Friday, May 25, 2018

Caesar Invades Britain (Again), a DBA 3.0 AAR

My friend Bob & I got together & played DBA 3.0 with double sized armies of Ancient British vs Marian Romans. Bob recently obtained more British chariots and was eager to see them used. We used the Big Battle DBA (BBDBA) rules, modified by using only 2 commands per side instead of 3, on a 6' x 4' board.

The battle was set up to somewhat mimic Caesar's first invasion, with the British hanging back from the coast at a distance, following &  watching the Romans land before approaching for battle. The Roman force was assumed to be following along the coast in ships, landing on a random location where the White Cliffs of Dover were no longer an obstacle to getting ashore. As happened historically, the Roman cavalry would not be able to land with the main force, but landed in a random location in a random number of turns later. In 2 previous games, the British won both using standard 12 element DBA, so the Romans were trying to get revenge.

One special rule we used was that British light chariots could dismount during the game as warbands (3Wb). However, the British never used this option during the game. Another special rule was that the Roman player could decide which pip dice to assign to each command after rolling each bound, to reflect Caesar's command ability. The British had to roll a separate die for each command and use whatever the score was for that command each turn.

The order of battle for both sides is shown below:

Ancient British (List # II/53)

2 x Commands each composed of the following:

1 x General in chariot (LCh)
3 x LCh (British chariots)
2 x LH (Light Horse)
6 x 3Wb (Fast Warbands)

The British army is fast moving, and has troops that can go toe to toe with the Romans, and has an advantage in the number of mounted troops.

Marian Roman (List # II/49)

2 x Commands each composed of the following:

1 x General on foot (4Bd)
2 x Cavalry (3Cv)
1 x Psiloi (Ps)
1 x fast Thracian Mercenary Auxilia (3Ax)
2 x solid Greek Theurophori Auxilia (4Ax)
5 x Legionaries (4Bd)

For the Romans in this game, we avoided using Roman troop types that would not have been used in Britain, such as elephants, Asiatic Horse archers, etc.

Below is the British deployment. The battlefield had a ridge on the Britain's entry edge, while the battlefield side edges had rough terrain.

The Roman entry side was divided into 6 x 1' numbered "entry zones." The Romans rolled a '4' and entered zone 4 as shown.

A close up of the Roman foot. The Roman cavalry would land randomly and enter at a zone to be determined on a later turn.

The Romans hang back to deploy their force.

On turn 5, the Roman cavalry arrives at entry zone 2, separated from the main body, while the Britain's advance.

The Romans have mostly deployed while the Britain's close.

The Britain's charge on the Roman far right flank....

British chariots & the CinC (red bordered shield) charge the Mercenary theurophori.

British warbands charge in the center.

Panorama of the battle.

More chariots & Romans in close combat.

The warband breaks through the Roman line.

The Romans kill one chariot, but the Britains are attacking Caesar's blade element with a double corner overlap. Caesar has to fight them off using his CinC +1.

Another panorama of the battle. The Roman right flank command is demoralized, while the British right flank command is also demoralized.

Caesar's last moments as his command is demoralized and he runs out of the CinC bonus.


It was a close contest with both sides having a demoralized command. The Britain's claim another victory and are now 3-0 vs the Romans. You can read about the previous British victories here and here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Changed Blog Layout

I changed the layout & theme design of this blog, in case you're wondering.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

28mm Skythian DBA Army Done

I finally finished my 28mm Skythian Army that I started over a year ago. This is what I have: 4 x Cavalry or Knights, 8 x Light Horse, and 3 x 3Ax (Fast Auxilia).

Below is the army:


The cavalry/knights below are First Corps 28mm Skythian Nobles:


The light horse below are Old Glory 28mm Skythian horse archers:


The figures below are 25mm Ral Partha Skythian horse archers and Thracian javelinmen, figures I painted over 30 years ago, but have been re-purposed for DBA:

More pix below:




At some point in the future, I will flock & tuft the bases on these guys!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

First Game of Blucher

We started our first game of Blucher one evening last week & finished last night. The scenario was the Battle of Caldiero, one that I adapted from an Age of Eagles scenario and one I used for HFG in January. In my last post, I mentioned that we would dispense with the Blucher cards, however I had second thoughts & made up some for our game. The cards added a little uncertainty and facilitated marking units which weren't yet spotted or had moved.

Moving in Blucher is fairly easy to learn. We used playing cards to determine the momentum points for moving each side, which seemed to work well. Shooting & close combat are also fairly simple. You wear down enemy units by inflicting fatigue on them over multiple turns. It is unlikely that a fresh unit would be broken in a single turn.

We made one mistake during the game by not activating units that tried to rally. However, both sides made the same mistake, so it didn't effect play balance too much.

Overall, the game seemed to flow well & we will definitely try it again.

Below is the game. The Austrians hold Caldiero (center) and the long ridge behind it. The yellow cards are Austrian units that haven't been spotted yet. The orange markers indicate units that are "prepared" (in square, etc.). The small die behind each stand indicates that stand took losses and it's current elan or ammo (in the case of artillery).


Below, a closer look at Caldiero. The Austrians would be driven out of the town and off the ridge behind when we called the game, but casualties on both sides were even. Both armies were 2-3 units away from the army break-point when we stopped.


Marshall Andre Massena urging his men forward below.

Our next game should go faster, as we are now fairly familiar with the game mechanics.