Ancient Warfare magazine

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Update and Things: what have I been doing regarding Ancients Wargaming...?

Quite a bit has been going on around here regarding my ancients wargaming. In between my other interests - and SCHOOL - I have managed to get a few things done/started. Among other things, work continues on some new terrain pieces for my ancient battles. So far I am experimenting with a Greek type temple, as well as making several forts for camps in DBA (and other rules). More pics and details coming soon.

A new camp just built: from TIDDLY-WINKS!

Greek temple made from straws, foam and card. A statue will go in the center.

I also just got in some Corvus Beli (Numidians) and Xyston (Aitolian Greek) 15mm DBA army boxes. Very nice indeed. I threw in some extra blister packs as well to round out these little armies. I am particularly fond of the Numidians (an army I believe I will expand for some bigger battles).

Some new minis to paint!

Of course progress continues on my Gauls I have been painting off an on the past couple weeks. A complete DBA army should be complete by the time of our next go with our DBA campaign.

Some Old Glory and Essex Gaul/Celt foot.

My good friend has a pretty good blog for DBA (and other periods) here on Blogger. Head on over to the Splendid Little Wars Blog! to see some good DBA 3.0 write ups! Includes some Big Battle DBA as well. A four part series of write ups has recently been posted. Hoplite Greeks, Persians, Gauls and MORE! Pretty exciting stuff over there if you want to see more DBA goodness :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

DBA Weekend Campaign - Part Four (Final)

Last battle saw the Romans pull off a great victory over the "marching circus" known as the Seleucid Empire. This next (final) battle was to prove even more decisive in the campaign  - as you shall see.

Again, if you haven't been following along with this four part campaign write-up, this is a play-test campaign of our own rules (very simple). Basically it is a five battle mini-campaign. A side winning three battles in a row will win the campaign; otherwise campaign victory points are totaled and the higher vp total wins. Of course there is some more detail to it all than just that, but that is the rules in a nutshell. I will be adding more detail to the rules later on. For the time being the basics are there and it works great for a ladder style two player campaign.

In case you missed the previous parts:

The Final Battle awaits!

The Final Battle!

Continuing on from the last battle both sides would be equally matched at ten elements apiece. For my own side (the Romans) I would not be using my cavalry or a blade element. The Seleucids would be down their warband ("solid") and Thracians ("fast" aux.). I was not too concerned honestly, although his Thracians were a major pain always threatening my flanks as they were. And of course I won't forget earlier in the campaign how they ambushed some of my hastate in the dark of a wood to slaughter them to a man (with the help of the warband no less). Anyway, this was to prove a very challenging battle for both sides - and a very important one at that. If the Romans could pull off a win here, they would win the campaign outright for winning three in a row. After losing the first battle in an amazing disaster, the Romans have fought long and hard to be this close to final victory.

A look from the Seleucid battle line. That hill was looking like a strong position indeed!

Once again the Seleucid placed the terrain. A small village (hamlet - rough going) was placed along a road on the left. We decided that the village had just been pillaged and set alight (seen by the smoke over the buildings). Astute readers will note that the models making up the village are actually dark age buildings. Until I get around to finishing my current terrain project, they will have to do for now. Other terrain included a small gentle hill (good going), and a small crop field (again good going as a one wasn't rolled for pips in the first bound).

Both the Romans and the Seleucids dispatched light troops along the road to the left. The small burning village can be seen. The Roman camp can be seen at the bottom of the pic.

My plan was very simple: advance as quickly as possible to take control of the high ground (that central hill). The hill would give much advantage to the side controlling it, as will be seen in the battle to come. In addition, I would be sending off my light troops along the road to not only engage the enemy near the village, but also be in a good striking position on their right flank - or their camp if I so wished.

The Seleucid enemy deployed in their standard fashion - pikes in the center flanked by their shock and light troops. Their camp was on the opposite of the road past the burning village. For protection (and to be somewhat of a threat) the Seleucids also deployed their Asiatic archers (psiloi) along the road near the village. Surely I would be able to handle this lot with my velites!

Both armies advance quickly towards the high ground obscuring them. Whoever held the hill would surely have some advantage.

