Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cortez!

Now for something completely different (Monty Python).


I'm recovering from a foot fusion and am supposed to be non-weight bearing until December 1st. This is not helpful when our group usually gathers around a large table with a lot of figures.

Friends to the rescue as one of them (JZ) brought over to my condo (with limited space) his collection of Spaniards and Aztecs from the age of exploration and conquest. My other friend MS came as well with his amazing little camera. The three of us have been friends since High School, back when the earth was still cooling. My son also games with us but he had the flu so we were glad he stayed home!

Given the limited space (a kitchen table) we decided it would be a modified DBA game fought on a short board.

The size of the units (called elements in DBA) are quite small so each side probably had less than 60 figs each. Each element consisted of three figures except for the artillery element.

The scenario was basic. The Spaniards were headed to an Aztec town and were deployed in a typical line of march.

Toltec allies led the march followed by two mixed missile units (crossbows, arquebus) followed by an element of Spanish Cavalry and Sword and Buckler elements (blades in DBA). The artillery, pikes and halberd elements were in the center and were followed by a rear guard of sword and buckler elements and more missile troops.

The Aztecs has just emerged from cover and had some flexibility in their line of battle. The game master (JZ) turned the Spanish to face them as is and announced the game was on.

The pictures below do not follow the action. Our friend MS took some pictures and I took some with my iPhone and then I cobbled them all together for the blog.

Most of the figures are Hinchcliffe 25mm metals (more like 30mm) from the 1980's. Other brands are represented but this reporter does not know which are which. All the figures were painted by JZ.


Aztec Chief. MS was the Aztecs and did not risk his personal figure in combat. I  (BR) on the other hand was Cortez and attached myself to the Spanish Cavalry and thus had a much better chance of survival no matter how it turned out.

Aztec Command Element. All the figures were supplied by JZ and expertly painted by him. The lighting was terrible in the condo so most of the pictures had to be enhanced with by Mac.

Aztec Eagle Knights posed prior to the game. JZ has this small portable board for small scale games usually for 6mm, but it worked just fine with the larger scale figures.

Spanish artillery posed prior to the game. I like the fig wiping the sweat from his eyes. Not sure if it's the heat tor the Aztecs making him sweat!

Another posed shot of the Spanish artillery. Until the end of game the artillery effect on the Aztecs was minimal. At the end at half range things improved!

This was simply cool. A shoving match between the Eagle Knights and Spanish Sword and Buckler elements (my favorites). Just to the right of the sword and buckler elements were two units of Spanish missile elements. The Aztec elements opposite them forced one of them off the board and thus turned my left flank. 

The Spanish center. The artillery is supported by two sword and buckler elements on the left and pikes on the right. Tough nut to crack head on.

Cortez, wardog (Irish wolfhound) and the Spanish Cavalry against Aztec missile elements. It was not much of a contest as the Spanish Cavalry turned the Aztec right and ended up in the Aztec rear. Yeah, that's me on the horse with gilded helmet. Very brave with the Spanish Cavalry and my pet wolfhound. Pointer: if you are the commander use the best troops as a body guard. If you don't have any, run away.

JZ (on the left) explains to me (BR) some rules. Yes, I look dumbfounded. Seriously, the modified DBA rules are simple but full of subtleties that require many decisions each bound. The joke made here is that JZ looks like Hitler telling his General (me) to move some Panzer units that no longer exist to stop the Russians around Berlin! We had a lot of laughs and a great time.

Nice shot of the Aztec center as they approached the Spanish line of battle. The figure to the right of the chief is a Aztec priest holding a human heart aloft. Pretty scary stuff. The Spanish Cavalry would ride the priest element down.
Hard to get a close up of the figs but it does show the two lines of battle. No terrain except for features on each flank.

Nice shot of the Spanish Cavalry. They were launched at the Aztec light elements almost at once.

Aztec missile elements and the target of the Spanish Cavalry.

Aztec warrior elements. Not as effective as the Eagle Knights but still nasty.

Better shot of the two lines of battle for both sides with terrain on either flank. JZ has many more figures for this period and plans are in place to do it in the Grand Manner, His table is a 16' by 4'.

Spanish halberd (blades) elements. Blades in DBA are usually the toughest all around.

Nice shot of the artillery. I like the quilted cotton armor of the Sword and Buckler figure to the right. Mexico is hot and the Spanish quickly adapted lighter armor than they would have in Europe.

Sword and Buckler elements (blades) await the Aztec charge! Mixed missile element on the far left. I like the Moorish shield on the center figure.

Aztec Knights. The game was pure eye candy. Every shield is different! Talk about heraldry.

Aztec missile elements. One of the priests on the far right and behind. 

Close up of some Eagle Knights. I believe Eagle Knights are blades. Check out the size of the blade in the forefront of the picture. Yikes!

Another shot of the pushing contest between the Aztec Knights and Spanish Sword and Buckler elements. Three figures were an element.

Eagle Knight close up. Hard to imagine a more colorful army than Aztecs. Mayas, maybe or Samurai would probably come close. 

At this point in the game the Aztec right was in shambles and the Spanish right was in danger as well. The game looked like a cartwheel with each side's right increasingly "up in the air."

The Spanish right is beginning to draw back with a remaining element of Sword and Buckler. The Spanish missile elements are cut off (far left in pic) and would be destroyed  or forced off the table. Aztec high tide! Meanwhile the Spanish Cavalry are in the Aztec rear and the Aztec missile elements have been flanked and would be destroyed by the Toltec element and artillery fire. The remaining Aztec Knights in the center are about to be flanked as well. 

The action here precedes the action in the above pic. Spanish halberds and pikes started to prevail over the Aztec Knights. Spanish right in still in jeopardy at this point in the action.

End game view. Spanish right firmed up by the artillery which has turned. It is supported by three elements of Sword and Buckler (blades) The Toltec element is supported by Cortez and will succeed but not after a tough fight. Spanish halberds locked with an Eagle Knight element (left center) and a Spanish pike element locked in with another Eagle Knight unit. Spanish Cavalry poised to deliver the final blow.

The finish. In DBA games the first side to lose 4 elements loses. The Spanish accomplished this but we decided to play on just for fun. The Aztecs then turned the Spanish right and evened the score until the Spanish left outflanked the remaining Aztecs who could not quite close with the Spanish artillery and get behind the Spanish line. The extended game was as Wellington said, a near run thing and great time.