Christian popped by Saturday afternoon to play a couple quick games of DBA to try out the new rules…
Again with the terrain – that’s my biggest concern. I like the idea of some randomness to the terrain, and I like the idea of the attacker getting to simply choose the side, but the totally random – with the attacker having an opportunity to decide where some should go - is turning out some truly awful terrain set-ups where terrain in critical for the armies involved…
One thing we tried out today – which had been suggested on a post I’d make about the previous playtests – was giving the defender a “mulligan”. The Defender diced for terrain set up 1-4 indicating the quadrant it was set up in, 5-6 the defender chose which the terrain should be set up in (a change from the current draft rules ins which on a 6 the attacker chooses which quadrant to place a terrain piece in). After the terrain was set up the defender could choose to scrap it and start again – but would have to deal with whatever was rolled up.
In the games we played I ended up defending twice. On the first go round (I was playing Scots vs. Viking invaders) all the terrain ended up on one half of the table – which clearly the Vikings would have chosen to attack from – so I re did it and the second tie around the terrain was spread out a bit more evenly and we played on it. In the second game it turned out as well as could be hoped for (three bad-going features in three different quadrants) so we played on that.
Another idea I had along the same lines – when dicing for terrain placement a 1-4 would indicate the quadrant it was set up in, 5-6 the defender chooses. If a quadrant is rolled (1-4) and there is already a pice of terrain in that quadrant (or a bad-going or area terrain piece in that quadrant?) the defender may elect to re-roll, but the second roll counts…. I’ll give it a try in my next game (hopefully on wedensday).
Other that the whole question of terrain set up, in general, I think both of us thought the games played out fine… I still really like the distance things move and the extra room to maneuver in.
Anyway… the games…
I played Pre-Feudal Scots, Christian played Vikings. I took the warband options hoping for some terrain to catch the Vikings in and mess them up with the quick-kills.
1x Warband General
1x Light Horse
1x Blade General
Finnegan and Maeve (Christian’s daughter) were also on hand to help us with dice-rolling…
As I mentioned earlier The Vikings were invading the Kingdom of Alba and I set up the terrain. All the area terrain (two woods and a difficult hill) ended up on one half of the table – which clearly the Vikings would have chosen to attack from – so I re-did it and the second time around the terrain was spread out a bit more evenly and we played on it.
(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)
The first move for the Scots: Warband advancing in the woods.
Same thing. Different angle.
Christian and our helpers.
Vikings first move. Off the hils and across the open.
Scots second move. Can you spot it?
(Light Horse dashing around the flank – I was a little nervous about trying this again after Last Time… but I figured his Blade was slower – and getting further form his general… what were the odds he’d even try to catch them…?)
Viking line moves forward.
My light horse try to gallop past…
Christian, I think blew all his PIPs this turn sendingone blade after my light horse – not actually able to contact, but trapped in his threat zone – and the other blade started moving forward to join the main line.
That Line of blade sitting just outside the forest – with the open end – was just too great a temptation for my Warband…
The gamble paid off – very nearly ending the game!! Vikings down three!
The rest of the Viking line surged forward to contact the Scottish Spear. The Blade picket advanced to contact the Light Horse.
Viking Blade Clash with Scots Spear.
Psiloi flee and Spear recoil.
The Blade and the Light Horse
The Blade Recoil. In the following turn they contacted again. This time the Light Horse recoiled. In a later turn I moved them backward just enough to get then out of the Blades Threat zone and on a later turn, when I had a surplus of PIPs got them moving again towards the Viking camp… watch for them in the background – I don’t think I took any further pictures of this flank action, specifically.
I think I had only one PIP this round and tried to move the general into a position where he might cause that line of Blade some trouble – all I had to do was take out ONE more…
The Vikings Surge forward again. This time they flanked the end of the Scottish line.
The Scots survive – miraculously fending off the flankers – and recoiling everywhere else along the line.
