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					                      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.

To quote Field Marshall Blucher:   “Vorwarts”.    Editor

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)


                                    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

 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

                                        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.

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 : , check the
Society‟s website at

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

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.

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:

Items for „The Grumbler‟
Email address for articles: . 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.

                     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
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

Cost per entry is $40 per adult and $20 per junior (under 16).

For further details please visit the Group North Website at 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 : attention Organiser „Lord of the Rings‟ Tournament.

Organiser: Heinz Schroeder

                        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!

                 “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)

 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

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
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.

      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.

      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

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 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))

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

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:

       Complexity Score = Raw score – ((2 x # El) + (2 x # Art) + (1 x # Ww) + (1 x # ScCh))

       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

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

Many thanks Marcus, Ed.