Game Reports 2014

Climb British Camp 2014

Eight players for Gavin Pearson’s 25mm competition at Colwall in the Herefordshire hills. Six of the armies were dated between 300 and 50 BC, the outliers being Later Sargonid Assyrians and Later Swiss.

I took Polybian Romans, a “vanilla” army which I’d painted some years ago and hadn’t had the courage to use in competition. Other players had borrowed it and had no success.  It was organised as two legions, one with some supporting Auxilia and the other with a bolt-shooter, and a weak cavalry wing with more Auxilia and an elephant.

Polybian Romans 001

The complete army.  In the competition I used all these figures except some of the cavalry, of which I fielded only 3 elements plus generals

Polybian Romans 003

Legio I, with some Italian infantry on the left and baggage mules in the background

The first opponent was Duncan Thompson with Later Carthaginians – no warband but a solid block of spearmen, some auxilia, plenty of cavalry, two elephants and a Numidian command entirely of light horse and psiloi. The terrain favoured me with large areas of rough going on my right flank and left centre.  I refused the left, filling the rough going with auxilia, and prepared to attack with the legionaries.

Colwall 001

Game 1 at deployment – Carthaginians at top

Duncan tried an outflanking movement on my left with his superior numbers of cavalry led by his C-in-C and supported by his elephants: disastrously, as Hannibal was squashed by my elephant.  His command held, but the command was now unmanoeuvrable and my cavalry and light horse were able to cut it up and break it in a couple more turns.

Colwall 003

The cavalry fight after Hannibal’s death

On the other flank the Numidian psiloi dashed into rough going apparently held only by four Ax(S), but triggered an ambush of four velites.  A vicious light infantry battle ensued, with heavy losses on both sides.  In the centre the legionaries charged the spearmen and cut some down; they also trapped a couple of light horse, and a lucky shot from my bolt-shooter brought the Carthaginian losses to half their army.  10-0 to the Romans.

Having crushed Carthage, the Senate now ordered a campaign against Mithridates, who was fresh from conquering Graeco-Bactria. Gavin Pearson commanded a motley host with three flavours of knights (Pontic Kn(I), Sarmatian Kn(F) and allied Armenian cataphracts), plenty of auxilia and light horse and Bd(I) imitation legionaries as the main infantry type.  Preceding them were four scythed chariots.

Again the terrain helped, giving me nice strongpoints to defend with auxilia. The Armenians facing my left were unreliable, but that didn’t matter much as they were only screening rough going with their light horse.  The main action would come in the centre, where the scythed chariots and Sarmatian lancers rushed to charge the legions.  The Romans met the chariots with a line of psiloi: one Ps(O) died, but the Ps(S) velites held up well and soon all four chariots were destroyed.  Fortunately, low PIPs had prevented the chariots’ supporting Kn(I) advancing behind them, giving time for the legion to sort itself out.

The Sarmatians were also handicapped by a low PIP score: they had to charge with overlaps against them at both ends and in the first clash two of them were destroyed. Then the luck changed: the Armenians became reliable, the Sarmatians and Pontic Kn(I) started killing legionaries, and a light infantry fight in rough going (4 Ax(S) and 4 Ps(S) against 6 Ax(O) and 2 Ps(O)) turned in the Pontics’ favour.  However, a velite backed a LH element into a Sarmatian and the last Kn(F) went down against my triarii.  Seeing the battle going against him, Mithridates (a Kn(I)) charged into my Cv(O) C-in-C, Flamininus.  After a couple of indecisive combats, while the legionaries and Ax(S) killed enough to break Mithridates’ command, a 6-1 slew Flamininus and his command broke too.  Then my other legion killed a Kn(I) to break a second Pontic command.  A quick count-up showed that a single casualty on either army would end the game at 7-3 one way or the other!  Gavin arranged several promising combats but the dice went against him, and on my turn a legionary and flanking light horse trapped a Pontic LH.  Game over at 7-3 to the Romans.  Flamininus’s death must have been an act of Devotio, guaranteeing victory, rather than mere mischance.

