End of the year

OK – so one New Year’s resolution is going to have to be to write this Blog more frequently!

Since the last entry in June, the wargaming front has been a bit quiet – so another resolution must be to PLAY MORE GAMES!

Back in August, I helped run a DBA tournament at the BHGS Britcon event in Manchester.  I put the fact that I came bottom down to me organising, umpiring and playing – a bit of a stretch on the multi-tasking front.


The nest event I attended was a battleday with the Peter Pig Square Bashing rules in Daventry and organised by Simon Clarke.  Although I bought the rules a few years ago, I had never played them apart from the participation game at York when I was seduced into buying them.  Anyway, I am glad I did as I thought this was a brilliant game.

More pictures can be found on the RFCM forum at:


I am already looking forward to the next day in June and I have also asked for (and got) some Christmas 12mm Kallistra Late war Brits and Germans to play the game with.

My old mate and gaming partner Sean has introduced me to Art de la Guerre and that is also a game I will be playing more of.

My son James has been home for Christmas and New Year and so we got some assorted games in.

Firstly, a game of Irregular Wars by Nic Wright.  These are focused on various small actions  in the period of discovery and conquest in the age of discovery in 16th and 17th centuries.  We played an action from the conquest of Siberia with Cossacks against Koryaks – NE Asian headhunters.  Great fun!


More details about Irregular Wars – Conflict at the World’s end here:


Next game up was a chance to get out my long-neglected 15mm Crimean war figures to try out the Neil Thomas Simplicity in Practice rules.  Although vert simple – and in the old school tradition – they gave an entertaining game.  We used a scenario from Neil’s 19th Century Wargaming book – one of my favourite wargaming books.

And finally, a game of Lion Rampant.  We played the fugitive scenario – as it seemed to be over quite quickly with me locating and finding the fugitive before James’ hunters were anywhere close, we continued the game as the Bloodbath Scenario.

On the painting bench right now are a couple of DBA armies – Late Swiss and French Ordonnance in preparation for the Mercian Tournament in February, with the Italian Wars as the theme.   After that i will be getting on with my Kallistra Late WW1 Brits and Germans.

Hopefully there will be less of a gap bef0re the next Blog entry than there was since the last one!




Bakewell DBA Tournament 18 June

As a relative newcomer to DBA, it was with no little trepidation that I offered to organise a tournament.

The theme was based on a dreadful pun (Bakewell TARTars and T’ARTillery) after the local delicacy.  This meant that armies had to have at least four Light Horse and/or Artillery elements.  In order to give LH room to roam around the flanks and give elements the chance to stay out of artillery range, the boards were large ones at 800mm square.

On the day, 14 gallant competitors cantered in on their light horse, some dragging their artillery with them – in some cases (well Arnaud to be precise!), dragging quite a lot of artillery.

The players:


Back row, left to right – Tom Whitehead, Paul Murgatroyd, Richard Pulley, Scott Russell, Pete Whyman, Neil Mason, Graham Fordham, Tristan Gale (observer), Phil Duncan, David Constable (obviously worried about being seen at a v3 event as he tries to edge out of picture!)

Front Row – me, Tamara Fordham,  Arnaud Marmier (the winner),  Martin Myers (edging forward and trying to look like the winner!), Pete Duckworth and Phil Johnson.

The prizes were kindly donated by John Roberts of Naismith and Roundway (http://naismithandroundway.co.uk/ ).  First prize was a 15mm Late German army IV/13d – hopefully to be seen at the next Mercian tournament when the theme will be the Italian Wars.

The results:

Bakewell DBA results

A few photos from the event:  (Pictures of the armies to follow)

general pic
The games get under way – partially obscured by Arnaud’s big hair
paul m
Paul looks in horror as his first throw is a 1 and that plough mysteriously turns to mud!
arnaud and richard
Richard tries to guess which of Arnaud’s three artillery pieces will blast him first.
david and martin
Martin looks on, amazed as he witnesses David, former v2 infantryman, enjoying a v3 cavalry game!
graham and neil
Neil and Graham take a brief respite from the game to discuss beard trimming techniques
neil and arnaud
Arnaud and Neil practice levitation – or is that an ouija board?
pete and richard
Pete squints to avoid snow blindness while trying to stop his sleeves catch the table edge
phil and tom
Tom uses his magic wand on his d6 to make sure it continues to throw high while Phil J reaches for the brandy.
scott and tamara
Tamara helps Scott understand what a base width is.
scott and graham
Scott gets ready with his canister of sevoflurane in the hope it will knock Graham out at the critical moment.
pete d and Phil D
Phil D looks on aghast as more Lithuanian LH reincarnate as 3Bw

Long time – no posts!

