Saturday, May 18, 2019

11th - 12th May, Milton Keynes


It scarcely seems a year since we were last meeting the shoppers outside John Lewis's but it is early May again and the Society and Northampton Battlefields Society were back on the road again.

We were slimmed down in some respects (no Naseby stuff this time) in order to make way for the Edgcote game, which is larger than the other battlefield box projects.  The new boards were being trialled ... the armies are pretty much complete.

(Edgcote Battlefield)

(weapons and equipment on the NBS stand at Campaign)

The stand provided its usual attraction to people who otherwise (you would imagine) might not take much interest in battlefield studies and conservation.  But many left knowing a lot more about medieval equipment and weapons than they would from a normal weekend trip to the shops.

On Sunday we were joined by Peter and his archery equipment - and I understand a number of longbow myths were dispelled be fore the day was done.

The show itself was the usual mix of stands, participation games, competitions and shopping.

(tournament play at Campaign 2019 ... FoG-R)

(some of the participation games at Campaign 2019)

I know many visitors to the Shows Blog would have enjoyed the Peterborough Club's medieval skirmish game ... played with plastic 54mm figures and using Don Featherstone's rules.  Splendid stuff.

(Campaign 2019 ... skirmishing with the Don)

Edgcote 1469

Most of the weekend, of course, I was concrned with the 550th anniversary Edgcote Project and our 28mm presentation of the probable battle site and probable deployments.

Here's a photo story of the game ...

(Edgcote at Campaign: Robin of Redesdale's host form up on the East hill)

(Edgcote at Campaign: the Earl of Pembroke joins his men on the top of the West hill)

(Edgcote at Campaign: Robin of Redesdale leaves the East hill and sends forward his archers)

(Edgcote at Campaign: Pembroke leads a mounted charge to disperse the archers)

(Edgcote at Campaign: melee over the river - Pembroke is winning but Gates and Parr arrive reinforcing the rebel side)

(Edgcote at Campaign: with both sides fully committed, a third rebel force under John Clapham arrives and panics Pembroke's Royalist army)

See us again at Partizan on the 19th

Friday, May 17, 2019

25th April, Northamptonshire


Building upon the experiences of the BattleDay itself, I respun the set up used at Hammerhead with some variations as a 'Double DBA' scenario.

(the Telamon table: the apparent 'ravine' on this side of the table is not there for game purposes)

The Gauls are in the centre, of course, with a reserve army in the middle and engagement lines facing both ways.   Unusually, the Romans are effectively in a race to gain the laurels: whichever of them does the most damage to the Gallic front lines with be the army that fights out the decisive endgame.  The less effective Roman will see his army withdraw when the engagement battle is concluded.

It worked very well, although it may have been a little too generous to the Gauls.

Gauls: the army baggage was placed on a hill (left, in the picture above)
Engagement lines ... 2 x Cav, 4 x WWg, 6 x 4Wb (one of the WWg was a command post - General for the force) ... deployed as a line facing each direction with 3 Wb flanked on each end by a WWg.
The cavalry were deployed on the hill (opposite to the hill secured by the defended baggage)

Note: the chariots have been replaced by WWgs following how Polybius describes their use at this battle ... Their wagons and chariots they stationed at the extremity of either wing and collected their booty on one of the neighbouring hills with a protecting force round it. (see the text cap 28)  ... this worked very well and is 'food for thought' re how we depict Celtic chariots.

Reserve lines: 4Wb Gen; 9 x 4Wb; 2 x Cv (deployed back-to-back)

Papus: 4Bd Gen; 2 x Sp; 4 x 4Bd; 2 x Ps; 1 x 3 Ax; 1 x Cv; 1 x Art
Regulus:  Cv Gen; 2 x Sp; 4 x 4Bd; 2 x Ps; 1 x 3Ax; 2 x Cv
(so a consular army each, based around a core of 2 Triarii, 4 Principes/Hastati and 2 Velites ... Papus with a foot general and a bolt-shooter, Regulus with a mounted general and a 2nd cavalry element).

