While I was in Auckland, Mark got around to my mother’s place where we were staying for a couple of games of DBA.
Mark was keen to try out his 30″ mat, and I was keen to try out my DBA Sicilian army as it’s rather a strange one, being pretty much a 50/50 mix of knights and psiloi. So in the first game we tried Sicilians (army IV/5) vs Komnenan Byzantines (army IV/1a). Mark’s provided a write up here. I selected my Greek auxillia and Berber mercenary light horse as the optional troops, giving me 4x3Kn (1 Gen), 6x2Ps, 1x2LH, and 1x3Ax. Mark fielded 4x3Cv, 4x2LH, 1x4Bd, 1x3Ax, 1x4Bw, and 1x2LH. I set up with my infantry on the hills I had on each flank, and my knights on the flat between them, with a small reserve of psiloi and my Berbers. Mark put his cavalry facing my knights, his light horse on one flank, and his infantry on the other.
The flank facing Mark’s light horse was pretty strong as I had an auxillia with psiloi support, and another auxillia in a position on a hill where it could interfere quite well. On the other flank Mark’s infantry began moving forward towards my other psiloi. His archers were on the inside of that formation, nearer my knights, and I hatched a cunning plan to destroy them. A high pip roll meant that I could charge a group of psiloi off the hill to attack, with my Berber mercenary light horse racing up to close the door. That was successful, and rather spoilt Mark’s plans. I also destroyed a psiloi I think. I then noticed that I could roll up Mark’s cavalry so a knight got to work with the busy Berbers in overlap support. Mark’s Varangian Guard were having a field day with the psiloi I’d left behind, so I decided to use a PIP to withdraw a vulnerable looking psiloi as my other knights were out of movement range. I destroyed the cavalry I was after but Mark was able to swing a couple of cavalry around to attack my troops and bring some of his infantry, freed up by the withdrawal of my psiloi around behind them.
Although I wish I’d moved my knights forward rather than trying to rescue my psiloi, all in all I think it was a successful first outing for the Sicilians. You’ve certainly got to be careful and sneaky with them but they are certainly not a pushover.
The second game was my first experience of using a Roman army with me using Mark’s Polybian Romans against his Ancient Britons. This was an attempt at seeing how a less mobile army (the Romans) would do against a quite mobile one (the Britons). The experiment didn’t really work as I had a great deal more luck with PIPs than Mark had. I used this unforseen mobility to get myself into a lot of trouble, whereupon Mark’s luck reversed and his combat dice beat mine by a wide margin.