Thursday, November 30, 2017

11th November, Tarrington

The Society of Ancients UK DBA League 2018 Round 1: the Tarrington Scramble

Back at Tarrington after missing a year ... for the start of the new DBA League season.

Tarrington is a scramble and I took Mongol Conquest.

The reasoning behind that decision - and everyone's - is to be the subject of a forthcoming article for Slingshot ... but generally, here's how it works: 

... the army you take will be put into the scramble.  You will play against in the first round and with it in the last.  Otherwise it will be randomly allocated to other players and you will have something else from the mix.

So taking an army that you know well but which doesn't give your opponent too much of an advantage would be good.   Many players look at it as an opportunity to take something interesting but normally uncompetitive.  Some see it as an opportunity to set the others a challenge ... or two ..

So in addition to my Mongols, I got to play with ...

Pictish (Barbarian Conspiracy) ... Carolingian Frankish ... Skythian ... South Welsh ... Alexandrian Imperial ... 

That's a great mix for one day's wargaming I think.

It was nice to finish with the Mongols - who had done rather well during the day - up against the Macedonians, whom I had already surrounded and beaten with Skythians.   We had worked out a plan by now.

The Macedonians are, you would have thought, quite a good army ... but came bottom in this particular test.  My fault, to some extent ... they played 6 games and I lost with them and beat them twice.  It is the luck of the draw sometimes.

A great day was had by all.  Mark won, the Mongols came runner up in the army stats and I finished about half way (played 6: won 3; lost 3) - a universal thumbs up to the Scramble format.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

29th October, Portsmouth

The English DBA Open hosted by PAWS  

There's almost no gap these days, and in a couple of weeks we'll be off to Tarrington for the start of a new UK DBA League season ... but here we were down in Portsmouth for the English Open ..

Take any army you like and play 5 games in a period defined group (where the cut offs depend on what armies people take) ... after which the top 4 go through to a semi and a final to make a champion.  The rest will play a plate competition if desired.

The final rounds are from a theme with armies supplied by PAWS ...

I'm working on my African armies so took Blemmye ... much like Nobades but with Auxiliaries as the combat infantry.

Grasping at a sense of place, I took the Cecil B Demille camp and terrain gear for these latter day Nubians.  I guess the monuments should all be half-buried in sand.

I got 5 good games on the DBA die rolling roller coaster ... and won 3 of them ... just enough to get into the top 4 on count-back (actually I won the game we had played) ...

Apologies for the missing picture ... I played Andalusians, Zanj, Lithuanians, French and a Scandanavian with German ally (so Art + 2 WWg!) ...

Here are the options for the finals ... we picked secretly our order of preference in seed order ... I got my top choice (Thebans with an 8Sp Gen!) and this served me well in the first game. 

I think Colin was using his extra cavalry to negate my infantry sledgehammer whilst enveloping my flanks.  Anyway it looked like it might take a few moves to achieve it so I bundled in as quickly as I could.  The Thessalians barely got better than 2 pips so my plan worked.

I was less fortunate in the final ... Martin's echelon attack looking vulnerable but caught me out at the vital stage ... also an attack on the camp bounced off with no effect (so was a waste of pips when the pips and the element would have made a key contribution elsewhere*) - so in this game my plan did not work.

Martin, the outgoing League champion is therefore the new English Open champion.  Well done and fully deserved.  Thanks indeed to all concerned.

Not everybody was there but we were able to present Mark with the League winner's shield and Tamara received the Junior version a couple of days later.  Again, congratulations to our worthy winners.

That was 2016 -17 ... Wow!  it flew by.  Thanks to Bill at PAWS for all the admin.

Thanks to PAWS for hosting the Open and to the Society of Ancients and Magister Militum for sponsorship.  Click the links in appreciation.

The final scoreboard will appear here when updated from the weekend.

*why are psiloi no good at ravaging camps?  Don't ask me - it seems a bit unbalanced perhaps...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

15th October, Warwick

As a result of the clash with the Bakewell DBA event, I could only do the Sunday of this year's Society Conference.

So I won't attempt to offer a review/report ... just a note on what was on offer on theSunday ... which started with a lengthy talk on Procopian Warfare by Roy Boss, after which the Conference split into 3 options ... wargaming those Byzantine battles with Roy and friends (Armati) ... and Ancient Wargames workshop with Richard .. and the Tony Bath wargame with me.

(Phil Steele's Tony Bath wargame)

 (wargaming the Procopian wars had three refight tables available)

There was also a mini campaign running during the session intervals.

After an indulgent lunch (all part of the package), Mark Fry gave us a talk on the Khmer army (and a critical look at the evidence) ... insightful stuff that will be boiled into a Slingshot feature - so look out for that.

Then there was an open final session in which people were invited to revisit games they'd liked or missed earlier in the weekend.  I got some more takers so ran the Bath game again (though we only had time to sample it before the wash up and departures) ...

Here are some pictures ...

(the figures were originally from the collections of Phil Barker, Deryck Guyler and Tony Bath)

Of course originally they would have looked more like this ...

How can you not be charmed by these wonderful figures? 

We made some good progress with this project so my thanks to the players, particularly Andrew and Duncan in the first game: we started with me a little rusty but I think got the game up and running and the players mostly running it themselves.

