Category Archives: DBA

Holiday Gaming

The Christmas and New Year holiday season is almost over for me as I soon head back to work. From a wargaming perspective it has provided a great opportunity to play a good number of 15mm Ancient and Medieval games against by son using the DBA rules.

My son, visiting from out of town, decided to bring three DBA armies that he has repainted or completed this year. They were Classical Indian, Seleucid and Wars of the Roses English. The first two contain veteran miniatures with the Indians being a gift from me when he was eight years old, his first army. Given they have been in service for some 27 years, and still providing enjoyment, it seems to have been one of the better gifts. His Seleucids were collected a few years later when he was building his own armies. His Wars of the Roses army was a recent purchase.

As to the games we managed 18 DBA games, all of which were between historical or near historical opponents.

His Indians were deployed twice against my own Seleucids, one game being shown above. The Indians secured victory twice. Stepping back in time we would also see Alexander the Great facing the Indians in two battles, but with Alexander and Porus achieving one victory each.

My son’s Seleucids would likewise face two opponents across four games. First the Polybian Romans secured a hard fought victory, only to be driven out of Asia minor in the second. Now Antiochus turned his attention to the Celts defeating the Galatians in a battle that was not as one sided as one would expect. Finally, the Romans reappeared and despite having a cunning plan, as Romans always should, suffered another defeat. But being Roman another army can be formed I’m sure.

Above and below, the Romans face the Seleucids. My son’s Seleucids are a mix of old Tabletop Miniatures once manufactured under license in New Zealand and Essex. The Romans are all from my own collection and a mix of Essex with some variation provided by selected Museum Miniatures.

The major on-going conflict was however Medieval. Over several evenings, and one afternoon, we played no less than ten Wars of the Roses engagements. Experimenting with different troop options and tactics the Lancastrians and Yorkists fought across England in what can be only be described as a determined campaign to replace the rightful king with a Yorkist usurper. Below, one of the many battles.

With the armies having a similar composition, but infrequently the same, it was the terrain and cunning that could provide even a minor advantage. A short summary of the first six games can be found here.

Without doubt a wonderful way to spend the holiday evenings. There is, in my view, much to recommend DBA.

Ancients in Retrospect

Of course with the year coming to an end it’s time for reflections. Ancient and Medieval gaming is something of staple for me with games played mostly in our Tuesday gaming slot. I use the De Bellis Antiquitatis, more commonly known as DBA. Over the year all manner of games have been played utilising a range of armies,. Yes, I’m fortunate to live in New Zealand where COVID-19 is currently eradicated in the community, but for a couple of months earlier in the year games had to be played remotely.

That said these days I don’t generally post long reports of games, time being something of a premium. Instead they tend to be summarised by a few photos on Twitter. However, last Tuesday’s game involved a couple of armies which haven’t been out for a while. In particular a couple couple of games using chariots. As a result I felt it required a little more focus. If you are interested a short summary of last week’s games can be found here.

The rest of this year’s DBA games have utilised a range of armies. A good number have been Punic Wars engagements interspersed with various battles between Rome and the Seleucids. One of my favourites however was a series between Rome and the Gauls, played remotely, which covered the campaigns of Gracchus, Flaccus & Maximus in Cisalpine Gaul.

In addition there have been a good number of Medieval engagements. While most have involved European armies we have also looked to the east. These include regular encounters in the Sengoku Jidai Period and even some campaigning in Sumatra. Finally, in a far flung corner of the world, and certainly far from Europe, we have managed some Maori inter-iwi clashes including as Te Kawau Strikes North.

All up a most enjoyable year of Ancient and Medieval gaming, despite the year being defined by the pandemic. While I’m sure I will manage some additional DBA games before New Year’s Eve – assuming their isn’t another breach of our border quarantine systems. Either way I find myself contemplating further classical texts to be read, future games to be played and of course additional armies to be built. I think that’s a good measure of success.

Gaming in a Pandemic

Like many in the world the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed my regular gaming. Gone were the weekly DBA gaming evenings and the larger Friday evening games and multiplayer events. But what did I replace my evening games with during our very restricted lockdown?

