Category: Dark Ages

Dark Ages are the Early Middle Ages which I interpret as from the fall of Rome (476 AD) to 1000 AD


The Bear Exalted (518-537 AD) – DBA Arthurian Campaign

The Bear Exalted (518-537 AD) - DBA Arthurian Campaign

It is 518 AD. The Roman legions are long gone and the barbarians – Angles, Saxons, and Scots-Irish – are established on the soil of Britannia. The Picts remain troublesome neighbours, and the Gewissei are the enemy within. But the Celtic people (Kymry) of the Romano-British kingdoms continue to fight back.

I have written two DBA Arthurian Campaigns based on Martin Smith’s “Arthurian campaign” article in Slingshot (Smith, 2021), itself based on Kaptain Kobold’s solo HoTT campaign (Dux Bellorum). The first was The Legions Have Gone (420-439). This is the second campaign. It is called “The Bear Exalted” and

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The Legions have Gone (420-439 AD) – A DBA Arthurian Campaign

The Legions Have Gone (420-439 AD) - DBA Arthurian Campaign

It is 420 AD. The Roman legions left 10 years ago and the barbarians are pounding at the doors. The Angles, Saxons, and Scots-Irish all want a piece of Britannia. The Picts and un-Romanised Welsh are also troublesome neighbours. But the Romano-British kingdoms are fighting back with a combination of ex-Roman troops and men fighting in native styles.

I have written two DBA Arthurian Campaigns based on Martin Smith’s “Arthurian campaign” article in Slingshot (Smith, 2021), itself based on Kaptain Kobold’s solo HoTT campaign (Dux Bellorum). This campaign is “The Legions have Gone” and is set in 420-439 AD.

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DBA Arthurian Campaign – What are my options?

Arthurian Maps

I like the Arthurian setting. I like Campaigns. I like DBA and HoTT Campaigns because they are relatively simple and quick. I’ve played a few games of Arthurian HoTT. I’ve run Britannia 600 AD as a HoTT campaign for six players, although it can be used for DBA. I like the idea of gritty dark age DBA games. A recent article by Martin Smith on his “Arthurian Campaign” for DBA got me thinking about campaigns in this period again. The question is, what to do? How can I improve on previous efforts? What does an even better Arthurian campaign look

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2019 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac 2019

My Confessions of a Megalomaniac were my 2019 aspirations. How did I do?

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DBA 3 – Improving the Simulation – Some Comments

DBA3.0 Cover

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.

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2018 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac 2018

Continuing my Megalomaniac tendencies, this is my reflection on 2018 and how I did against my world conquering goals. Check out my 2018 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian for my overly ambitious aspirations.

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Welsh versus Picts 2 – An Arthurian HOTT Battle Report

Arthurian HOTT 799 The Morrigan appears in front of the Pictish host

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.

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Welsh versus Saxons – An Arthurian HOTT Battle Report

Arthurian HOTT 671 Welsh mounted go in again

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.

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Steven’s Arthurian and Reconquista Christian Elements for Big Base HOTT

Christian HOTT 920 Religious Stronghold

I recently rebased my Reconquista armies on Big Bases. That includes the elements I use for Big Base HOTT. In this post I feature the Christians which can also serve in Arthurian HOTT. You might have seen some of these guys on small bases in my Strathclyde Welsh (Northern Cymry) for Britannia 600 AD. Of course they complement my “El Cid” Feudal Spanish Army for Big Base DBA and my Dark Age Horde.

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Welsh versus Picts – An Arthurian HOTT Battle Report

01 King Arthur advances on right

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.

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Using Big Bases for DBA

BBDBA Seleucid Companions

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.

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Who Were the Gardingi in Visigothic Spain? And were they armoured?

DBx and FOG are wrong. The gardingi were personal military retainers of the Visigothic king. They were wealthy and led their own retainers into battle. Given they were wealthy, and a military elite, they probably fought mounted. And in an army where even some slaves wore armour, it is beyond belief that these palatine officials were unarmoured.

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Revised DBA Army List for a Western German Horde

Vandals

It bugs me when rules writers introduce arbitrary distinctions between troop types and armies. From what I’ve read there was little difference between the Germanic tribes operating in western europe during the migration period leading to the Fall of Rome. I’m interested in the Early Visigothic, Early Vandal and Suevi because they operated in Spain and Portugal, either passing through or settling permanently. The DBA army lists for these armies, II/65, II/66 and II/72c respectively, highlight the issue for me as they differ in ways that are inexplicable to me. DBA is not alone as other rule systems also distinguish

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DBA II/72c Suevi 250AD-584AD

The Suevi are covered by DBA army list II/72c Suevi 250AD-584AD, an option within II/72 Early Frankish, Alamannic, Quadi, Suevi, Rugian or Turcilingi. They were part of the general chaos during the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and ended up in Iberia. This post is part of my series on Troop Identities in DBA Army Lists.

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Simon MacDowall – Germanic Warrior AD 236-568

Simon MacDowall Germanic Warrior

I was thinking about a revised DBA army list covering Early Visigothic, Early Vandal and Suevi so thought I’d better do a bit of research. So on a rainy sunday I browsed through Simon MacDowall’s book on the Germanic Warrior at the end of the Western Roman Empire. As usual I couldn’t help taking a few notes.

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