Sunday, August 8, 2010

Middle Imperial Romans vs Caledonians

This was my very first DBA battle.  I hadn't been able to get DBAOL working on my computer, and in any case I didn't like the idea of having to pay to play!  I'd played a practise game using cardboard counters with me playing both sides, just to learn the rules, so I felt like I had a reasonable handle on them.  As it turns out, I did, but I also made a few bad mistakes which almost cost me the game, and both me and my opponent misunderstood some rules that we only figured out a few games later.

I was playing II/64b Middle Imperial Romans East, with:
3CvG, 3Cv, 2x2LH, 3Bd, 3x4Bd, 3x4Ax, 2Ps

My opponent was playing II/60 Caledonians, with:
3WbG, 2xLCh, 8x3Wb, 2Ps

Caledonians are a historical matchup for II/64a, not II/64b, but do I care?  No.  My opponent was using 3Cv instead of LCh since he didn't have any chariots, which again is fine by me.

Here's the battlefield setup:  (Click pictures to embiggen.  For some reason I've labelled his LCh which we were playing as 3Cv as Kn.  Go figure...)

Two gentle hills, a patch of rough, and a river separating us.  I deployed in columns to cross the river, hopefully before the barbarians could rush up and smash me.  I wanted to get my Ax into the rough to slow his advance while my Bd and Ps formed a line with LH on the left and Cv on the right.  The Caledonians deployed in a wide formation, planning to advance his Cv around the rough to threaten my camp while his Ps advanced through the rough to delay my Ax.

The river turned out to be a slow crossing but fortunately I rolled high pips and got across the river in good order.  His pips were low which gave me plenty of time to form a line.  In the rough, my Ax killed his Ps after a bit of push and shove.  Most notably, one of my Ax was recoiled at an angle and then got in the way of my recoiling Cv, which died.  My other two Ax somehow got one of his Cv into the rough, made it flee, chased it down and killed it.

On the left, my LH elements got cocky and frontally charged his Wb to try to disrupt his lines.  Sadly, one of them stuck, he closed the door on a LH and killed it.  The other one withdrew and raced around behind the lines to undertake more conventional duties.

In the centre, my line of Ps-backed Bd was rolling well after losing an element early on to the Wb's quick kill.  They killed two Wb in return, giving me the game, 4-3.

Final dispositions and major movements:

What I learned from this game:
  1. Painted armies look nicer.
  2. LH are more useful when you don't charge them straight into the enemy.
  3. Pay attention to the alignment of units in order to avoid getting them killed by awkward recoils.
  4. I didn't really know how to use my Cv.  They ended up being far too cramped and didn't contribute to the battle.
What I didn't learn from this game:
  1. Wb are actually okay in bad going.  It took 3 more games to figure this out!
  2. Keeping the total number of groups small in case you get a low pip roll can save your bacon.

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