The Roman baggage was off table in both cases.

The table was pretty much as depicted - the 'cavalry' hill was gentle, the 'baggage' hill was bad going to anyone trying to attack the camp (to simulate it being protected).

(Double DBA Telamon: the Gauls screen Regulus's force while attacking Papus)

Unlike his historical character, in this battle Regulus was slow to get engaged.  The Gauls took this opportunity and threw a screen against Regulus whilst attacking Papus more aggressively.  As a consequence, there was no real cavalry battle on the hill opposite the camp.

The Romans won the fierce fight, but not without damage.

Papus was the more successful so fought the decisive reserve battle against the remaining Gauls.  The Romans had won by 1 element (engagement armies result was 4:3 to Rome) but Papus had lost 2 elements in the process so fought with 10 remaining + 1 from Regulus (as the margin of victory in the opening phase).   The Gauls had lost only 1 from their reserve lines at this point ... so the showdown would be 11 vs 11.

(endgame: 10 Romans under Papus close with 11 Gauls - and in the background, 1 Cavalry from Regulus comes up in support)

So a remarkably 'fair' fight, although the cavalry element from Regulus was floating around the Gallic rear so looked quite dangerous.

The Gauls therefore got stuck into the Romans as quickly as their Pips allowed  ... and rolled high enough on the dice to get a series of 'quick kill' wins in hand-to-hand combat, breaking the Romans virtually with their first charge.

(endgame: the Roman line disintegrates under a fierce warband charge) ..

A rare win to the Gauls.  As you would expect, the game was completed within a couple of hours.

Tactically, in this game, the Gauls achieved their breakout, fighting Regulus to a standstill, then breaking Papus with the charge.

Historically, of course, there is still another Roman army mobilised, so there would still be a lot left for the Gauls to do to escape the Telamon pocket.

Very much a simplified version of Telamon, of course, but the players seemed broadly satisfied with how we had represented the events of 225 BC.

I hope to get one more variant out of this rich narrative.

DBA Gauls

Saturday, April 27, 2019

6th April, Alton

The 2019 DBA Pairs tournament in Alton

No blog from me for Salute this year ... it clashed with the DBA pairs event in Alton and there were adequate volunteers for the big London show this year - so I scooted off to Alton (which I missed in 2018 due to being at Salute).  It looks like this may be an alternating commitment (alton-ating?  OK - I'll move along) ...

Following the Telamon theme, I took Romans and Gauls - lists II/11 and II/49.  Not Quite Telamon (to coin a phrase) ... my Romans were early Marians from the Slave Revolt period but still good opponents for the Gauls.

Alton uses a 'matched pairs' format ... every other round it is 'your' pair - and when it is your pair, your opponent picks which army to use.

Your challenge, if you like, is to pick a pair that is balanced enough not to give an easy game to the player who picks (not you) but which you know well enough to be able to win, either way.  The track record suggests I'm not very good at that challenge!

Then again, I tend to pick the armies I am doing at the time, to give them a run out ... hence Romans and Gauls, following the Telamon theme.

The upside, of course, is that you do get to know your new armies better (seeing how 'the other guy' would use them too, which is really useful), and the prize tables at Alton ensure that everyone's a winner.

(in addition to the Trophies in the header pic, everyone gets to pick something from the table)

There were two ready-to-run armies in the prize stash, including these Nubians, painted by the organiser, Martin Smith, in memory of fellow wargamer, Bill Dunlop.  Nice gesture.

It's about time I painted up and army for this reason.  I've certainly got plenty of 'reserve' lead in waiting.  But I am always touched by other people's generosity.  So 'a big up' to all the people who do this sort of thing and make our little communities so friendly.

