DBM Club Tournament 2004
A Player’s Perspective

Battle 1 - Wars of the Roses (Tudor)

After several practice battles (mostly getting beaten against Sung Chinese and Later Muslim Indian armies) I embarked on my first tournament battle with some trepidation. The Tudor army is very similar to the Sung Chinese in that it’s a ‘bill & bow’ affair. The difference being that the Tudors are superior to the Sung and have better mounted troops. I was not hopeful of a victory and was concentrating on not getting beaten. Also, the most important element of any battle is your opponent. I’ve only played against Gary once; I slapped his Alans with a Roman force in DBA a while back. This meant that he was largely an unknown quantity for me; was he a skilled general? A sporting opponent? Hmm…

The battle set up was fine with a dawn kick-off, on a sunny autumn day. I, rather predictably, was the invader (Aggression 4 does that for you) and chose to place no terrain. Gary set up a scattering of rough going that ended up mainly around the edges (except one small patch slap bang in the middle). This suited me fine, but when he didn’t place any TFs I realised I had misread his army list and that he couldn’t have any. This meant that my artillery command, dragged along specifically to sort out his fortified elements, would be mostly useless. D’oh! Nevermind, it’s my fault for misreading things.

So we planned deployment and Gary started by setting up his whole army as a single command! My mind raced as I scanned his force to work out my options. I had very few, other than destroying 17 of his elements for a 10-0 win. A gargantuan task at any time but with his army in a brutal massed block of mixed blades, bow and artillery (most of it superior), flanked on the west by a large mixed knight/cavalry unit, I was stumped.

I set up my three commands as per the deployment plan and looked at the options. My Khitan on the eastern flank were facing his flank secured on some rough ground held by Welsh Auxilia. No way in there. I’ve tried fighting through this sort of terrain and been royally battered. My Light Horse command faced off against his mounted troops on the western flank and my artillery held my centre behind the rough going.
After much beard-stroking I quickly formulated a plan as to what I’d do against this massed Tudor command. It took me quite a while to get over the fact that he had only one command, but once I reconciled that I came up with the following.

His western flank was his exposed weak point, so I’d redeploy the Khitan across to here. The light horse would pin him in place while this happened. A combined cavalry / light horse assault would take his mounted troops apart before he could redeploy. The artillery would pick off what they could as he tried to redeploy forces across to meet me. Frankly I thought it was a lost cause and I’d considered sitting back and going for the 5-5 draw. But that would be tedious.

And so it began. My light horse advanced, sending the fast troops forwards to pin the Tudors on their lines. Meanwhile a small group entered the western rough going and flushed out the Tudor psiloi there. The Khitan columned off west and marched in behind the light horse. Half the Khitan deployed opposite Gary’s cavalry and the rest columned through the rough ground and deployed facing his western flank. While all this marvellous dressage was going on amongst my troops, the Tudors (with a single, extremely unreliable pip die!) struggled to turn some troops to face my Khitan. Also, as one, the majority of his force attempted a massive wheel to bring its frontage round to meet the threat.

Finally in place, my Khitan and elements of light horse (to kill the knights) clamped round his western flank. It was frankly carnage and within four turns of fighting he’d lost 15 ½ elements to my none! My spirits were somewhat high to say the least and I really thought I had the game. Spectators were sucking their teeth, gasping at the brutality of it all and with only 1½ elements left to lose, commiseration’s were in for Gary.
Then things started to go wrong. A particularly stubborn bowman element and an equally obstinate set of blades started to inflict losses on the Khitan. As more of his elements wheeled into bow range the fragile break point of 5 was reached and the Khitan became demoralised. Curses! I could see victory slipping away. But all was not lost. With the time limit approaching I was still engaged with the eastern flank of his wheeling force. With a bowman element turned, if I destroyed it with my light horse it would take the blades behind it as well, winning me the game. Yaay! In the last combat of the final turn it came down to a 2-2 CF roll….Gary won…OH WOE! Much wailing and gnashing of teeth! I’d snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! And instead of a 9-1 win to me I suffered a 4-6 loss.

Nevermind, it was an excellent game and for most of the time I had great fun basically taking his army to bits at will! Aside from replacing the artillery with some Mongol Guard I wouldn’t have done much different. That said, I’m considering dropping the large Khitan force as it is very fragile (although 14 RegCv(S) are VERY potent). I lost a couple of elements to bad positioning in the recoils, but nothing that I’m really irritated at. Not making mistakes is the first step to victory.

Gary’s Tudors were totally unwieldy with one command and this allowed me complete free reign. Ultimately of course it won him the game (as I had to destroy 17 elements to break him) although it went to the last die roll! I’m happy with the result although a 10-0 was open to me for 70% of the game. Oh well.
Gary was an excellent and sporting opponent and the game was played in a good-natured manner. Everyone, including the spectators, seemed to really enjoy themselves.


Aha! It has subsequently come to light that Gary fielded an illegal army! All armies must have at least two commands (despite the Tudor list confusingly specifying only a minumum of 1). After much discussion and a decision from Dave, the adjudicator, we’ve decided that as no objection was raised at the time and the battle was fought in good faith on both sides, the result would stand. Fair go.

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