After visiting Pat (as related in this post), it was time to leave picturesque Kobe and head into Osaka to meet up with Luke for some miniatures gaming. I'd brought my sleeping bag and a change of clothes so there was no space for my own figures. Fortunately, Luke has an ample collection!
First up was a game of big battle DBA, wherein I took Communal against his Papal Italians. There was a road through the centre of the battlefield stretching from my side of the field to his, with a hill on one flank and a patch of forest on the other. The Papal fellows had an advantage in knights, but I had three war wagons which I planned to use to anchor my centre and right. My strike force was on the left, made up of most of my knights (4 elements, I think), a unit of light horse, some psiloi and 6 elements of horde.
Matched against them was a small right command made up of knights and psiloi.
My centre was spear and bow with a knight general, anchored by two war wagons on the left and my right command on the other flank. This command was comprised of auxilia, psiloi, the remaining light horse, a knight general and the third war wagon. I did not expect to do much in the way of moving with this command. It's main job was to prevent any enemy attempt to infiltrate the forest, but it would depend on how he deployed.
From left to right, my commands were made up of 13, 13 and 10 elements respectively. I allocated the high pip dice to the left and the low to the centre, as I wanted to keep some flexibility on my right.
Luke's set up was quite different. His flank commands were made up of 7 elements, with the centre a hefty 22.
The battle began with the Papal chaps advancing on the right and in the centre while I shuffled my knights across to meet the flank attack. I broke his right command quickly and spent a few turns mopping it up. Unfortunately his centre command overlapped mine, and this exposed my horde - which were part of my left command, if you remember - to the tender attentions of his bowmen. I had foolishly not realised that bows quick-kill horde, and in no time at all he had shot up 4 elements of them and broken my left command to return the favour.
My plan to fall upon his centre from the left had gone the way of all flesh; nonetheless, not all was lost. My centre command still had some good match ups and the war wagons on my left were a reasonably secure buttress against the bow (though we did have a scare at one stage!). I now came to rue having made the centre my pip sink, as they rolled rather a lot of 1s, which hampered my efforts to advance the line. Eventually I moved forward leaving the war wagons behind (they took 2 pips to move as part of a group) but by this time Luke had cleverly manoeuvred his forces in the centre into a much better position. When we closed, it soon became one-sided; I tried to get my right into the action to put pressure on his internal flank but I'd left it too late at that stage.
By the time my knight general (and commander-in-chief) was cut down in the centre, I'd been given a lesson in maximising match ups and was left feeling a little red-faced at having wasted such a strong position. It was a very good game, and Luke earned his win with some excellent play.
Next up was another game of DBA, this time using Luke's Macedonians on their 80x80mm bases. It started out well enough but things turned to custard as the irregular depth of the bases meant that we were going on guesswork with recoils and so forth. As the game wore in I got into one of those situations from which I could not contact an enemy element due to geometrical considerations, and it got frustrating having exactitude in this one aspect of the rules when we were having to play a bit fast and loose in other areas. It just goes to show that it really does pay to have your rules tight before beginning a game! Still, it was a good experiment, and gave me renewed respect for DBA as written.
We finished off for the night with a game of Phil Sabin's Empire, his fast-play take on the period 350-150 BC. I lost this game too, as my Rome and Persian/Parthian empires failed to compete with Luke's Macedonians and Carthaginians. So I headed off to bed having enjoyed the games (bar the geometrical issues in the second DBA outing) but down 3 zip and needing to redeem myself somewhat on the following day!
And more on that anon...