10 November, 2016
The Sunday was three BBDBA games. Points were given for breaking commands and for winning.
- Game 1: Mark B (Palmyrans)
With my high aggression I was unsurprisingly the attacker against Mark’s Palmyrans. Mark went for an open battlefield with terrain only on one wing.
With a preponderance of cavalry facing my left wing, I thought I could meet it with Gisgo’s light horse and psiloi. Unfortunately, I forgot that light horse now can be double ranked, in which case they are 3-2 against psiloi.
The plan was that Hanno on the left wing would overpower the foot facing them, while Hiero held the centre and Gisgo the right wing.
Unfortunately, the dunes on the right wing hampered the cavalry outflanking, although they did destroy the three 3Bw on that wing. However, good shooting in the centre saw Heiro’s warband and cavalry shot, while Gisgo’s troops fought like demons to survive.
Despite their bravery, the centre collapsed, as did Gisgo’s command. In hindsight it would have been better to have had Hanno and Gisgo swap positions. Gisgo could have contested the dunes with his scutati, the LH could have stood up to the cataphracts, and the psiloi might have stood up to the bow, if they moved quickly. Hanno’s elephants would have worried the cataphracts, and the spear and cavalry could have supported them.
Mark also suggested that I might want to rethink my commands around two commands of 13 and one of 10. I’d certainly give it some thought.
- Game 2: Keith (Asiatic Early Successor)
Against the aggressive Demetrius the Besieger, I was still the aggressor, but as he was littoral too, I had him worried that I might do a littoral landing.
Demetrius placed his elephants in the centre with large pike blocks on either side. Light troops and cavalry were on his wings.
Hanno thought to use Gisgo’s psiloi to neutralise some of the pike and his light horse to face the knights. He would take the right flank and attempt to break through the pike with warbands supported by elephants.
Gisgo soon discovered that his scutati were outflanked by the light foot in reserve. The bad going on the right flank again slowed up the attack by Hanno’s cavalry. However, the psiloi did very well. Destroying half a pike block and stopping them from advancing. The scutati were even more resilient than in the last battle and scorned to be outflanked. Gisgo, despite being outclassed had his opposing command on the back foot. Hanno’s elephants and warband were doing good work on the right, but his spear did not like the elephants they faced, and Hiero was wilting before the pike.
Nevertheless, in the turn on which my commands broke, I was one of breaking two of Demetrius’ commands. The warband just needed to destroy another pike block, and I think that Gisgo was threatening the C-in-C having outflanked him.
Despite Gisgo’s heroics, I think in hindsight I should have gone for the same order of battle as I should have used against the Palmyrans. Gisgo would have been more effective on the right and Hanno on the left.
- Game 3: Greg K (Eastern Patrician Romans with Later Pre-Islamic Arab Nomad Ally)
Surprisingly against Greg’s Romans I was the defender. This time I deployed with Gisgo on the right facing bad going that had congregated there. Hanno was on the more open left flank.
I took quite a few pictures of this game, so I’ll let them provide the commentary.
Hiero was eventually destroyed while flanked and his command broke, as did Hanno’s. I was looking to inflict one more casualty on the Roman central command to break it, but the gap created by the two elephants was one I couldn’t fill.
I came last in this competition. I didn’t get any points, as I failed to break any commands, though I got close in both my last two games. Despite failing to win, I enjoyed the games, and I learned a lot about how to play BBDBA.
7 November, 2016
Last Friday, the night before I went to Conquest, I got in one final practice game of BBDBA with Nick. I’d looked over the Runners and Riders and suggested he try out a Palmyran army with its mixture of bow and cataphracts. He was able to get his Early Imperial Romans to do this.
I’d settled on my commands before I left. I’d chosen them to correspond to the different PIP dice. the C-in-C was Hanno, commanding the largest contingent and having the high PIP dice. With 16 elements, it required 6 casualties to break.
