On the second day of the Conquest 2018 Convention a three round Big Battle DBA tournament was held. This is the third year we have had a 15mm BBDBA event at Conquest. Armies comprised 36 elements with all armies having a list date of prior to 450 AD. The tournament was limited to just three rounds with each round limited to 2 1/4 hours including setup.
While a couple of regulars were unable to make the event we were pleased to see a new player who supplemented his standard DBA army with some additional figures so he could participate. Most armies were drawn from the early portions of the Section II armies ensuring that many were historical or near historical opponents to each other.
Above and below Polybian Romans on the left engage Carthaginians in a desperate fight in Southern Italy. The Carthaginians were defending and with a significant advantage in mounted had offered battle on a relatively open plain.
The marsh in the right foreground significantly constrained the movement of the Punic horse and nullified much of their advantage on the wing. Yet despite this the Romans struggled to gain a decisive advantage against the Carthaginian centre who proved frustratingly resilient.
Above, a Greek coalition prepare to face the Graeco-Bactrians on another relatively open battlefield. The Greeks under an Athenian strategos comprised two Athenian commands and were supported by a Thessalian allied command. The Athenians are visible in the foreground while the Thessalians are in the distance. Both the Athenians and the Thessalians have their own camps.
Above and below, additional views illustrating the situation with the Graeco-Bactrians on the left.
Being distracted in the second round I took no photos. However, we do have some from the third round. Below, the Carthaginians are engaging the Seleucids. The Carthaginians interestingly have almost all their mounted massed into one wing.
Below, another engagement now between the Athenian coalition and the Palmyrans. The Athenians on the left are defending and have clearly adopted a defensive deployment in an attempt to counter the significant mounted threat posed by the Palmyrans.
Next we have some photos from the battle between the Polybian Romans and the Greco-Bactrians. Again the Graeco-Bactrian host has deployed on the open steppes while this time the Romans are campaigning in the far reaches of the known world.
Another view below viewed from the Roman lines. In the centre Roman velites are trying to draw out the Greek pachyderms, who like much of the phalangites, were reluctant to face the determined Romans.
With regards to scoring, a slightly modified version of the standard DBA scoring was used. Players were rewarded with 8pts for a win. Others received one point for each three enemy element equivalents lost. Again this was aimed at rewarding decisive play and discouraged draws.
After three rounds the results were:
- 1st: Jim Morton – II/36a Graeco-Bactrian, 20pts
- 2nd: Mark Davies – II/32a Later Carthaginian, 13pts
- 3rd Gordon Pinchin – II/19a Seleucid, 12pts
- 4th: Keith McNelly – II/33 Polybian Roman, 10pts
- 5th: Colin Foster – II/5b Later Hoplite Greek (Athenian) with II/5d Thessalian Ally, 9pts
- 6th: Greg Wells – II/74a Palmyran with II/23a LPIA Nomad Ally, 7pts
With more generals in play unsurprisingly casualties to generals were heavy. Greg’s Palmyrans lost four generals, while Gordon’s Seleucids and Colin’s Greeks lost three each. The Carthaginians and Romans lost one each while the Greco-Bactrians lost none. From my experience battling the Graeco-Bactrian their commanders seemed reluctant to risk their lives in battle, leaving the fighting to the lower classes. The Carthaginians meanwhile seemed focused on targeting enemy generals killing no less than three enemy generals across their three battles while most others killed two enemy generals. No enemy camps were raided during the course of the tournament.
The Big Battle DBA tournament seemed to be a great success with plenty of challenges and an additional visual spectacle provided by the larger armies on the table, despite retaining the simplicity and elegance of DBA.