AWC Chariot DBA Day

10 April, 2018

This DBa Day took place at the Auckland Wargames Club on 18.12.17. Nearly four months on I have no great memory of the individual battles, though I enjoyed the day greatly. The participants and their final points were:

Name – Army – Points
Grant – I/6b Early Bedouin – 32
Philip – I/7b Early Libyan – 25
Kieran – I/18 Minoan – 23
Nick  -I/22a NK Egyptian – 21
Mike – I/24b Hittite Empire – 18
Mark – I/19 Mittani – 17
Simon – I/34a Later Hebrew – 15
Dave – I/20a Ugaritic – 13

My first battle was against the Ugarites. I either won or it was a draw that I was ahead on. I do know my horde were victorious, which is grounds for celebration on its own.

The Ugarites with their heavy chariots.

What the Ugarites saw.

Towards the end, when the Ugarites had suffered several loses.

I next faced the Egyptians and was rapidly defeated, if I remember rightly. I guess I blotted that defeat out!

Against the Egyptians.

From above.

And from the other direction.

After lunch I played the Hittites. I think I lost again, but I don’t have the score sheets any more.

Facing the Hittites.

Another angle.

The last battle was against Hebrews, and I know I won this one. However, I’m pretty sure the deployment in the river was illegal.

What the Hebrews could see.

I think I destroyed the two psiloi and then triumphed over the auxilia that came forward to meet me.

Some statistics for the day are:

Own general killed:

Grant I/6b Early Bedouin 0
Philip I/7b Early Libyan 1
Kieran I/18 Minoan 2
Nick I/22a NK Egyptian 0
Mike I/24b Hittite Empire 1
Mark I/19 Mittani 1
Simon I/34a Later Hebrew 2
Dave I/20a Ugaritic 0

Enemy generals killed:

Grant I/6b Early Bedouin 3
Philip I/7b Early Libyan 1
Kieran I/18 Minoan 1
Nick I/22a NK Egyptian 0
Mike I/24b Hittite Empire 0
Mark I/19 Mittani 0
Simon I/34a Later Hebrew 1
Dave I/20a Ugaritic 1

No camps lost or taken.

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Conquest 2017

14 November, 2017

A few months back I decided to go to Conquest 2017. I’d not had much chance to play DBA this year and I was keen to get along, as I’d enjoyed the year before a lot. It also seemed a good motivation to get some painting done. Very kindly Keith, the organiser invited me to stay at his place for the event, something I really appreciated.

As I said in my last post, I’d chosen both my armies as a motivation to get more figures that I already had painted. However, I was rather slow getting them finished, and didn’t get much practice before the event. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple of games with Mike the Sunday before. this allowed me to try out the Normans in DBA, where they got a lucky victory against Mike’s Ottoman Turks. And it allowed my to try Pyrrhus’s army against them in BBDBA. This was invaluable, as I’d organised the army in such a way that it wouls have struggled, I’m sure, but with the suggestions of Mike, it did very well.

I’d organised the army as follows:

  • Command Wing (medium PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x LH, 4 x 4Pk, 2 x Sp, 1 x Ps
  • Centre (high PIPs): 8 x 4Pk (cmd), 3 x El, 2 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (low PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The theory was that the elephants would help the pikes create a breakthrough in the centre (hence the high PIPs); Pyrrhus would have the next best PIPs with much of the cavalry and the Oscans with the best BGo troops would hold one wing.

Against the Ottomans the Oscans were defeated as they had no BGo to anchor on, the centre did not make much progress, and the elephants were destroyed by LH, nor did Pyrrhus. With Mike’s suggestion I rearranged them as follows:

  • Command Wing (High PIPs): 3 x3Kn (C-inC), 3 x El, 3 x LH, 2 x Sp, 2 x Ps
  • Centre (Low PIPs): 12 x 4Pk (cmd), 1 x Ps
  • Holding Wing (Medium PIPs): 3 x Cv (cmd), 4 x Sp, 3 x 3Ax

The centre was intended to be solid and just trundle forward, while I sought to win on the wings. Pyrrhus, in particular, had a potent mix of elephants, knights and light horse.

  • Friday games

On the evening I arrived I had a couple of games with Keith. I used my Normans and he used his Samurai. In the first game Keith experimented with 6Cv. My archery destroyed them with exceptional dice. As a result of this Keith changed to a CP instead, and in the second game it was his turn to see his single archer do wonders. We finished a game a piece.

  • Saturday Morning (Ancients DBA)

Pyrrhus had a dreadful morning; he died against Jim’s New Kingdom Egyptians and again against Gordon’s Seleucids. However, both of these were close games, and with a bit more care I might have won. The last game, against Keith’s Carthaginians, was more humiliating. Clearly concussed from his two earlier battles, Pyrrhus failed to roll more than 2 PIPs for the entire game. As a result he sat facing the Carthaginians until in desperation, after his camp was sacked and his cavalry wing was disintegrating that he sent his pikes in an attack against the Carthaginian foot. This failed, and the Carthaginians won a victory without any of their army breaking.

