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Xenophon's Ghost covers military history and wargaming from the ancient period to modern times.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kappadokian Time Warp - a DBA 3.0 Test

Ryan and I decided to test out the new version of DBA, version 3.0, using my freshly painted 15mm Kappadokians (II/14) and the early Spartan Hoplites Army (I/52b).  This game is our seventh or eighth game of DBA ever, so I am hopeful that our input into the playtest will bring a newcomer's perspective to the rules testing.

Ryan chose to have a go with the hillsmen.  The Kappadokians have an aggression of 0 and hilly terrain, while the Spartans hold an aggression level of 2 and prefer arable lands.  The dice favored (or disadvantaged) me - the Spartans were on the defensive. 

I chose to use a road, one difficult hills, and two woods as terrain.  We followed the new rules, placing the road, hill, and one wood piece in quadrants based on the dice roll.  The final roll was a 6, so Ryan chose the placement of the last wood.
While I had read the rules several times, there is nothing like playing a ruleset in order to learn them.  DBA 3.0 testers will note the placement of our camps, (the yellow squares) and the road.
When it came time to deploy our forces, we reviewed the deployment rules, learning that most unit types must be deployed 400 paces away from the game edge.  We realized that the road was essentially out of play, and the camps were not optimally placed.  However, we decided to surge forward.

We used the posted 3.0 army lists for both forces.  Ryan deployed the following elements for the Kappadokians: 1 x Cv (Gen), 2 x Kn, 2 x LH, 5 x Ax, and 2 x Ps.  He deployed his foot on the difficult hill, backed by cavalry.  The Light Horse were posted on the right flank.
I still haven't decided if the Horde choice is worthwhile with the early Spartans, but I went with 11 x Sp and 1 x Hd, using the Hd to protect my camp.  I grouped all by two spear elements together, placing the remain two spear on the right flank.

When the game began, both of us were favored with lots of PIPs in the first turns.  However, Ryan decided to play very conservatively, keeping his forces in the rough going.  I took the bait, moving my first file of Spartans forward. 

I knew that I would suffer penalties fighting in the rough, but I didn't appreciate the cumulative effect of terrain and support modifications until it was too late.  (I also made an error in the rear support factor adjustments, which I first noticed writing this blog post!)  I moved into the rough, and Ryan advanced and made contact in his turn.  The auxilia gained a terrain advantage being uphill (+1), and errantly received Psiloi support factor of +1.  (The auxilia shouldn't have received this support factor, since the opposing force was not mounted or warbands).  The Spartan spears suffered negative modifiers due to fighting in rough going (-2) and due to overlapping enemy units (-1).  I lost two Spear elements on my right flank, and expected worse results to follow.  I was not disappointed. 

I tried to move two Spear elements toward the Kappadokian camp in an act of desperation.  The Light Horse circled back, threatening to end the game right away, and Kappadokian auxilia threatened my flank. Surprisingly, I fought off the Light Horse on one round, but the end was near when the Auxilia attacked my Spear line again, and Ryan committed his two Knight elements to the battle.
While the Spartan General looked for reserves, it was too late.  In the next round of melee, I lost two more Spear elements, ending the game.

 All in all, Ryan and I enjoyed the terrain set-up rules.  I found the old rules a bit frustrating, since we seemed to end up with a road running across the battlefield in many games.  Obviously, our sample size of DBA games is small, but I do find it more realistic that the armies will approach along a road, instead of duking it out across a road.  The need to deploy units closer together also changed the game dynamics somewhat.  For a newcomer, the terse wording and nonstandard grammatical structures used in the DBA rules is daunting.  I remain confused on the meaning of several sections in the rules.  I'll cover those sections in my next posting.  If any DBA veterans notice mistakes that we made in this game, please post comments!

1 comment:

  1. The invader does not "place" terrain on a '6', it only gets to determine which quarter it is placed in; the defender still places all terrain.

    The Spartans probably learned why they don't want to choose Woods and Difficult Hills as their terrain choices. You can now load up on Roads and basically make an open board.

    Good report!