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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Spring 479 B.C. - Spartan Move

Sparta moves its army from Naupactus to invade Chalcis. The Athenian army stands despite being outnumbered 12 to 9.

The Athenian Strategos Peridus furrows his brow. The Spartans have invaded early in the Spring - too early after Winter's pall - and Peridus suspect some cunning stratagem. "This early into the Spring - before the snows in the mountains have melted - what are the Spartans up to?" Peridus shakes off the feeling. He has to attend to the matter at hand. Athenian lands have been invaded and the Spartans must be made to pay. A smile slowly crosses his face. He knows where to make his stand against the Spartans...

The battle at Chaldis between Athens and Sparta was a three hour long affair with pictures at the end of every few turns (only when the positions started to change significantly). There were a number of errors that Ira and I made with regards to the rules - the killer nature of the river, how to count as defending a riverbank - so rather than write up and elaborate report, here are the highlights:
  • The Athenians setup the terrain, placing a BUA and a river to intersect the board, dividing it into two sections: one 1/3rd the width of the board and one 2/3rd the width of the board. There was a central steep hill to meet the Bad Going Terrain rules, but it played no part in the battle.
  • The Athenians ended up defending.
  • The Spartans ended up opposite the BUA (town) and having to cross the river.
  • The river turned out to be difficult (a roll of a '6' on the type of river).
  • The Spartans attempted to flank the Athenian defensive line and lost two Hoplite elements, but eventually flanked the Athenian position with the remaining two Hoplite elements, destroying the Athenian Hoplite element holding the flank on the last turn.
  • The Athenians lost one Hoplite element in the battles raging at the river banks.
  • The Spartans had the Athenian General flanked, but he valiantly fought free, destroying a Spartan Hoplite element and recoiling the Spartan General element.
  • The Athenian counter-attack eventually settled the matter when it flanked and destroyed the fourth Spartan Hoplite element.
The Athenians won 4-2, forcing the Spartans to retreat their army back to Naupactus.

Athens: 4 prestige; reserves: 3x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x3Ax
Sparta: 7 prestige; reserves: 4x4Sp
Thessaly: 3 prestige; reserves: none
Thrace: 1 prestige; reserves: 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax, 1x2LH

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Spring 479 B.C.

In the Spring of 479 B.C. the armies can be found as shown in the map above. The order for the turn is: Thrace, Athens, Sparta, and Thessaly.

Thrace and Athens both pass for their turns.

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Winter 480-479 B.C.

All of the armies recruit, refit, and retrain, leaving the scores as:

Athens: 2 prestige; losses: 1x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x3Ax; recruit: 3x4Sp, 1x2Ps
Sparta: 7 prestige; losses: none; recruit: 1x7Hd, 3x4Sp
Thessaly: 3 prestige; losses: none; recruit: 2x2Ps, 1x2LH
Thrace: 1 prestige; losses: 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax, 1x2LH; recruit: 1x2Ps, , 2x3Ax, 1x2LH

With both the Athenian and Thracian armies down 3 elements each, they are going to have to be very wary about offensives and losses.

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Autumn 480 B.C. - Thracian and Athenian Moves

Both Thrace and Athens pass their turns, licking their wounds in Potidaea and Chalcis, respectively. Winter is coming. Time to recruit, refit, and retrain.

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Autumn 480 B.C. - Thessalian Move

Thessaly, seeing the Athenian hoplites march off, sallies forth from the Shrines to again do battle against the now outnumbered Thracians. The Thracian army promptly retreats back to Potidaea.

The road to Pharsalus is still not complete.

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Autumn 480 B.C. - Spartan Move

Sparta continues to besiege Naupactus, forcing the return of the Athenian allied army at Mount Olympus. The remainder of the Athenian army stays at Chalcis and does not attempt to relieve the siege. The Spartans successfully capture the city, turning control over to them.

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Autumn 480 B.C.

The turn order is now: Sparta, Thessaly, Thrace, and Athens.