Back to Italy for a civil war against Jeremy Morgan’s Marian Romans. Jeremy’s army was much like mine, but with more cavalry and an Arab ally with a few camels and light horse.  This time the terrain dice went against me and Jeremy got most of the useful rough going, so I set up defensively with one legion angled back on my left, the C-in-C’s legion in the centre and the cavalry/elephant/auxilia command on my right.  My one piece of rough going was in the right centre and I filled it with auxilia and psiloi.  Jeremy’s Arabs on his right had nothing to fight, so he used prodigious numbers of PIPs moving the camels to the other flank.

Much preparatory manoeuvre by the Marians used up a lot of time, while I got ready to face the assault and eventually charged all along the line. Unfortunately my Ax(S) proved no match in the open for legionaries, and I lost four elements; the rest retreated but Jeremy followed up his advantage to crush my cavalry wing.  Elsewhere legionary v legionary fights were indecisive, and a flanking move on the other wing by auxilia and some cavalry made little progress.  Most of the victorious Marian troops contented themselves with slaughtering fugitives, and my demoralised general made himself useful by blocking access to the baggage.  The game timed out at 4-6.  The two claimants for the Purple presumably formed a duumvirate with Jeremy as the senior partner.

Finally I defended the Republic from Russell King’s Graeco-Bactrians, making four games against historical or at least plausible opponents, this lot being from a Seleucid successor state. Most of the terrain landed on Russ’s side of the table, and he occupied a large area of rough going opposite my right wing with 6 Ax(S) and a couple of psiloi.  In the centre a line of cataphracts, two elephants and a small pike phalanx faced my 1st Legion, and my 2nd Legion was again angled back to refuse the left.  He had some Indian Bw(I) cowering on his right, daunted by the rainy weather.  His plan was to smash through the centre with his pikes and cataphracts while getting round my left flank with cavalry; mine was to send superior numbers of Ax(S) and psiloi into the rough going and roll up his line from my right.

The fight in the rough going started badly with two of my auxilia dying, but then swung as my superior numbers started to count. We both got light infantry into elephants; my elephant died but so did one of Russ’s.  In the centre the legionaries held up well against the cataphracts, losing only two elements and destroying three of the enemy.  The Sp(S) triarii repeatedly beat off pikemen and then legionaries killed a couple of pike elements,  Bactrian cavalry came round my open left flank but were held off by two elements of triarii, and then my cavalry general, arriving from the other flank, destroyed two cavalry elements.

Meanwhile, on the right my auxilia broke the opposing enemy command which included the surviving elephant and cataphracts. Russ had to use two Fast Knight generals (one demoralised) to stop my legionaries enveloping the phalanx; eventually I was able to back the demoralised general into the C-in-C, killing both generals, and the Bactrian army broke.  10-0 to the Romans.

I finished on 31 points, second to Jeremy on 32. A great weekend, and the Polybians greatly out-performed my expectations.


Vexillum 2014

Another “first time” army for the last round of the 2014 Doubles League at Frome: Ghaznavids with Indian allies. The competition was broadly themed, with all armies dated between 493 and 1071 AD, and we fought three historically plausible opponents.  Our army consisted of two large commands with cavalry, light horse and a few indifferent infantry (Bw(I) and Ax(O)), a third command with light horse and two elephants, and the Indian ally with two more elephants, cavalry, Bd(F) swordsmen and Bw(I) archers.

In the first game we faced Richard Hardy and Tony Bell with Seljuk Turks – large numbers of light horse and cavalry, a strong infantry component mainly of Auxilia, and a small Turkoman allied command with more light horse. We defended and deployed with the two elephant commands well back; the Seljuks sent two commands to envelop our left and we reacted by sending the elephants to counter.  Brutal light horse combats saw heavy casualties on both sides, then the elephants ploughed into the enemy cavalry, slaying many.  The Turkoman command broke, and two other Seljuk commands were close to breaking.  Richard and Tony spent many PIPs on pulling back as we strove to force the win.  On the last bound we had numerous chances to break another command, but failed.  6-4 to the Ghaznavids.