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Pyrrhus attempts to break the Carthaginian foot to no avail (though he doesn’t die this time — photo taken by Keith).

  •  Saturday Afternoon (Medievals DBA)

For the afternoon competition my Normans had Viking allies and were:

4 x 3Kn (cmd), 2 x 4Bd, 3 x 3Bw; 2 x 4Bd and 1 x 4Bw (allies).

The afternoon saw the Normans facing Brian’s Rajputs. I made the mistake of having the Rajput fort, and the BGo terrain on my baseline. I abandoned the idea of trying to take the fort, and was cramped as a result. In the end I killed the elephant C-in-C with mine, but that was on the turn that my army broke.

The second battle was against Ben’s Yi Koreans. The Koreans occupied a wood on my left flank and proceeded to chip away at my knights that milled around in range. Meanwhile on my left flank my archers advanced out of a hamlet into firing range of the Korean cavalry. Their response was to charge, which largely failed, and saw them take casualties. They came back, this time with their general, and were again defeated, giving the Normans a lucky victory. If they’d waited a turn and attacked with their general, they may have had more success (then again they’d have been shot at). Credit should go to the Viking archers, who shrugged off an extended rocket barrage by the Korean artillery.

The final battle was against Jim again. His Free Company were not too different from the Egyptians, having fast blades and archers, but knights instead of chariots. The fast blades proved deadly, getting stuck into the Vikings, who had occupied a hamlet. They destroyed them, with the support of some knights, before my archers could break up his main line of battle. After that, they were able to roll up my right flank.

Overall, I won only one game that day, and finished very near the bottom of the table. However, the points system favoured results over a draw, which is a system I think is good: 8 points for a win, 1 for a loss and 0 for a draw. Losses and draws got points for enemy destroyed too.

  • Sunday (Ancients BBDBA)

After such a bad showing on the Saturday, I didn’t approach the BBDBA with much confidence, especially as I was yet to win a game of BBDBA. My first game was against Keith’s Early Asiatic Successor army (Demetrius). I’d faced it last year with my Carthaginians. This time, however, I was the attacker, which meant I got to react to the entire deployment of Demetrius. This proved very useful, as the Oscans had the chance to avoid Demetrius’ xystophoroi and to contest a hill on the right flank.

In the centre my pike general deployed to the right of the opposing general, and on the left Pyrrhus deployed in reserve to meet the bulk of Demetrius’ elephants and knights. The advantage of deployment was complemented by favourable dice, and in the centre the pike to the right of Demetrius’ central commander was destroyed; he was soon flanked, but never flinched, and the centre remained otherwise static.

On the right, the Oscans hoplites withstood elephants and elephants successfully, and the auxilia were able to overcome opposing peltasts in order to start to threaten the cavalry general of that wing.

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The Oscans approaching Demetrius’ left flank. Their hoplites face pike and elephants thoroughly undaunted.

However, it was on the left wing that the battle was decided. Demetrius had tried to change elements to avoid his knights facing elephants, but this left a hole in his line, and Demetrius himself had had to leave the reserve to join the battleline.

In the initial clash elephants faced off; one each fled, which gave the opportunity for one of Pyrrhus’ to attack Demetrius himself. This was the decisive combat, and the elephants finished off the commander giving Pyrrhus the advantage. He continued to exploit this by eventually overcoming pikemen facing his hoplites, as well as other casualties that I don’t remember now.

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The crucial point on the left flank; elephants have fled in both directions, but one of Pyrrhus’ is able to turn on Demetrius himself.

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The same point from a different angle. The pikes facing hoplites can be seen.

Meanwhile, some of Pyrrhus’ pikemen, dressed as Persian levy pike, had been defamed by Demetrius before the battle. Proving him wrong they eventually defeated the opposing pike (with cavalry support), breaking Demetrius’ second command and giving me my first BBDBA victory.

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The beleaguered Demetrian pike general remains steadfast, but to his right his command collapses as Tarantine cavalry move up to overlap another pike block.

In the second battle I faced Brian’s Classical Indians. In this battle his fort was less dominant. However, when I looked at the terrain I considered trying to fight for the woods on my left with the Oscans. However, they would then face HCh, while the elephants of Pyrrhus’ command would be closer to his psiloi. I had the wings the other way around, which left me with only two psiloi to try to control the woods.

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Pyrrhus faces Classical Indians.

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Pyrrhus’ deployment from another angle.

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And another angle.

As the battle unfolded, the Indians attempted to redeploy radically to face my deployment, and I tried to get across the board rapidly to trap his chariots behind his elephants and his line in disarray.

The plan met a hitch when the two psiloi were quickly destroyed by opposing archers. The elephants now risked being shot at and Pyrrhus and his knights were a cautious distance to their rear. In this unfavourable situation, the elephants decided to advance. They were met by opposing elephants, including the C-in-C. The odds were not good, but the dice gods favoured them, and I 6-1ed the C-in-C, doubling him. If Brian used his +1 the damage was worse, as he still died, fleeing into a HCh. He chose to die on the spot. All but one of my elephants was quickly destroyed, but the last one hatched a devilish scheme; attacking an elephant that had fled to the baseline. The hope was to lose, as he’d flee into a sub-general! He succeeded in this low devise, and in true Pyrrhic fashion succeeded in demoralising the command!

