Boy’s night in as Mrs T & Miss T are off to find the latter a flat for when she starts her new job. In the old days we’d probably have got the beer in and had a high old time. Nowadays for those of us who live in villages no one drinks & drives so it was coffee and tea instead of beer and pretzels.
Firstly, however, I had to dash off to sort out some domestics for my parents. My father is in hospital (again) because of repeated falls and we’re trying to work with two teams of social workers as well as doctors to work out what is to be done. That did mean that instead of the gourmet meal I was going to cook for myself I ended up dashing into the local chippy for fish, chips & mushy peas (it must be said the mushy peas were a great disappointment being more runny than mushy).
However the time saved on cooking meant that I had just enough time to clear the dining room table and get the soldier boxes in so there was enough space and figures to play two games simultaneously.
Whilst waiting for the players I sorted out a couple of Wars of the Roses armies as one of our group wanted to see how that would work. Will turned up first so we set to with those. We struggled at first as they’re very similar armies and also despite DBA v2.2 being one of the most successful and commonly used sets of rules ever neither of us is a master of them. Now this was the first of four or five games I played in the evening and in all of the excitement I kind of lost track myself, so I can’t remember if I won or lost it. I think I lost it in very unlucky circumstances. Well you can usually say that about DBA, although as one of the group pointed out, for a game that is so completely based on luck isn’t it funny how the same players win repeatedly.
We were using the army list from the Fanaticus website, home of all things DBAish, which prevents you using loads of knights but overdoses on long bows. We also got the PIP cost for moving artillery wrong. That subsequently became a battle winning weapon.
As that game stuttered along our other two players turned up and had a go with those Arab armies I talked about last time I discussed DBA games. On this occasion the Arabs I used won as opposed to suffering the crushing defeat I went down to, thus proving that it is all about luck. Except when I played I lost to someone I’ve never beaten at DBA, so perhaps they know what they’re doing. As their game ran on Will & I turned to some Romans v Germans. The tightly drilled stomp of hobnailed sandals against the wild battle charge of the semi-naked is always a thrill. Will took the Romans, because he usually does, leaving me with the Germans.
Now I won this game comfortably, in no little consequence of doing a couple of 6 v 1 combat dice rolls. However, I will claim this as a triumph of my intended tactics. Warbands need to be deployed deep to stand a chance against those Legionary blades and to go for the “quick kill”. But that makes the army brittle if they lose the combat as they lose two elements if the front one breaks.
However, the quick kill strategy is the only one if you want to win, but that means you end up deploying fairly narrowly exposing your flanks. My strategy was therefore to engage in the middle asap whilst using what non-warband troops I had to fight slightly forward on the flanks and delay the inevitable encirclement until I’d broken the legions. That meant I didn’t mind losing my cavalry & psiloi if I could get myself stuck into the cohorts.
As a plan it worked out fairly well, topped off by some dynamic die rolling. I was quite pleased with this as Will, whilst not being a DBA regular, is a Roman specialist.
Of course he put it all down to luck, so this being DBA we had enough time to turn the armies round and have another go (meanwhile our two friends are still floundering around in the desert).
So for the rematch I guessed that my opponent would try similar tactics. I therefore sat back deep with my line of legionaries and used my cavalry and psiloi to force the flanks and create an envelopment before moving up and engaging the warbands with overlaps all round. This worked a treat. Will remarked that he’d never seen anyone just not move a DBA army during a game, but I think he missed what I was trying to do, so again I “lucked out” on a win.
There may be another game or two in there, but I remember finishing off with a Wars of the Roses game using the original army list from DBA v1 against Phil. We sort of both went for the Blore Heath/Bosworth option with some mounted knights that in the end became my downfall.
I’d done quite well dragging Phil’s right wing out of position by some wide flanking knights who got me a kill or two as well. My artillery misfired badly, but I managed to get out at Phil’s left flank as well before committing suicide by charging my general and his knightly bodyguard into some longbows. I’d misread the factor table (should have charged the billmen “blades”) and also the results (bows quick kill knights in the first round). Silly me.
So we finished up before midnight, just, having had a few run throughs with a variety of armies. I still don’t find DBA intuitive to play and I obviously need to pay more attention to the detail of the rules. Or at least try to understand Mr Barker’s thinking on ancient warfare.