Woolston Challenge 2018 Results

Last Sunday a small group of us gathered for the 2018 DBA Woolston Challenge. A regular 15mm event held in Christchurch early in January. As previously posted this year’s challenge was based around the Wars of Classical Greece, the Wars of Alexander’s Successors and ending with the Punic Wars. In all the theme allowed armies 430 BC to 146 BC to be selected.

Players were encouraged to field two armies using the earliest first and therefore transition through the 300 years of the theme. My aim was to provide additional variety and to encourage players to use some different armies.

From a logistics perspective players transitioned after two games to their second army, though one player selected to use one army across all his games.

The players and armies in the first section were:

  • Brian Sowman- II/3a Classical Indian
  • Ben Broad – II/11 Gallic
  • Angus Yeates – II/11 Gallic
  • Keith McNelly – II/16e Asiatic Early Successor (Peithon)
  • Joel McNelly – II/17a Lysimachid
  • Gordon Pinchin – II/19a Seleucid

Below, Gauls engage each other in a struggle between two tribes. Ben’s Gauls are on the left and Angus’ are on the right.

Below, another view this time of the cavalry on the flank.

Below, Joel’s Lysimachid host (left) engages the veteran Seleucids of Gordon.

Below, Peithon engages Lysimachos in a battle between the Alexander’s Successors. This time Lysimachos is visible on the right.

We again used an 0-8 scoring system. At the end of this section, two games, Angus and Gordon were on 11 points each and ahead of Keith who was third on 8 points.

Players then transitioned to their second army, when selected, providing the following in the second section of the event:

  • Brian Sowman- II/3a Classical Indian
  • Angus Yeates – II/10 Camillan Roman
  • Gordon Pinchin – II/19c Seleucid
  • Ben Broad – II/30b Galatian
  • Keith McNelly – II/32a Later Carthaginian
  • Joel McNelly – II/33 Polybian Roman

Below, the Carthaginians clash with the Camillan Romans. Here, victory was determined by the resolute Numidian light horse on the Punic left and the equally determined Gallic mercenaries.

Below, another view of the battle. The Romans were so under pressure the Italians on the Roman left were unable to pressure the Punic right.

Below, the Carthaginians engage the Galatians. The Punic commander foolishly thought all the Galatian foot were a motley collection of warriors, only to find that some, in particular the element in the right foreground, were in fact nobles fighting on foot (4Bd).

Despite this potentially disastrous error the section was dominated by the Carthaginians who managed 24 points. In second place, for this section, was Brian with his Classical Indians who secured 16 points. Ben was in hot pursuit on 12, while Angus and Gordon were just behind on 11 and 10 respectively.

Final Results:

The final results were calculated by combing the scores of both sections. In addition players using two different armies gained an additional point. The player’s final scores were:

  • 1st Keith McNelly – 33 pts
  • 2nd Angus Yeates – 23 pts
  • 3rd Gordon Pinchin – 22 pts
  • 4th Brian Sowman – 19 pts
  • 5th Ben Broad – 14 pts
  • 6th Joel McNelly – 9 pts

During the course of the day Angus managed to suffer the loss of two generals while Ben lost one. Gordon managed to claim the executioner award having dispatched two enemy generals in five games.

While player numbers were lower than I had hoped I was pleased with the variety of the armies fielded. Reports of new armies, as well as the expansion of existing armies, combined with discussion of future events all indicated another very successful day of DBA gaming.

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Woolston DBA Challenge 2018

It is almost time for the Woolston DBA Challenge. The theme for the 2018 Challenge is “Greece, Macedonian and the Punic Wars (430 BC to 146 BC)”. This theme covers the Peloponnesian Wars, the rise of Macedonia and the resultant various Macedonian Succesors states as well as the Punic Wars. It ends with the final defeat of Carthage in 146 BC.

Each year I try and create an event with something of a variation from the normal events we have. This year the theme is reasonably standard, but restricted. The variation is that you can change armies part way through. A sliding historical theme if you like. Further, if you change you get a bonus point when it comes to calculating final convention points totals.

Full details of the armies that can be used, defined by list, as well as other details can be found here.

No registration fee applies, but please register to assist with organisation.

A Letter from Malacca

Last night we deployed some armies for a fascinating game of BBDBA. With my regular opponent keen to use his Post Mongol Samurai (IV/59b) I opted to use my Sumatrans or Malay (IV/37a). My Sumatrans were built for DBR and comprise considerably more troops than BBDBA requires. However, given the period covered by the late medieval period and DBA I thought it more appropriate they were used to represent the Sultanate of Malacca than the Sumatrans.

Despite having the army I’ve not used it in DBA or BBDBA. Primarily due to the warband being based three figures per base, as required for DBR, rather than the DBA requirement of four per base. One of the appealing aspects is the combination of elephants and warband which is, in my view, rather fascinating. So with some differences between this army under the two rule sets it would likely be an experiment at best, a disaster at worse.

I opted for two commands each with 13 stands and one of 10 stands. The centre, which would be allocated the highest PIP die, would contain the majority of elephants and a significant number of warriors (4Wb). One wing would contain the remaining elephants, a number of warriors and light horse, visible below in a staged photo before the game.

The combination of two elephants, six stands of warriors, a couple stands of archers all supported by the light horse, which can also be seen below, was complex. The combination of figures required at very least the second highest PIP die.

