Gallic relief: Gauls face Carthaginians and Romans

26 July, 2010

I’ve decided to write up the battles from last week ahead of those at the CWC DBA Competition for two reasons. I didn’t take any pictures and my memory of them may fade fast, and the battles at the competition are a matter of public record so to speak, so nothing is really lost by revealing the outcome of them somewhat out of order. Last Thursday John and Joel came around. I was feeling fairly groggy from a cold. With the CWC competition finally behind me I was keen to get the Gauls out again. However, John wasn’t going to let me get away from the Carthaginians, and offered to go the Gauls, so we had a historical match-up with two proper armies (no Goblins or bodges). This match-up is one that seems to heavily favour the Carthaginians, as they have a lot of their army that find warbands a whole lot of fun. In fact, only the spear are scared of them.

  • First up: Gauls vs. Carthaginians.

For this reason I took both elephants; hardly sporting, but after seeing what Galwegians could do to them I wasn’t complacent. Also my elephants have a terrible record in the games I’ve played; they die frequently and they’ve killed more of their own side than they have of the opposition! I also took four 2Ps, partly because I don’t have enough 3Wb painted for the Gauls to loan them any, and partly as psiloi are better against warbands than warbands are.

I was the attacker and John put down a couple of steep hills and a wood. I deployed with a wood on my right flank near the centre and a steep hill on my side on the left flank. It faced a steep hill or a wood on John’s side. John deployed with his cavalry on the open flank facing the wood and his warbands either on the hill or stretching out of it. I met this by putting the psiloi and the auxilia on the left flank, the elephants in the centre and the spear on the right with one psiloi in support. The general was in reserve and the Numidians were on the right flank.

As the battle developed I had plenty of PIPs, something that John did not always enjoy. In the initial encounters one of my elephants went down to a warband on a 1-6, but that proved to be the Gauls’ only success. His cavalry didn’t want to attack the spear who were supported on the right flank by the woods with a psiloi in it and on the left flank I started to roll up his army with the greater mobility of my psiloi, who were able to flank the outermost element.

The game ended, I think, 6-1 to me, when on the last turn my surviving elephant destroyed a double-ranked warband. It was always an encounter that one would expect the Carthaginians to win, but my elephants did their best initially to put that into doubt. However, with PIPs coming strongly my way the Gauls were unable to really make any headway.

  • Second up: Gauls vs. Marian Romans.

With very good timing, just after the first battle was finished Joel arrived. As I was still feeing fairly grotty from a cold I was happy to let John face Joel, as it was the first time they had met, and what better way than over a friendly game of DBA! John chose to stick with the Gauls, while Joel took his Marian Romans. John was the defender and laid out three pieces of terrain along the centre. This row ended up running vertically between the two battlelines. The two outermost pieces were too close to the edge to allow one to deploy the camp behind them, committing one to placing the camp on one flank or the other.

I didn’t follow the game too closely, attempting to cook up some failed yoghurt (I later discarded the result the next day). Joel had both cavalry on his right flank along with his foot general. His two psiloi were in the central wood and half of his blades were on the other side of the woods with the camp.

I don’t remember John’s deployment—with all those warbands it was less distinctive. I know that in short order his cavalry had destroyed both of Joel’s, the first was apparently fairly lucky. Fairly quickly John was three up, but then Joel clawed the score back to 3-3 and the battle hung on an encounter in which the opposing elements were mutually flanked. Whoever won would win the game. The odds, I think, were even. As it turned out, the Gauls won the battle and therefore the game, continuing their unbroken run of victories against the Marians.

  • Review:

It was good to see the Gauls on the table again. They are an army with a lot of panache, with their headhunters, naked fanatics and their druids in the camp. I look forward to seeing how they fare against the Ancient Spanish when I finish them; like the Carthaginians, they’re a historical opponent, and a tough one, as the warbands have no advantages against their auxilia and psiloi. Their only advantage is the three cavalry against the single Spanish cavalry and single light horse.

It was also good to get Joel and John together. Next we hope to visit one of the wargames clubs, either the South Auckland one, where back in April Bryan on this blog expressed an interest in catching up, or the Auckland City Guard, where Joel says a couple are interested in seeing what DBA is like. If the three of us were to get to one of those clubs, along with whoever we could interest there, we could have quite a few games in a day. It could lead to an informal competition or a campaign at a later stage.

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