The Grumbler The Official Newsletter of G.N.H.W.S – April/May/June 2008 Vol 8 Part 2 Welcome to the very late April/May 2008 Edition of the Grumbler – the official bimonthly newsletter of the Group North Historical Wargames Society. This year has been rather busy for me as editor and unfortunately the Grumbler has suffered. Rather than wait to June this short edition is being pushed out in anticipation of our AGM. Sorry but no pictures so it is rather dry. We have our usual notices, and some catch up on events that have been in progress since our last issue. Rimmer‟s War Diaries has no entry but we do continue our discussion on rule sets for Ancients (pre Renaissance) wargame rule sets. Rowland To quote Field Marshall Blucher: “Vorwarts”. Editor 2 CONTENTS Editorial…………………………… P1 Location Society‟s Club Rooms P2 Diary……………………………….. P3 It‟s time P4 Notices/Announcements……………. P5 Circus Mad Maximus Chariot Racing P7 25mm DBA Tournament P7 LOTR P7 Dauthus 08 P8 Crows feast 2008 P8 Berserker 08 (DBM) P8 Berserker 08 (FoG) P9 Rimmer‟s War Diaries: (Nil Items) P10 Points System for DBA P10 WHO ARE WE? (for visitors) The Group North Historical Wargames Society first aim is to provide a convivial atmosphere to play wargames for those interested in figure, board and computer based wargaming of all periods and genre. We are also interested in research, competition, exchange of information, promulgation of rules, systems, umpiring, preservation of historical military structures and relics, and societies and individuals similarly engaged. WHERE ARE WE? (for visitors) The club rooms are located at the A.E. Martin Hall (Building 36), Penfield Ave Edinburgh UBD Ref: 61 E9. Access is by road and rail (Nurlutta Station - 5 to 10 minute walk). The nearest bus stops are over 1km away (twice as far as the station). Access from the South along Penfield Ave is blocked. So access is from the North, off Woomera Rd. Drive down Purling Avenue and take the first left, (Woomera Road). Penfield Ave is the only access to the compound on the left (South). The Society‟s clubroom is right next to the entrance. (If coming from the North it is down West Ave then left on Woomera Rd) 3 Diary Group North Activities 17th & 18th May – Adeladium 08 March 08 to June 08 – Berserker (DBM) 08 March 08 to June 08 – Berserker (FoG) 08 25 June 2008 - AGM 16 July - Circus Mad Maximus Chariot Racing - details p7 Late July/early August – DBA 25mm Tournament – details p7 Aug-Dec 08 – Companion 08 – details TBA Sept 2008 – LOTR – see p7 Other Organisations1 1 I have included all South Australian competitions I can find and Victorian (because it is only eight hours by car). Australian Championships located further afield will also be included, if I know about them. - Ed 4 It‟s Time That‟s right „It‟s Time‟. After almost one year in the job the tenure of the current committee is almost up. The date for our AGM is Wednesday 25th June 2008 starting at 7:30 pm at the AE Martin Hall (the club rooms). While the agenda is yet to be finalised it is at the AGM that we select our Committee for the following financial year. The section from the constitution is rule 8.6 being: All nominations shall be in the hands of the secretary not later than the published closing date and time which shall not be later than fourteen (14) days prior to the AGM of the society. So all nominations need to be to the Secretary (Martin Foreman) by close of play Wednesday 11th June. The rules for nominations are: that they must be made in writing, have a proposer and a seconder and include the written consent of the nominee. Forms will be available on the sign in table in due course. All positions of the committee are up for election. The key positions that must be filled are: President, Secretary, Treasurer and at least one and up to seven other committee members (including the Vice President). In the financial year 2008/2009, other than the ongoing maintenance of our facilities and co-ordination aspects to do with the running of the Society, the main issue that will face the Committee will be the future of our facilities in the redevelopment of the area. We all know that we would all rather be pushing our figures etc on the game board 24 hours a day seven days a week and would rather someone else looked after the venue and every