DBA at Legions, Friday April 2nd

I think the Stooges will have a bit of a shock on Monday; the DBA population at Legions seems to have almost doubled in a month.  I suppose in the long term view… most of us noobs will probably stop playing in less than a year anyway.

Tonight I made it out to Legions again, and got 3 games in against JM and John.  I played my Hindu Indian (III/10c) army all night, because I hadn’t had a chance to play it since I painted it: 3xEl (gen), 2x3Cv, 4x3Bw, 2x2Ps, 1x3Bd.   My overall impression is that I really like this army; but I was playing very deliberately, so games took longer than I’m used to.  I’m not sure if it’s the fact that it’s a new army to me, but I’m not sure it’d be a good choice for finishing tournament games on time.

My first game was against JM playing his Athenians (II/5b).  I was defending.  I placed a good sized central rough ground and two mostly insignificant corners of rough and woods.  My initial deployment was based on an idea I had (always a dangerous thing):  If I alternate bow/elephant units in a line to end up with a line of 7 elephants/bows, my two swaps can place a block of 3 elephants anywhere along that line.

JM deployed most of his spear to one side of the bad going, with his bad going troops towards the center.  I swapped my elephants to his spear side, and ended up with most of my slow bows on the denied flank opposite.

Most of the game was spent maneuvering: I advanced my bows and psiloi towards the center to take the bad going, and he maneuvered elements in front of my elephants to try to improve his chances on that side.

He tried very hard to face my elephants with his non-spear elements, but that requires a lot of help to succeed.  Yes, psiloi and light horse quick-kill elephant… but at 2 to 4 the psiloi have only a 1 in 6 chance of actually doing it… while I have a 9 in 36 chance of doubling the psiloi and killing it.  With light horse it’s even worse.  You need to have overlaps for that to be a winning proposition.

It was a very tight game, and a lot more interesting than we expected it to be.  I think I won 4 elements to 3. 

Next, my Hindu Indians faced John’s Early Egyptians (II/2a).  That’s a nice little army: blades, bows, psiloi, and a horde for good measure… apparently Egyptian hordes like hanging out in camp. 

I was the attacker, so he had to place a waterway.  He placed two smallish rough grounds in the center of the two quarters opposite the waterway, and I ended up playing with the waterway to my right.  He didn’t do a littoral landing.

He deployed with most of his bow next to the waterway, blades in the middle, and a group of bows and psiloi in the bad going.  I faced my elephants against his blades, my bow against his bow, and my cav/psiloi against his bad going troops. 

This was also a long, tight game and I barely pulled it off.  His bows were winning on my right flank, while I had some initial success on my left flank.  When the center clashed I was eventually able to kill a fourth element and win 4-3, but it had all of the back-and-forth of a hoplite battle, with his psiloi-backed blade (4) against my elephants (4).

I liked the element composition of his Early Egyptian army enough that I bought the other Essex army pack Legions had on hand.  It should be very quick to paint up after my Mongols are finished.

After a break while John and JM played, I faced JM who was playing Alexandrian Macedonians.   He attacked, and I set up rough/rough/woods in a triangular pattern.  I depoyed on the point of the triangle and he deployed the edge opposite.  My elephants ended up on my left flank opposite his pike block and mounted, and my bows and cavalry were opposite his artillery and bad going troops on my right flank.

We were both dancing around a lot: it took a long time for my Elephants to wheel around and turn the flank of his Pike… talk about a slow motion train wreck.  On the other side, his artillery was a real nuisance, mostly due to my hesitation in committing to attack it: my bows danced around at the edge of his range for a long time.  When I tried to maneuver my Cavalry in to charge, he brought up his bad going troops to delay me.  While I killed his Auxilia he brought some pike in from behind the Artillery to delay the Cavalry further… that should give an indication of how long this was taking.

Eventually my bows decided to suck it up, stand in a line, and charge, but while I was trying to find alternate solutions I got a bit lucky with shooting rolls: I only lost one bow against his artillery. If you start out doubling someone you only have a 1 in 4 chance of still doubling them after the die roll, so it wasn’t insanely good luck, just enough luck to stay alive.  That was my only element lost this game, I think.  Eventually I maneuvered my blade in for the kill, and the tide turned.  It was getting late, so JM charged with his Pike and I ended up getting 2 quick kills, and winning 5-1.

If he hadn’t charged I probably would have, and it wouldn’t have gone much differently.  I think I spent too much time obsessing over his artillery instead of just charging it.  It would’ve helped if I remembered it was only 2 against foot in close combat…

Overall I really enjoyed playing the Indians.  I like elephants, they’re scary.  I like bows as well.  I don’t like artillery, it’s scary… though maybe I’d like it if I was standing on the other end.