The armies ... (both very simple)

GAULS II/11 ... LCh Gen;  2 x LCh; 2 x Cv; 6 x warriors (4Wb); 1 x Ps
MARIANS II/49 ... 4Bd Gen; 2 x Cv; 7 x legionaries (4Bd); 2 x Ps

My 'away' games were Asiatic Early Successor - Eumenus vs Antigonus (I chose Eumenes = 2 elephants)

(Asiatic Early Successor wars)

Chichimec vs Mound Builders (I chose Mound Builders = general on a litter!) 

(Dog People and Mound Builders ... not much armour in this one)

... and Early Polish vs Teutonic Order (I chose the Teutons as I have them on my back burner)

(a lot more armour in this one - heavily gepanzert on chivalry's Eastern Front)

The Polish/Teuton armies were very nicely put together, and a joy to play with ... but, like the other games, I could not outscore my opponent in any of the melees.  In DBA that's not a winning formula.

(scenes from the Romano-Celtic games)

So I think we can safely say I wasn't troubling the leader board this time around.  Martin asked me to slip into my Society of Ancients 'Life Vice-President' mode and hand out the prizes as I wasn't busy winning any of them :) ... So well done to winner Martin M (who did the donkey work for our victory at Tarrington).

My opponents took the Romans in my 'home' games and won with them.  Except Martin who took the Gauls ... and won with them.  As much as in any game, in Romans vs Celts, whoever wins the melees wins the game.  End of analysis.

So ... a splendid day out and another vere around the learning curve.

These Gauls need the rub of the green in DBA.  I had originally thought of building a Galatian opponent for the Thebans I am working on, but for this event matched them against Romans for two reasons: a. it joins up the Telamon theme (and the Telamon theme is why I took on the Celtic figures from David Constable's collection); and b. I thought the Theban infantry (5 with flank support or 6, if the double-ranked ... 7 with general) were every bit as tough as the Romans - just, being Spear, would be even better against the cavalry).  

Given that the Thebans are pretty much finished, I think, once Telamon is done, the Gauls will become Galatian again and go in a box as opponents for the Thebans. 

Appropriately enough, when it got down to my lowly position's pick, the Osprey book on Rome's Enemies was still there, so that came home with them.

DBA Yahoo Group (info, news and more pics here; you need to a Yahoo ID)
Telamon BattleDay (Gauls and Romans everywhere)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

30th March, Bletchley, MK


This year's BattleDay was very well attended (all the available space was utilised meaning some games had to wait til the introductory talk was over before being able to set up.  Well done to them, indeed)

... so the usual formula in Bletchley ... a talk - this year by Duncan Head, followed by 16 parallel refights of the historic battle using (in this case) 12 different rule systems .. followed by a quick debrief and some light-hearted awards including (selected by a popular vote) one for the Best Terrain and one for the overall Best Game ....

(Telamon BattleDay ... memento prizes courtesy of the organiser Richard Lockwood)

So I'm sure you are all familiar with Telamon ... it's the one where the Gauls are trapped in Etruria between two Roman armies; the one where the Gaesati fight naked so as not to get the clothes caught in the thorn bushes ... the one where Regulus (son of the First Punic War hero, Regulus) defeats many times as many Gallic cavalry but gets killed in the process. 

The Games ... (check upcoming issues of Slingshot for accounts of the various games ...) ...

As you can see, Commands & Colours was the most popular way if tackling this battle, closely followed by To The Strongest and DBMM.  Card-driven systems (C&C, TTS, Piquet, MeG) were very popular and area movement (C&C, TTS) feature strongly.

As to why people favour the various approaches, you will need to refer to what they say in Slingshot - that said, quite often, people like to stick with what they enjoy.

Regular readers will recall my own promo used DBA (so a 13th warrior in the Telamon list) and the full story of the DBA refight will feature in Telamon (pt II) ...


In addition to best best Regulus, best naked Gaul etc. ...

Andy Bullock's Impetus won Best Game

Robert Robertson and Friends' DBMM won best terrain