Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chalons 451 AD: A BBDBA AAR:

In January, we tried a 28mm Big Battle DBA scenario of Chalons 451 AD. Chalons is a difficult battle to reproduce because of the varying accounts & orders of battle available. For our purposes, we leaned towards Simon MacDowell's account in the Osprey book: "Catalaunian Fields AD 451" as it is based on more recent scholarship. However, we respect those who have differing opinions about the battle.

For our order of battle, we used six 12 element DBA 3.0 armies from the DBA rulebook as modified below:

Patrician Romans (Aetius): List II/82a

Alans (Singiban): List II/58. Note: we replaced Alan 3Kn with Cv to represent their hesitancy at the battle.

Later Visigoths (Theodoric, Thorismund): List II/83a

Huns (Attila): List II/80a

Gepids & Thuringians (Ardaric): List II/71. Note: we replaced 2 x Ps with Thuringian 4Wb, which were present at the battle.

Ostrogoths, Heruls, & Rugians (Widimir): List II/67b. Note: We replaced 4 x Ps with Rugian & Frankish 4Wb, which were present at the battle.

For our game, the BBDBA demoralization rules were modified as follows: A command that loses 6 elements is demoralized. All surviving elements suffer a permanent -1 to their combat die. Only individual element or "hold" group moves may be made. Elements/groups not assigned pips will rout (flee towards their base table edge). 

Victory Conditions:
The first side to have 2 commands become demoralized and have lost more elements than the enemy has lost the battle. 

Personal Victory Conditions:
To add a little spice to the game, we used personal or player victory conditions (which were adapted from Simon MacDowall's Legio Wargames website ): 

Attila wins if he is still alive, the Huns win, and no more than ¼ actual Huns are casualties.

Adaric wins if he is still alive, the Huns win or draw, and more Huns than Gepids are casualties.

Walamir wins if the Huns win or draw and the Ostrogoths inflict more casualties on their opponents than the Gepids did on theirs.

Aetius wins if he is still alive, the Romans win, and the Visigoths have more casualties than the Romans

Theodoric wins if the Romans win or draw and no more than ¼ of the Visigoths are casualties.

Sangiban wins if he is still alive, the Romans win or draw, and none of his heavy cavalry are casualties.

It is quite possible for more than one player to win. Note that Theodoric, and Walamir do not have to survive to win. In fact, a heroic death could even be considered to contribute to victory. Attila, Aetius, and Adaric, however, have future plans that requires their continued existence and Sangiban was not that heroic.

See photos of our battle below.

Note: Terrain pieces were for aesthetic purposes only, having no effect for movement or combat. Exceptions were the Marne River (top of photo) which was un-crossable, and a large hill (just seen lower right).

The Visigoths:

The Alans:

The Romans:
Note: We used Marian Roman & Gaul cavalry for the Romans, as our Late Roman cavalry is still under construction.

The Ostrogoths:

The Huns:

The Gepids:

The battle opens, the Alans (upper-center) move forwards! (very unhistorical)

The Alans engage the Huns (center) while Roman & Gepid horse engage (lower right).

After drawing the Alans towards them, the Huns begin enveloping them (left-center). The Romans and Gepids have each taken casualties, but the Romans are pressing the Gepids from the position. 

 Third turn, the Alans are getting the worst of the dice and the Huns slowly begin to envelop them (center). Ostrogoths and Visigoths continue to close (below).

The Romans & Gepids have each taken casualties in the fight.

Fourth turn, the Huns are completing the envelopment of the Alans.

Fifth turn, the Gepids have held their ground and blunted the Roman attack. The Alans have been destroyed by the Huns, and the Goth armies have engaged.

Sixth turn, the Gepids press the advantage and begin to mop up the Romans, the Huns send half their troops to assist against each enemy flank army, while the Ostrogoths and Visigoths slug it out.

Final turn, while the Ostrogoth horse struggles, their infantry performs well. The arrival of Huns on the remaining flank armies of the Roman side ensures their ultimate defeat.

The Hun side won the battle. Attila won his personal victory conditions while the rest of the players did not. The game moved smoothly and quickly, we played to a conclusion in slightly under two hours. One item of interest is that the Huns lost no elements at all. I think this will be a good convention game, even for players unfamiliar with DBA.

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