Thursday 19 October 2017

Thrashing the DBA

This week I've been getting back into work and the paintbrushes haven't come out yet, as I readjust to just how full on teaching is at this time of the year. I do aim to get stuck in with them from the weekend on, I have some figures for John and Craig that I want to knock out in the next couple of weeks if I can.
Anyhow, as I sat watching the news tonight, waiting to hear who the government would be (happy with the result by the way, due to where the previous government was taking education, but this isn't a political blog), I pulled out the DBA armies again for the Persian-Spartan rematch. These aren't 6 x 6 games, I've played all my DBA for the challenge, this was just to get to grips with the nuances of the armies and get some more experience with the v 3.0 rules.
In all, I played 4 games. Two Spartan-Persian match-ups, a later Spartan vs. Gallic and then an anachronistic Persian vs Gallic.

The first game deployment. Sparta is invaded and there is minimal terrain as a result.

The Persian Light Horse begin a flanking manouevre

The Spartans ignore them and just keep going

So the Light Horse comes to play tag

oops - they weren't invited...

Poof! - first Persian element down.

What about another solo cavalry dash to try to disrupt the Spartan line?

'Oh, come on...!'

Zap! Another one down. I'd like to say right now that I had nothing to do with these dumb Persian tactics (but that would be a lie...). To be fair, I remember bending flanks in earlier versions of DBA to be quite successful - but not so much any more.

The main lines get close

And crash! A number of elements are sent reeling from the Persian line.
Butthe psiloi rally and head back into it.

But it is on the far end of the line that the final damage is done, as a bow element bites the dust.

The final line with the missing bow element conspicuous by its absence

First game to the Spartans - 4-1

Let's try again. Game 2 is also on Spartan home ground

This time the Persians will try to create a trap, advancing their flanks and holding back the bow to maximise archery.

The Persian cavalry in the open hopes to nibble at the ends of the Spartan line

The Light Horse line up for a bit of flank turning...

Only to be charged by the Spartan reserve

Attrition time - archery starts recoiling the odd element, but can't be decisive.

The light horse don't like those pointy sticks!

But come back as the Persian main line advances again.

Yes! The tactic worked!

Now lets deal with this annoying chap and we can really get on to some stabbing people in the back!

Drat! The end of the Spartan line turns to engage the Persian cavalry while the rest of the Spartan line just keeps on keeping on.

The result is a recoil and the Persian cavalry are destroyed as they hit their light horse colleagues...

Whack! The Spartan line hacks into the Persian bows and spear.

Spartans win 4-1
 Was it close? Not according to the score, but I think with a couple of good PIP dice the Persian plan might have come off, or at least created a narrower margin.

Right. I'm over the Persians. Here is a Gallic invasion of Sparta c.400. Note the Spartans have replaced their Helot horde with a psiloi element - otherwise it is the same as the earlier Hoplite Spartan army.

'Here we come!'

Neither side is holding back. And the Gauls have a sneaky flanking element.

Which is forced to flee. How many times have my flanking units rolled a 1 against a 6? (answer - lots)

Crunch! The lines meet

The view at the other end.

The Gauls come off the worst in terms of recoils, but the quick kill for a victory sees one part of the battleline steam on through.
The Spartans counterattack, getting overlaps and turning flanks.
But the Gauls survive, and then scythe through another spear element.

And then the Gallic left consolidates and ends the game.

Gaul wins - 4-1. Ha ha, take that Spartans!

Last game. Can the Persians do any better against the Gauls?

The lines close on each other.

Persian Light Horse are intercepted by Gallic psiloi near the Gallic camp. Mustn't interrupt the chicken sacrifice you know!

As the Gauls advance the archery bounces a few back and disrupts their line.

The psiloi and the Light Horse begin their long stand off at the rear.

What a mess! I can't even tell you what's happening here! A lot of hacking I believe.

Oh dear. The Gauls seem to be much better at the hacking.

A 6 and a 1 means that the Persian Light Horse are destroyed. Oh the ignominy...

And as the first double element counts as 2 for victory points, the game is over. Gaul wins, 4-1.
The upshot of all of this is that warband are nasty against anything they auto-kill, spears are nasty when they are in a battleline with reserves, and the persians are nasty to the person playing them.

I remain confident that the Persians can perform better than this. Their day will come.
I better play a 6 x 6 game tomorrow.


Tuesday 17 October 2017

Persian problems DBA 6 x 6 AAR

After my slight diversion in South East Asia, I got back on track with the 6 x 6 challenge this afternoon and played my newly painted Spartans and Persians against each other.
The Persian army

The Spartans opposite

The Spartans were the attackers and so the Persians chose lots of terrain which thanks to some fortuitous rolling all ended up on the table. It included a difficult hill, a woods and boggy ground, as well as the compulsory 2 ploughed areas. I thought that this might play into the hands of the Persians quite nicely, and wanted to see how it might work in their favour, so the Spartans chose the emptiest table edge to deploy on.
Persian deployment took advantage of the woods and difficult hill.

The Spartans took advantage of having a big long line of spears, with more spears in behind. The helots ended up in the bog, because really, who cares about the helots?

The Persian light horse started off with a magnificent flanking manoeuvre, and by the second turn they were beginning to disrupt the Spartan army.

Except a 6 and a 1 on the die rolls saw them run away!

Never mind, next turn and we'll have another go with the Spartan frontline.

Persian shooting knocked back a spear element and began to disrupt the Spartan line - this was the Persian plan - make life hard for the Spartans by getting them to need piles of PIPs and turning the flanks.

A second shot knocks back spears on the other side of the general while the Psiloi speed bump are forced to recoil behind the spears.

However, the initial Spartan charge pushes the Persian left back.

And next thing you know a bow element explodes, exposing flanks and causing all kinds of worries for the Persians. All is not lost though. The Persian left flank bows are on difficult going which is going to disadvantage the Spartans more than them, and an element of Persian cavalry is hovering for a flank attack.

The next Persian move gets 2 pips. This is enough to spring the trap on the left and kill off a spear element, but on the right the Spartans just begin to make a bigger hole.

Which they happily go through and close the door to turn the auxilia... 

...Who go splat. That and the defeat of the bows on the difficult hill ends the game.

The comparative losses - Spartans deliver a thrashing. The final score is 5-1 as the first double based element lost counts as 2. The final 2 elements were both lost in the same turn.
I think I deployed the ploughed areas wrong - they both should have entered two board quarters. I'm not sure if they have to be deployed in the same quarter as each other - that might be a question for the Fanaticus forum.

In terms of the battle, I don't think the Persians did anything wrong as such. The plan was pretty sound, but there were a number of 6-1 opposed dice rolls that went in the Spartan favour, and low PIP dice for the Persians in the last couple of rounds. Spear armies are certainly more effective than they were under DBA 2.1, and the mass of spear elements did an impressive job on their opponents. I'll definitely be taking these two armies for another run soon to see if I can develop tactics for the Persians. I think the Spartan tactics are pretty straight forward.