A Weekend of DBA

It has been several months since I’ve played in any form of “competition” and a year since I’ve played in a competition spread over two day weekend. However, last weekend I headed down to Conquest, an annual convention held here in Christchurch, for a weekend of gaming. These days I really don’t cope well with “serious” gamers. You know those people that argue over every point and have the social skills of a bulldog. I just don’t enjoy such games. Its probably the reason that I organise much of my gaming around social events at the end of the week or scenarios developed using various systems these days.

However I do enjoy DBA. The games are short and the players I generally find using the rules are relaxed. There is little focus on players fine tuning their armies for the perfect tournament play. This year’s DBA competition comprised three different sections which required armies to be changed which resulted in increased variety.

As to the number of games played, well over the course of the two days I managed six DBA games and three BBDBA games against six different players while using three different armies.

Each game provided plenty of challenges mixed with the tension of problems to solve and dice that wouldn’t behave – an excellent outcome! A short summary of the format, the results and a few photos can be found here.


Forming Armies for Modern Spearhead

Over the last week or so I thought it time I wrote a couple of short articles on some Cold War gaming topics. Specifically on forming brigade sized formations for use with Modern Spearhead and the Scenario Generation System.

Most of my gaming occurs during an evening time slot and over the years we have played a large number of Spearhead and Modern Spearhead games. As such the scenario system is designed to produced reinforced brigade actions playable in an evening. However, it’s often difficult to know where to start when organising a suitable army.

In a previous post I outlined a sample Soviet list so in the latest two posts I look at NATO armies. First up was the Cold War French drawing elements from a French Armoured Division. More recently I’ve considered a West German Panzer Grenadier Brigade. In each article I provide a brief outline and both a Defend List and an Attack List for use with the Scenario Generation System.

Hopefully some of you will find something of interest in either or both articles. They may even encourage you to get those models out…

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.

On Campaign with the Count of Nassau

I’m very fortunate with my wargaming. Yes, it’s true and every so often it’s worth reminding myself of that. I’ve been playing Volley & Bayonet since 1994 when the first edition came out. Despite playing the rules for 23 years now the rules keep producing outstanding games. Partly that is because there is a such a pleasant group to play against locally. However there are other reasons, including the obvious – the rules are just really good!

In the last few weeks I’ve played a couple of outstanding Napoleonic encounters, while just a week ago a challenging American Civil War battle with a completely different feel. Then, last night I was able to try another sub-period, in particular a Marlburian game. Above, Dutch infantry advance against the French during the game.

So what is different? Well, in the Marlburian period the infantry are slow, musket fire is poor and artillery is moved by civilians. A far cry from the Seven Years War never mind the Napoleonic or American Civil Wars. The basic rules are of course the same, so the mechanics are familiar. However, each sub-period has several small differences and these transform the game. 

These much to be said for wargaming the black powder era and I just can’t go past Volley & Bayonet. If you are interested in our latest game have a look at a series of photos which can be found here.

Empire: 280 BC to 271 BC

Our Ancients campaign continues with another turn complete, this time covering the period 280 BC to 271 BC. I’m pleased with the changes to the mechanics and the support a number of locals are providing. This turn for example we have had five people involved in the games with a bit of a lottery on which armies you end up commanding. Everyone seems to be enjoying the context of the games than any focus on world conquest.

All the playing states are suffering a mix of success and setback which is adding to overall interest. Pyrrhus, who is currently King of Macedonian, is under particular pressure. Despite this after two desperate battles he still controls his Macedonian throne, just. Meanwhile while Rome and Carthage are locked in combat Seleucus was last seen campaigning somewhere in Bactria.

If you are interested you can find a full summary here.