The wargaming community is full of myths that seem to perpetuate through the generations. Previously I poked at the the unconvincing myth about Visigothic Gardingi being unarmoured skirmishing cavalry, today I look at the ‘coffin’ shaped shield of the Goths. Early Gothic, specifically Visigothic, warriors are believed by some to have carried an odd ‘coffin’ shaped shield. It isn’t true. Germanic warriors only carried round, oval and hexagonal shields. Shapes that were used from the 1st century through the Fall of Rome. Round and oval shields continued in use into the dark ages.
Fall of Rome
In 406 AD the Vandals and Suevi crossed the Rhine. In 409 AD the Suevi, Vandals and Alans invaded Iberia. But it was the Visigoths, who ravaged Greece in 396 AD and invaded Italy in 402 AD, that squashed the other barbarian invaders from Spain and set up a Kingdom that lasted until the Muslims invaded in 711 AD.
Download Twilight of the Britons – Fast play rules for the English Invasion of Britain
For a long time I’ve been looking for a set of wargaming rules for the Arthurian age i.e. the Dark Age in Britain. Having tried lots of commercial rules, Vincent Tsao and I have written our own. Called Twilight of the Britons – Fast play rules for the English Invasion of Britain it is a variant of Twilight of the Sun-King (2001 version) . It covers the warfare in Britain from Roman departure (410 AD) until the English installed a Briton of Strathclyde as King of Scotland (1054 AD). The six page booklet contains only two pages of rules and four pages of army lists.
DBA 3 – Improving the Simulation – Some Comments
Joe Collins has highlighted a number of problems with DBA 3.0 and suggested ways to address these problems. Collin’s was part of the group that developed DBA 3.0 so he is both a fan and on the inside team. I really like Collin’s attempt to tackle some big problems with DBA. It would be great if more people did this, starting with Phil Barker. Unfortunately, Collin’s particular suggestions mostly leave the problems unsolved. I do like his solution for Bow but even that needs more.
Welsh versus Picts 2 – An Arthurian HOTT Battle Report
Chris Harrod and I had another game of Arthurian HOTT. This featured Chris’s Chris’s Picts on sabots to provide Big Bases. I fielded my Welsh (Cymry) with Arthurian and Reconquista Christian Elements for Big Base HOTT. I went for my traditional historical Welsh option where the religion is implicit. Chris put a Goddess on table (the Morrigan).
Summary: The Morrigan was scary and my Welsh had to dance around a bit, but it turned out god was on our side and Arthur’s host took the day.
Welsh versus Saxons – An Arthurian HOTT Battle Report
Jamie fancied a bit of Dark Age gaming. So I dragged out my Welsh (Cymry) for Britannia 600 AD and more Fall of Rome figures to make a Saxon army for Jamie.
Hordes of the Things (HOTT) is fast becoming my go to rules for the Dark Ages so this was going to be a bit of Big Base HOTT. Or, more precisely, Arthurian HOTT.
Summary: Grindy dark age affair with lots of flavour. Bad going made the battle bitsy. Arthur took the day.
Welsh versus Picts – An Arthurian HOTT Battle Report
I recently transferred my Dark Age figures for Hordes of the Things (HOTT) to Big Bases. Magicians, beasts, clerics, hordes, that kind of thing, making Big Base HOTT. This included my Strathclyde Welsh (Northern Cymry) for Britannia 600 AD.
To celebrate the big basing, Chris Harrod and I had a game of Arthurian HOTT. Chris brought along his Picts and we used sabots to give him big bases.
454 AD Roman versus Suevi – A One Hour Wargames Battle Report
The sixth game in our Fall of Hispania Campaign occurred in 454 AD, 6 game years after the last battle. In fact we played both games in one evening using the Dark Age variant of Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames. Chris Harrod rolled Roman and I got Suevi.
448 AD Roman versus Visigoth – A One Hour Wargames Battle Report
Chris Harrod came over and we played two games of our Fall of Hispania Campaign. The first battle occurred in 448 AD, 2 game years after the last battle. Chris rolled Roman and I got Visigoth.
I had intended to use Basic Impetus, and even revised the army lists to do this, but we ended up using the Dark Age variant of Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames instead. Both armies had six units and we used first Pitched Battle scenario. And we played on a 2’x2′ table as per using my big bases with One Hour Wargames.
The summary is: Grindy rules that are very predictable. Might be accurate but not much fun. Chris won.
Using Big Bases for DBA
Big Base DBA (also known as Big Base De Bellis Antiquitatis or BBDBA) allows fast games with a small number of playing pieces and lots of figures. Big Base DBA requires few modifications from the standard DBA rules.
Inspired by Philip Sabin’s Analysis of Ancient Warfare in Lost Battles I’ve drifted further away from normal DBA than you need to, but I’ll explain why as I go along. Mostly it affects basing.
448 AD Roman versus Visigoth – Basic Impetus Army Lists
The fifth game in our Fall of Hispania Campaign will occur in 448 AD, 2 game years after the last battle. Chris Harrod rolled Roman and I got Visigoth. Despite misgivings I have chosen Basic Impetus as the rules.
Basic Impetus has army lists but, even after I reformatted them, I don’t like them. So I tweaked the two that we are intending to use. Okay, I only made two small changes to troop types, but those changes stem from mistakes that get me quite het up.
Reformatted Basic Impetus Army Lists for the Fall of Rome
I’m thinking of using Basic Impetus for the next game in our Fall of Hispania Campaign. The good news is that the army lists for the Fall of Rome period are freely available at Vol 7. Rome and Empire and Vol 8. Fall of Rome. The bad news is I don’t like them. Firstly, I can’t read them because of all the abbreviations, for example, “FP” does not leap out at me as “Heavy Infantry”. Secondly, the format of the table is counter intuitive for me; I want to know who the troops are first before seeing how they are classified. Thirdly, I disagree with some of the army lists. In this post I’ll content myself with addressing the things about the format that annoy me. In a subsequent post I’ll revise the army lists.
Understanding Basic Impetus Troop Types
I’m thinking of using Basic Impetus for the next game in our Fall of Hispania Campaign. The good news is that the army lists for the Fall of Rome period are freely available at Vol 7. Rome and Empire and Vol 8. Fall of Rome. The bad news is I don’t understand them.
446 AD Suevi versus Vandal – A Red Spear, Black Crow Battle Report
The fourth game in our Fall of Hispania Campaign occurred in 446 AD, 29 peaceful game years after the last battle. Chris Harrod rolled Suevi and I got Vandal. The rules were the draft version of Red Spear, Black Crow from Morningstar Productions.
The summary is: Interesting rules, violent battle which could have gone either way, but eventual victory for the Vandals.
417 AD Visigoths versus Roman – A Dux Bellorum Battle Report
It is 417 AD in our Fall of Hispania Campaign, four game years since our last battle. I rolled the Visigoths again but this time Chris Harrod got Late Roman. The rules were Dux Bellorum.
The summary is: Being new to the rules I assumed the hill was difficult terrain, deployed accordingly, realised too late I was wrong, and then watched as Chris rolled over my hastily improvised battle line.
413 AD Visigoths versus Vandals – A Big Base DBA Battle Report
Chris Harrod and I finally got around to playing another game of the Fall of Hispania Campaign based on these campaign rules. Four game years have passed since the first game so the nominal campaign date is 413 AD. Tragically it has also been four real years since we played the first game. Chris rolled Vandals and I got Visigoths. The rules were Big Base DBA.
The summary is: Short game with the Visigoth wedges smashing through the Vandal shieldwall.