Sunday, June 30, 2019

8th June, Bakewell

Society of Ancients UK DBA League 2019 - The Midland Open

So off to sunny Derbyshire for Round 8 of the SoA sponsored UK DBA League, the Midland Open.

As it says on the tin, it's an open tournament so you can take any army.  In some respects, that makes choosing more difficult - in default of something 'interesting' to sort out, I usually use these decisions as a way of spurring me to finish something or giving something new a run out.  That might have meant topping and tailing those Thebans.

Then I realised that although I'd prepared some Early Imperial Romans for Tarrington last year, they didn't get used.  As a result of the traffic incident, by the time I was ready to take over my berth, we were already up and running using Martin's reserve army.  So the EIRs were still sat in their box waiting to be played with.  Easy decision.

... and, indeed, on they marched ... with their world conquering aggression of 3, these determined footslogging Romans invaded all day ... India, Africa, Spain, Asia, Polynesia ... thank goodness for the hardy Roman marching boot!

But I'm skipping ahead ... We got stuck on the M1 because of the usual difficulties some of our species seem to have all going in the same direction in marked lanes (without colliding with each other)* so for round one I played my travelling companion Patrick and his North Africans ...

Patrick defended but ended up with too much terrain on his side of the table.

(DBA Midland Open 2019: the Romans invade North Africa)

It was a good game but the Muslims were always on the back foot ... I'm thinking about using a littoral army at Britcon so I do need to think about how the Waterway cuts the table down (or doesn't when you are invading a non-littoral, of course) ...

Anyway, things were going well, so it was off to Cappadocia next.

The Ariarathids seem to be a popular army at the moment - Knights and Auxilia.  I struggled to win a combat against them, that's for sure.  However, the game will be remembered (by me, anyway) for the incident where I actually spent the 2 pips to move a Camp Follower out of my camp - and jumped on the flank of one of those Kappadokians (which was otherwise relentlessly driving my Armenians back across the battlefield) ...

(sallying from the camp and attacking enemy cavalry: DBA magic from Bakewell, Midland Open, 2019)

I won the ensuing combat and rescued my cataphracts.  I always make separate Camp Follower elements for my DBA camps but, inevitably, seldom do they ever do anything.

So this was that rarity ... the opportunity (check), then 2 spare pips to use it (check), and then a win in the combat (even rarer, but 'check') to get the pay off.  It'll be some time before all of that comes together, I'm sure!

So it was looking like I might be on a roll.  In configuring the army, I took the Armenians to give that extra cavalry punch and to deal with all those pesky 'fast' Blades that seem to be the fashion.  Elephants?  Well, I eschewed any Psiloi, so the Auxilia would have to deal with any elephants!

And so it turned out ... against the Tamils, despite being down on the factors, the Auxilia got in enough combat rolls to pull out a couple of sparkling ones and bagged two of the elephants (one of which had a general on top!) ... and against the Celtiberians, the cataphracts managed to combine with the foot to give the edge in a largely infantry battle.

(Midland Open 2019: the Romans invade India)

(Midland Open 2019: the Romans will reign in Spain)

None of this was a forgone conclusion.  With an Ally in the mix - especially where it might need to mesh with the Roman infantry - you need enough pips (as they have to be commanded separately) ... and to get your desired outcomes, you do need to win the combats (especially, say, with Auxilia tacking elephants - OK, it's their job, but it isn't exactly 'Mission Easy').  So the dice have to be with you.

But I couldn't take the last game against Pete D's Polynesians ...  even with 3 elements destroyed and the (hopefully) 4th flank-lapped.  I couldn't win the combats and the game ended drawn.

Scores etc.:

1 Phil Johnson: Palmyran with Pre-Islamic Arab ally; 2 Phil Steele: Early Imperial Roman (Armenian Ally); 3 Scott Russell: Tamil Indian; 4 Craig Allen: Late Tang; 5 Peter Duckworth: Polynesian; 6 Patrick Myers: Ancient Spanish; 7 Arnaud Marmier: Guti; 8 Rob Rush: Hattran; 9 Mark Johnson: Siamese; 10 Andy Wheeldon: HYW English; 11 Stephen Finn: Palmyran;12 John Saunders: Palmyran; 13 Keith Brown: Late Imperial Roman; 14 Baldie: Bosporan; 15 Patrick Dale: Early Muslim North Africa; 16 Martin Myers: Polyperchon Macedonian Early Successor;17 Nick Wright Carter: Polybian Roman; 18 Frank Shaw: Ariarathid Kappadokian.

And so on a day when everything seemed to be working, I ended up first equal ... then on count-back (sum of enemies' points scored) second.  So, after a bit of head scratching, it was well done to the other Phil.  

A great finish to a day that had had a seemingly unlucky start.

And a vindication for the combination of Romans and Armenians.  I seldom use allies but it worked in this instance.  

(DBA Midland Open 2019, Medway Centre, Bakewell)

*it has always seemed straightforward to me (pretty much both straight and forward, indeed, so what could possibly go wrong?) but other drivers do seem to struggle - after we got free of the first accident, we passed another, with cars spun around, just a few miles up the road.  I don't want to jinx myself so let's just leave it there ... 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

DBA Special: II/30 a-b Galatian

So he we are ... although they have been pressed into service already, finally (almost*) it is time to put the Gallic project to bed.

This army, almost entirely old Donnington Miniatures, was donated by the very generous David Constable, one-time organiser of the Midland Open, who, having finally decided to hang up his DBA boots, shared his collection out amongst the UK DBA fraternity so that finished armies would still get to fight and (hopefully) unfinished projects would get completed.