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Summer 480 B.C. - Thracian Move

The Thracians move back to Mount Olympus, but this time bring Athenian allies (3x4Sp hoplites) to try and take down the Thessalians. The Thessalians immediately move back into the shrines and await their fate. The Thracians unsuccessfully besiege the Thessalians and lose 1x3Ax to disease and desertion.

Athens: 2 prestige, losses: 4x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax
Sparta: 7 prestige, losses: 1x7Hd, 3x4Sp
Thessaly: 3 prestige, losses: 2x2Ps, 1x2LH
Thrace: 1 prestige, losses: 2x2Ps, 3x3Ax, 2x2LH

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Summer 480 B.C. - Thessalian Move

Thessaly sallies forth from the Shrines of Mount Olympus in an attempt to break the siege. (I need to write up the battle report, but I am out of time at the moment.) Thessaly crushes the Thracians in a surprise attack, winning 4-1. Thrace retreats its army to Potidaea.

Athens: 2 prestige, losses: 4x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax
Sparta: 7 prestige, losses: 1x7Hd, 3x4Sp
Thessaly: 3 prestige, losses: 2x2Ps, 1x2LH
Thrace: 1 prestige, losses: 2x2Ps, 2x3Ax, 2x2LH

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Summer 480 B.C. - Spartan Move

The Spartans move from Megara to Naupactus and lay siege. The Athenian garrison holds out for the season and the Spartans lose a 1x4Sp element to disease and desertion.

Athens: 2 prestige, losses: 4x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax
Sparta: 7 prestige, losses: 1x7Hd, 3x4Sp
Thessaly: 0 prestige, losses: 1x2Ps, 1x2LH
Thrace: 1 prestige, losses: 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax

Sunday, December 20, 2009

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Summer 480 B.C. - Athenian Move

The Athenian army moves from Athens to Chalcis.

Please note that the road construction from Pharsalus to Mount Olympus has been started. At the end of every season, other than Winter, a die will be rolled to see if the road is complete.

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Summer 480 B.C.

Rolling off between the four powers the order for turns are: Athens, Sparta, Thessaly, and Thrace (the same as last season).

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Thrace Spring 480 B.C.

TheThracians move their army in Potidaea and attack to gain control of the shrines at Mount Olympus. The Thessalian army holes up in the shrines to wait out the siege rather than give battle. The remainder of the season is spent laying siege to the shrines. The Thracians lost a peltast unit (1x3Ax) to disease and desertion.

The score is as follows:

Athens: 2 prestige, losses: 4x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax
Sparta: 7 prestige, losses: 1x7Hd, 2x4Sp
Thessaly: 0 prestige, losses: 1x2Ps, 1x2LH
Thrace: 1 prestige, losses: 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax

Saturday, December 19, 2009

DBA Hoplite Campaign - Maps and Moves

I finally finished the map. Found a good one on Wikipedia and between it and the game Athens and Sparta I was able to come up with some city and objective names. (The Thracian ones are dubious.)

You can see that this makes Chalcis and Naupactus strategic, as they are links between the allies. Unfortunately for Sparta, Athens controls both. Another anomoly - which I may later correct - is that Thessaly is intentionally linear. Maybe they will build an expressway from Pharsalus to Mount Olympus before the campaign ends. :)

Spring 480 B.C.

Athens and Thrace declare an alliance and both declare war on Thessaly and Sparta. Thessaly and Sparta in turn declare an alliance and both declare war on Athens and Thrace. The armies are positioned as indicated below.

The order for taking turns is decided as: Athens, Sparta, Thessaly, and Thrace.

Athens starts by sending its army from Megara to Corinth. That battle was documented here. The Athenians, having lost the battle, retreat back to Megara.

Sparta advances its army from Corinth to Megara, forcing the Athenian army to again retreat, back to Athens. The Spartans lay siege, as documented here.

The Thessalians, seeing that the Spartans have the Athenians well in hand, move their army through the passes of Mount Olympus and attack the port city of Potidaea. The battle is documented here. The Thessalian army retreats back to Mount Olympus.

It is finally the Thracian turn. They move their army in Potidaea and attack to gain control of the shrines at Mount Olympus.

