Thursday, May 13, 2021

Along the Danube Scenario for Blucher

After over a year since our last go with the Blucher rules, we finally tried another game. 4 of us played a modified version of the "Along the Danube" scenario, which is a free download on the Honour website here: link. The scenario was "modified" as some of the terrain was reduced in size due to what we had available. My 28mm figures are on 60mm frontage bases, which is 20% smaller than the 3" frontage bases recommended by the rules. This means we could play the scenario on an area 20% smaller than the 6' x 4' that the scenario called for, which fit on the kitchen table we were playing on.

We used rosters for the game to keep track of elan losses. It seemed to take longer as you have to repeatedly look up your unit's strength during the game for determining how many dice it gets for firing & melee, but eliminated some clutter on the table. 

Above, both sides deployed using cards. The cards were homemade. The upside down coffee cup is used for the momentum dice, which the opposing side rolls and keeps track of for the phasing side and keeps the roll concealed.

Both sides have units come into sight and the cards are replaced with miniatures. Infantry Brigades are represented by 2 bases of miniatures that measure 60mm x 30mm. When an infantry unit becomes "prepared" (in square and/or taking advantage of local cover) according to the rules, we simply turn the rear stand around to face the opposite direction to represent a "prepared" infantry unit. Cavalry & artillery brigades are represented by a single stand each.

The French cavalry corps sweeps around the Austrian right, initially using reserve movement, but countered by heavy cavalry from the Austrian Reserve Korps (lower left in above photo).

Overall view of the battlefield.

The French cavalry are forced back on the left.

In the center, the French are moving forward with the intent of getting into shooting range.

A firefight has broken out on the French right flank.

The French cavalry on the left flank has gotten the worst of it so far and fallen back. A firefight is developing on the right of the photo and would prove costly for the French.

Meanwhile, the Austrian left flank has been devastated by shooting.

The French left keeps slowly dwindling down due to losses. The French often found themselves without enough momentum to withdraw or turn individual units around that had retreated from melee, giving the Austrians opportunity to hit them in the flank/rear or destroy them when they were at 1 elan strength.

The Austrian left flank is basically gone and the French infantry are crossing the stream. A French cavalry unit has seized the objective marker between the two small fields.

However, French losses on their left flank & center were catastrophic, as the Austrian center & right hold firm. The battle is won by the Austrians. The small boxes in the upper part of the photo were dice boxes.

We still had a few problems with doing everything correctly with the rules, but it was still an interesting game. Units in Blucher wear down rather than occasional destruction as in other rules. NOTE: The miniatures are based for DBN, HFG, and DBA-HX, as are the movement sticks, etc. They are all perfectly usable for Blucher.

We may try this scenario again using HFG.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Polish vs Swedes in a DBA 24 Battle


Recently we did another DBA24 game in 28mm, this time a late Renaissance battle between armies we haven't used before, Poles & Swedes, in a Thirty Years War period contest. We came up with some house rules for the game to represent the Renaissance period, including allowing pistol armed cavalry to shoot 1 BW, etc. We borrowed a few of the rules, element types, and combat factors from DBR.

The Polish army deployed near a farm.

The Swedes deployed opposite.

The Swedes lose an element to Polish artillery fire.

The Swedish right (upper right in photo) advances towards the Polish left.  

Another view.

As both armies deploy on the far flank, the Swedish light horse advances on the near flank.

Another view. The Poles defend the garden wall of the farm, with a Polish element recoiling from Swedish shooting.

The far flank forces are fully deployed in line against one another.

The far flank forces fully engaged. The Poles have supporting shot & pikes nearby on the right, and a group of Winged Hussars in reserve.

After a couple turns, the Swedish horse begins to dominate the Poles, turning their left flank and inflicting casualties that have created gaps in the line.

The Poles try to establish a new line of resistance.

Polish casualties, 5 elements destroyed so far.

Outnumbered now on the far flank, the Poles try to defend their extended line.

The Swedes close for the kill.

The Poles lose another Winged Hussar element (which were treated as Knights in our game). The impetuosity (mandatory pursuit) of the Winged Hussars was not helpful in this game.

Another Polish horse element lost. The Poles are now 1 element away from breaking. They manage to kill a Swedish horse element with a flanking shot element supporting the Winged Hussars.

The Poles lose an infantry element in the field to shooting, which brings their losses to 8, and thus the end of the game for a Swedish victory. 

Another view of the end of battle positions.

An exiting game. The battle was decided by the large cavalry engagement on the far flank, which seems appropriate for this period. The Swedish loses were half what the Poles lost.

Monday, April 12, 2021

European Bronze Age Bash

 About a month ago, we had a quick 2 player European Bronze Age bash using Wargames Foundry figures and DBA 3.0. A 12 element per side game, both armies were identical. It should be noted that these armies were collected & painted prior to the DBA rules being published in 1990, based on the WRG standard at the time, and their composition was based on the figures offered in the Foundry line, not on any established army list. We played with them "as is."

