DBA Gaming and Military History-By Musashi

Author Archive

Pre-Samurai Japanese III/7 a and b

I have almost finished my Pre-Samurai Japanese army using the Khurasan Figure range. I really love the figures and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy playing the army since I enjoy the history of the period so much!

I have the “a” list completed, except for final flocking efforts\ground effects. The B list still has one more Cav unit to paint, which I need to do before this weekend. It’s going to be close lol.

Here are some pictures:

Daisen Kofun Camp--My wife Yukiko made this for me!


General Unit--The Banner reads,"Yamasaki"
















Artillery Piece for the "b" sublist. Imported from China/Korea


John Maddrell’s Bee Adventure

I received a call from a guy in Clearwater who heard I sometimes do bee removals. I usually won’t bother with it unless the bees are fairly easy to get at. This one was in a birdhouse for some months and fairly accessible so I decided to have a go at transplanting the bees from their bird house home to a more official beehive residence. John had expressed an interest to come see my bees, so I thought this might be a fun adventure. My wife Yukiko came along to do some picture taking as well. You can click on each picture to enlarge it.

The Homeowner, his son, John and I survey the problem. The bees were amazingly calm!

Those aren't birds who have moved in!

John was going to bring sandals. I gave him more appropriate boots.

I give John his first safety briefing. He seems unsure.

The new beekeeper and his gear.

These are special beekeeping gloves. They are special because they keep you from having lots of pain later. ūüėČ

The homeowner's son decided he wanted to get involved. Luckily I bought along an extra suit for him too.

One of their neighbors drove by and did a serious double-take. They had no idea what to make of this scene.

Apollo 13? The 3 Beekeeper Stooges? The captions options are endless here. John is the short one on the right! lol

Working the problem. How to get the birdhouse off of the metal pole? It was screwed on from inside and out!

After a meeting of the minds, it is decided to use a power hacksaw to cut the metal pole under the birdhouse to remove it so we can work opening it!

Now you see it......

Now you don't!

Some very confused bees. Where did my house go?

A few tugs with a prybar and voila.....honeycomb!

Is that cool or what?

Time for some surgery. You have to cut the honeycomb in pieces and transplant to new frames to convert this hive to a standard beehive box. It's a sticky hot job with stinging bees all around!

The bees were amazingly calm and nice. The nicest bees I've ever worked with in fact!

But I still wouldn't recommend trying this without a proper beesuit!

It was a true 3 man project, everyone pitched in.

This is how you do it.

John showed no fear! A born beekeeper.

Some of the pieces of honeycomb were huge!


We didn’t get any pictures of the finished product. I have to leave the new bee hive boxes in place to collect stragglers over the next few days. In a couple of days I will go back to pick up the beehive. I will take some pictures of the finished beehive then and post them here.

Til then….



One of the 3 beekeeping amigo’s from that day, Adi, the homeowners’s son, sent me this photo of the mostly finished beehive. We put it back in the original spot of the birdhouse.¬† I still need to take the beehive away to my apiary.

The Bees will move in completely in a few days.

28mm Norse Viking Painting Begun DBA III/40a

I dusted off my 28mm Viking Army last night. I still firmly believe that DBA is best played with 25/28mm figures. It is the beauty of the game that you can play a game with so few elements (12) and therefore, quite an insignificant number of total figures to field an army. It is this ability to put together many armies that has kept us all interested for so long. I find 28’s easier to paint. Many people say they’re worried their painting has to be¬† up to a better level and therefore scares them to paint. I say hooey on that!

I’m a long way from even a better than average painter. 28’s are simply easier to paint even for us hacker types. I suppose in the end, I want to paint them well enough to be proud to field them, but in the end I want to play with these figures not just look at them.

I happen to have at least enough of these 28mm Viking figures to make 3 DBA armies. I only have blade type elements. I think I purchased them from a dealer at Historicon in 1994. I have no idea what manufacturer. Maybe someone else knows? I’d love to know!

