Nuship Canberra

A tour of what will become HMAS Canberra when it is completed and commissioned.

This video gives a good look around the Nuship Canberra at its current state of completion. Nuship Canberra is the first of the Landing Helicopter Dock ships (LHD) and is currently under construction at the BAE Systems Williamstown Shipyard at Port Phillip Bay. The ship is due to commence sea trials in late 2013.

Ski jump flight deck for helicopters? Hmm, apparently she’ll have the ability to operate 18 aircraft but which aircraft?

Cancon 2013

It’s getting near that time. The Canberra Games Society Inc is presenting Cancon 2013 which comes up in 11 weeks time. First Christmas, then Cancon. This year many of the Cancon events, like the DBA event, will be part of the Worlds. Good chance to come to Oz, enjoy the warmth of a Canberra summer (not to mention the sweet sounds of the crickets chirruping and the bogans flapping ((the moths, not the rev-heads)). It is also the centenary year for Canberra so another good reason to visit the Australian national capital.

As it is the World’s for DBA, then it is a great time for players from around Asia to trek off to Canberra and compete and maybe be crowned World Champion. I guess I am competing as team Singapore (now where did I put my white t-shirt and red shorts)?

Details can be found at

Now I just need to work out two DBA Armies – one from books 1 or 2, the other from books 3 or 4 and then paint and base them ready for the competition.

Cancon 2011 DBMM – the Eastern Franks

P1000752 I had decided to play the De Bellis Magistrorum Militum (DBMM) competition at Cancon 2011. Looking through the army lists as well as the figures I had at home I had settled on something Carolingian in appearance. I had some figures that I had acquired at a bring and buy in the UK and had never used them. This was the chance. A couple of games with Doug as a test of some army compositions (as well as an introduction to the rules) occurred and I finally settled on Eastern Franks circa 933 C.E.

This period was shortly after the transition from the Carolingian Empire to the split between Eastern and Western Franks – the Eastern Franks eventually taking the title of the Holy Roman Empire. As a result, I felt using the essentially Carolingian figures worked with this army.

The army was built into three commands, as follows:

  C-in-C Command Type AP Total ME
2 Army Baggage Irr Bg(I) 1 2 1
1 C-in-C Irr Kn(F) 19 19 4
11 Milites Irr Kn(F) 9 99 2
6 Archers Irr Ps(O) 2 12 0.5
  Sub-General 1 Command Type AP Total ME
2 Army Baggage Irr Bg(I) 1 2 1
1 Sub-General Irr Kn(F) 19 19 4
4 Milites Irr Kn(F) 9 36 2
5 Swabians or Bavarians Irr Kn(I) 8 40 2
  Sub-General 2 Command Type AP Total ME
2 Army Baggage Irr Bg(I) 1 2 1
1 Sub-General Irr Kn(F) 19 19 4
12 Spearmen Irr Sp(I) 3 36 0.5
6 Archers Irr Bw(I) 3 18 0.5
8 Old Saxon, Thuringian or Bohemian Irr Cv(O) 7 56 1
  Train Command Type AP Total ME
6 Army Baggage Irr Bg(I) 1 6 1

The rules themselves work on command/army morale being based on steps that diminish the effectiveness of the army as casualties increase. In addition, the general can take some “stratagems” to use during the battle. The remaining parts of the army list, including the total ME (the morale effectiveness) is shown below:

Aggression: 3 Army Points Total = 375
Climate: Cool Total Army ME: 84
CinC is: Normal Army Defeat Point: 42.5

The stratagems taken were Scouting and Feigned Flight.

The army itself, when laid out, looked like is shown below. The next instalment will cover the first of the games.


Cancon 2011 – DBA – Final Results and Armies

To complete my battle reports from Cancon 2011 of the DBA competition, I thought I would include the final scorecard which lists players, armies and final results. This was such a fun competition, the games played in great spirit, the juniors, in many cases, outperforming the seniors. I can thoroughly recommend anyway thinking of playing at Cancon to stop thinking, take out the brushes and paint a DBA army for Cancon 2012. It only takes a couple of weeks to paint an army and this really is such a fun competition. Go on, do it … you know you want to!

