Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Ancient Battles with DBA Version 3: Sparta versus Argive (Part 1)

Now DBA and DBM (in particular) has a troubled past with me. DBA holds so much promise but IMHO (and I recognise it is mine not necessary 'others' belief) DBM is a "breaking bad" of a good set of rules. Even so DBA has it's "moments" too. I hummed and hawed but having "missed the boat" the first time snapped up a copy of DBA V3.0 when I saw a copy advertised on the WRG site.

I eagerly read the core "battle rule section" DBA Version 3.0 and liked the content (insert "all smiles" emoticon!). It cleared up lots of wriggles that had crept into the various versions of DBA 2.X's and to my delight correctly defined "a gap" being less that 40mm (let's not go there). The use of "base width" movement measurements and the need to spend one turn on the side (or overlap) before the "closing the door" move, I really liked (it was also a Redcar wargamers "house rule"). Hence I jumped at a simple Greek on Greek [Argive verus Sparta] run out with the rules against one of my favoured adversaries. We randomly rolled for sides, I became Sparta and my old PhD supervisor strode in as the troublesome Argives (see below, the hoplites phalanxes line up in a suitably flat plain in Greece as per normal - courtesy as it happens of the new deployment rules):

I opted for a thick double-ranked Spartan line, King as traditional to the right and helots to the left. I intended to keep well away from that troublesome looking wooded hill on my left flank. The Argives put their strength to their right but extended their line cunningly by thinning it out. The two units of Argive Psiloi took full advantage of the hill to their right (and the extra first turn moves allowed) on the first move (see above). Meanwhile I admired my scarlet line of Spartans (see below, I have started my line outside of the "edifice" as not to break up my battle-line as it was considered "rough going" and not suitable for a group move - Note: I regretted this later!):

The Argives, defending their turf from the aggressive invading Spartans (see below, can you spot anything funny? .. see post Part 2 for further details):

The phalanxes march forwards. The Spartan helots were left behind to act as a flank guard against the Argive Psiloi. Rather alarmingly I noted that I was overlapped by the Argives on both sides but thought my depth could puncture their "thin" line. I expected a "revolving door" style of battle as often happened with the ancients (see below):

The Argives closed to almost touching distance, even bringing out a Psiloi from the wood on my left flank to "worry" my last unit of Spartan hoplites. However it was pleasing to see that even the hoplites get on with it under the new "base width" movement system. I was however facing a DBA dilemma as I really could only "move forward" with my Spartan battle line. "Conformance rules" (meant you slip to the longer side overlap) would leave my Spartan King dangerously overlapped and that could spell a very short game indeed with but one bad dice roll (see below, three Argive figures on the overlap are my undoing and they will shift left which is not what the Spartan wants to happen):

The Spartan King was locked frontally but the rear rank of spears now has the movement to flip-out  and extend the Spartan right to conform to the Argives just where it is needed. It would however break the old adage "No one stands to the right of a Spartan King in line of battle"! The Spartans are notoriously superstitious and may not like this (lead figures have feelings too). Also I should have paid far more attention in my initial battle dispositions especially since I set up second. The Spartan King (me) had no excuses he had "messed up"!

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