This command had two elements of elephants and four of Gallic warbands. The hope was that the elephants would create overlaps for the warbands and increase their chance of breaking through. The command also had three elements of spear, and four of cavalry (including the commander), along with a light horse and a pair of psiloi.
Gisgo had the mobile command, designed for bad going and for outflanking. It got the middle PIP dice. It had 10 elements and broke after 4 casualties.
This command had a high proportion of Spanish mercenaries; three elements of scutati, two of caetrati, one of Balaeric slingers, Gisgo command of Spanish cavalry, another of Spanish light horse, and finally a pair of Numidian light horse.
The final command was led by Hiero, a Greek mercenary commander. Like Gisgo’s command it was 10 elements. It was intended to hold the line and got the low PIP dice.
Hiero had six elements of spear, three of Sicilian Greeks, and three of Campanians. He had two warbands, including the redoubtable Androgeus and a reserve of a psiloi and some cavalry.
- Against the Palmyrans
The game against the Palmyrans saw the Carthaginians attacking. There was an oasis, two difficult hills and some rough going. The Palmyrans deployed across the entire line, with the bulk of their cataphracts in the centre.
I’d made the mistake of putting my camp behind the oasis and therefore could not simply ignore the right flank. I decided to have Hiero’s command hold the right flank and Gisgo on the left flank.
I was relieved to learn that bow could not shoot into the difficult hills, and this gave some solidity to the left flank, but the warband strung out in the centre facing cavalry was not a good situation. Hiero might have been better there, and the warband could have been in the oasis.
I don’t remember the details now, and as my luck was not equal to rectifying errors in deployment, my photography ceased!
I had a problem with how to attack in the centre when my right flank was not advancing. I made the mistake (in retrospect) of attacking the Palmyran bow with my cavalry. It didn’t work, and delayed the attack of the elephants; however, whatever the cavalry did, the elephants faced trouble with support.
I think Hanno was defeated when flanked, and his command broke. This was a battle that I never really had an advantage. I think my main mistakes were:
1. Choosing the bad going to deploy from. It might have been better to have inflicted its disruption on the Palmyrans.
2. Putting my camp behind the oasis.
3. Sticking with the deployment despite the way the warband had to be stretched across the centre facing mounted.
4. Deciding to go for the bow of the right command rather than support an attack by the elephants.
It wasn’t a good note on which to set off to Conquest.
29 October, 2016
I had my third game of BBDBA and improved some more. I lost, but I could see where my deployment had not helped me, and I got closer to taking out a second command this time.
I took my Carthaginians against Nick’s Early Imperial Romans. I was the aggressor, which was to my advantage. The terrain was all on one side of the board, and I chose to have the terrain on my side. I’m not sure that was the best choice.
The advantage of deploying second was one I’d not had before. The Roman command facing my left had most of their mounted, their light horse and cavalry. The centre had a combination of blade and auxilia. The right had knights and bow. I chose to try and focus on the centre and left, deploying in depth.
This deployment didn’t entirely work. My high-PIP command was on my right. It tried to react to the Romans on its right by deploying elephants and cavalry to meet the approaching knights. I was let down by bad dice in combat and was close to breaking on this wing in rapid time. However, on the left flank my luck balanced out and I broke the command by destroying their light horse with my Numidians and then falling on the outflanked legionaries.
At this point my right command collapsed, and I had a small window in which to apply pressure on the Roman middle command, but despite flanking a legion with hoplites, they were 6-1 and my second command collapsed. I could (and did) complain about the dice, but my deployment was risky, and my response to move to the right even more risky. I seemed to forget that my high-PIP command was trying to survive, rather than try to attack two commands simultaneously.