Stats wise, there were 26 players in total and so there were no byes. The final placing was:

Place Player Army Cumulative Raw Score
1 Doug Melville IV/30 Teutonic Orders 48
2 Thomo the Lost III/10b Hindu Indian (Rajput) 42
3 Murray Woodford III/54 Early Samurai 40
4 David Osborne I/60b Early Achaemenid Persian 38
5 Marcus Tregenza IV/03 Anglo Norman 37
6 Bas Braham (J) II/43 Maccabean Jewish 37
7 Sam Braham (J) II/07 Later Achaemenid Persian 36
8 Mark Baker IV/82a French Ordonance 35
9 Andrew Ford II/41a Han Chinese 35
10 John Geer IV/61 Italian Condotta 34
11 Jon Willacy II/49 Marian Roman 34
12 Adrian Williams III/43c Khurasanian (Samanids) 32
13 Ian N III/40d Norse Viking and Leidang (Leidang) 32
14 Jason Dickie II/78b Late Imperial Roman (East) 31
15 David Lawrence III/20b Early Tang Chinese 30
16 Jerry Hearn IV/83a Wars of the Roses English 30
17 Peter Braham IV/83b Wars of the Roses English 29
18 Zyrus Halverson (J) II/41a Han Chinese 28
19 John McCartney II/48 Mithradatic 27
20 Brenton Searle IV/33 Epirot Byzantine 27
21 Ashleigh Lawrence (J) IV/61 Italian Condotta 25
22 Michael Chellew IV/23 Feudal English 25
23 Joe Unwin (J) II/33 Polybian Roman 23
24 Chris Hersey II/33 Polybian Roman 19
25 Kiaran Lomas IV/77 Black and White Sheep Turkomen 18
26 Reon Halverson (J) II/05a Later Hoplite Greek (Spartan) 16

The players marked with a (J) were all juniors.

There were 78 games played and a total of 36 generals died over the day. One game saw both generals eliminated.

Come along and play next year – it’s great fun.

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Samanids


The last battle – round 6. For this round I had drawn Adrian Williams and his Samanids (“Sama-what’s” said I, “Samanids” said he). I could not find that list easily in the rules so thought “what the heck, let’s just deploy and see what turns up”.

In fact the list Adrian was using was list III/43c Khurasanian (Samanids). For the record, the Samani dynasty, also known as the Samanid Empire, or simply Samanids (819–999 CE) was a Persian state in Central Asia and Greater Iran. Its borders crossed over modern day Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Takjikistan and the other ‘stans. It is named after its founder Saman Khuda, who converted to Sunni Islam despite being from Zoroastrian theocratic nobility. It was the first native Persian dynasty in that area after the collapse of the Sassanian empire caused by the Arab conquest.

The Saminid army for this battle looked like:

  • 1 x 3Cv – the general
  • 2 x 3Cv – the cavalry
  • 1 x 2LH – some light cavalry
  • 1 x Elephant – finally, the chance of a nellie v nellie
  • 3 x 4Sp – spears
  • 3 x 2Ps – Light troops for screening and/or supporting the spears
  • 1 x 4Ax – some poor terrain troops.

Adrian had played Doug in the previous round so after 4 rounds had been scoring well, this was going to be another tough battle. I took the elephant general option – to give myself three games with and three games without the elephant general.

For the third time after lunch, I rolled high on aggression so once again I was the attacker. Adrian laid out the terrain (which looked suspiciously like the terrain he laid for his battle with Doug). We deployed and battle commenced.

I deployed by bows and psiloi on both flanks, with my knights and elephant in the centre, and my blades to the right of the knights. I was attempting to put as much punch as possible up the clear centre of the table and keep the bows back and out of trouble.

Facing that Adrian had his centre filled with his cavalry and spears whilst his other troops were on the flanks and looking to cause as much trouble as possible with my weakened flanks.

My tactics here were simple – get the centre in and mixing it as soon as possible. We advanced.

Some good combat results had the Saminids down three elements when the jumbos clashed. It was mano-a-mano (or rather pachyderm-a-pachyderm) in the centre as the two elephants faced off against each other. Both elephants were overlapped so the combat came down to Samind Elephant with a factor of 4 (5 vs elephant minus 1 overlapped) vs the Rajput elephant 5 (5 vs elephant minus 1 overlapped plus 1 general in combat).

The dice were rolled and  Adrian rolled 1, I rolled 5 for a total difference of 10 to 5 and the Saminid elephant was eliminated.

Final result was and 8:1 victory to me and overall second place in the competition.


Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v War of the Roses English

P1000721Round 5 arrived. For this round I had to face the Wars of the Roses English of Peter Braham. Peter’s two sons, Bas and Sam, were also playing as juniors in the competition and both finished higher up the table than Dad.

I was a little concerned as one of the options available to the Wars of the Roses English is to take some artillery. Artillery is not nice to elephants, able to destroy them at a distance. However, I had decided to battle three times with Nellie and three times without and so this game I took the elephant general option. I also rolled high again on aggression and so was the attacker once more.

Peter’s army was list IV/83b Wars of the Roses English and contained, for this battle:

  • 1 x 4Bd General (dismounted knights)
  • 3 x 4Bd – more dismounted knights
  • 1 3Kn or 3Cv – I can’t recall whether he took these as a cavalry or knight option
  • 1 x 2Ps – this was some light troops instead of the artillery
  • 6 x 4Bw – the famous longbow men of England

As I was the attacker, Peter selected the terrain – two woods, a road and a steep hill with a crest line running along it. I selected sides and ended up having to attack into the terrain to get to Peter’s army.

I sent my light troops and one blade on the right flank forward into the wood at the end to both protect the flank of my knights moving up the centre and to pin the English forces there. The centre was two knights and the elephant – focussing the attention of Peter’s blades, which were likely to be eliminated fairly quickly if the knights closed with them. My left flank then consisted of one more element of knights – providing some mobility there – four elements of bows and the remaining blades. These were sent across the hill and the flat area to my far left.

P1000722 As it turned out, the major part of the fighting occurred there on my weak left flank with the bows finally, after 5 games, causing a casualty. My knights also won out against the English mounted troops and the blades on the hill accounted for the rest of the English.

This was a close tough battle and could just as easily gone either way. The second photograph shows the battlefield at the end of the battle with my forces in control on my left, his forces pinned on my right and the knights and elephant still focussing the attention of the English blades.

Another 8:1 victory and I was starting to look like one of the players to beat. Doug Melville was on 5 victories from 5 games at this stage (having just beaten one of Peter’s sons) and Murray Woodford was, with me, on four victories at this stage, as far as I understand.

One more round to go!

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Epirot Byzantine

P1000720I had lunch (the by now usual burger with the lot and Coke Zero) and in the first round following that Rajputi feast, I faced Brenton Searle and his list IV/33 Epirot Byzantine.

This looked to be a difficult game for me as apart from Brenton being a good, experienced player, the Byzantines have a number of options that really do make life difficult for an army like the Rajputs. His army list can contain:

  • 1 x 3Cv General
  • 2 x 3Cv
  • 2 x 3Kn
  • 2 x 2LH
  • 1 x 2LH, 6Kn or 2Ps
  • 1 x 4Sp or 2Ps
  • 3 x 2Ps or 3/4Bw

I could not be sure of what I was going to face until it deployed on the table. To make matters worse, this time my aggression roll was high so I was the attacked and needed to deploy second.

The force Brenton eventually settled on was:

  • 1 x 3Cv General
  • 2 x 3Cv
  • 2 x 3Kn
  • 2 x 2LH
  • 1 x 2Ps
  • 1 x 4Sp
  • 3 x 3/4Bw

That meant that there were many troops in Brenton’s army that could hurt my force effectively. I would need to be quick and decisive – the longer I took to deal with Brenton, he more time there was for his troops with a “quick kill” ability to be effective on my elements. Brenton getting to deploy second also had the ability to line up for the best match-ups.

I did not change any of my troops position. When the game started I advanced as quickly as possible hoping for a punch through on the right, holding in the centre (I expected the knight v knight combat in the centre to continue to see-saw) and delay the arrival of my left flank where I was weakest.

The game was won in the right and centre of my battleline. The photo at the top is the position at the end of the game. I had taken out two of his cavalry and two of his bows for the loss of one of my blades. An 8:2 victory for me.

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Polybian Roman

P1000718 Game three saw me pitted against Chris Hersey and army II/33 Polybian Roman.

Whilst on the surface of it, the Romans look fairly vulnerable, they are really quite a good, general purpose type of army. It is true that my knights would “quick kill” most of his infantry but if he played well, his blades in particular would prove quite deadly against my bows and his triarii, backed with one of the Psiloi would also be able to stand up to the knights quite well. His force consisted of:

  • 1 x 3Cv – the Cavalry General
  • 1 x 3Cv – more cavalry
  • 6 x 4Bd – the hastati and the princeps
  • 2 x 4Sp – the triarii
  • 2 x 2 Ps – the velites – some light troops to both back the triarii and work the bad going.