I just started this evening. I think I will work on one stand at a time at first, and then maybe I’ll move to two stands at a time after that.

Here are a  couple of pics of my start. They are in varying states of completion:

They are fearsome looking aren't they?

By Odin, I will chop off your head!

This one is totally unrelated, but here is one of my beautiful wife Yukiko and one of our cats, Taiyo, who like me is super in love with her:

Yukiko and Taiyo

Ok, back to wargaming lol.

There are some absolutely wonderful 28mm Figures out there, and more specifically some gorgeous 28mm Vikings. I will probably order a few for the command stand for this DBA I will be painting. I have figures which work well for a command stand but one or two of these super from Gripping Beast figures might make their way into the army:

The DBA III/40a list can be 12 elements of blade, which is what I’m going to do (mainly because that’s what I own). It is the only sublist of Vikings that is an aggression of 4! The years listed are 790-849AD. This is handy also to me as I love the story of Ragnar LodBrok. Really fun story so feel free to click on the link there. It will take you to a brief Wiki article.

Gripping Beast makes a Ragnar figure, which is the one I might order to stick in my army:

Gripping Beast's Ragnar Lodbrok

Of course I can’t paint to that level, but I’m sure I could make it look good enough, again, for me to be proud to field on our DBA table.

The other main thing that has me interested in playing with 28mm’s for DBA is the 28mm DBA crowd has just ignored the 2.2 rule Phil put in reducing the size of the playing board. For the first versions of the game, a 48″ board was called for. This goes back to my assertion that WADBAG has it right; the 15mm DBA board size should be 30″, NOT 24″. I am going to play in 30″ boards whenever I can when playing 15mm. But another solution is to paint and play with 28mm and just use the standard 48″ board.

The larger scale DBA’ers just ignored the reduced size that came up in the new DBA version and I think the 15mm crowd should just do the same with the too small 24″ board!


Late Imperial Roman II/78b vs Alan II/58

My second game of the Fall of Rome themed event at Hurricon 2010 was against Rob Jones. I was still manning the Late Imperial Roman (this was before my Roman Army boycott, mind you) vs Rob’s Alani.¬†¬†¬†

Rob Jones --Looking Friendly and Confident

¬†¬†The important part to start off with is my previously mentioned blunder. I did not have an army painted¬†for this event ready to go so I wound up borrowing this Late Imperial Roman army from Marty Schmidt. When you’re borrowing armies, you are likely not that familiar with them. I do not offer it up as an excuse, I mention it because I could have fielded my Skythian army and just called them Alan. There are 4 armies in DBA that can be composed of¬†12LH¬†units and Alan is one of them. Rob didn’t have that mix, as most wouldn’t, but since my Skythian army is 12LH, then I could have called them Alan.¬†¬†¬†

I’m normally not a fan of using one army for double duty–that is, just calling them something different. In this case it¬†not only, would have been ok, I have no plans to paint another army for Alan. I am purposefully going to use my Skythian army. They would look¬†identical anyway. They are from the same basic area of the world. They are also very close in¬†the military purpose for their LH units. Here is a picture showing the close proximity:¬†¬†¬†

Alani and Skythians Are Just North of Modern Day Turkey

I know I’ve beaten that horse to death (har¬†har), but it does have some bearing on this battle report. As usual with my posts, the comments on each picture are below each.¬†¬†¬†

Early In The Game

The bearing it has on this game is the fact that as Rob was defender and he chose to have a nice open board to favor his superior number of mounted units. Had I been playing my Skythian/Alan army it would have proven a very interesting fluid battle.   

