Friday, 26 October 2012

Wu Man, DBA and rants.

It's been a while since a music post. So here's my latest music-crush. 

Wu Man on the pipa. 


Have a go, listen. 
Close your eyes. It's like speed metal. But dreamier.

Need context? Go paint some Warring States sorts or contemplate Rugged Manly Adventure in Asia Mostly Involving Nazi Punching.

In Villa Visigoth things are pretty busy. I've finished up getting the Garamantes to market. Have you seen them yet? Did you want the chance to play one of the coolest looking North African Tribes of Antiquity? Did you want a chance to play the most funky DBA army ever?

A big commission was finished. Lots of painting for a very sweet and patient dude.
Bloody hell.  Vikings...

Now, getting all sorts of wacky love for Early Pre-Dynastic Sumeria and Shang China.
So to curb that off I have some wee Egyptians I'm working on.  Gorgeous little 'strip' era Minfigs courtesy of Paul Hannah.  The little menfat bastards are primed and ready to go. Get ready to kick some Hyksos tail.

Make sense? 

What else is up my craw...

Yeah, the state of DBA. Pissing me off. Stupid 3.0, 2.2 and what the hell you have.
I was ready to write the game off until FallCon and then I had the chance to play some solid games with really awesome guys. And DBA delivered. Short, decisive, dramatic and FUN games.  I realized why I love this system I've been playing since 1992 so much. 

Life is good, and bitching that your favourite ancient miniatures is currently wallowing in an 'Intermediate Period' with a decided lack of cohesion is trivial. But we are humans and should be excited about trivialities. It's what makes our species strong viable. 

As far as DBA goes, I found my 1.1 rules. Much like how I rant about the first Specials album as being the apotheosis of ska awesomeness or how much I like drink that begin with 'Cabernet'... I think 1.1 is the best DBA rule-set ever.  Sure, some loser armies were skipped, (hahaha Bithynia) but it DELIVERED and terrain was placed by gentlemen according to wit and wisdom.

(Go on Grandpa, tell more, it's helping us sleep...)

Alright, here's picture from last weekend when my Iberians Freedom Fighters face down Mark S's Carthiginian Oligarchic Capitalist Army.  Game ended when a feint turned into a killfest resulting in  a 4-2 bloodbath. The Spanish massacring the Gaulic mercenaries.  Could have gone either way.

'Come on you Numidian dorks'

 Happy Games,


Sunday, 7 October 2012

DBA at FallCon: Alberta Open 2012

Clan Toho, Post Mongol Samurai, photo by Mark Wall

 Oh sure, I'll cut to the chase... I won the Alberta Open. 

 Yep. Me and my trusty Post-Mongol Samurai army ('a' list if you care) went three rounds with some of canniest and trickiest DBA practitioners in Alberta. And I managed to thump 'em.

Ahhhh. I will bask for a while. OK, all done now.   

C'mon, it's not that often really I get to gloat and roll around on my bed full of prize money and DBA groupies.  

I painted Clan Toho up four years ago for the first Samurai Night Fever game.  It's organized thus: 1 x Cv General and another cavalry unit. 6 x Samurai Blades, 1 x Bow, 3 x Ashigaru Auxilia.  Initially built as a 'b' list with spears, I built a bow and a blade unit to morph it. The blades I made out of warrior monk figures, and it has been the paper tiger of the army. Cory mocks them as 'lousy drunk monks'.  Which for those of us who know about the historical sohei, this  is more likely than not. We'll follow their fortunes throughout this recount.

Why 'Clan Toho'? The banners are painted with the Japanese kanji logo you see at the beginning of all your favourite monster movies. Toho studios, we love you and salute you.

Decided against taking the Medieval Irish. I was in an non-subtle ass-kicking mood and not so much being crafty in woods. Ironically that would be game 3. 
I usually enter Open games with a challenging army, rather than a balanced one. Not today. I wanted blood. 

I had three wonderful games. First round was with Marco and his Sudanese.  This was the trickiest game. Marco is pretty sly with light troops. Initially he tried to rush my camp with his psiloi in the first round blitz. Only my single stand of sohei blades stood to repulse their attack. 

