Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Am I Reading Now?

My Butterfly Brain is apparent in some of the books I've added to my reading list. I'm really looking forward to wading into Dr. Matthew's hefty book on the Macedonian pike phalanx. Also of "ancient" interest are new books on Rome and Syracusan tyrants, as well as a new set of fast-play wargame rules for classical naval battles from Osprey Publishing.

Here are a couple of new books on the French and Indian War. I highly recommend the new Osprey COMBAT  - it directly inspired my recent Black Powder game of La Belle Famille.

 Osprey just released a new Campaign book on the Gempei War, of course by Dr. Turnbull.

The recent wargaming "glossies" have relevant content, too. This one has a review of The Baron's Fistful of Lead rules by Lion and Dragon Rampant author Daniel Mersey, as well as a mention of his most excellent blog.

All have reviews of the new black-powder-era skirmish rules Sharp Practice 2 from Too Fat Lardies, which have a section devoted to the French and Indian War. The Norman Conquest issue features some Lion Rampant and Hail Caesar! articles to help scratch that Dark Ages itch.

See ya!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Big Battle DBA 3.0

Last weekend Bruce and I played our first official game of straight-up Big Battle DBA 3.0. I trotted out some of my 15mm Later Carthaginians to face Bruce's Pontics. Not quite contemporaries, but not too far off.

We played the rules as written, except we played on a larger-than-specified area; 6' x 4' instead of 4' x 2'. Since Bruce, as the defender, took the minimum amount of terrain possible and the battlefield quarters were larger than normal, we ended up with wide-open terrain.

I had two commands made up of two Later Carthaginian armies, plus a 12-element Numidian ally on the left flank. The two Carthaginian armies were divided into two commands, the center of Elephants and Psiloi and the larger right flank of Spear and Auxilia with some supporting light troops. I decided to assign the higher Pip dice roll each turn to the larger command of Spear and Auxilia, even though the elephant command required more Pips per Elephant. That decision would lead to some frustration soon enough.

Here are the armies deployed as seen from behind the Carthaginians; the Pontics have a large double-ranked command of Pikes in the center flanked by Knights and Light Horse facing the Numidians, and more Light Horse and Psiloi on the other side of the Pike.

I sent the Numidians charging forward to test the new Light Horse ability to fight with rear support. . . demoralizing the command but taking the Pontic right flank with it. The Elephant command refused to go forward, except in fits and starts, while the right flank skirmished with its Pontic counterparts.

I held the demoralized Numidians in place for a few bounds, until a low roll caused them to begin fleeing. Then the Pontic skirmishers on the right flank broke, so the Pontic pike were unleashed in the center against the Punic Spear. The new side support for spear allowed them to hold up the Pike long enough for the Elephants, who had finally managed enough Pips, to fall on the Pontic pike right flank while the Auxilia did the same on the left. Shades of Hannibal; and the Pontic army reached it's break point.

A fun game for the Carthaginians, while Bruce was a bit dismayed at his Pikes' inability to break through the Punic Spear and wondered if the new side/rear support rules in 3.0 have pulled the teeth of the Pikes.

Have a great Fourth of July!