Seleucids and Polybian Romans

29 June, 2011

Last week Steve got to try out my Seleucids. With their kitchen-sink array of troop types they are hard to resist. However, he did leave the camels behind, opting for 3Cv. I went Polybians, a historical opponent, but also a topical one, as there was a feeling among some of those who played DBA at the club the weekend before that blade armies are too strong.

The Polybians were the attacker and succeeded in getting the terrain where it did no real good. I advanced off a gentle hill and Steve advanced out between two woods. Steve was very cautious in his advance, and I was reluctant to rush into combat, as few of the match-ups were outstanding. I ended up risking splitting my line to extend to the right to get an overlap on his cavlry and psiloi on that end. I had a 3Cv and three blades with a psiloi support facing two blocks of pike, a knight and these cavalry and psiloi.

I managed to recoil the psiloi, giving 4-2 odds on the knight, but only recoiled it too. I then had 4-5 odds on the pike, and was possibly recoiled. My cavalry at 3-2 was recoiled or stuck. There was another indecisive round and I got to repeat the exercise, this time fleeing the psiloi, but unfortunately my blade bottled and rolled a 1, being swept away by the knights.

After this, I was lucky to hang in, and it’s a testament to the resilience of blade (and Steve’s poor PIP rolls). I got to destroy the Seleucid cavalry, after a round of his cavalry facing my psiloi (my useless cavalry recoiled through them as they tried to change sides).

I then managed to get the knight with my general (I forget what support he had) and that exposed some pike. His scythed chariot broke some blade and some more fell somehow, but it was 3-3 when Steve finally got his elephant into combat. My Triarii were locked in combat with his pike and holding their own (indeed, doing better than that when his rear support went!). His knight general destroyed another blade, but my blade got his warband and then his pike fell to my Triarii, giving me a 5-4 victory.

It was very late when we finished, a long game, and Steve could claim victory when his chariot fled a psiloi a millimetre over the edge, but he said it wasn’t a good way to finish and we kept going. On the last turn if he’d kept the warband out of combat (just used it to block ZOC) and done likewise with the pike he would have won.

Poor PIPs allowed me to fight the battle on one wing; I suspect Steve might have been able to sweep me away in the centre or the other wing with more PIPs, so I was fairly lucky, but my aggression on the right wing did tie up what PIPs he got, making this difficult.

Blade are tough, even against all the Seleucid elements that can QK them. However, it was the success of the Triarii against the pike that got me thinking. Spear against pike may not be so hopeless after all; they just need to get into the back rank! After that the odds are 4-3. Now, if I can just find an answer for spear against blade …

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4 Responses to “Seleucids and Polybian Romans”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Cautious is one way to put my advance Mark. I decided that my battle line was a bit narrow so I moved my psiloi up, and then I decided that I didn’t like them up against your cavalry, so I moved them back again.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Yes, those psiloi were definitely tempting, tempting enough to get my general on one flank and the other cavalry on the other!

  2. TWR Says:

    So Mark, do you think Bd are to strong a troop type?

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Not too strong, but remarkably resilient.That said, it was the Roman cavalry and spear that won this battle, and some luck!


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