Now that I have an opponent, I need to wait for his decision on whether he stands and fights (and dies!) or he retreats.

DBA Campaign No Longer a Solo Campaign

Ira has some time on his hand this Christmas season, and I am off for the rest of the year, so we decided it would be easy to split the campaign up into two alliances: Sparta & Thessaly versus Athens & Thrace. I will be playing the latter alliance.

Friday, December 18, 2009

DBA Solo Hoplite Campaign - Game 2

Thessaly versus Thrace

Thessaly's turn is spent attacking a frontier town in Thrace, who responds by sending out its field army in battle.


Thessaly ended up invading and attacking, so the Thracians setup a board with two small woods, and a steep central hill. The Thessalians changed their angle of attack so that the hill was horizontal rather than vertical. This meant that there would probably not be any command and control problems with commands being split by line of sight blocking terrain.

The Thracians (me) setup with four groups (see, I am already thinking about PIP management) with the rightmost still having line of sight to the General.

The Thracians setup shows extreme paranoia - probably due to my previous games with light horse - and has the Thessalian hoplites gloriously guarding the camp. The psiloi are on their left and the light horse are on their right. The woods block LOS and the psiloi are farther than 12", so the Thessalians already have command and control problems. Note: the Thessalian General is a light horse element, not a cavalry element.

Once the Thracians see the Thessalian setup they swap a light horse element on their right with a peltast unit in the center, putting more light horse on the left to face the Thessalian light horse horde. Their plan is simple: try to obtain the heights with their peltasts and pick off any psiloi or light horse foolish enough to come too close. The cavalry and light horse on the left are to guard against a flanking maneuver by the Thessalian light horse.

Turn 1

The Thessalians start off with a nice 4 PIP roll and discover their command and control problems (the psiloi are too far from the General). They spend all four PIPs moving the psiloi towards the hill, but do not gain the high ground.

The Thracians get 5 PIPs and advance the main battle line forward while throwing a single psiloi onto the high ground. The peltasts in the woods come out and form up while the flanking force on the right moves up.

I notice that I now have five groups because I threw the psiloi forward and broke the line. Damn, DK was right!

Thessaly: 0
Thrace: 0

Turn 2

The Thessalians move their light horse around the flank (as best as they can maneuver) using all of their PIPs. I get excited because it looks like there is not enough space behind the 2nd rank of light horse furthest on my left, so looking for a quick kill I throw forward the psiloi and two light horse. The Thessalian General recoils, but it turns out there was (just) enough space. Meanwhile my psiloi recoils.

On my right flank I move the light horse and peltast column hoping to draw PIPs that way next turn. I am now up to six separate groups! What is that saying about plans not surviving the point of contact?

Turn 3

The Thessalians get enough PIPs to straighten out their light horse battle lines, but not much else. It results in my psiloi being destroyed by two light horse elements, but one of his light horse supporting the general recoils off of the board. When my turn comes the general is so close to the board edge that it cannot stay on if it recoils. I take the chance: Charge!

You can barely see the final die roll: Thracians 6 (+2), Thessalians 3 (+2). The Thessalian General quits the field!

Thessaly: 1
Thrace: 2G

Battle Summary

Well, me pointing my light horse's rear to the board edge has happened to me before, so when I saw the enemy commander doing it, I knew I had to press him as hard as possible to get the quick victory points. His General really did roll very badly for every battle (he lost every roll, bar none). That said, the space was just too small to press home.

Personally, I would have pressed the spears through the pass, screened as best as possible by the psiloi, to try and get to my rear camp. I've just seen too many games of late where the light horse tries to sneak by and gets "ZOCed" against the board edge.If you don't have the PIPs to completely run through the pass, don't bother.

It was interesting in that it was a "battle of the +2 troops" with the light horse general weighing in at a hefty +3. Ironically, my opponent liked having a LH (Gen) and said he had to start looking at armies that allow them.

Campaign Follow-up

The Thessalians are driven out of the Thracian province back to their homeland.