I can’t believe it is seven months since my last post!  perhaps things have been a bit too busy on the wargaming front (and other things!) to stop and write about it.

I guess the main bits of wargames news are:

  • Two excellent DBA tournaments – the Mercian organised by Pete Duckworth and Alton arranged by Martin Smith.  My North Welsh didn’t come top, but they didn’t come bottom either!
  • My old chum Hugh Harvey from Minneapolis visited us for a heavy wargaming weekend, introducing me to Art De La Guerre (liked) and Aurelian by Sam Mustafa – really, really liked!
  • I have bought a couple of nice Oriental DBA armies – Khmer from Outpost and Malay from East Riding Miniatures/Grumpy.  Also on the painting bench are some Perry 28mm plastic Arabs for Saga and a long unpainted 15mm DBA Dynastic Bedouin army.
  • This coming weekend (18 June) I am organising my first DBA tournamenr in Bakewell – currently 16 players are signed up for it.  Full report to follow soon – i promise!  The theme is armies with at least four Light Horse or Artillery.
  • I am also helping to run the first DBA tournament at Britcon in Manchetser on 13 August.

More news – and perhaps a few photos to follow soon.

DBA v3

So far, gaming in November has been very much about playing DBA v3!

Firstly, there was a good game of Big Battle DBA with Sean, my long suffering regular wargaming mate!

The game was set around the battle of Nicopolis in 1396 between the Ottomans and a combined Hungarian/Western Crusader army.

The orders of battle were based on the scenario by Ian F White with a few minor changes to cater for my miniatures collection.

The orders of battle were as follows:

Hungarian Right (12 elements): 1x3Kn (General – King Sigismund), 2x3Kn, 1x6Kn, 4x2LH, 2x4Cb, 1x4Sp, 1x2Ps. Appear 2nd bound

French Centre (12 elements): 1x3Kn (General – John of Nevers), 7x3Kn, 2x3Cv, 2x4Cb.  (50% demoralisation, must have highest pip score + move towards enemy directly)

Wallachian Left (12 elements): 1x3Cv (General – Prince Mircea), 4x2LH, 2x3Bw, 1x5Hd, 4x2Ps. Appear 2nd bound

Ottoman Right (9 elements): 1x3Cv (General – Tinnurtash), 5x3Cv, 3x2LH

Ottoman Centre (15 elements): 1x3Cv (General – Sultan Bayuzid), 3x3Cv, 3x2LH, 4x4Bw, 4x2Ps.

Serbian Left (12 elements): 1 x3Kn (General – Stephen Lazarevitch), 5x3Kn, 1x3Ax, 5x2Ps  Appear on third bound.

The overall result went as it did in history with an Ottoman victory.   The French got bogged down in the dry river bed against the Ottoman centre and the Hungarians fell victim to the Serbs coming in from the Ottoman left.  The Wallachians did well on the Hungarian left, demoralising and then routing  the Ottoman left, but then suffered a series of abysmal PIP rolls that stopped them from contributing further.

We really thought that the BBDBA game added an extra dimension to the game with the demoralisation to the different commands.

In hindsight, the terrain was probably too challenging for the Hungarians as the dry river bed was treated like bad going and as soon as they eventually got out of it, the Hungarians and their French/Burgundian allies were under punishing bowfire from the Janissaries!

Here are some pictures – figures are 12mm Kallistra.

Above – Sean considers his options as the French/Burgundians rush heroically towards the enemy!
Above, the Serbs attack on the left


Above, the Household Sipahi wait to pounce!

On Sunday, 15 November, Patrick Dale organised a  DBA tournament at Great Bowden near Market Harborough- this was my first and great fun it was too.  16 participants, 5 games and a theme of feudal English and their enemies.  I took a North Welsh army with South Welsh allies.  I really liked the fast moves and +3 modifier for the 3Pk – a real incentive not to hang around and get stuck in!

I look forward to my next tournament!


…and so into Autumn

Another good show at Partizan.  Simon Miller put on yet more epic sized games for his To the Strongest (TtS) rules – this time around Late Roman/Arthurian themes.  It was great fun to play in such large games.  I eagerly await the photos that will hopefully be put on the TtS forum soon.

Over on the Society of Ancients, Phil Steele led and coached participants through a well-researched Big Battle DBA of the battle of Bouvines in 1214 – sometimes described as the most important battle that people haven’t heard about!  A really interesting scenario.

Back on the subject of TtS,  I realise that I will never win the biggest battle competition, so I thought I might have a go at the prize for smallest.  Here are some photos of a “sort of” Poitiers game using 12mm Kallistra figures on a 24 x 16 inch board with 2 inch boxes.





