Monday, March 24, 2014

22nd March, Alton

OK - here's the way it works ... each player takes along a suitable pair of armies (there's a preference for historical opponents - and balance, of course, is down to the player).  At the start of the day players randomly draw their match numbers.  All games are 'odds' vs 'evens', and in round one, 'odds' get to use their own pairing ... in round two, 'evens' get to use theirs ...

When it is your pair in play, the opponent gets to choose which army to use (and vice versa).

I took a pair to recall 'the Axumite Invasion of Arabia' ... Abyssinian & Horn of Africa (II/62) and Later Pre-Islamic Arab/Nomad (II/23(a)  ... We are in the 6th Century AD.

(thrice deployed by mine enemies: the Arabian Nomads)

We were all present and signed in before 10:00 which meant we were able to have 1 hour game windows, 3 before lunch and 3 after.  So 6 games, 3 of which would be with your own scenario.  A pretty good return for a day trip to Hampshire.

In every case my opponents chose the Arabs (ironically, given I had tried 3 games with my local wargamers during the week, notionally to 'test' for balance and the Arabs had lost all 3) ... one game went down to the wire but the Arabs snatched it, one clear win to the Axumites, and one walk over to the Arabs - so (after 3:0 to the Africans in the week) 2:1 to the Arabs on the day.   And a rare DBA win with my own armies to me.

In the other games, I got to play Sicilian against North African/Sicilian Muslims, Alexander against Darius and Samanids against Saffarids ...

I picked the Sicilians as the are a classic Phil army so I was familiar with their modus operandi.  Actually I lost narrowly (I failed to destroy a Psiloi with a Knight General - so 4:2 with quick kill to the Knight - to win the game in my turn, then succumbed in the enemy turn that followed ... Hmmm)

I picked Alexander as he won historically - and also I thought the artillery might give me a long range shot or two.  Actually I handled it badly and it got killed by Light Horse without firing a shot, by which time the high rolling Scythed Chariot was in amongst my line.   It took a while to sort out the mess and I was 2 down before I really got going.  I pulled the deficit back but eventually lost what turned out to be a very close game.

A real roller-coaster of a game.  I chose the Samanids because they had an elephant.   I might have done so anyway (elephants are part of the ancient wargame if you ask my opinion) but further, my opponents were giving me the Axumites all through, so my elephant game was warmed up.  

I was very pleased to get the elephant in on some Warband and then (uncharacteristically) rolled high enough dice to take them out.   I did equally well on the right flank, and with Bowmen and Auxilia against Warband and Auxilia ... and that was enough to get me over the line in another tight and entertaining tussle ...

(around the tables ... the Ishtar Gate BUA was subbing as Sardis)

There were lots of other great pairings in play (you wished the day had opportunities to play more of them, really ...) with Early Muslim North Africa & Sicily popping up an improbable 3 times, and Early Bedouin twice.

One of the Bedouins fought Makkan ...

(1/8(a) Makkan vs 1/6(c) Early Bedouin)

Possibly my favourite game was Martin M's Lydian vs Persian complete with Cyrus's war towers ...

(1/50 Lydian vs 1/60(b) Early Achaemenid Persian)

As has become the custom, there was a full table of prizes which players could choose from in addition to the trophies which this year were a colossal Pharaoh for the winner and a splendid Greek style plate for the runner up.   Prizes ran from two deluxe painted armies ready to go into action down to individual figure packs, Barker Markers and scenic items ... everyone got something.

(a couple of views of the trophies and painted army prizes) 

The results were ...  1. Mark Skelton (Makkan v Early Bedouin) 119pts; 2. Martin Myers (Cyrus v Croesus) 101pts; 3. John Drury (Early Bedouin v Kassites) 98pts; 4. Bill McGillivray (EMNAS v Sicilian) 98pts; 5. Paul Clair (Attila v Aetius) 95pts; 6. Paul Hodson (West Franks v EMNAS) 82pts; 7. Colin O’Shea (EMNAS v Al Andalus) 79pts ... Scott Russell (Athens v Sparta), Terry Ellis (Thebes v Phokis), Phil Steele (LPIA v Abyssinian), Dunc McCoshan (Saffarids v Samanids), Denis Grey (Alexander v Darius), Robert Dowling (Nikephorians v Georgians), and Martin Smith (Thessalian v Illyrian) also played ...

(and here we are ... Martin with his eyes shut, and me edited into my own photo at the back to make the numbers up ... )

See you next at the BattleDay on Saturday ... or maybe at Salute next month?

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