Friday two weeks ago was the first outing for a couple of new armies. One of these were my New Model Goblins, rebased to impersonate DBA armies, in particular those with elephants. As I’m now working on preparing for the second half of the CWC DBA competition and the second half of the IWC one, I decided to field them as Gobnovids, pseudo-Ghaznavids (III/63), one of the most popular armies of the second two books and therefore one worth getting familiar with. These were facing an army that John had just finished, his Later Swiss (IV/79). This is a pike army, which is strong against mounted—if it can protect its flanks.

I’ve been fairly slow writing this up; part of the reason is a lack of interest as the photos came out badly; I used the wrong setting on the camera. Anyway, it was a fun game with some surprising reverses of fortune. It started well for the Gobnovids, as they were the defenders (the Swiss have the same aggression as them). Seeing no reason to be nice, they laid out the minimum of terrain, some small patches of rough and a small steep hill. I suspect also that John may not have got the edge he wanted, as half of this terrain ended up on my baseline.

Initial Deployments: Swiss on the left and Gobnovids on the right. The Giant and Trolls look on from the camp.

After the Swiss had deployed I moved the two spear from right flank in exchange for a cavalry and a light horse (spider). Otherwise they would have done nothing, and the mounted seemed better suited to exploiting that flank. However the spear were facing pikes and possibly knights, so they weren’t in an ideal position.

From memory I had good PIPs at the start and advanced the right flank while wheeling the centre and not advancing the left much past the patch of rough. John seemed to decide that there was no point in letting me get things the way I wanted on the open flank, and advanced aggressively.

The armies close. On the right flank the spider and wolfriders face light crossbowmen, mounted and on foot.

John made my spiders (2LH) pay the price for their advance ahead of the rest of the line. He attacked them with his light horse supported by the light foot and they were destroyed when I rolled a 1.

Ouch! The spiders scuttle off.

Things just got worse for me when I rolled another 1 for the wolfriders against his psiloi. He rolled a 6 and they were gone. So much for a QK on psiloi! I’m sure I must have initiated this combat: 2-1 odds to me with a QK seemed pretty good.

The right flank starts to look tatty.

However, then the dice started to go my way and when John attacked in the centre and on the right; my psiloi and bow recoiled his light horse and crossbowmen and in the centre against pikes the commander was driven back while his left flank got a stick.

Blessed relief from dice hell!

I must have been scuppered for PIPs, as besides having the Ogres that were stuck recoiled, I did nothing. John swung into attack on the psiloi and they were destroyed (another 1-6), but my bow against his other psiloi returned the favour, and in the only other combat my overlapped bow got a stick against his pike.

The Goblins get on the scoreboard, but are now 3 down.

I then got PIPs to burn and the Ogres got out of first gear and rumbled into the pike creating bloody confusion. One peeled off the support of the only rear-ranked block, the other two charged into single-ranked pike, and a spear came across to support the bow. Things got off to a good start when my bow 6-1’ed his psiloi in shooting. Then the Ogres chomped up two pikes and it was all over.

The Ogre king of the Gobnovids revels in the slaughter of the Swiss pike.

  • Review:

You can read John’s account of this here.  He had a tough job trying to win with no terrain to support a flank. I don’t know if it would have helped if he’d tried to echelon leading on the right. I expected to win on my right wing, and very nearly lost there. In the end the dice evened up on that wing, as I got two kills to John’s two. When both of you have low combat factors things get very bloody and this, I think worked in my favour as I was able to win in the centre before the Swiss pike and knights could contact the spear on the left. That said, another low PIP roll on the turn I won would have seen the Ogres standing idle.

I’m becoming less obsessed by the dice, though it’s unnerving to open combat with a pair of 1’s. They evened out as the game went on: my rolls totalled 51, while John’s totalled 50 (such calculations are possible when you put the dice results in the photo!). There were more extreme results than is statistical, as of the 14 recorded combats (there might have been a couple I missed), there were three 6-1s (this should occur 1/18 times). And of the 28 rolls there were six 1s and eight 6s, when statistically each number should occur 4.67 times in 28 rolls.

What such statistics don’t tell is the effect of the dice in individual combats, as in combats with low factors the chances of doubling are much higher. Anyway, besides being entertaining to investigate, this analysis confirms that I got average dice, and average dice with the terrain advantages in this match-up were all that was needed.

Things on the boil

2 August, 2009

Playing DBA and writing battle reports has occupied most of my time recently, but I have started painting some more figures. I’ve now got some Feudal Casting knights, some Welsh Sp and an element of Islemen on the go. They don’t take long to paint; it seems to be a matter of getting started as much as anything. Having said that, the Feudal Casting knights did need their arms glued on which was fiddly. Starting the Welsh was more spontaneous—I had some metallic paint left over from the knights and grabbed a bag of figures that were primed to use it on. That solved all the procrastination around which foot I did next!

I’ve also finally prepped a whole lot of knights, mounted and dismounted and other ‘Norman’ figures from Essex, Feudal Castings and Outpost Miniatures. they just need undercoating to be ready to paint.

Otherwise it occurred to me a week or so ago that I finally had enough figures painted for a campaign set in Britain after 1066. It was an idea I had over a year ago, but now the figures for it are painted. I’m planning this as an alternative history campaign—Harald Hardrada wins Stamford Bridge and England is divided between the Normans and the Norse. It needs a handier title than ‘A campaign in Britain set in the 1100s after 1066 turned out differently’. By 1100 the heir to Harald would be Magnus Barefoot, which is too good a name to pass up. He also seemed to be quite an energetic chap, so I’ve decided to call it ‘King Magnus’ War’. I’ve developed a fair bit of background to the campaign, though ultimately I wouldn’t claim a high degree of realism to it; after all it’s not very plausible to imagine relatively small powers like the Isles and Highlands or either North or South Wales being on equal terms with the richer and more populous English rulers.

Anyway, I should be ready to start putting some of this background on the blog soon, especially as I’ve just got Campaign Cartographer 3 now to design the map. This campaign will be a spur to get more figures painted to round out the armies for it: Welsh, Norse IrishScots Isles and HighlandsPre-feudal Scots, Anglo-Danish (or perhaps  Anglo-Norse!) and Anglo-Norman. Once they’re done, I can work on the armies for the Hesperia campaign that’s given this blog its name.

My next battle will probably be the ‘Anglo-Norse’ against the Anglo-Normans. The Anglo-Norse would basically be Anglo-Danish, but with one 3Kn (they’re in the DBM list and could be justified as adventurers welcomed into the northern kingdom much as they were into the Scottish kingdom). I’m less decided about whether to allow one 3Bw as an alternative to the 2Ps (it’s in the Viking list). Also I’m wondering whether to allow an extra 2Ps or 3Bw; part of the rational for the 1100 date is that it allows me to field post-Norman Welsh armies. Is it plausible the Anglo-Norse would not also adapt to facing Kn?


29 June, 2009

One of the big attractions of DBA/HOTT is the opportunity to play campaigns. I’ve seen a few blogs recording these, and they’ve encouraged me to persevere with designing a campaign world and organize the armies to fight in it. I have two possible campaigns, a DBA one that would be set in the British Isles not long after a 1066 that Harald Hardrada won. I’ve almost got the armies finished for this, but the campaign world that is more interesting at the moment is the one I’ve called Hesperia, an HOTT world that allows my DBA armies with suitable HOTT additions to encounter more fantastic armies. The kernel of it is the idea of peoples being sucked through into an alternate world, the one who give the world its name are Trojans from Virgil’s Aeneid. These would in time evolve into a loosely Byzantine culture, but more later.