Return of the temporal anomaly (Carthaginians v. Pseudo-Patricians)

29 May, 2010

Last night I caught up with John for some DBA. We’re both going to the IWC DBA competition next year and are keen to get in some practice. I’m still getting to grips with my Carthaginians and John’s not played much DBA with figures for a while (he’s mostly been playing DBAOL). He’s thinking of using Late or Patrician Romans at the IWC Comp and as his armies are still in the process of being painted, or planned, I put together some Pseudo-Patricians, much as I did last year when I was practicing with my Picts. Clearly the Carthaginians have encountered that temporal anomaly that Bridei’s Picts ran into last year!

Hasdrubal was feeling somewhat better about things after defeating the Giant and his minions. He decided to sail back to Carthage, but when his fleet set to sea, it was caught in a peculiar storm and when they emerged from it they came across an unfamiliar island. On this island they found some very annoyed inhabitants. These were Lord Duncan, his retinue (3Cv) and light horse and skirmishers (2x2LH, 1x2Ps). He had managed to convince a motley crew of Norman adventurers (2x3Kn), Islemen (2xBd), Galwegians (2x3Wb) and Irish (2x3Ax) to join him on a piratical expedition, but they had run into a storm and been stranded on a miserable island until their tempers were very short.

To account for the anomaly in the size of the armies, one must assume that Hasdrubal’s forces had been scattered, yet he could muster a force that was proportional to his original force—remarkable! He fielded 1x3Cv, 1x2LH, 2xEl, 3x4Sp, 2x3Wb, 1x3Ax and 2x2Ps.

Despite the foul mood of Duncan and his men, Hasdrubal took the initiative and was the attacker. Duncan was forced to deploy with a wood in his battleline. He chose to put most of his BGo troops in it, with his cavalry on the right flank and his Islemen on the left. Hasdrubal positioned his Elephants to meet the Scots mounted, with the Caetrati to provide support in the BGo. He had his spear in the centre, flanked by the Numidians and the Gauls and Scutarii next to the woods on the right flank. Duncan swapped his light horse with his Islemen.

Initial Deployment: Duncan on the left and Hasdrubal on the right.

The woods proved no hindrance to Duncan as he surged ahead with a succession of high PIPs, while Hasdrubal struggled after an opening 5 PIPs, which allowed the Caetrati to advance quickly along the steep hill and try to ZOC the advancing cavalry.

As the Scots advanced, Hasdrubal became uneasy at the sight of the wild Galwegians, and ordered his psiloi forward to stop them, while trying to block one with an elephant.

Strangely apprehensive of the hairy Galwegians, Hasdrubal orders his elephants to intercept them.

The Galwegians showed a heroism that has not been present for a long time in battle records. In their early days they had a ferocious reputation, but recently they have fallen out with the Scots; perhaps it was absence of the Thegns that helped, but they went against the elephants with a little help from some Normans, and slaughtered them (dice = 6-1!). Only later did they hear that Duncan had only want them to go boo, which could have resulted in three casualties for the Carthaginians!

The Galwegians dance over a greasy patch left by the elephant; the Carthaginians behind are torn between feelings of horror and relief!

Still struggling with PIPs, Hasdrubal decided to see if he could break the centre of the Scots line, but first the Numidians, then the Libyan skirmishers got sticks, while the Gauls got a pushback, but if those Numidians had shown the fervour of the Galwegians …

Hasdrubal throws his light troops against the Scots centre, leaving his spear unsupported. In the foreground the Caetrati are shown recoiled from the last move, forgotten in the excitement of the slaughtered elephant.

Gallic fervour did not stand them in good stead when their pursuit led to being double-overlapped and destroyed. Both the Numidians and the Libyans fell back too, while the Caetrati fled.

Dismal performances by the Carthaginians, falling back on all fronts!

Fortunately things slowed down at this point, as the Scots struggled with PIPs. Hasdrubal continued his good form from the previous two battles when he destroyed those pesky Galwegians.

