Thursday, December 20, 2018

17th -18th November Reading(and 25th Nov, Warwick)

Nearly up to date, now, following this little furry of posts.

I've always like Warfare ... 20 years ago it used to be the last event of the season.  Based nearer London, it was a local show and the Society of Ancients and Pike and Shot Society personnel traditionally swapped around and played each other's show games before thy got put into storage for the Winter.

This year I was only able to go for a few hours on the Sunday, wasn't doing the stand and I'm not sure if P&SS actually do this one any more ... the SoA game was a WRG 7th edition bash in 25mm, however - so somethings looked just as they did back in the 1990s!

(WRG 7th at the Society of Ancients)

(the games hall at Warfare and some of the lovely ancient/medieval games on show)

Adjacent to Adrian and friends doing the SoA game, the Armati enthusiasts from Malvern were playing a large Paraitakene (which had, of course, been the Society's BattleDay topic for earlier in the year) ... a perfect match.

(Malvern's Paraitakene game was played using Armati)

Armati has remained on of my favourite ancient battlegames.   It is a pity it couldn't make it into a third generation that addressed some of the peculiarities that somehow got between it and the outright best ancients game.

It's also not unfair to say that, implicit either in the rules or in how people play them ... Armati still seems to come with too much table clutter ... markers of all sorts.  Playing within the bubble of the game, you cease even to notice these aids, but they are a barrier to browsers who might otherwise get more engaged.

As I said, this was very much a flying visit.  I didn't get to see or photograph everything and there was plenty of good stuff, though not all of it ancient/medieval in theme.

But my last picture is that of the big naval/skirmish game.  I love the idea of these big ships and of proper toy soldiers on them.  Yeah ... one day ... indeed.  Where would you keep the models to do even a modest action in this scale?   But it is tempting ...

Graham and I had agreed to take the Northampton 1460 game to Pudsey, Leeds, for Recon on the first weekend of December, so that will be the last Shows North outing of the year.  Meanwhile this I hope to have a couple more entries to populate the new DBA Armies page.

SoAC ... Chessford Grange, Warwick (24th - 25th November)

The 2018 Society of Ancients Conference

Again unfortunately I could only make the Sunday (well Saturday night dinner and ADG) due to other commitments (battlefield guiding at Naseby on the Saturday) ...

We managed a certain degree of  'alternative approaches' this year (the theme that kickstarted the conference 30 odd years ago) ... Graham put on Hydaspes using De Matrica Bellae (a development of Ancients by Other Means - a matrix game).  A norm for the Conference of Wargamers, matrix games progress the narrative through player reasoning and a probability roll, rather than the mechanics of the conventional wargame.

(a wargame from a grownup - Hydaspes by other means at SoAC 2018)

Overall, you should have been there: a weekend packed full of ancients games and study ... Duncan Head on Telamon, games across all periods, and a chance to sample everything from Mortem et Gloriam and Dux Bellorum to Gladiolus and new battlegame rules that don't even have a name yet.

(Gladiolus at SoAC: original version on squares not hexes)

For my part, as well as running the Gladiolus ADGs and helping with Hydaspes, I ran a full version of Pharsalus with Double DBA.  

(Pharsalus - the opening engagement: 10mm figures and a Double DBA scenario)

(Pharsalus at SoAC - the final showdown)

It was a real battle of attrition and very hard work for Caesar.

A great event as usual.  There is still a tendency to stay within comfort zones but there is innovation too.  Well worth a look next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

10th November, Tarrington

Tarrington Scramble ... or 'the monkey writes Shakespeare'.

Yes we do get around.  A couple of weeks after the 2018 season finale in Portsmouth and the DBA circuit was off to Herefordshire and the first event of the 2019 calendar (yes, it runs from English Open to English Open) and Shows North was there.

Eventually.  I had a little excursion courtesy of a truck on the M6 ... so I lost my bearings and my junction (and temporarily, a wing mirror).  Thankfully no serious damage and after a short interlude, and a bit of wayward navigating, I was able to continue my journey - but not on the original schedule.

As I was half way there, with no other plan for the day - I decided to carry on.  Host and Umpire Martin M offered to play my games till I arrived ... however, it would mean his substitute army ('Three Kingdoms Chinese') would be entered rather than the one in my car ... Early Imperial Roman

You see, the format for Tarrington is a 'scramble', so you enter an army and play against it in the first round and with it in the last.  In between, it is random and you play with other people's submissions.  So 'Three Kingdoms Chinese' it was.

