Category Archives: BBDBA

Conquest 2017

I’m pleased to report that DBA has been confirmed for Conquest 2017.

The new owners of Comic Compulsion, who host and organise Conquest, have been working hard to firm up the overall convention. Having been working with them for a few months Comics today gave the tick for DBA at Conquest. I’m particularly pleased as DBA has been at Conquest for many years.

Conquest will be held on the weekend of the 11th & 12th of November. Details on the DBA and BBDBA tournaments can be found here.

For now start getting those armies ready and join us for a great weekend of gaming!

Of course if you have any questions please feel to ask here, or drop me an email, or visit the Comics Compulsion Facebook page.


Conquest Results

Over the weekend the local Conquest wargames convention was held. Yet again we were able to run a DBA competition, this year comprising two seperate events. The first day involved a standard DBA competition of six rounds, each of an hour. While the second day would comprise a Big Battle three round competition.

Looking at the first day the six rounds were further divided into two sections. The first three games involved the Ancient section and drew armies from the period up to 450 AD. The armies, except one, were all drawn from the Section II lists and all contained an interesting mix. At the conclusion of the Ancient Section Brian was 1st place with 33 points while Greg Kelleher and Keith McNelly were on second equal with 23 points each.

Above and below armies clash in the Ancient Section. Above Asiatic Successors clash with Eastern Patrician Army while below the same Successors clash with Palmyrans.

Below, a view of the Palmyran camp. A fine example of many well painted and presented armies.

The Dark Age and Medieval Section, played in the afternoon, also comprised three rounds and used armies from 451 AD. Of these armies a solid core were Late Medieval armies, including three Wars of the Roses armies and a hard hitting Free Companies. However, the Hussite army had several players scratching their heads on how to deal with the massed war wagons expertly commanded by Mark. After the three rounds of the Medieval section Mark Baker was on 24 points, Jim Morton on 23 and Greg Wells on 21 points.

Above, the Hussite host engage their enemy. Below, the Mongols prepare to advance against a Wars of the Roses English army.

Below, Wars of the Roses English engaged against Free Companies, who unsurprisingly were invading English territories. The English maintained a good account of themselves through a combination of archery and cannon fire.

Combining the scores of both Sections provided the final placings as follows:

  • Brian Sowman – I/50 Lydian with I/52g Asiatic Greek ally; IV/54b Medieval Scandinavian Union with IV/13c Medieval German ally (41pts)
  • Jim Morton – II/36a Graeco-Bactrian; IV/74 Free Company (34 pts)
  • Mark Davies – II/32a Later Carthaginian; IV/1a Komnenan Byzantine (33pts)
  • Greg Kelleher – II/82b Eastern Patrician Army; III/10b Rajput Army (31pts)
  • Keith McNelly – II/16b Asiatic Early Successor; II/83a Wars of the Roses English, Yorkist (31pts)
  • Paul Deacon – II/10 Camillan Roman; III/28 Carolingian Frankish (28pts)
  • Greg Wells – II/74a Palmyran; II/83a Wars of the Roses English (26pts)
  • Mark Baker – II/74a Palmyran; IV/80 Hussite (24pts)
  • John Kerr – II/33 Polybian Roman; II/83a Wars of the Roses English (22pts)
  • Angus Yeates – II/32a Later Carthaginian; IV/35 Mongol Conquest (16pts)

The second day of Conquest was allocated to an Ancient Big Battle event of three rounds. Most of the armies were similar to the previous days Ancient Section, with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, player numbers were a little lower with eight players participating. Of these players, a number had not played BBDBA with 3.0. Each round lasted 2 1/4 hours with a number of games going to the wire. Interestingly, unlike the previous day when there were no camps taken, a couple of camps were attacked and taken. Clearly the benefit of attacking camps in BBDBA were high on some players radar.

Above, Carthaginians deployed in one of the Big Battle games. In this game the Carthaginians fought with great determination, especially their Spanish mercenary foot. Below, the Carthaginians face the Eastern Patricians with their LPIA Nomad Ally in the foreground.

Below, Later Carthaginians engage Eastern Patricians. The Patricians were one of the armies that were supported by an ally. An ally can be a useful component for variety and to bolster a couple of standard DBA armies to the required size for BBDBA.

