[DBA 3.0] Solo battle: II32a Later Carthaginians v II33 Polybian Romans

Posted on July 5, 2017

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Today (1 July 2017) just felt right for having a wargame, and since I’m not organised enough to head over to the Hutt Wargaming Club and join it, I decided to write some solo adaptations so I could run a DBA 3.0 game by myself.

Overall an incredibly good balanced solo game resulted, where my own preferences were taken out of the equation.

Solo rule tweaks

1. Posture (option selection): assuming there to be element options, each side dices as usual for aggressor/defender, but also opts for ‘posture’ based on odd or even result of the d6:

1,3,5=options favour defence

2,4,6=options favour attack

Defensive: this side’s options are the ones that rely more on the enemy advancing. For example if a choice includes artillery, artillery is chosen.

Attacking: this side’s options are the ones most likely to take the fight to the enemy. For example if a choice of foot or mounted, mounted is chosen.

Note that a 2nd dice should be rolled at the same time to decide deployment (3 below), or aggressor dice score needs to be noted down now.

2. Terrain:

Option 1, 3d6 per quarter.

Divide the board into quarters as per rulebook, but just roll 3 distinct dice for each.

1st dice is the x axis

2nd dice is the y axis

3rd dice is size (or possibly height – needs a bit of teaking – for example a 1 would be no height, a 6 might be at least 2 edges are impassable)

And if x=y, the piece either runs across the quadrant or sits on an edge, depending on value.

This option then proceeds to side selection as per rulebook.

Option 2, select/de-select.

The defender lays out terrain as usual, the aggressor may de-select two items or select one. An element that corsses two quadrants counts as two items. A BUA may not be de-selected, but may be altered to be walled or unwalled as a selection choice.

This option cancels the rulebook side selection: the defender simply chooses and sets camp.

3. Deployment:This relates back to posture in (1) above. Allowing for terrain restrictions, each side’s deployment is governed by a second dice roll, added to the aggressor d6:

11,12: Left-weighted. At least four elements are included fully within the left third of deployment zone

9-10: Right-weighted. At least four elements or three including command are included fully within the right third of deployment zone

5-8: Centre-weighted. Command and at least four other elements are included fully within the centre third of deployment zone

2-4: Reserved. A defensive posture army includes at least three elements as a reserve; an attacking posture army must leave a strong defender element in its camp.

4. Axis: Each round an extra distinct dice is rolled:

1-3: Continue on existing axis of attack.

4,5: Shift axis of attack left. If already left, axis rotates around to right.

6: Shift axis of attack right. If already right, axis rotates around to left.

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The game

Set-up phase 1, defender/posture

Later Carthaginian II32a Ag4+[rnd3]=7; defensive posture

Polybian Roman II33 Ag3=[rnd4]=7; attacking posture

In the event the posture is more useful than the normal aggressor dicing. The two opponents score the same total, but Polybian Romans (PRom) [rnd4] score attacking posture and Later Carthaginians (LCart) [rnd3] score defensive.

No need to reroll.

This is how the two sides are composed given the posture of each:

LCart

CvGen, Cv, 2xLH (1xIberian, 1xNumidian) 3xLibyan 4Sp, 1xLigurian 4Ax, 2xIberian 4Ax, 2xPs (1x javelin, 1x sling).

PRom

CvGen (tribune), Cv (equites),  4x4Bd (2xhastati, 2xprincipes) 2x4Sp (triarii) 2x4Ax (bruttii) 2xPs (velites) 1xCF.

Set-up phase 2, terrain and side

I use the 3d6 option. I’m not sure I got this right and make a note to tweak this next time. What I can say is that randomness took the danger of favouring one side over the other, out of the equation.

PRom nominate, and get, the ‘cluttered’ end of the board, woods on right, low hill near centre, low hill left flank.

Set-up phase 3, deployment

LCart as defender begins. They have a [3] from the posture dice and roll a further [6] for a total of 9. That means right-weighted deployment. Camp is set down on the right third.

PRom have a [4] from posture and roll [4] again for a total of 8, which means centre-weighted. Camp is set down at centre.

I find this takes the ‘heat’ out of solo deployment, where it is all too easy to second-guess and give one side a big advantage. To make it even easier, when I set up PRom second, I do a form of blind set-up so as not to look too closely at the LCart.

Deployment notes:

LCart: 1xLibyan Sp is placed in camp. Posture does not mandate this but they are defensive and there is no friendly terrain to block an advance on the camp. LH are on the right, outside of Ps Cv and command. So 7 elements including command and camp are in the right third. In hindsight there is no need to crowd LH forward to the ‘start line’. I’m not a naturally defensive player.

