DBA Gaming and Military History-By Musashi

Hurricon 2010 BBDBA Gaugamela

I attended Hurricon in Orlando, Florida on Saturday September 25th. I couldn’t attend on Friday or Sunday so I had to pack all of my DBA gaming into that one day!

I will put up several posts about the gaming that day, but first up is the 9am event The Battle of Gaugamela put on by Don Harting. I had a super time with this DBA Big Battle, meeting several new people!

Here was the placard on our table for the battle and the official word on the event:

“Alexander the Great vs. Darius III and the Persian horde. The battle that sealed the fate of the Persian empire was a near loss for Alexander. Come learn BDA with some of the best, or warm up for the tournaments. 4 BBDBA commands per side. De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA). 8 players.”

As you can see from the card placed on the gaming table, no experience necessary. We wound up with 10 people playing. This is an excellent way to introduce new gamers to all the goodness of DBA in a large-scale format. There were ample units to allow multiple commands. I believe Don’s event wound up introducing DBA to at least 5 people that day. Even if it were for only that reason, the game was a huge success! Of course, it accomplished more than simply act as an introduction. Don had special battle specific rules which really added a tangible flavor to the game. The special scenario rules helped the participants really feel the difference between an Alexander the Great led army and the Persian Horde under Darius.

I thanked Don Harting for hosting this event but I will say it again here. His hard work on our behalf was fully appreciated based on the robust conversations, laughs and fun tactical decisions to be had.

I will include a number of photos from the event. Rich Gause acted as the glorious despot Darius, facing off against Tony Aguilar who put on a mean impersonation of Alexander.

I decided to join the Greeks and aligned myself with Tony. Acting as his functionary on his right flank, I offered proskynesis but was rebuffed. That Persian supplication later adopted by Alexander would not come until 327bc. This was The Battle of Gaugamela fought in 331. I had hastily jumped the gun in my desire to shower my living God commander with kisses (or what have you). Besides, it would have scared off the new people.

I will post the pictures and in most cases, add a comment or two below each picture. As always, click on each to enlarge! Enjoy!

The combatants exchange pleasantries

Historically before the battle began, Darius ordered the battlefield stripped of bushes and vegetation so his Indian satrapy chariots would be at their optimal effectiveness. When I first came upon our pretend battlefield, I asked Don what the terrain represented. The extreme flanks had rough on one side and gentle hills on the other. The asundry lichen style flocking strewn about the table, was there simply for eye appeal. Still, I was sorely tempted to use the Stanislavski acting method and really get into the mood by clearing the table of this detritus as Darius had done. It turns out my impulse was appropriately insatiate; I wound up playing on the Greek side of things. No point in doing cigarette butt police duty for those barbarians!

Above is the battle before we received our special BBDBA scenario rules. The special rules and basic background to the battle were nicely formatted and provided to us by Don. I found that extra effort quite worthwhile as the new players were present early enough to avail themselves of this playing aid.

Some of the Persian Horde

Historically, the Greeks were massively outnumbered. This not small detail was present on our tabletop effort as well. The sheer numbers of units the Persians had access to was as terrifying from a DBA players perspective as it no doubt was to the actual Greeks in 331bc. Boy, those guys must have really trusted in their phalanx and their commander! It turned out that my own trepidation was allayed in a similar way due to the competence of our wannabe Alexander, Tony Aguilar! Tony wound up feeding me command pips at critical junctures throughout the game, with nary a concern for the judiciousness of how I would use them.

Some of the Good Guys (Macedonians)

The Macedonian Phalanx was famous for good reason. See my Vodpod videos on the top right of my blog for a glimpse into the power of the porcupine!

Left to Right: Ron, Carlos, Webb, Rich (Darius) and Neil

All of the Persians , except Rich Gause, were staffed by uncertain generals, either being new to DBA or having been away for a long while. Rich acted as Darius would. He gave royal “suggestions” while staying out the fray directly. He retired to his tent of debauchery several times. Rumors were flying regarding his flagrant use of the word “harem”.

Darius..err...Rich, decrees the best way to demolish the Greeks

Alexander the Great...err...Tony, flanked by two of his trusted generals

Pictured above is Dave Blackmon at top, Tony in the middle and I believe the fine gentleman on the bottom is named Ron. My apologies if my memory isn’t correct. He took control of our important left flank while I was on the extreme right flank. There were not abundant reasons to interact that far down the battle line. Just like in a real battle, my theater of operation occupied my time and energy with scant knowledge of how the battle was progressing elsewhere!

Some of My Persian Antagonists

Neil (in Maroon shirt) was a very friendly fellow and a quick DBA study!