A revised scoring system was used for the BBDBA competition, after three rounds the placings were as follows:

  • 1st Brian Sowman – I/50 Lydian with I/52g Asiatic Greek ally
  • 2nd Keith McNelly – II/16b Asiatic Early Successor
  • 3rd Jim Morton – II/36a Graeco-Bactrian
  • 4th= Mark Baker – II/74a Palmyran
  • 4th= Greg Wells – II/74a Palmyran with II/23a LPIA Nomad Ally
  • 6th= Greg Kelleher – II/82b Eastern Patrician Army with II/23a LPIA Nomad Ally
  • 6th= Paul Deacon – II/49 Marian Roman
  • 8th= Mark Davies – II/32a Later Carthaginian

I should add a few notes of thanks. Firstly to our competitors who all played as true gentlemen. I of course must mention our four out of town visitors, two from Australia and another each from Auckland and Blenheim, thank you for your support. Then we have those players who provided loan armies to help with the themes.

Finally, I would like to thank Comics Compulsion who organise Conquest and are so supportive of DBA. I encourage you to support them.

In Defence of Macedonia

Since the release of DBA 3.0 interest in DBA continues to grow here in Christchurch. We now regularly see gamers playing both the standard game and an increasing number of Big Battle games. I generally prefer the standard game as it allows me to more easily play against historical or near historical opponents. Recently however Andrew, who like myself is interested in the wars of the Diadochi, suggested a BBDBA encounter for control of part of Alexander’s kingdom. It’s hard to resist such an opportunity.

As my own Successors are still short of a few stands needed to provide some additional options for these larger games. I therefore opted to used a Lysimachid Successor, again. I really need to get on and finish a few extra stands! Andrew meanwhile opted for an army of Antigonus Gonatas, one of his favourite Successors. Andrew was short a few stands, as a result his army composition didn’t exactly follow the official list. In particular it was without elephants and had some Tarantine light cavalry instead.

Antigonus was, in due course, found to be defending. He deployed his army with his Xystophoroi on his left wing and Galatian cavalry on his right, each supported by light cavalry. The foot deployed between the wings with the Greek phalangites were interspersed at intervals by Galatian infantry who were supported by a number of light troops. Lysimachus deploying opposite placed his own Xystophoroi on his right wing. He was heavily outnumbered by his opponents mounted and only a few light cavalry were deployed on his left along with his veteran Thracian infantry. The Lysimachid phalanx was considerably larger than Antigonas’ and was interspersed with elephants at intervals in the hope this would break up the enemy foot. Light troops of course supported the elephants.


Antigonus ordered a general advance while Lysimachus advanced with his right and centre, keeping his left flank withdrawn. Indeed, much of his left remaind in place with his Thracian veterans holding a gentle hill. Above, the Antigonid  army is on the left.

In the centre light infantry advanced displaying much courage. The Lysimachid psiloi aimed to protect the advancing elephants and disrupt Galatians, while Antigonus tried to reorganise his lines. However, the skirmishing soon abated and as it did the lines of phalangites collided. Here the overly complex Antigonid deployment of skirmishers created some disadvantage and the Lysimachid phalanx gained some initial success. However, in time these small advantage were lost. The foot of both armies now pushed and shoved with equal determination.

Above and below views of the centre before the phalangites are locked in combat.

On the Antigonid left, where both armies had equal mounted, both attempted to expand. Once completed the Xystophoroi of both armies clashed. Lysimachid elephants were thrown forward in support and eventually both commanders joined the now swirling melee each seeking out the other in personal combat. The fighting surged back and forth until the Lysimachid light horse, on the extreme flank, broke. To counter this Lysimachus’ mercenary Greek infantry were thrown in to stabilise the situation but as stampeding elephants fled the Antigonids were clearly gaining the advantage. Eventually, with casualties mounting the Lysimachid right became demoralised.

Meanwhile the Antigonid right flank had also attacked, it would seem somewhat rashly. Below Galatian cavalry in the foreground with Thracian infantry to their front on a gentle hill.

The withdrawn Lysimachid left was too tempting and the Galatian cavalry, supported by Greek light cavalry surged forward. The veteran Thracians, though forced back in places, held their positions while the Lysimachid light horse counter attacked destroying the Antigonid light horse.

Then, as the cavalry attacks broke up the Thracians poured down on the front and flanks of the Galatian cavalry. The casualties were both swift and horrific.

