Sunday, 10 June 2012

Magna Graecia Campaign Rules

As with most of my wargaming activities there are always themes, periods and rule sets that I constantly turn back to in my wishful way.  These include such things as DBA, DBM, DBR, Operation Warboard, books by Donald Featherstone and Charles S Grant and even Bruce Quarrie's Napoleonic Rules (published in the Airfix Guide No. 4).

One of my enduring interests has been finding ways to run wargame campaigns and therefore discovering campaign rule sets has always been exciting (there aren't that many out there really).  One of the sets that I did find and use was the (free) Magna Graecia Campaign Rules for an ancient campaign in Sicily.  These are by Rob Smith and appear to date from early 1997.
Resolving how terrain affects campaign decisions of when and where to fight has always been an issue but these rules cleverly simplify this by having defined table-top maps for each of the numbered nodes shown on the main map.  Land movement is only between linked nodes and battles can only be fought at each node (a bit like the original Shogun & Medieval Total War computer game system).  Therefore each battlefield can be assessed beforehand and hopefully used to your advantage.
Node maps look like this, although I suppose you could make your own if you wished or you could inject some random element based on scouting prowess, etc.  Here is a sketch-map showing our battle on the node depicted above (No.12 Akragas/Agrigentum) when we actually did fight the campaign (in this case it was Lydians versus Early Achaemenid Persians using DBM).  .
In this encounter the Lydians were advancing from Node 13 so the coastline on our battle map was along the left hand side (North is at the right hand side of my sketch-map).  Note the L-shaped wood and walled town which match those on the campaign map.  I actually won this one.  And here is another example from later on in the campaign and further along the coast at node 03 (Selinus).
My sketch-map of our battle is shown below, from which you can see that my army bravely ran away (North is on the right hand side of the map again).
And the reason for posting about this (apart from the opportunity to highlight one of my rare victories in that particular campaign)?  Well, a few months ago whilst checking my links I noted that the Magna Graecia one was dead and I have only today found and restored them after a bit of searching round the interweb.

So I thought I'd use the occasion to draw your attention to this interesting and useful set of campaign rules and the fact that it can be found on the web again.  It also ties in with my current thoughts on running a DBA campaign and what our options are for doing that.

Edit - unfortunately this link is now dead also.  However, if anyone still wants to see these rules and maps you can view them here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Quick Marsh!

Having now made sufficient river sections to have numerous river configurations on my DBA board, with enough of it to stretch easily from one end of my main 6' wargames board to the other (I don't know when to stop), I decided that I might as well make some more terrain in the same vein, i.e. some marsh.  As before, my starting point was various bits of spare lino cut to shape conforming to the DBA maximum terrain dimensions.
As you can see I selected lino pieces with a mixture of blue (water), brown (mud) and sand (sand).  The next job was to paint round the edges to cover the exposed white bits, to blend in with my playing surface and to provide something for the PVA glue to key into. As before this was Dulux 'gamboge' emulsion.
I then glued on some coarse shelly sand that comes from a nearby Scottish beach.
I put some of the sand in central parts of the terrain pieces over the sandy coloured and brown areas, leaving the blue(ish) water between.  I then added some of the yellowish green Winter static grass that I'd used previously and that was it.
Here are some close-ups of my handiwork (this one is about 140mm by 100mm).
There are some larger pieces of shell there which fortuitously appeared on this tile from the sand box, so I just painted these as bits of wood or other debris.
And here it is finished off with the Javis style Winter static grass.  I think they've worked out quite well and I now have some more DBA compliant terrain to use.  I'm pondering what to do next but I think vineyards, woods, roads, some more hills and possibly a BUA may well be on the cards.

Friday, 1 June 2012

A River Runs Through It No.2

Random pieces of tile are all well and good but they aren't quite river sections.  Having cut the tile pieces to shape the next thing was to paint the exposed edges the same colour as my DBA board - a sort of yellow orange emulsion named, obscurely, gamboge (that's Dulux for you).
I dry-brushed the river 'banks' with the same colour and then, using PVA, glued on some coarse shelly sand that I got from an East Lothian beach, with the paint showing through here and there.
The sections were finished with a sparse coverage of Javis type Winter Mix static grass, which is slightly yellowish and therefore suitable for the arid type terrain and baseboard that I use for my DBA/DBM forces (mainly Lydian, which I imagine to operate in the dryer areas of Asia Minor).
My DBA board is 'temperate' green on the obverse and the river sections work just as well on it too.  Result.