Martin had already won two games by the time I arrived, so had set up a winning position.  What could possibly go wrong?

(my first game ... African Vandal vs Alemanni)

Well, quite possibly, a lot!  In my first game I contrived not to win with an army of knights (African Vandal) against an army of Warband (Alemanni) ... Richard P managed to beat me into the lee of a favourable BUA and then tangle me up as I tried to get at him.  And, as ever in such circumstances, the harder I tried to force the issue the worse it got.

So who would have thought that in the next game I could beat Sassanids with Picts?  Well not me, that's for sure.  The world turned upside down.

(Next: Picts vs Sassanid Persian)

I guess this should have been as tough as riding down warbands should have been easy.  On the other hand, it is DBA (so anything might happen) and, also, I have a Pre Feudal Scottish army (which is not altogether different) which I have used frequently (at the English Open, even) so I did have some ideas.  They worked.  Well.

The next game had 'challenge' plastered all over it ... what turned out to be the event's most challenging army (lowest points scoring), Chimu (see below*), against one the the circuit's best players, Mark S, who regularly has my scalp hanging from his belt.

(Chimu vs Tarascans)

Mark had drawn, fairly appropriately, Tarascans, and I felt that that, at least, gave me some chance.  And I had a plan - and again it worked.  For a change I seemed better able to judge and work the flank opportunities than Mark!

So it all came down to using the Chinese, sight unseen, against Burmese.  Now I always seem to lose games involving the Burmese - whether with them or against them.  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the game.  It had been a long day.

As I say, normally I make a mess of these games ... anything with elephants, really.  But this time I got lucky.  Indeed, that was my plan and tactic, summed up in a word.  Take whatever shooting and combat opportunities were going, make the best of them and hope to get lucky!  OK, I know you were expecting more from me than that but ...

Anyway, although I hadn't realised it, this game was also for the tournament ... and, courtesy of the head start Martin gave me, and me only messing up one of the remaining games, Myers/Steele topped the table at the end of the afternoon.


It remind me of that old saying that if you leave a monkey randomly bashing away at a typewriter for an infinite amount of time it will eventually and inevitably write the 'Complete Works of William Shakespeare'.   

Well, I can be a bit of a monkey at times and have now played quite a few of these DBA events.  I am nevertheless very proud of the achievement.

Of course, it was not 'unaided' so although I have been credited with the win outright, we have agreed to adjust the points for the UK League to reflect the fact that I didn't play all the games myself.  Just in case, this time next year, it turns out to be an issue.

Exciting stuff, though.  Results:

1:  Phil Steele, Three Kingdom Chinese (15); 2:  Mark Skelton, Aitolian League (13); 3 Arnaud Marmier  Alemanni (13); 4: Richard Pulley, Sub-Roman British; 5: 10 Scott Russell, Burmese ... then, Tony Green, Aitolian LHG; Colin O'Shea, Chimu; Matthew Davison, Carolingian Frankish; Neil Mason, Tarascan; Martin Smith, Frisian; Mark Johnson, Sassanid Persian; Craig Allen, Galatian; Tim Rogers, Picts; Alan Davison, African Vandal.

Mugshots ...

I'll not shirk this one ... here's the winner getting his trophy, edited into a picture of the all the players taken while I was elsewhere ...

Indeed, we had lots of winners ...

In amongst that lot, we presented prizes for the UK DBA League that had concluded at Portsmouth with the English DBA Open ...


Here's the final standings ...
  1. Arnaud Marmier – 93 points (4 tournament wins)
  2. Martin Myers – 82 points (1 tournament win)
  3. Richard Pulley – 81 points (3 tournament wins)
  4. Colin O’Shea – 67 points (1 tournament win)
  5. Mark Skelton – 62 points (1 tournament win)
  6. Martin Smith – 61 points
  7. Mark Johnson – 56 points (2 tournament wins)
  8. Terry Ellis – 50 points
  9. Scott Russell – 49 points
  10. Oli Curant – 37 points
Then ... Phil Johnson – 35 points, Phil Steele – 35 points, William MacGillivray – 31 points (1 tournament win), Lindon Paxton – 31 points, Denis Grey – 31 points, Graham Fordham – 28 points, Simon Wilson – 27 points, Peter Ellis – 26 points, Matthew Bennett – 20 points, Andrew Wilkinson – 19 points, Tony Green – 18 points, Phil Barrington – 18 points, Chris Cale and Peter James – equal on 16 points, Steve Aspinall – 15 points ... a further 41 players took part.
Juniors (top 3) 1: Tamara Fordham; 2: Reece Bettison; 3: Jamie McManus
(here's our Junior winner, who couldn't make the Open, receiving her trophy later that week)