Rumble in the jungle. Marco's Sudanese psiloi rush the lone element of warrior monks.
Relief column tries to save the ashigaru assault force.
Marco left his flank open and his camp unsecured. I took the bait and rushed it with my auxilia.  It went promising at first, but when his light horse pinched off their escape, they were overwhelmed by the psiloi and wiped out.  Only a heated exchange in the center and the sudden defeat of his general secured me the win.  Not really saying it should have been Marco's game, but yeah, it should have been. Fortuna favours the foolish.

MONK REPORT: Beaten and harrassed by psiloi. Driven out of the woods and into the camp.

Game the Second: I faced down the wrath of Mark Stadel's Later Carthaginians. I wasn't too worried. I had superiority in heavy foot and light troops. Mark is not an easy guy to score a win against.  His deployment was...a little suboptimal shall we say. I kept him wedged between bad going and he wasn't able to spread his line out. His warband kept me busy, but I was able to take his flank with my ashigaru. Not a finesse win, more of a rope-a-dope. But I'll take those sorts of wins as well.

MONK REPORT: Steam-rolled by Gallic Warband. Splat.

'WHY WON"T YOU DIE!!!' Mark's Carthaginian general is sorely vexed by the intransigent Samurai battle line. 

Game Three: Byzantine bashing.  Feeling all hepped up on goofballs and two wins I faced down Cory and his Kommnenan Byzantines. 8 units of horse vs my two. Furthermore, without psiloi support (the Achilles heel of the P-M Samurai in tourney) facing down his collection with my blades alone was a dim prospect.

I was lucky enough to lay a cluttered board. I deployed most of my blades in the rough and the woods, creating a funnel for Cory to approach me. I hoped that I would be able to pick off his horse as he approached. Of course Cory would never do that. It's quite nice when you've played a guy before. So I left my back door open. I garrisoned my camp with my singular Bow unit. Cory had three light horse units and I knew he'd go for a camp-rush.

He did.  My archers sallied and with a reserve unit of blades pinning the Pecheneg raiders, I dropped all three units. In the centre Cory had advanced, wiping out my picket unit, but not yet taking the full bait. On the right flank, my auxilia had engaged his psiloi and the Varangian blades (below) with some success.

In the end I pinched off one of psiloi units to take the win.  Quite surprising. 
and gratifying. A battle plan that actually worked. Worked against Cory as well. 
I expect all sort of accolades for this win. 

MONK REPORT: Instrumental in pinning the light horse and driving them off the map. Reputation vindicated!

Cory's Byzantine psiloi and Varangians cunningly lurk in the forest, ready for ambush action.

Last Stand of Liamicus. Sub-Roman British fall before Sudanese onslaught.

I'd like to thank Don and Mark for running the gig. I'd also like to salute my fellow DBA gamers. You are a funny, fun and clever bunch. There was no acrimony, endless debates and other buzz kill activities. I'll sit across the board with any of you anytime. 

Thank-you for reading while I went the Full Rimmer.


Friday, 5 October 2012

DBA at FallCon: Tupi or not Tupi.

Best in Show. Mike's Burgundians clash with Medieval French captained by Mark S.

Friday Knights at FallCon 2012 was played September 28th 2012. 10 participants strove over the Field of Honour and Glory, crossing pike with lance and enduring endless arrows of misfortune.

Have a view at the following tapestries kind pilgrim and attest to valour and the pageantry. 

More French vs Burgundian grudge settling. This is how medieval killfests should look.

-Anglo-Normans captained by Don Ray
-Burgundian Ordonnance generaled by Mike J.
-Kommenan Byzantines lead by Strategos Chen-Song Qin.
-Medieval Portuguese of Don Marco
-War of the Roses lead by Eric 'Mr York' Parker (Jr. Winner)
-Sicilians captained by Stephane the-not-quite-Hohenstaufen (Biggest Loss)
-Cilician Armenians championed by Liam the Martyr (Jr. Biggest Loss)
-Late Swiss generaled by David von Parker
-Medieval French avec Markquise Stadel
-Tupi lead by chief Mark W. (Tourney Winner)

It was gratifying that I only needed to lend out two armies, the Sicilian and Cilicians. Do you see a pattern? I had painted up a brae Scots Common army using old Essex figs I've had since Year 0 but for some reason a feisty high aggression army predominated by pikes seemed like a lame choice for a tourney. Geez people...

