Thursday, September 12, 2019

Pyrrhus at Heraclea

I use a modification of a solo version of DBA 1.0 that I got from a friend. I call my version DBA_BR, the BR standing for my initials.

I've reported elsewhere on this blog some of the changes but for now, realize as you view the pictures we usually use what we call "double elements" for the purposes of looks.

The troop types that receive support from a second or third rank (Sp and Pk in DBA) still do but for everything else the second rank just makes the unit\element look more like a unit than the single stand running around.

The other big innovation is that I grab scenarios from the Command and Colors Ancients website. I translate the board game counters into comparable DBA element terminology. I assign morale categories for the purpose of recoils and use the number of board game counters for the number of DBA elements.

This is usually gives a game that exceeds that 12 element limit for basic DBA. I use the CCA leaders to determine their commands and assign a full die roll of pips for movement or 1\2 of a die roll for commanders that have less than 8 elements.

Here's the OB we used for Heraclea.


Leanoatus (as Cv)
2 Cv
1 Lh (Tarentine)
2 El
1 Ps
7 elements

Pyrrhus (as KN)
2 SP (Tarentine Hoplites) 
2 Sp (mercenary Hoplites)
3 Pk
2 Ax (Peltasts)
3 Ps (one element to be used as Cretans are rated as Bw)

12 elements


Cassius (as Sp)

3 Bd
1 Sp
1 Ax (Samnite)
3 Cv
1 Ps

10 elements 

Laevinus (as SP)
3 Bd 
1 Sp
2 Ps
1 Ax (Samnite)

1 Cv
9 elements

Game summary

Historically, Heraclea was the first time a Roman Early Republic Legion faced a Successor type army. Supposedly, Pyrrhus remarked upon viewing the Roman camp they sure didn't act like barbarians thus putting down the arrogant notion that the Greeks thought everyone was a barbarian except for themselves.

The game would be first time we did a DBA_BR with an army whose core was Bd versus a Pk type army.

Both sides had an equal number of elements that exceeded the more competitive standard 12 elements that DBA uses. This meant in game terms that a 12 element Pk army in standard DBA rules would be easier to outflank than a 19 element in my version, since frontage was about the same.

As most ancients gamers are aware the debate between pila\Bd and Pks is ongoing and will probably never be solved. In my game a Pk starts with an unmodified 6 while Bd's are 5's. 

These facts determined my strategy. Rather than face elephants and Pks and their supporting Sp's head on I decided to refuse my left and attempt a flanking movement on my right.

The flanking movement failed miserably early on and the only reason I wasn't immediately outflanked on my right is because my opponent Mike had a number of turns where he could only move an element or two on his left.

Meanwhile, Mike attempted to outflank my left with his right where he the bulk of his cavalry and I had the bulk of mine. He had however, one more element of the Tarentine LH. This allowed him to turn my right but in the process through a couple of lucky throws he lost two of his four cavalry elements to my remaining one thus stalling that envelopment as well.

That merely delayed the inevitable as I announced more than once it was time to die as Romans. In order to take a long shot and turn the tide I had advanced close enough to engage his Sp, Pks, Ax and the elephants. The Ax melted away to my Bds but everything else held firm causing recoils. Mike's follow up attacks resulted in the loss of most of my core units. When the game was called according to the victory conditions I believe I had lost 12 elements to Mike's 3-certainly a disaster for Roman arms.

And yes there was Greek type gloating. Moral of the story is that Greeks are insufferable when they win and whiners when they lose ;-)

I'll give some commentary with the pictures below

The great man himself with his Agema cavalry

Initial Epirote deployment as per the CCA game map. It usually takes a few turns to get your army into battle lines as you are "stuck" with the CCA configuration to start with. I believe this adds to the game.

The view of the trespassing Epirotes from the Roman lines. Sp Triarii in the back.

The Roman right with which I attempted the flanking movement. In view are two elements of elites, one Cv and one element of Samnite Ax.

The Roman left with 3 elements of Italian\Roman cavalry and one element of velites.

The Epirote left and center-lots of Pks and Sp's.

Nice bird's eye view.

We started by believing we could turn each other's left. 

At this point I had not lost anything but you can see the risk developing. If I can't turn the Epirote left I'm in deep doo-doo. I didn't and was.

I'm trying to minimize the risk at this point

Here you see the results of my flanking movement. I lost two elements to 2-1 dice offs and the other two elements have recoiled. I have zero chance of turning the flank and would no well to have mine not turned.

The Epirotes are now turning my right. Only poor movement dice throws delayed the total collapse of my flank.

Outflanked on my left by the Tarentine Lh. Except for one element the Roman cavalry performed quite badly.

See what I mean? One element is gone, another has two recoils and the third one recoil. In my rules recoils can mean the lose of combat factors. The element with 2 recoils is in big trouble.

The Tarentine Lh has outflanked and destroyed one element and is about to destroy another.

Sp Triarii have a chance against elephants and in desperation I try but to no avail. The game was going to Ares and not Mars. Wait a minute, they are the same guy!

Nice shot!

This one two. Those elephants are works of art.

Time to die like Romans

The collapsing Roman left.

End game as the Epirote cavalry is triumphant! The Samnite Ax would die in a rear attack. Historically, the Samnites went over to Pyrrhus for a time.

The rear attack on the Samnites.

In desperation I challenge the Pks and Sps head on with no real success.

Nice aerial view toward the end of the game.

Epirote Ax (Thracians in this case) succumb to Roman Bds as it should be.

The Pks on the left of the picture are forcing recoils on the Roman Sp Triarii. Wow, that's a big gap there in the middle!

The Roman right has disappeared.

So has the Roman right!

The great man gloats. Little does he know the Romans will be back and back and back until they win.
So, these pictures tell the story. The ones below are extras taken with an iPad camera enhanced on a Mac Pro. Eye candy I guess.


Mark said...

Always nice to see the elephants getting out and causing trouble.

Michal DwarfCrypt said...

Woooow! Looking awesome!

Bruce Roeder said...

Yeah, I hate them ;-)

Bruce Roeder said...

Thanks Michael for the kind words. Your work is second to none.

Jonathan Freitag said...

Beautiful armies and beautiful photography, Bruce!

Phil said...

"In desperation I challenge the Pks "...OUch, poor guys! Epic, xhat a splendid report, lovely, lovely armies!!

Bruce Roeder said...

Thank you Jonathan. My friend has this tiny camera but someone he manages to get he better pictures. My iPad is not so good.

Bruce Roeder said...

Thanks! Rule #1, do not close with Pks unless desperate or you have the advantage. I did not have the advantage.

Hessen Casseler said...

Nice and impressive. I am interested in your DBA_BR modifications.

Hessen Casseler said...

Very nice and impressive. I am interested in your DBA_BR modifications.

Hessen Casseler said...

I`m a fan of DBA-House-Rules

Bruce Roeder said...

Thanks Hessen for your comments and stopping by. I was out-of-town for a couple of weeks and could not reply. I may do a post about my DBA_BR house rules so stay tuned. Way too much for a comment or two.