The Seleucids had the first bound as the defender. They wasted no time advancing toward the hill - obviously seeing the value of that position. Both sides therefore wasted no time moving forward. Pips were low for the Seleucids at one point however. Turned out that with but a single pip, he managed to thrust forward with just his pikes to take the hill - the remainder of his army lingering back in what seemed like confusion in the ranks. None the less, the Romans would now need to take the hill the hard way. Jupiter be with us!

With confusion in the ranks, the Seleucids managed to take position of the high ground with their solid pikes. The Romans would have to fight their way up the hill.

At this point the forces were engaged all along the line. The Seleucids had some advantage with their pikes being on high ground. However, their left flank was thrown back from the hill by a strong defense put forth by the Romans on that part of the line. This fracturing of the Seleucid battle line would prove critical later in this battle. Did the Romans learn their lesson in dealing with pike blocks effectively? We shall see.

Meanwhile, both forces engages their lighter troops just out-side the burning village. Roman velites support some aux. troops.

Over near the burning village the forces engaged rather quickly. The Romans had a clear advantage here as they were able to get some flank attacks on the enemy Asiatic archers. Both enemy elements would be defeated after a few bounds of tight combat.

(Rules Note: The Seleucid player really was limited in his pip use. Elephants and scythed chariots love to suck up pips. As a result he couldn't really afford to spend many pips over near the village in this battle.)

(Rules Note: During the combat near the village, we made the error of  counting the Roman velites (psiloi - i.e. "fast" troops) as counting as an "overlap" against the enemy psiloi - Asiatic archer; psiloi of course cannot be overlapped by corner only, which was the case above). It really wouldn't have mattered as the velites could have simply moved to get side edge to side edge contact with the enemy psiloi or - as they did later -  get a flank attack on them with their front edge.)

The lines engage!  The Romans slow the advance of the scythed chariots with their velites while desperate fighting rages all along the line.

The fighting continued all along the battle line. Both sides recoiling and pursuing in to the enemy. It seemed that the Seleucids had the upper had at the mid point of the battle. The Romans were quickly taken down three elements as their left flank collapsed from the assault of the Seleucid elephants and cataphracts - not to mention their pikes with high ground! Things were looking grim indeed.

With the high ground on their side, the Seleucids manage to break through as the Roman left collapses! This as the fighting near the village continues.

As the Seleucid elephants lead the break-through, Roman triari march forward to prevent an all out Roman rout.

Thankfully the Romans (my side) had a reserve in place. These were quickly sent forward to shore up that left flank before all was lost - if anything I would at least prevent an all out rout! The Roman general and some triari were sent forward!

(Rules Note: It was at this point during the campaign that we realized we had been missing something in the rules! It turns out that 4Kn (Knights - which the cataphracts are classed in this case) DO NOT pursue after an enemy recoil! Normal 3Kn do pursue after a recoil. Easy to miss this if you're not paying attention - especially when re-learning the rules!.)

It was at this point in the battle that the Seleucid left began to fall back, even as the right advanced. This would fracture the Seleucid battle line enough for the Romans to isolate those pesky pikes!

The Roman velites and aux. gain the upper hand on the enemy and are in a good position to defeat what foes remain near the village.

With the right holding, the Roman general moves up with the triari to plug the gap on the left! Facing the brunt of the Seleucid assault.

With the Roman reserve committed and holding a failing left flank, the Roman right advanced and managed to eventually destroy the enemy left pike (their whole left flank in fact). The Romans committing their reserve and holding the line paid off! With the enemy pinned, they could do nothing but watch their pike blocks fall apart.

Things are getting critical for both sides as a back and forth struggle begins around the hill! The Romans manage to isolate an enemy pike block, hitting it in the flank with their velites!

The Seleucid general moves to keeps his troops in order. The tide has turned as one of the Seleucid pike blocks is destroyed on the hill after being flanked. In the distance can be seen the victorious Roman light troops near the burning village.

The Seleucids saw this strange twist of fate and sent their general in to action - too late however. The Seleucid battle line was broken! It was but a matter of time before the remainder of their forces were pinned and flanked. That is exactly what was happening. The fate of the campaign itself rested in this battle, and the Seleucids were all but lost at this point. A Roamn victory awaited!

The battle is over, as the last of the Seleucid pikes are destroyed to the man!

With the loss of the last two elements of pikes, the battle had ended. A very close fought engagement indeed! The Seleucids were oh so close to victory! The final score was four to six: a Roman victory!

