On Saturday I attended Stoogecon for the first time. This was the second DBA tournament-type event I've played in. I had a lot of fun, and hopefully learned a few "what not to do" lessons. My goal was to win at least one game, and I won 2 (out of 6).
I don't know if my experiences so far are typical, but my overall impression of DBA tournaments is that they're basically just like friendly DBA gaming days, but you play more games against more people you don't usually play with, and people aren't quite as willing to tell you when you screw up.
There were 7 of us: Larry and Rich were running the event; Kevin, Jim, and I were also local; John came in from out of town and I'm not sure if Mike lives in Pittsburgh or was just visiting.
The first event was an open: Rich played, and Larry sat out to run things. I hadn't decided whether to play II/4c Warring States: Chao, or III/10 Hindu Indian, and didn't have a strong preference. Larry's taunting convinced me I'd suffer less if I didn't take the elephants, so I played II/4c.
He ran out of steam when he got around the hill and out of command radius of his general, but he did manage to take my camp. That left the game tied at 4-4. Taking back the camp was my surest way to win, but my general was out of range, so I'd need to hold out for a turn or so.
I got to the camp without losing any other elements, and the odds were in my favor: 5 to 3 with a quick kill gave me a 26/36 chance of success. Unfortunately, the combat was tied, and play continued! On Kevin's turn, he killed my Psiloi, but lost the camp, so I won 5-3.
This started a few trends for the night: I only ever beat Kevin, and all of the wide flank attacks failed. It was also the first game I've played where a camp was taken.
John won the open and took home an Essex Maccabean Jewish army pack to complement the Maccabeans he brought for matched pairs.
For the Matched Pairs event, I brought Later Spartans (II/5a), and Later Achaemenid Persians (II/7). The Spartans had all the non-Spear options possible, and Persians chose 4 spears and another psiloi instead of a scythed chariot. This time, Larry played and Rich sat out.
This game demonstrated again the difficulty of flanking attacks around terrain that blocks command. I don't remember anthing other than the complete failure of his flanking maneuver: I won 4-0.
The next game demonstrated that you learn a lot more by losing than by winning. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this game, but I played against Larry using his armies: Athenians (II/5b) vs. Thessalians (II/5d). I chose the Thessalians with the light horse option. I defended and played less terrain than in my other Arable games, but still placed it in the deployment zones.
Can you see where this is going yet?
Yes, obviously: I attempted a wide flanking maneuver around the woods at Larry's right flank. I got into trouble when my light horse were out of command, and he destroyed most of my attacking force. I managed to pull some of the light horse out, but shortly after our main lines clashed I lost 0-4.
My first move was to send my chariots across the board in front of my infantry to try to take on his cavalry force and avoid his spears. In retrospect, it would obviously have been better to just deploy on that side in the first place. The rest of the game was a bit of a muddle: it ended up being a bunch of disconnected skirmishes that clashed before our main lines formed ranks, so most of the kills were attacks of opportunity and not a clash between two straight lines. Overall I think that may end up a bit better for the Auxilia when it's fighting against Spears, and it's probably not unlike historical fights between Picts and Scots-Irish.
I killed off his light horse, and failed several attempts to flank and kill his general. In the end he beat me 4-2. It was an interesting and hard-fought game whose outcome was never obvious, but we also both made mistakes and suffered from them.
Jim won the Matched Pairs event and took home an Essex Later Polish army pack.
We basically just lined up some useful matches and pushed ahead. Kevin's command broke first, but that's just because John's knights were running the fastest. I managed to kill off 4 of Jim's elements in the middle when we clashed, and that ended the game because he was the C-in-C.
This was a very straightforward lineup: there isn't as much subtlety in BBDBA style games when you have three allied commands instead of variable command sizes. I continued to learn that I don't find double-depth knights very useful. I did inadvertantly learn a useful tactic against them, however: if you aim bows at their front corner, they won't necessarily have enough room to contact you due to their extreme length.
This was a good day of DBA, I'm glad I attended it. I enjoyed facing opponents and armies I don't usually play against. Thanks go to the Stooges (Larry and Rich) for organizing this shindig and providing a full day of meals (donuts)!
1 hour ago