thing else. This can be done but our fees would be exorbitant (or we would trash someone‟s home). Unfortunately none of us can afford such fees and so we have to look after ourselves (or our spouses/partners/parents get tired of people always coming to our house to wargame/be fed). We are fortunate to have the A E Martin Hall with its storage facilities, but we do need people to act as points of contacts for various issues. Co- ordination of competitions is important – earlier this year we saw what happens when things aren‟t done properly when approving dates for competitions, also from an insurance perspective we need to have proof that activities in the Hall are properly authorised so we need a competitions manager (we also don‟t like to see competition organisers out of pocket because the costs of an activity were miscalculated). Each group (fantasy, 40K, Flames of War, LOTR, FoG, DBx etc) in the club should have one of their own on the committee to makes sure their voices will be heard during meetings. Plus there is property maintenance, library management, terrain room management, advertising/PR, Website management, money handler, administration, hall hire co- ordinator and so the list goes on. So have a chat with those you regularly game with to see who would stand up for your interests and by benefiting the Club they would also benefit you. 5 Notices/Announcements: Gaming Nights: A reminder to everybody gaming nights are: every Weds and Fri evenings and every 2nd and last Sunday afternoon (see note below). Weds and Fri the hours are: Doors officially open at 7:00 pm and close at 11:00 pm. On Weds people often start arriving from 6:30 pm and a key holder might be there to open up. If you plan to be early please speak to a committee member (beforehand) to get access. Closing time is 11:00 pm. Please schedule your game to finish with enough packing up time to be out of the doors by 11:00 pm. Sundays (2nd and last): Noon to 6pm. Attendance fluctuates at the moment so if you plan to come along it may pay to ensure someone has a key to get in. Otherwise email the Society (attention Mike Allen) on : mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org , check the Society‟s website at www.groupnorth.asn.au AGM Our Annual general Meeting is scheduled for the 25th June, starting 7:30pm at the AE Martin Hall (the Club Rooms). The current Committee would like nominations for Committee positions to be made by 28th May. The Agenda shall be published on 12th June. Agenda items need to be submitted to the Secretary (Martin) before close of business 11th June. Refreshments and a supper will be provided to the AGM and no attendance fees need be paid. Also there will be some presentations. New Members As indicated above, we continue to have a small but steady flow of visitors to the Club Rooms. Since February the numbers of the Society continue to grow. Greg Haines and Sean Davis have joined us. So please welcome them and make yourselves known to them. Thinking of Organising a Competition? Even though the end of tenure for the committee is coming up, planning still needs to be done for next year. Simon O‟Brien is the Competitions Co-Ordinator. If you are thinking of organising a competition please let him know. For those who are planning competitions Rowland has compiled an Excel spreadsheet that will help in the calculation of costs. While we are on competitions organisers please enter the competition dates, name and your contact details in the Hall Bookings Book – even tentative dates in pencil are better than sorting out fisticuffs between organisers. 6 Looking for Opponents or Got Wargamers Visiting? I know planning two or more months ahead is an anathema to most wargamers, but if you want to play someone outside your current circle then why not advertise in the Grumbler? Put a note in my (Editors) tray in the library or email: mailto:email@example.com Items for „The Grumbler‟ Email address for articles: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively hard or soft copies can be dropped into Rowland Dickinson‟s tray in the Society‟s Library room. Please feel free to include any photo‟s. The „Cut off date‟ is two full weeks before the effective date of the next issue. Articles/Items received after this date and before the edition goes to print may get in but that cannot be guaranteed. Next Edition is the July/August/September issue. The „cut off date‟ is 9th July. 7 Circus Mad Maximus Chariot Racing The 25mm chariots will be back in racing action on Wednesday 16 July. Talk to Ross to book your chariot of destruction! 