PRom: A centre deployment actually makes the job of deciding what goes on the flanks a bit harder. Following the manual I keep triarii in reserve with tribune and equites behind them. The velites are ready for a quick run to the woods.

Round 1

LCart PIP6, axis 6=switch right (axis rotates round to left)

LH wheel and race across to the left flank! Main body wheels left, Ps spead out to at least mark the right flank.

PRom PIP6, axis 1=stick to plan

Unconcerned, tribune sends velites flying to the woods, hastati extend onto low hill, principes advance in column, and the Brutti head left to dominate the Ps.

Round 2

LCart PIP1, axis 6=switch right

LH are left as is, instead Iberian Cv are detached to counter Ax. Here I confess to fluffing the Cv move and short-changing them, but I did it consistently throughout the game. A simple wheel of the main body would have achieved much the same, had I realised that Cv can race 4BW.

PRom PIP5, axis 4=switch left

Tribune sends his equites to bolster the Brutti and extends principes and Brutti to form a strong line.

Round 3

LCart PIP1, axis 4=switch left

It’s time to get the centre moving! The wheel that probably should have been made last bound occurs.

PRom PIP2, axis 4=switch left (rotates to right)

Tribune uses those velites to ZOC the LCart LH. Distance is beginning to hurt.

Round 4

LCart PIP4, axis 5=switch left

General feeds elements left to counter the velites and with the extra PIPs pulls the LH out.

PRom PIP1, axis 2=remain right

The rearmost velites filters into the woods to ZOC the Ligurian Ax! The woods-bound velites is now out of command range.

Round 5

LCart PIP1 axis 1=remain left

Ps are too tempting a target! Melee: even (I messed up – Ps should recoil from solid Ax). Ligurians are also out of range.

PRom PIP4, axis 6=switch right (rotates round to left)

Principes and Brutti advance and equites sweep round to menace the hapless Ps. Reserves (triarii and tribune) advance, gaining enough command range to send uncommitted velites in.

Melee: Ligurian Ax lose by 2, not doubled, recoil

Round 6

LCart PIP6, axis 3=remain left

Pips are spent left to begin with, Iberian Ax reinforcing the Ligurians, and LH flank-lap velites to menace the PRom right. Spare PIPs can now be spent: LibySp double up, releasing reserve Iberian Ax.

Melee 1: Ax +3 v Ps +2-1 lapped: Ps doubled and destroyed.

Melee 2: Ax +3 v Ps +2-1 lapped: Ps not doubled, recoils.

PRom PIP2, axis 6=switch right (to centre)

Hastati advance down from the hill, tribune moves to a handy central post behind them.

Round 7

LCart PIP5, axis 6=switch right (to centre)

Not a perfect answer but general moves up to bring himself and reserves into line, pulls his Iberian Ax in the woods away and uses LH to ZOC hastati.

PRom PIP2, axis 2=remain centre

Hastati turn to face and tribune pulls back to low hill, potentially menacing LH.

Round 8

LCart PIP2, axis 1=remain centre

Time for a decision! General, Liby Sp and Iberian Ax charge, and LH pulls well back.

Melee: Roman line has to shift, so melee resolves to CvGen (4-1 lapped) v Bd (3-1 lapped). Draw=CvGen recoils as per 3.0 rules.

PRom PIP3, axis 2=remain centre

Tribune uses the chance to reform hastati on reserve triarii

Round 9

LCart PIP4, axis 6=shift to right flank

The PRom left looks congested! Cv engage Brutti, then the entire battle line closes up.

Melee 1: CvGen [rnd6]+4 v Bd [rnd4]+3-1 lapped=10:6, Bd recoil

Melee 2: Cv [rnd4]+3 v Brutti 4Ax [rnd3]+3=7:6, Ax recoil (pushing equites back)

Melee 3: Ps [rnd3]+2 v Brutti 4Ax [rnd6]+3-1 lapped=5:8, Ps recoil

Melee 4: Ps [rnd5]+2-1 lapped v Bd [rnd6]+5-1 lapped=6:10, Ps recoil

PRom PIP2, axis 1=remain centre

Tribune only spends one, advancing hastati and triarii to join the general line of battle.

Round 10

LCart PIP4, axis 6= shift right (rotates to left flank)

Using 2 PIPs owing to woods, the far-left Ligurians slam into Ps, while the general pulls out and uses LibySp to mark Bd.

