The second major DBA event the Society sponsors is the English DBA Open, held every October in Portsmouth (Southsea Community Centre) ...
With no show attached, this is a nice opportunity for me to join in as well as present trophies, and I usually make the effort to turn up with something interesting (so, Christian Nubian, last year...).
This year, my choice was Feudal Spanish - the later (c) option ... a fine and colourful army, of course, but interesting? Well, I'll own up ... the Spaniards were part of my very first 15mm ancients army, built for 7th edition games 20 years ago. They have been undergoing some repairs and renovations recently, and configuring them into a DBA outfit would give them a proud day out.
(author's 15mm Feudal Spanish DBA army)
They are an Aragonese command from the famous campaign of Las Navas de Tolosa, led by the Master of the Order of Santiago.
Although the event is an 'open' competition, the organisers dropped us into period pools, and these early 13th century knights found themselves up against Medieval Portuguese, Medieval French, two Early Burgundians and a Ghaznavid ... not contemporary/historical opponents (Andalucians/Berbers) of course, but not too far a stretch bar those Ghaznavids (unless you count them as something rather like Berbers with elephants ... ?) ... Five games roughly in a period pool, then semis and a final with themed armies supplied by the organisers (if we made it).
(click on the image to get a bigger version)
There were 18 entrants in the Open, so we played off in three pools of six. And the round robin games are played to the customary Portsmouth 30 minute blitz format (5 points for an outright win, 2 for a winning draw etc. So you had better get on with it as there isn't much time) ... OK - I could have done with a bit more time (mostly because I am too chatty - and too rusty - at the start of these things), then again, I do like the time pressure (negative play will get you nowhere).
(Steve Etheridge's Ghaznavids)
Of course, under time pressure, an army half comprised of Knights and Light Horse is not a bad formula, and these veterans served me well (they have played 7th Edition, DBM and Armati as well as DBA under my command, so they are used to the occasional 'uphill' mission ...). They pulled sufficient irons from the fire to earn 2 outright wins, a winning draw, a losing draw and a defeat - so an entire win to the good over the five games. Not quite enough to get into a semi, but certainly troubling the scorers.
(from the Society of Ancients stand)
We had a leisurely break for lunch, during which I was able to do some promoting on behalf of the Society, hand out some sample issues of Slingshot, and demonstrate some of the ideas I have been working on in the DBA Zama game (which - a different way to approach history with DBA - had been displayed on the SoA membership stand throughout the day ...)..
(goodies up for grabs)
The Juniors, who had played in the open pools, then had a semi-final and final using a Medieval Indian theme, while the pools winners (plus top scoring runner-up) went forward into a 'Pyrrhus in Italy' theme for their semis. From my pool, Lindon Paxton swapped his knights for Syracusans. In one semi, he faced Scott Russell with Early Carthaginians. In the other, Arnaud Marmier played Mark Schofield (Pyrrhic vs Camillan Romans).
(scenes from the later stages)
James May won the Junior final, and Scott Russell went through against Arnaud Marmier, and came out a 4-1 winner.
(left to right: James May - Junior winner - Scott Russell - Open Champion - Arnaud Marmier - runner up)
Meanwhile, those of us not needed for all that had a plate competition. I got knocked out straight away, and Richard Pulley won it.
As ever, a very good day out, lots of games, a few tactical conundrums and a roller coaster run-in with the dice gods ... Blunt and to the point though it may be, the Portsmouth quick-fire formula works and allows a reasonable run to the players. Well worth the trip down - all you DBA fans, watch out for the details ... there will be an English Open in 2011 if you missed this one