The armies consist of a CinC general in a light chariot (LCh), a dismounted CinC element, 4 x pikemen (4Pk), 2 x Light Horse (LH), 3 x Skirmishers (Ps), 3 x Warband or Auxilia (3Wb or 3Ax).

The camp follower element.

The armies deploy against one another. Note the far army deploys with single ranks of pikemen to extend it's flanks over the opponent, which weakens the overall frontal combat ability of the pikes, but allows the army to more easily overlap it's opponent.

Another view of the deployed armies. Gentle hilltops are outlined on the playing surface with chalk (books are underneath the mat to create the hills). A scratch built ancient city gate in the background.

The armies approach one another. The lights for both armies split off into separate groups.

Closing closer, the far army extends it's right further while the near army sends a light horse element was force marched using subsequent moves to the right flank. With it's left flank exposed, the near army must win quickly on the right flank or center before it can be overwhelmed on the left.

The armies close & clash. The near army has had to reinforce it's left with the CinC, while on it's right the light horse has helped destroy a skirmisher stand.

In the final photo, the end came quickly in a couple turns for the far army as two of it's pikemen stands were destroyed in straight-up combat against their pike opponents with rear support, a mismatch at +3 vs +6. The far army also lost a light horse stand on it's right flank, the light horse had rear support but was corner overlapped by the near CinC stand. This made the final score 4-0 for the near army.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A Debacle for Marius in Numidia

 We had another DBA 3.0 game, this time in 28mm using Old Glory figures and the DBA 24 framework for the game. The setting is a fictional invasion of Numidia on, or after 105BC. The forces are as follows:

Marian Romans (II/49)
Marius (CinC) & Roman Cavalry (Cv) x 4
Spanish Light Horse (LH) x 2
Asiatic Horse Archers (LH) x 4
Thracian Mercenaries (3Ax) x 2
Skirmishers (Ps) x 2
Legionaries (4Bd) x 10

Numidia (II/40)
Jugurtha (CinC) & Numidian Nobles (Cv) x 2
African War Elephants (El) x 2
Numidian Skirmishers (Ps) x 8
Numidian Light Horse (LH) x 10
Roman trained Numidian Imitation Legionaries (Bd) x 2

Both sides chose an element for their sub-general, per the DBA 24 guidelines.

The terrain for the battle was pre-set, and contained most of the wooded area you could ever find in Numidia, as well as difficult hills, all "bad going" according to the DBA rules. The difficult hills were outlined with chalk on the mat.

Above shows the deployment. The Numidians (on the left) were the defenders and chose their side and deployed first, the Romans (on the right) deployed second and moved first. The Romans thought they could take the woods to their front on the left with their Thracian auxilia and skirmisher units, supported by the Asiatic Light Horse to their right. However, this proved to be the error that cost the Romans the game, as we shall see. Note that the Asiatic Light Horse was deployed in part on the difficult hill, also an error.

An overhead view of the Roman deployment & camp.

An overhead view of the Numidian deployment. Note some of the Numidian cavalry also deployed on the difficult hill (upper right). This also proved to be an error, but did not cost the Numidians (other than extra pips) during the course of the game.

The above photo shows the Thracians had moved down the difficult hill into the woods, but were counterattacked by the Numidian skirmishers, who made a double or subsequent move into and through the woods on the first bound. Contacting the Roman light troops, the Numidians destroyed the Roman Psiloi unit. Note the Asiatic Light Horse in the background attempting to move away from the difficult hill at 1 BW per turn.

Another view.

The Asiatic Light Horse finally get off the difficult hill. Another Thracian auxilia is destroyed by the Numidian skirmishers near the wood, the the remaining one tries to keep from being outflanked and destroys a Numidian skirmisher. Marius sends a Cavalry unit to support the left, careful to avoid the difficult terrain, which slows movement to 1 BW/turn and gives a -2 penalty in combat.

In the photo above, the Numidians are pressing their attack with their skirmishers in the near woods, also attacking the Asiatic light horse forcing it to turn and face. The Numidians have supported their force in the woods by bringing up 4 elements of Light Horse to face the Asians, along with the war elephant (behind). At the top of the photo, the Numidians are sending a force of 4 skirmishers into the far woods, and their line of cavalry is moving off the difficult hill in the center.

The Numidians continue pressing their attack out of the woods, as the Numidian Light Horse contacts the Asiatic Horse Archers next to the woods. Marius has send 2 Roman Legionary elements to support the Asians and another Roman cavalry element to the left.

At this point, the fight on this flank is consuming most of the pips for both sides each turn as the adversaries try to gain the upper hand over the other. The Romans have now lost the remaining Thracian peltast unit and 2 Asiatic Light Horse units. The Numidians have lost one light horse element, while another has fled (off screen to the left).