Final Campaign Score
Seleucid: 3 vp
Roman: 6 vp
The Roman losses!

The Seleucid losses.

Notes and Observations: This was a really tight fought battle. Both sides played very hard from start to finish. An awesome way to end the campaign!

I have to admit, I really was concerned watching my left flank fall apart so quick. The Seleucids had the advantage of that high ground and that paid off. They also managed a couple "quick kills" on my blades! All I can say is having that reserve (and all players should have one) saved the day for the Romans. It was a risk sending my general off like that, but again, it was worth it. My spear units also did a good job holding the enemy (although one did get destroyed early on).

As far as the campaign itself is concerned it was a complete success. After some initial bumps in the road, everything smoothed out quite well. The basics to the rules are just right at this point. Now I want to try adding some additional depth to it to add to the fun - will be saving that for the next campaign however :)

Overall I really enjoy the new version of the DBA rules. It has quickly become one of my favorite games of all time - especially now after a successful run through our little campaign. Each battle was set up and played in under an hour - awesome!

I hope you enjoyed this little tale of war here. I plan on doing quite a few more. The next one in fact should be a match up between my Romans (once again) and my newest army - Gaul! I will also have some very nice terrain to add to the layout as well. Looking forward to that. Stay tuned!

Again, in case you missed the previous parts:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Terrain Project Started

Frustrated with the lack of building models for the ancient Greek and Romans (seriously I had to do a lot of searching; in the end not really worth the price!), I have decided to start some new terrain projects. I wont go in to too much detail here as of yet. Enough to say that I will blog my progress and hopefully add a section here covering making your own "ancients" terrain for use in your own battles. Keep in mind that anyone who knows me, knows that I love making terrain out of simple things - and make things QUICKLY! I am not a scale modeler; I am a wargamer! So my hand-made terrain not only needs to be practical and useful, but easy and QUICK to make!

A marching camp and temple!
I am using straws and card to make the temple structure. The dome is foam. Yes, I had to form and sculpt the dome by hand - no balls laying about at the moment :/

Note that in the picture above I am using card circles to form the floor and ceiling. One little nifty trick I will share - use steel washers of various sizes as a template to cut "perfect" circles out of card! :)

A good start so far.
 I will be adding more temples, camps, fortress walls and towers, as well as plenty of city dwellings. Perfect for my ancients gaming.  Hopefully I can get some of these guys done by our next DBA battle this weekend. Stay tunned! :)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DBA Weekend Campaign - Part Three!

After the last battle I realized fate may well be on my side after all. A good recovery after the disaster of the first battle. More sacrifices were due to the Gawds indeed.

In case you missed the previous parts:
Part One
Part Two

Battle Three: Blood in the Fields!

I would be down only two elements for this battle, after making a mistake in the previous battle by playing my side with an extra element. The Seleucids would thus gain the same benefit in this battle: they would be fighting with 9 elements instead of just 8 as dictated by the results of the previous battle. However, the Seleucids would not be including two of their pike elements and their scythed chariot in this battle! Rome had the advantage, if just slightly. I would go without my aux. and one element of velites.

Once again the Seleucids would be laying out the terrain as they were the defender in the campaign. This time around he chose two fields (would be good going for the battle), a river (to be diced for once crossed), and a steep hill (Bad going). After seeing the lay of the land I opted to avoid that river cutting us apart - which would give the seleucids an advantage as I was definitely planning to attack aggressively in this battle. My only concern was the two fields in the center of the battlefield. If the first pip roll for the battle was a "1" they would be rough going! As it turned out they remained open ground. The gawds favored my side with no rainfall! Onwards...

(Rules Note: Astute players will notice that the two fields are too close together. There should have been a 1BW space between them. However, such a mistake in this battle would play no significance.)

The armies deploy! The Seleucids on the top of the pic deploying a couple elements of
Asiatic archers (psiloi) on the opposite side of the river.

The Seleucids (deploying first) kept their shock troops (elephants and cataphracts) grouped together and flanked by the Galatians ("solid" warband) and Thracians (Aux). Their general brought up the rear just in front of their camp which was placed centrally and to the rear. Myself, playing as the Romans, deployed in a nice solid double battle line with my general in the second rank. My cavalry and velites (psiloi) were on my right flank. My camp was to the right of the steep hill directly behind my positions.