The next day, I decided to set up the terrain again and try a few alternative deployments to see what I could have done differently. I tried out the Marian Romans and the Carthaginians. Looking at the two armies, I decided that the Carthaginians were the ones I wanted to take to Conquest. I also decided that I was still inexperienced about deploying the army as I’d only done it a few times. For practice, I had a couple of solo games. I put together an Early Seleucid army (II/19a) using my old fallback, the Goblins. The Carthaginians were the defenders.
The Seleucids chose to take the side with the most terrain, so that they could deploy into the clear. Their commands were a central one of 12 pike and two psiloi, one facing the Carthaginian left of six elephants (assorted giants, ogres and trolls) three cavalry (actually accidentally 4!) and two psiloi, and on the right three LCh, three Kn, three LH and two Ps.
The contact was swift and deadly. The Carthaginians moved psiloi on their left flank to ZOC the cavalry command. It worked, but the two psiloi died to enemy psiloi. Their spear were killing elephants with great effectiveness, but the ogres on the end of the line refused to die, even though they were flanked. This obdurance won them the game, as their SCh destroyed warbands and their left flank was not able to be troubled fast enough by the littoral landing.
I decided to try another game with the same terrain. This time I ignored the littoral landing gambit and went for the command that has auxilia and psiloi to be on the left flank. It was attractive to the knights, but not to the chariots and elephants.
The command with most of the spear went in the centre, while the high-PIP command with the two elephants went on the right. It left the warbands in reserve, as they were pretty much a liability.
This more conventional deployment got the Seleucids to put the pike in the centre and the SCh and Kn on their right, while the elephants went on the right.
Again contact came swiftly, but this time Carthaginians used high PIPs to move their auxilia across to face the SCh. However, the Seleucids responded by swapping the SCh and Kn in turn. When contact was made by the Seleucids, the SCh contacted mostly auxilia and the Kn spear, but one auxilia encountered knights. The knight commander was soon double-overlapped, but as an element of knight had been destroyed, along with some chariots, the battle on the Carthaginian left flank was in the balance. In the centre a pushing match ensued, where the Carthaginian spear refused to be intimidated by the pike. On the left the Carthaginians met elephants and cavalry with psiloi spear and cavalry. Their spear was as undaunted as in the previous battle and succeeded in destroying opposing elephants.
The Carthaginians eventually broke the command facing their right flank. Their spear was too resolute. In the centre, their commander was flanked and routed, but it was a solitary success. And the Campanian spear eventually flanked and destroyed the opposing knight commander to rout the second Seleucid command. This was their second kill, I think, as they got a knight on contact too. Androgeus, the Gallic headhunter, destroyed a block of pike, and I think a recoiling elephant destroyed a bit of the Seleucid reserves.
All in all, they were two fun games that helped me get more of a feel of the footprint of the different commands and how they interact. I’ll go to Conquest a little better prepared.
10 October, 2016
Sunday a week ago there was a very successful DBA day at the Auckland Wargames Club. As it led to other projects being planned, I’ve not got around to writing up any report until now. The format was friendly games; no set armies or points. I had five very enjoyable games.
- 1 – Marian Romans v. Alexandrian Imperial
My first game was against John, whose army is still being painted, so he borrowed figures from me. I’m pleased to say that they knew who their paymaster was, and fought accordingly!
I was the defender and laid down some Marsh and ploughed fields (I’d just made some new terrain; I realised later that Marsh is not valid for Arable armies). Appropriate to the weather that day the fields were boggy.Alexander, or his subordinate, took an elephant as well. He swung his knights out on his left flank. Things looked good when one squared off against some auxilia, who promptly 6-1ed him! It went from bad to worse from there with the general encountering elephants and this time the encounter went to script. The Kappadocian hillmen notched up their second kill, supporting some legionaries against hapless thureophoroi, and it was all over.
The surprising resilience of the Kappadocians secured a quick victory.
- 2 – Prefeudal Scots v. Vikings
The second combat was against Kieran’s Vikings. Again I was the defender and went for a marsh and a wood, which ended up being in the same corner.