Neil was a new face to the DBA scene and warmly welcomed. His units and mine were faced off against each other and God Bless his heart, he kept asking me how to go about defeating me. I thought my advice was well founded but their Darius doppelgänger, Rich sensed danger at every turn and never failed to materialize at the moment I had just about convinced Neil of the value of my opinion lol. All in good fun!

The Battle as I saw it---Lots of Persians Coming!

How a well-dressed nonplussed Greek force should look!

Persian Close-Up: Lions, Tigers and Bears,Oh My!

The Battle Lines Are Inching Forward--Literally!

The Persian Right Flank Is Feeling Froggy. It jumps forward first!

The In Picture Caption Says It All!

The Persian Center Ponders

Persian Right Flank Advances Confidently!

The Macedonians Seem Unimpressed By The Charge Of The Light Brigade!

Alexander (Tony) Holding Court

In the picture above, you see on the far left, Max. Max was another newbie to DBA but not to gaming. He was at Hurricon for other purposes but became seduced by the elegant simplicity of DBA and the obvious fun the DBA group was having! The young man on the far right, alas, his name escapes me. He was someone’s son there. We shared a few laughs during my photo safari. I subsequently retired to my right flank command to check on my troops!

They All Seem A Tad Casually Dressed, for Carnage, Don't You Think?

You can see Don Harting in this picture at the head of the table. I had never met Don, but his reputation of being the consummate gentleman preceded him. I was not disappointed. I greatly enjoyed his company and advice throughout! Don reminds me of the best of British Military Leadership–Belligerent actions, politely adjudicated with a flair and style not seen elsewhere.

Guagamela spelled incorrectly on purpose for this occasion lol

The Evil Empire (Persians) Advance On My Position!

The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side Of The Table!

The Persian Light Horse Attack Was Repulsed, But Only Barely! Gasps Were Heard Even Down On My End Of The Table!

The Persian Threat Materializes! Brace Yourselves Boys!

My Big Claim To Fame-My Light Horse Defeated One Of His Scythed Chariots!

I’m missing pictures of the actual action which ensued as I was busy dying. Actually, it turned out that the Persians had concentrated a large number of their superior troops to my flank to try to turn the tide there. Oddly enough, our plan was the opposite. I was basically to be a holding action, refused flank or whatever you’d like to call it. The only problem is that their idea was a tad faster than our idea. My econo-sized line of troops faced down two waves of enemies. The first wave consisted of Light Horse and Scythed Chariots. The second wave pushed up to fill the gaps, consisting of the finest the Persians had to offer; the mighty immortal spearmen! Neil also had command of some superior bowmen who caused me no little bits of grief. I did acquit myself honorably under the circumstances.

I won several combats only to find that due to his superior nature all around, the victories were Pyrrhic and short-lived. Several turns later, my command succumbed and indeed it did seem proskynesis was in my immediate future, only it was to Darius to whom I would have to prostrate myself.

The game lasted longer than allowed us to complete it. Despite my command break, the rest of the board shook out pretty even so everyone agreed it was too close to call and left it at that. Everyone had a great time, including myself and the best part again was meeting so many nice new people interested in DBA!

Next post I will focus on the ‘The Fall of Rome’ DBA Tourney 15mm DBA Theme Tournament
put on graciously by Marty Schmidt. Stay tuned!


3 responses

  1. max

    It always seems i have the funnyiest expressions in pictures not taken by myself.

    I enjoyed the report Mushashi, great work. If you ever find yourself open for a game in orlando or on my side of the state, give me a shout!

    (also, any tips on successor army building, finding a copy of the rulebook, and base suppliers would be most appreciative!)

    oh, and your blog is bookmarked!

    – Max

    September 29, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    • Thanks Max!
      The Alexandrian Successor type armies are considered powerful because of their combined arms approach, but does take some experience to get used to integrating all of the parts. It is a good way to learn about a lot of different unit types. The rulebook is almost out of print. I suggest just posting on Fanaticus about where to obtain it. Where to get bases is easy. The best place in my opinion is Litko: http://www.litkoaero.com/
      I like the 3mm wood bases from him, and I like to use the flexible metal pre-cut stick on bottoms for them, and line my carrying case with magnetic strip. But of course you can try different stuff and see what works for you.

      September 30, 2010 at 12:43 am

      • max

        Thanks for the link Musashi. I’ll post on fanaticus about getting a copy of the rules, but dave on FADBAG is apparently gonna send me a digital copy to read.

        Can’t wait for your report on the tournament.

        September 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s