The Romans have fed more Legionaries into the center to face the approaching Numidian war elephant with cavalry support. Meanwhile the Numidians are positioning to surround the Asiatic Light Horse near the hill (lower right).

The battle finale: the Romans lose the Light Horse unit near the hill to Numidian skirmishers, and a Legionary element to the war elephant (center). The Roman casualty count is now 8 elements lost, and this ends the game.

The game was exciting and a learning experience, exposing the dangers of bad going to mounted and heavier infantry and it's ability to isolate a section of the battlefield. By advancing into the woods on the left flank, the Roman auxilia and psiloi were effectively isolated and difficult for the Romans to reinforce. A better strategy may have been for them to either deploy and defend on top of the difficult hill, where they would have had the elevation bonus, or kept in the open terrain to negate any advantage the Numidians had in bad going.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

DBA 24: Macedonia vs Persia

Bob & I played another DBA 24 game, this time with 15mm Essex miniatures and using an Alexandrian Macedonian army (II/12) vs a Later Achaemenid Persian army (II/7), a fictitious battle set around 334BC. The orders of battle are as follows:

Alexander (CinC) & Companions (3Kn) x 2
Light Horse (LH) x 2
Hypaspists (4Ax) x 2
Psiloi (Ps) x 2
Phalangites (4Pk) x 12
Peltasts (4Ax) x 2
Thessalians (3Cv) x 2

Darius (CinC) in LCh x 1
Persian Horse (3Cv) x 5
Persian Nobles (3Kn) x 2
Persian Light Horse (LH) x 4
Mercenary Hoplites (4Sp) x 8
Persian Archers & Slingers (Ps) x 2
Persian Levy (7Hd) x 2

Both Macedonia & Persia each had one sub-general per the DBA 24 guidelines for command purposes. 

The armies are deployed, Persians on the left, Macedonia on the right. The playing area is 4' x 2.'

The Persian right flank.

The Macedonian right flank.

The Macedonian right flank advances towards the Persians in echelon.

A view from the Macedonian left.

The Macedonian advance continues. The Persian levy moves up to the end of the front line.

Alexander & the Companions are within striking distance of the Persian left flank.

Darius and his Noble bodyguard in reserve.

Alexander breaks through the Persian line, destroying a cavalry unit. The Persians have an opportunity to counterattack, which never came due to lack of pips.

The Persian right flank advancing.

Persian light horse attacking Macedonian peltasts.

Unable to counter due to lack of command points, the Macedonians launch a full assault on the Persian left.

The Macedonian assault on the Persian left is repulsed!

Alexander counters and another Persian cavalry is destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Persians are attempting to envelope the Macedonian left, where Macedonian General Parmenio is with the Thessalian cavalry.

The Macedonian phalangites are advancing towards the center of the Persian Mercenary hoplites.

The situation on the Macedonian left becomes critical as the Persian Skythian cavalry positions itself to flank the Thessalians. A Macedonian light horse unit guarding the flank has been destroyed.

The Persian Greek Mercenary Hoplites don't wait for the Macedonian phalanx to close, and launch an assault of their own.

A lack of command pips and indecisive combat results are preventing Alexander and the Macedonian right from results.

Alexander wheels left away from the Persian levy horde towards the Greek Mercenaries. The phalanx battle is indecisive. Darius and his nobles in reserve are not contributing much to the battle at this point.

The Persian levy is contained (destroying them does not contribute towards the number of destroyed enemy elements needed to win).

A Thessalian cavalry element is destroyed by Persian cavalry and flanking Skythians. Parmenio's element is now alone to defend the left flank. Note: The Persian light horse in the photo are in 2 ranks, as light horse get a bonus of +1 for a supporting rear rank of light horse.

The phalangites are closing with the main line of hoplites. The Hypaspists have lost an element, but are supported by Alexander. Destroyed Persian elements are at the top of the photo.

Destroyed Macedonians.

Parmenio and the remaining Thessalians manage to destroy a Persian cavalry element. They are still in harms way.

Parmenio turns to face the Skythians.

The Persians set-up their attack.

The Hypaspists turning the hoplite flank.

The Greek Peltasts have chased off som of the Persian light horse (above). The Persians are still positioning against Parmenio.

The Phalanx now applying pressure to the Hoplites.

Parmenio finally dies gloriously in battle.

However, more Mercenary Hoplites meet their end. Persian losses have reached 8, ending the battle.

The Persian Horde is still fighting on. Flanking cavalry doesn't help kill horde other than give a -1, since horde do not recoil in normal combat. Final score: Macedonia 8, Persia 5.


A hard fought game to the end. Because we only used one pip die for each side, we were forced to often concentrate on one flank at a time due to the lack of pips. Individual elements become expensive to move, while moving in groups is more cost effective.