I think this shows how flexible the system really is.

Anyway – that’s all for now.  I hope to be at the Derby show in early October.

Long time no write!

Cripes – just realised that my last entry was the end of May just after the last Newark Irregulars Partizan show at Newark! Where did the summer go?

Fortunately the absence of blog entries does not mean that there has been nothing happening on the wargames front.

I have been playing more games of To the Strongest, now firmly there as my favourite Ancient/medieval set with its simple but elegant mechanisms giving realistic, fast paced and fun games.  One memorable game was Alexander v Porus as a refight of the battle of Hydaspes.   I used Philip Sabin’s Lost battles to create the OOBs – happily, using 2/3 of his lists for his scenarios, produced a couple of 140 points or so armies and it was simple to map the troop types across.  I intend to use his book for planning other scenarios.

The game did not start auspiciously for my opponent.  he played an ace when attempting to activate his right wing under Alexander and his companions – any other card would have done!  Normally this would not be a problem as a general gives a replay of the card for activation attempts in the same box as the general – but he went on to play another ace!

The game was a close one – Alexander’s right wing routed the opposing Indian cavalry and chariots and in the centre there was a brutal but even fight between the phalanx and the elephants.  Alexander’s left wing did less well and in the end it was a raw Indian bow unit, surviving against all the odds that took the final victory medal from the great Alexander.

The next game was a Romans v Ancient Britons.   Here the Britons could not avoid being ground down by the Romans and were well and truly trounced.  This was probably not helped by me forgetting to use the special move forward and fire activation for my light chariots.  But … another fun and engaging game.

There have also been a couple of good games of the 18th century rue set Maurice by Sam Mustafa.  I really enjoy this game but have yet to get my head round the right strategy – I keep getting distracted into fighting in the wrong part of the battlefield and losing the initiative!  The game is driven by cards and, if you haven’t played it, well worth investigating.

As far as the painting bench is concerned, my focus is building a few 15mm DBA armies for the 11th century – Early Muslim North African and Sicilian, Norman, Pecheneg, Communal and Papal Italian, Byzantine and Seljuqs – to fight campaigns for that part of the world.

I hope to get to the next Newark Partizan show on 6 September – Simon Miller will be putting on a huge Arthurian To the Strongest game and I would hate to miss that!

Partizan wargames show Kelham Hall Newark Sunday 31 May

Another good show put on by the Newark Irregulars.  I spent most of my visit there having a great time playing in the participation game using the To the Strongest rules by Simon Miller – and Simon was there in person to lead those who joined in through the rules.  The game was a Roman v Ancient Britons game with a large number of superb looking 28 mm figures, complete with a fortified camp for the Romans and a baggage camp for the Britons.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera and had to rely on my not very good phone but here is a photo of Simon explaining the rules to a young gamer who was actually on holiday from New Zealand with his family.  Brett, his father, played on the opposing British side with me – we lost gloriously!


I am sure that there will be lots of much better photos of this game – particularly as photographers from Wargames Soldiers & Strategy and Miniature Wargames magazines dropped by and showed keen interest – as did many other visitors to the show.  Historian and author Dr Harry Sidebottom took part in the afternoon game, so there was quite a lot of ancient warfare knowledge round the table!

For those new to To the Strongest, it is a grid based game (although the grid is very discreet) and uses playing cards to activate the units and quickly resolve melees, shooting and saves – so you can leave your dice and rulers in the cupboard.  The game that I participated in the morning moved at a fast, fun and furious pace and reached a credible historical conclusion in 90 minutes even with new players and the rules being explained and the large number of figures as shown in the photo above.  Another thing I really like about the rules is that the game can accommodate any basing convention and so you could equally play with, for example, 40mm DBx units on a 12 x 8 grid 24 inches by 16 inches.

There is more information, including free army lists, on Simon’s website at http://bigredbatshop.co.uk/ and there is also a forum at http://tothestrongest.yuku.com/ with the author being very helpful and willing to answer questions.

I will be playing more with these rules!

I ran out of time at the show and one game I regret missing was the SOA one.  Phil Steele was putting on a very good looking DBA 3 Byzantine v Arab game using 30mm flats.   I do hope that one is put on again at another show.

Visit to Sheffield Triples 16 May 2015

Living as I do near Sheffield, this is an annual pilgrimage for me!

This year’s highlights were getting a drop-in game of DBA 3 being run as part of the Northern Cup,  courtesy of Paul Mugatroyd and watching my great friend and wargaming partner, Sean Pratt, take part in a re-fight of the Battle of Grandson being run by the medieval re-enactment society Knights in Battle.

