My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Monday, December 14, 2009

DBA Solo Hoplite Campaign - Game 1

Athens versus Sparta

The first battle of the campaign is Athens and Sparta with Athens invading Spartan territory.


The Spartans place a BUA, two Gentle Hills, and a Woods on the board. The Spartans deploy in a deep block behind the hill, with their single Horde on the left. Their plan is simple, move onto the hill and wait for the Athenians to charge up it. To keep the Athenian light troops off of their left flank, they assign the helots (Horde element) and two hoplite lochoi (elements) to guard it. The BUA is left to fend for itself.

The Athenians, seeing the Spartan setup, set their light troops on their right flank, hoping to slow the Spartan advance onto the hill and to delay them from moving off. The main hoplite force is in the center, with two hoplite lochoi on the Athenian left, detailed to attack and sack the BUA. (With only the BUA denizens there, The Spears should take care of it in short order.)

Phase 1

Rather than give a turn-by-turn blow-by-blow, I've decided to provide a narrative describing the different phases of the battle.

The Spartans execute their plan and move their Hoplites onto the hill, extending their frontage left and right. On their left flank move the helots, flanked by two hoplites.

The Athenians move the Thracian Light Horse to stop the advance of the helots, moving the Peltasts and Psiloi up to support their flank. The center hoplite taxis advances relentlessly, while the hoplite lochoi on the left flank steadily head towards the Spartan town.

Spartans: 0; Athenians: 0

Phase 2

The Spartans start to realize that the town will not hold for long and that will represent a loss of two VP for the game, and two elements for the campaign, so they send hoplite ekdromoi (hoplite skirmishers, or in this case, a single Spear element) out to intercept the Athenian lochoi. This in turn forces the Athenian Strategos (General) to send out the Psiloi to intercept the Spartan ekdromoi.

The Spartans hold on the hill while the left flank force continues to press the Athenian light troops.

Spartans: 0; Athenians: 0

Phase 3

The Spartans charge on the left flank, forcing the issue with the Thracian Light Horse and Athenian Peltasts. The Athenian Psiloi successfully intercept the Spartan Ekdromoi, but starts recoiling towards the Athenian battle line. The Athenians quickly assault the Spartan town and dispatch the denizens. However, the Athenians start sacking the town and are unable to retain control of their troops.

Spartans: 0; Athenians: 2B

Phase 4

The Spartans guarding the left flank destroy the Athenian Peltasts and force the Thracian Light Horse to flee. (The Thracians will never end up coming back as the Athenians need the PIPs elsewhere.) The two hoplite lochoi turn to catch the flank of the Athenian taxis, while the Spartan taxis, smelling blood, moves off of the hill to pin them.

The Spartan ekdromoi forces the Psiloi to flee after several rounds of combat, while one Athenian lochos prepares to give chase to the Spartan ekdromoi. The other Athenian lochos continues to sack the town. (In fact, they will never regain control before the game ends.)

Spartans: 1; Athenians: 2B

Phase 5

The Spartan left flank forces the Psiloi to flee then catches the right flank of the Athenian taxis. With a horrible roll, the Athenians quickly lose two Spears. When the Spartan taxis hits the remaining Athenians, another horrible roll takes out another two Spears, one of which is the Athenian Strategos. The battle is over.

Spartans: 5G; Athenians: 2B

Here was the final picture of the game.

Campaign Aftermath

This is definitely not a good way for the Athenians to start a campaign. They have lost five elements, one of which is the General, causing an additional two element loss, for a total of seven elements. That leaves a mere five elements for the remainder of the year!

The Spartans did not get off so lightly. Although they lost no element, having their town sacked came at a price: two elements are also lost (the Horde element and a Spears element). They should be able to attack Athens next season, however, and maybe put them out of the war.

Game Summary

Let me tell you, my impression of the Spartan army was poor. Basically an all-Spear army. It moves slow and is easy to flank, even if it does have strong hitting power. What I found is that for all its negatives, they are largely negated when your opponent has an army that is 2/3rds Spear also.

Although Spears have a horrible move (200 paces) compared to Psiloi (300 paces), they really are not so bad against a single Psiloi or Peltast (Auxilia) unit. Sure, they better not get into Bad Going, but when it is one-on-one, they can fit the ekdromoi role in a pinch.

The biggest eye opener is when Spears flank Spears. If the flanked Spears are double-ranked and they recoil after turning, both elements are destroyed. Pretty bad for a slightly unlucky roll (recoil). Lesson Learned: the Spears on the flanks better not be double-ranked unless your flank support is solid (and a single Psiloi element in Good Going is not solid against a flanking Spear).

Overall, I executed poorly with the Athenians. I let the light troops get sucked into close combat without adequate support, thereby losing them (destroyed and fleeing). I really only needed a single Spear element to sack the town, so sending the second wasted a resource. Overall, this was another case where the troops on the exterior line were beaten because they could not react fast enough.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").