25mm DBA Tournament DBA Tournament in late July or early August. This will be another of our matched pairs 25mm DBA events, with three games on each of two nights. Loan armies are provided. More details such as dates in the next Grumbler. Organiser; Ross Dawe. LOTR – Legion of the Rings 2 The second annual Group North Lord of the Rings competition has been deferred to a weekend yet to be decided in September 2008. The Competition information booklet and entry form are available through the Group North Website at www.groupnorth.asn.au Some pertinent details are as follows. Rules are very similar to those produced by Games Workshop & the National Tournament System. The event is not part of it nor does it count towards National Standings. Cost per entry is $40 per adult and $20 per junior (under 16). For further details please visit the Group North Website at www.groupnorth.asn.au and go to the tournaments page. Alternatively write to: Organiser “Lord of the Rings Tournament”, Group North Historical Wargames Society PO Box1040 Salisbury 5108 South Australia or email to : mailto:email@example.com attention Organiser „Lord of the Rings‟ Tournament. Organiser: Heinz Schroeder 8 Tournament Results/Diary Events Dauthus 08 Once again Mike Baker‟s enthusiasm for the hobby showed through by being the lead organiser in Dauthus 08. Despite some initial confusion created by the Committee approving two events on the same weekend (forgive them, they are only human) the organisers were able to sort things out amicably. By all accounts it was a successful weekend. Well done Mike! Crows Feast 2008 Crows feast 2008 was held on the weekend 13 & 14 April. Despite some mischievous attempts by outsiders to the club, the competition went off well and was well supported. Photo‟s and a report have been promised, so we look forward to those for our next issue of the Grumbler. Well done Mike Baker and John Hawkins for your efforts for making the day a success. Berserker 08 (DBM) Our annual Berserker tournament has seen players choosing some truly strange armies under the theme of "Unused Armies". Kevin Burns is currently leading (as at 31st March), after starting out with Order of St. John from the 14th century AD, then changing to Medes from the 7th century BC. Player armies: Score Book/List Army Name Kevin Burns 39 4/56 Order of St. John (3 games) 1/40 Medes, Zikirtu, Andia or Parsua (3 games) Athena Dawe 4 1/19 Mitanni (2 games) Ross Dawe 21 4/8 Ghurid (3 games) Rowland Dickinson 10 1/41 Phrygian (2 games) Harry Dunn 8 4/81 Inca (3 games) Martin Foreman 19 1/33 Villanovan Italian (2 games) Michael Grant 18 3/27 Rshtuni Armenian (4 games) Juan Trinidad 1 1/15 Later Amorite (2 games) The score for placings is best 6 out of a possible 7 games, so the final placings won't be known until just before the AGM in June. In one game Michael Grant crushed one wing of Martin Foreman's massive warband army and turned inwards to destroy the centre, while Martin swamped Michael's other wing and turned troops inwards to the centre. In the final round of combats, Michael narrowly missed killing a general and breaking another of Martin's commands, only to have his own army break from casualties due to rolling a '1' on the very last combat of the game before it timed out. So close! Rowland, Michael and Juan are using armies that have never previously been used in a rated DBM tournament. They will receive 'bravery above and beyond' prizes for using armies that bad! 9 “Berserker 2008 Field of Glory Tournament” A Progress Report” For the Club‟s “Inaugural Berserker Field of Glory” round robin ancients tournament we have ten competitors. The competition is using the FoG beta playtest rules and 650 point armies. It‟s been a tricky competition so far with all of us struggling with the new rules and trying hard to forget that we are NOT playing DBM! I‟ll add a few “reminder” notes at the end of this report for some of the things I‟ve observed during play. Ross Dawe has (once again) shown his military acumen and opened