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Just before contact. The elephants are almost in contact, while the Oscans are still a turn or two off. The game mat is one that I got on eBay from Poland. I’m pretty happy with it. The picture is another of Keith’s

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Another picture by Keith of the same point. The psiloi can still be seen in the marsh on the left flank. The central command has a couple of elements of pike in reserve to replenish the back rank of the pike block; they are struggling to keep up.

My two remaining commands were now facing two headless chicken commands and the low PIP one. We ran out of time, but it was still closely balanced, although the Oscans were starting to look dangerous. All in all a great battle with its chaotic elephant battles!

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The end of the battle with the Oscan auxilia looking dangerous. Even the camp was on the move!

For my last battle I faced Andrew’s Akkadians. I was the defender, for the first time in the competition. I deployed anchored on two patches of boggy ground. It was an interesting matchup against fast pike, and the Akkadians swept in very fast. However, the Epiriots proved too good, beating them at every point. In particular, the Akkadian horde on the hill facing the Oscans proved absolutely cowardly, and in the centre the Akkadian general, facing hoplites, was flanked and when the dice came up equal, the solid foot had the advantage and won.

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Pyrrhus facing off against the Akkadians.

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The Akkadian deployment.

However, it was Pyrrhus, in the only battle of the day he saw combat, that destroyed multiple elements. He came up into the battle line as it extended while his elephants tried to avoid facing psiloi. His inspirational leadership routed the enemy before him, and he took his second victory of the day.

This was my first victory against Andrew in a series of encounters that would have gone back to 2009, so I was pretty pleased. I suspect the unfinished bases of his troops may have demoralised them.

  • Summary

The competition was a lot of fun. All the games were played in good spirits. I learned a lot about how hamlets work and came away considering a number of projects. Perhaps one day my Norse Irish will have a Brian Boru CP, or I’ll make a CWg for some Communal Italians. Also I will have to make a hamlet.

I’d like to thank Keith for organising the competition and for having me stay. The venue, the Woolston Club, was also really pleasant. I miss anything similar, to my knowledge, up in Auckland. Finally Comics Compulsion deserve thanks for running the overall competition.

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.

Palmyran deployment.

Palmyran deployment.

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 Carthaginian deployment.

The Carthaginian deployment.

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.

The Palmyrans on the Carthaginian right wing.

The Palmyrans on the Carthaginian right wing.

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.

The two armies arrayed.

The two armies arrayed.

Demetrius placed his elephants in the centre with large pike blocks on either side. Light troops and cavalry were on his wings.

Demetrius' left flank, wary of ship-born invaders.

Demetrius’ left flank, wary of ship-born invaders.

Demetrius' right flank with xystophoroi and cavalry.

Demetrius’ right flank with xystophoroi and cavalry.

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.

Hanno's deployment on his right flank.

Hanno’s deployment on his right flank.

Hiero in the centre and Gisgo on the left again.

Hiero in the centre and Gisgo on the left again.

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.

Carthaginian deployment.

Carthaginian deployment.

The terrain facing the Carthaginians.

The terrain facing the Carthaginians.

The Roman right flank with pre-Islamic Arab allies.

The Roman right flank with pre-Islamic Arab allies.

The Roman left flank with legions, warbands, archers and psiloi.

The Roman left flank with legions, warbands, archers and psiloi.

The Roman centre with auxilia, knights and a light horse reserve.

The Roman centre with auxilia, knights and a light horse reserve.

The Carthaginians surge forward.

The Carthaginians surge forward.

Gisgo's psiloi make a double move to contest the woods.

Gisgo’s psiloi make a double move to contest the woods.

Gisgo's scutati enter the woods.

Gisgo’s scutati enter the woods.

The Roman auxilia move to meet the elephants.

The Roman auxilia move to meet the elephants.

Hanno's cavalry advances to face the Arabs.

Hanno’s cavalry advances to face the Arabs.

Roman knight face Hiero's spear.

Roman knight face Hiero’s spear.

The centres about to clash.

The centres about to clash.

Psiloi flee.

Psiloi flee.

The auxilia are swept away by the elephants.

The auxilia are swept away by the elephants.

The Arabs are under pressure, but the Gallic warbands are split, losing mutual support.

The Arabs are under pressure, but the Gallic warbands are split, losing mutual support.

Hanno's spear and warband are ridden down by knights.

Hanno’s spear and warband are ridden down by knights.

The Roman light horse rout the elephants.

The Roman light horse rout the elephants.

Gisgo's command is under pressure.

Gisgo’s command is under pressure.

Hiero resists a flank attack, but the Carthaginian centre is gaping.

Hiero resists a flank attack, but the Carthaginian centre is gaping.

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.

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!

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.