a very rapid victory; 4(G)-1, I think. I can’t remember the details, except that my dice were very strong.

The Mongol deployment.

The Mongol deployment.

As the game was over so fast, we had a rematch. Again I was the defender. Again it was a quick battle, but this time it might have gone Gus’ way, but my monks clearly were praying harder, as my dice again stayed strong. At one point our generals were each overlapped, but it was mine that triumped in a 4(G-2 victory!

The Mongol rematch.

The Mongol rematch.

  • Game 5: Brian (Medieval Scandinavian Union with Medieval German ally)

My next game was against Brian’s Medieval Scandinavian Union with Medieval German ally. I was the attacker this time, and Brian had to use a waterway. I knew Brian was a tough opponent, and when I saw he had a party set aside for a littoral landing, I stymied it with my light horse, that deployed up against the waterway in two columns.

The light horse patrol the beach.

The light horse patrol the beach.

The landing party of 3Bd and Cv off to the side.

The landing party of 3Bd and Cv off to the side.

The landing party had to deploy behind the main body of the Scandinavians. Low PIPs made the initial contact slow, but when it came the Byzantines continued to roll high in combat and broke an element of 6Kn, and then another. It was 3-0 to me. However, getting the final element was not easy, and when Brian got his spearmen into combat I lost both the bow. In the final turn I finally got my fourth element, only to lose my knights (I think) to a 6-1 going against me. The battle ended as a 4-4 draw.

  • Game 6: Keith (Wars of the Roses English)

I was the attacker in my final battle, against Keith’s Yorkists. Tired after the last battle, and bereft of inspiration in the face of unattractive terrain, I nevertheless attacked (the artillery made it hard to sit back). I foolishly got my light horse destroyed and lost 0-4.

Facing the English.

Facing the English.

The Yorkists.

The Yorkists.

I enjoyed the day greatly. I was very pleased with the way I played against Brian, who I’d played before some years ago. He finished first. I was surprised to finish third, as I had only two wins, but these were big ones, and all but my last battle were hard-fought.

Pokeno Invitational

7 February, 2015

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. A few weeks back I had my first gaming of the year, a chance to catch up with Joel and John and to see Keith for the first time in a good long time. Keith has already posted about the day, which was really enjoyable. I lost most of my games and at the time complained of poor dice, but on reflection it was really poor planning — plans that depend on good PIP dice aren’t really plans, but endeavours in blind luck! Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun and it was good to see armies out on the table that haven’t been used in a while. My Comnenan Byzantines were used twice, as were my Normans (as Early Crusaders). My Polybian Romans and Late Carthaginians were also used (oddly we had three games going simultaneously first with the Romans on one side each and then the Carthaginians). Pyrrhus’ army, Prefeudal Scots and Saxons completed the turnout.

After that day, John and I continued at my house with a game of Song of Blades and Heroes. It was a chance to use the Gnolls and some terrain. The fight at a bridge resulted in the Gnolls losing decisively against some Normans. The bridge was a bottle neck that probably favoured the superior firepower of the Normans, though the Gnolls did get to achieve a few consolation kills.

The gaming renewed my enthusiasm for painting, and I’ve got my four blocks of Successor 4Pk closer to completion, but other projects still manage to finish before them!



My first armies were Anglo-Danish and enough Normans to become along with some of the Anglo-Danish two Anglo-Norman armies. I got these rebased a few weeks ago and they really do look a lot better. You can see more pictures on their page on My Armies.

Morphable Normans.

Morphable Normans.