The Two Davids DBA campaign games are a highlight of the HMGS conventions. When I heard the theme at Fall-In was going to be Gallic Wars, I had mixed feelings. I don’t like the Gauls as an army, but I basically already had them painted anyway so it wouldn’t require any effort. After actually playing the campaign, I changed my mind: this was an excellent campaign and I really enjoyed playing this army in historical context (but without Romans).
The campaign had 20 players, with only 7 armies that weren’t a (possibly modified) Gallic list. There were two Romans, but most of the other armies were also warband-heavy. Most of the armies were built around a core of warband, and this gave me a lot of opportunities to learn how to use them (or how not to use them). The armies were all quite evenly matched, but the Davids customized some of the lists, and this provided just enough variation to keep things interesting.
I’ve written a bit about the campaign format before, so I’ll stick to what actually happened. Unfortunately I didn’t get many pictures during this event, so you’ll have to use your imaginaion.
In the first campaign round I drew a high enough number that I was attacked: by David Kuijt. This was a short but interesting game. I set up to one side of a central wood, but a road ran the length of the board on the other side. DK ran down the road to take the woods at my flank. Although I immediately knew the danger, and managed not to get my cavalry sucked into the woods, I did make enough mistakes to lose. I didn’t have enough warband close to the woods to hold it; and I wasn’t aggressive enough running around the woods with my cavalry to maintain an advantage with the foot I did have. The entire battle was fought over the woods, the rest of the board hardly made any difference.
The tile selection was modified somewhat this time. Battle winners always chose two tiles and assigned one to their minions. David gave me the 1, allowing me to attack. I chose to fight against David Bostwick. Unfortunately, I also got the 1 on all my combat rolls, and I was quickly and completely crushed. I made first contact, and chose fights that were to my advantage; even so, I lost 3 elements on my turn. On David’s turn, he killed 3 more of my elements. Several of these were 3-2 in my favor, which required a 6-1 split for me to lose… but I managed, somehow. I lost, but was still DK’s vassal.
The next round David Bostwick chose the tiles, and kept the 1 for himself; apparently I lost it in my failed attack against him. He wanted a rematch, and attacked me back. This game was a bit longer, but it was still bloody… and luckily, this time it went in my favor. However, since I defended, I didn’t gain him as a vassal.
In the fourth round, I almost had a low enough number to attack… but not quite, so Jan Spoor attacked me. I don’t remember this game well, but I think this was when I decided double-ranked Warband were too dangerous to use regularly: I lost 4 elements in the form of two warbands along with their rear support. This put me under Jan’s control and lost DK a vassal.
Meanwhile, in round 4, an interesting thing happened. Two vassal trees attacked each other in a way that resulted in a loop. Larry was DK’s vassal; Rob was Larry’s vassal; Doug was Rob’s vassal; and DK was Doug’s vassal. Apparently there were some intergenerational marriages going on here. I think this was the first time this happened in a campaign game, and the main result was that all of these players ended up with big targets on their backs because claiming any of them would break the loop and potentially give control of all four of them to a new master.
In the final round, I was able to attack again and attacked David Shepps, who was playing Early Germans. He had no mounted support, and deployed to the side of a board-splitting wall of woods in a line of double ranked warband, with a warband and psiloi perpendicular and behind to protect his flank. I attacked frontally but also advanced two warbands through the woods. They acted as bait and died for their service; but it disrupted his line enough for me to take advantage of him and eventually secure a win. I won with 5 elements killed to his 4, a close match. This gave me my first vassal ever!
In the end, I feel like I played well, learned a lot about warbands, and overall had a really great time. I’m looking forward to future Two Davids campaigns that have more similar armies like this. It’s sort of like playing a tight theme night at Legions but with more games and a wider variety of opponents.