A lot of the value of taking pictures of your battles is to learn from things that in many cases, never occurred to you at the time. This is a perfect example of a faulty¬†conviction I had from the start of this battle. I saw he had a mobility advantage against me and for some reason allowed that fact to paralyze me into turtling up on my baseline. Like a lot of things in life, hindsight is 20/20, but still reviewing this battle and how it turned out is a very good lesson. Had I been more calm in my approach, I would have realized my Ax with¬†Psiloi support are more than enough to deal with his LH. I did not have to hide in my little patch of woods. I mean it’s dumb on so many levels. Would Rob ever have marched his LH into the woods to fight me? Of course not. There is zero reason to camp a piece of bad going unless it has a strategic value on the battlefield. In this regard, it reminds me of Phil Barker’s advice in the rulebook that the more historical you move your units the better off you will be.¬†¬†¬†

I think many gamers are as guilty as I am in this regard. I get so caught up in the minutiae¬†of the geometric ZOC’s, and movement distances and combat factors, that I lose sight of the big tactical picture.¬†Just because someone has a movement advantage on you does not mean they are going to roll enough pips to do anything about it.


Tony Aguilar was sitting next to me this game, playing his own round and he looked over at what I was doing. He later ribbed me about sitting on my baseline not moving. Boy was he right!  About two turns into this game, I realized of course how idiotic my idea was. Once I got it in my head he would dominate me in the open, I never considered anything else. Target fixation is not good soldier!   


¬†You can see here, that Rob is doing exactly what he should do; moving forward in good order. At this point, I had realized the folly in sitting still. But there wasn’t¬†much I could do about it.¬†As he clearly wouldn’t run LH into woods to fight my Ax…duh…he then attacked my open flank. To top it off, he was showing restraint due to the fact that I had at least successfully place my Knights opposite his blade. When you look at the matchups in this light, you can see that me moving forward to contact would have made a lot more sense. While he has a mobility advantage, I have a few Quick Kills I could have pressed to my advantage. Also, I’m not mobility crippled either. I have a fair amount of mounted as well.¬†¬†

¬†Now that I’m sitting there, and realize I shouldn’t be sitting there, there still isn’t much I can do. I didn’t roll high pips, so I just moved one of my Psiloi over to my exposed flank and was running him over like mad hoping he’d make it in time!¬†¬†

¬†I find it amusing now, but it wasn’t so amusing at the time, that I have my Ax on my right flank sitting in the pretty protection of the rough yet the gentle hill in my backfield is being used by my enemy. The¬†only answer I have for¬†this is my intrepid Psiloi! Rob stopped short of ZOC’ing me. I can’t remember if he meant to stay out of ZOC range or if he just didn’t have the movement but at any rate….¬†¬†

¬†A huge temporary help to me was not having my Cav General or LH units ZOC’d. It allowed me, since I rolled high pips to semi-rescue my exposed flank. I mean I’m still in deep doo-doo, but I have a prayer now. You can see in the above picture that my Ps moved over to ZOC his LH, one of my LH did the same and in case he recoiled me, my LH and Cav General was sitting there to support next turn. I also used my last pip to charge my main line forward. I bet Rob was a tad shocked that I finally got off my duff. As you can see he didn’t move his LH up on my right flank, so I took that as my best opportunity to rush forward. As I was only moving at the rate of my blade, I wasn’t able to get into contact yet.¬†¬†

 A closer look at my gambit. My units are just short of contact, but the writing was on the wall and I had to do something and fast!  

¬†The way I remember it, he didn’t move¬†forward so I sent my LH up to join in battle, only to be promoted doubled and killed! Due to restricted geometry, I saw it was safe to move my Cav General onto my main battle line on the far left side. Still that LH loss wasn’t going to help anything lol.¬†¬†

 Here is the result of the combat which was joined. My leftmost Knight locked with his blade, which was a real downer since that was one of my Quick Kill opportunities and of course he blade might be able to close the door on me the next turn. My Kn vs his Kn (General) battle just to the right of that, saw me being pushed back, but as happens with Knights that actually helps me as his Kn General is now surrounded! An excellent chance for me to inflict some pain next turn.

My left most blade recoiled his mounted, who I think was a Knight as well.¬†I’m pretty sure I sighed with relief on that one. And the now lone LH facing my blades, I sent to fleeing! Run away little horsey, run away!¬†¬†

 A view of my most pressing problem. I checked and my Ps had one recoil of movement left before I fell off the earth.  