Well like many my painting increased and more units marched off the painting table into my various armies. However, one of the most interesting aspects was our Friday evening virtual wargame video meetings. Friends around the New Zealand, and from overseas, joined to discuss painting projects, books as well other wargame subjects. Some of my favourite topics were the in-depth presentations.

These included the history of wargaming in France, which looked at developments from the 19th Century, to the 1980s – truely fascinating! This was followed by the equally fascinating presentation on depiction of World War II in French cartoons, all published in 1944 and 1945. Finally, there was most interesting look at the Battle of Bir Hakeim drawing on French and German sources which will soon be published in France by the presenter, a professional historian.

Anyway, feedback from those joining the video conferences each week was that they were all very successful.

In addition to these virtual meetings my son and I played a number of DBA games during the lockdown using Skype. Starting as something of an experiment we quickly found the games worked well, at least for experienced players. A summary of some of these games can be found here.

Finally, I hosted a multiplayer Spearhead game that ran over several weeks. Involving nine players from around the country it provided a rather unique gaming experience. If you are interested in reading more about the game you can find a report here.

All these initiatives provided a little distraction in what is a very challenging time. Fortunately I live in New Zealand, and with the situation improving here finally I find my gaming also returning to normal. However, for those readers still in the thick of the pandemic I hope that your hobby is providing you with something of a distraction, even if friends aren’t catching up in person. Most importantly I hope you can enjoy your hobby without compromising your safety.

DBA Excursions

As many readers know I enjoy the DBA rules and as such they are a staple of my normal week of gaming. For me they provide a great opportunity to move some miniatures around the table, indulge in my interest in Ancient and Medieval wargaming and equally importantly, allow me to forget about some of the other challenges of my week.

The Christmas period has provided an even greater opportunity to play some DBA games often with our son but also with other locals. Over the last week we have found ourselves immersed in the Punic Wars, fighting civil wars in Japan, campaigning in the New World and exploring Dark Age Briton. A true kaleidoscope of warfare.

However, we have also been campaigning in South East Asia. In particular the Sultan of Malacca opened up a new campaign against Sumatra. While recording all these engagements is impossible a few photos and a report of a recent action in the steaming coastline of Sumatra can be found here.

Rolling off the Painting Table

Over July and early August my painting table has had a degree of focus as two DBA armies have progressed from the lead pile to the gaming table. It has been a satisfying experience watching the figures progress. Unlike some wargamers, who produced masses of figures the output of my painting table is limited. I am easily distracted by new projects in the periods I am interested in, so will not too freely admit how long some of the figures have been waiting, though I will admit to several years.

The first project was the Gauls. These figures are all Corvus Belli and stockpiled a few years back. Admittedly the army isn’t complete, as some additional mounted options are still needed to make the army fully complete. However, sufficient have been finished for their first games.

Above, a portion of the Gauls deployed for their first battle while below they can be seen engaged against Carthaginians in their second.

Next to move across the table were the Seleucids. I already have sufficient miniatures for several Successor armies and regular readers will have seen them on my site before. However, some of the speciality units for the Seleucids had not been completed.

These new elements finally allowed the Later Seleucids to finally be fielded. The figures are mostly Tin Soldier but some stands have utilised Xyston, particularly Xyston levy archers and Galatians. Generally they have mixed well. Above the Seleucid II/19c army arrayed while below, two of the recently completed Tin Soldier Seleucid heavy cavalry.

In addition I have been rebasing my Renaissance Sumatrans. Based for DBR the majority of the foot were based three per base, while in DBA they should be four per base. Given the number of stands required this was a significant project, but once completed the army can be used for DBR, DBA and BBDBA.

Above a portion of the army while below an extra artillery stand, more suitable for the late 15th Century. These figures are all from Eureka Miniatures range.

Having three months ago moved house, and with the games room out of action, my painting table has also doubled as the wargames table, overplayed with a 60cm square DBA table. This has certainly been useful and despite a lack of space our games have been stirring affairs. I have posted some brief reports of the last couple of DBA games on my Ancients site. Specifically Rise of the Celts, Seleucid Adventures and Malaccan Mayhem.

The next painting project is now being prepared and will soon take its position on the painting table. Before it gets underway however I will turn my attention to finally sorting out my wargames room. But that can wait for another post…