up an outstanding lead with two big wins – for which he‟d like to thank Martin and Marcus! However there remains a heated battle for the other places and with our scoring so erratic ANYONE can still get a position. My tips for the ones to watch for are the “quiet achievers” – Michael Grant and Andrew Jacobi, who, if they maintain their current game average (11+) will easily sneak into second or third places. The final placings are based on the best six game scores and not the overall total, so the competition is still anyone‟s bet … apart from first place! Player Army Score Ross Dawe Principate Roman 121 (7 games) Marcus Tregenza Republican Roman 72 (6 games) Chris Young Macedonian Imperial 65 (7 games) Michael Grant Ottoman Turk 50 (5 games) Martin Foreman Sassanid Persian 49 (5 games) Paul Webb Neo Assyrian 46 (5 games) Rowland Dickinson Byzantine 38 (6 games) Tristan Turner Carthaginian 27 (4 games) Andrew Jacobi New Kingdom Egyptian 35 (3 games) Tom Hilder Indian Tom … where are you? Tip‟s for new players – here are a couple of things I‟m seeing (and I‟ve learnt) in the last few games (all page references are from the Beta Playtest Rules): Variable Move Distance (VMD) - only applies to the charger if your opponent evades. (pg 33) Routs – first rout moves (including pursuits) occur at the end of ANY phase in which the unit breaks/routs (Pg 55). i.e. if you are broken by shooting then conduct a rout move at the end of the Shooting Phase. Routers AND pursuers move again in EVERY Joint Action Phase. (Pg 60) Pursuers may attempt to cease pursuit with a CMT in each Joint Action Phase. (Pg 60) There is no Rout move or Pursuit move if the enemy BG is destroyed (Pg 55) There is NO combat versus routed units in the impact or melee phase. You simply remove one base from a routed BG for each pursuing BG in contact during each Joint Action Phase. (Pg 61) Support Shooting – none of us are doing this well. Only Light and Medium foot armed with bow, crossbow or firearm and only in specific circumstances. We should all re-read pg 53 carefully. Disorder - (e.g. from terrain or Elephants) ceases immediately your BG is “clear” of the cause (Pg 9 and Pg 70) 10 Rear Support – your BG may get a bonus +1 in Cohesion Tests if they have Rear Support. Check Pg 84 for the details. Threatened Flank – your BG gets a -1 in Cohesion Tests if they have a Threatened Flank (which includes being within 6 MU of ANY table edge … which includes your own rear edge!) Check this on Pg 85. Many thanks to Marcus for this report and his efforts, Ed Rimmer‟s War Diaries Rimmer‟s War diaries are composed so that, for future generations of tabletop commanders, the experiences and insights of successful (and not so successful) commanders can be made available to them. Through such magnanimous generosity of their predecessors, the future commanders can be suitably informed and over-awed by the brilliance of those who have gone before. Unfortunately; there are no contributions this issue. Articles Among the Society‟s aims are: “To advance the avocation of Historical Wargaming in the State of South Australia by means of research, … exchange of information, promulgation of rules, systems …” and “To widen public awareness of historical military heritage by … publishing reports and manuscripts of military history…” This section provides the forum for the publication of articles and thoughts of our members to share with each other and the wider public. In the Ancients community after relative unity in rule sets over the last decade or so there are a number of rule sets that are competing to supplant DBM. In our previous issue we discussed Fields of Glory. In this issue we have a discussion of DBA. The (another!) Points System for DBA By Marcus Tregenza Introduction De Belis Antiquitatis (or DBA) is a great set of “fast-play” rules for ancient and medieval warfare. The rules are published by Wargames Research Group, which has been a major influence on figure wargaming for at least 35 years. While one of the best things about DBA is the simplicity of the game there is no system of element or army point values. Every army comes with 12 elements which are all of equal value and every Army is considered to be of equal utility on the battlefield. Most players make an Army choice in one of three ways – some people like a particular army or period of ancient history, so they choose Army X; some people have a particular style of play so they choose a cavalry army or one with lots of warband; or some like studying the combat ratings and other factors to determine what are the best troops and combinations of troops to find the “best” army in the lists. 