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.
6 August, 2016
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Recently I was reminded that Conquest was coming up at the end of this year; Keith’s planning a new format with some BBDBA for the last day. It’s got me motivated to see what I could field if I were to attend. I don’t have enough figures for any army to be made up of 36 elements from one list. I’d need to field 24 elements from one list and take an ally. This precludes taking a successor army, which is a pity, as pike are better with solid wings, something they struggle to get in normal DBA. At this stage I’ve got a few armies I’m looking at:
The Republican army at Thapsus led by Scipio and Labienus and aided by their ally the Numidian Juba. I’m painting the Numidians now, and I’m looking at rebasing Spanish to make enough 4Ax. Otherwise, I’m pretty much able to field this army. I would look to get a few more elephants, though. I’m not normally a big fan of Roman armies, but the any that resisted the tyrant Caesar is OK, especially with honourable leaders such as Labienus and Cato the Younger.
Another army is a Mithridatic one with an Armenian ally. I’d need to paint a bit more to get this one ready. It’d have two solid wings of light horse and auxilia, a centre of blade or pike and enough knights to be a threat.
I could also put together a Syracusan army with a Carthaginian ally.
Anyway, along with getting these armies ready, I’m reluctantly planning to rebase my Gauls as 4Wb; I’m hoping I can get some rather nice looking Xyston Gallic foot nobles to mix in with the Corvus Belli ones to add some further presence to each element. I also have plenty of Gallic cavalry to look at painting. Perhaps they could be another BBDBA army!
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.
31 December, 2012
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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 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.
I’ve updated the Mithridatics army page too.
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.
4 November, 2011
I had a few games of DBA in the last few months. The Syracusans had a couple of outings. At the AWC against Philip’s Muslim Indians they almost won and at the Auckland City Guard against Joel’s Lysimachids they seemed set to win when they fell apart. I then tried my Seleucids against Joel’s Marians. I tried the ‘d’ list of the Seleucids and was doing pretty well from memory before losing yet again. My last game before Conquest was against Craig, visiting from Brisbane; he took the Seleucids who cut the Carthaginians to pieces decisively in two rounds of combat. I attacked. my opening attack was intended to gain an overlap; it went one better and destroyed its opposing element. I then took a risk and attacked with my psiloi-supported spear against the SCh. My luck deserted me and lost the two elements. I was lucky to survive that round, but in Craig’s round I lost 6-1, I think!
I got to Conquest for the third time now. Next year is the tenth anniversary of the competition (not the DBA part of it), so I’d be keen to get along again. Keith very kindly put me up and we had a game of DBA the night before the competition. My Seleucids were victorious against his Graeco-Bactrians; the Scythed Chariot was unstoppable and took out three of his elements from memory.
- Arne (II/23a Later Pre-Islamic Arabs)
At Conquest, first up the Seleucids faced Arne’s Later Pre-Islamic Arabs. This was his first time using this freshly painted army. I took the 3Ax option, but I think the 3Cm or the 3Cv would have been better. As it was these 3Ax refused to die for quite a while and I came close to winning this battle, but I think I lost 4-3.
- Andrew Taylor (I/20a Ugaritic)
My next opponent went for a lot of terrain; not quite the hills of Cappadocia of the previous year, but still pretty bad. My deployment was frankly inept and I hung on for a draw. The psiloi advance on the hill was forced to retreat after one died and advances on the right flank were forced to retreat by light troops in the woods. Eventually the SCh died after chasing some Ax up the hill and the elephant, after running into the midst of the enemy to create some room for the rest of the army, also died. I was lucky to finish with a draw.
- Stephen (II/64b Middle Imperial Roman, East)
I then had a bye, my most successful outing to date, and refreshed by a longer lunch break, I faced Stephen. His Romans had beaten my Carthaginians a number of times in the past, but these were later ones, and seemed to be under some curse. After eyeing up the terrain I decided to risk the equivalent of a littoral landing by sending half my army up the road. I hoped he’d struggle to redeploy and I might get his camp. Given that I put my elephant in the front, I was lucky he didn’t causing some squashing!
Luck was on my side (or very much not on Stephen’s!) and I got one of his cavalry. He then started shooting at me with his archer and artillery, but I shrugged it off and recoiled his general into the camp to record my first win.
