A beautiful late (Indian) Summer's day saw me driving round in circles in Norwich before bungling into St. Andrews half an hour late. I found the venue very easily last year, but discovered the penalties of complacency, this: getting straight there last year had been luck not judgement.
The wargaming community is nothing if not forgiving and flexible, of course, and we quickly got things back on track (and so the DBA Challenge started at 11.00, not 10.30).
(games and societies at Eastern Front 2012)
Eastern Front is a delightful show in a beautiful regional English city. The venue is an East Anglian jewel, and you really must visit some time.
(one of the splendid ancient/medieval games at Eastern Front - click on the images to enlarge)
I have appended one of two views of an excellent collection of display and participation games to be found in the main hall - though, inevitably, I spent most of my day in the second hall, Blackfriars, where you would have found the Societies, the DBA and the Bring and Buy.
(what the Society of Ancients was doing at the show)
THE EAST OF ENGLAND DBA CHALLENGE
The DBA Challenge was open to Dark Age armies with a Dux Brittanniae award to the top army which actually fought in England in the 410 to 1066 period. The duke's award would go to the second placed player if the Champion also qualified. There was a top newcomer award likewise applied.
(the East of England DBA Challenge)
Sign in and play on the day, we got 7 players involved, which, though modest, I think marks a good starting point and provided us with good natured entertainment all day with comfortable breaks for shopping and lunch.
(Vikings deploying opposite the Anglo-Saxon defenders)
I took along 4 'loaner' armies to back up those who were bringing their own. Courtesy of the seventh players joining in late on, all these armies got used during the day which was nice.
(my Anglo-Saxons .. New Era Donnington with Gladiator, Chariot, Essex and Lurkio mixed in)
However the main armies used were (III/51) Norman; (III/40) Norse Viking; (II/81) Sub Roman British; (III/24) Middle Anglo Saxon; (II/67) Ostrogothic and (II/71) Gepid.
(Nick's Sub Roman British ... Donnington originals, I believe)
To simplify play and present an authentic challenge we had a choice of fixed boards, with players dicing for sides then rolling aggression to determine the deployment/game start order. It seemed to work quite well, and meant my felt allergy was not triggered by patches or garish fabric.
(the British are attacked by Norse Viking)
Many of the players were new to tournament play - even relatively new to DBA - so it was a good chance for people to get the rhythms of the game. As usual when I 'umpire/run' event, I took along the Wadbag bible. As usual, it wasn't necessary to open it, and the battles went smoothly.
(Generals in personal combat: Duke William takes on the Goths)
Despite a heavy loss to my Anglo-Saxons (Duke William unceremoniously 'mugged' by hard-charging Anglisch spearmen - a 'recoil the support either side and get the guy in the middle' revenge attack for Senlac!) ... the Normans proved the most powerful and versatile army and Richard deservedly won the Challenge.
A clear Dux Brittanniae title went to Paul's Vikings, just pipping Nick, whose Sub Roman British were the best newcomers.
(those top newcomers consider moving down off their hill)
We reorganised the final round in order to involve a father and son combination in the games and give them a flavour of DBA's quick but engaging take on ancient and medieval warfare.
Pleasingly, everyone else finished level with one win and one general killed. Count back would have been 'the game between the players' but with the podium places/special titles awarded, we were happy to leave the remaining players on equal honours.
(Armies arrayed: the Gepids - Essex commanders, mostly Lurkio and Chariot cavalry behind Chariot infantry)
This was a lot of fun, and well worth the effort, I think. Watch out for news of Norwich next year: if all things stay similar, I would be more than happy to run this again (and with a little more notice and publicity, maybe more of you will want to make the trip east and join in ..)..
(I may have to keep this clear of prising fingers: it has an obvious 'sub-text'!)