Category Archives: II/11 Gallic

Celtic Clashes

One of the fascinating engagements for me has always been those between Romans and Celts, be that in an historical sense or on the wargames table. A couple games last night were an apt reminder of why I enjoy these historical matchups so much. From a DBA perspective, and especially as a Roman commander, the clash can be particularly nerve racking. A well coordinated Celtic attack, along with some luck, can quickly result in the sudden collapse of the Roman line.

To achieve this breakthrough the Celts, be they Gauls or Galatians, need depth. To ensure they gain the needed rear rank support. This depth of course comes as a loss of frontage. Yet the Roman commander needs his own reserves to counter the inevitable gaps that can occur in his own line. Here the conundrums for both players begin.

In some clashes the use of a dismounted Gallic general has proven to be a useful tool to achieve such a breakthrough. A Gallic commander, with rear support, engaged at equal factors to the Roman line. When combined with the advantage of a quick kill this can potentially smash a hole in the Roman line. Of course there are ways to delay or breakup such tactics. In time a Roman player will develop these in an effort to halt the Celtic onslaught.

Of course aside from theses infantry clashes the mounted Celts can provide plenty of interest on the flanks. Chariots or cavalry harassing, outflanking or overwhelming the often numerically inferior Roman mounted.

Terrain plays a critical part. Should the Celtic commander use woods and steep hills for his warriors to move through or is a more open battlefield of benefit to his mounted troops? Despite relatively few troop types the range of permutations are numerous.

Then of course there are times that the Romans collapse and the last hope is to be found at the camp where only a few camp followers are all that protects the Roman coin from the Celtic onslaught…

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Chariot, Spear and Yari

After an extremely busy six months it has been enjoyable to return to some more regular DBA gaming. In fact the last couple of weeks I’ve managed a swathe of games against several locals.

Clashes between historical matched opponents have dominated especially between my recently rebased and “Purple Compliant” Post Mongol Samurai and Jim’s own new Japanese army. These games covering the Sengoku jidai period have been particularly interesting as they have allowed me to experiment with town militia (7Hd) and a seated commander (CP).

These troop types have been supplemented by the normal ashigaru armed with yari, bow and Samurai including some mounted (6Cv). Then of course their are the sohei warrior monks (3Bd).

This has been supplemented by a Biblical encounter between Kassite Babylonian and Syro-Canaanite, with both armies being supplied by my Andrew. I have only a scattering of Section I armies but the game has certainly rekindled my interest in the Chariot period.

Most recently four of us gathered last night for a three rounds of games with a mix of armies being deployed. Early and Later Carthaginians, Celtiberians, Gauls, Galatians and a Macedonian Successor under the redoubtable Pyrrhus all made a showing. This was supplemented by two Early Mycenaean armies, to ensure the Chariot theme continued.

Above, my Later Carthaginians clash with Robin’s Celtiberians. While it was Robin’s first game of DBA 3.0 his army made short work of my Carthaginians. Below, the Celtiberians clash in their second game against Andrew’s Gauls. In this encounter they weren’t so successful!

The Gallic conquest was itself short lived when they encountered the Carthaginians, actually Early Carthaginians (I/61b) for some variety.

Below, a close up view of the Gauls. The initial Gallic attack was driven back, with the loss of their commander. With their aggressive tendencies checked the Gallic foot seemed happier to hold the high ground while the Gallic mounted tried, unsuccessfully, to counter the Punic mounted.

Below, a photo of the clash between the Mycenaean states. One army is from Andrew’s collection, but commanded by Alastair, while the other is from Robin’s collection.

An enjoyable couple of weeks with some long overdue weeknight DBA. Now, where is that paint brush…

The Glory that is Rome

Last weekend we managed a short trip north to visit our son in Auckland. Taking advantage of some wet weather we managed a number of excellent DBA games. In fact we played seven classical games over the course of the weekend, as well as one in the New World which I won’t cover here. Restricted by the limits of carry-on luggage I could only take one army with me so I opted to for my Polybian Romans which, when fighting Joel’s classical armies, the Romans ensured a wealth of historical opponents. I will provide a brief description of the games and a small selection of photos from the weekend.

Our gaming began with a couple of clashes on Saturday between the Romans and Later Carthaginians. The first found the Carthaginians using the two elephants, while in the second the elephants were abandoned.