- Keith (II/36a Graeco-Bactrian)
Against the Graeco-Bactrians high PIPs on the first turn lead to a charge by psiloi on the hill on the enemy’s flank. I sent all three as I wanted to outnumber his Ax. However, I then had terrible PIPs (2 a turn for ages) and could only manoeuvre these slowly as the Graeco-Bactrians advanced at speed on my main force. By the time they made contact I had only just started to catch up. So much for the psiloi peeling off his rear support! Instead I was overlapped on that flank and soon lost the pike whose own rear support was turned. Despite this I managed to kill his general and in a final combat that was at even odds I lost and was defeated 3G-4.
- Brian (II/3 Classical Indian)
My final battle saw Classical Indians on the defensive and wary after facing pike in a previous battle. Given bad terrain and no desire to rush across it the battle was a stalemate.
That night the Seleucids got another chance to meet the Graeco-Bactrians. On a billiard table against an all mounted army, their ‘c’ option was defeated by light horse. In the encounters between LH and Ax, Ps or Wb I didn’t roll high enough to recoil them into each other and went down without breaking any of the enemy.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable day. I didn’t play that well. I guess I’m still getting the hang of this army, which looks extremely strong, but doesn’t like bad terrain, especially as the SCh and El struggle to manoeuvre around it.
8 March, 2011
In this day of the competition I took my Komnenan Byzantines, whom I didn’t expect to do too well, but who actually surprised me. I suspect if I was more observant of my opponents, I’d have picked up that they were nervous of their potential mobility.
Tim’s Italian Condotta
This was a fun game, where Tim insisted on having a littoral landing. His knights arrived in a block in the middle of the field. We surmised this was at the Doge’s insistence, as they had no plan after this. They looked splendid, however, and the Doge perhaps enjoyed the spectacle from his galley.
Nevertheless, the knights, aided by two light horse, put up a good fight and my attempt to encircle them did not succeed in eliminating them. One of their light horse went down, and I chased the other to the far corner of the board with a cavalry and a light horse. One of the knights was also destroyed, but I had lost three too, and had to fall back on my archers, who destroyed another knight. In the last turn, Tim attacked the cavalry facing his light horse with a psiloi overlap. The odds were 2-1 to me, but a win to him would give him the game. The dice gods smiled, and I doubled the light horse.
Attempting to stop the knights from getting away from the waterway almost lost me the game. It became a slog where overlaps to me only gave even odds against the knights. Still, letting them get out to deploy would not necessarily done me much good either.
Adrian’s Samanid Persians
My next game was against an army I’d considered taking myself (if I’d decided to buy and paint it!). I like the Samanids; they remind me quite a lot of the Later Carthaginians. I was the attacker and deployed with my archers in some rough in the middle of my line. Adrian’s forces came out between two small steep hills with the centre of an elephant flanked my auxilia on the open side and psiloi-supported spear in the centre with two bow next to them, then the general. On his right flank, he had two cavalry and a light horse.
I attempted to go after his right flank with the knight, a cavalry and a light horse. He then reinforced it with his general, and I pulled a light horse across to help, deciding also to retire. Unfortunately, the speed of the knight meant I was still in range. He attacked and I lost the cavalry; I was lucky not to lose the others. I had three PIPs, I could not retreat them out of danger and if I lost them I lost the game. It looked grim, so they decided to go out fighting. The light horse facing the general stayed put and gained a bow support. The other two charged into combat. The knight stuck, but the light horse rolled a 6. Adrian rolled a cocked 5; it wasn’t badly cocked, but it saved my life, as his reroll was a 2. The next turn my knight destroyed the opposing cavalry and his general beat a hasty retreat. I must have got the other cavalry on that wing, as I was three up. I decided to charge his elephant with my general and the rest of the cavalry. This was to get a 3-1 attack on his flanked auxilia. The first time this didn’t succeed, but my line held and I got it on the second try to give me a lucky win.