Once again, I rolled low on the aggression dice (his aggression factor is 1 to start with whilst mine is 2) so I ended up being the defender again. I placed the now obligatory wood, rough ground and boggy ground, Chris rolled for sides, deployed and then waited for me. I had decided this time to take the all knight option so my general was mounted on a horse for this game rather than his elephant. I’d decided that over the six games I’d use the elephant general three times and the knight general for the other three games.

We advanced on each other. I’d deployed my blades in the boggy ground on my left flank to protect the archers coming forward and my psiloi on the right where the rough ground was near to where I expected to encounter the Romans. My bows, with the blades supporting were facing blades but the knights were facing his cavalry, general and some blades. My Psiloi would eventually ensure that his spears did not get at my knights.

My blades moved forward to cover the bows (who were really not going to get involved in this fracas at all).

P1000719We finally closed and after some melees that saw some of my knights recoil, Chris then lost an element of blades and this evened out the combat between generals. I rolled well, he didn’t and the result was his general becoming hors de combat and it was game over.

Another 8:1 victory to me. Another general eliminated.

The photo to the right is the conclusion of this game.

It was now lunchtime and after three rounds I had amassed 18 points from a possible 24. This apparently saw me in the top part of the middle of the field and meant that after lunch I would be facing a number of other two game winners, including some more very good DBA players from the Canberra area. Canberra has about 4 DBA tournaments a year so the players there are quite experienced.

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Spartans

P1000717_01My second game was against Reon Halverson using army II/05a Later Hoplite Greek (Spartan). Reon is a junior and eventually won the encouragement award. On the day before, there was a junior DBA tournament run then when the senior tournament was being played, the juniors were invited to play in that tournament as well.

Reon was using the Later Hoplite Greek army – the Spartan variation. This force consisted of:

  • 1 x 4 Sp – the General
  • 10 x 4 Sp – the Spartan hoplites
  • 1 x 2 Ps – some light troops to back the hoplites and protect some flanks.

This was always going to be difficult for Reon as the Spartan hoplites are at a disadvantage against both the Rajput knights and the Elephant as these elements “quick kill” the spears. On the plus side, the psiloi have the ability to increase the factors for three of the spear elements.

The tactics for this game were simple. As I was the defender again (yep, lost the aggression roll for the second time), I placed the rough area, boggy ground and wood well out of the way. I then decided that matching my blades, knights and elephants as much as possible against Reon’s main group of Spears was the way to go. Battle start, we advanced and my battle line contacted his. After the first round of melee, his general lay defeated and it was game over. 8:1 victory to me.

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Late Imperial Romans


The first DBA game I played at Cancon 2011 was against Jason Dickie’s Late Imperial Roman Army. Jason was using the East variant of this list, enabling him to take more knights.

I had rolled lower than Jason for my aggression dice which when the rolls were added to our aggression factors ensured I was the defender. I laid out the tropical terrain of a wood, rough ground (the brown area) and boggy ground (the blue area).

Jason deployed a Late Roman army from list II/78b:

  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (the General’s element)
  • 2 x 4 Auxilia
  • 2 x 2 Light Horse
  • 2 x 4 Knights
  • 3 x 4 Blades
  • 2 x 2 Psiloi

I deployed my army, using the elephant general option. Jason then swapped two pairs of elements from his deployment and it was game on. As this was my first game with the Rajputs, I wasn’t sure of how the mix of troops in the army would work together so kept to a simple plan of engaging his knights with mine, trying to get my elephant general into contact with his knights as well and holding his blades on my right flank until the knights and elephant had done their business.

Jason managed to get a light horse in front of the elephant and matched his knights and general against my knights. The melees in the centre then flowed one way and the other until eventually my knights started dying against his knights. I managed to remove one of his knights as well but try as I might, my elephant could not despatch his light horse and get into his camp. I eventually lost four elements and my first game.

The scoring being used at Cancon DBA was 8 points for a win, and one point for a loss plus, on the loser’s side, one point for each enemy element destroyed. The element destroyed count was kept for both sides as well as camps sacked and generals eliminated for count-back purposes. So, 2 points to me and 8 to Jason.

This meant that for the second game I would be facing another first round loser.