However, as Antigonid right become demoralised from these attacks the Lysimachid right broke in rout, Lysimachus himself carried off wounded by a few of his companions. Now a race developed as night closed in. While the Lysimachid centre and left tried to exploit the deteriorating Antigonid position, and breaking both, Antigonus pressed home his attacks. Antigonus, at the head of his own Xystophoroi and supported by phalangites, streamed forward overpowering the few reserves and breaking the Lysimachid army. Macedonian it seemed was safe, at least for a time…

Lysimachus’ Indian Sojourn

I thought it time I place a few another DBA game on-line, this time a “Big Battle” game. I won’t attempt a blow by blow recount but I hope this short summary proves to be of interest. I opted to use my Lysimachid Successors which I have been using a little lately against other Successors as well as Polybian Roman. However, today it was deployed against Tamil Indian. Not an historical opponent, but given the Successor’s sphere of influence it seemed reasonablyplausible.

For this game Lysimachus was deemed to be invading. The Indians opted for minimal terrain resulting in a relatively open battlefield. While deploying second the Greeks had some difficult choice due to the equal spread of elephants. In the end I placed my main strike command, the one that would be allocated the highest PIP die, on the left in the hope it would engage what I expected to be the Indian strike command. Hopefully the xystophoroi would manoeuvre into the enemy cavalry and avoid the elephants. My centre, containing the majority of phalangites and my own elephants, would gain the next highest PIP die, while my smallest command, deployed on the right, would receive the lowest die.

No sooner had I deployed the Indians moved forward with great enthusiasm along the line. Above, taken after the Indian move the Indians have reduced the gap between the two armies. On the Indian right, top right of the photo, a number of elephants have wheeled further to the right.

Lysimachus’ response was command paralysis – low PIPs. With the few PIPs available the Greek infantry pressed forward, however any hope of manoeuvre on the left was gone.

Above, a view of the Greek left, which is extended slightly further by an additional xystophoroi and light cavalry. The phalangites illustrated are also from the Greek left.

Below, a view of the centre from the Indian perspective.

In the centre the Greek psiloi were thrown forward early to first pin and then draw the Indian elephants forward.

Below, a close up showing two stands of psiloi engaged. A lack of PIPs in the first couple of Greek turns prevented much of the planned manoeuvres from occurring. On the Greek right flank, despite low PIPs the phalangites and Thracians moved forward as well. The Successor elephants were repeatedly recoiled by Indian archery.

On the Greek left however things were taking a turn for the worse. Indian elephants pressed forward, as shown below, and crashed into the Greek xystophoroi with the expected outcome! Two stands were eliminated on first contact including Lysimachus!

Yet in an interesting turn of events the loss of Lysimachus inspired the army! The following Greek PIP roll was outstanding and the army advanced. On the left Greek auxilia countered the elephants while the remaining xystophoroi charged forward cutting down much of column of archers in ensuing turns.

In the centre Indian foot came under pressure from the Greek phalanx while Successor elephants clashed with the Indian pachyderms, with the result of some Tamil elephants fleeing. As the Greek phalanx pressed forward this amplified the impact of another elephant breakthrough, now in the centre. These elephants, pushing back the Greek psiloi, found themselves confronted by an organised line of phalangites who inflicted a horrific toll.

Above, the situation just prior to the Greeks pushing back Indian swordsman and before the elephants hit the phalangites. Note the Greek Silver Shields, the banners denote Greek generals.

However, not all was going well for the Greeks as their left was by now demoralised. Seeking every advantage the Indians lapped around the phalanx of the left and the entire wing collapsed. However, the Indian left was also under pressure. As the Greek left collapsed the Indian left became demoralised, mostly a result of elephant losses.

Casualties at this point were generally similar, while the Greek casualties were mostly on the Greek left, Indian casualties were distributed more evenly.

The Indian commander tried to prepare an attack using his victorious right wing while the Greeks, free of Lysimachus, aimed to crush the centre or Indian left, both of which were under serious pressure. Below, the Indian right (left) is reorganised while a portion of the Greek centre prepares to form a line. Note the thin Indian centre.

However, it was against the Indian left that success was finally achieved. Phalangites, Thracians and light cavalry all pressed the demoralised Indians who finally collapsed.

It seemed victory for the Greeks had been achieved, but only just…

Another outstanding game. Plenty of interesting challenges that kept both players on the edge of their seat from start to finish.