Friday, November 5, 2010

Callinicum refight with DBM

 Background
DBM was the leading ancient ruleset used in tournaments for about 15 years.  DBM has waned in the last few years as a) FOG has generally taken over around where I am as the main competition and club rules and b) the successor to DBM, DBMM, has been released.  I did play DBM back in the mid 90's for a few years, versions 1.1, 1.2, 2.0 and 2.1 and enjoyed them at the time, until I discovered Armati.

My dissatisfaction with the obvious DBx game for fast play, 2'x2' board, DBA, is the lack of grading of troop types. DBM obviously is the solution as it adds them in, as well as a whole bunch of additional rules.  But DBM is designed to be played on a 6'x4' table using around 350 points of troops.  DBM200 was a cut down version of DBM for 200 points for a faster and smaller game. I played a few games of this back in 1997 and it was as enjoyable as a full sized game.  DBM100 was another logical version, being designed for 100-150 point games on a 2'-3'x2' board.  Perfect for what I am looking for. DBM100 generals are slightly cheaper, no automatic PIP for the general and only 2 march moves max.

Note that I will be using DBM 2.1 for the replay.  I had stopped playing DBM by the time 3.0 came out, I don't have the DBM 3.0 rulebook, and there were some changes I am not familiar enough with (such as the change to how Superior works).  I probably could muddle through using a 3.1 reference sheet, but I'll stick with the rules I can easily look up.  For for information of the Battle of Callinicum see my previous post.


Troops

Persian
Based on book 2, army 69.

The Persians


From left to right
3 Nobles, Irr Cv(O) @7pts
1 Noble, Irr Cv(S) @9pts
1 General, Irr Cv(S) @12pts
1 Noble, Irr Cv(S) @9pts
3 Nobles, Irr Cv(O) @7pts

3 Lakhmid Allies, Irr LH(O) @5pts

TOTAL AP=87
Demoralised after 4 elements 

Byzantine
Based on book 3 army 4

The Byzantines

From left to right
3 Skutatoi, Reg Bd(I) @5pts
2 Kavallarioi, Reg Cv(O) @8pts
1 Boukellarioi, Reg Cv(S) @10pts
1 General, Reg Cv(S) @20pts
2 Kavallarioi, Reg Cv(O) @8pts
1 Isaurian, Irr Ax(O) @3pts
3 Ghassannids, Irr LH(I) @3pts

TOTAL AP=89
Demoralised after 5 elements  

Persians will have the first move

Turn 1

Persian
Moved up the Lakhmids, and also wheeled the Persian line and then moved it another (march) move.  Had to look up the rules to see if could move twice and yes, they can - all cavalry.

Byzantine
1 PIP. But the DBM100 rules have regular generals getting +1 to PIP roll, so 2 PIPS!  Moved the Skutatoi and cavalry line up to align with the Skutatoi

Turn 2

Persian
Moved up the Lakhmids up further but not enough to be flanked by the Isaurians. Split the Superior Nobles and moved them ahead of the main battle line.  Straightened up the remainder of the cavalry line.

View of the Byzantine right flank after the Persian move

Byzantine
Charged with the superior cavalry into opposing ordinary cavalry.  Moved up the other groups to prevent any flank attacks.
Lost a cavalry unit in the close combat.  The gamble did not pay off.

View of the Persian right flank

Turn 3

Persian
Charged in the superior cavalry and the Light Horse. One Byzantine light horse destroyed; otherwise, all Byzantine forces were recoiled.

Byzantine
Rolled a 1 for PIPS, again. Charged in the superior cavalry and also moved a single Skutatoi to protect the gap. Persians lost two cavalry units.  So the second gamble paid off!


The Persian right flank again, now missing two cavalry units

Turn 4

Persians
Superior cavalry charge in again.  A light horse moves in behind (not enough to rear contact the cavalry - could have reared the Auxilia) the Byzantine units to convert recoils into destruction.  Rereading the bit of the rules that were put in to limit the Buttocks of Death I have found a gem of Barkerese "Unless the recoilers are psiloi, this enemy is also destroyed if contacted on a rear corner only or a rear edge by the recoiling element's rear edge, or on a rear edge by its rear corner."  I had to read it a few times to figure out what it was saying!
Anyway, only one Byzantine cavalry destroyed.

Byzantine
With only a few PIPs, picked on the Persian end Cv(O) with a frontal and flank attack.  Also moved up a Skutatoi into combat with an overlapping unit so there would not be the -1 in support the the flanked combat unit.  It worked - outscored by 1 (it would have be a tie if I hadn't moved the Skutatoi up) and a Persian cavalry destroyed. But...the Skutatoi was destroyed too.  Not so good.  Especially not good as the Auxilia loses the combat with the Superior cavalry (it was a tie last combat), recoils into the Persian LH and is destroyed.  The Byzantines are demoralised and the game is over.  The Persians won.

The debacle that is the byzantine left flank

Verdict
I enjoyed this more than the the DBA games.  Not sure why - probably because this was the third game with the DBx rules and so was becoming more familiar with it.  I preferred the Superior/Inferior of DBM over that in E-BBDBA, although it did change in DBM v3.  While the rear support and tactical factors are mostly different than in DBA, most of them didn't apply in this game.  If I was ever to play a fast play DBx again, I think it would be DBM100.  These three games have not really convinced me that DBx is for me though - they are not high on my list of fast play ancient rules.

Why not try DBMM100? I have seen draft rules of DBMM about 5 years ago and read a bit about it since released so my reasons are not based on an actual play.  In DBM, there was one thing that irritated me far more than anything else.  Just one thing, and it was a small thing in DBM - that the grading factor for Fast depended on whether it was an enemy bound or not.  I really disliked this - factors depending on whose bound it was.  As I didn't mind the rest of the rules, happy to put up with it, but really wanted to play it as not dependent (and was the only rule change to DBM I contemplated).  Lo and behold, DBMM introduces...more factors and lots of outcomes dependent on whose bound it is!  Can't do it.  Call me unreasonable - really irritating in DBM, can't see past it in DBMM.  At least there are lots of other rules out there for me to try, and DBM is still around.

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