Tuesday, 4 March 2014

DBMM First Battle of Magnesia: Part 1 (Into the Maelstrom)

Two months into the year (2014) and I finally got an opportunity to play a wargame, A re-fight he First Battle of Magnesia to be precise, Republican Rome versus the Seleucid Successors of Alexander the Great, in 190BC.

It is a case of the might of the Republican Legion [blade and spear] versus the Pike Phalanx [pike] (see below)

I joined a battle 'already in motion' with the flanking wing actions out of the way and the heavy infantry about to get stuck in. By this time the Romans have to win in the center as the wings look ahem, "lost". The central skirmish lines are being brushed to the rear as the pikes lower to charge (see below):

As seen from from behind the Seleucid center, I am commanding the "Red", "Yellow" and "Green" Legions in the top half of the picture (see below):

The eagle eyes view depicts the threat to Roman line.

In addition to four huge phalanxes the Seleucid have two murderous elephants and a line of deadly Knight Cataphracts waiting in reserve to run down the legion in "quick kill" fashion (see below, middle left):

The left most legion in the Roman line is heavily engaged (see above). Its left flank rests on a river. The first surge of the Seleucid phalanx is checked and a local Roman counterattack has a fleeting opportunity to attack an exposed "Seleucid general" (see bottom middle below):  

The only down-side to the game is that we are playing under the DBMM rule set. I play it only under duress. These games always seems to start off on the right tack but then devolve into ever so frequent disputes over "how the rules read and are interpreted", this even after "years of playing". I always feel that this "bottom up" set of rules is more geometry based rather than historical simulation/game, lacking formation morale and army cohesion (for alternative "better" examples see Impetus, Lost Battles, Strategos II and even Fields of Glory). Sorry rant over.

IMHO there always seems to be an unexplained counter intuitive element to the rules which need just a little more of a plain speaking or diagram for me to "get it". They sometimes seem to work fine, but then along comes the DBMM "Barker moment" with a twenty minute discussion on whether a living and dying by +1/-1 modifier is to be applied or not. Or maybe it's just me (possibly/probably).

So far it still looks very, very pretty. In fact it is a joy just to see so many well painted figures on the table.



Prufrock said...

Certainly does look good!

DeanM said...

Great looking phalanxes!