Ancient Warfare magazine

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.)

No comments:

Post a Comment