Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DBMM Mongols and Chinese battle

Last night saw another epic battle with George and Pat L's Chinese taking on Marc and my Mongols. We had four commands plus baggage. Three were mixed Cv and Lh and the fourth was made up of 8 hordes, a Cavalry general and four Lh. Marc took the first two commands with the Cv(S) and I took a mixed command along with the Hd.

The Chinese set up first with a group of artillery in the centre flanked each side by Bow(X) and with their horse on each wing. We responded with our three horse commands set out in line 1-2-3 with the horde command behind the centre and the baggage behind that. Pip dice were assigned the same way. Our cunning plan was interesting. Marc set up his first command opposite the Chinese right wing Bow(X) and his second command facing the artillery.

"What's your plan Marc?" I asked
"Going to charge the artillery" says Marc.
"Sure about that?" says I
"Yep" says Marc

Now Marc is an experienced gamer and an intelligent guy overall but he does have a preference for Viking and Orc (Charge! and the casualties be damned!) armies and this was only his second game of full on DBMM. So I didn't press the matter.

What we wound up with was pretty much the completely wrong way to deploy a Mongol army - In a line across the board allowing all the Chinese to fight and more importantly to shoot if we got close enough. Marc is not to blame as I knew better. Actually I was kind of curious to see what when his horse hit the artillery. If they survived, they would have torn a hole through the Chinese centre.

The Chinese moved first as I recall, pushing their horse out on each flank and advancing the right flank bow. We responded with some monumentally good pip dice from Marc. He pushed his left flank command forward, lining up to clip the edged of the Bw(X) and take on the Cv in his area and advanced his second command to just out of reach of the artillery. Meanwhile, I pushed my Cv command forward with their Lh component prancing deep around the Chinese left flank. The smattering of Lh connected to the Hd command also moved forward.

With 300+ points on each side, the game took us almost 4 hours to complete so I'll spare you the gory details (not that I remember many). On the right, my intent was to push forward to protect the baggage, and wipe out George's horse which should have been achievable. Instead,  I got tangled up with George's horse command. I pushed the Hd cavalry forward in support taking a bit of a risk due to some nearby Chinese bow. That shooting combat came out to a 6-2 roll in George's favour, costing me a general. The rest of my dice rolling was similarly dismal*, and George as usual managed to thwart my every move. This cost me the other command breaking both my commands.

On our left, Marc re-thought the Battle of Balaclava deployment and instead used the Mongol's mobility and his high pip rolling ability to move his right command back behind his left into support of his attack on the Chinese right wing. My understanding was that his combat rolling was also abysmal, but at least he killed some Sung. In the end, my two dead commands coupled with Marc's losses were enough to call the game.

Despite the dice rolling of doom, it was an enjoyable game. Many thanks to Pat L for hosting (Did I mention there was a cheese board? This is high class gaming for sure)  and thanks as always to George for bringing his toys for us to play with.

*I normally don't blame the dice in place of my tactical errors but this time, I don't think I killed a single Chinese element even with double overlaps or hard flanks.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Between Breaker Morant and half of Letters From Iwo Jima, I have finished the bulk of the painting of my warband. There remains some minor details to complete like metallics on the weapons, hair and the final touch ups. But soon - I'll be basing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Crushing DBMM Defeat

George was back with his toys again last night but this time we had my friend Marc along for the ride. It was 325 points of Macedonians versus the same of Persians again with me taking the Persians this round and Marc and George splitting the Macedonians.

I set up with  a spear block on the left slightly ahead of centre, cavalry in the middle and light cavalry on my right. All my troops were in blocks of columns to allow for rapid movement and deployment.  George set up with the companions on his far right, pike centre and light horse left. However as he does everytime, he managed to slide his troops to line up his pike against my spear.

I didn't have much luck with the pips and as usual found George's pike stomping across the board to hit my spear before they could deploy. The box formations of columns coupled with the low pip die and poor rolls made it impossible to deploy the spear properly before the pikes hit. and who was supporting the pike? The Companions of course. The middle and right flanks were better with my horse pushing forward. Pip starvation didn't help speed things along and Marc was able to form a ragged line to block.