¬†This shows his LH having fled, but the ensuing combat against his surrounded Knight only resulted in him recoiling which didn’t help me a bit! He was able to bring up his other Knight to order his troops. I brought up one of my Ax so my right flank is looking even more secure.¬†¬†

¬†My¬†feeble left flank holds! Uh…just barely. You can see the Ps is pushed to the very edge of the world, but my LH showed some serious resolve and recoiled his LH giving me another breath of life.¬†¬†

¬†I’m enjoying one serious comeback here. You can see that in the middle my left most Knight is unopposed. That’s because his blade unit blew up! Yeah! That is my beloved Red Precision Casino Die on the table (from Kardwell Int’l) which you can read about at length in one of my other posts. My Cav General was recoiled, but that little bit of distance didn’t bother me one little bit!¬†¬†

 I rushed my Ps and LH forward  hoping for a miracle. The prayer went unanswered and both of my units were pushed back. Looking back at it, I should have spent every pip where I had an advantage, not trying to rescue a losing proposition.  

¬†You can see that die is NOT a nice red casino die. This would indicate it is Rob’s die and as you can plainly see, it is a 6 for Movement. The oracle is saying things that sound like the word, “Doom” but I refuse to listen.¬†¬†

 Rob surveys the world. With a 6 for movement, the world is his oyster.  

 He moved his LH forward, with my Ps precariously perched. He moved his other LH behind my General, thereby denying me the ability to recoil. He turned his LH around and joined up in line and attacked again.  

¬†I’m missing the picture of what happened during Rob’s combat, but you can see what did happen with my Cav General…It survived! I’m alive! Really at this point, no matter how the game turned out, I was ecstatic with the performance of my troops! It turned into one of those games where you simply couldn’t believe you were still alive and in some cases fighting back to the point you even entertain ideas of winning!¬† This picture above shows what I did in my turn. I ran my Cav General into his blade unit and turned my Kn to close the door on that same blade unit. I could have closed the door on his Knight facing my Kn, but I felt my Cav General needed all the help he could get!¬† In that I was completely wrong! Why?

I was so caught up in the moment, I forgot that his Knight I could have closed the door on is his General. He had been pressuring my general hot and heavy so I became fixated on saving my own versus going after his. Based on where we were at the time I turned my Knight to close the door on this blade with my Cav General fighting, I could have closed the door on HIS general!¬† It would have been a +4 to +4 even up battle. You mean I could have had an even die roll chance to kill his general and I didn’t take it? Akk….

See, this is why photo after after reviews are so nice to have. I didn’t even catch this until I started writing this review, and even then I had to come back in here and edit this thing because I didn’t catch it until just now.

This is exactly the sort of thing you don’t see many times until after you’re reviewing the pictures. Rob might have internally let out¬†a sigh of relief that I turned toward his blade, that I do not know. It’s how I would have felt. I was now playing the price for having turtled up at the beginning of the game. Still, it was absolutely amazing I was still chugging along!¬†¬†

¬†Akkk….I got a lock result!!! So in his turn Rob moved up his LH to not only prevent a recoil but to get the -1 against me! So I’m Cav Gen +4 minus 2 for overlaps so I’m a 2….He is blade vs cav so +3 but one overlap so he is a 2! Neither of us can recoil! Result? I win the combat! His blade is destroyed and his LH forced to recoil.¬†¬†

¬†So, my Cav General survived, he is down another unit. I don’t have a picture of it, but my Ps on my far left did get pushed off the board so I was also down another unit. Now, in my turn, I have several juicy opportunities. I have numbered my juicy opportunities. At the 1 position, I could move up my blade and close the door with my other blade. At position 2 I could move up my Ax on his LH and close the door with my other Ax. Two delicious looking close the door opportunities! At position 3, I could move my Cav General up and slide my Knight over to close the door there as well!¬†¬†

What do I roll for movement pips? A BIG FAT ONE! Arrgghhh!!!  