As the Telamon BattleDay was coming up, I took a completely bare metal Galatian army - which I have subsequently referred to as Gallic Galatians.  There is a massive overlap between Book II's lists 11 and 30.  The main difference being 11 gives you a choice of 3Wb or 4Wb (30 is all 4Wb).  And if you choose solid warbands, the lists are virtually identical.

(Celtic work in progress ... from the top - Jan 2019, April and, finally June)

There is also more than a touch of nostalgia to the army - and its classic but still beautiful Donnington figures: one of the first 15mm projects I did was, 30 years ago, a Conference game of Hannibal crossing the Alps.  Fellow Slough Barbarian, Ken Warren, kindly lent me a Galatian army using these same figures.  It was splendid and I really appreciated the loan.  After 30 years, and on a DBA level, I now have my own.

So the spur was Telamon.  I have to confess a. I'd always though of the Gauls at Telamon as more like Galatians because of the notable presence of so many naked warriors (the Gaesati) - and also I'm open minded on this whole fast/solid thing.  I'm not sure that there's a great wealth of evidence suggesting that the Celtic peoples really fought much differently wherever their migrations took them.  And once upon a time, they were all just Warband.

In addition to providing the ranks for Telamon, II/30a is the perfect pairing to fight the Thebans.

Here's the gallery ...

(DBA Galatians: figures mostly Donnington with some new Chariot on the left)

There are a number of options and morphs in II/11 and II/30 a and b but 10 bases of warriors covers most of them.

This last phase before finally doing the gallery has been for me to do shield designs, woad tattoos and put reins on the chariots.  That didn't stop them fighting in the Telamon games, but I am pleased with the finishing touches*.

*that said, and notwithstanding the word 'finally' in the opening remarks, I think some of the woad could be more convincing so I fully intend to go back and do some retouches at some point.  Nevertheless, I'm still counting these figures as *done*.

(player's eye view of the Galatians)

Some of the shields are facing behind so here's a back view.  I'm quite pleased - the large central rib makes the job quite tricky/absorbing in 15mm scale.

The scythed chariot was fun.  Unlike some, it does just about fit onto a standard DBA base.  Although NB if this inspires you to buy a scythed chariot from Donnington, I have done some 're-engineering' to tighten the whole thing up.  I've also converted the driver to a Galatian.  And added reins.  Here's another look.

(Phil's DBA Galatians ... the mounted troops)

(the Galatian camp)

This is a hybrid inspired by Asterix comics mashed with the fact that every time I looked up 'Galatians', the internet gave me St Paul preaching ... so here is some (non specific) Eastern cleric (a New Donnington figure) preaching to a Mediterranean/Celtic crowd amongst some standing stones.  It does have some military gear stashed 'camp-like' to the side.

(Phil's Galatian camp: the Camp Follower slots in)

Optional interpretation

At Telamon, Polybius describes the Gauls (seemingly) securing their flanks with chariots and wagons.  To me it sounds more like a 'War Wagon' than a Light Chariot deployment so I made the 'wagons and chariots' WWg ... it worked quite nicely.  Mostly I used the normal chariot vehicles but included one of these ...

(Gallic Wagon)

This army pairs with Theban or Marian Roman amongst others.  It is a very versatile army to have, truly a mainstay of the Classical world.

DBA Special: II/5c Later Hoplite Greek (Theban)

I've telegraphed the coming of this army for some time now so here it is ...

DBA V3 Book II ... 5c Theban Hoplite ...

This is the army of the great generals Epaminondas and Pagondas - it is the army that broke the Spartan hegemony and which introduced the deep tactics which DBA represents with the Theban elite troops being on double bases (8Sp) ... it gives them a combat bonus against infantry.  It gives the Theban general one of the highest factors in the game.

This is something of a 'prize army' ... the basic hoplite army I won as a prize in the Alton Pairs a few years ago, the baggage cart as part of the 'best baggage' award in the Burton Doubles (also some time back).  The first element finished was a while back, and was the camp, which I entered in little competition on TMPI wanted to make sure there was something 'ancients' and 'historical' in it, so put it altogether and took some pics.  Actually there were few entries and so it won the prize.

It has taken some time for the soldiers to catch up with the cart ... in truth, hand painting those shields has taken a while (just doing a few every now and then, when the brush is flowing nicely) - but the completion of the Galatians (for which the Thebans are a pairing enemy) has prompted the final dabs and tidyings.

(Later Theban Hoplite General)

The army (per the original prize) is almost entirely Chariot Miniatures, although the general is from the Gladiator Hellenistic Command pack and there are some Xyston hoplites in the front rank (as I needed a few extra figures for the double elements).  They mix in well don't they?

(Theban Hoplites)

I haven't covered any options with this army - actually there aren't many variables and it sort of selects itself.

That adds up to ...

Around the periphery ...

(Theban cavalry)

I had a go at that flamboyant Italian thing, riding one of the horsemen up onto a rock outcrop ... it sort of works I think ... 

And finally ...

Then there's the aforementioned camp.  I wanted to get some height into it, and use that Ox cart ... so took a hammer to a tourist souvenir and made a bit of citadel with the suggestion of a road winding up to it ...

(DBA camp - Later Hoplite Greek)

The cart is New Donnington, the figures following it (some of which detach as a CF element) are adapted Chariot figures.  To give a depth illusion, the figures on the Citadel are 10mm (Steve Barber models, I think) ...

So that's my Prize Hoplite army ... it pairs with Galatian.