Some order is restored as the Carthaginian line reforms. The Libyan skirmishers return to the rear of the spear.

When the Scots barrel in on the next turn, the spear hold firm, but considering they were 5-1 against the knights the recoil was a disappointment.

The Scots' attack sees the Numidians fall back and the spear stand firm.

In the next round, the spear fall to the Galwegians, who continue their heroic performance. The spear were confident of routing them as they were overlapped, but at odds of 5-2 they made the elephant killers look soft!

Unnerved by the Galwegians, the Libyan spear breaks.

The Galwegians then got to close the door on the Numidians who had stuck, but the Numidians, with the game in the balance, flung back their attackers.

The Numidians remain staunch.

At this point the Numidians were ZOCed by two enemies, and went for the Galwegians (after some discussion). However, these Galwegians were unfazed, and threw back their attackers. I only had 2 PIPs, and retired the Caetrati, who were struggling against the Islemen.

Numidians fail to capitalize on their advantage.

The tables were turned on the Numidians, who in turn had nowhere to recoil, and with the support of the Irish the Galwegians clocked up their third kill, a truly heroic effort!

Clearly Duncan is a son of Galloway, as his Galwegians performed magnificently for him!

  • Review:

I admit no fault of my own in this loss! Instead, I’ll attribute it to a welcome return to form of the Galwegians, some of my favourite warband figures (no slight intended, John)! At the Battle of the Standards, the Galwegains demanded their ancient right to lead the Scots into battle. That was certainly what they did here. I should warn John that his Patricians will struggle to find warbands of such fine pedigree as these Galwegians. I’m sure my elephants would have trampled scurvy Goths or whatever detritus the Patricians wheedled into their service, and the spear would have sent them packing!

In a less forthright tone, I’d have to admit the elephant advancing was rash, and could have been much worse, though they had over 50% odds of crushing the Galwegians and leaving the Normans hanging. That said, the risk, the 1/4 chance of destroying three elements, and the 1/36 chance of being destroyed, were worse. I guess I didn’t think John would dare—perhaps he knew the Galwegians’ mettle better than I did! It was a gamble that came off well, and could have been even more catastrophic for me. Otherwise, John very effectively neutralized my surviving elephant so that I made no progress on that wing. A good bit of learning to be had from this battle!

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10 Responses to “Return of the temporal anomaly (Carthaginians v. Pseudo-Patricians)”

  1. Dale Hurtt Says:

    Nice Carthaginian figures. Love those shields and the elephant. Good write-up too.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks, Dale, I’m hoping when I get the hang of them my generalship will start to do justice to these figures!

  2. twr Says:

    Another excellent report with first class photos.

    The Carthaginians must be feeling nervous after so many defeats, their empire crumbling at every turn. Certainly I am nervous about my own Carthaginians, though they are not yet completed. I can only hope they fight with more success.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks. This is all happening on the peripheries of their empire; with Rome in ruins, they’re feeling safe!

      I felt better about this defeat, as I learnt what not to do with elephants, and I also felt the Galwegians were just too ferocious! But, that said, there seems to be a long learning curve with the Carthaginians.

      • twr Says:

        “This is all happening on the peripheries of thier empire”

        This almost sounds as if it was written by a Roman!

      • Mark Davies Says:

        Very true! There wasn’t that much difference between the two of them!

  3. Stephen Says:

    Those temporal anomaly games make entertaining reading. Interesting placement of your Numidians in that game – convention would have put them more toward the flank.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks. It’s actually inspired me to think of using the Pre-feudal Scots at IWC. They’ve got character!

      I think the idea was that the Wb and Ax would hold the wood, while the LH would hold the bit in between! It never really worked out.

  4. Stephen Says:

    That they have. Have you painted the three witches yet?

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Yes, they and the cauldron are painted, but I’ve yet to base them; I need to build a fireplace for the cauldron.


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