¬†Now this is a precision casino die people. I know the one is a good distribution as I’m using a precision die and using a dice cup. But still, I’m cursing the dice Gods loudly at this point! All those juicy opportunities¬†and I only get to do one action. All of my close the door prospects required a minimum roll of two. I needed to kill something and couldn’t. I didn’t get the last shot, but suffice it to say he decided to wrap my general up again and this time he went down.¬†¬†

But what a fight! What a magnificent stand for my Roman General! He did everything he could despite my poor initial decision. I was quite proud , even in the loss! It was easily the most glorious loss I’ve ever suffered. It was so good it has me rethinking my Roman Army Boycott! LOL¬†¬†

Thanks to Rob for a great game, it was great fun!

Roman Army Boycott

My last blog detailed my first game in the Fall of Rome tourney. Marty Schmidt loaned me a Late Imperial Roman army, at my request so I could participate.

The very next evening, safely ensconced in my couch, I turn on the T.V and what comes on? The epic film, Ben Hur. There is nothing like fielding a Roman army in a gaming event only to come home to this quote from Judah Ben Hur (played by Charleton Heston) to his childhood friend, now Roman Tribune, Messala,

No! I warn you! Rome is an affront to God! Rome is strangling my people and my country, the whole Earth! But not forever. I tell you the day Rome falls there will be a shout of freedom such as the world has never heard before!

Well that’s not good. Now I feel like a dork.

Trust be told, this anti-Roman sentiment has been manufactured for me by Hollywood. Despite the obvious implications of allowing my sense of history be skewed by Tinseltown, there is no getting around the fact that my two favorite moves of all time are:

1. Spartacus

2. Ben Hur

So you can see how I might be predisposed to thinking Rome was the bad guy. I mean I grew up with this stuff and ate and drank every line in both movies. It’s no wonder that a kid who just naturally gravitated toward little plastic army men would find these movies irresistible! In fact, when I think about it, when I asked my mom to buy me some of the treasure chests of plastic army men featured in the back of comic books, I would choose the ancient sets, not WWII or Civil War. Amazing how you are born with that natural proclivity and how persistent it remains to this day with my love affair with DBA!

Many times when you’re REALLY into something, you can’t imagine the rest of the world isn’t aware of the same. I’m always flabbergasted that DBA, with its small unit size, elegant tactics and ability to cross historical era’s with ease isn’t more popular. Of course I’m going to do my part however small to change that. The movies Ben Hur and Spartacus create the same sense of disbelief that more people aren’t as in love with them as I am. lol.

Recently these movies came up in casual conversation at my job and I was shocked to learned that most of the people around me, who are less than 30 years old, hadn’t ever even seen either Ben Hur or Spartacus! The lure of all of the cable channels, internet, and a busy life in general have left these classics to collect dust.

So to that end, check out my vodpod videos at the top right for a few scenes to remember them by or possibly (aghast) as your introduction to those cinematic gems!

So I hereby announce to the public and large and my own soul, I shall hereafter NOT ever play with any Roman Army in DBA! Let it be written! Let is be done!


Fall of Rome Themed Event at Hurricon-Ltr Imp Roman vs Gepid

There is a recent poll on Fanaticus polling people how many DBA gamers do they think are active players all over the world. I have the definitive answer: Enough to have fun! ( See Below )

The DBA Masses Assembled

The next event I attended on Saturday at Hurricon 2010 was the Fall of Rome graciously put on by Marty Schmidt (not pictured above). Here was the Hurricon announcement for it:

Session 5 (Sat 2pm-6pm)
‘The Fall of Rome’ DBA Tourney 15mm DBA Theme Tournament
GM: Marty Schmidt

The empire wanes. Pulled apart by ambitious generals and attacked by warrior tribes seeking to loot her past glories. Bring either Late Imperial or Patrician Romans (East or West) or one of their listed enemies.
Session 6 (Sat 8pm-12am)

I wasn’t able to finish painting the army I was going to field for this event, so Marty Schmidt was generous enough to loan me a Roman army. Yes, I was part of the evil empire. It turns out I did in fact have an army I could have fielded, I just didn’t realize it. My Skythian army can do identical duty as an all LH Alan Army (II/58). I really wish I had known this at the time, because I have decided to never play a Roman Army again. See my next Blog post, which will be about this reasoning.