11 This short article is designed to assist the last group of people – those who can‟t help trying to find the perfect army. Unfortunately this is a little like trying to take the perfect photograph – we can all point a camera and take a photo but not many of us can take a “picture”. This brief article is the result of my attempts to put a simple point scale against the DBA elements and then rate the current list of DBA armies. I draw no conclusions from the analysis – that will be the subject of future work. Previous Work A number of troop/army rating systems have already been attempted and are available on the web. (Go to the Fanaticus site for the details) Of note are the troop element systems by Lance Gamble and David Lawrence and the slightly “spongy” (but just as valid) and highly useful Big Battles Army assessment by the “Two Davids” (Kuijt and Schlanger). The other excellent work available is the DBA Army assessment made by Philip Woutat in an Excel spreadsheet. His list of the 554 available armies in DBA is the basis of the method presented here. Method After looking at the existing numerical point rating methods presented I thought that the spread of scores in both was a little too large for me so I developed my own. My method was very simple as follows: Step 1 was to score the individual DBA element types using a simple formula where the scores for a range of selected attributes were summed and the total divided by three (to keep my numbers manageable). Attributes Method of Scoring Combat rating Sum of the raw scores (versus mounted and foot) x 3 Ranged fire rating Add + 3 (War Wagons); + 6 (Bow); +15 (Artillery) Quick Killed Subtract the number of elements that quick kill the element type Quick Kills Add the number of elements that are quick killed by the element type Flee Add the number of elements from which type flees Rear Support Add +3 or +1 depending on type of rear support received Psiloi Support Add +1 if type gains rear support from psiloi Movement Sum of the raw scores for movement in good and difficult going Multiple Moves Add move distance for those element types that can make multiple moves Charge Moves Add move distance for element types that can make “charge” moves Terrain Penalties Add +1 for those types that do NOT suffer a terrain penalty The total scores were then divided by 3 to make them more manageable This simple process resulted in the following scores for the DBA element types: Basic Scores Element Type Score Element Type Score Elephant 10.67 Spears 8.67 War Wagon 10.0 Cavalry 8.67 Litter 10.0 Light Chariot 8.67 Knight 9.33 Camels (3) 8.33 Heavy Chariot 9.33 Pike 8.33 Light Horse 9.0 Auxilia 7.33 Camels (2) 9.0 Artillery 7.33 Warband 8.67 Scythed Chariot 7.0 Bowmen 8.67 Psiloi 6.67 Blades 8.67 Hordes 6.33 12 The second step was to apply this formula to all of the 554 DBA armies to derive a basic raw score for each army. This list is too extensive to provide here but I have printed a copy and will display it on the Group North Wargames Club notice board. This rest of this analysis addresses 15 armies which are commonly used at the club. The Final step was to consider what other aspects of the game (and ancient warfare) that contributed to the effectiveness of these armies. There is a large range of possible influences and factors that could be applied to assist players to make judgements about armies. Possible measures include mobility (a ratio of foot to mounted types) or weight (an assessment of heavy troop types versus lighter troop types) as two examples. For simplicity I chose the following three: Frontage of the army, the aggression of each army and finally the complexity of each army. Frontage Frontage is a measure of each Army‟s ability to cover a 12 element front successfully. Some armies require depth to gain a combat advantage when using combinations of psiloi, pikes, spears or warband. The element raw scores acknowledges the benefits gained from these