The second game saw us marching through Seljuk territory to invade Byzantium – Nikephorians commanded by Martin Golay and Tony Green. Last year Martin and Tony won this competition while we were runners-up.  We didn’t like the numerous archers and the artillery, one of which managed to kill an Indian elephant after prodigious PIP expenditure.  We sent the Indian swordsmen racing to attack Bw(X) and they destroyed three double elements, but then the Byzantines’ two elements of Kn(F) Normans rode down the swordsmen.  The decisive action came on the other flank, where our massed Cv(S) charged into a line of their counterparts; we had the advantage as part of the enemy front line was held by light horse and psiloi.  Our dice were disastrous and we lost seven elements without inflicting any loss on the enemy.  Our C-in-C’s command broke, and then our smallest command followed for a 0-10 defeat.

We went back to India to defend against a Chola invasion led by Paul Apreda and Nick Coles. We placed steep hills to break up the enemy; all landed in our deployment area, and the enemy then placed rough going which further handicapped our deployment.  This was a quick game where our four elephants were outmatched by the enemy’s ten and a slogging match on our left had no significant results.   Our double-ranked Cv(O) were crushingly defeated  and we lost two commands in short order for another  0-10 defeat.

On the bottom table with only 6 points, we faced Duncan Thompson’s Patrician Romans – lots of psiloi-supported Ax(S), fast knight lancers, a few legionaries and lots of cavalry and light horse. The Romans’ right flank was held by an allied Alan command with 16 LH(S), and we concentrated on this with Cv(S) and our own LH(S).  Despite a couple of disasters when we lost elements to 6-1 dice splits, we broke the Alans fairly quickly and then fell on the outflanked legionaries.  The Roman centre collapsed and we won 10-0. It’s fair to say that luck was not with us in general, but it’s nice to end with a win!

Iceni 2014

The doubles competition up in the Norfolk Broads was again well attended, with 21 players in 12 teams. Russ and I fielded Ottomans for the first time: three Ottoman commands with various cavalry and light horse supported by two groups of Bw(S) Janissaries, small numbers of assorted infantry and two Art(S) bombards, plus a Serbian command of 7 Kn(S).  The basic plan was to deploy the Serbs in reserve and move them to attack a suitable weak spot in the enemy line.  Our army was the smallest in the competition, being outnumbered in every game (2:1 in one game).

Our first opponents were Kevin and Neil Baker commanding Owen Glendower’s Welsh. Their C-in-C’s command comprised more than half their army, with a break point of 25.5; 60 Ax(X) spearmen with a few archers and psiloi, and the C-in-C’s reserve of Kn(O).  The second North Welsh command was similar but much smaller, and a South Welsh allied command was mostly Bw(O) archers.  No French. The terrain was mainly on the Welsh side of the table, but a wood protected our right flank and we filled it with our Ax(O) and psiloi. We expected a flank march on our left, so the Serbs formed up to face that flank.  The main Welsh mass powered forward, delayed by Ottoman cavalry, then the flank march arrived on the third turn.  The Serbs charged with great success, riding down a line of psiloi and then slaughtering some spearmen. The Welsh Cv(O) sub-general rashly engaged the Serbs and died; his command broke and in a couple of turns the flank-marching command was exterminated.

Meanwhile the Janissaries chipped away at the main Welsh force, shooting down Ax(X) and thinning their ranks. A gap between the North and South Welsh allowed a few Bd(O) voynuks to outflank the massed spearmen and cut down many; the Janissaries continued to do great execution by both shooting and close combat.  The Serbs happily joined in, and before long the Welsh casualties reached the command’s break point.  10-0 to the Ottomans.

