Having arrived home after my European sojourn it was good to breakout my miniatures for a couple of evenings of gaming this week. As it worked out it was a bit of a Punic Wars theme.
First up were a couple of DBA games against Jim early in the week, while I was still very much in another time zone. Jim’s Carthaginians are, like my own, from the excellent Corvus Belli range. Opting for a pachyderm heavy army these beasts required some focus by the Romans to neutralise them before they broke up the Roman lines. Due to some interesting Punic tactics in the second game the Roman tactics were not completely successful.
Above, Carthaginian light infantry, originally deployed in front of the elephants, nervously watch the elephants retire from the Roman infantry. The elephants soon surged forward again disrupting but not breaking the Roman lines.
Later in the week Colin made a long overdue appearance from the deep south and provided Andrew and I the opportunity for a couple of DBA games. Colin took command of my own Carthaginians in a two games where the battles formed part of our on-going Empire Campaign.
Colin also opted for the pachyderm heavy Later Carthaginians, but supported them with auxiliary infantry (4Ax) rather than my own preference for some more aggressive Gauls. My own PIP dice, I commanded the Romans in the first game, were horrifically variable tending to the extremes causing consternation, joy and embarrassment in equal measure. By good control Colin slowly but surely defeated the Roman upstarts.
A new Consul was sought (Andrew) and in due course another Roman army was dispatched to lower Italy in an attempt to defeat the Punic invader. The Carthaginians selected a field of battle near a large city though their deployment was somewhat constrained by nearby hills.
Now Punic command and control became hesitant and for some time the Carthaginian army refused to advance allowing the Romans to fully deploy. Good use of Roman light infantry slowly countered, if not destroyed the Punic elephants, while Roman and Italian heavy infantry slowly gained an advantage.
A great series of games over the week and an enjoyable start to normality following my travels. I will of course provide some additional context to the games here that formed part of our Empire Campaign when some other games are resolved, stay tuned…
Campaigns are something I always have a inkling to run but past experience has made me nervous of too much complication. Regular readers of my blog may recall that early last year I posted my thoughts on the Empire boardgame, developed by Phil Sabin. After some tinkering with the basic rules I converted the mechanics to a system that would allow it to be used with DBA.
Now, those who follow my Ancient & Medieval blog will have seen that we have recently completed the fourth campaign turn. Trying to simplify things further I recently moved away from dedicated players controlling states to a system where the decision process is automated. A basic decision tree is used to determine campaign offensives which is supplemented by a die roll where multiple options of equal weight exist. Games are now resolved by a group of volunteers subject to availability. The most recent series of six battles have now been resolved by a group of five players.
I’m rather pleased how this has all worked out. The revised format seems to be providing a better balance between my time investment and the value created by linking a background to an individual tabletop game. Further, it allows me to play in a few games while others are able use different armies, rather than being restricted to that of their player state. Placing the campaign in context, and despite only four campaign turns, the system has generated around 24 battles all of which have been resolved on the table using DBA. Given there are many more campaign turns ahead it will be interesting to see the campaign history develop.
If you are interested in the most recent campaign turn, covering the period 290 BC to 281 BC, you can find it here. If you are interested in additional background, visit the Empire Campaign Page.
Each year one of the locals organises the DBA Open over a couple of weekends. Now after a very busy few months I was really looking forward to a competition which I wasn’t organising. As part of my strategy of doing “something different” I opted for an army that was a little out of my regular selection. In particular I opted to use my Numidians.
The Numidians were originally formed as an ally for my old DBM Polybian Romans. But of course I long ago moved away the DBM and never adopted FOG – don’t get me started! Instead they were organised for DBA where they occasionally received an outing. With the DBA 3.0 army lists bringing in some minor changes a couple of additional stands needed to be painted. Recently, with the DBA Open coming up, I finally organised myself and a paint brush…
A couple of test games before the “Open” of course went terribly wrong so it was with a degree of trepidation that I headed to the local club on Sunday. If you are interested in reading of their stumbling performance I’ve posted a short summary of the Numidians at the DBA Open on my Ancients blog.
I’m very fortunate to have a number of regular or semi regular opponents and between them I can satisfy my very disparate gaming interests. For the last couple of weeks there has been a bit of a DBA theme to my gaming.
Now I know that DBA is not for everyone. However, one of the real advantages, at least to me, is the ability to field a range of different armies and engage in games between historical or near historical opponents. What is even better is that even in a short evening gaming slot, sometimes only of two hours, defeat in the first game can be replaced with victory in the next. It all combines for a relaxed evening. Indeed, a series of four recent evenings, over the last couple of weeks, was a great reminder of these advantages.
Some of the games have been hilarious encounters, especially those involving my recently renovated Post-Mongol Samurai.
The army was originally built for DBR and portions occasionally used for DBA. However, with a serious lack of opponents locally for DBR I felt it time to rebase a portion of the army to make it more usable for DBA. This included some options that aren’t for me typical.
Above, a seated commander looks on as the town militia advances. These are one of several options in the list. It’s hard to take an army with a seated commander, who is actually unable to initiate combat, too seriously. The horde, often fielded in DBR as “filler” now even get to fight, sometimes with determination!
But of course it wasn’t all to do with things Japanese, as the photo of Andrew’s and Robin’s Early Mycenaeans below indicates. This was one of several armies being used recently.
Interested in some additional photos? A small selection, covering several of my recent DBA gaming evenings, can be found here. Of course you feel inclined to play some DBA drop me a note, or considering joining in one of the local DBA events coming up.
Over the weekend several locals and and four visitors gathered for a DBA competition held as part of the larger Conquest convention. As always I’m appreciative of all the organising that goes on behind the scene. Organising venues, gathering registration fees, organising prizes and the setup and take down of all the tables.
Generally the games being played at Conquest were the various fantasy and science fiction systems. I believe DBA was the only historical competition at the venue, attracting a number of visitors. Even more surprising was the lack of demonstration games, usually a feature of Conquest. Likely all a result of the change of venue and reduced space.
From a DBA perspective the event was a success, at least based on player feedback. A solid ten players turned up for the first day competition that comprised six rounds of games. I must say I rather enjoy the splitting of the day into an Ancient theme followed by a Dark Age and Medieval theme as it encourages a greater mix of armies.
The second day comprised a three rounds Big Battle DBA competition. This too seemed successful though it attracted eight players rather than the previous ten. This format was a bit of an experiment, yet proved popular with all the participants.
A few photos of the DBA events, including some of the excellently presented armies can be found here.