DBA at NatCon2010 (Days Two and Three): Refighting Rome’s Great Disasters

15 April, 2010

I’m somewhat behind in my blog, so this will be a short report. The last two days of NatCon involved refighting Rome’s great disasters: Bagradas Plains (Regulus v. Xanthippus), Carrhae, Teutoburger Wald and Tribola. Most of these will be familiar, but Tribola, for those, like me, who don’t know, was in 147BC in Spain during Viriathus’ uprising and saw Viriathus ambush and destroy nearly half of a Roman force of 10,000. I started as Xanthippus and rolled up the Romans, though at the end of it there was still an element of Triarii, which denied me 2 points. It helped that the Carhaginians had 4 elephants that cost nothing to move if they went straight ahead!

In the second I was Marcus Vetilius facing Viriathus. I got off to a slow start and was hemmed in by the fast-moving Spanish. However, Vetilius gallantly charged some Celtiberians and destroyed them. He continued to hold back another double-ranked group of them for a number of turns, and then when he had the PIPs to fall back to gain support on both flanks his luck deserted him and he was overrun by the Celtiberians. Perhaps, his men felt this retreat suggested he didn’t trust them and they lost heart! I was all but destroyed, but when time was called my camp had remarkably held out, denying the Lusitanians a clean sweep.

I then took the part of Viriathus and managed to crush the Romans (getting great PIPs early didn’t hurt!). It got a bit messy when we came to dice for capturing the camp, which had a Bd in it. I thought I’d taken it, and then my opponent recalculated the results showing that it was a draw. I then threw everything against the camp (we just rolled for combat outcomes, ignoring PIPs, etc.). I took huge casualties, ignored for the purposes of the scenario, but if I’d not been caught on the hop by thinking it was all over, I’d have used my LH against the camp, who were indestructable and had the same factors as Ps-supported Ax or double-ranked Wb. Anyway, I did take it with the last element of Ax, but there was some impressive carnage.

After lunch I was Regulus, I garrisoned the camp with some Triarii and sent the other element out to the right flank. I advanced on his elephants with Ps-supported Bd and had some very good results (aided by phenomenal combat dice; in particular a lone Ax on the left flank refused to die and actually destroyed some LH, despite being flanked). Eventually my centre crumbled, but I still had some cavalry and one Triarii on the left flank at time. Lots of fun.

My last game was Carrhae. I seemed to be doing quite well for a while (the objective was to get Bd off the table when they started in the centre with Parthians on all four board edges). However, distracted by some early successes I never really decided which edge to head for and was eventually destroyed.

These were great scenarios. The Romans really had little hope, so it was a matter of trying to achieve that great Roman objective of dying with dignity. However, there was one upset; in the last refight of Bagradas, the Carthaginians, whose elephants were not adequately supported, were actually defeated.

On the morning of the last day we had a BBDBA of Teutoburger Wald. The Romans were in column along a road that stretched along 4 game boards. The German commands arrived randomly at six points on the board. The Romans managed to demoralize some four or five German commands (they kept coming back like hordes in HOTT!), until we called it time. It was a victory for the Romans, although they’d not made it to the camp at the end of the board and a couple of their command were close to being demoralized.

All in all, then, the weekend was a lot of fun. In fact, some of the competitors in the ‘serious’ rule-sets commented that we seemed to be having a lot more fun than them. The organizers are both going to Conquest, so I hope to see them there later this year. Thanks again, Brett and Bryan, for organizing this.


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