As expected the main combat was on the left with pikes, elephants, and Companions grinding my spear to a pulp. Some piss poor rolling on my part stopped my cav from crushing the right wing and that decayed into a series of inconsequential fights. With the left flank crushed, my baggage was exposed. It bought a little time by running away from the Companions but that doesn't work for long. With the baggage gone, it only required a few horse casualties to break the army.

I always enjoy playing but I am consistently missing something. Last night I actually got angry - not just ticked at bad die rolls but angry enough to want to chuck the game. I just can't seem to get tempo in any of my games. I will not blame it on bad pips or dice rolls - there is something I'm just not grasping.

Flames of War - a trip to the twilight zone.

Last Sunday, I was able to head down to the club for an hour and watch a game of Flames of War. So my impressions? It is a very pretty game. The standard of modeling and terrain by the club members was excellent.

And that's about it. The table size was heavily compressed with off board artillery and front line troops all mashed together. I can understand the need for a logarithmic ground scale to allow off board artillery on board but it failed when in one game where Italian off board artillery came under fire from Aussie HMGs and in another where a Panther platoon drove off the main battle field directly into the Russian artillery park with no delay (poor Katushya).

The ground scale had further effects on the mechanics. I saw JS2s firing on Panzer IVs at a model distance of about a hundred yards. the resolution counted side armour factors, movement and cover into the equation. Mis-match between model size and ground scale is a given in most games but the distances on the table were more of the kind used in games where one model represents a platoon or company rather than one tank yet single vehicle combat mechanics were used. It just didn't look right.

Another scale issue was that of the Italian tankette armour. It was up against Universal Carriers but had the advantage of being closed topped. There are several levels of regular armour ranging from soft for no armour, through 0, 1 and 2 to 6 (I think) for Tiger level armour. However, there are only two or three top armour ratings with zero being open top and 1 being the minimal level of top armour. The end result was that the Semoventes with zero all round main armour had 1 armour on top - very odd. A final bit of strangeness was the Australian assault on the Italian trench line. The Australians slaughtered the Italians to a man then ran away leaving the tench vacant.  I understand the "win the firefight but fail the morale check" approach but again it didn't seem right to me.

So what good points were there?  It was fast playing, it was pretty and most importantly, the guys playing it - especially a young lad out with his dad - were having fun.

The verdict - Not my cup of tea and I'm not going to invest anything in it but if you're looking for quick beer and pretzels World War Two with some miniatures flavour it might be for you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A weekend of painting

Lots of painting going on this weekend. I have nearly completed 6 bases of Ps slingers, I have based up my chariots and will even be flocking them and I will be working on  28mm1890 colonial brits for weird Victorian later today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DBA with Marc last night.

I have played a fair bit of DBMM but wanted to try out DBA because it is popular locally. I had my friend Marc over to pit his flat Vikings against my flat ancient Britons. We went with flats based to 15mm for economic reasons and while I have a bunch of warband - they are still on the painting sticks. I must say, the vikings glued to bases looked good and store in a tiny tin.

What a different game from DBMM. Movement is much more limited, there is less of the feel of different troop types (Blade, 3, Blade 4 - all the same), impetuosity works completely differently (what do you mean my Wb don't advance automatically?). I have to say I don't like it nearly as much as DBMM. However - it is very fast playing.

To the results:

I sent a pair of light  horse around the Viking left. Marc responded by turning to face and there was a minor skirmish killing one of my ponies. However, I split his forces which was my aim.

I was pip starved generally so took a while to move the centre and right flank up. My chariots went out to the right and the warband straight up. I was able to contact Marc's left with the chariots while finally getting my Wb into striking position. One of the chariots was blocked by the Wb, denying me overlaps on both flanks. There was a tussle with between the blades and chariots seeing me lose one but this opened up space for the warband to get in.

The finale was a tense pair of bounds where I was just able to save a pair of flanked warband that would have cost me the game with good rolling. I countered with warband on blade taking 2 with a flanking quick kill for the win.

It all came down to two die rolls - but we had fun!

A good game and I will play again but it isn't DBMM.

