More Seleucids and Patrician Romans

4 April, 2011

Last Sunday I caught up with John and I got to give the newly finished Seleucids a run. It started off as last time with me as the defender, and I laid out similar minimalist terrain, and then used my swaps to get my elephant and chariot away from the Roman auxilia.

The Seleucid deployment.

The Patrician Roman deployment.

John’s PIPs were abysmal and I got to occupy the gentle hill in the middle (I’d decided to pull one 2Ps across to the left flank to support the other one against the Roman light horse). When John rolled yet another 1 PIP, I decided to attack on the left flank. My elephant needed to recoil his light horse, but went better and doubled it. My camels, now one up, recoiled the opposing knights, and then on the other flank, at 2-1 my psiloi recoiled his light horse. My scythed chariot was now at 4-2 on his knight, but rolled 2-5 and was destroyed.

After the left flank makes contact.

This left things somewhat in the balance. But with John getting yet another 1 PIP (he retired his overlapped knight) I had time to attack again, this time on the right flank. However, my attempt to get his commander at 5-2 failed, as one pike block recoiled the opposing blades, but the other didn’t. The cataphracts on the right wing, at 1-3, were lucky to survive.

John then got 5 PIPs and wrapped up my Galatians with his warbands and took out a psiloi with a knight. However, the light horse against the other psiloi was recoiled into the steep hill. I didn’t hesitate to follow up with the victorious psiloi, and when the LH rolled a 1, its fate was sealed. In the middle I managed to double a blade with my pike, but the combat between the generals was not decisive.

I was now 3-2 up (as the SCh doesn’t count). However, John got 6 PIPs and attacked my cataphracts from the rear with his warband. They were uphill and I would recoil into his auxilia, so it was a 4-3 to him and a QK either way. He also attacked my camels on the side with his knights; no room for them to recoil either. The cataphracts held firm, the camels went down and the generals fenced indecisively. Game to the Seleucids with a fair bit of luck to make it happen.

The battle's end. The elephant had not moved since the lines met!

  • Review:

I’m beginning to wonder about having everything in the battleline. I think the general and even the SCh might be better as reserves, but I’d need to look at how to support the shorter line on at least one flank.

This battle shows that the Seleucids might look very strong, but they can be pretty brittle. Nevertheless, great finally to see them in action.

12 Responses to “More Seleucids and Patrician Romans”

  1. TWR Says:

    My own Successor army struggles to maintain a reserve due to the fact it has six stands of pike and a very short line. The Seleucids, with four stands, have some options, though have a weakened infantry centre.

    That is one of the reasons I think the late Ptolemaic seem to be popular. They have four pike and two blades so there line is not too short yet they maintain a strong centre. Ironically, the army by this period is at an all time low with respect to quality!

    • Mark Davies Says:

      It’s a challenge to fight with a shorter frontage, especially against blade, but at least the knights, scythed chariot and elephant make blades nervous. I’ll enjoy experimenting with this difficulty.

      As for the Later Ptolemaic army, there are a number of armies that are good in DBA terms, but if some sort of grading system was used, the quality of some of the elements would be exposed (the Seleucid camelry is probably one of these). Given all this, I think at the very least they need to look neat, something that can excuse other shortcomings!

      • TWR Says:

        I’m generally not too worried by the grading perspetive. Most of the time I just consider the lower class troops are represented by more troops within the confines of a single stand. Spartans are a good case in point. I just expect a stand of Spartan hoplites in DBA to represent fewer men.

        As to the Seleucids I have always been nervous that a Scythed Chariot loss will impact my line too much. While the loss of the stand doesn’t directly count, the loss means one less stand to cover the table. Though you are correct they keep several strong troop types honest! I look forward to reading of your experiences in this area.

      • Mark Davies Says:

        As for grading, I tend to agree, but there is an element of superstition to DBA, at least for me, and rubbish troops can’t be expected to fight as well! My Carthaginian spear are frequently resilient against the odds, but they were solid troops. The Early Muslim North African and Sicilian army is actually very similar to the Carthaginians in composition, but their spear are not of the same quality, and I couldn’t trust them to fight as well!

        You’re right about the scythed chariot; it can leave a gap that I need something to plug, and the line’s short as it is! That’s why it’s tempting to use in reserve (I picture them mincing the fleeing men from the broken element as they plug the gap, not a good look!).

      • TWR Says:

        I suspect you are more superstitious than I am Mark. I tend to think that the dice gods just don’t support me sometimes.

        As an aside I really enjoy Phil Barker’s comments in the DBM/DBMM Lysimachid’ army. To quote him…

        “This is the perfect army for the paranoid player who thinks his troops hate him, since Lysmachos worked extremely hard at being unpopular. One of his best moves was to slaughter his own Illyrian mercenaries whose baggage had been looted by the enemy, in case this had made them discontented and prone to desert!”

        Clearly you are looking after your Carthaginian infantry…

      • Mark Davies Says:

        Indeed, hopelessly superstitious! Not sure I’d want an army, though, we’re I’m sure my troops hate me!

        You’re right about those spearmen, as they’re are seldom the cause of my loss. However, I’ve got a plan to do a camp scene for the Carthaginians of a crucified general (really it ought to be a crucified elephant, as they’re hopeless!).

  2. Stephen Says:

    Another interesting battle – only a few element types not represented between those two armies! A guy at my club holds his SCh back for juicy targets once the battle lines have become a little fragmented. With their double move they can make a useful ‘fire brigade’ if something does get through the line.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      We didn’t have bow, spear or artillery (hordes or warwagons). John’s planning a Art element to let them be LIR (and a pain to the elephant). I wonder if all elements are possible between two armies (or two historical opponents).

      As for the SCh, that was John’s suggestion too, but it does seem odd (see my comment above on them scything through the broken element as they move into position, great for morale!). In game terms, though, it seems a solid tactic.

  3. Reserves – while Generals usually make a good reserve, you can find that having an Elephant (or two) stretches your ability to get a reserve in at the right time. The camelry may have been a useful reserve on a different board (one without a huge hill in the middle).

    I think in your position you needed to stick with your original ‘win on the left’ strategy and get that Ellie into the fight no matter what.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks, You’re probably right about the elephant, I could have stayed on the hill on the other flank. I think the issue with the elephant was that I’d need to retire the camels to get him across to the knight next to him. This was 3 PIPs I didn’t have on the turn after comtact.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      I see you’ve been using camels a bit lately! Against foot they’re less useful.

  4. Yeah, I’ve graduated from ‘a camel’ to ‘some camels’! I hope to take on Ltr Sargonid Assyrians at some stage to see how they go against a traditional superior foe.

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