My reading of the campaign rules indicates that the Thessalian losses come back as they recoiled off of the board, but still count towards the Thracian gain of prestige. However, the +2 prestige for the loss of the general indicates that they specifically have to be destroyed. However, I think the Thessalians lose two elements for demoralization of the "loss of a main protagonist's general". They did lose the general, just not permanently. I'll have to ask the Fanaticus Illuminati.

Athens: 2 prestige, losses: 4x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax
Sparta: 7 prestige, losses: 1x7Hd, 2x4Sp
Thessaly: 0 prestige, losses: 1x2Ps, 1x2LH
Thrace: 1 prestige, losses: 1x2Ps

DBA Solo Campaign - Turn 1 Sparta

The Spartans smashed the Athenians on Athens turn 1, so Sparta takes its turn. It attacks the Athenian frontier city; Athens does not (cannot) respond. Sparta rolls a '4' for the siege, indicating the town withstood the Spartan assaults. Sparta loses one element.

Athens: 2 prestige, losses: 4x4Sp, 1x2LH, 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax
Sparta: 7 prestige, losses: 1x7Hd, 2x4Sp
Thessaly: 0 prestige, losses: none
Thrace: 0 prestige, losses: none

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.

DBA Solo Campaign

The guys at the club have decided to start a DBA campaign (meaning we have decided to think about how to start and what to ponder next), so I decided - with three weeks of vacation on my hands - to start a solo DBA campaign and see what snags I might run into.

The campaign will center around the Early Greek Hoplite armies (I/52) and will include four sides: I/52(b) Spartan, I/52(f) Athenian, I/52(c) Thessalian, and I/48 Thracian. I make up a map later, but Thrace and Sparta can both attack Athens and Thessaly directly but not each other, and Thessaly and Athens can each attack all three opponents. Athens has the extra city.

The first turn consisted of Athens declaring war on Sparta (and vice versa) and Thessaly declaring war on Thrace (and vice versa).

Monday, December 07, 2009

DBA Fun Day

Wow, what a day for DBA. First off Ira brought his new BUA and it looked great! I think it made every game too, which really stinks if you have a cavalry army (which I did when I finally faced it).

Also making their newly painted and based debut was Mark's Later Polish and they looked great too. Just need to finish that War Wagon and they'll be killers.

Finally, making a painted, but not based debut was Dale's New Kingdom Egyptians. I'll try and get some pictures up so you can see what kind of work Ira is doing (he painted them for me).

The first round games we had were:

Teutonic Order (Ira) versus Later Polish (Mark) 6-3?
Thracian (Dale) versus Gallic (James) 6-3

The second round games were:

Dacians (Jim) versus Polybian Romans (Pro-Consul, Aaron, and Plebeian Council, Dale) 4-0
Alexander Macedonians (Ira) versus Maccabean Jews (James) 4-3?

The final round game was:

Teutonic Order (Ira) versus Mongol Conquest (Dale) 4-3

I'll only describe the games I was involved in.

Thracians versus Gallic

The Gauls had the gall (sorry, I had to do it) to attack the hills of Thrace - which ended up mostly being woods - and it turned out to be a close and tense battle.

There was a steep hill on the Gallic side which played a role in PIP management for the Gauls; they had two of their LCh on the other side, so it was hard to move them without rolling lots of PIPs. In each of the other quarters were woods, straddling the left and right of a gap in the center.

Essentially the Thracians ran Auxilia up into the woods and ran LH around each flank, drawing troops away from the main battle line in the center. The Thracians quickly killed off two Gallic LCh and a Psiloi, starting with a grim 3-0 lead. Eventually the main warband line hit the Thracian line and quickly got a double on an Auxilia/Psiloi pair, bringing it to 3-2.

Right at the critical moment when the Thracians had the last LCh ready to fall, they rolled 1 PIP and needed to the flank! A desperate move was sought instead of pulling out the General and it failed! The following turn the Thracian General fell. (I thought the game was over - I even shook James hand in congratulation - but the General falling is an automatic loss only if I had lost more elements.) The game was now 3-3.