Work space

This is where I paint:
Just a corner of the garage but I have good light, tunes and I'm away from the women ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Rules!

Hordes of the things arrived in today's mail! And my dwarves are on the way after a small paypal mix up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

DBMM Game 6 Mongol vs Sung

This one never got posted for some reason.

Game 6 saw a Mongol - Sung rematch with me taking the Mongols again. The big difference is that we used terrain this time.

Pre-game saw the Sung come up as invader - something I hadn't really expected. The terrain went down fairly easily with only one patch of rough going to give me trouble.

The game rapidly turned into a shoving match between the horse and bow. The (S) was a life saver to the point that in a couple of fights with Bw(X) as Sp(I), the S made the Cv un-killable.

Another new thing for me was using a stratagem. After reading up on the Mongols I took feigned flight.

I probably sprang it too early but it was pretty pointless - my Lh flipped the Bw(X) the bird and ran away waggling their tails seductively. By the time they finished their flee move, Only a couple of Bow were in range to go impetuous. Pretty much a waste of points.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Recruits

Here are the new boys ready for priming:

More Troops!

As well as a good game, George brought over some of his Celts needing a good home. I now have 95 more figures to paint up and base but my barbarian hordes are on the way.

Since I walk to work everyday, I have taken to listening to podcasts and E-books as I go. Most recently, I downloaded 60+ episodes of Meeples and Miniatures and I have been working my way through. In 2008 I think, Neil interviewed Pete Berry of Baccus 6mm. Neil raved about Pete's 6mm Napoleonics so I decided to go have a look. I was also smitten but by the fantasy and ancients lines. I ordered up a dwarven army for HotT to see for my self and have been checking the mail constantly in over eager expectation. I'm committed to 15mm Celts for DBx but if the 6mm are as good in person as they are on the web, I will probably go 6mm for future ancients while keeping the 15mm standard basing..


Though the ground cloth wasn't the best for table top use due to cats, it has worked well as a cover for the redneck gaming table. To go on that, I have started working on some terrain. I purchased some 1/8" MDF sheet, cut some rectangles to DBA, 1/2 FE, 1 FE and 2 FE sizes then free handed some ovals and cut them out using the band saw. I then beveled the edges using the belt sander. If you are going to do this, a dust extraction system and mask are highly advisable. I put a 1/2 FE and a 1 FE aside to become swamps for my Scots-Irish. The rest were painted green giving me generic tree or hill blocks.

The swamps had their centres routed out for the water bits. Even more dust and honestly not really necessary. The deep routing caused the boards to warp and I had to back fill the large central cavity with wood putty to provide a surface for the troops to stand on. Next time I will just route out a few selected pools - much less work and dust that way.

The next project was trees. Back in my model railroad days, I had been given a pine forest. I dug these out and prepared them as per instructions. Since I would need to be able to move the trees around the the troops on the field, I cut out some MDF disks using a blind hole saw and beveled the edges using the belt sander. Small MDF disks can really fly. I painted the disks green and drilled mounting holes to spec for the trees as I epoxied them into place. A quick snip for any trunks projecting  from the bottom and a kiss from the belt sander and they were flat and ready to go. Last step is to put the flocking on the branches.
I'm well pleased with the result.

Last Wednesday's DBMM game

George was back over with the Successors and Persians. I set up the redneck table again so there was lots of room for a 300 point game. I put my companions in the centre with the pike command on the left and the Cv on the right.  I was able to adjust my line a bit and lined up the companions against the spear group, horse on horse on the right and pikes against Cv. I started well up the map and pushed forward. The result was as expected - I lost. The Companions stuck into the spear and gnawed away at them almost bursting through by the last turn but not without getting chewed up themselves. The horse on my right stared at each other angrily without doing much. The pike ground forward. At turn two I split the double ranks into two lines - I had learned my lesson about useless deep formations of pike.

Lessons learned:
  • I need to learn to handle the Companions better but at least I didn't dither about with them
  • I need to move away from a three block deployment. With that much horse on the board, I could have spread the pikes out in a long line and covered most of the field.
  • I need to pay more attention to ME.