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About TWR

Historical Miniatures Wargamer from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Conquest 2018 BBDBA

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.

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Conquest 2018 DBA

Over the weekend the annual Conquest Wargames Convention was held here in Christchurch, New Zealand. As with previous years it included a 15mm DBA competition. This year the DBA competition comprised two sections, or themes, with one running on Saturday morning and the second Saturday afternoon. Each comprised three rounds, with overall scores combined to determine the final placings.

The first section used Ancient armies while the second section used Dark Age or Medieval armies. With six rounds across both sections and only seven players, most players fought five games and had one bye.

One hour was allowed for each game with players awarded 8 points for a win, with the scoring system generally discouraging draws. In fact of the 18 games played only one game ended in a draw.

Ancients Section:

This section allowed the use of armies up to 450 AD. Most armies fielded were from the Classical period, or from Section II army lists, with just one Section I army making an appearance this year.

Above, Robin’s Early Mycenaeans clash with Mark’s Later Carthaginians. The Mycenaeans invaded and caused substantial casualties on the Punic host, though lost a general in the process.

Below, Gordon’s Seleucids on the left engage Eric’s Palmyrans in round one. This was a close game as the Seleucids, while unable to secure victory, caused heavy casualties on the Palmyrans.

Below, the Seleucids again in action, this time against Peithon’s Asiatic Early Successor. In this encounter Seleucus claiming a victory over his fellow Successor.

Below, my Asiatic Early Successors engaged against Colin’s Thessalian Later Hoplites Greeks. The Thessalians defended and with their massed cavalry created something of a problem for Peithon mounted, despite being reinforced by various mercenary auxilia.

Below, Peithon’s right flank is overwhelmed by the Thessalian mounted. A careful inspection of the image will see Peithon himself engaged in a desperate charge to stabilise the deteriorating position, which unfortunately was unsuccessful.

The results of the Ancients section using standard DBA, after three rounds, were:

  • Mark Davies: II/32a Later Carthaginian, 24pts
  • Eric Juhl: II/74b Palmyran, 20pts
  • Colin Foster: II/5d Later Hoplite Greek (Thessalian), 15pts
  • Gordon Pinchin: II/19a Seleucid, 14pts
  • Robin Sutton: I/18 Minoan or Early Mycenaean, 12pts
  • Greg Wells: II/74a Palmyran, 8pts
  • Keith McNelly: II/16e Asiatic Early Successor (Peithon), 8pts

In these games I lost two generals, indicating why Peithon was to be lost to history his line having been extinguished early. In addition Robin and Eric lost a single general. While the gods clearly did not favour Peithon favour those camp followers defending his camp clearly were, having fought off an attack by Seleucid pachyderms! At the end of the Ancients section no camps were successfully taken.

Medieval Section:

After lunch the players replaced their Ancient armies with those with a list date later than 451 AD.

Several new armies made their first appearance at Conquest including Mark’s freshly completed Syrians as well as Eric’s Hussites and Robin’s Ottomans. All very different armies.

Above, a portion of Mark’s Turkish-ruled and Ayyubid remnant Syrian States. While below they can be seen arrayed against my own Lancastrian English.

Below, another view, this time as the Syrians try to outflank the English left flank but are driven back by Henry & his bodyguard – just!

The Lancastrians were also found to be campaigning against the Ottomans as can be seen below.

Above and below the Ottomans attack both flanks of the English line. While the Ottomans struggled with the English archers and billmen they were much more successful in their final engagement against the Rajputs.

One of the dominating armies of the Medieval Section was the Hussites.

Above, a section of the Hussite line, while below it can be seen deployed against the Lancastrians who had deployed first as defender.

The combination of troops proved extremely difficult to counter for both English armies they were to fight and the Aztecs. After three Medieval rounds the results were:

  • Eric Juhl: IV/80 Hussite, 24pts
  • Keith McNelly: IV/83a Wars of the Roses English (Lancastrian), 18pts
  • Mark Davies: IV/6a Turkish-ruled and Ayyubid remnant Syrian states, 15pts
  • Robin Sutton: IV/55a Ottoman, 15pts
  • Colin Foster: IV/63 Aztecs, 11pts
  • Greg Wells: II/83a Wars of the Roses English, 11pts
  • Gordon Pinchin: III/10b Rajput Indian, 10pts

In the Medieval section Eric achieved a perfect score. As to generals lost in the Medieval section, well it would seem commanders seemed a little more cautious. Mark’s Syrians lost one commander to the English while the Colin’s Aztecs lost a commander to the Hussite reformers seeking to bring their flavour of the gospel to the New World. As with the Ancient Section no camps were looted.