Next we faced Andy Brooker with Alexandrian Imperials – two pike blocks, a couple of elephants, Bw(X) Hypaspists and plenty of Kn(F) Companions and light horse. Our left flank was anchored on a gentle hill which we held with LH(F) and cavalry, faced by assorted light horse, cavalry and the elephants backed by Kn(F).  The Serbs forced-marched to that flank and, with much PIP expenditure, replaced the LH(F) as part of the front line.  Andy, meanwhile, moved the Companions to the centre where there was a large gap in our line, but seeing the Serbs arriving started to move them back to our left. The Macedonians obviously weren’t going to assault our hill so we charged down. One Kn(S) died against light horse but the other Serbs despatched their opponents.  Cavalry destroyed the outflanked elephants, and the Macedonian C-in-C’s command broke.  The pikemen had failed to catch any Ottomans and neither they nor the Companions struck a blow.  The game timed out at 8-2 to us.

On Sunday morning our opponent was Kevin Everard with Cyrus’s Achaemenid Persians – loads of Bw(X), plenty of cavalry and light horse, and a large Median ally with Sp(I) and cavalry. The terrain formed an excellent defensive position for the Persians so it was impossible for us to attack, while the Persians didn’t want to come out and risk envelopment.  With an hour to go and no casualties we agreed a 5-5 draw.  I thought that the Bw(X), especially the Immortals, could have beaten us by being aggressive.

The last game was against Drew Jarman with Samanids – lots of Cv(S), various light horse, a single elephant (in a mini-command for ease of manoeuvre), spearmen and a Buyid ally with supported Ax(S). The terrain favoured the Samanids: a large area of rough going on our right flank and another on Drew’s right flank.  We placed a couple of gentle hills, one of which landed handily on our left.  We manned this with cavalry, auxilia and psiloi, the ends of the hill being protected by LH(S).  As expected, the Buyids were in the rough going opposite the hill.  All the Janissaries and the bombards, supported by the voynuk Bd(O), were in our centre, with reserves of Cv(S) and the Serbs.  The rough going on our right was screened by a few cavalry and light horse, and as expected was quickly occupied by enemy auxilia. The Buyid allies were initially unreliable but soon joined in, and attacked the light horse on our left; this inconclusive fight lasted throughout the game. In the centre the Samanid spearmen advanced into a large empty space, and Cv(S) approached our Bw(S), bombards and LH(F) – Samanid LH attempted to screen the bombards but were repeatedly shot away.  We moved the Serbs to form a line against the Cv(S); Drew marched the elephant into the centre of the cavalry line, opposite the Serb general, effectively paralysing the Serbs.  But he waited too long before attacking: with prodigious PIP expenditure we got our two Ps(S) handgunners facing the elephant.

Meanwhile the bombards and Janissaries were whittling down the Cv(S) with some very effective shooting. When the Samanids attacked, the elephant trampled the first Ps(S) but the Serbs and our Cv(S) slew sundry light horse and cavalry. Then the second Ps(S) killed the overlapped elephant.  Unfortunately the enemy casualties, though heavy, were spread among three commands and the Serbs were now split up and out of control; they pursued into trouble.  First one Kn(S) died against LH(O), then another was flanked by Cv.  Finally, on the last combat round, a LH(F) luckily killed a third knight, breaking the Serbs.  4-6, and probably the most interesting game of the weekend.

With 27 points we tied with Jeremy Morgan and John Calvert at the top; Jer and John won on the tiebreak (sum of opponents’ scores) so we finished second. Another excellent weekend, with special mention to the Coltishall Cowards’ first-rate catering.

Attack! 2014

14 entries for the DBM competition at Devizes this year, up from 12 last year.  Russ King and I used Sung Chinese, late version – Regular generals, with an internal ally, commanding mainly Irreg troops.  The mainstay was Bw(X/O) crossbow double elements plus plentiful artillery, supported by Bd(O) swordsmen, Ax(S) tribesmen, some fire-lance foot (Ps(X)) and a few Ps(O).  The mounted arm was fairly weak, with small numbers of Kn(F), Cv(S) and Cv(I) but reinforced by 10 LH(S) Mongols and a herd of cattle (two Expendables).