First up is my full tilt boogie with Devin Gause. No relation to Rich Gause. It’s estimated, now that there are only 1,000 active DBA gamers in the world and two of them just coincidentally have the last name Gause. What are the odds? Ok, I’m kidding.

Standard operating procedure applies here. Pictures can be clicked on to enlarge, and comments for each are below the picture.

Don't Let The Gentle Look Fool You-Devin Gause is Crafty

If you blow up the picture above you can see that our game is already underway. Pictures are taken from my board edge. I took command of a Late Imperial Roman army -II/78b (3Cv-Gen, 2x4Kn, 2xLH, 3x4Bd, 2x4Ax, 2x2Ps). Devin had as his command, Gepid -II/71 (1x3Kn-Gen, 3x3Kn, 4x4Wb, 4x2Ps)

Sadly, I cannot remember who was attacker/defender. Clearly there was a rush for that patch of woods on my left. He has 4 Psiloi, but I have 2 Ax and 2Ps…so it looked to be a slugfest in the pine canopy. I rushed my general up there (Cav) to try to thwart his positioning and hoping to get a lame Psiloi in the open, as a lion attempts to do with a sick gazelle.

I had a bit of a frontage advantage because he was double ranked for his Warband. My largest advantage on a fairly open board was my 2 LH. One of my LH was on my extreme right to help prevent overlaps and it does get a quick kill against his KN. My other LH was completely free to roam at will.¬† I could have used the LH to help pin down his Psiloi with my Cav General but I wasn’t all that sure I really wanted to run my general out there at any rate. Plus, I have never actually attacked a camp before and wanted to see if my experience would be like so many others. Typically, people send their LH against the camp, only to see the horsey bounce off the camp over and over. As is often noted, the camp is more juicy when the enemy has already lost a couple of elements. Still, a good chance for me to try it out as he he nothing much that could stop me.

My sneaky opponent trudged forward, and despite blades statistical advantage over Warband, I admit the painted flesh, and war-cries of large hairy men, never fails to impress me! ūüėČ No, not like that!

My LH off to the races on the Left Flank

Another View of the Same

Feeding Pips Where Pips Warrant

The Black Forest Is Mine!

From here we will take a very brief trip into history and look at the Gepids just briefly. They were an East Germanic Gothic Tribe who were in place roughly from 250AD-560’sAD. Their first King was Fastida, and their last was Cunimund. Wiki has this brief, but interesting entry about the Gepids,

They reached the zenith of their power after 537, settling in the rich area around Belgrade. For a short time, in the city of Sirmium, Cunimund minted golden coins in it.[4] In 546 the Byzantine Empire allied themselves with the Lombards to expel the Gepids from this region. In 552 the Gepids suffered a disastrous defeat from Alboin at the Battle of Asfeld and were finally conquered by the Lombards in 567.

Alboin had a drinking-cup made from the skull of Cunimund, which occasioned his death later in Italy, at the hands of an assassin sent by Rosamund, Cunimond’s daughter.

Rosamund Gets Her Revenge!

Rosamund sounds like a real party girl. Surely there is some Puccini opera written about this episode. Talk about Drama! You make a drinking cup out of your defeated opponents skull and then wind up getting murdered by his daughter. Rosamund was a real piece of work. Here is a quick fun read about her here from Wiki: Rosamund

It’s little historical tidbits like that make DBA the fascinating game it is. You get the opportunity to learn parts of history you wouldn’t normally ever have an excuse to stumble across. I just love DBA lol.

Meanwhile back on the actual battlefield:

My LH Line Up For My 1st Ever Camp Attack! Charge!

