We knew we had to play this one again. I was excited as the rules seem to be much more dynamic (than I remember DBA 2.x when we played) last time. However I had been giving spear a +1 rear support .. but that was wrong. How will it effect game play? Likewise would 12 a-side make a difference? There was only one way to find out. Again we randomly rolled for sides. Highest gets Sparta .. this time I played Argives and as defender I chose the terrain. Importantly the attackers chooses the baseline so "don't go building the Maginot line" as you won't get to man it! (see below, Sparta chose to rest her flank against a tree and put the Spartan King to the Right naturally - one issue I have with the [no support for rear rank] is that I can see no reason not to have a 'long thin line of hoplites' however this means you cannot fit them into the deployment zones so have unnatural "column wings"):
Note: The defender chooses terrain, the attacker the orientation of the battle field and baseline sides, but the defender moves first which seems to balance out nicely in game play.
As history suggests I deployed my General to my right so a "revolving wheel of battle" can be expected. As the attackers deployed light of their left I am hoping much mischief will come of my Psilio in the woods and extra hoplite stand, plus General hoplite stand will avail me on my right. The helot hoard will be trying to keep out of the woods at all costs. The only ugly thing I see is the hoplite column for both armies on the left hand side of the picture. I have a heady six PiPs to play with so I push my Psilio forwards (2), my main battle line forwards in a group move (1 - excellent value 7 stands moved for 1 PiP), expand one hoplite out to my right flank with an individual stand tactical move (1) and through two more individual stand moves I expand out one stand to my left (perhaps I need only have spent one PiP in a column move). The only thing to note is that the battle line have to be constrained to the movement limit of the speed of the expanding hoplites, so they didn't two base widths forwards. As this was not a competition wargame we could discuss in game design terms was happening and what was a reasonable out, rather than reverting to "laser cut measuring tools" [I remember seeing that advertised once for DBM players] and Barkerite scripture reading. In out reasoned ruling the hoplites travelled a base depth less, so as we are playing with 15mm armies the hoplite battle line moved 65mm forwards and expanded a hoplite stand to either side (see below):
The Spartans were hindered by a poor PiP dice roll (2) so in a similar fashion moved their battle line 65mm forward and expanded to their right by one base, leaving the Spartan King no longer on the right of their line. However on with the battle, there was no time for these niceties there was a battle to fight (see below):
It should could as no surprise that I jumped at the chance to push my Psilio forwards; to occupy advantageous positions on both flanks. The key move to me was the Psilio in the woods to get into the flank or rear of the Spartan holite phalanx. I was just as happy if the Spartan wanted his Helots to mix it up with me. The Psilio on the left was more subtle as his job was to lurk menacingly without being caught, worry the Spartan by perhaps luring off a hoplite stand to chase him and perhaps at a later stage worry a Spartan from the rear if you pardon the expression (see below, I also ;like the fact that there is little or no wriggle room now, it is going to be a stand-up hoplite clash - push of spear!)
With no hanging about the Spartans came forwards expanding to either side. On their right they contemptuously ignored my Psilio and lengthened their battle line to "10v10" both sides with an overlap to their respective right hand sides. On their left the Spartan hoplite was constrained by the woods so is out of supporting play for this turn. The Helots warily tirn to face the hidden Psilio in teh woods (see below, all ready for the first round of combat using DBA V3.0 combat rules correctly this time):
Combat ensues and is a little more of a grind (without an additional +1 for hoplite rear support) but is still better than DBA V2.x IMHO. In summary: The "ends" can get hurt. The battle takes the form of a revolving door which is a classical hoplite battle shape. The Spartans push forwards with their right and are pushed back on their left with an unexpected catastrophic loss of a Spartan hoplite stand fighting the Argive General.
Note: Spartan hoplite spear end up left unsupported with a double overlap (+4 -1 -1 = +2) versus spear, General and flank support (+4 +1 +1 = +6). Spartan rolls low Argive high and "doubled" KIA.
Looking good from the Argive perspective (see below: Spartan 0 Argive 1):
Next: Can the Argive General take the initiative on the "wooded right" while holding firm on the Argive open left flank?