Finally the remaining wing, which would have the lowest PIP die, would contain the remaining warriors and the bulk of the archers who could at least fire even when movement was restricted. The allocation of PIP dice before the battle, as well as the role each command will play, is an important dynamic to consider in BBDBA. All part of having a plan, even when it’s not particularly cunning!

Now, to the battle. The Japanese, as defender, had selected and placed terrain. They deployed cavalry on the wings with massed dismounted Samurai in the centre. Ashigaru and Sohei monks extending the centre to left and right. Clearly the Japanese commander intended to hold in the centre while attacking on the wings. 

For this particular game the Malay massed their elephants and warriors in the centre and left with the warriors interspersed by elephants. The concept was the elephants would breakup the enemy lines which the warriors would then exploit. The extreme left was held by archers and light horse. The Malay right wing was somewhat separated from the centre by a couple of steep hills. 

In due course the Japanese were unleashed. The first attack was against the Malay right. 

Here the Japanese foot, including warrior monks (3Bd), was partially bogged down by a combination of steep hills and Malay skirmishers. However, the Japanese mounted pressed the extreme flank. The Japanese mounted (6Cv) suffered heavy casualties as the Malay archers took a heavy toll. 

Meanwhile the Malay left and centre, shown above, advanced to attack Japanese opposite. However, a diversion of troops to support the battle on the right caused a temporary halt. Now, the Japanese, having reorganised their right, surged forward to attack the Malay left. Soon the fighting was general with only a portion of the centres of both armies engaged. Below, a view from the Japanese centre with a small village, a hamlet in DBA terms, separating the centre of both armies.

As casualties mounted the first to break was the Japanese left. A result of both casualties to the mounted and isolated warrior monks. Meanwhile, on the Malay left, the Japanese we’re gaining the advantage despite several attacks being thrown back with heavy casualties. Eventually the Malay left would became demoralised. Desperate to break the Japanese the Malay centre pressed forward in one final effort. Warriors and elephants smashed into the disrupted ranks with elephants leading the attacks and hardened warriors charging in support. While several parts of the Japanese line held others disintegrated in the onslaught. A hard fought but decisive victory had been secured for the Malay.

From an effectiveness perspective the elephants had proven difficult to manoeuvre using, as expected, many PIPs. The warriors (4Wb), while frustratingly slow, had proven generally resilient against Japanese ashigaru (3Pk) and in many cases deadly against Samurai (4Bd) and Sohei monks (3Bd). In many ways their effectiveness on the day was a result of the elephant and warband combination. The archers had proven invaluable on the Malay right, despite my less than optimal deployment. That said, a few different die rolls and the Malay right could have easily unraveled.

Interestingly the army played rather differently than it does in DBR, where enemy firearms often are seen. In this situation the elephants are held in reserve rather than risk being unnerved by the sound of these weapons. I now think it’s time I take the plunge and paint some additional warriors so I can field the army with the legal requirement of solid warband, rather than reminding myself throughout the game that the warriors were actually “solid”. It will be good to have a different army on the DBA and BBDBA battlefield.

Conquest BBDBA

Having had a busy week following Conquest I’ve delayed posting the last selection of photos I have. Now as we head into a long weekend it seemed an ideal time. The following photos are the BBDBA games all played on Conquest’s second day.

Above and below, Pyrrhus engages the Classical Indians. You can read an informative summary of Mark’s games at Conquest on his Hesperiana Blog. The photo below shows an interesting reserve deployed in the event of an Indian breakthrough. It also illustrates the massed Indian elephants in play. Some nine elephants is an impressive site! Pyrrhus in contrast fields only three.

The Indians weren’t the only army with a considerable number of pachyderms in play. Gordon’s Seleucids fielded six with four in one wing command and two in the other. They were further supported by three scythed chariots. The Seleucid centre comprised all the phalangites and a mounted general. The Seleucids can be seen below engaged against Jim’s New Kingdom Egyptians. I suspect the scythed chariots have fled from Egyptian archery.

While the other two games were going on my own Successors were engaged against Andrew’s Akkadians. The week prior Andrew and I had a practice game with him using Sumerians. However, for Conquest the Akkadians and their 3Pk were too tempting. Unfortunately, Andrew didn’t complete the basing for the weekend. Despite this it was a fascinating army to face being particularly mobile.

Two steep hills broke up an otherwise featureless plain that stretched inland from the coast. The cunning Akkadian plan to position a large edifice was thwarted by the combination of the waterway and steep hills.

However, one of the hills was to play a further critical part in the battle where Greek light troops countered an attack by Akkadians in the centre. Caught in the hills the pike were disrupted by the Greek light troops eventually resulting in the collapse of the Akkadian centre. Below, as the situation develops in the centre.

The Greek left however was itself under significant pressure. Eventually Demetrius was driven back by aggressively advancing spear armed Akkadians supported by battle carts. Indeed, the Greek left eventually broke. As time was called a narrow winning draw was achieved by the Greeks.

From an organisational perspective the allocation of 2 1/4 hours per game seemed to be adequate with most games being completed. Completion of games was further encouraged by the scoring system which rewarded points for casualties inflicted rather than draws. However, irrespective of scoring and the final results nine excellent BBDBA games were played involving a variety of armies. An enjoyable outing for the larger armies. I’m looking forward to future encounters…