Conquest 2010 (Part 3): BBDBA 2nd Punic War

6 November, 2010

The last event of Conquest was a game of BBDBA. This was hosted by Keith and attended by four of the tireless Timaruvians. After an enjoyable barbecue, where I got to try a local beer, Harringtons, that I’ve kept an eye out for up here, we retired to The Wargames Room for the battle. As Keith and I provided the armies we were appointed C-in-Cs. I went Roman and Keith went Carthaginian. We each had a subordinate command (of equal size to the senior one) and an ally. The Romans had Numidians, and the Carthaginians Gauls. The Romans were the defenders and opted for very little terrain, a single wood on one flank and a number of gentle hills.

Initial Deployments: the battlefield from the perspective of the Roman C-in-C.

The Roman C-in-C, myself, deployed on our right flank (mainly because that’s where I was standing). In the centre was the Junior Roman command, Lewis, and on the left flank was our Numidian ally, Stephen. Facing us were the Carthaginians, with their C-in-C, Keith, on their left flank facing me, the Gauls, Simon, in the centre, and their junior command, Dave, on the right flank. This created an interesting dynamic, as the two low-PIP commands on each side faced the opposing allies (and when we talk about ‘low-PIP’, I mean cripplingly low-PIP!). This PIP situation was particularly acute for the Carthaginian command facing the mobile Numidians and having a pair of elephants.

The game moved along at a fast pace on the Roman left wing. While the centre and right were still advancing, the Numidians had already broken the Carthaginian right flank. I believe they did this by destroying the Carthaginian commander. With the left flank in retreat, the Numidians started to bring their auxilia against the Gallic warriors. However, these were already hard at work on the Roman centre, which, owing to rivalry between the two consuls, was getting terribly low PIPs! They quickly blew away one of the legions and had this command on the verge of collapse. On the right flank, I was just making contact with the Carthaginians perched on a hill. My cavalry was split as one tried to support the centre against the Gallic mercenaries that were fighting in support of the Gallic ally command and the other tried to resist the overwhelming odds of the Carthaginian horse.

The Roman centre hangs on by the skin of its teeth after losing two 4Bd and a 2Ps to the Gauls.

At this point the Roman centre seemed doomed, and as C-in-C I did nothing to help it, giving it a succession of 1 PIP dice to work with! Despite this, it miraculously held on. In fact, it did better than that! While beleaguered legions threw back savage Gallic charges, in one place, even one uphill, the commander rode into battle, and was able to come to grips with the Gallic commander and best him in combat. In the turn the Roman centre finally folded, so did the Gauls.

The final situation: the general of the Roman centre, supported by Numidians, has defeated the Gallic commander; just in time, as the Gauls had finally broken two more elements of legionaries.

At this point we awarded the victory to the Romans. The two demoralized commands of the Carthaginians had lost their commanders and would struggle to stop the flight of what remained of their army. It was a victory that I’d done virtually nothing to contribute towards. It was owed to Stephen’s skilful use of the Numidians, and Lewis’ refusal to break for a miraculous length of time!

This was a fun game. I enjoyed the company and have a good deal of respect for the Timaruvians, who had a long drive ahead of them when we finished that evening. Their club, the Timaru Armchair Generals, seems to be doing a few things right, as they have number of younger members who are playing ancients, of which Lewis was one at this event. DBA may be a factor in encouraging this, but I’d be interested to know what else they do. There was some discussion around this at dinner, and Simon got a good deal of ribbing for describing, by implication, most of us as elderly, something he was not allowed to forget for the rest of the evening!

I found the group from Timaru very hospitable, and 2/3 of my opponents at Conquest were from there. I hope I can get to TAGCon next year. It’s a bit of a haul for me, but I’d like to see more of what they do down there.

  • Review:

This was a game in which both the Romans and the Carthaginians could have benefitted from mixing and matching their troops. In hindsight I should have deployed in the centre, as I had a foot command, with more blades and no cavalry, while Lewis could have taken all the spear and the cavalry onto the right flank. I could have also given him the high PIP dice. The Carthaginians could have done something similar, perhaps putting their elephants with extra mounted in a high-PIP command. Still, at the end of a long day, none of us were too sharp (except my able Numidian ally!).


