Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stooge Con 2011 AAR

Two weeks ago, our local wargames group hosted a mini-con. There were about eight people playing DBA and the same number playing DBM. It was hosted a local game store, Legions Hobbies & Games, which sells all sort of cool stuff and has a huge gaming area.

I played DBM and brought the latest version of my Norman army. The army has evolved over time, starting as a Sicilian group including some Arab allies and changing into William the Conquerer's list utilizing a mix of regular and dismounted knights.

III/52 Norman

Command 1
CinC Irr Kn(F)
Milites Irr Kn(F) x8
Scouts Irr LH(I) x3
Archers Irr Bw(I) x2
Peasants Irr Hd(O) x12
20 EE, Breaks on 7

Command 2
Sub-General Irr Kn(F)
Milites Irr Kn(F) x4
Dismounted Irr Bd(O) x9
Spearmen Irr Sp(I) x4
18 EE, Breaks on 6

Command 3
Sub-General Irr Kn(F)
Archers Irr Bw(I) x10
Crossbowmen Irr Bw(O) x6
17 EE, Breaks on 6

Command 4
Breton SG Irr Cv(O)
Breton Horse Irr Cv(O) x6
Dismounted Irr Bd(O) x4
Spearmen Irr Sp(I) x6
17 EE, Breaks on 6

Army total: 72 EE, Breaks on 36

I was a little pressed for time, so I only got to play three games. I went 1-1-1, and would probably have gone 2-1 if I didn't arrive late on Saturday. Overall, I was pretty pleased.

The first game was against Howard West's Bosporans. His army had a bunch of Ax, Sp, Bw, and Kn. He also had a Scythian ally with a bunch of LH(F). There was a large batch of rough going in the middle of the table, and two smaller areas on the flanks. I set up with my Bretons on the right flank, my dismounted milites on the left, and my knights and bowmen in the middle. I pushed the whole lot forward, and Howard was happy to oblige. The match almost ended in disaster, as his bowmen shot up my Breton cavalry pretty badly. Luckily, I managed to extract them before the command broke. On the other flank, I had a slight numerical advantage, so I decided to sweep the rough going clear with my dismounted milites. Through sheer weight of numbers, and a bit of luck, I was able to push the Ax out of the rough going and was in a pretty good position to put pressure on his flank. In the middle, my bowmen and knights were slowly grinding down Howard's Sp and remaining Bw. The losses were spread over several commands, so I wasn't able to break anything before time was called, but we sort of agreed that with a couple of more bounds, I had a good chance of breaking a command and possibly the army. It ended in a draw, but I felt pretty good.

That feeling was quickly erased in my second game agains Rob Cunningham and his New Kingdom Egyptians. The terrain featured two areas of difficult going on Rob's flanks, and a river near my back edge. Rob set up his bow and blade line anchored between the two pieces of terrain. He also placed two groups of psiloi in ambush, one in each piece. I set up with my Bretons on the left flank, the knights and bows in the middle, and the mixed blade and knight command on the right. I made quite a few mistakes in this fight. First, I tried to sweep the difficult going with my blades. I forgot that they couldn't do group moves in difficult terrain, and by the time that I remembered, they were out of position to attack the bows. I tried to make an end around with some knights on the other flank, but they got tied up by the psiloi. In the center, I lumbered forward with the bows and main group of knights. I managed to charge the knights as a cohesive group, but didn't kill a thing on the charge. After that, it didn't take long for Rob to break both my knight and bow commands, causing me to go down in defeat. We had a good talk about using Normans and fast knights after the battle, which would go on to be a big help the next day...

On Sunday, I played my last game against Carl and his Successor Army. I knew he had a whole lot of pike, so I planned to dismount my main knight command at setup. When the terrain fell, there was a lot of rough going on my right flank, but my left flank was wide open. Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I sent the Breton command on a flank march. The plan was to engage the pikes with my blades, delay on my right flank with the light horse, and use the Breton cavalry to flank the pike block. I set up with my bow line in front of my blades, and marched forward. Carl's pikes did the same. I got lucky, and my flank march arrived on turn two. This forced Carl to divert a lot of pips to the counter them just as the blades and pikes started their shoving match. I then sent my reserve group of knights to aid the flank march. Carl was forced to spend pips all over the entire battlefield while I was able to focus two commands on one of his, including a group of impetuous knights. I managed to close the door and kill his pike subgeneral, causing even greater command problems. He did kill quite a bit of my guys, but not before I was able to overwhelm the command opposing the flank march and break it. A few bounds later, they called time, and I won by virtue of breaking a command without losing any.

I was very pleased with this last game. I formulated a plan and executed it almost exactly as I had wanted. I was able to delay in the areas where I couldn't win and was able to combine forces on one command where I could. By engaging the entire line at once, I was able to force Carl to spend pips in places where he didn't want to spend them. I was pretty happy that my crazy plan had worked.

I had a really good time at the event. I thought I played well, except for the middle game, and I felt much more comfortable with the rules. I also felt more comfortable with my army, utilizing its strengths and mostly handling its weaknesses. Its a fun army to play, although you have to deal with the fact that sometimes you will lose in a spectacular fashion! In that case, you have to look on the bright side... you will get to spend more time shopping in the dealer's hall!

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