The battle was a close one, where the Scots won first blood, when the Galwegians broke an element of Vikings. However, the centre was somewhat of a stalemate, with a lot of toing and froing. On the Scots’ right their Viking allies did good execution and contributed to a close-fought 4-2 victory. Terrain and the greater mobility of the Scots were significant factors.
- 4 – Later Macedonians v. Polybian Romans
After lunch I faced Joel’s freshly painted Polybian Romans. I decided I really should get my Later Macedonians out to meet them. Naturally in the face of unprovoked Roman aggression I was the defender again. I took two large terrain pieces to anchor my flanks and restrict the battlefield to the advantage of the phalanx.
The battle was close fought, with the battle going in the Romans’ favour on their left flank, while the Macedonians secured the advantage on their own left flank, destroying both elements of Roman velites. However, it was the steadfastness of the Macedonian blueshields that secured victory; despite being flanked by Roman cavalry they repeatedly refused to break. In the centre the Galatians made noble execution of Roman legionaries and the whiteshields (leukaspides) broke their opposing legionaries.
- 3 – Later Macedonians v. Polybian Romans
Actually, there is a report that prior to this battle the Macedonian general was troubled by a nasty dream in which his thureophoroi proved his undoing. Romans report that this was an actual battle, but the more reliable Greek chronicler disagree (the battle just described was actually our second, as the first was over so fast!). The Macedonians defended again. Their terrain was too small to constrain the battlefield.
The Macedonian thureophoroi attempted to defeat the Roman velites and were disgracefully defeated (they are prone to this; witness their routing by Spartan artillery). Philip V tried to stabilise things, but was defeated himself; the battle was over without the main lines having contacted.
- 5 – Prefeudal Scots v. Carolingian Franks
The last battle was against Mike’s Carolingian Franks. The Scots had got on their boats and visited France. It didn’t go well for them.
How the Galwegians got to be in the centre facing knights I don’t remember (I think I deployed and then moved the line along a bit to fit it in the legal area and didn’t check who was facing who. Unlike the bold Kappadocians at the start of the day, the Galwegians didn’t produce an upset against the Carolingian commander. The schiltons were under pressure and collapsed, but not before a few knights had fled in the face of the Scots cavalry.
All in all, it was a great day; there is another account of it here, and there are plans for more DBA action there soon.
21 September, 2016
An old friend, Craig, visited today, over from Brisbane. We played a couple of games of DBA. He was over earlier this year and we played a couple of game then too. One was Syracusans against Pyrrhus. Craig was impressed at how the Syracusan bolt shooter performed (it pretty well won the game from memory, even destroying pike in hand-to hand!).
He was keen to try out a pike army, and likes the Late Spartans (II/31e, who had the option of a bolt shooter to his delight). I went with the Later Macedonians, who are significantly better than the 2.2 list (and pike play differently under 3.0 too).
- Spartans v. Later Macedonians
The Philip V, leading the Macedonians, was the defender and went for ploughed fields and two large gentle hills and a road. It then rained (1 PIP first up).
Philip advanced his main body into the gap between the fields. The Spartan stayed stationary and opened up with the bolt shooters. They destroyed the Thorakitai. The next turn Philip was bereft of initiative (1 PIP again). He moved his cavalry up through the muddy field to support the pike. The Spartan bolt shooters fired again and destroyed the Thureophoroi! The Macedonians were not looking in a good space! Fortunately in the next few turns, the leftmost phalanx is only recoiled a few times by the bolt shooters while Philip and his light horse rush to shore up the left wing.
With not enough PIPs to do terribly much, Philip sends in his right wing, and everything goes to plan (there was one?)! The cavalry rout the opposing psiloi, despite being overlapped. The phalanx on the right of the Galatians push back their opposite number, and the Galatians face a phalanx with a double overlap, and destroy it. Suddenly Philip is back in the fight. The Chalkaspides against the Spartan commander are forced to retire; in the circumstances (attacking uphill against the general and overlapped on the left owing to the Leukaspides having been recoiled by the bolt shooters) this was a good result.
