Saturday, April 27, 2019

6th April, Alton

The 2019 DBA Pairs tournament in Alton

No blog from me for Salute this year ... it clashed with the DBA pairs event in Alton and there were adequate volunteers for the big London show this year - so I scooted off to Alton (which I missed in 2018 due to being at Salute).  It looks like this may be an alternating commitment (alton-ating?  OK - I'll move along) ...

Following the Telamon theme, I took Romans and Gauls - lists II/11 and II/49.  Not Quite Telamon (to coin a phrase) ... my Romans were early Marians from the Slave Revolt period but still good opponents for the Gauls.

Alton uses a 'matched pairs' format ... every other round it is 'your' pair - and when it is your pair, your opponent picks which army to use.

Your challenge, if you like, is to pick a pair that is balanced enough not to give an easy game to the player who picks (not you) but which you know well enough to be able to win, either way.  The track record suggests I'm not very good at that challenge!

Then again, I tend to pick the armies I am doing at the time, to give them a run out ... hence Romans and Gauls, following the Telamon theme.

The upside, of course, is that you do get to know your new armies better (seeing how 'the other guy' would use them too, which is really useful), and the prize tables at Alton ensure that everyone's a winner.

(in addition to the Trophies in the header pic, everyone gets to pick something from the table)

There were two ready-to-run armies in the prize stash, including these Nubians, painted by the organiser, Martin Smith, in memory of fellow wargamer, Bill Dunlop.  Nice gesture.

It's about time I painted up and army for this reason.  I've certainly got plenty of 'reserve' lead in waiting.  But I am always touched by other people's generosity.  So 'a big up' to all the people who do this sort of thing and make our little communities so friendly.

The armies ... (both very simple)

GAULS II/11 ... LCh Gen;  2 x LCh; 2 x Cv; 6 x warriors (4Wb); 1 x Ps
MARIANS II/49 ... 4Bd Gen; 2 x Cv; 7 x legionaries (4Bd); 2 x Ps

My 'away' games were Asiatic Early Successor - Eumenus vs Antigonus (I chose Eumenes = 2 elephants)

(Asiatic Early Successor wars)

Chichimec vs Mound Builders (I chose Mound Builders = general on a litter!) 

(Dog People and Mound Builders ... not much armour in this one)

... and Early Polish vs Teutonic Order (I chose the Teutons as I have them on my back burner)

(a lot more armour in this one - heavily gepanzert on chivalry's Eastern Front)

The Polish/Teuton armies were very nicely put together, and a joy to play with ... but, like the other games, I could not outscore my opponent in any of the melees.  In DBA that's not a winning formula.

(scenes from the Romano-Celtic games)

So I think we can safely say I wasn't troubling the leader board this time around.  Martin asked me to slip into my Society of Ancients 'Life Vice-President' mode and hand out the prizes as I wasn't busy winning any of them :) ... So well done to winner Martin M (who did the donkey work for our victory at Tarrington).

My opponents took the Romans in my 'home' games and won with them.  Except Martin who took the Gauls ... and won with them.  As much as in any game, in Romans vs Celts, whoever wins the melees wins the game.  End of analysis.

So ... a splendid day out and another vere around the learning curve.

These Gauls need the rub of the green in DBA.  I had originally thought of building a Galatian opponent for the Thebans I am working on, but for this event matched them against Romans for two reasons: a. it joins up the Telamon theme (and the Telamon theme is why I took on the Celtic figures from David Constable's collection); and b. I thought the Theban infantry (5 with flank support or 6, if the double-ranked ... 7 with general) were every bit as tough as the Romans - just, being Spear, would be even better against the cavalry).  

Given that the Thebans are pretty much finished, I think, once Telamon is done, the Gauls will become Galatian again and go in a box as opponents for the Thebans. 

Appropriately enough, when it got down to my lowly position's pick, the Osprey book on Rome's Enemies was still there, so that came home with them.

DBA Yahoo Group (info, news and more pics here; you need to a Yahoo ID)
Telamon BattleDay (Gauls and Romans everywhere)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

30th March, Bletchley, MK


This year's BattleDay was very well attended (all the available space was utilised meaning some games had to wait til the introductory talk was over before being able to set up.  Well done to them, indeed)

... so the usual formula in Bletchley ... a talk - this year by Duncan Head, followed by 16 parallel refights of the historic battle using (in this case) 12 different rule systems .. followed by a quick debrief and some light-hearted awards including (selected by a popular vote) one for the Best Terrain and one for the overall Best Game ....

(Telamon BattleDay ... memento prizes courtesy of the organiser Richard Lockwood)

So I'm sure you are all familiar with Telamon ... it's the one where the Gauls are trapped in Etruria between two Roman armies; the one where the Gaesati fight naked so as not to get the clothes caught in the thorn bushes ... the one where Regulus (son of the First Punic War hero, Regulus) defeats many times as many Gallic cavalry but gets killed in the process. 

The Games ... (check upcoming issues of Slingshot for accounts of the various games ...) ...

As you can see, Commands & Colours was the most popular way if tackling this battle, closely followed by To The Strongest and DBMM.  Card-driven systems (C&C, TTS, Piquet, MeG) were very popular and area movement (C&C, TTS) feature strongly.

