Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Enemies of Rome DBA Campaign

This weekend marked the first game day of the Ottawa Miniature Gamers 2012 Enemies of Rome campaign. This is my first ever DBA tournament and my first long term tournament in any system. Each turn represents a year of 3 campaign seasons - each with one battle per pair of players. We start with a strategic map laying out the various major cities of the world of Late Republican / Early Imperial Rome and their transport interconnections. The map is also populated by various support armies loyal to a specific side.

Since we have six players, we  used a simple dice roll to decide which side attacks for each of three possible battles. For each attack that side specifies an enemy location it can reach from a city it owns then adds in 3 element support contingents from adjacent supporting armies as available and desired. The defender then adds in any support contingents they wish to use and it is off to the games table to play out the battle.

Attacker and defender both can use what armies they wish from their side but on the terrain of the actual area where the battle takes place. This results in interesting things like Celts in the desert and Pikes figuring out swamp wading tactics One notable point is that support contingents do not increase the break point of the army. Further, they only come on on a roll of 6 on their pip die. Once the battle is complete, any support contingents on the losing side dice for survival depending on the win-loss ratio of the battle. Once a contingent is used, it is spent for the year and cannot be used again. Dead contingents can be replaced at recruiting centres in the non-campaign season. Movement across water of the main army or supporting contingent can incur shipping losses depending on season and a die roll.

Unfortunately I had the tail end of the flu on game day so I am a little weak on some of the details. Following the advice of the original Purple Primer, I decided to stick with British as my main army and also - perhaps foolishly - used Ancient Brits for my supports as well.

Battle 1

I took a fairly standard army into the deserts of North Africa with 2xPs, 2xLh, 6xWb and a LCh General with another to keep him company. In support I took 3xLCh that due to their point of origin, would come in on my left board edge. Opposing me Duncan had some eastern army with at least one Nellie, some pikes and a mass of cavalry. Duncan had rolled poorly on the ocean crossing and had a core of 7 bases - The game was almost won! The first turn or two was spent with me moving my Wb into a rough patch and both of us jockeying our horses about as I tried to line up the Lh with the elephant. About turn 3, Duncan got his support contingent roll and moved a group of Cv onto the my left side of the board from his baseline. Turn 4 I got my roll and thinking like a Celt entered my LCh on the left as well to hit Duncan's support in the flank and end the game.

As it turned out - it didn't work out quite that way. I was unable to shake the chariots out of column into line fast enough and wound up losing all three including one recoiled off the board edge. Meanwhile at board centre, my Lh spattered off the El with some assistance from Duncan's core Cv.  Four units lost and game over.  Lesson Learned: Don't fight with your weakest arm against your opponent's strongest and make sure you have enough room to maneuver.

Battle 2
 Let's just get this over with quickly please? I forget the opposing army though it doesn't really matter other than it was foot heavy. I advanced my Wb (in two ranks to get the +1) across the board even using the extra move to contact because I was just that confident my boys would break through. After all my general was supporting them from the second rank.  That's right the second rank. With their general cheering them on from behind, in goes the first Wb with a +1 from his C in C - and loses taking the C in C with him. I lost my general + more game over thanks to utter stupidity on my part.  This match was over so quickly, we reset and went at it again. Same setup but with my general in front. I steam rollered my opponent.

Battle 3
This time I was up against Nick and his Marian Romans.  I had two supports for this match up both from my base edge and I went Wb heavy with just the obligatory pair of Lh to ward off the opposing horsies.. Pips were ok and we stomped across the board towards each other. Nick did some fancy wheeling about that I was able to match but which allowed him to chose the moment of contact.  Decision time found me two deep for the +1 but overlapped and facing Bd with Ps support. The first combat saw my overlapped boys go down under the Roman pila shower but the second pair stuck, removing the overlap and setting up the Romans to go down under a flurry of quick kills. At this point Nick decided to roll 6's lots and lots of 6's. Do you remember the scene in Gladiator where Maximus is galumphing through the Spanish wheat field? Well Nick was wearing Russel Crowe's sandals and my poor boys in blue body paint were the wheat stalks getting stomped under rusty Roman hobnails. Four dead end of game.

Oh those two support contingents I mentioned earlier? Over 4 or 5 turns, neither rolled a six to get on the board.

My fellow barbarians fared a little better winning two games and preventing our total humiliation. We retreated to lick our wounds and ponder how best to use the services of a minor Thracian slave currently in chains deep in the heart of enemy territory - Spartacus.....

A good learning experience even with the embarrassment of my stupid error the second game.