Well, no, to be honest. This has been brewing for a long time. I've been looking for an alternative wargaming experience that gave me a genuine miniatures game, but with a quick set up that didn't involve lots of scenery, scenario development and rearranging the dining room. You know how it is sometimes - middle of the week, back from work, rush that early tea then usher family out of 'gaming room'. Maybe an hour or more to get the terrain how you want it and the figures and scenario paperwork prepared. By the time everything is ready, you just want a rest. And the whole lot has to be put away once the game is over, before you can retire to bed. It's all a bit too much like hard work.
So I've been looking for a 'dining table game', for those occasions when I just can't be assed. My acquisition of the 'Bridge Too Far' boardgame was a move in this direction - a game I continue to enjoy, but it's not toy soldiers. Of course, some of you will be thinking that small scale figures (6mm or even less) are the answer - a full battle on a 4' x 3' board. Get thee behind me Satan! These days I need proper size toy soldiers to scratch that itch - perhaps it's my failing eyesight. To cut a long story short, DBA became my favoured solution.
The cynical amongst you will probably blame my enforced sojourn at home, due to an arm broken whilst skiing. I can only reply that you're probably right - reading about and reflecting on wargaming has filled much of my time over the last week and a half. So, staring at that dining table and considering the options, the decision was made. What finally swung it was the prospect of expansion into 'Big Battle DBA', where you use 3 x 12 element DBA armies on each side, on a 4' x 2' battlefield. A real wargames battle could take place on any kitchen or dining room table. My own dining table measures 5' x 2.5', and with a Games Workshop battlemat thrown over it would form a battlefield just a bit bigger, to allow for more manoeuvre. So this was a rules choice with a future.
I already had the DBA rulebook (v2.2), purchased a couple of years ago when similar thoughts were brewing. I chose the normal 15mm size of troops. My Polish WW2 wargaming in 15mm and my previous flirtation with DBR (see below) would provide me with all the terrain I needed (which isn't much for DBA). Choice of period was between Rome vs Carthage, or Rome vs Ancient Britons. For me, ancient wargaming always had to include the Romans. Eventually the Ancient Britons won out - the choice would give me two contrasting but equally capable armies. And I think I had fond childhood memories of the Airfix figures in my mind as well.
Of course, I wasn't intending to paint my own armies. My goodness no. There's still lots to do for my other two periods. The internet led me to a UK painting service with a high standard and prices comparable to those charged by asian-based companies, namely Mount and Blade. A commission has been agreed, and it looks like my two armies will be around £65 a piece, all in. But I will have to wait until July for delivery. With time on my hands, the Fanaticus DBA resource site led me to some printable paper armies which I could mount on card and which would allow me to get going with some games. The left arm was just about serviceable enough to allow some sticking and cutting to take place.
And so, within a week from deciding I would add DBA to my wargaming world, my old buddy Paul was round for a game or two.
|Paul deploys his Romans|
|Italian Wars French Army|
|Gendarmes and generals|
|Spanish Imperial commanding general|