Here goes nothing. The tension builds as I use the LH multi-move to get just out of the ZOC of the camp so I can assault it the next turn and sack that town! I couldn’t attack it outright since I used subsequent moves to get that far. I was more excited than I had any right to be about my next turn.

No More Pussyfooting--Both Armies Rush!

I don’t have pictures of the next couple of turns. Basically we both saw a fun bloody clash inches away, so both of us whipped our horses and ordered double time march orders for our foot soldiers. We closed the distance as the din of sheilds, lances, axes and arrows rattling filled the air. Before that though, my LH contacted the camp. As is always the case, as LH fighting a camp is +2 to the Denizens plus bonus puts the defenders at +3. It only takes a beat result, not a double for me to drive the defenders out and place my LH unit in the camp. What happens? This:


Really? Really? You’re kidding right? My first ever try turns out classic. I bounce right off the camp. It felt like Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone’s vault. A big build up with but a sigh for a finish. Oh well, buck up soldier, we will assault again next turn! I’m out of Command Range at this point though, so I’m to have to roll high to have a shot at it.

The Immediate Aftermath

A couple of turns have expired here and what you see above it the aftermath. On my left flank you can see that my General has closed the door on one of his Psiloi and killed it. His other Psiloi isn’t well placed to open a fixed annuity. His need for a High Value Term Life Insurance Policy is much more valuable at this point. Moving Left to Right, his double ranked Warband’s shrill war-cry did scare the pants off of my blade unit, and they promptly folded and were removed from the table. We are 1-1 at this point. That Warband quick kill ability on blade is vicious when it works, my a psychological standpoint on me at least! I was now plenty scared.

His Warband followed up impetuously, which put him in a nice position to possibly close the door on me next turn…akkk! Panic set in for me at this point. However there is a price to pay for being double ranked: a contracted frontage.

The next Blade vs Warband combat was a push so they locked in place. The next combat was Knight vs Knight and that saw me recoil, with his Knight following up.

I’m fuzzy now on how it happened and I didn’t get pictures of it, but one of his Knights died on my right flank. He moved his Knight General to counter my LH, but I was able to move my LH around his ZOC into a close the door position on his other Knight unit.

He had one more turn, which saw him roll poor pips and wasn’t able to take advantage of much that wasn’t already present. My next turn saw my LH try again to take the camp. Here is what happened:


Yep, I bounced off again. Obviously two turns of this, clearly my LH would have been better served helping turn a flank. Still it was fun trying and fun to feel everyone’s pain who has faced this classic outcome.

Wrap Up

I apologize for not having the intermediary moves pictures. This is just another view of the near end. What happened, was his Psiloi on my left did indeed depart for the afterlife prematurely. His other Knight on my right flank died due to the LH having continued to keep the door closed. So he had lost 2 Psiloi and 2 Knights. Game over. He didn’t get the pips to exploit his middle section which saw my blade simply recoil from the next combat and I think my center Knight recoiled as well. While the final tally looked good for me, in truth is was a thinly run thing and easily could have seen his Warband wipe out my other blade and his General able to get better positioned to cause some damage.

I did have both of his flanks turned, which is never good for your health if it happens to you. The double ranked Warband and keeping the General in reserve, as he did, pretty much assured I would get a flank. I also had faster units overall. With the Gepids, if you line up straight as he did, you can’t take advantage of the Warband’s ability to double move into contact thereby choosing the distance more quickly thereby getting the enemy in a fight before they’re ready. With just 4 Warband and the Knights, it is tempting to have them advance in good order.

Smart or not, I still feel like Warband should rush in simply on principle, win or lose be damned! Maybe that’s why I don’t own a Warband army though lol. It would force me to put up or shut up about this concept. For now, I can throw popcorn at the movie screen and talk mad trash about how I would handle Warband. Banshee yells are all if good and fine when it’s not your Behind-shee that is on the line.

It was a really fun game. Devin was a gentleman as usual and a great sport. Thanks for the game sir!

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!