Numidians at the DBA Open

Last Sunday ten locals gathered for the Ancients Section of the Christchurch DBA Open. It was pleasing to have a good turnout of locals for the Open which has been organised by Brian for several years now. Unfortunately this year the day was reduced to just four rounds rather than the usual five rounds.

I spent some time considering which army I would field. I decided reasonably early that I wanted to try something different. With limited painting time I eventually narrowed this down to the Numidians, which would only require a couple of stands to be completed to make my existing army compliant with the changes introduced under DBA 3.0. That said determining which options, of several, to take was interesting. Indeed, I went through several iterations when considering possible army compositions. Finally I opted for seven light horse, including a general, supported by five stands of psiloi. The games were all to be played on 600mm square tables. Clearly I expected to struggle to win against many opponents. I also was aware I needed to play reasonably quickly, in an effort to break up my opponents army, while avoiding less than optimal combats by vigorous manoeuvre.

As it turned out on the day the armies others selected were a reasonably diverse lot. There were, as expected, some more popular armies returning but these were supplemented by a few armies that are less seldom seen. 

My first engagement for the day was against Later Carthaginians who were well managed by Paul. Initial action focussed around the Numidian left where a feigned flight by Numidian light horse drew in the Punic mounted. From here battle soon expanding out to the centre and the Numidian left as the game progressed. Working the Carthaginian right the Numidian light horse managed at least two attacks on the Carthaginian camp, though without success. Despite initially gaining the advantage the Numidians were unable to secure the final victory before time was called.

Above, the Numidian right following the loss of a Carthaginian horse who were hit by two deep Numidian light cavalry.

Next up was a clash against the Palmyrans. Defending again the Numidians opted to hold two steep and rocky hills and let the one remaining one be secured by the Palmyrans, where hopefully it would disrupt the Palmyran commander to control his troops. Demonstrating in the centre and on the Numidian right, the remaining Numidians advanced more aggressively against the Palmyran right where the enemy was not fully deployed. Low Numidian PIP die rolls and poor combat dice for both players were a feature of this encounter.

However, some advantage was achieved eventually against the Palmyran right. Cautiously, the Palmyran centre advanced and slowly they gained the advantage in the centre.

Finally with casualties mounting for both armies the Numidian commander was lost in a desperate counter attack. A well deserved victory to the Palmyrans.

The clash with the Spartans under Brasidas was to be arguably my most entertaining game of the day. The Greeks, having no less than ten stands of hoplites were keen to maintain a solid line, while the Numidians probed relentlessly.

Above, the general situation at the beginning of the game, while below the Numidian centre. The Numidian commander tended to take a central position to ensure the light infantry were in command range.

As the game progressed increasingly both armies were broken up and many individual stands pinned. At one stage the Spartans were in nine groups and the Numidians in ten! Success for the Numidians was increasingly likely when Brasidas was cut down by Numidian light infantry. Alas, the surviving Spartans stumbled on as the game ran to time, robbing Numidia of a victory.

The final round of the day was against the Galatians, complete with scythed chariots. The Galatians formed up in dense ranks with their left covered by massed cavalry and their right secured by scythed chariots. Again the steep hills were secured by Numidian light infantry while the Numidian light cavalry probed for weakness. Fortunately the Gallic mounted attack on the Numidian right was held, more by luck than skill. However, a gap developed in the centre, as Galatian foot pressing forward, and here the Numidians struck. Light cavalry, supported by light infantry, poured through eventually overwhelming the Galatian reserves and killing their general who had been dashing about on a chariot. Combined with previous losses sustained by the Galatian foot the Numidian King was finally able to claim a complete victory – at last!

After four rounds the results were as follows:

  • 1st Jim Morton – II/3b Classical Indian 79-545 AD, 36pts.
  • 2nd Eric Juhl – II/74a Palmyran, Odenathus 260-271AD with II/23a Nomad Arab Army ally, 33pts.
  • 3rd Brian Sowman – I/50 Lydian 687-540BC with I/52g Asiatic Greek Hoplites ally, 31pts.
  • 4th= Josh Day – II/47f Early German, Suevi 19-49AD, 24pts.
  • 4th= Mike Thorby – II/5a Spartans in Greece 448-276BC, 24pts.
  • 6th Keith McNelly – II/40 Numidian 215BC-24AD, 23pts.
  • 7th Paul Deacon – II/32a Later Carthaginian, 21pts
  • 8th Rick Bishop – II/5k Spartan, Brasidas 428-422BC, 20pts
  • 9th Nathan Maynard – II/49 Marian Roman 105-25BC, 12pts
  • 10th Gordon Pinchin – II/30b Galatian 273-65BC, 5pts

A most enjoyable series of games thanks to four excellent opponents. I was pleased with the performance of the Numidians. They were, as expected, a challenge to use, yet they gave a good account of themselves in all games.

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