Army Performance at the Tarrington Scramble.
*1 Frisian, 2 Carolingian Frankish, 3 African Vandal, 4 Alamanni, 5 Picts, 6 Sub-Roman British, 7 Three Kingdom Chinese, 8 Tarascan, 9 Aitolian LHG, 10 Sassanid Persian, 11 Burmese, 12 Aitolian League, 13 Galatian, 14 Chimu


Monday, December 17, 2018

DBA Special: II/56 Early imperial Roman

This was the army I selected to use for the 2018 Tarrington (scramble) event ... quite a good combination (so a fair go for the players who might end up paying it) but the command and control issues of an allied contingent.  Here it is in that configuration:

Surrounded by his entourage ... but he's on a 40x30 base so he's a Cv general!.

(as for most of the army, the cavalry and legionaries are from the evergreen Chariot Miniatures 15mm range)


The Armenian general is a cataphract and is compulsory.  Horse archers tie with javelinmen as the most numerous type on the Armenian list so I have taken a horse archer.  The third (choice) element is another cataphract.

The cataphracts were originally made up for Armati so are 3-to-a-base ... I've never rebased them but they are obviously cataphract/4Kn types ...

There's a mix of riders there, mostly on Donnington armoured horses.  Menacing.


This is a composite and I will probably play around with the interior.  The idea is that they are putting up the rampart.  The stakes are upcycled Baueda ones ...  The base is a steel shim and the components are magnetised (so it all holds together in play) ...

The CF element is Pass O the North Romans ... I didn't like the original massive heads, so replaced them with matching Chariot ones.  They are obviously worried about coming under attack as they are digging with their helmets on (!) ...  Well, it works for me.

DBA Special: II /32a Later Carthaginian (10mm)

This is a single army version of the troops from the Zama scenario.  They are mostly the excellent 'Armies in Miniature' figures I bought from Chariot Miniatures years ago.

Barker Marker 

I have used a portion of stockade as a camp for Mago's Carthaginians in it there is a Barker Marker (40x40 template for checking threat zones etc) featuring an officer of priest sacrificing a goat ... Omens of one sort or another had a part to play in many narratives of the wars between Rome and Carthage.

This Army 'pairs' with Polybian Roman

Sunday, December 2, 2018

DBA Special ... III/2 Early Lombard

This is the army I used in a pair with Maurikian Byzantines at Bakewell (where it did very well), and as a standard entry at the DBA English Open in Portsmouth a week later.

It is 15mm of course.  The foot are quite a mix.  The mounted combine Lurkio (the most numerous) with Chariot and those splendid Ochmann sculpted Goths*

The army comes from the ducal period of Lombard expansion in Italy and Faroald was a constant thorn in Byzantium's side.  The element uses all Lurkio figures.

The army has a lot of knights ... a general plus 8 more, half of which can choose at deployment to dismount as warband (all or none) ... so is superflexible too ...

I have to confess to getting the slashes (all or none) wrong at Bakewell - but it was consistent for both players and didn't win anything (so hopefully no harm done and all fixed now)

(Wagons by Gladiator)

(the raider with captives is an Essex piece - the only one in the army)

And just in case you need a BUA ...

*originally, Metal Magic, then Gladiator, subsequently at Black Hat (but now, I'm given to understand available from Fighting 15s) ... Lovely figures and always worth a look.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

28th October, Portsmouth

A week later and it was down to Portsmouth for the final round of this year's UK DBA League ...

The English DBA Open

Let's get on with the games ... I took the Early Lombard half of my new pair of armies blooded at Bakewell ...

As in previous years, four games were played within a pool (with your own armies) to promote four players into a semi-final/final run off using preset armies ... and the rest of us (mostly) then support a 'plate' competition.

Here are my pool games ...

(Early Lombard vs Maurikian Byzantine!  Who'd have thought it?)

(Early Lombard vs Indian)

(Early Lombard vs Tuareg)

(Early Lombard vs Imperial Roman)

I made it to the Plate competition, where I lasted one round!

... I was knocked out by the eventual winner ... Meanwhile the top players played their finals ...

Which Arnaud won, reshuffling the pack for the League positions also.  This one did (all) come down to the final round!  Well done to all the players in a tightly fought season.