On Saturday the Christchurch Wargames Club hosted its annual wargames competition, “Warclouds”. Once again DBA was on offer and armed with a copy of DBA 3.0 a range of players and armies turned out. I found it particularly encouraging to see a strong turn-out of players. Combined with recent competitions such as the “Woolston DBA Challenge” and the “Pokeno Invitational” it illustrates to me that DBA players in New Zealand have made the switch to the latest edition of the rules.
Now to the format. The decision was made early that Warclouds was to have a mixed format. That is, it would be divided into an Ancient and Medieval Section of three games each. The Ancient Section, played in the morning, required a list date prior to 450AD. This was followed in the afternoon by the Medieval Section where armies had a list date that fell after 450AD. It is an interesting format and one that I enjoy. While still limited to a single day players get to experience gaming with a range armies.
The games were played using 15mm figures and a table size was 600mm x 600mm. A 0-12 scoring system was used which we updated to reflect the changes in calculating victory and defeat in DBA 3.0. Games were of one hour duration. Armies once selected were restricted to those elements for the remaining games of the section. Within these restrictions players were allowed to use Allied contingents, however I don’t believe any players opted to use an ally.
The twelve players comprised a mix of experience. Some were DBA veterans, while others were new or returning players. For example, one player had only played three DBA games before entering the competition while another had not played DBA for over twenty years until the evening before when he played two practice games.
The players and their armies, in alphabetic player order, were as follows:
- Andrew Taylor: II/18e Macedonian Early Successor
- Angus Yeates: II/5b Later Hoplite Greek (Athenian)
- Brian Sowman: II/56 Early Imperial Roman
- Colin Foster: II/5d Later Hoplite Greek (Thessalian)
- Greg Wells: II/74a Palmyran
- Jim Morton: II/20c Ptolemaic
- Keith McNelly: II/33 Polybian Roman
- Kevin Neilson: I/6b Early Bedouin
- Nick Grant: II/32a Later Carthaginian
- Paul Cunningham: II/4e Warring States & Ch’in Chinese
- Robert Hollow: II/68a Picts
- Stan Walker: I/6b Early Bedouin
The first round of the Ancients Section started with a draw that ensured historical opponents fought each other, where possible. Therefore, two Early Bedouin armies clashed in the desert, the Carthaginians invaded Italy to destroy the Polybian Romans while Athens and Thessalians clashed in Greece. In subsequent rounds the draw was defined by a swiss chess format using a running total.
Given that I was playing, as well as working on the draws, I had limited time for photos. However, I managed to take a small selection, mostly of my own games, during the day.
Above and below photos of my first game between Polybian Romans and Later Carthaginians. Above, the Romans can be seen in three lines with velites in front and triarii in reserve with the Roman and allied Italian cavalry massed on the left flank. Below, and later in the battle, the Roman velites prepare to engage the Carthaginian elephants. The Carthaginians are from Corvus Belli.
In the my second game the Romans tangled with Kevin’s Early Bedouin. Like the first battle this was hard fought with the Bedouin javelinmen (3Ax) making significant gains against the Roman hastati.
The highest Ancients Section placings were as follows:
- 1st Place: Jim Morton (II/20c Ptolemaic) 31pts
- 2nd Place: Keith McNelly (II/33 Polybian Roman) 29pts
- 3rd Place: Paul Cunningham (II/4e Warring States & Ch’in Chinese) 25pts
After a well-deserved lunch break the players reconvened for the Medieval Section. Armies were traded in and fresh troops recruited for the afternoon. The Medieval armies were as follows:
- Andrew Taylor: IV/64b Medieval French
- Angus Yeates: III/28 Carolingian Frankish
- Brian Sowman: III/10b Hindu Indian
- Colin Foster: IV/63 Aztec
- Greg Wells: IV/83a Wars of the Roses & Tudor English
- Jim Morton: IV/13c Medieval German
- Keith McNelly: II/42d Sinhalese
- Kevin Neilson: IV/63 Aztec
- Nick Grant: II/42d Sinhalese
- Paul Cunningham: III/15 Tibetan
- Robert Hollow: III/72 Anglo-Danish
- Stan Walker: IV/21a Anglo-Irish
The draw was at this stage determined by player position with points from the morning being carried over. Despite this at least one historic matchup was achieved with the clash of two Aztec armies for domination of Mexico, or the gathering of sacrificial victims. Given that both armies included six stands of horde this was expected to be an interesting battle, and it was with many stands of horde breaking.
My first game of the afternoon was against Jim’s Medieval Germans. Below, the situation early in the game with the German war wagons flanked by an artillery piece. The combination provided a potential killing grond for the Sinhalese, made worse by my complete fear of the combination.
The resulting battle was costly with both armies suffering a total of four stands by the final round of the game. Victory however went to the Sinhalese as the final German loss was a massive body of knights (6Kn) which counts as two points.
On a nearby table Stan, using Anglo-Irish (below foreground) clashed with Andrew’s Medieval French. Stan managed a 8-4 win which, looking at the results sheet, indicate a bloody encounter as the Anglo-Irish also lost four elements.
My second medieval game found me engaged against Paul’s Tibetans. Paul seemed to alternate between deploying the Tibetans mounted or dismounted. Given the number of archers in the Sinhalese army the cataphracts were dismounted at deployment and fought as spear.
In the battle the massed elephants failed to breakthrough. However, the Sinhalese archers held long enough for the swordsmen to breakthrough and attack the rear of the Tibetan line.
Below, my final round my Sinhalese clashed with Angus’ Carolingian Franks. A desperate battle developed in and around the gully visible on the left. Over the course of the battle increasing numbers of troops were drawn into this battle that swung back and forth for some time. Gullies are a new terrain type in DBA 3.0 and provided some interesting challenges to both players.
After three rounds the highest placed players in the Medieval Section were:
- 1st Keith McNelly (II/42d Sinhalese) 30pts
- 2nd Robert Hollow (III/72 Anglo-Danish) 26pts
- 3rd Kevin Nielson (IV/63 Aztec) 24pts
It is worth noting the significant change in placing for Robert, who travelled from Australia to play. At the end of the Ancient Section Robert was in last place having had a difficult morning with his Picts. However, by the end of the Medieval Section he had catapulted up the rankings to secure 2nd Place in the Medieval Section, scores being calculated seperately from the Ancient Section. An outstanding change in fortunes.
Some general statistics are always interesting. A total of 36 games were played, each of one hour duration. Of these games only three ended in draws, with many running to the wire. During the course of the day six generals were lost with Colin and Brian losing two each and Kevin and Greg one each. Rumour has it that Brian lost two elephant mounted Hindu generals to enemy psiloi. Of the generals killed Nick, Andrew, Stan and Jim killed one enemy general each, while Angus claimed two. Colin and Brian each had a one of their camps looted. Colin claiming one enemy camp soon after, no doubt to recover some loot. Meanwhile Kevin’s Bedouin looted an Early Imperial Roman camp.
The final player positions, with points combined from both sections, but without any count back, were as follows:
- 1st Keith McNelly 59pts
- 2nd Jim Morton 51pts
- 3rd Kevin Neilson 41pts
- 4th Angus Yeates 39pts
- 5th Stan Walker 35pts
- 6th Brian Sowman 34pts
- 7th= Andrew Taylor 32pts
- 7th= Greg Wells 32pts
- 9th Paul Cunningham 31pts
- 10th Robert Hollow 27pts
- 11th Colin Foster 21pts
- 12th Nick Grant 18pts