One of the strengths of the Carthaginians, when not using elephants, is their increased mounted component when combined with troops able to move through bad going. Combining these two however can be difficult. Above, Carthaginians press the Roman right flank in the second game. A lack of PIPs prevented them successfully exploiting the eventual domination of the hill.

Sunday’s games included two encounters between the Romans and Gauls. I find these armies provide very interesting challenges. For the Gauls there are of course decisions on the number of dismounted warriors compared to mounted. For the Romans, prior to the game consideration must be given to taking allied troops, such as Italians or in my case Spanish and how to best use the velites to delay the inevitable charge of the Gauls. These games resulted in a win for the Gauls and one for the Romans showing the balance between the armies.

Above, Gauls engage Roman velites who have been thrown forward to disrupt the Gallic host. Spanish auxilia can be seen on the left. Below, another view of the same battle before the Roman defeat.

However, Rome soon dispatched another army and this time the Roman light troops were on the offensive once again. Below, Spanish auxilia and velites concentrate their attacks on the Gallic left before the Roman hastati and principes surge forward. On the left both the Spanish and velites drove in the Gallic right causing recoil pressure.

Finally, we finished the gaming off with three excellent encounters against a Lysimachid Successor. While not an historical opponent it was not to far from a potential opponent. All three games included some excellent manoeuvres, classic breakthroughs as well as some humorous moments.

Above, the Greeks have advanced over a gentle hill. Lysimachus is deployed in the centre of the Greek phalanx and would punch a hole in the Roman line, shown below.

Now exposed Lysimachus was driven back by Roman triarii, just after his supporting phalangites had smashed Roman principes themselves surrounded. Unable to recoil, being a three element column, Lysimachus was cut down. A fascinating game.

Our final game between Lysimachid Successor found the Romans using a Numidian ally on a battlefield broken by two steep hills, as shown below.

Greek light auxilia eventually secured the hills but were then restricted due to command limitations caused by these hills and raids by Numidians on the Greek camp.

Above, Numidians raid the camp, just visible on the right, while the Greeks prepare to attack the hill on the Roman left. Below, the Roman velites fall back before the main Greek attack in the centre.

In this final clash Lysimachus again broke through. However, a Roman counterattack drove him back on the flank of the phalanx, visible below. As can be seen from the photo the Roman camp is near to being captured. At this point both armies had suffered equal losses. With Lysimachus wounded the Greek command and control was further compromised. The Romans now surged forward breaking the phalanx.

So ends a short summary of an excellent weekend of gaming. It highlighted for us the advantages of DBA. A series of excellent and very dynamic games between historical opponents with victory within grasp of either player.

Ancients Revitalised

I have just returned from a visit to one of the local wargames clubs today and I found myself reflecting on the popularity of DBA here in Christchurch. It has been around 16 months since DBA 3.0 has been released and I must say one of the really pleasing aspects for me is the adoption of the rules locally. Initially we had very strong interest and rather than fade, as often can be the case with anything new, we have seen consistent growth and interest.

Indeed, we have now reached the point that DBA is being played regularly at both our wargames clubs. So much so it seems to be the only Ancients game that is regularly being seen. The popularity of DBA is such that at one club you almost don’t need to arrange a game prior to the meeting as there is almost always a core of players on hand. Further, these players are a mix of hardened DBA veterans, refugees from other historical rules and players interested in playing Ancients for the first time. This is something I haven’t seen before in Ancients for many years. Ancients here has been fragmented between different rules and scales for longer than I can remember and monopolised by the more competitive players.

It’s also not just old armies being deployed, rather a number of new armies are taking the field. This includes a number of players who have decided to build their first Ancient army as well as others expanding their existing collections. A couple of examples are shown in this posts.

Above for example are a couple of photos of one player’s Classical Indians, his first army and purchased via eBay, engaged against a Roman army finished a couple of months ago. Others include recently painted armies such as the Early Hoplite Greeks and Gauls below. Yet it doesn’t stop there. Further new 15mm armies that spring to mind include Parthians, Macedonians, Later Carthaginians, Norse Irish, Italian Condotta and Koreans.

I’m reasonably sure that we are seeing sustained interest in DBA and Ancients locally. The players seem to be enjoying themselves immensely and games are friendly and challenging with a colourful mix of armies.

Perhaps some regular visitors would like to post their thoughts on interest in the period? What has drawn you to DBA? Have you been playing Ancients before or has DBA providing you with your first Ancients experience? Are new armies being built and deployed in your area? I look forward to some comments from readers of this blog.