5 November, 2011
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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!
- 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!
- 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.
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.