Our first game was against Dave Sheppard’s Italian Condotta.  This army, based on the old DBM list, was dated 1320 (so the knights wouldn’t fight dismounted) and included a large number of double-based Kn(I) elements.  We screened the centre with Mongols and weighted both flanks; our Auxilia tribesmen had no suitable terrain in which to hide from the knights, so stayed at the back.  The game started in mist, but it cleared very quickly. Our crossbowmen decisively outshot their Italian opposite numbers and the German Kn(I) were also badly shot up.  Eventually the knights braved the arrow-storm and charged, surprisingly making serious dents in our C-in-C’s command – one Kn(I) charged double overlapped into Bw(X) and won!  Our allied command also took a hammering and broke.  However, knightly casualties mounted and first one and then a second Italian command broke.  9-1 to the Sung.

A fair amount of luck there, then.  Not much in the second game, against an Avar host commanded by Derek and Stuart Bruce.  We were confident until the first dice were rolled: a strong wind blowing into our faces, risk of rain, and most of our rough hills landing on the Avar side of the table, giving their Slav auxiliaries somewhere safe to hide. Three Avar commands concentrated against one of ours, which was quickly reinforced by the elite mounted troops from our C-in-C’s command, and numerous Cv(S) attacked.  But for the wind they would have been shot to pieces… as it was, the Avars took significant casualties but spread among several commands, while our small allied command soon broke.  The gallant Mongols tried to hold up the pursuing Avars but were unlucky and most of them were picked off.  On the other flank we tried to attack but didn’t have much to go for.  Eventually our C-in-C’s command broke and we lost 0-10.

The third game was against Martin Golay’s Later Swiss – three pike phalanxes each with Bd(X) halberdiers and skirmishers.  No mounted apart from 2 LH(I).  Martin invaded and placed two enormous steep hills, which landed one in each of our flank sectors.  Fortunately we were able to get a patch of rough going in the central valley; we manned this with Ax(S) tribesmen and fire-lance foot, screened the rest of the valley with the Mongols and sent two commands on flank marches.  The ally (off-table) was unreliable and remained so for a considerable time. The Swiss powered forward, trying to get across the steep hills with psiloi and halberdiers to get at the crossbowmen waiting beyond.  One command was soon distracted by the arrival of our larger flank-march, which was driving stampeding cattle.  The cows performed magnificently, trampling several halberdier elements and breaking up the enemy formation for our cavalry, light horse and swordsmen.  The Swiss command on that flank broke, without their pikemen having been engaged. In the centre our artillery was highly effective at shooting down pikemen, some of them with their recoil blocked by Ps(X) who nipped out of the rough going and got behind them.  Seven pike elements were destroyed in this way, and that command was finished off by a few kills on halberdiers and psiloi.  10-0 to the Sung.

The final game was against Dave Morrison and John Patrick with Samnites – two large commands of Ax(S), a small one with a few Ax(S) and cavalry, and a large Roman ally with spearmen and Bd(O) legionaries.  We invaded Samnium, and the Samnites placed numerous rough hills which all landed in one sector so most wouldn’t fit.  A nice open plain, then.  Unfortunately the first four turns were misty, and the Samnites got wonderful PIPs which meant that they got to grips without our artillery and crossbows taking a toll.  Clearly they were going to envelop the command on our left with vastly superior numbers, while we ought to win on the right against their cavalry. In the centre our elite mounted charged – the Kn(F) slew many javelinmen but pursued into trouble, as Kn(F) do, and both died.  Still, 7 enemy elements gone from a command with a break point of 9 – but we proved unable to get the last two despite many attempts.  Our left flank, fighting valiantly, was overwhelmed and broke.  On the right, though, our crossbowmen quickly broke (then exterminated) the Samnite cavalry command, and the Romans were outflanked and took heavy casualties.  They were one element from breaking when our C-in-C was caught napping and died against Ax(S) – his command broke, and our army with it for a 1-9 defeat. Four excellently decisive games made for a great weekend.