A pile of PIPs sees the Scots straighten the line… The General’s Warband contacted the Viking line from the rear… The fleeing Psiloi were brought back… The Light Horse backed off (so they can carry on towards the Viking camp)… I even started wheeling the Warband around to deal with the Viking Warband that had been left out in the open..
The line was mostly recoiled – one spear stayed in it with their blade opponent.
The Vikings move back in…
…and the shoving match continues.
I think I only rolled one PIP this turn so I only brought in the General. Nothing happened in either contact – both were ties…
You can see my Light Horse in the background here making a break for that camp!
The following turn the Vikings moved back in…
…and things went south for the Scots – evening up the score!
I only rolled on here and again tried moving the General in – thinking the odds best for a kill…
The General was thrown off and the Vikings surged forward again…
… and finally beat down and other element of Spear ending the game!!
That’s what I love about DBA – quick game… lots of back and forth drama… with the Vikings coming form behind to seize victory!! Huzzah!!
This time around Christian (and Maeve and Finnegan – who had defected to the winner’s side) decided to have a go with the Normans. I thought I’d try the English – as they’d be the most likely opponents in the campaign.
I couldn’t quite muster enough Spear for the Middle Anglo-Saxon list, so I fielded Anglo-Danes
1x Blade General
1x Knight General
This time around the first terrain set up seemed as good as I could hope for – three pieces of bad-going, each in a different quadrant – of course the Normans decided to deploy in the half with two – hoping to gallop past that in the first turn or two and catch most of the rest of my army in the open.
Initial set-up. I set up my Blade elements and some spear immediately behind the difficult hill on my side of the table – hoping I’d be able to get then all up onto that hill where it would be suicide for the Knights to try and get them.
The balance of the Spear I set up in the center and to the rear of the hill. My hope was the Norman Knights would gallop past the hill hoping to catch the spear out in the open and I might be able to take out a Knight or two with flank/rear contact.
Of course then Christian and the Kids set up the bulk of the knight way over to my left, planning to wheel around the woods and approach the line of spear far from where the hill-dwellers would be able to help them. I’d kind of wished they’d set up immediately behind the hill – so the knight would have to come closer to the hill to catch the spear in the open and I’d be able to catch them with troops coming down off the hill…
Ah well… next time.
Same thing, different angle.
First moves; I got most of my blade up on the hill. The Normans started moving their knights about.
On my second bound I got the rest of the spear up on the hill along with some Psiloi.
The Norman Knight continue their maneuvering.
With the Knights gone past I thought I’d send my General out hunting for soft, squichy infantry… Those Bow looked tasty.
The Norman Knights continue their advance.
Whoop – I seized the opportunity and moved up my main line of spear and the spear and Psiloi off the hill – hoping to catch the smaller group of knights and overwhelm them with numbers.
The Knights clash into my line…
..but are overwhelmed by my numbers – one element is destroyed, the other two recoil! HUZZAH! Normans down one (and we all thought this would be a slaughter… those Knight aren’t so invincible!)
With a nice big pile o’PIPs I advanced my General and his Huscarls further towards the hill and followed up my victories with the Spear…
Another element of Knights is taken down, but over on the flank the Norman Knights ride through the line scattering fyrdmen hither and thither…
The flanking knights try to deployinto line but things are turning into a mess. The surviving element of Knights from the small group in the center turns to chase down some Psiloi skirmishers.
The Psiloi fend off the Knights, as do the the Spear facing the Knight General (not to mention another Knight overlapping them!). Another band of Fyrdmen are ridden down, however, evening up the score…
Advacing on the infantry the English score another success slaughtering the archers before them… but it will not prove to be enough…
Knights riding up the line.
Norman Spear drove some English Spear off the hill.
The Norman Knight finally break the English line… all is lost….
Not bad. Considering I was expecting this to turn out like the Norman vs Welsh debacle…
Hopefully over the next week I’ll be able to get in another game or two and finish up the Anglo-Saxon spear. In the following week I’m going to be making some new terrain. I’ve abandoned the idea of trying to finish up the West Franks. A player has dropped out and rather than move someone up from the wait list – I decided to lower my stress levels and settle for a campaign with 8 players.