Lessons relearned?

It’s been such a long time since my last game of DBA but last Friday I had a couple of games at the Fairfield Bowling Club. Kingo had been holding off playing any more DBA 2.2 but with the delay in DBA 3.0 rules he relented. He also came to the idea (which I’m inclined to agree with) that 2.2 and 3.0 are going to be so different that the two will coexist as separate games.

I finally got to use the Scythians I painted a while ago, and Kingo fielded his Thracians. Kingo was the defender in both games we played (I think one of the aggression rolls was a 6-1!). Kingo went for a lot of terrain, which is understandable as the Thracians are good in the rough.

In the first game I chose a cavalry general and the “infantry heavy” option (with infantry borrowed from my Lydian army), with a whole two elements of psiloi and an auxillia. I chose to attack along the river toward a more open area of the battlefield. However I then set up my camp and the bulk of my army on the more ‘busy’ side.

Setup for the first game

Once I had extracted my army from where I had deployed I had a happy time killing Thracian auxillia that had strayed into the open. But after I’d got three of them the happy time was over. A combination of a flank attack from across the river (which was paltry) and attacks from auxillia with their toes in the bad going put paid to four of my elements. Fate might have made me lose in some other way, but for this game I blame my camp placement and deployment on the wrong side of the river for my loss.

In the second game I decided to try a monotype approach – twelve light horse – and to attack from the good going into the bad, across the river. This time I rolled a ‘5’ when I got to the river, meaning it slowed crossing.

The Scythians reach the river

There was a bit of a skirmish on one flank where a group of my units and the Thracian light horse traded blows, losing an element each. In the centre I successfully infiltrated an element through to take Kingo’s camp. But my troops got caught too near the hill and I lost a few more elements. My choice of army was quixotic of me. I just wanted to see how twelve light horse would go – and the answer is: not well. I think even a very good DBA player would have trouble with that, so I need to paint those Scythian foot! Also this game underlined the idea that if there’s a river that’s not paltry across the table, you may as well just call the game a draw and move on.

With the very low combat factors the games were over pretty quickly once combat began. Light horse may seem fast, but because I was disorganised I had to spend a lot of PIPs to get anywhere with them, so obviously I need a bit of practice with the army. It’s been such a while since I’ve played DBA that I had to relearn a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the years about taking care over deployment, staying clear of terrain you don’t want, and not scattering your elements. I think Kingo enjoyed himself so who knows, maybe it will be less than three months before my next game?

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6 responses to “Lessons relearned?

  1. Interesting reports. A nice looking river–shame they seem to stuff up games so much that they’re generally avoided!

  2. The Scythian aggression is also problematic as well. Light horse can be countered by a low aggression aggressor too often. Over the last week I have played at least six games with Graeco-Bactrians and the all mounted option is very risky if there is a hint of the enemy defending.

    With respect to rivers at a recent competition here two of the Timaru players opted to use rivers in every game. There view was their opponents would be so inexpereinced with rivers they would have the advantage. An interesting concept if thought.

    Finally, for light horse a river, unless paltry, is very dangerous. A player with light horse should avoid them like the plague! I learned this a couple of years ago as my opponents light cavalry evaporated when they fleed, and died. Crossing the river was the easy part.

  3. I’ve just remade my rivers and I’ll write an entry about them soon. Kingo’s ones (pictured) are ridiculously simple – painted cardboard. The reverse side is a road, and it might be the paint on both sides that keeps the card from warping. The one thing I don’t like is the way it has a perfectly straight end and a really curved one – which affects the game a bit.

    Interesting tactic about the use of unfamiliar terrain!

    • Miniature World Maker would probalby be quite cost effective for you Stephen, since you are in AU. 3 x 10″-13″‘ of not quite straight 1″ wide river sections is only A$24.00-$27.50 – add a s-bend/rapids/curve section and a ford or such and presto – 4′-5’ of soft flexible river ideal for DBA and such… 🙂

  4. I tend to avoid rivers, but I am enjoying the new v3 terrain, as it is leading to less predictable battlefields, so maybe there are more rivers in my future!

    I bought myself some ‘epoxy water’ a while back, so I am going to have a go at doing sections of river and waterway for DBMM & DBA in 30cm sections. The Miniature World Maker stuff is nice, but I wouldn;t mind giving the home made stuff a try.

    • I recently had a chance to play a few games of DBA 3.0 with Mark-from-Hesperiana and the random terrain was not as awful as I feared it would be. But I don’t like the way that rivers can stop a game and if I get around to it I’ll suggest on Fanaticus that the dicing for river state occurs before the invader chooses his board edge, and that the invader need not advance along a road if there is a river at right angles to it. We don’t want to be made into Ambrose Burnsides just by the roll of a dice!

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