Westbury Wars 2014

Ten players took part in the 25mm competition in my house at Westbury, with a wide range of armies.  Pikes and elephants were prominent, but there were also a knightly host, a steppe horde, a typical Chinese army, Lancastrian men-at-arms and longbowmen, a Roman legion and quite a few warband.  I had the most warband – Suevi, with a total of 61 warband supported by decent numbers of cavalry and psiloi.  The DBMM list makes this army attractive as the front ranks can be Wb(S) with the rest as cheap Wb(O) supporting ranks, and I think mine was the biggest army in the competition.  I’d used the Suevi once before, when they did fairly well but were crushed by a Macedonian pike/elephant outfit.

My first game was against a Macedonian pike/elephant outfit – Early Successors commanded by Pete Howland.  Terrain was unimportant and the action consisted of massed warband fighting pikes (some Superior), Galatian Wb(S) and Ax(S) thureophoroi, with both sides rushing eagerly to combat.  The pikemen drove the Suevi back, slaying many – my main warband command would break on 10 losses and lost 8 elements in the first two combat rounds.  Then the Suevi rallied, killing some Galatians and surviving against the phalanx; the Galatians, who had started only two elements deep, thinned out to replace losses.  Then a lucky break against the Pk(S) destroyed two elements and broke the Macedonians’ central command.  Suevi warband rushed to exploit the success and soon broke a second command for a 10-0 win.

Then the Suevi faced Duncan Thompson’s Later Carthaginians, who included 20 Gallic warband and three elephants (who benefited from the change to El(I) rules in DBM 3.3).  Again the Suevi invaded and attacked immediately with three large blocks of warband.  The elephants trampled some; one elephant died against a psiloi but the others destroyed several more psiloi.  On the other flank the Suevi cavalry had mixed fortunes, losing several elements against Numidian LH but then luckily killing a Cv(O) general. The Gallic Wb(O) proved no match for the Suevi Wb(S) and very quickly 8 elements were destroyed, breaking that Carthaginian command; a few losses from the other commands made half their army.  10-0 to the Suevi.

David Sheppard’s Wars of the Roses English army had won the previous 25mm competition and was well constructed, with a strike force of Kn(S) and Cv(O) supported by small groups of Bw(S) longbowmen, Bd(O) billmen and various lighter troops.  The weather and terrain favoured me; a large area of marsh in my centre, and a strong wind and rain handicapping the English archers.  The English attacked strongly against the weakest Suevi command; auxilia stormed into the marsh against my psiloi while the mounted knights went for the warband.  The two Kn(I) and some Cv(O) were destroyed, but the Kn(S) rode down warbands and the auxilia slew many Ps(O) in the marsh.  The Suevi command broke.  However, the other commands were fighting strongly and hacked their way through some longbowmen and billmen to break first one and then a second English command.  9-1 to the Suevi.

Finally I played Paul Apreda with more English – Anglo-Normans with numerous Ordinary Knights plus various grades of bows and Sp(I), and a Welsh ally with Ax(X) spearmen and a few cavalry.  Yet again the preliminary dice went well, with strong winds and rain, and lots of marsh protecting various parts of my front.  Paul sent all his knights forward against my warbands, while the Welsh went for a patch of marsh on my right flank which was held by Ps(O).  On the left the Anglo-Normans held a rough hill with some Ps(O) and Bw(O), and here pouring rain helped my Ps(S) javelinmen to get into contact and then massacre the crossbowmen.  The knights crashed into the warbands, with some success but also taking losses; then the general attacking my left was flanked by psiloi and killed.  His command broke.  The knights attacking my right were repelled with some loss on both sides.  In the marsh on my far right the Welsh Ax(X) were surprisingly defeated by my Ps(O) assisted by a single warband element, and the Welsh command broke too.  Another 10-0 win gave me 39 points and a 12-point competition-winning margin.