The Spartans made the cavalry pay, destroying it with their light horse and own cavalry. However, the Galatians had their dander up, and they destroyed the rest of the phalanx in front of them. It was now 3-3. The bolt shooter recoils the phalanx opposite them again and the Spartan commander, oblivious to how the battle was developing, forges forward.
Philip is unfazed, or at least his Galatians aren’t. They flank the next phalanx and contribute to its destruction by the Agema. The Spartan commander advances again (were the Chalkaspides skillfully recoiling to take away his overlaps?), and the bolt shooters are demolished by a determined assault by the Leukaspides. Philip and his light horse recoil the foot on the hill opposite them to ensure there were no more upsets in this bloody 6-3 victory.
This was the first outing of the Later Macedonians in a long time. They were not much chop in DBA 2.2. The phalanx could not win in time before the wings folded, but now that pike and blade pursue the dynamics of combat have changed a lot. Also the extra element of cavalry makes for a more interesting army, one I’ll be keen to get out on the board more often.
- Later Macedonians v. Polybian Romans
The success of the Later Macedonians had me wanting to see how they’d perform against Polybian Romans. They were predictably the defender, but had taken an Aitolian ally (II/31j), giving him a 3Kn and an ally block of 4Pk.
The Romans chose to have the wood on their side of the battlefield, hoping to expand out of column in front of it.
In the opening moves the Romans throw forward a block of velites to delay the Macedonian advance. They are cut to pieces by Macedonian cavalry. The Macedonians reform their line and advance (this was a mistake, as the ally made this cost 4 PIPs, rather than the 2 PIPs available, but we let it pass).
When the Macedonians make contact the Aitolian Xystophoroi destroy the overlapped Triarii they meet. More Triarii plug the gap and resist valiantly, but another block of legionaries is destroyed and the situation is looking hopeless.
Who would have thought Roman cavalry could effect a turnaround? First one element destroys the opposing cavalry, aided by an overlap. The Macedonians falter (low PIPs) and next the Roman commander destroys the isolated Illyrian cavalry in a one on one, while the other cavalry, flushed with their initial success, tackle Philip, aided by velites flanking him, and win! Amazingly out of nowhere the Macedonian cavalry are routed and the disaster in the centre is averted.
Despite the loss the Macedonians acquitted themselves very well with the new list and the new rules. They are now an interesting army. Craig enjoyed both games, both which had surprising reversals of initial success. He’s keen to get his own army for DBA soon.
19 September, 2016
Last Friday Nick and I tried a game of BBDBA. I’d got my Numidians finished and could field a Marian army, albeit with a few of the elements not as I’d want them. Nick put together another Marian army, not with any prior preparation. I was the defender and set up all my commands, followed by Nick. I then rolled 7 total for my PIPs, so made the ploughed rough; not what I’d expected!
My plan was to win in the centre and hold on the flanks. I gave my high dice to the centre. The Numidian flank was hampered by the ploughed fields.
My initial PIPs were very low, and I was anxious about trying to get my light troops across on my left to intercept the elephants. Nick had his high PIP dice there. I seemed to forget about holding on the flanks, and although I got one of the elephants, that command broke. There was a stalemate across the ploughed field on the right and I actually did win in the centre, where Nick was using some of his legionaries to break my left flank. However, I’d lost patience, and forgotten the plan, and attacked on the right flank. It didn’t go well.
The game took some time and was very close, in that I was close to breaking, but could have won if I’d hadn’t been so rash with the Numidians. In the end Nick broke the Numidians and won the battle. It was a fun game and I learnt a good deal about BBDBA.
We’ll have another game soon; I may have to rethink my commands; the centre could have used a more mobile reserve, but then the left flank would be less effective, possibly. Food for thought!
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!