depth combinations but the Frontage measure acknowledges the disadvantage of presenting an army that covers less than a 12 element frontage - which may allow an enemy the opportunity to exploit exposed flanks. The formula applied here was: Frontage Score = Raw score – ((2 x # Pk) + (2 x # Wb) + (1 x # Sp) + (.5 x # Ps)) Aggression DBA players are divided on the benefits of being the defender. Aggression is a measure of which army will “probably” set the terrain and move second so I have adopted the approach that being the defender gives an advantage. I have often seen Aggression 0 Auxilia armies cover the board with bad going making it very difficult for their “tougher” opponents. My approach here was to “reward” low aggression armies by multiplying their raw scores by an Aggression factor as follows: Army Aggression Factor Aggression 0 1.2 Aggression 1 1.1 Aggression 2 1.0 Aggression 3 0.9 Aggression 4 0.8 Complexity The final factor I applied was the Complexity score. This is a measure of the number of complex units within each army which may make it difficult for new players to manoeuvre and fight as they would wish. The complexity score penalises armies with troops that are difficult to move or require special coordination. The formula applied here was: 13 Complexity Score = Raw score – ((2 x # El) + (2 x # Art) + (1 x # Ww) + (1 x # ScCh)) Results This table is a list of the total scores based on the element scores within each army list. The list is ranked by Raw Army Total. The Frontage, Aggression and Complexity scores are the Raw Army Total score modified (weighted) by the factors described above. Of interest the spread of scores in the 554 Armies was 111.83 (African Vandal) down to 82.0 (Early Libyan). Raw Frontage Aggression Complexity Army Army Total Score Score Score Later Muslim Indian 106.17 105.92 106.17 104.89 War of the Roses English 103.89 103.39 114.28 103.11 Seleucid 102.83 93.83 102.83 102.17 Anglo-Norman 102.78 96.69 102.78 102.00 Early German - Ariovistus's 102.00 83.50 81.60 102.00 New Kingdom Egyptian 102.00 99.50 102.00 102.00 Gallic 102.00 84.50 91.80 102.00 Alexandrian Imperial 100.33 87.58 80.27 100.33 Later Carthaginian 100.17 92.92 90.15 100.22 Polybian Roman 100.00 97.00 80.00 100.17 Ottoman 100.00 99.00 80.00 100.00 Dacian 99.67 85.54 109.63 99.33 Middle Imperial Roman - West 98.22 98.06 108.04 98.17 Minoan & Early Mycenean 96.67 86.92 96.67 96.67 Jewish Revolt 93.33 80.83 112.00 93.33 This table is a general summary of the results of the analysis with all 15 armies ranked by category. The list is ranked by “Overall Assessment”. This score is a simple sum of the rankings for each measure (including raw score) with the lowest scoring army having the best overall assessment. Raw Frontage Aggression Complexity Overall Book List Army Ranking Ranking Ranking Ranking Assessment Normalised IV 83 War of the Roses English 2 2 1 1 6 1.0 IV 36 Later Muslim Indian 1 1 5 3 10 1.7 IV 3 Anglo-Norman 4 7 7 2 20 3.3 I 22 New Kingdom Egyptian 6 3 8 5 22 3.7 II 19 Seleucid 3 8 6 12 29 4.8 II 64 Middle Imperial Roman - West 13 5 4 9 31 5.2 II 47 Early German - Ariovistus's 5 14 12 4 35 5.8 II 11 Gallic 7 13 10 6 36 6.0 II 52 Dacian 12 12 3 10 37 6.2 IV 55 Ottoman 11 4 15 7 37 6.2 II 15 Alexandrian Imperial 8 10 13 8 39 6.5 II 33 Polybian Roman 10 6 14 11 41 6.8 II 32 Later Carthaginian 9 9 11 13 42 7.0 II 59 Jewish Revolt 15 15 2 15 47 7.8 I 18 Minoan & Early Mycenean 14 11 9 14 48 8.0 14 There must be some kudos for bringing either of the bottom two armies to any battle! The Final Word Conducting this little analysis has been fun and informative. In the future I intend to develop the system a little more and delve more deeply into the various factors and possible weightings that could be applied to each army. As a final word of warning – be careful what conclusions you draw from the numbers in the table! I refer you to my photographic analogy – we can all take a photo with the “best” camera in the world but very few of us can take good pictures. Keep practicing with your army of choice – know your own army capabilities and those of the enemy. Remember the sayings of the great Chinese master Woo Fung – “War is like the Lotus blossom” … and when you‟ve worked out what that means your victory will be complete! Many thanks Marcus, Ed.