My plan for this battle was pretty straight forward. I wanted to engage the enemy head-on as quickly as possible. The fact his forces were lacking in half of their pikes gave me some hope of breaking his lines - or just flanking him. Looking at his deployment it was fairly obvious he would be attempting to distract me with those Asiatic archers deployed on the reverse side of the river. I wouldn't fall for that trick however.

The Romans advance through the fields (good going) after finding such would not slow the assault.

The Seleucids had the first bound but elected to hold their position. The pip roll wasn't a "1" so the fields were good going. With that I took the next bound and quickly advanced my entire army forward, cavalry and velites striking ahead of the rest to deal with the enemy flank troops - Thracians in this case - and otherwise prove a distraction for the enemy.

The Seleucids advance, engaging the Roman velites on their left flank.

As the forces advanced toward one another, the Roman velites on the right clashed with the Thracians. A back and forth fight it was, although in the end the Seleucids drew first blood by destroying the velites! In the confusion, the Roman cavalry charged head-long into the gap between the enemy pikes and the Thracians! This resulted in their ultimate demise as the pikes were able to swing around and hit the rear of the cavalry who were already engaged with the Thracians to their front! The Roman right flank had disappeared!

The Romans engage their first line against the enemy. The Roman cavalry, panicking from the destruction of the velites
rush head-long into the lines of the enemy, only to get flanked and destroyed!

The Seleucids Asiatic archers continue to be a concern, marching further on the Roman left flank. Some
principes would be deployed to cover the river.

To add more concern, the Seleucid Asiatic arches (on the reverse of the river) were running even further along the river to threaten my (the Roman) left flank and possibly my camp as well! At this point I committed some principes to keep those light troops in check - and on the other side of the river it was hoped.

The Romans send a detachment of principes to follow the threatening Asiatic archers on the reverse of the river.

The Seleucids battle line was falling back having lost their Galatian warband, bouncing off the Roman advance in the fields. Their pikes somewhat distracted by the - now destroyed - Roman cavalry on their left flank.

Seeing my right flank evaporate, I decided to lead my second line forces to cover my right! The Seleucid pikes would be re-grouping and making a move on my open flank in short order if I did nothing. The pip roll would be with me it was hoped. While all this was happening, all along my front battleline was fighting. The Romans managed to destroy the Galatians in short order and this reduced the Seleucid effectiveness on their assault. This resulted in some back and forth fighting, however, the Romans having the edge and slowly gaining ground.

The Romans (including their general) commit troops to deal with the enemy pikes - who are now reorganizing and moving forward once again - on their right flank.

On the right the Romans managed to engage and pre-occupy the organizing enemy pikes. At the same time the Roman general lead an attack on the Thracians deployed in front of him. This resulted in the Thracians being destroyed rather quickly. With the Seleucid pikes falling back at this point, the situation was stabilizing for the Romans. Victory had to be close at hand.

Back to the fight between the main battle lines the Seleucid General had seen the desperation in his situation and committed his general to the attack. Fearing the loss of his beloved elephants he rushed into the battle with his bodyguards (knights!), crashing into my hastati (blades).

Things are getting desperate for the Seleucid commander. Seeing the Roman battle line advancing, he commits himself with his bodyguards (knights) to reinforce his cataphracts and elephants!

With all his effort in the end, it was all for nothing. The Seleucid general was slain in combat - more likely captured since I had a bounty on his head if captured ALIVE! Regardless, the Seleucids had lost all hope at this point, falling back further to their camp. The Roman war-machine had won the day!

With the Seleucids falling back to their camp, and their general killed, the battle is lost! Even with some success with the cataphracts breaking through and destroying their opponents, the loss of the general proved too much

The final gasp from the Seleucids came when their cataphracts managed to break through my first line! Too little too late however. With the end of the bound, so ended the battle.

With battle lost, the seleucids must fall back from the battlefield. The Romans checked all the Seleucid moves!

With the battle concluded all that was left was determine what elements from those lost in the battle would return. Once again this would be half (rounded down). Returning elements would be randomly determined as usual. In the case of the Seleucids, who lost three elements (one was the general), the single element that did return had to be the general - this is mandatory. For the Romans, they also would get back a single element and this turned out to be the velites.

The losses. Roman victory: 4 - 3.

