Cancon 2011 – the Last DBA Battle

P1010190I came second at Cancon 2011 in the DBA competition. I was staying with Doug for that weekend and Doug had won the competition. However, for the first and second place getters, we had not played over the six games of the competition so I maintained that the only reason Doug had won was that he hadn’t played me.

We got around to playing the final final on Saturday the 12 of November … 10 months after Cancon 2011 had finished.

I took the mighty Rajputs out for one final outing against Doug’s DBA v2 army, IV/30 Teutonic Orders. The photograph above shows the two armies after deployment. The Rajputs took the elephant out for a final jaunt along with three knights, two blades, two Psiloi and 4 Bows. The Teutonic Orders were four knights (one a general), one Cavalry, two light horse, one spears, two crossbows, a psiloi and an auxilia element.

Doug was well into his cups at this stage and so the fog of war was thick. I had decided that to be fair, I should also attempt to increase said fog so dived into a couple of Jim Beam’s with cola. We rolled and I was the defender.


The game balance moved to and fro, favouring first one of us then the other. During the DBA competition time was called at 45 minutes but at that time the game here hung in the balance so being the incredibly generous bloke that I am, I kept playing instead of taking the draw (with a slight points win in my favour at that point).

We were hanging in the balance, me with three elements gone, Doug with three elements gone. We rolled on the last bound, I lost my fourth element. The next combat saw Doug’s general eliminated – 4 elements each and his general gone. There was one final combat to go – his light horse against my blades – 2-2 in factors. We rolled – I rolled one and Doug rolled 4. A 6-3 result his way and the death of the blades resulting in a 5-4 win to Doug.

So, in what can only be described as scraping a win in extra time, Doug managed to defeat the mighty Rajputs to be the undisputed DBA champion from Cancon 2011.

Well done mate!

Painting the Rajputs

I thought I would do a quick write-up of painting the Rajputs for Cancon 2011. Realistically, it should not be that difficult to paint up a DBA sized army. Painting one element a night and over two weeks a DBA army would be completed.

I selected the Rajputs from an Essex Miniatures DBA Army pack that I had. Below are the steps I undertook to painting the army up.

Click the link below to read more and see the pictures of the painting process:

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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.

DBA – The Rajputs

P1000727 The first DBA army I put together and painted – yes, this was the first DBA army I got around to painting ever – was the Rajputs. This was the army that I did for Cancon 2011. I had left it to the last minute to prepare the army. I selected the Rajputs because there were not too many figures to paint and the colours, whilst bright, could be left unpatterned and bright thereby speeding the painting process as well.

The result of a week of frantic painting and basing is shown above – the Rajputs for Cancon. Also shown is the camp I prepared in a hurry for the competition – using the picture of a large building from Rajasthan as the palace/camp.

Rajputs consider themselves descendants of one of the major ruling warrior groups of the Hindu Kshatriya varna (social order) in the subcontinent, particularly North India.

The first Rajput kingdoms date back to the 7th century CE but it was during the 9th to 11th centuries CE that the Rajputs rose to prominence. The four Agnivanshi clans rose to prominence first in this period and established territories and kingdoms.

The organization of Rajput clans crystallized in this period. Intermarriage among the Rajput clans interlinked the various regions of India and Pakistan, facilitating the flow of trade and scholarship. Archaeological evidence and contemporary texts suggest that Indian society achieved significant prosperity during this era.

The early 11th century saw the reign of King Bhoja, Paramara ruler of Malwa.

The Battle of Rajasthan is a battle (or series of battles) where the Hindu Rajput clans defeated the Muslim Arab invaders in 738 CE. Whilst this is just before the period of this Rajput army, I tend to think that the Umayyad Caliphs were dealing with a Rajput force similar to the one described below. While all sources (Hindu and Muslim) agree on the broad outline of the conflict and the result, there is no detailed information on the actual battle or battles. There is also no indication of the exact places where these battles were fought. What is clear is that the final battle took place somewhere on the borders of modern Sindh-Rajasthan. Following their defeat the remnants of the Arab army fled to the other bank of the River Indus.

This conflict involved the Umayyad Caliphs against the Rajput clans of Rajasthan on the Hindu side.

The DBA Army list is given under the Hindu Indian list (list III/10) variation b – the Rajputs 747-1300 CE. Interestingly the rules call these as belonging in Tropical terrain where, let’s be honest, the part of India they were strong in could better be described as Dry or Cool.

The army is described, element by element below

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Cancon 2011 – the First Two Days

I started my first competition at Cancon 2011 on Saturday and finished the DBMM v2.0 competition today. I didn’t win. However, that is not important. I had a really good time playing wargames with people who were friendly and helpful to me, the newbie.

I have played four games over the last two days. Each game lasted about 3 hours 45 minutes and I will post after action reports later on each of the games.

In the meantime, I would like to thank Dave Turned, Zac Russell, Dave Quilty and Rod Somerville for being helpful and friendly as opponents.

My results over the two days were:

Opponent Army Result Comment
Dave Turner Book II, List 73 Old Saxon, Frisian, Bavarian, Thuringian 23:2 Win Dave was a true gentleman and was a little unlucky with some of the results. I learned that Kn(F) are tough
Zac Russell Book II, List 80 Hunnic 6:19 Loss Zac helped with me learning some of the mechanics of moving Irregular mounted knights.
Dave Quilty Book I, List 22 New Kingdome Egyptian 19:6 Win Dave suffered from some good dice rolling on my side – I managed to roll 4 sixes in a row in the centre where it mattered
Rod Somerville Book II, List 32 Later Carthaginian 1:24 Loss A game where we each expected to do well and did badly and where we expected to do badly, did well!

Overall, it was a great two days and I thank each of my opponents for the pleasant games (and in Dave Quilty’s case, the coffee).

I should note that there were 21 competitors and I finished 11th – behind 10 and in front of 10. My opponents included the eventual second place winner and the eventual fourth place getter. My final score was 49/100 – the same score that Dave Turned finished on – so as you can see, I was not hiding behind weak players.

If I can arrange it, I will be back next year, but before that, I have a DBA competition of six games later today.