Last weekend I got down to Christchurch for Conquest 2010. Last year I’d attended Conquest 2009, which I’d heard about through the community of blogging gamers that I’d come to know when I started this blog, in particular Keith, who was the organiser. It proved a fruitful event in a number of ways. It got me into Ancient wargaming, where previously I’d stuck to Dark Age and Fantasy armies. The CB Ancient Britons I won there have been painted and can morph into Gauls and have been joined by three other armies from that period (naturally there are a number more waiting for paint). It was also the start of contact with other DBA gamers in New Zealand, which has developed in the time since that visit. I’ve started to get some interest in Auckland, but I’m envious of what’s happening in Christchurch and in particular in Timaru, where they seem to be attracting some younger gamers to the hobby through DBA.

The night before Conquest, I stayed at Keith’s place and we had a game of DBR in the condensed scale. I’d read the rules, but had no idea how things would work until the troops went on the table. I decided to go with Cornish, for sentimental reasons, and to see what Pk(S) were like. Keith has a description of the battle here complete with pictures. I figured that the Royalist ought to have plenty of their good cavalry (5 elements including the commander), but this left me heavily outnumbered in foot.

Terrain placement in DBR is different from DBA, and we had a nice clear area in the centre, where all the action was. I hoped that my two blocks of double-ranked Cornish pike supported by shot would break through the foot opposite them before the weight of numbers on their right flank told against them. They also had a slight superiority in horse on the left flank: two elements of Pi(F) against Pi(S)—cavalier horse against Lobsters.

In the event I was just short of enough PIPs in the crucial early turns to get my horse in on the left flank at the same time as the foot (and there was no benefit to the foot dallying in a firefight!). However, as the Parliamentarian foot advanced on the right flank they left their flank open to my commander, who charged into their side, removing pike support from the shot. This succeeded in destroying the shot, but not before one of my shot recoiled into my general, oops! I eventually wrapped up that brigade with the support of the other horse, but the shot lost to recoil told against me in the centre. When night fell, the initiative was slipping from me.

I look forward to playing the condensed version of DBR again. There are a lot of differences in PIP costs with DBA, and they make for interesting tactical decisions. Closing the door, for instance, generally costs 3 PIPs, as it involves breaking a group. Also combat results vary significantly depending on whose bound it is.

Next time the Cornish will teach those uppity Londoners proper respect for the king! But before then there were some earlier Cornishmen on chariots at Conquest!