I also had whipped off a couple light horse to morph my ol' Norse Irish into brand new Medieval Irish. They weren't picked either, but I did get a game in with them. More talk later...look at pix.

Mobile and perfidious, Marco's Medieval Portuguese rally against David's trenchant Later Swiss pike blocks.
Portuguese horse array for a charge.

Chen-Song's sweet blue Byzantines.
More Byzantines in action.
Liam commands his Cilician Armenians to hold against the Stephan's Sicilain onslaught
I enjoyed organizing and reffing this night. Thank you so much to all the participants. Everyone got into the ye ol' courtly theme of bloodlust and played some tense matches. What more can a event runner ask for?

Don's Anglo-Normans advance, glam battle wagon in tow. Swiss seem unimpressed.
Gorgeous armies no? I love the painters that live here in Magna Calgaria (CCF) and in Edmontograd (EDBAG). From Chen-song's subtle rhapsody in the limited palette Kommie Byzantines to Don Ray's flashy day-glo Anglo-Normans we had all approaches to the spectrum.  Made for some good pix.

The pageantry of Mark and Mike's respective French and Burgundians (mmmmm Burgundy...) made my Sicilians feel dowdy in comparison. Well done all.

'We go now to Brother James, currently held aloft by an unconfirmed number of Angels for the eye in sky report... Yes, the Anglo-Normans have cleared the rough and are headed to the Swiss lines, back to you Abelard'
The games were quite brilliant, some gripping contests that only DBA can supply when knights and pikes and blades occupy the table-top.  Brother Markus our scribe has the final tally of the who-won- what-against-whom. And will be reported when Brother Markus makes his report.

Scoring-wise I used a classic rehash of Neldoreth's Visigothic Romance scoring and my own formulations for Samurai Night Fever. Kill the general, take the camp, be a hero and don't die and you will win. It's all designed to encourage a bit of role-playing in the tourney rather than the grimmer math of standard scoring. I added a little funny by penalizing the general who is killed by foot troops rather than in glorious combat with fellow mounted sorts.  Killed by peasants...silly king.

It's the sort of scoring that if you concentrate on standard DBA tactics (find, isolate and kill 4 stands) the winning of the match may not win you the tourney.

Liam the Armenian proved that as he lost his impetuous Knight general in every match, despite making reasonable headway with his truculent spear troops.

Eric of York landed on his feet with only a few previous games of DBA under his belt at took the War of the Roses English to pretty stellar heights. His bravery and chivalry with the WotR clankers have inspired me and Liam (the pre-Teen Visigoth) to make matched sets.   

Stephane captained the Sicilians with a verve and style that lead to some pretty outlandish tactics. (see below)

Audacity: Landing double ranked knights against defending archers. Recoil is a bitch.

Will the Saracen guardsmen cut their way through the Tupi warbands in time to succor the Knights? Yeah, not so much...
So Mark Wall won the tourney with the Tupi. The combined might of Feudal Europe failed against a painted horde of warband and bows. Mark faced valiant foes and was able to use his limited troops to their maximum. Is that not a true portrait of a DBA player?

OK, now I know some of you are gnawing and gnashing about the thematic catastrophe that is a Mesoamerican Army winning an event called Friday Knights. And I sort of agree with you...but it was a Book IV tourney, loosely themed on Ye Olde Merry Plaguey-Wagey Europe. Given that he faced top quality mixed-arms lists and still triumphed gives him his due. I gave him a nice tower camp. And a stern admonishment to buy some plate mail.  

Tupi gone wild. Well done Mark!
I did get a game in whilst reffing and coaching the junior players (well done Eric and Liam!) After Mark dispatched another opponent I fielded my newly morphed Medieval Irish (light horse option) and showed Mr Tupi pants how we roll in Donegal. OK, yeah I sliced up a warband and bow army with Auxilia and Light Horse. What a champ eh? With a record like mine, you need all the wins you can get.

I'll follow up with pix and thoughts of the Alberta Open, FallCon and tourneys as such.

Check out Mark W's bloggo for another look at the games.