A couple of battles.

17 November, 2010

In the next while I’m going to have less time to give to the blog, as I try to get some other publishing done. Therefore my battle reports will be much briefer, though I’ll try to keep posts on figures finished coming. Last week I cancelled my flight to the Medieval Open in Christchurch. This was mainly due to JetStar mucking me about, and changing my flight times was the last straw. However, I realized afterwards that getting the refund was really cutting off my nose to spite my face, as I’d like to have got down there. Still more time to work on that other publishing (in theory!).

Last week Steve was over and we got three games. One was of Dux Bellorum, the play-test version of the revised Glutter of Ravens. It was quite fun, but really something that you need to do again to avoid all the tactical errors we made. In particular, skirmishers are quite fragile; they can’t evade, and as they move first, they have to avoid moving into charge range of the enemy, or they will probably be destroyed. I won with one element left! However, as Steve’s commander destroyed mine more decisively than I destroyed his, he could claim the more glorious defeat! I charged his general with mine when it was almost broken and on the last turn I destroyed his, but he rolled about three sixes, absolutely destroying mine! Morale tests saw only one element (mine) survive!

The other two games were 15mm DBA played on a 30″x30″ game cloth. Now I’ve got a cloth of that dimension I figured I should give it a try to be able to pass judgement on it.

The first was my Komnenans against Steve’s Sicilian Normans. This is a historical match-up, but the Normans have quite a job with so many psiloi. Despite this, owing to a bold attack as I approached him, Steve had me at 3-2 and might have won had he a few more PIPs. In the end I got a narrow win taking out two elements that I managed to flank or force to recoil into themselves. The larger board was not a factor.

For the second we chose a foot heavy army, the Polybians, to face a mobile army, which was the Ancient Britons with four LCh and two 2LH. I was the Britons and the defender. I managed to get a wood on a flank. I deployed and then after seeing the Triarii on one flank swapped the two 2LH that faced them with a pair of 3Wb. Despite this, my PIPs were atrocious and I was barely able to move, while the Romans taunted me with more PIPs than they could use!

However, in combat the dice were as one-sided in reverse. I must have rolled sixes for my first two combats at least. The warband destroyed an element of Triarii and its psiloi support and the other one would have gone as well, but we decided that light horse don’t get the QK against spear on the larger table.

Steve had a chance to get some good attacks on overlapped chariots, but proceeded to roll a one and recoil his psiloi support! I was then able to attack an unsupported, overlapped 4Bd with double-ranked warband. Again the dice went my way and the game was over. The combat dice made it a very one-sided affair. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen warband win when they’ve been given good odds! Mine seem to need their backs against the wall to do anything! However, again the larger board was not a significant factor, though had my PIPs been better, who knows.

I’ve made use of my visit to Britain to get some figures without paying for postage. So far I’ve been pretty modest, and only got some Goblins (though quite a few!). These are from Magister Militum and will allow me to use my Goblins as just about any DBA army.

Inspired by Craig’s comment that he liked my ‘Classical Goblins’, I decided to get them some real chariots. The ‘Platform Carts’ of  the Chariot range aren’t that good, but I’ve managed to get them to provide solid wheels from their Sumerian range, which will make them look cruder.

I’ve also got some rhinosauruses that should be able to be used as knights, and more goblins that can be based as 4Sp/4Pk. To make the ‘elephants’ (behemoths in HOTT) more regular, I got some more of their ogres (armoured ones for variety). I’ll mix these in and make one of them a command element with a goblin standard bearer and drummer. Then I’ll have three ‘elephants’ with a clear commander for them. I can also create pike armies with the spearmen (stand-in successor armies until I paint one!). In time, I should have some endlessly morphable Goblins for practice fights.

I’ve also bought a second-hand boardgame for nostalgia value. It’s WRG’s Decline and Fall. I had a lot of fun playing this years ago, not that it’s terribly well balanced, but it was going cheaply enough and again I could save on postage.

Otherwise, I’m considering making my post AD 450 Early Muslim North Africa and Sicily (III/33). It occurred to me that these were a loose form of Carthaginians: same geographical place and some similarities in the army; they don’t have elephants or warbands, but they have similar amounts of cavalry (one more 2LH than the Carthos), spear and psiloi. they have the option of ditching the spear and going for lots of auxilia, which would make them very mobile, and potentially a headache for elephant armies.

I’ll need to research the history of this army a little more. Are there any colourful personalities that led it? But it has the potential to satisfy my requirements for an army. It has an interesting mix of troops and they’d fight in a similar fashion to the Carthaginians (not that I’ve mastered them with the Carthaginians). It has potential to hold my interest, especially as I’m thinking of getting some of their enemies for a campaign: Andalusians (III/34b), Fanatic Berbers (III/74), Feudal Spanish (III35b) and Sicilians (IV/5a). The figures for these have a degree of internal morphability, so wouldn’t need to be done all at once. They’ve also got a lot of psiloi, which would make them cheaper and quicker to paint.