The DBA game was between Northern Welsh and Anglo-Normans.  I played the Welsh and went down gloriously to a 4-0 defeat against Scott Russell, proving that perhaps charging my army of mostly 3 Pike across a river against mutually supporting spearmen was not the right approach.  I was a bit disappointed to discover that the 3 Pike did not really get any combat advantages on steep hills as I thought that was where they were meant to be strong!  A fun game nevertheless and, as a relative beginner,  helpful to play against an experienced, informative and patient opponent.  I hope to take fuller (and more successful) part next year.

While I was being hammered in DBA, Sean was busy proving that the Burgundians can defeat the Swiss.  The game used a slightly modified version of Neil Thomas’ Ancient and Medieval Warfare rules.  This was a big battle with 16 units per side rather than the usual 8 and also included a rule modification, whereby losers in a melee were pushed back.  This made the game more dynamic as sometimes the original rules can result in a bit of a static slogging match – possibly the only thing I would want to improve in what I otherwise think is a simple and elegant rule set that gives credible results.

The table looked absolutely superb with great scenery and 28mm figures.  Sean took these photos:



The guys running the game were really helpful and interesting and well worth going to meet if you come across them at other shows!

As far as discarding cash at the trade stand is concerned, I picked up a pack of Donington Pecheneg Horse Archers and a couple of Asiatic wagons from Irregular with a view to creating a DBA Pecheneg Army to go with my Outpost Wargame Services Byzantine Army.

The next event for me is the Partizan Show at Newark on 31 May, when I hope to take part in a large To the Strongest game being put on by Simon Miller, the author of the rules.  Report to follow!

Neville’s Cross – the refight with Lion Rampant

So – I finally got round to having a solo re-fight of this interesting battle with the rather good Lion Rampant rules by Daniel Mersey.  The rules are intended to be for smaller actions but I was interested to see how they would work for larger ones.  My first intro to the rules was taking part in a game of the battle of Hexham in the WotR at the York wargames show – that was a good game!

Overall, I thought the game below played well and I think that the mechanics can give an enjoyable, quick and period flavour medieval game for a larger battle.

The table

I played this on quite a small table – roughly 3 feet by 2 1/2 feet.  The battle was fought on Crossgate Moor, which runs north/south and is steeply sided – see my photos in an earlier post about my visit to the battlefield.  As the moor is the main terrain feature, I represented its contours in 1/2 inch chip board as you can see below.  I added a building for Arbour Farm and a few trees on the west flank.  Neither of these had any impact on the original battle, or for that matter, my re-fight. The picture below is the initial deployment and shows the contours of the moor.  On the left is the valley below Arbour farm where the right division of the Scottish army was mauled by the English archers as they struggled across it.

nc deploymentp1

nc deployment2

Orders of battle and special rules

I changed my mind about representing the armies.  I decide to keep things simple and, rather than having several retinues a side, I went for just one as follows;

English – one unit of expert archers on the left flank, one unit of dismounted MAA in the centre with the leader, one unit of dismounted MAA on the right and drilled mounted MAA in reserve.  I made the latter drilled as historically they seemed to do what they were meant to and did act as a reserve, coming in at the right moment.

Scottish – two units of shiltron foot yeomen on the right, two dismounted MAA in the centre (one with leader) and one unit of dismounted MAA and one foot yeomen schiltron on the left.

My 12mm Kallistra figures are mounted on 4×2 cm bases for infantry and 4×3 cm bases for cavalry.  In a unit, each base represented 2 figures so the schiltrons and archers had 6 bases and the MAA 3 bases.  A base was removed when two figures were lost, with a little marker added when one figure was lost.

As far as rules are concerned, I added the following:

  • Flank/rear arcs applied.  -1 for armour if attacked in flank or rear
  • Archers can only fire in 45 degree arc
  • Movement out of front 45 degree arc at half move
  • Due to the size of the table, all distances were halved  ie normal move for MAA 3 inches rather than 6 inches.

How the battle played out This was my first run through with the rules and, even though playing solo, it was an exciting game that flowed well and “felt right.” The armies started in positions held in the mid-afternoon of the day of the battle.   As both sides were quite defensive in outlook, neither wanted to advance.  The Scots, however, were happy to delay longer and so it was the English, who after spending most of the day glaring at their enemy, advanced to extreme bow range and let fly to get the Scots to move towards them.

Turn 1

The English bowmen on the left shot their arrows causing 2 casualties and the Scots passed their courage test.  English centre and left stayed in position. The forward Scots right shiltron advanced into the rough ground of the valley but the rear schiltron failed to move so ended of turn for the Scots.

