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!

Recent Gaming

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.

Early Seleucids face Classical Indians.

Early Seleucids face Classical Indians.

The Indians up close (some are hidden behind the trees.

The Indians up close (some are hidden behind the trees.

The Seleucids.

The Seleucids.

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.

Chaos on the left flank.

Chaos on the left flank.

Next I faced John, who’d just finished his Celtiberians. I used my Gauls.

Gauls v. Celtiberians.

Gauls v. Celtiberians.

View from the Celtiberian camp.

View from the Celtiberian camp.

I managed to meet his warband with my cavalry and used this to my advantage in a battle on a narrow frontage.

Gallic cavalry triumphant.

Gallic cavalry triumphant.

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.

Syracusan v. Carthaginians.

Syracusan v. Carthaginians.

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.

The Tarantines return from sacking the camp.

The Tarantines return from sacking the camp.

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.

 Syracusans v. Celtiberians.

Syracusans v. Celtiberians.

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 Aztecs meet the Welsh.

The Aztecs meet the Welsh.

The Welsh with their South Welsh ally.

The Welsh with their South Welsh ally.

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.

Carthaginians drawn up against Gauls.

Carthaginians drawn up against Gauls.

Carthaginians with a random stack of skulls next to their camp.

Carthaginians with a random stack of skulls next to their camp.

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.

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.

For the second day of the competition I fielded my Komnenan Byzantines; they are probably the most competitive of my Book III/IV armies, and quite a change from the plodding armies I normally field. I used them at the Worlds, so I’ve had a fair bit of practice with them now.

  • Andrew Taylor (IV/82a French Ordonnance)

First up I faced Andrew; I’ve played him a few times now and am yet to win, but I fancied my chances with the match-up here. He didn’t lay down masses of terrain, and I felt my cavalry would be able to handle his archers, being able to concentrate on one wing before he could react.

Initial deployment against the French.

After the two swaps; the bow move sideways.

I set out to win on the right wing; unfortunately this involved the commander facing a round of shooting before I closed for combat. At 4-4, I figured the risk was OK, but once his archers moved into range it was 2-4 and more nerve wracking. Well, I rolled a 1 and it was game over, 1G-0, with first bit of shooting. Something of an anticlimax!

  • Jared (IV/66 Later Polish)

My second encounter was against a Polish army that was extremely mobile: knights, cavalry, light horse, a war wagon and some crossbowmen. Jared had only had a couple of games the day before, when he and his friend expressed an interest in playing as they were browsing the competitions.

Initial deployment, after the swaps aimed to get the archers facing his knights

I got off to a very lucky start on my right flank where my light cavalry, fired up by the sight of the camp, chased off both the Polish light horse and even managed to get rid of a cavalry. The game seemed assured, but the crossbowmen swung the balance, shooting up an element of cavalry and then an archer (on it rear rank, I think). Meanwhile, I’d lost two light horse against the Polish cavalry to give Jared a 4-3 win.

The final scene, as the massed crossbowmen break the Byzantine archers

  • Kees (IV/59a Post-Mongolian Samurai)

My last game before lunch was against a Japanese army. I was apprehensive about winning when he lay down a lot of terrain and deployed in it.

Initial deployment to get clear of the hills.

However, Kees chose to come out into the open and fight. I was still unpacking from column when we contacted, but in a reversal of my first game, I took out his general with my knights when he rolled a 1. Game over. A bit of an anticlimax in some ways, but more time for lunch!

The knights advance after breaking the Samurai commander (note the general's more conservative deployment!).

  • Andrew McGregor (III/77 Scots Isles & Highlands)

After lunch I faced an army I didn’t expect to be much trouble—massed blades without psiloi support against mounted should be a doddle! However, it’s never wise to underestimate one’s opponent, and I advanced too fast, trying to get my light horse away from his archers. He made contact and fled some of my light horse leaving my commander exposed. He closed the door on him and it was a 3G-0 defeat! I did help Andrew to the extent that I pointed out his options (as like Jared he was new to DBA), but my mistakes were all my own doing!

The Varangians and Normans never saw combat before it was all over on the right flank! What was the point of gaining control of the wood if I didn't sue it to anchor a flank?

  • Arne (III/74 Fanatic Berber)

In my last game of the day I faced Arne, making some nice symmetry, facing the same opponent for my first and last games. I was the defender against some insanely aggressive Berbers. It was an open board and the two armies were well matched.

