Saturday, 14 March 2015

Ottomans vs. Catalan Company - DBA v3

For this week's game we broke out the 15mm figures for a 'big battle' using the DBA version 3 rules.

I've played the DBx rules for many years and I lament their passing from the tournament scene (replaced by the lamentable Field of Glory rules).  So I was happy get the new version of DBA on the table.  We've played a few games with them since their release and for this battle we moved out of out usual ancients armies into our later Medieval options.

For this battle the armies and terrain are provided by my good friend (and talented musician) Graeme.  Cheers mate.  We had four players at the table, so we doubled up, and I was on the Ottoman team.  

So the armies in the fight were:

Ottomans 1281-1520AD (IV/55) vs. Catalan Company 1302-1388AD (IV/60)

The Ottomans had mostly light horse, with a few cavalry elements knocking about.

The Catalans were mostly Auxilia (medium foot) with skirmisher support and a small mix of cavalry and knights.

The terrain fell on the southern flank of the battlefield, and being mostly ploughed fields it turned out to be open ground which suited the Ottomans pretty well.

The initial deployment.  The Catalans deployed in extended line with their centre held by a skirmish screen ahead of a small second line of knights and cavalry.  Both flanks were held by the almughavar medium infantry.  Opposite them, the Ottomans center and north flank deployed in line.  Not knowing if the fields would be passable, the south flank command deployed in columns for mobility.

Here the Catalan commander set up in the centre before his camp, screened by skirmishing archers.

Opposite him, behind his light horse troops, the Ottoman general surveys the coming battle.

The battle opens and to the north, the Ottoman cavalry and almughavar infantry clash early.  The Catalan general and his cavalry gallop through their retreating skirmishers.  The Ottomans advance to press their advantage.  To the south, the Ottoman light horse column around the advancing infantry, looking for flanks, and to reinforce the central attack.

The centre struggle...the Catalan general outnumbered but unafraid.

The mightly clash on the northern flank.  It could go either way...

The southern flank...dressage ensues.  Find those flanks lads...

The fight on the northern flank proceeds and neither side can develop an advantage.

In the centre, the Catalans take an early lead, punching a hole in the Ottoman first line.  But the Ottomans have a second line...

Mid game, the Catalan southern flank advances across the fields.  Their inner flank is exposed and subject to an ineffective Ottoman attack by a group of light horse.

Then the battle turns...

The Ottoman centre begins to collapse.  Cavalry are cut down by swirling light horse and then, disaster!  The Catalan general and his knights are cut down and killed.  The centre breaks and Ottoman light horse swarm into the breach,swinging out onto each flank.

Fighting on the southern flank is inconclusive...

Almughavar spearmen holding the line...

But to the north, the Catalan casualties mount and finally that flank breaks too.  A resounding win for the Ottomans!


A good game all round, and DBA v3 is an improvement over previous versions of the rules.  It removes a lot of the more fiddly aspects of the game while retaining the simple and satisfying tactical play.

It was surprising to see how resilient light horse elements were in this game, able to hold their own against solid foot, cavalry and even knights!   

Thanks again to Graeme for putting the game on.

EDIT:  Found a useful vlog review by Kurtus Brown here.  He explains a fair bit about how to play DBA v3.


  1. Very nice! Goes to show how well (and fun) BB DBA is. Looked to be a really good game. Surprised myself at seeing the Ottomans pulling off a win in the end.

    Thanks for the plug to! :)

  2. Nice game! I tried DBA2.2 but just couldn't get on with it. When you have an online guide that is longer than the book, then you know something is wrong. This looks better and I may give it a go at some point.

  3. As the surviving Catalan commander, I mostly enjoyed fencing off hordes of Ottoman LC whilst watching my CinC get himself killed!. I may have contributed by consistently rolling 4 in the terrain deployment phase rather reducing our rough going and leaving us literally out in the open. Certainly going to get DBA3.0 now seen in action. Was happy enough with earlier versions, but its looks like a good move onwards.

    1. It was a pleasure to have you at the table John. :)