With each of my moves now costing two PIPs, I ran into a string of 6 PIP rolls and eventually caught the last Gallic LCh and a Warband with support in flanking charges, ending the game 6-3. It doesn't sound close, but it was.

Dacians versus Polybian Romans

The Romans were attacking the Dacians (of course), who threw out a Steep Hill, a woods, and a river. The river turned out to be raging, but the main effect was that it squeezed the Roman deployment to less than 1/2 of the board and force them to expand their frontage as they advanced.

The Dacians deployed in a battle line in front of the central woods, with their cavalry on the open flank. The Romans split their forces left and right of the woods.

The game moved slowly as both sides could not get the big moves - especially the Dacians run by Jim "Oh, Another One PIP" O'Neil (three 1 PIP rolls in a row, until he switched dice and got a 3).

Eventually the Dacian cavalry, always supported by the heroic Psiloi taking the enemy in a crucial flank, crushed the Romans by killing to Blade/Psiloi pairs. The game ended 4-0.

By the way, Pro-Consul Aaron is eight, and for the most part, he made his own decisions.

Teutonic Order versus Mongol Conquest

The damn BUA made its appearance again, but this time in my deployment zone. That REALLY cramped my style. I also did not read up enough on BUAs to do this game right, not that I think it would have played out any differently.

The main plan here was to draw in the Teutonic Knights until they were committed and then shift the force away to the opposite flank. This plan worked exactly as expected, but the problem was that I lost too many LH too early, so I felt like the initiative was taken away. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The Mongols were invading so the Order set up the damnable Lodge (BUA), two steep hills (each sides right corner), and a central woods. This left a two element gap between the woods and steep hills on both sides, so everything was very cramped.

The Order moved left around the woods, sending in the lights into it, and the Bows and LH to the right of it. A single Cav ended up stuck on the top of the Order's steep hill on lookout. Not sure of his plan.

The Mongols sent two LH and a Cav towards the Knights, drawing them into the valley. Once they were committed, they rode out and shifted completely to the left flank on a good PIP roll. On the left flank the LH pinned the Cav in place on turn 1 and he never moved until the turn he died, surrounded on three sides.

In the center, to the left of the woods (right for the Order) is where the action took place. Two LH met two LH in the gap and a 1-6 roll enabled the Order to kill one, then the other Mongol LH, making the score 2-0. When the Mongols shifted from the right to the left flank, they quickly overran the two Order LH, making the game 2-2.

Shortly thereafter, another Mongol LH went down to an Order crossbowman and it was 3-2. Continual movement on the Mongol left flank allowed the LH to get into the rear of the Cav on the hill and, hit from all sides, he went down. The game was now 3-3.

Finally, the Knights broke out into the rear area of the Mongols, where the artillery had all day been bombarding the Order's Lodge to no effect and a Knight charged into a LH unit. It survived two melees, but the third took it down, making the score 4-3 in favor of the Order.

What was significant about this game was that all Bad Going terrain was less than one base width's distance from all board edges, so the Mongols had no way of getting around the rear without going through two sets of Bad Going. This really hurt its ability to maneuver.

I am glad Ira said that this game was probably the most tactically interesting of all the games he has played of late. With a different LH army - one with just a little more diversity, like the Alans or Albanians (Blades backed by Psiloi will help crack that Spear guarding the BUA) - I would have had a few more choices while still being able to execute the same basic plan (draw into one
flank then LH move to the other).

At the very least, Ira now knows how mobile a LH army can be. I just wish I had a LH Quick Kill one of his Knights... :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

DB-AWI Version 2 - Battle Report

I've developed a new version of DB-AWI, which is based on DBA 2.2. Unlike the previous version, I am trying to stay true to the DBA element characteristics, so basically only Rifles (Bows) and Artillery have a shooting range; all other musket shooting is modeled as Close Combat. Much of this is influenced by my recent reading of With Zeal and With Bayonets Only.

This game is fictional and the terrain board is much rougher than any I have played before in a DBA variant. All hills are gentle, all green blobs are woods. Brown straight lines are roads.