Initial deployments.

Arne advanced two psiloi into the wood behind my horse, forcing one of my cavalry to shield them and prevent them from going after the camp. Meanwhile, I soon lost my knights and got my light horse into quite a jam ahead of the army (the general was still with the bow thankfully). However, I had the PIPs, and Arne didn’t have many for a while, to retire my light horse out of the mess they’d got themselves into. Arne sent his knight against the cavalry guarding the woods. I was very lucky to survive being overlapped by them, but with light horse support I destroyed the knight. Meanwhile my archers started to shoot up his light horse. I’m a bit hazy how it ended now. I think I retreated one of his elements into the rear of one of mine making it 4-4, but I managed to get one of his to win a very close game.

Finishing on a win was a good way to end, but given that I’d had two very quick games that were over almost before they had begun, it was good to finish with a really close and interesting game.

I need to be a little more cautious with the Komnenans; the Varangians never saw combat, which is suggestive of my not really working out how to use all 12 elements; the archers did see action in a couple of games, but in others I rushed into action without them. I’m better at not getting the LH into a fix with wild moves (though it was only luck against the Poles that saw them survive), but getting them to work with the archers is something I’ve not really sorted out.

All in all, it was a great two days. I enjoyed playing all my opponents. It reminds me why I like DBA; whereas other competitions at Conquest had awards for good sportsmanship, such an award for the DBA one would be redundant, as there was not a backdrop, whether only implied or not, of dodgy players to make such an award meaningful! A big thanks to Keith for organizing the competition and soldiering on through it despite being under the weather.

A couple of games

15 June, 2011

I got a couple of games last month at the Auckland Wargames Club on a Thursday night. There were four of us there playing DBA. Geoff was trying it out with Philip, and they had a couple of Polybian Roman encounters against New Kingdom Egyptians. I played John twice. He used my Seleucids and I went Carthaginians. I went for maximum elephants and two psiloi / two warband. I won both games as the attackers. In both John had a central BGo hill. In the first I occupied this with Spanish and Gauls. My Gauls saw off his mounted who attacked on the flank while the Spanish got the scythed chariot. I think an elephant took out some pike (aided by two overlaps and a good die-roll).

In the second game I had my camp behind a swamp, but didn’t position any troops near it and John redeployed his psiloi and rushed them across on the first turn to sack it, ouch! I dithered a fair bit with redeploying mounted to retake the camp before realizing it was hopeless. I then advanced on a wood that had some pike in it (courtesy of the swap). These didn’t like meeting warband, but before this, I’d survived a SCh attack on my LH that was very lucky. I think I also got a 3Kn to gain a second lucky victory. Good fun! Good to see the Seleucids were so loyal to me!

Today I introduced my brother to DBA, on holiday from England. He’s a keen gamer, but has only played board games and computer games. I think he enjoyed the game. He wanted an army with horses, so I suggested Komnenans. I took Pre-feudal Scots, as the only near contemporary opponent that was nicely based (I forgot about the Goblins!).

Chris was coached by me and went for a flanking raid on my camp. My LH got the rearmost of his LH column and a Ps stopped them for one turn before they attacked and doubled it. Meanwhile on my right flank my commander and two warbands were facing a Norman mercenary knights and an auxilia with psiloi support. It see-sawed a bit, but when low PIPs kept the centre of the Byzantine army back, I was able to flank the knight with a spear, only for it to recoil me. I then attacked the knight with the spear (I had only one PIP). It died, but turned the knight, freeing the Scots commander from its ZOC and allowing him to get the psiloi that had gone for overlap support on the warband.

The camp resisted the attacks of the Pechenegs valiantly, and I got the auxilia with the warbands and the general flanking. It was 3-2 to me. However, in the last turn, after an attack on the centre had not done much of consequence, the Byzantines were able to overlap a spear that fell to the Varangians (the spear had got a stick to their disadvantage), and the two warbands were swept away by the knights. However, the camp continued to resist the Pechenegs and the game finished 5-3 to the Byzantines, repelling this unrecorded Scottish crusade (one of those that forgot what side the Greeks were on!).

The final position: the Scots needed heroism from their warbands to equal that shown in the camp. They might have taken out a cavalry on their left flank if they'd lasted another turn.