This was my biggest competition win, and I have to confess that luck had a great deal to do with it.  Against Pete in the first round my strongest command hung on for combat after combat when a single loss would have broken it, and against both David and Paul my combat dice were embarrassingly good… not the PIPs, which especially against David were generally poor, but of course it’s the combat dice which matter most. Despite the host sweeping all before him, I think everyone enjoyed the weekend!

 Venta Silurum 2014

What better way to spend a rainy weekend in Wales than by playing in Paul Apreda’s DBM competition at Corntown, near Bridgend?  This was a themed competition, all armies being dated before 500 BC.  Russ King and I fielded Middle Assyrians, with Cv(S) chariots, Bd(F) and Ax(O) infantry with supporting psiloi, a few Bw(I) archers and an Aramaean ally who provided more of the same.  Four commands, three of them with decent break points plus the small ally.

First we invaded Egypt, defended by Pharaoh Duncan Thompson who had opted for the version with lots of impetuous infantry, Fast Blades and Fast Warband, all in one command.  The Egyptian infantry were Bw(I) archers backed by Fast Blade close-fighters, and there were minimal Cv(S) chariots concentrated on the Egyptian left.  Their left flank was protected by the River Nile patrolled by four Bts(S) reed boats which constituted a separate command. The Egyptian fleet was a nuisance, getting behind our line and sniping to distract our forces from the frontal attack by Egyptian chariots.  However, the action on this flank was indecisive with light casualties on both sides.  Very different on our left, where the massed barbarians attacked our swordsmen, and in the centre where more Assyrian swordsmen threatened the Egyptian archers and were countered by Egyptian close-fighters.  The Irreg Bd(F) and Wb(F) were decisively beaten by our Bd(F) and chariots, and the biggest Egyptian command broke.  The Egyptians were also driven back in the centre, but time ran out before our successful left wing could regroup and complete the victory.  6-4 to us.

Next we met Sargon of Akkad in the person of Jeremy Morgan.  Two big blocks of Pikes (mostly I with a few X), a chunk of Ax(X) spearmen and a mini-command with Cv(I) proto-chariots.  Without the troops to tackle pikemen frontally we needed to get round the flanks, but Jeremy protected these with two enormous steep hills so a frontal clash was inevitable. Our chariots heroically delayed the enemy on the right while our Auxilia tried to clear Akkadian psiloi from rough going and a steep hill on the left, but eventually the massed pikes broke through and defeated one of our commands.  Pikemen don’t move very fast, though, and Jeremy didn’t have time to exploit the breakthrough.  Timed out at 4-6.

The third game was against Derek and Stuart Bruce with Kimmerians – loads of LH(F) horse-archers plus some Ax(O), and a dangerous Urartian ally with Kn(O) heavy chariots and Ax(S) infantry.  We tried to constrain the Kimmerians by placing the two hills Jeremy had used in the previous game – one landed in the far left corner, no use to us, and the other wouldn’t fit.  We formed in depth on the right, but a patch of rough going in the centre, held by our Ax(O) and Ps(O), formed a weak spot which the Urartian Ax(S) unerringly exploited.  We tried to attack horse-archers wherever possible and killed quite a few, but there were always more of them and we started to run out of chariots… eventually our left-flank command broke, then the Urartian chariots started to ride down our Bd(F) in the centre.  Our army broke for a 0-10 defeat.