Game Setup:

The Patriots (on left, in blue) have a lot of small groups, which is not great for PIP management. Rifles are on the flanks, with the State Line (Loose Order elements) coming up over the hills. Note in this period defending uphill is usually disadvantageous for infantry, so the Patriots have to get over the first set of hills and at the base of the second before the British get up and over the first. (Already it sounds like a bad plan!) The Continentals (Close Order elements in column on the road) want to get around he woods and extend the line before the British get too far also.

The British (on right, in red) have 1/2 Shock, 1/2 Loose Order elements in the battle line. As Shock elements get an advantage to being uphill (unlike all other infantry types), they are not as concerned about getting up and over the first hill and to the base of the second. If they fight from uphill, 1/2 of the line will be disadvantaged, but the will have overlaps. If they fight on flat terrain, they have advantages from overlaps. If they fight from downhill, again 1/2 the line will be disadvantaged (Shock don't like charging uphill), but again they have overlaps to compensate. Put simply, as long as they can maintain their overlap advantage, they can fight anywhere in front of the battle line.

Turns 1 through British Turn 3:

Both forces moved steadily forward, but the British ended up meeting the Patriots at the base of the first set of hills. The Patriots had gotten close to their goal, but missed by less than a 1/4 inch.

Through Patriot Turn 4:

The Patriots make their first attempt at killing an element by ambushing the impetuous British Light Infantry on the British right flank. One State Line unit attacks frontally while the second attacks on the flank.

The units roll off and ... a push! Meanwhile the Continental Light Dragoons are destroyed by the British Commander leading the Grenadiers (Shock). 1 VP to the British.

Through British Turn 5:

A British Fusiliers element (Shock) advances forward to take the State Line taking the British Light Infantry in flank and quickly dispatches it. 2 VP for the British.

Through Patriot Turn 7:

The Patriots have had their battle line driven back, but the Continental Line (Close Order) has finally pulled up to support the left of the line. Meanwhile, the British Light Infantry smelling blood like a pack of wild beasts, continue to drive back the State Line on the right flank. The Rifles on both flanks are poised to pounce and let loose some shot.

Through British Turn 8:

The entire British battle line moves forward to engage the retreating Patriots. On the British left, the British Legion cavalry, supported by British Light Infantry, move forward to engage the Rifles.

Unfortunately, the Rifles were deadly shots: Patriots 1, British 2.

Through Patriots Turn 8:

The Patriots score a big 6 PIPs and move as many units up to overlap the British battle line. (Note the Continental Line on the left are in the woods, as are the British Fusiliers. With the -2 tactical factors, someone is going to get hurt!) The Rifles on the left spring forward and take a shot at the British Light Infantry pursuing the State Line.

The trap was successful! The ends of the British battle line collapse! Patriots 3, British 2.

Through British Turn 10:

The British quickly pull back the remnants of their battle line, having lost two units so quickly. Meanwhile, the Highlanders on the right flank chase down the Rifles and teach them to come out of the woods without support. Patriots 3, British 3.

Through Patriot Turn 10:

With only two PIPs available, part of the Patriot battle line surges forward, unwilling to let the British escape to the safety of the hills behind them. Outnumbered and overlapped another British unit falls.

Finally, the State Line on the left flank having fended off the British Light Infantry for several rounds, reorder and deliver a murderous volley at point blank range.

Patriots 5 VP to British 3 VP.

Here is a final tally of the destroyed elements.


The game played very well, with no real problems. The only changes to the modifiers were the uphill/downhill ones, and although there were hills everywhere, they really didn't cause confusion.

Having the Patriots State Line as Loose Order (Auxilia) and the Continental Line as Close Order (Spears), while the British were Warbands (the Light Infantry), Blades (British infantry), and Auxilia (Loyalist infantry), with a couple of Psiloi thrown in for both sides and Rifles (Bows) for the Patriots, gave an interesting tactical mix to the gameplay. Also, I don't feel that sort of mix is unreasonable, especially for the late war in the South.

If anyone reading this is interested in the new DB-AWI rules (version 2), let me know.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. 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").