Sunday, January 28, 2018

Looking Back at 2017

Welcome to another 'end of term report' and Happy New Year to all my fellow enthusiasts and visitors.

(for a header I have chosen a DBA army ... in this case some late medieval Germans)

2017 started what seems a long time ago and although I know I have slimmed my commitments down significantly, still seems remarkably full of activity.  Late in the year I suffered a close family bereavement which swung my attention away from wargaming ... and equally I guess I am more active as a military historian who wargames than as a wargamer that does some history.

Things change.  We used to do around 2 events per month as Shows North, as a team of, say four ... these days it's maybe half that - and seldom are there more than a couple of us.   Diversification has undoubtedly benefited historical wargaming (but does mean people are always doing different things in different places.)

That said, the continued success of DBA v3 and the popularity of the UK League I brokered with the Society of Ancients means I still get to play quite a lot.

Ancient and Medieval, we did 9 tournaments or events (1 ADLG, 8 DBA) ... 7 shows in addition to 2 that I attended principally to play in a tournament (so 9 shows really) ... and 8 other events (conferences, battlefield anniversay events etc.)*

24 outings altogether** ...

My game tally for the year seems to be around 76 (3 a fortnight, if you like) ...

Tournaments (click on the pictures to go to the report) 
Mercia DBA (Coventry) 
 Hammerhead and the Northern Cup 
 Alton Pairs DBA

Bakewell DBA 
Britcon DBA
  'Derby' ADLG 
Octoberfest DBA (Bakewell) 
DBA English Open 
SoA UK DBA League (finals at the English Open) 
Tarrington scramble


and related events 
The 'Arsuf' SoA BattleDay 
Stoke Field and the Battlefields Trust AGM 
Northampton 1460 
Anniversary walk 
The Conference of Wargamers at Knuston Hall 
Edgcote anniversary walk 
SOAC 2017 

The vast majority of those 76 games were ancient or medieval and quite a few were DBA.   We also played some AMW, some ADLG and some home grown ... plus the odd game of Saga, Lion Rampant and Dux Bellorum.  At SOAC I ran the 1960s Tont Bath wargame.

*I'm excluding events that are exclusively later history - so ecw etc. - which do fill in some of the rest of my calendar ...
**compared with 22 last year

Thursday, November 30, 2017

11th November, Tarrington

The Society of Ancients UK DBA League 2018 Round 1: the Tarrington Scramble

Back at Tarrington after missing a year ... for the start of the new DBA League season.

Tarrington is a scramble and I took Mongol Conquest.

The reasoning behind that decision - and everyone's - is to be the subject of a forthcoming article for Slingshot ... but generally, here's how it works: 

... the army you take will be put into the scramble.  You will play against in the first round and with it in the last.  Otherwise it will be randomly allocated to other players and you will have something else from the mix.

So taking an army that you know well but which doesn't give your opponent too much of an advantage would be good.   Many players look at it as an opportunity to take something interesting but normally uncompetitive.  Some see it as an opportunity to set the others a challenge ... or two ..

So in addition to my Mongols, I got to play with ...

Pictish (Barbarian Conspiracy) ... Carolingian Frankish ... Skythian ... South Welsh ... Alexandrian Imperial ... 

That's a great mix for one day's wargaming I think.

It was nice to finish with the Mongols - who had done rather well during the day - up against the Macedonians, whom I had already surrounded and beaten with Skythians.   We had worked out a plan by now.

The Macedonians are, you would have thought, quite a good army ... but came bottom in this particular test.  My fault, to some extent ... they played 6 games and I lost with them and beat them twice.  It is the luck of the draw sometimes.

A great day was had by all.  Mark won, the Mongols came runner up in the army stats and I finished about half way (played 6: won 3; lost 3) - a universal thumbs up to the Scramble format.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

29th October, Portsmouth

The English DBA Open hosted by PAWS  

There's almost no gap these days, and in a couple of weeks we'll be off to Tarrington for the start of a new UK DBA League season ... but here we were down in Portsmouth for the English Open ..

Take any army you like and play 5 games in a period defined group (where the cut offs depend on what armies people take) ... after which the top 4 go through to a semi and a final to make a champion.  The rest will play a plate competition if desired.

The final rounds are from a theme with armies supplied by PAWS ...

I'm working on my African armies so took Blemmye ... much like Nobades but with Auxiliaries as the combat infantry.

Grasping at a sense of place, I took the Cecil B Demille camp and terrain gear for these latter day Nubians.  I guess the monuments should all be half-buried in sand.

I got 5 good games on the DBA die rolling roller coaster ... and won 3 of them ... just enough to get into the top 4 on count-back (actually I won the game we had played) ...

Apologies for the missing picture ... I played Andalusians, Zanj, Lithuanians, French and a Scandanavian with German ally (so Art + 2 WWg!) ...

Here are the options for the finals ... we picked secretly our order of preference in seed order ... I got my top choice (Thebans with an 8Sp Gen!) and this served me well in the first game. 

I think Colin was using his extra cavalry to negate my infantry sledgehammer whilst enveloping my flanks.  Anyway it looked like it might take a few moves to achieve it so I bundled in as quickly as I could.  The Thessalians barely got better than 2 pips so my plan worked.

I was less fortunate in the final ... Martin's echelon attack looking vulnerable but caught me out at the vital stage ... also an attack on the camp bounced off with no effect (so was a waste of pips when the pips and the element would have made a key contribution elsewhere*) - so in this game my plan did not work.

Martin, the outgoing League champion is therefore the new English Open champion.  Well done and fully deserved.  Thanks indeed to all concerned.

Not everybody was there but we were able to present Mark with the League winner's shield and Tamara received the Junior version a couple of days later.  Again, congratulations to our worthy winners.

That was 2016 -17 ... Wow!  it flew by.  Thanks to Bill at PAWS for all the admin.

Thanks to PAWS for hosting the Open and to the Society of Ancients and Magister Militum for sponsorship.  Click the links in appreciation.

The final scoreboard will appear here when updated from the weekend.

*why are psiloi no good at ravaging camps?  Don't ask me - it seems a bit unbalanced perhaps...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

15th October, Warwick

As a result of the clash with the Bakewell DBA event, I could only do the Sunday of this year's Society Conference.

So I won't attempt to offer a review/report ... just a note on what was on offer on theSunday ... which started with a lengthy talk on Procopian Warfare by Roy Boss, after which the Conference split into 3 options ... wargaming those Byzantine battles with Roy and friends (Armati) ... and Ancient Wargames workshop with Richard .. and the Tony Bath wargame with me.

(Phil Steele's Tony Bath wargame)

 (wargaming the Procopian wars had three refight tables available)

There was also a mini campaign running during the session intervals.

After an indulgent lunch (all part of the package), Mark Fry gave us a talk on the Khmer army (and a critical look at the evidence) ... insightful stuff that will be boiled into a Slingshot feature - so look out for that.

Then there was an open final session in which people were invited to revisit games they'd liked or missed earlier in the weekend.  I got some more takers so ran the Bath game again (though we only had time to sample it before the wash up and departures) ...

Here are some pictures ...

(the figures were originally from the collections of Phil Barker, Deryck Guyler and Tony Bath)

Of course originally they would have looked more like this ...

How can you not be charmed by these wonderful figures? 

We made some good progress with this project so my thanks to the players, particularly Andrew and Duncan in the first game: we started with me a little rusty but I think got the game up and running and the players mostly running it themselves.

This is a topic to revisit and a game we can evaluate.

Look out for more.

The Conference was a little down on numbers this year but seemed to be doing well - again with new faces and familiar personalities.  It sounds like there will be one next - you should go (you really should!).