All that was left to do is determine what elements return from the reserve. Both sides made their die rolls and no one managed to roll any ones! So both sides got all their reserve elements back in time for the next battle.

With all that done, the next battle would result in both armies having 10 elements.

It should be pointed out at this point that any side winning three battles in a row will win the campaign outright! With three battle fought so far, and the Romans winning the last two, the Seleucids were under pressure to secure a victory in the next battle to avoid losing the campaign. This next battle will be an interesting indeed!

Campaign Score
Seleucids: 3
Romans: 4

Notes and Observations: I had made up my mind from the get-go to play very aggressive in this battle. I made use of a second line of blades which helped out a lot. Considering the river shortened the battle-front, not a bad idea for my side. It allowed me to shift forces quickly to protect my left (against those pesky Asiatic archers in this case), as well as occupy the enemy pikes and light troops over on my right flank.

I was pretty impressed at my heavy infantry advancing so well across the fields. The enemy shock troops just seemed to "bounce" off the Roman shields! I have to admit however, I was a bit worried when the Seleucids committed their general to the final assault - even more so when the cataphracts made some head-way and destroyed one of my blades! It was all for nothing in the end, as my blades facing his general scored a quick kill (general killed counts as two elements lost)!. Gawds be praised! Final score was Seleucids losing four to the Romans losing three.

Another interesting note was how effective my spears (triari) were when supported by blades. That +1 Flank Support bonus was effective against the Seleucid elephant to be sure - recoiling it bound after bound! Very nice indeed.

Can't wait for the next battle. See below for Part Four.

Here is Part Four!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

DBA 3.0 Ottomans vs. Catalan Company over at "The Shire..."

More good DBA stuff over on my friend Luddite's   The Shire and everything after blog! Check out his recent Big Bttle DBA game featuring  Ottoman vs. Catalan Company  - using DBA v3! Really good battle.

Great little battle report featuring these two armies. Great lay-out and armies!

DBA 3.0 Review Just Posted!

Here is my review of the *NEW* DBA 3.0 rules up on The Wall of Shields on YouTube. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Vlog, The Wall of Shields!

If you haven't already, check out my Wall of Shields Vlog over on YouTube. More ancients gaming goodness :)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

DBA Weekend Campaign - Part Two

Clearing my head from the absolute disaster that was the last battle, I was determined to not make the same mistakes. Would the gawds be with me this time around? The sacrifices to Mars and Jupiter were a plenty preceding this battle. Surely that 'marching carnival' before us would fall on their own pikes this time around. Down three campaign victory points to none, the pressure was on for the forces of Rome.

Battle Two: Divide and Conquer!

After the last battle, the Romans would be understrength with only eight elements vs. twelve for the Seleucids. However astute readers will notice that the Romans actually fought this battle with nine elements! Somehow and extra element of blades slipped in by mistake. We discovered this late in the battle but kept it none the less. We would find some other way to penalize the Romans next battle to make up for it.

The armies have deployed.

Once again the Seleucids were the defender and chose the terrain (arable) and laid out the battlefield. Again keeping things more wide open, a gentle rise (good going), a wood (bad going), and a crop field (good going) dominated one half the table. A road cut across the battlefield. The Romans (my side) had choice of edge and chose to take the side with the wood and hill (to deny the enemy a strong defensive position - something I might need myself). This was followed by the deploying of camps and troops (starting with the Seleucids).

The Seleucids arrayed themselves in standard formation in a long line with pikes and cataphracts in the center. Their right wing contained those nasty circus elephants as well as scythed chariots. supported by psiloi. The opposite flank was protected by a Galatian 'solid' warband, Thracians ('fast' aux) and more psiloi.  To their center-right was the Seleucid camp. My own Romans deployed between the wood and over the small rise of ground on either side of the road before us. Although I planned on deploying in double line I chose to instead extend my line as far as I could to both cover my camp (near the wood behind my lines) and get some faster troops on my left in order to slow up the enemy left (his elephants, chariots, and lights). If I could I wanted to take out these troops in two directions to better my odds. Of course I would play somewhat more defensive in the battle as I wanted to hold on to that high ground facing his oncoming shock troops.

As the Seleucids advance, the Romans make a move on their left to threaten the enemy right wing. The Seleucid psiloi get into the woods on the Roman's right.