The third game was a disappointment, as I attempted to redeploy my mounted from one wing in column. I’d made it too, it seemed, but when I went to check they were not ZOCed by his advancing knights (they weren’t), Jason said he had the move to make this happen. I had no way of knowing if he did, but it wasn’t really a question of proof; he had moved the knights, taken his hands off, gone on to another move. If he wanted to redo his move, he had to ask my permission, which I was perfectly entitled to deny (p. 8: ‘a legal tactical move cannot be taken back once the element has been placed’). I shouldn’t have let him turn it into an issue of whether he was telling the truth. Caught in the ZOC I went down 0-4G, ending my run and tarnishing the morning, indeed the whole event!
Stan’s War of the Roses English
Stan deployed on a low hill with a blade centre and two flanks of three 3Bw. On his right flank was a large wood. I advanced two 2Ps into it on the first turn, and then advanced the auxilia and blade after them. However, with little movement from Stan (he finally advanced just off the hill) and 6 PIPs, I advanced my cavalry only this left flank. It was anchored by a light horse in the centre to avoid a bad overlap, and it had an overlap on the left flank. However, I had no success. I was thrown back along the line, losing two 3Cv, though the light horse only recoiled.
On Stan’s turn he advanced on the light horse, hoping to flee it and set up good odds on an overlapped cavalry with psiloi-supported blades. The light horse didn’t flee, but recoiled to provide an overlap and keep the odds at 3-2 in his favour. A 6-1 in my favour brought me back into the game, and even though I only had a single PIP, I was able to take out an unsupported blade to set myself up for an unlikely win. Unfortunately, my General rolled a 1 when shot at by supported archers, going down on a 1-4 roll. Stan got another element and took the game. I felt my initial attack was unlucky, though its odds weren’t stunning, but my comeback more than made up for this!
Stephen’s Later Crusaders
Stephen deployed his camp in a corner and spent most of the game advancing his bow in column up through a wood on the flank onto a road. They saw no action. Nor did his knights. However, with five spear and a cavalry he nearly beat me, owing to my overconfidence that combined with lacklustre early combat dice saw my general back into his cavalry with no room to spare.
The cavalry and a spear on a gentle hill looked an easy prize and would open up the left flank. I had all my cavalry against it and a light horse. That seemed more than I needed and I had the PIPs, and the poor judgement, to pull off two cavalry to advance on the main body behind this attack. Sure enough I was driven down the hill and lost two cavalry to blocked recoils. I feel Stephen was a gentleman not to push how much room my general had on his second recoil, as it had no room to spare. At this point I hung on, eventually killing the cavalry and one of the spear, but my knight twice could not destroy an unsupported spear even with an overlap to help. There was some desperate fighting, and my general survived the risk of friction kills. In my last turn, with one PIP and the crusader knights and bow finally getting in range, I charged this spear again; this time it had rear support and finally we swept them away to take the game 4-3.
If I’d taken my time with the troops on the hill, it could have been an easy win, though the melee that developed consumed all Stephen’s PIPs as he fed his spear into the fight. Had it developed differently, his knights and bow might have got into the action and changed things.
Rhys’s Early Burgundians
(Going down in a flurry of 1’s)
While my early battle results had gone against me in the previous battle, any hope they would come right in this battle were soon disappointed. Artillery shot a knight to death (1-4 dice). Low PIPs stopped quick closing for action and I lost on both flanks fast. A light horse destroyed by knights made it two (another 1 for combat, think); mutual shooting destroyed a bow (low again) and an attempt to salvage some dignity in what was likely to be my last turn was not aided by PIPs. A light horse charged bow, only to be doubled, while a flanked light horse did survive an attack by cavalry for some pride. Overall, though, this was a battle I never even got a chance in, as it was over so fast.
Overall this was a really enjoyable day that capped a really enjoyable event. However, the incident in the third round really has left a bad memory, as that player went on to win the competition and his trouncing of me gave him the points to do it. I feel I let down others by allowing such unsporting behaviour to prosper. It shows, perhaps, my inexperience, and the fact that in DBA I’ve not previously run into players that would try something like this. I can’t believe that he didn’t check for himself when moving them that he ZOCed me if it was that important. It’s the sort of thing I’d have measured carefully; I’d certainly not dream of asking to extend a move that couldn’t be measured—but he wasn’t even asking, rather assuming I was seeking to question his right to do it, and challenging his integrity in so doing, very shabby!