Category Archives: II/03b Classical Indian

Ancients Revitalised

I have just returned from a visit to one of the local wargames clubs today and I found myself reflecting on the popularity of DBA here in Christchurch. It has been around 16 months since DBA 3.0 has been released and I must say one of the really pleasing aspects for me is the adoption of the rules locally. Initially we had very strong interest and rather than fade, as often can be the case with anything new, we have seen consistent growth and interest.

Indeed, we have now reached the point that DBA is being played regularly at both our wargames clubs. So much so it seems to be the only Ancients game that is regularly being seen. The popularity of DBA is such that at one club you almost don’t need to arrange a game prior to the meeting as there is almost always a core of players on hand. Further, these players are a mix of hardened DBA veterans, refugees from other historical rules and players interested in playing Ancients for the first time. This is something I haven’t seen before in Ancients for many years. Ancients here has been fragmented between different rules and scales for longer than I can remember and monopolised by the more competitive players.

It’s also not just old armies being deployed, rather a number of new armies are taking the field. This includes a number of players who have decided to build their first Ancient army as well as others expanding their existing collections. A couple of examples are shown in this posts.

Above for example are a couple of photos of one player’s Classical Indians, his first army and purchased via eBay, engaged against a Roman army finished a couple of months ago. Others include recently painted armies such as the Early Hoplite Greeks and Gauls below. Yet it doesn’t stop there. Further new 15mm armies that spring to mind include Parthians, Macedonians, Later Carthaginians, Norse Irish, Italian Condotta and Koreans.

I’m reasonably sure that we are seeing sustained interest in DBA and Ancients locally. The players seem to be enjoying themselves immensely and games are friendly and challenging with a colourful mix of armies.

Perhaps some regular visitors would like to post their thoughts on interest in the period? What has drawn you to DBA? Have you been playing Ancients before or has DBA providing you with your first Ancients experience? Are new armies being built and deployed in your area? I look forward to some comments from readers of this blog.


Lysimachos in India

While most of my DBA games are based around the standard 12 element game I have, over the years, played a few larger games. These have tended to involve either 24 or 36 elements per side, the latter being called Big Battle DBA (BBDBA). To be honest I’ve tended to shy away from these larger games, under previous versions, as the combination of limited movement and the ability to pin elements has tended to prevent armies engaging.

However, with DBA 3.0 both these issues have been resolved. As a result over the last few months I’ve played a few of these larger 36 element games. Today I deployed a Lysimachid Successor, against Classical Indian as an introduction to BBDBA for Brian. I’ve included a small selection of photos from the game which I thought may be of interest. The game was fought on a table 1200mm in length and 600mm in depth using 15mm figures.

Above, the Lysimachid Successors, on the right, have advanced quickly to secure a central marsh. By the time this photo was taken the Indian commander had realised his archers couldn’t fire from the marsh and retreated to firmer ground.

Below, a view from the Indian right flank towards the Greek left and centre.

Below, another view from the Indian perspective, but of the main Greek phalanx in the centre. Here  psiloi can be seen screening the phalanx prior to them being sent forward.

Below, a view of a portion of the Indian centre and right rear. Not shown are the cavalry of the Indian left who have advanced forward.

As mentioned earlier the Indian bow had fallen back from their advanced positions in the marsh. Moving through the marsh Thracian infantry advance, below, to combat. The plan involved them then threatening the Indian elephant line, as with all such plans aren’t always achieved.

The more general situation can be seen below. As the Thracians press home their attacks the Greek phalangites advance in support. The Greek plan was complex and the phalangites were not pressing the attack as quickly as invisaged. On the extreme right Xystophoroi can be seen charging the Indian cavalry. These attacks were successful, but the Xystophoroi pursued and each time they did they were further outflanked.

Below, the situation on the Greek left. Here the Greeks were outflanked but an aggressive attack caused some discomfort to the Indians who were restricted in their response by command difficulties. Soon the handful of Lysimachid elephants were thrown in to further support this flank.

However, it was on the Greek right where Lysimachus would fail. Lysimachus was victorious against Indian cavalry and drove ever deeper, until encountering a portion of the Indian elephant line. Soon overlapped Lysimachus fell and the Greek right became demoralised.

Meanwhile the Greek centre, illustrated below, continued to press forward and engaged the Indian centre. Here the Indian elephants clashed with Greek psiloi while the phalanx pressed its advantage. However, it was too late as the Greek left became demoralised and with it the will of the Greeks to fight.

An interesting game which played very differently from both the standard game and other BBDBA games. Both players made a several basic mistakes, unfortunately I paid a higher price for mine!

All up a very enjoyable game on a Sunday morning at the local wargames club.