With the Seleucids making the first move of the battle, they advanced on my position. All well and good. I held my ground and threw out my left wing cavalry and velites to threaten the flank of the advancing enemy. Seems the Seleucids had a similar idea as their left wing psiloi (and warband not far behind) penetrated the wood guarding my right. This kind of surprised me as I forgot about psiloi making second moves in the first bound and bounds they end in bad going with a subsequent move. I panicked slightly and re-deployed by aux. on my far left to shore up my right near the wood. Yes, a long move indeed, but I did not want to risk my heavy infantry on those woods.

Both armies flanks are under attack

My cavalry and velites on the left made their moves and attacked his vulnerable right wing. My velites unfortunately were defeated against the Seleucid Asiatic archers (psiloi). My cavalry were better off and not only destroyed those nasty scythed chariots, but pursued into the enemy elephants as well! Of course I would be at a disadvantage against these large beasts, but slowing the advance was my goal and that is just what happened.

At this point the Seleucid psiloi on my right in the wood were joined by their Thracian allies ('fast' aux). My Aux rushed into the dark wood and engaged! Unfortunately they were defeated thanks to those Thracians! My right flank would have to be shored up by something more suitable.

Romans fight in the wood to the right and all along the front, isolating the enemy pike blocks.

As fate would have it my cavalry engaging the elephants were flanked by the enemy psiloi while in desperate melee causing their destruction! My flanking forces were destroyed, but I did manage to occupy the enemy shock troops (even destroying their chariots!). Holding the hill with my legionaries and general, I threw my line at the advancing pikes and enemy cataphracts! As for those pesky Thracians and psiloi on my right flank in the wood, I committed a blade element to dealing with them - drawing them out of the wood it was hoped.

Seleucid pikes flanked! My hastati keep the Thracians in the wood at bay.

All along the battle line the legion engaged the pikes of the enemy, many times throwing them back. The cataphracts and Galatian warband were both destroyed after a headlong attack by my heavy infantry (blades). The gawds were favoring me! With his line staggered and broken up I was able to isolate his pikes and defeat them in detail (all four of his pike elements would be destroyed by battle end). A lack of pips (and fear I must add) kept his elephants from engaging my troops holding the hill top. I should note however, the pikes did manage to push my triari on the hill top back enough to not only deny me the high ground, but give himself that same bonus. In the end it was for nothing as my spear armed triari (supported by blades) managed to destroy the relentless pike block.

The Romans manage to isolate the two main pike blocks after defeating the cataphracts and Galatians.

It was all a matter of time at this point. I must say however, the battle was close indeed at this point. Both sides were tied to lose the battle; both having lost four elements or more. However, the pike elements were eventually destroyed and this would give the Romans the victory they needed. The Seleucids did eventually manage to destroy my blades in the wood with his Thracians and psiloi. This was due to the fact that my blades were lured into the wood by a recoiling Thracians! This resulted in the blades fighting the 'fast' aux in bad going and with an overlap from their psiloi! Oh the horror!  These silly psiloi also managed to attack my camp in the next bound, defeating my camp followers and sacking it!

 (Rules Note: It turns out this was a rules error we made. The blade element did NOT have to pursue the recoiling Thracians due to the fact that such a pursuit would take the blades into bad going terrain - the woods. We decided to let this error go since the Romans were fighting with an extra element anyway.)

The Seleucid elephants refused to attack my position on the hill, leaving their pike allies to fight alone un-supported!
The Roman general looks on.

In the end this close fought battle was devastating to both armies, although the Seleucids faired the worst. Victory was granted to the Romans! The Seleucids had lost 6 elements (not counting the scythed chariots), the Romans lost five (including the sacking of their camp). For the campaign, the Romans would gain +2 victory points, the Seleucids zero. After two battles it was looking close.

Campaign Score
Seleucids: 3
Romans: 2

The end of the battle. Although the pikes had been defeated entirely, enemy Asiatic archers did sack my camp (bottom right)!