Melee: 4Ax [rnd5]+3 v velites [rnd3]+2=8:5, velites recoils.

PRom PIP2, axis 3=remain centre

Charge! With the second PIP, triarii double. Not that this actually helps, in 3.0.

Melee 1: Bd [rnd1]+5 v Sp [rnd5]+4-1lapped=6:8, Bd recoil

Melee 2: Bd [rnd4]+5 v 4Ax [rnd1]+3= 9:4, Ax destroyed

Melee 3: Bd [rnd1]+5 v 4Ax [rnd2]+3-1 lapped=6:4, Ax recoil

Melee 4: Bd [rnd4]+5-1lapped v Sp [rnd2]+4-1lapped=8:5, Sp recoil

Round 11

LCart PIP3, axis 3=remain left

CvGen shifts full left (again, not a 3.0 full move!) and is now in command range of Liguirian Ax. They charge the stubborn velites while an LH element marks the velites so that a recoil will be fatal.

Melee: 4Ax [rnd2]+3 v Ps [rnd6]+2=5:8, Ax recoil

PRom PIP1, axis 6=switch right

No sense writing off the lone velites – tribune charges LH to put pressure there.

Melee: CvGen [rnd2]+4 v LH [rnd2]+2=6:4, LH recoil

Round 12

LCart PIP5, axis 6=shift right (to centre)

Lots of tidy-up to do with the 5 PIPs. The entire LCart battle line reforms.

PRom PIP5, axis 2=remain right

Both velites (in order to avoid being recoiled to death) and tribune charge. With plenty of spare points the PRom battle line charges and massed melee ensues!

Melee 1: CvGen [rnd6]+4 v LH [rnd1]+2=10:3, LH destroyed

Melee 2: Bd [rnd6]+5 v 4Ax [rnd5]+3=11:8, Ax recoils

Melee 3: triarii 4Sp [rnd6]+4+1 support v Libyan 4Sp [rnd5]+4-1 lapped=11:8, LibySp recoils

Melee 4: Bd [rnd3]+5 v Ps [rnd 6]+2=8:6, Ps recoils

Melee 5: Bd [rnd 1]+5 v 4Sp [rnd6]+4-2 double-lapped=6:8, Bd recoils

Melee 6: Brutti 4Ax [rnd1]+3-1 lapped v Ps [rnd6]+2-1 lapped=3:7, Brutti 4Ax destroyed

Melee 7: velites Ps [rnd2]+2 v Ligurian 4Ax [rnd2]+3=4:5, Ps recoils

Round 13

LCart PIP5, axis 4=shift to left

Over in the woods the Ligurian 4Ax charge again, while LH shut the velites in this time. Spare PIPs are spent tidying the line.

Melee: Ligurians with LH help finally destroy the velites!

PRom PIP4, axis 2=remain right

With an enemy LH and Ax suddenly unlocked, the right looks weak. Time to shift the equites over. That costs 2 PIPs as it is tucked over the far slope of the hill. Hastati charge forward and the tribune closes the gate on the enemy CvGen, in a high-risk move.

Melee 1: Bd [rnd1]+5 v 4Ax [rnd3]+3=6:6, no result

Melee 2: triarii 4Sp [rnd5]+4+1 supp -1 lapped v Liby4Sp [rnd5]+4+1 supp=9:10, triarii recoils

Melee 3: Bd [rnd5]+3 v CvGen [rnd3]+4-1 lapped=CvGen destroyed

The tally is 3:3 in terms of lost elements, the game continues

Round 14

LCart PIP1, no move possible

Melee: Iberian 4Ax [rnd6]+3-1 lapped v hastati Bd [rnd2]+5-1 lapped=8:6, Bd recoils

PRom PIP3, axis 5=shift left (to centre)

Tribune uses 3PIPs to charge, close door with hastati on Iberian 4Ax, and attack LibySp with triarii

Melee 1: hastati Bd [rnd3]+5 v Iberian 4Ax [rnd3]+3-1 lapped=8:5, 4Ax destroyed

Melee 2: triarii 4Sp [rnd5]+4+1 support v Liby4Sp [rnd6]+4+1supp-1lapped=10:10, no outcome

Melee 3: triarii 4Sp [rnd3]+4+1supp-1lapped v Liby4Sp [rnd2]+4+1supp=7:7, no outcome

Game over! PRom win taking 4Gen to 3

I’m really encouraged by these solo tweaks and will be using the same on the next one!

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