Turn 2

The English continued their arrow storm on their left causing 2 more casualties with the Scots passing the courage test.  The English centre and right once again stayed put.  The whole Scots army advanced with the poor Scottish right advancing across the rough ground of the valley. nc turn2p1 Turn 3

A bad turn for the English!  Their longbow machine guns jammed and they failed their test to shoot.  The  Scots right continued its slow progress across the valley floor and the Scots centre with King David advanced.   The Scots left failed to advance.

Turn 4

Unbelievably, the English left failed to shoot AGAIN!!  Perhaps they were desperately getting more arrows!  The Scottish right charged out of the valley to attack the English archers – the English benefiting from a +1 armour for being uphill.  One casualty each was caused and so the Scots, being attackers, had to fall back.  The Scots attacked in the centre – 2:1 to them and so the English centre fell back after both sides passed morale tests and no hits on leaders.  The front unit on the Scots left advanced, once again let down by the rear unit on that flank that failed to do so. nc turn4p1

 Turn 5

The English archers got back in the game and actually managed to shoot – hurrah!  Three casualties were caused and the front Schiltron on that flank was now at 1/2 strength and became battered.  As it retreated into the unit behind, it had to roll a dice for further casualties but fortunately got a six.  Had it scored below its courage, it would have suffered whatever the die score was in casualties.  The English centre failed to attack so turn over for the English.

The Scots right failed to rally so lost another casualty and retired into the unit behind – once gain scoring above its courage to avoid casualties.  The rear unit on the right backed up 1/2 move.  I played a house rule by which units moving other than forward could only move 1/2 distance fo the terrain they were in.

The Scots centre forward unit attacked the English centre.  Lucky rolls by the English resulted in a 2:1 win to them.  There were no leader casulaties and both were now at 1/2 strength.  The Scots retreated.  The forward unit on the Scottish left attacked the English right – a draw with one casualty each, no leader casualties, both passing courage tests and so the Scots retreated.

At this point I did wonder if leaders casualties were too difficult to get!

nc turn5p1

Turn 6

The English archers continued to maul the Scots right with three more casualties and a battered courage test result.

The English right attacked the Scottish left with 1:1 casualties – but the Scots failed their courage test becoming battered.  As, in the real battle, the Scots left were less than enthusiastic and finally refused to support David, I did not let them have the +1 from the leader for courage tests.

The English centre pulled back to allow space for the reserve mounted men at arms and the men at arms advanced.

The Scots forward unit on the left just managed to rally but the Scots right, after withering damage from the English archers routed.

The Scots centre charged the English mounted unit  – a bit rash as it was now at 1/2 strength!    The English successfully counter-charged and it was a 2:0 win to the English with the Scots just passing their courage test, suffering no leader casualty and then retreating.

The Scouts right – or what was left of it – proving Einstein’s maxim that madness is doing the same thing and expecting different results – marched down from the hill towards the English archers as their routed colleagues had done.

nc turn 6p1

Turn 7

The English archers caused three casualties on the remaining schiltron on the Scottish right.  It failed its courage test and did not benefit from the +1 leader bonus as it too far from the King.  Battered!

The English cavalry charged into the Scottish centre with the King in it – a 2:0 victory that destroyed the leader’s unit.  This triggered a morale test for the whole Scots army.  All passed except for the rear left unit that became battered.

The English right attacked the Scots left with  a 2:1 victory but the English failed the courage test and the Scots passed.

The Scots right then passed its courage test for being battered and removed its battered status.  On the left, the rear Scots unit also passed it courage test and then the less strong unit on the left moved back and to the right to allow space for the fresher unit to advance later.  The Scottish centre also advanced, ending turn 7.

nc turn8p1

Turn 8

On the right, the English failed its test to remove battered status and then the reserve of mounted men at arms charged the Scottish centre, winning 1:0 and causing the Scots to retreat.  The English archers then shot at long range, so needing a 5+, to hit, inflicting two casualties and a battered result on the Scottish schiltron.  The English centre moved to the right – I played that movement out of the 45 degree front arc was at 1/2 speed.

On the Scottish left, the courage test was failed and the so stayed battered.  The Scottish centre bravely charged the English cavalry – who failed their attempt to counter-charge.  The English then recovered with a jammy roll and achieved a draw and so the Scots had to retreat.  On the left, the fresher Scots schiltron miserably failed to take advantage of the opening to advance, failing its move roll.

Turn 9

This was the last turn.  The mounted knights charged the Scottish centre who failed their courage test and routed, ending the game.  Normally play is until there are 5 units left on the table but I decided that the end would be when one side was at 50%