Tuesday, February 14, 2012

12th February, Newark (Kelham Hall)

HAMMERHEAD 2012Hammerhead is the other wargames show at Newark's splendid Kelham Hall - COGS not Newark Irregulars (and by reputation, more fantasy and Sci-Fi than historical) ...

Perfect ground, then, for the Society of Ancients to go promoting the historical wargame, and to be showcasing ancients.

And, indeed, although the show is smaller - and less historically focused - Hammerhead gives us a sensible, main hall (the Dome) position ... so we got more visitors and more players than we got in our (300 mile round trip!) visit to Vapnartak last week.

We played twice as many games.

(Lords of the Nile 30mm DBA V3 game at Hammerhead)

We took along 'Lords of the Nile', our DBA V3 30mm flats Participation Game.

People certainly seem to be enjoying the unique look of the traditional flat figures, and I have to say that DBA V3 is providing us with a good, reasonably quick and balanced game.

Lords of the Nile will do most of the Shows North (north and midlands) shows until 'Call it Qids' - the show version of the Society's brand new Ian Russell Lowell/Graham Evans Kadesh game - debuts at Campaign in May.

There are far fewer big 28mm static 'games' at Hammerhead than at most shows we visit (it does more of the 'small and interesting' games ... and has more of an emphasis on them being played) ...

Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing and chatting to the paper terrain people (haven't had a good look at one of theirs in a while)

(French beachhead done in folded paper)

Actually, talking of beaches, there was quite a lot of sand at Hammerhead ... Not only did our game feature the lands of the Nile, a number of the fantasy games explored similar themes (in their own quirky ways). I liked the look of this offering from the WarGods people (who were also very helpful in my despairing quest to find a half-decent 28mm Ramesses for the Qids game).

(more Egyptian mayhem)

But the 'sand kings of Kelham' were undoubtedly the Peterborough club (with more fantasy nonsense) who brought and set up their own sand table.

It was quite shallow, and wasn't really coloured up (other than as sand ...) but nevertheless, it was interesting to see it (cleverly) done - and yes, even though it was comparatively shallow, it was a big table and there were heaps of sand ... as became apparent when they started scooping it all up at the end of the day.

(more sand ... much more sand)

My sand was just a dry brush effect using household emulsions ('Prairie Gold' and 'Parchment' colours over a 'Coffee' base - there, you see ... I knew you'd ask)


Even seasoned players have found the 'base widths' movement pleasing and well balanced, and with Egyptians and Libyans, the play runs very smoothly and plausibly.

We need to get Phil to clarify a wording issue on shooting, otherwise the rules and play are nice and clear.

As well as liking the movement, players have liked the changes to rear support (less of it), Psiloi movement (group moves in bad going etc.) and Psiloi outcomes (e.g. fleeing when doubled in shooting). with the Libyan army nearly half Psiloi, it is good to see they can do well against the heavier New Kingdom forces (we have done this set up over a dozen times and the armies a roughly level pegging) ...

We allow a little bit of diced-for terrain (as that is a feature of V3). I'm so pleased to see Phil replace the irrevocably broken terrain system in previous versions of the game. Time will tell what needs adjusting in the new mechanism, but the new set up is already better.

Not being destroyed by blocked recoils is a significant improvement, especially for us using the game as an introduction to ancients at shows (and for all comers) - explaining to players why they must lose elements just because they recoil at an inconvenient angle (despite there being precious little justification for it in military history) has always been thorny. The newer approach seems much truer to DBA's game scale.

I have to own up I couldn't resist a few snaps of this game (played between a father and son, neither of them familiar with DBx or with ancients) ...

Against Dad's linear tactic, and against our better advice, the lad chose to block his Egyptian army up into a huge single group wedge. It looked awesome, but we were all pretty sure it wouldn't work.

(New Kingdom Egyptian Panzerkeil)

As the enemy approached, the wedge split apart into three columns (it was like watching a well choreographed movie).
(Charge! You can get a bigger image by clicking on the picture)

Each of the fronts subsequently got overlapped, but survived, the columns spread out, and ... defeated the shallow lines of warriors. And we really thought it couldn't possibly work.

Then again, it was an example of a lad beating his Dad at DBA (and that I have seen on numerous occasions!).

DBA Version 3 seems a better game than Version 2.2 from a historical player perspective. I have been surprised by how well it has stood up to all comers (the real 'road' test) ...

Dale has summarised the main diferences V3 brings neatly on his DBA Blog ( here ... )

I have time off this weekend to play some FoG at Burton ... and the Society Shows Team will be out and about at Cavalier at the end of the month.

See you there ...

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