At this point it was time to see what troops come back ready for the next battle. One half of the lost elements (rounded down) in this battle would return (specific elements determined randomly). This meant that the Seleucids would get back three random elements, the Romans getting back two random elements. Once this was completed both sides would see what troops they get back from those destroyed from previous battles in the campaign (I call these models 'reserve'). Roll a d6 for every such element: 2+ that element re-joins the army; otherwise stays in 'reserve' for next battle. As it turned out the Seleucids had no reserve elements, the Romans had three and all of these also returned for the next battle. So, after all that taken care of, the next battle would have a Roman army of 10 elements vs. a Seleucid army of 9 elements; a close battle to be sure.

The destroyed Seleucid forces. Half of these would end up returning for the next battle.

The destroyed Romans. Note the camp followers in the background!

Observations and Notes: So far this was turning out to be very fun, not to mention challenging. The Seleucids are a very strong opponent if played properly. Even with all my 'solid' blades it is a challenge (granted I am very rusty).

As for my tactics they worked well enough. I rolled fairly decent in combat (especially in the initial assault destroying the enemy warband and cataphracts!). But what really won the day was isolating and flanking those deadly pike blocks.

All in all the battle could have gone either way, both sides being taken to below 4 elements late in the battle. It was a close one indeed. A hard fought victory for the Romans.

The campaign seems to be running very smoothly, although we have been making little adjustments here and there as we go, In fact, to make up for our mistake of adding an extra element to the Romans in this battle, we did the same for the Seleucids. SO they will get back an extra element.

We have also been tinkering with all kinds of nifty things to add later that offer advantage or disadvantage to armies based on success or failure in the battles. This makes up for the relative lack of permanent losses in the armies as they take losses. Many elements come back, and this is fine considering the small number of elements in armies to begin with.

Here is Part One in case you missed it.

Click here for Part Three!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

DBA Weekend Campaign - Part One

This was a ladder-style campaign we played over the weekend. The rules were pretty simple - the campaign would play out in three to five battles in total. The victor of each battle would accumulate campaign victory points: +2vp for winning a battle; +1 additional vp for suffering less than half the losses of the enemy (scythed chariots counting as zero and generals as two elements as normal). We added some other modifiers to these such as a -1 to the enemies vp if winning a "counter-attack" (see below). In addition, if a side manages to win three battle in a row, the campaign comes to an immediate end with victory going to that side. Of course all this is a work in progress, although at least it lets us play out a series of battles quite quickly. There are some other rules we are toying around with as well, such as stratagems - like ambush, surprise attack, assignation, etc.

Here is Part Two of this campaign report if you prefer to jump ahead in our little tale.

The Seleucids deploy to meet the invading Romans.

Counter-Attack: If the winner of the previous battle opts to consolidate his forces after the battle instead of pressing on to the next battle, the loser of the previous battle may choose to launch a "counter-attack". However, the side winning a counter-attack forces the losing side to deduct -1 from his current vp total. The side making the counter-attack becomes the attacker in the battle to be fought.

In this campaign we used our Polybian Romans (list II/33) - which I was commanding - going against the Later Seleucids (list II/19c).

We started off the campaign with each side rolling a D6 and adding their army Aggression factor (Rome +3; Seleucids +2). The high roll would be declared the "invader" and count as the attacker for all battles (except the possibly in the counter-attack battle - see above).

We rolled off and yes, the Roman's were the invader for the campaign! Time to bring those silly Seleucids and their marching carnival to their knees!


Battle One: A Shocking Disaster!

The Seleucids (furthest away) begin their advance on the strong Roman position.

The Seleucids, as the defender, laid out the terrain (arable). He As guessed, the Seleucids picked a fairly open ground to engage the approaching Roman column. Only a simple field (good going), a gentle rise (good going), and a wood (bad going) broke the battle-field up. The Romans marched aggressively to deny the Seleucids any defensive ground existed.

Seeing the Seleucid army arrayed before them, the Roman chose to anchor his flanks between the small rise and the dreadfully bad going wood to the right. The camp was not far being just behind the small rise on the lect. The plan was simple: Await the advance of the enemy and when close launch an assault head-long into the enemy. The elite triari would hold the left flank along with cavalry and aux. The remainder of the battle-line would be made up of the rest of the legion infantry, with velites deployed in that nasty wood. The general would hold back with his body guard and an element of heavy inf.

Opposite this line, the Seleucids deployed with pikes and elephants in the center, cataphracts and lights on their right, scythed chariots and more lights on their left. Their camp was central and to their rear. Their general held back in similar fashion to the Romans, keeping a central position.

