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…
One of the advantages of DBA is the ability to play a series of games in a short amount of time. With each game typically lasting an hour evening games in an otherwise busy week, or perhaps a small gaming events in an afternoon at a club among a number of players, become very pleasant and relaxing exercises. Other situations for DBA games also exist, such as this afternoon where my son and I had four very enjoyable games on a hot summer’s afternoon.
Our first two games involved my recently painted Polybian Romans engaged against his Gallic host. These Romans are true veterans, dating back to version DBA 1.0 and with many games of DBA and then DBM under their belt. However, with the release of DBA 3.0 they have been repainted and over recent weeks have engaged a number of opponents.
Alas, their commanders are of indifferent skill, suffering defeat in equal quantity to victory. Indeed, in today’s games they won and then lost a battle in succession suggesting that the senate must appoint another consul before they can take the field again. At least the manpower of Rome supports the occasional defeat!
Above, the second game where the Romans have massed their cavalry on their left flank and attempt to break the Gallic right flank. The triarii are shown in reserve before they advanced. These games were followed by two Successor encounters. This time between my Asiatic Successor army (Demetrius Poliorcetes) and my son’s Lysmachid Successor. The first engagement found Demetrius reacting to an Lysmachid invasion.
After an initial stand-off, where Lysmachus (right) refused to attack a well-defended enemy, waited until Demetrius (left) was forced to abandon his position and attack. No doubt to stop Lysmachus’ troops from ravaging the province and disrupting the harvest! Unfortuntely Demetrius was soundly defeated for his troubles.
However, in the following campaign season, or in DBA terms the following game, Demetrius assembled a new army and counter-attacked gaining a stunning victory. These two Successors will clearly be continuing their struggles, though other Successors, such as Seleucids, are also known to be preparing armies. Such are the strengths of DBA…