14 Responses to “Conquest 2010 (Part 3): BBDBA 2nd Punic War”

  1. TWR Says:

    An excellent report of a very enjoyable battle Mark.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks, it was good practice for a very successful 2nd Punic War Day that we’ve just had at the Auckland Wargames Club.

  2. Simon P Says:

    Me, describe anyone as old?? never……..

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Don’t worry, us oldies will soon forget! It comes with advancing years!

      • TWR Says:

        Mark, I suspect you don’t rate as “elderly” as you are not yet 45. At least I think that was the threshold. I’m having trouble remembering the detail…

      • Mark Davies Says:

        I doubt the details were too important; nothing was going to stand in the way of trying to cause Simon the maximum embarrassment!

  3. Dave Batch Says:

    I am starting to take the view that the DBABB dice allocation rule is very hard for the low dice player (usually me!!). I personally prefer the old WGRG way of the CinC allocating the dice each turn for “Regular generals” and “allied or irregular” generals getting a set die each turn. still it was an enjoyable game.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Yes, but it does require you to choose a low-PIP command, probably with slow elements that don’t need too many PIPs. That’s not what either of us did this time around. In effect, it becomes a factor of the game that you have to work with.

      • TWR Says:

        I like the concept of DBA’s dice allocation as it requires a general to actual consider a plan rather than change things as and when required. It would not have been so pronounced if the commands were organised into non-standard commands. That is larger centre etc. I think DBM had too much flexibility.

        DBMM takes the allocation of dice a step further. Basically you can allocate a die per command as BBDBA and then pay a penalty to reallocate the high and low commands mid game. Brilliant generals can change without penalty once in a game IIRC. Alternately you can average the PIP dice across all non-allied commands.

        It would be nice to have some of this extended into BBDBA IMO.

      • Mark Davies Says:

        Very true; today’s BBDBA game (waiting to be written up) was one of the first I’ve played when we’ve been fresh enough to have a plan (but it was a C-in-C with two allies so dice allocation didn’t come up). Previously, I’ve staggered through a game with only hindsight able to suggest what might have worked better!

  4. Craig C Says:

    Looks like a lot of fun had by all. Usually Lewis does something rash and loses his general on turn 1 or 2. He must be maturing.

    Hope you an make it to Timaru for TAGCON. One suggestion would be to get a flight to CHCH and hitch a ride with Keith or one of the other CHCh players- its usually cheaper. the onlydirect flights to Timmers go via Wellington but book early as they aren’t usually that cheap!

    I think CHCh (or even Dunedin) may be stealing a couple of our youngbloods next year as they start varsity.

    I was hoping to play in the next round of the CWC comp in December but are now playing FoW in Wellington instead but look forward to a game vs you next year all going well.

    Keep the reports coming!


    • Mark Davies Says:

      Actually, I wonder if giving Lewis only 1 PIP wasn’t a bad move! Less rope to hang himself with!

      At this stage I don’t know what I’ll be doing in August, but if I can, I’ll make getting to TAGCON a priority.

      Pity you won’t get to the CWC thing, It’d be good to see you again.

  5. Stephen Says:

    Craig is right. The best thing you could have done is what you did do and that was to use the pips yourself and keep Lewis pinned down to minimal movement. I must say that, Lewis’ tenacity saved the day. Therefore while I had a huge amount of fun causing chaos and mayhem on the Carthaginian flank, killing generals and the odd elephant without you pressing hard on Keith and Lewis holding firm it would have been for nought. A team game in the end. Each doing what they do best. The accolades goes to the General in charge for his divining those talents and using them tho best effect. Enjoyed the game thoroughly. Will have to get my own Numidians to go with my Romans. Sp thanks both to you and Keith great day and evening event.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Indeed, for all your success, I doubt we could have won if Lewis hadn’t held out against the odds. His luck started to turn as he retired underperforming dice!

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