Monday, June 1, 2015

Battle of Nedao 454 AD, a BBDBA AAR

We decided to do a BBDBA game involving the Huns, and the Battle of Nedao seemed to be a good choice. We based our game on the write-up of this battle from the Tagmata DBMM website at this link:

To summarize, Attila the Hun died in 453 AD. Various Barbarian tribes that had been enslaved by Attila revolted, with Ardaric the Gepid leading the revolt. The Battle of Nedao in 454 AD was the result of the rebellion between the rebel Barbarians and the Huns.

Instead of using points to determine army size and balance, we simply used the BBDBA method of each army consisting of 3 commands of 12 elements each. Order of battle was fairly straight forward as follows:


3 x Commands (Enzac, Dengizich, & Ernack) of 11 x Light Horse (LH), 1 x Cavalry (Cv + General).

Germanic Rebels:

Gepid Command (Ardaric) of 4 x Knights (Kn + General), 4 x solid Warband (4Wb), & 4 x Psiloi (Ps).
Ostrogoth Command of 6 x Knights (Kn + General), 6 x Psiloi (Ps)
Rugian (E. Frankish) Command of 1 x Cavalry (Cv + General), 10 x solid Warband (4Wb), 1 x Psiloi (Ps).

Above shows the terrain for the battlefield, which was taken from Tagmata: the Nedao River (which we deemed impassable for our game), 2 swamps near the river, and 3 bogs. The game was played on a 6' x 4' Cigar Box Mat.

Since the actual battle was a bloody one, we raised the command demoralization point to 50% losses (6 elements) instead of the normal 33%, and demoralized elements would fight on until either destroyed or they flee off the board. The side who had 2 commands become demoralized and lost more elements  in a bound than their opponent would lose the game.

The game was played at Liberty Hobby Center in Wheaton IL. The players were: Bob Pavlik, Mark Hinds, and Dave Benjamin were the Huns, while Bill Hupp, Michael Mays, and myself were the Germanic Rebels. 

The Huns set up first, and moved first. 

 Above shows the opening move by the Huns. At the bottom of the photo are the Rugians, whose right flank is near the Nedao river. To the left of the Franks are the Ostrogoths, who deployed with a line of psiloi in front, and the knights behind them. The Gepids are on the far left, with psiloi near the far left flank, warband in the bog, and knights to the right of the bog. The far right Hun command has closely approached the Gepids by using successive moves. 

In the above photo, the Huns have attacked the Gepid psiloi near the top photo table edge. The Huns have also attacked the Ostrogoth psiloi in the center, while the left flank Huns are approaching the Rugians, who have placed a psiloi in the swamp.  

The photo above shows the Gepid psiloi beginning to crack under the Hun assault, having lost one. The Gepids have also lost 3 knights to the double ranked Huns via "quick kill." Meanwhile in the center, the Ostrogoth psiloi have withstood the initial Hun assault and are maneuvering for a counter attack.  The Ostrogoth general has moved half of his knights to plug the gap that has opened between the Gepids & Ostrogoths.

The Hun assault on the Gepid left continues, while the Ostrogoths are sending more troops towards their left. The Hun left flank has unsuccessfully assaulted the Rugians, who have driven off two Hun light horse, leaving the general exposed by himself in the center of the line. 

Above shows the end of the game, as things happened rapidly. First, the Gepid command became demoralized and all the knights and General was lost. The Gepids were able to hold their remaining troops from fleeing with pips, but fought on at -2, where all the Gepid psiloi were destroyed. In the center, the Ostrogoths and Huns had a cavalry clash, which cost the Ostrogoths five of their knight elements, including their general. This broke the Ostrogoth command. The maneuverability of the Huns, their ability to quick kill knights, and the +1 for rear support combined to make them tough in this game. On the Hun left, they were gathering for an all-out assault on the Rugians when the game ended. The Huns did take some casualties, as can be seen in the top-right of the photo.

Post Mortem: The 50% break point for command demoralization worked well, and is similar to the HOTT rules. Next time I run this game, I may tweek the Rugian command, replacing some warbands with a few Alan light horse, which were apparently present at the battle.

Overall, this was an enjoyable game and we look forward to more. More game photos below:

 Ostrogoth Heavy Cavalry

 Two Hun commands

 Hun Camp & wagon laager

 Another view of the Huns

 Rugian Warbands (E. Frankish)

Warbands - Up close & personal. (I still need to flock the bases)