Our final opponents were Ken Cooper and Andy Down with Early Carthaginians.  Their strike force consisted of Kn(O) heavy chariots, supported by many spearmen (Sp(S) and Sp(I)) and large numbers of auxilia.  They also fielded a massive Libyan allied command which comprised a couple of Cv(O) chariots, lots of Sp(I) and some Ps(I) javelinmen. The terrain included two large woods, one on each flank on the Carthaginian side of the table, and a few patches of rough going.  A wall of spearmen faced our centre, with the heavy chariots and light infantry opposite our left.  Our right flank consisted of swordsmen (supported Bd(F)) and chariots; we forced-marched auxilia and psiloi to the far left to hold an area of rough going.  On the right we sent the auxilia and psiloi from two commands to scout the woods and discovered vast numbers of Libyan Ps(I), deployed in successive lines in ambush.  The Libyan command was handicapped by low PIP scores and our light infantry proceeded to mop up the javelinmen, while some of our swordsmen attacked the Libyan spearmen with success.  The Libyans’ break point was 15.5, which we reached by slaying 6 Sp(I) elements and a mass of Ps(I). On our left the Carthaginian Ax(S) and psiloi attacked our Ax(O) and were repulsed in a hard fight; the heavy chariots charged and were beaten off with loss.  The elite Carthaginian spearmen in the centre found few opponents, merely chasing off some of our chariots.  The game timed out at 6-4 to us – a few more bounds would have seen our victorious swordsmen in the enemy baggage.

16 points made one of our lower scores, but all the games were played in an excellent spirit with much laughter.

Godendag 2014

The usual well-attended competition with over 40 teams playing varieties of Field of Glory and 12 teams playing DBM.  I was playing solo; my usual partner, Russ King, was at a family event in London and his stand-in, John Calvert, was unfortunately taken ill shortly before the event. I used Later Macedonians, Philip V’s army, with lots of pikes and auxilia but a weak mounted arm.  The fourth command was an Achaian ally with a few more pikes, a good force of Ax(S) and a couple of cavalry and light horse.

David Sheppard, Alexandrian Imperial.  I invaded (with aggression 1 against 4), and put down three bits of rough going which all landed on his side – but after deployment I had a decent plan.  His left flank was anchored on rough going with 2 Ax in it, then his centre was mostly pikes.  I aimed to rush my allied command forward with 8 Ax(S), clear the RGo and use the Ax to assist my massed pikes.  This was scuppered when the ally was unreliable, then David’s flank march was declared immediately.  The Indians chewed up my allied command without loss – lousy combat dice throughout.  I might have hung on for 4-6, but didn’t bother to fight a delaying action for an hour and a half and conceded.

Martin Golay and Nick Coles, Komnenan Byzantine with Crusader allies.  The pikes couldn’t get at anything worthwhile, screened by massed LH, but they’d riskily put their Crusaders in a large area of RGo and didn’t get the PIPs to move out of it, leaving Irr Kn(O) in danger of being trapped by Ax(S).  They moved some Reg Kn(F) over to cover but these were caught and all killed.  The Crusaders attacked the Ax(S) who were now in RGo… and beat them!  My command broke, and my C-in-C who’d moved over to help was caught and killed.  Another 0-10.

The first person I met on Sunday morning was a FoG-playing SELWGite, who remarked that my dice were now legendary throughout SELWG – and I hadn’t even played a SELWG member.

Duncan Thompson, Early T’ang Chinese.  Again the terrain fell unkindly, but there was a large area of rough going opposite my left flank which the Chinese garrisoned with 12 Ps(O) backed by light horse.  My main pike phalanx was deployed two deep angled back on my refused right, while I attacked the rough going with 18 Ax(S).  The psiloi retreated through the light horse, which were engaged by the auxilia and some mounted troops who’d ridden through the rough going.  Lots of LH fled off the table, breaking one Chinese command.  In the centre Chinese Cv(O) were pushed back and pursued into rough going by pikemen, who managed to trap several elements; others attacked Chinese Bw(X) and luckily killed some to break a second command.  The main Chinese strike force, Cv(S) and Kn(F), attacked the thin pike line without success.  Won 10-0.

Paul and Harri Apreda, Marian Roman with Arab allies.  Very like the first game – my ally unreliable, the enemy flank march turning up early.  The Romans had a terrain fortress, augmented by palisades, which was unassailable by pikes and my plan to send the allied Ax(S) through woods to outflank the Romans was scuppered by unreliability.  Again my flank command broke, but this time I was prepared to fight on and it ended 4-6.

14 points was my worst score since 2005… Not a good army, and I won’t use it again.  Too many pikes and not enough support troops, especially mounted.

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