Overall Results:

Combining the scores of both sections the final results for Conquest 2018 DBA were:

  • 1st: Eric Juhl: 44pts
  • 2nd: Mark Davies: 39pts
  • 3rd=: Keith McNelly: 27pts
  • 3rd=: Robin Sutton: 27pts
  • 5th: Colin Foster: 26pts
  • 6th: Gordon Pinchin: 24pts
  • 7th: Greg Wells: 19pts

A great result for Eric who had secured an impressive score by winning five of his six games. Mark also had a particularly excellent outcome with his Carthaginians doing particularly well, especially when compared to their 2016 performance. Finally a very pleasing result for Robin in his return to Conquest DBA and the first competition using DBA 3.0. Interestingly all those involved in the competition won at least one game, ensuring the laurels of victory were well spread.

A final note of thanks must go to Comics Compulsion who were once again organised a great competition and who were very supportive of DBA.

An English Crusade

Our second game of the evening was an encounter between my Wars of the Roses English (IV/83a) and Robin’s Ottomans (IV/55a). Clearly the English were on a crusade likely in search of the Kingdom of Prester John.

Prester John as depicted in the chronicles of Hartmann Schedel (1493) – Public Domain.

It has been a long time since I’ve seen the Ottoman host deployed. As with all Robin’s armies they are well painted and based. However, I felt they would suffer badly against the English longbow. I envisaged a short game and one that was one sided. It transpired I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Below, the English left as it reacts to the Ottoman attack.

The Ottomans were to be well served by their aggressive commander and from the first moment seized and then held the initiative. The initial feint by a body of ghazi horse archers against the English right soon was replaced by a series of aggressive attacks on the English left by sipahis and additional ghazi. In support an aggressive pinning movement spearmen and azabs skirmishing archers occupied the English centre.

Above, the general situation just prior to the main attack. Below, a view from the English lines. The English mounted reserve is clearly visible mounted and is under command of Henry himself.

The pinning attacks on the English centre were arguably too aggressive and the Ottoman foot were cut down by English men at arms, billmen and archers. Yet the attack on the English left was being driven home with great determination.

Indeed, the English left was soon encircled and the attacked from the front, flank and rear. The attacks here were relentless. No sooner had one attack was beaten off another would come in.

Above, English gunnes are attacked from the rear and English archers from the flank. Below, Henry’s reserve is engaged by ghazi of the Ottoman centre. Henry is supported here by English billmen and in the distance by archers who have been attempting to drive off a body of ghazi.

Despite a series of complex Ottoman attacks the now isolated English units fought determinedly, their resolve unbroken. Slowly the English defenders reorganised and finally the Ottoman army, having been aggressive throughout, fell back.

No doubt the Sultan would be reforming for another attack on the infidel, but not it would seem tonight. The search for the Kingdom of Prester John could continue…

Mycenaean Expeditions

Last night I was fortunate to play a couple of games as part of a DBA 3.0 rules refresher for a good friend. Dusting off his existing DBA armies Robin fielded two armies over the evening. These were his first game of DBA in many years. However, being a veteran HotT player I was sure he would quickly recall the rules.

The first army deployed was his Minoan & Early Mycenaean (I/18). This list is of course based on the Aegean Palace Kingdoms. It has been an army I have often planned to build but haven’t been organised enough to start. The army comprises a core of chariots, a phalanx of heavy infantry armed with spear (4Pk) as well as an option of light troops in the form of Pylians (4Ax). Finally it has several psiloi. Robin opted for heavy chariots and a smaller phalanx.

Lacking a suitable historical opponent for the Mycenaeans I opted to field Later Carthaginians (II/32a) who are at best a challenging army with an eclectic mix of troops.

The Mycenaeans were to suffer an invasion of the Carthaginians and with their deployment restricted by terrain a determined Carthaginian attack against the Minion right seemed sensible. However, the Mycenaeans expanded their right with great dexterity forcing the Carthaginians to commit their small reserve more quickly than originally intended.

Above, a view of the Mycenaean right heavily engaged against the Carthaginian left. The Punic elephants, as expected, had gained an initial advantage.

While the Mycenaean right was heavily engaged against the Carthaginians opposite, the Mycenaean centre pressed forward with equal elan.

Below, the view from the Carthaginian left rear. The Punic centre comprising the heavy Punic foot and Gallic mercenaries and here can be seen giving ground as the Mycenaean spearmen press forward.

The Mycenaean attack on the Carthaginian centre was relentless and soon the Gallic mercenaries of the Carthaginian centre, as well as the Punic heavy infantry supporting them, were collapsing.

With his centre decimated and his army demoralised, the Carthaginian commander had to reluctantly accept defeat and abandon the field. A great win to the the Mycenaean commander, who seemed a little surprised by the outcome.