This is a topic to revisit and a game we can evaluate.

Look out for more.

The Conference was a little down on numbers this year but seemed to be doing well - again with new faces and familiar personalities.  It sounds like there will be one next - you should go (you really should!).

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

14th October, Bakewell

Round 12 of the 2017 Society of Ancients DBA League

Following the success of the Midlands Open, Simon has decided to run another event - this time quite similar to the Alton Pairs format (so establishing this option to players further from the South)

Basically players take an opposed pair from the DBA lists (i.e. enemies of each other) to a fixed list, with terrain.  The 'visitor' player picks which army to use.

Slightly different to Alton, Simon used a simple rule where if either player had used their own pair fewer times then this was the option to take.   If usage was equal, then you rolled dice.

It seemed to work - and certainly I ended up exactly 3 and 3  for the 6 games.

I like the format as, instead of obliging you to pick kind of cynically (to maximise your own chances), the system encourages you to pick a balanced pair.

Armies that might otherwise be dodgy choices are fine (and indeed quite intriguing) when matched with something of equivalent utility.

I was pleased with the Axumites and Arabs ... and tallied a W D and L - so just about par ... and scored 13 points (just behind par and just under half of my 30) ... I got given the Arabs twice and I think the Axumites did just about shade it (so might make a small change for future outings).  

But it's a good game.

Of course, there are always a number of good pairings out there so, compared with, say, the Northern Cup, you do miss out on some other options by playing your own pair 3 times. 

Here are my games.

So you get the picture ... in addition to the Abyssinians and Arabs, I got to play with New Kingdom Egyptian, Sassanids and Macedonians, all in plausible set ups.   That's a nice cross section of what you might call 'proper ancients'.  That's why I like this format.

And its the UK DBA League crowd so everything's nice and 'happy go lucky' amongst a diverse player mix.   And a healthy mix of new faces and veterans.

Paul Murgatroyd topped the order ... must be all that practice putting together the Northern Cup scenarios!   Good to see Paul able to enjoy a day just as a player!

Paul and Tamara were the bookends, Scott was just pipped into second on count back - I came bottom of the top half.

OK ... everybody smile:

The Final Round is the English Open in Portsmouth on Sunday (29th October 2017)

7th October, Bruntingthorpe

Derby World Wargames

This year the Derby Worlds moved to Bruntingthorpe (right on our doorstep) but - for various reasons - we didn't book in to run a stand or a game.  That's probably the first 'no show' Derby show since the old days in the Assembly Rooms.

Instead I joined in on the Saturday to play L'Art De La Guerre with Chris, Patrick and Richard.

I enjoyed my three games and, given how cramped the rest of the show was, was probably better off wargaming than trying to shoehorn the stand into a cramped pitch.   We like to engage with people, demonstrate weapons, have visitors 'gather round' ... so our normal approach would have just blocked up the narrow aisles.

Maybe next year ... and good luck to them bringing Derby to Leicestershire.

There wasn't much time off from the games and it was hard to see all the displays and traders - but here's a lovely interpretation of Cerignola ... 1503 so just about in our anc-med period.

'At the coalface', we had a 3 player team, Early Imperial, Abbassid, and Condotta ... the Roman period was 25mm, the others traditional 15mm.  I played the Abbassids on the Saturday.  Chris joined us and took over the army for Sunday.

Here are some of my games ...

 L'Art de la Guerre is one of several rulesets I'm enjoying at the moment - although I still play DBA, even AMW, more often.   I did OK but don't really know my way round the block that well.

So many thanks to my generous opponents for their indulgence.

Ther armies are nicely sized, the generals have some personality and function so I will certainly get some inspiration.

Adding a 25mm band into the mix seemed to work as well ...

But I need to sort out some DBA armies for Bakewell.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

4th September, Peterborough

Our main September show this year was Hereward in Peterborough.

We attended as Northampton Battlefields Society with the game and the kit and our publications.

Hereward is very much a traditional local show with plenty of time to chat, browse and sit down and play.  All very good.

Not much in the way of historical 'not 28' so not much to detain me and again not all my cash was needed (no need to fret though - pleny will be spent online ... ) ...

After a leisurely start we got quite few games played and some happy fellow enthusiasts equiped themselves to explore the battle of Northampton at home ...

Hereward had a very relaxed and friendly feel and attracted the whole family.  People enjoyed trying out the equipment and handling knightly weapons.


These  musket balls were found by a local metal detectorist.  They are 17th Century though, inevitably the location was not properly recorded ... the best we can say is '17th Century, Northamptonshire - thought to be Civil War, probably from Naseby' - useful handling exhibits.

 (17th Century Musket and Pistol balls: thought to be Civil War, probably from Naseby)

The standard of games around the show was very good.

Oppy Wood was amongst the best of them and won a prize ... an attractive and well though out display.

 (Hereward 2017: Oppy Wood game and historical display)

I keep promising to update you on the new supporting publications for Medieval enthusiasts.  Maybe the will be the next post.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Wade continues to watch over us.  Ours for a year - presented by the Guild of Battlefield Guides for our work at Northampton Battlefield.  Previous winners include TV companies and the Belgian Tourist Office.  So good company to be in.

We have to give him back in January ... but at least he is much travelled with us.