As to why people favour the various approaches, you will need to refer to what they say in Slingshot - that said, quite often, people like to stick with what they enjoy.

Regular readers will recall my own promo used DBA (so a 13th warrior in the Telamon list) and the full story of the DBA refight will feature in Telamon (pt II) ...


In addition to best best Regulus, best naked Gaul etc. ...

Andy Bullock's Impetus won Best Game

Robert Robertson and Friends' DBMM won best terrain

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

10th March, Wolverhampton


The following weekend we were off to the West Midlands for the Alumwell show ... this time as the full Society of Ancients/Northampton Battlefields Society roadshow - giving a first trial outing to the new Edgcote game.

(Northampton Battlefields Society at WMMS 2019)

Yes, 1469 meets 2019 for 550th commemoration.  Yes, we've been working on this for a while and have still a number of aspects to complete - but we wanted to try out the basic game, and the figures have been ready to base up for a while.

So, next we need to landscape the bases and build a shows standard battlefield.

The game is Hail Caesar and the scale, unusually for us, is 28mm.  The figures are Wargames Foundry, supplied in an exclusive arrangement with the manufacturers.  The flags are fabric ones made for us by Graham at Fluttering Flags.

Here's a taste of what is to come from this project ...

(there are a number of historical options embedded in the scenario)

(they don't all include Humphrey Stafford, the newly created earl of Devon)

(twilight for the Herbert clan)

(Robin of Redesdale had come down from Doncaster to mend all the troubles of the kingdom)

This was the beginning of Warwick's rebellion and the Yorkist civil war.  In July, some of the forces mobilised for battle met in a fair plain between three hills in South West Northamptonshire, just outside Banbury.  It was not a good day to be Welsh.

Catch up with us as we tell the story around the shows over the Summer (Campaign, Partizan, CoW and hopefully our nearest, Hereward ... plus Autumn bookings tba) ...

Additionally, tickets are still available for our Edgcote Anniversary Study Day in July.

As always at Alumwell, the other games were great and there was a good mix of things to look at.

(click on these for a bigger version)

(there's paper soldiers in there and Peter Pig's Pirate game)

The Military Show side of things is represented by an extensive modelling display and competition and a wider than usual range of reenactors.

(military equipment at WMMS 2019)

I really do like this sort of thing (though a bit more ancient and medieval stuff would be good) - I like the traditional mix of all things military (I prefer it to the endless shopping stalls type of show where everyone is selling the same stuff*) ...  That said, starting up the motorcycle inside to ride it out wasn't such a good idea and left a largely uncleared hall choking on the fumes.

Thanks to the organisers for a nice show and giving us plenty of space.  I suspect we'll be back next year with the fully developed version of the game.

Remember Edgcote.  1469 - 2019.

(a replica of the Coventry sallet ... very much the style that would have been popular at Edgcote)

*then again, I would say that as few of these traders seem to sell anything I want.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

2nd March, Newark Showground


Sponsored by The Society of Ancients and a round of the SoA UK DBA League

Looking back on March, the month started with an outing to Hammerhead for the Northern Cup.  Regulars here will know that this is the one where the organisers provide all the figures and terrain ... as players you just have to figure out what to do 'off the hoof' as it were (no special plays - a true test) ..

This year, my associates from the Ad Hoc group were at the show too, reprising the award-winning 'Nick the Tsar', now II (or should it be III? after Salute last year?) ...

Last year, of course, the show was postponed until later in the year, frozen out by the beast from the East.   No beast, this year, scarcely even a pest from the West in the warmth of early Spring.   In the era of Climate Change, a year seems a long time.

The show was very well attended.   If anyone doubts the appeal of toy soldiers, just look at the car parking for Hammerhead - row after row ... and most visitors share, 3 or 4 to a car ...

For my part, in addition to playing, I took along a DBA display game promoting the Society BattleDay which this year is Telamon, the story of a beleaguered Celtic army, trapped between two Roman armies.

(Telamon ... a second Roman army arrives in the distance, closing the door on the Gauls)

(Roman figures: Chariot by Magister Militum; Gauls: mostly Donnington)

(the Celtic front line at Telamon was famously composed of Gaesati, stripped for battle)

DBA Northern Cup

(one of Paul's pictures I think - can't be me: I'm in there somewhere)

This year was Paul's turn and the theme was the Far East.  He made the best of it and provided a challenging range of scenario's ... a lot of variety, a pleasure to look at and play ... and quite a high level of balance.  All in all, a good job.

As has become something of a custom, here, I'll summarise my day by snapshots of the scenarios I played.

Great stuff.  The event was won by Richard P ... as so often in the past, Richard was a first time winner of the Northern Cup.  I confess I did not do so well ... Clearly I used up my entire allocation of good luck at the season opener in Tarrington: for this one ... well I stood more chance of winning a male modelling pageant than a DBA dice-off.  OK, gentle reader ... don't overthink that one ...

(the podium at Hammerhead ... prizes donated by SoA and Westwind/FiB and presented by Antony Spencer)

Back in the show ...

An eager audience settles down for the next Red Revolution Romp, while I go off and buy some more 28mm lead to round out the Edgcote collection.

Don't forget the BattleDay - a lot of Celts gave their lives to bring this story to you.*

* I nearly wrote 'a lot of Gaul'... hmmm