Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DBA 3.0 test run

I just got my copy of the DBA 3.0 rules.  I sort of gave up on DBA for a while due to the arguing about the benefits of 3.0 v 2.2 v 2.2+.  No need to bore you with all the details but suffice to say I had enough and haven't played the game for an age.  But as these things died down I decided to read some reviews, which lead to me buying a copy of 3.0 and trying it out.

So last night my son and I played out a battle between the Mongol (my son) and the Picts (me).  We went with what we had with armies from DBA 2.2 that were suitable to use and the same can be said for the terrain.  Some if it (terrain) in the end may have been a bit small but it is what we used.  So to the battle and then my 3.0 early thoughts.

Battle Report - Mongols v Picts

Ok so the Picts were the defenders in this scenario and the terrain layout really gave them an advantage.  We saw two ploughed fields in play and based on the Mongols first PIP roll being a 1, then the rains had been and ground was heavy.  Two wooded areas also in the deployment zone for the Mongols meant some challenges at deployment.

This map shows the map and the opening move from the Picts (who were in the browner bases and moving from the left of the pic). 

The plan for the Picts was to close off the access to the large good going area to his forces and leverage the wooded areas as spaces that he might fear to go.  And so in the first bound, whilst advancing the centre slowly, the right flank skirmishers charged out of the muddy field into the woods to threaten the Mongols.  

I knew I was possibly sentencing these guys to death but if they could slow the advancing horsemen, then maybe it would buy time for the pikes to get into place.  Death advanced and the skirmishers in the woods stood brave against the horsemen.

One of the Psoloi lost his battle, but the other stood firm, buying us time.

Lucky for me the PIPs were in short supply for the Mongols and before I knew it I was on top of him blocking the gap in the woods.

And so we come to the crunch.  I had the Mongols where I wanted them, now for some luck and who knows the Picts might come out victorious.

The Pictish line pressed in with spears bristling .  The outer flanks of the line had to contend with the forest.  But the press meant that we could now force them to turn and face us.  The general dispatched his right side light horse to the woods to help out the lone skirmishers.  Meanwhile with the enemy pinned the reserve skirmishes force started to move towards the front.

The Mongols were still hampered by poor communication giving only very few PIPs to the general to get messages out.  His light horse turned to face the advancing pikes, but we either repelled or forced to flee.  And now the issue of space became real for the Mongols as their units started to run out of space to recoil to - and the Picts still advanced slowly.

Finally with the Mongols faltering in their centre as they had nowhere to retreat to, they got the message to their left flank - advance on the troops in the woods.  The did so with great success and swept them away and then rounded on the Pictish left side of their pikes.  The battle was hanging in the balance.  Who won this side would break the morale of the opponent and would be swept to victory.

And so it was that the Pictish pikes held firm in the woods and drove back the swarming light cavalry. With the loss on their left the Mongols broke and the Pictish general was victorious.

Initial Thoughts on DBA 3.0

So that was my first run at DBA 3.0.  It was in someways like putting back on that old pair of shoes.  It felt comfortable.  But at the same time there was enough of a difference to make it feel different.  These were:

  • terrain deployment - I really like the way it worked.  It felt like I had a bit of tactics happening even during deployment, and my opponent felt a bit the same when he got to choose some placements too.
  • movement - wow, the move to base widths instead of paces for movement made the movement seem to happen very quickly.  I am not sure that LH have the same advantage that they used to have.
  • combat results - this seemed good but it will take a little time to find my feet.  Things have changed a little here, but the diagrams in the rule book are gold - it sure beats having to deal with the convoluted English and obtuse places for rules.
  • fast v steady troops - still a bit to learn here.
All in all, I am very happy with DBA 3.0 and can't wait to test out some of my Dark Age armies - bring on the Saxons v Vikings battles!

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