Category Archives: Medieval

Gaming the Sengoku Jidai Period

The Sengoku Jidai period, which roughly ran from 1467 AD to around 1616 AD is a fascinating period in Japanese history marked by social upheaval, political intrigue and near-constant military conflict. Colourful and massive armies clashed across the country in a series of campaigns. It seems ideal to represent in the table.

Originally I built my own Japanese, mostly purchased second hand, for use with my preferred Renaissance rule set DBR. Typically DBR is used for large games on large tables. As a result in all that time I have used the army with the DBR rule set I have only managed a couple of games against other Japanese armies. Something was missing. Over recent months a regular opponent and I have been engaged in a series of Sengoku Jidai encounters using DBA. DBA of course is based around small armies and short games. The armies were now out on the table and providing excellent games in our mid-week gaming slot. Even more interestingly these smaller games have had considerable variety, more so than the large games which tended to use all my miniatures.

In part this variety is due to the options in the DBA army lists. The armies have a core of standard troops which is varied by yari armed ashigaru, various town or Ikko Ikki militias, or the warlike Sohei warrior monks. In addition unusual options such as command posts, dismounted generals and bodyguards, as well as cavalry supported by dismounted followers, can be fielded. As a result, assuming players make the most of the options, considerable variety between games can be achieved.

Now I know that DBA is not for everyone. However, the ability to fight battles between historical enemies with a pleasant opponent provides, for me, an enjoyable gaming experience – especially when time is limited. Last night additional variety was introduced when another player visited and fielded a Yi Dynasty Korean Army. Here was another seldom seen army and yet again DBA produced an excellent evening of gaming. A few photos of this game can be found here.

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Slingshot 296

It has been two weeks since the latest copy of the Society of Ancients journal “Slingshot” arrived in my mailbox. After a series of editors, along with a series of publication delays, the current editor and his team seem to be getting the publication back on track with one journal being published every two months. I take my hat off to these stalwarts that pour so much time into the society.

IMG_0023.JPG The latest journal has a focus on the Society’s “Battle Day”, with several reports on one battle refought with different rulesets. The Battle Day is a Society meeting held each March where players gather to refight an Ancient or Medieval battle with different rulesets supported by one or more guest speakers. On one hand I find these post battle reports fascinating, while on the other hard going as the rules discussed are not always familiar to me. The authors of course try and explain the rules, but throw in a battle I’m not familiar with and I need to concentrate to understand the dynamics of each game and how they replicate, or not the battle in question. This time the battle was Montaperti. I should be on more solid ground next year when the Battle Day will cover Hydaspes…

Battle day reports aside there were two other articles that caught my interest.

First, was that by Justin Swanton and comprised eleven pages with illustrations and solid references. In his article Mr Swanton explored the Macedonian cavalry wedge using historical textural references across five battles. He then explored the dynamics through theory and scale diagrams. An interesting article especially as I’m catching up on painting some long overdue Greeks and Macedonians at the moment.

The second was that by Richard Taylor who in this issue completed his four part series on wargaming. In this article he looked at troop classifications, units and victory in various wargames rules. We all have some views on rules, Mr Taylor provided some considered thoughts which I suspect would provide most wargamers with some points to ponder.

All up, an interesting issue.