The Great Rebasing continues apace, but didn't get in the way of me being able to host remote DBA from my end. It was a treat for me, both because it's the first non-WWII historical game played at the new house, and also the first ancients game played with my figs since we left Toronto about six years ago!
|Macedonians top. The grouped cavalry at the top of the pic was standing in for the Mac camp.|
With what I have for figs (Spartan / hoplites and Antigonid / eastern successors) we opted for a historical, but slightly misrepresented matchup, with Philippian Macedonians vs. Spartans. Philip, somewhat notoriously, threatened the Spartans with slavery if he won their impending conflict, to which the Spartans, laconically (ha!), replied "if". While the Spartans may have, in point of historical fact, been rather limited socially, politically, and even militarily (and see the brilliant set of posts on Spartan social organization at CoUP, you're welcome), you can't fault them for smart-assery, which I personally appreciate.
|The Spartan left wing. Didn't want to extend the line into the fields, just in case.|
|Macedonians deploy on a narrow frontage, with their right covered by light troops in the woods.|
|Sparta, oddly enough, had elephants for a camp.|
Macedon had a slight edge on aggression, and ended up as attacker, and once we'd established terrain, we had one side of the table dominated by woods, and the other mostly open. I picked the clear side, not out of any tactical brilliance, but because it was the side that had the computer and camera set up (I had the webcam hanging off the light fixture). Turns out, expediency is the mother of brilliance, as it meant Jura (my increasingly regular remote opponent) got stuck deploying in a narrow frontage between the woods.
|Spartan generals anchor the line.|
|The Spartan right wheels forward, and the Macedonian cavalry counters, skirting the woods.|
|That's the General and companions, waving around the xystons.|
|Macedonian light horse engage!|
The opening moves of the game saw me advancing and wheeling my right, in the hopes that I would envelope his flank. This is a pretty standard move for me when my line is longer, although traditionally I do it with cavalry, rather than Even More Spears. Jura countered by advancing his cavalry in column around the woods, and a rather aggressive charge with his light horse (Tarantines posing as prodromoi), which my spear handily repulsed.
|The Macedonian cavalry charge home. This one was dicey, but the Spartans repulsed the impetuous horse.|
The first phase of the battle saw the Macedonian cavalry launch repeated charges against my right wing, including a number of high-stakes clashes between Phillip and the companion cavalry against my General (the Spartan with no name). As long as the phalanx (and the side support spears get from spears in DBA) held, my general had the advantage in combat, but if he lost, the knights get a quick kill (they destroy the opposing element if they beat them, not just double them). Turns out, a line of spears is pretty solid against mixed cavalry, and the Macedonians were thrown back repeatedly, with the light horse, at one point, fleeing entirely.
|The Macedonian phalanx advances past the choke point.|
|On the right, the cavalry make little headway against the Spartan phalanx. On the other hand, the Spartans can't seem to do more than drive off the cavalry - combat is largely inconclusive.|
Jura managed to get his phalangites out from betwitxed the woods, and started to shake out a line, but it was still uneven when the main infantry formations clashed. The Macedonian phalanx has an advantage under these circumstances, but not a decisive one, and the result of the on-going othismos (which I really enjoy saying, for some reason), was a pretty classic grind, with the deeper Macedonian pike phalanx pushing back the Spartans, but not quite breaking through.
|Macedonian cavalry regrouped and charged again, with similar results. Meanwhile, the lines grow closer.|
|Macedon tries to shake out a battle line, but poor C&C (i.e., low PiP rolls) meant it happened slowly.|
|Othismos! The deeper phalanx begins to drive back the Spartans, as the lines break down.|
At this point, my longer line, and ability to roll higher PiPs (i.e., command and control resources), let me slowly envelope and gnaw away at the Macedonian flanks. I had plenty of opportunity to set up attacks where I could pin, and then flank, isolated Macedonian units on the flanks, and while they didn't always pay off, any win resulted in a destroyed unit (flank attacks aren't a big deal in DBA, unless they complement frontal engagement - losing is BAD in DBA if you're engaged both to the front AND to the flank). It took some grinding, but the Spartans managed to chew away the "softer" elements of the Macedonian formation, before the Macedonian pike could really grind down the Spartan phalanx.
|Spartans struggle to get past the Macedonian pikes.|
|Both lines are in disarray.|
|On the left, the Spartans envelope the Macedonian light troops, and look to roll up the line.|
|The Macedonians manage to wheel, but are under increased pressure from multiple sides.|
Even without the delays expected from new armies and a new "technical" set-up, this game took longer than others we've played - but it felt "right". The Macedonian phalanx had a clear, but not decisive, advantage over the Spartans, but the Spartans, with their wider formation, were able to envelope the Macedonian core. The four elements that the Macedonians lost were their "weakest" ones - auxilia, psiloi, cavalry, and light horse, and the lost them because I was able to hit them on two sides. The hard core of the Macedonian army had no problem driving back the Spartan centre, and had I rolled poorly, things could have gone very differently (all I needed to do was lose ONCE against his companions, and my general would have disappeared). Even with the constraints of terrain, this one was much closer than it appeared.
|This unit was frustratingly stubborn. They just would not die!|
|Note how the Macedonians continue to push back the spear at the middle of the shot.|
|Repeated attacks failed to break the Macedonian phalanx.|
|Spartan turn to roll low on PiPs. Macedonians struggle to reform their line.|
|Spartans step back and reform. Behind the Macedonian infantry, their light horse are caught and flanked. With essentially all of the Macedonian lighter troops gone, Spartans win the game 4-2.|
It was so good to get the minis on the table again. Although I do really enjoy the appearance of the Impetus / element basing, the DBx gives me more options for play, and being able to use the figures counts more, in the long run, than them looking good on the shelf. Once I get the rebasing done, I'll get back to the Ayyubid / Seljuk painting, and am already looking forward to expanding the stuff I have (later Achaemenids, and various hoplite variations, are in the works).