The Seleucids made the first move. They advanced quickly hoping to engaged the Roman left as quickly as possible, perhaps breaking through to the enemy camp.

The Romans failed all along the battle-line. The Seleucid shock troops proving their worth.

Low pip rolling (were talking ones here) happened three times in a row in the first two bounds. However, the Seleucids did manage to close the distance by bound three. It was at this point that as the Seleucids tightened up their battle-line, the Romans assaulted all along their front - making contact all along the Seleucid battle-line. The gawds were not on the side of the Romans however. All along the battle lines the Romans were thrown back - the scythed chariots, cataphracts, and even the pikes in the center, managed to destroy the Roman elements facing them. The veteran triari were utterly eliminated from the battle already! The Seleucids had indeed broken through all along the front lines. The Romans were going into the next bound (Seleucids) already down three elements to none.

(Rules Note: After the battle we realized we were making a mistake regarding the cataphracts (4Kn). Knights mounted 4 to a base (the real heavy hitters!) DO NOT PURSUE after winning a combat. The 3Kn do pursue, and this was an oversight on our part. Would it have made a difference playing it correctly in this battle? Hmmm... )

The End for the Romans! All along the line, the Seleucids all but surrounded
the enemy in several pockets along the line - using classic shock tactics.
With the next bound belonging to the Seleucids, a perfect lesson in shock tactics was in order. With the Romans reeling from their failed assault and holes opened all along their battle-line, the Seleucids were able to launch local flack attacks - piercing the enemy line and creating disaster for the Romans! The Romans would lose five more elements! What a grim fate indeed.

The Roman losses - seven in total! Not a good start at all for Rome.
At this point, the battle was a terrible loss for Rome. The first battle of the campaign was nothing short of a complete disaster. The Romans suffered badly by the gawds abandoning them - dice rolls were horrid for me once again! That, and I also feel I made a few errors in my deployment. Some troop types just are not worth risking due to the quick kill capability certain troops have. It definitely is worth paying attention to this fact. Of course, it would help if the dice rolled a little better to!

With this loss, the Seleucids earned +2vp for the win and a further +1vp for an overwhelming victory (suffering less than half the losses of the enemy_; the Romans gaining none of course.

Seleucids: 3
Romans: 0

Observations and Aftermath: This was a pretty straight forward battle. Deploy and advance. The sudden disaster that struck my Romans had a lot to do with some poor rolling in the two(?) rounds of fighting. However, looking back on it I probably would have benefited from my usual tactic of having a second line supporting the first (although Blades and Spears don't gain any tactical factors for this). It does prevent breakthroughs like was seen in this battle. Of course this was a surprise to me and I didn't expect the Seleucid shock troops to be that successful. Next time I will not stretch my lines out so far against such enemy.

Before moving on to the next battle it was time to determine what troops come back into the ranks in time for the next battle (or what troops would be called up to reinforce the respective army). We handled this simply by allowing half (rounded up) of all lost elements to return for the next battle. However, which elements return is completely random, Since the Seleucids took no losses this phase was left to the Romans. As it turned out they would get four elements back.

The Romans mustering for the next battle. The four elements to the left returning after the great disaster of battle one.
After randomly choosing four lost elements to add back to the Roman army, the remainder went into the Reserve Box to be used later if I chose to consolidate after winning a battle - winning? was that possible at this point? Baaaah... of course! Who needs the gawds anyway! Onwards...

With that we set about deciding if the Seleucids would take the option to consolidate his forces. This would allow him to recover an additional lost element (of his choice) back into his army. Of course, having taken zero losses, he declined this option and decided to press the attack instead!

It should be noted that had the Seleucids taken any losses - and still won the battle - and decided to consolidate, the Romans would also have the option to either also consolidate in the same manner, or launch a counter-attack instead (see above). If he chose to counter-attack it would prevent the Seleucids from consolidating and gaining the extra element of his choice. In addition, the side winning a counter-attack battle forces the enemy to suffer a -1 vp (vp are never taken to negative however).

With the forces ready we were all set to set up the next battle.

Click here for Part Two of this campaign report.

(Note: the campaign rules we are using are basically in development yet. So in a manner, this campaign is a play-test as well. So don't be surprised if we alter some of the rules along the way during the campaign. For the time being they fill a need to play short two-player campaigns.)