Fellow Fanantici Pavane (Will M.) was in town this past Saturday and we got together to give Phil Barker’s newest rule set (De Bellis Magistrorum Militum) a try. We chose the DBMM100 variant since it was closest to DBA.
The best match-up that we had figures for was Alexandrian Macedonian vs Classical Indian. Here are the lists we used:
Alexandrian Macedonian 352 BC (124.5AP)
1x C-in-C Reg. Kn (F)
2x Companions Reg. Kn (F)
16x Phalangites Reg. Pk (O)
1x Cretans Reg. Ps (O)
2x Thessalian Cav. Reg. Cv (O)
1x Hypaspists Reg. Ax (S)
23 elements, 124.5AP, 27.5ME
Disheartened 6.9ME, Routed 9.1ME
1 x C-in-C w/Elephants – Irr El (O)
2 x Elephants – Irr El (O)
2 x Heavy Chariots – Irr Kn(S)
2 x Cavalry – Irr Cv(I)
8 x Hereditary & Mercenary Archers – Irr Bw(O)
1 x Hereditary & Mercenary Javelinmen – Irr Bd(I)
2 x Command Baggage – Irr Bge(I)
18 elements, 125AP, 27ME
Disheartened 6.9ME, Routed 9.1ME
Apparently I screwed up the cost of my general! Oh well, on to the report.
Will placed the terrain and here is the initial deployment. Figuring out how we deployed was a little difficult, but the above shot is what we ended up with. Will placed his jumbos in the center, flanked by his heavy chariots. His bow took the wings of his army. His cav elements were between the chariots and bow on his left flank. His blade was tucked in the back. My Macedonians deployed with the pike block in the center (4 ranks deep), Thessalian cav on the left flank, Companions on the right, and Hypaspists and Cretans on the far right in the steep hill.
Will’s center surges forward and his cavalry re-deploy, forming column and moving to the right flank. Running out of pips, Will leaves his bow behind. I simply moved up as a groups. (We totally screwed up march moves, etc.)
The Macedonian view.
Will begins a string of low pip rolls that haunt him the entire game. He moves up an element of bow to protect his flank. Realizing the stroke of luck that cam my way with Will getting pip lock, I race to make contact. My knights hang back to let the auxiliaries switch spots to get a better match up against the elephants. The Thessalians hang back to see how things develop on Will’s right flank (dumb move, should have attacked).
Will gets some pips and ruins my day. He reinforces his right flank with his bow (in DBMM, bow can be supported by a rear rank of bow). I pulled the rest of my elements into line. I knew that if I was going to have any chance I had to hit him as fast as I could!
Contact! The result of combat during my bound. I send one of his elephants and one of his heavy chariots reeling into the foolish cavalry trying to maneuver behind the lines! I was really excited until we realized that they didn’t die as they would in DBA. Grr…it was gonna be a real fight now.
Another round of combat. Will wisely got his cavalry out of the way. His bow obliterate an element of Thessalian cavalry and recoil a column of pike. His jumbo locks against the Hypaspists (who don’t get Psiloi support!). The pikes double a jumbo and recoil the HC. The other HC locks with the Companions.
The pikes push forward effectively breaking the Indian line. But there are problems on the flanks: The Thessalians are getting bejeebers shot out of them, the Hypapists get clobbered by the Indian general and the Companions cannot beat the HC (we were counting flanks on the Kn (F) when we shouldn’t have, may have made a differece, I doubt it). Will’s bows on his left finally moved up–things were looking really bad. This was not helped by me rolling ones for combat constantly!
Poof! Two elements of Companions disappear, one to shooting, the other to the HC. Will continues to move his cavalry through the steep hill. His general whittles down a column of pike.
Blammo! The pike are dying in droves now, despite closing the door on the Indian general and the HC. The other HC makes quick work of Alexander. My army is routing at this point. With the death of my general the game was over, with units routing like crazy.
A few thoughts. This game was similar to DBA, but not. The old ricks don’t really work and the gradings make a big difference. I enjoyed the game but worry about constantly forgetting the rules. As an example of what we got wrong, I’ll reprint Will’s observations from Fanaticus:
Here is what we did wrong (based on a quick re-read):
• PIP Expenditures:
– Pikes are 0 PIPs for 1st march, not tactical move. We allowed your Pk to use the free PIP for tactical moves
– Command Difficulty when General starts bound in close combat. My El-Gen was in close combat for most of the game and your Kn-Gen started fighting near the end.
– Irregular Ineptness penalty for holding troops. I held my impetuous Irregular heavy chariots Kn(S) a couple of times for one PIP.
• March Moves: March move within 400p and into combat with non-LH, non-Ps. We didn’t limit your march moves, and allowed you to march into close combat (to my chagrin). You can only march into combat with LH/Ps or into flank/rear contact.
• Spontaneous Advance: Spontaneous advance out of non-moving column to overlap. Your column of Kn had contacted my heavy chariot, so on your subsequent bound the second Kn could have moved into overlap for 0 PIP.
• Distant Combat: The target choice for a shooter is the enemy element closest to straight ahead. At one time my four Bw shot at one of your Cv as multiple shooters, but there was a second Cv that one of the aiding shooters should have fired at as a primary shooter.
• Grading Factors: You often forgot your Ax were (S).
– I often forgot that there were no overlaps vs. mounted in my own bound
– We missed completely that no overlaps on Kn(F) in wedge
– El only provide overlap support for El and foot
• DBMM100 deployment: We used the main rules (modified for board size), when there are clear deployment distance limits.
• I’m not sure if the army (command) can be broken command in DBMM100. They mention Disheartened and Defeated, but notice that the conditions are greater than or equal to, where the main rules are greater than only. I wonder if Broken applies. We will have to ask on the DBMMlist.
Overall, I don’t think DBMM100 is the best way to experience DBMM, for a small game I would simply play DBA. I really like that DBMM has done away with the crappy geometrical ploys, but I’m not sure the army lists work well in such a small playing area and limited points available. I think I would like to try DBMM200 next.