Pyrrhus invades Italy!

This battle pitted a Pyrrhic army vs a Polybian Roman army.  For the battle, I had no support rules.   The only modification was to have Pike be +6 vs foot or mounted.  Pyrrhus invaded so Rome put out a terrain rich environment including a river.  The river would be a non-factor with the new setup rules and the fact that it was behind the Pyrrhic army.  Here is the line-up.

Polybian Roman

1xCv Gen 1xCv 6xBd 2xSp 2xPs


1xKn Gen 1xCv 1x Lh 4xPk 2xSp 1xPs 1xAx 1xEl

The Romans deployed the Bd in the middle with 1 Cv on the left and the Cv Gen in reserve.  The Ps and Sp started in the woods.  Pyrrhus deployed the Pk in the cnter flanked by 2 Sp.  The Kn Gen and Lh were on the left and the Ax, El and Ps were deployed in the woods on the Pyrrhic right.

The starting setup. This is going to be good.

The Romans got a 6 for pips and were able to advance everything in good style.  Pyrrhus, only rolled a 1.  They still were able to advance the better part of their army.  The El would have to wait.  Rome then rolled a 3 on bound 3 so they were not inclined to be so aggressive.  It was Pyrrhus who would drive the attack home on bound 4 with 5 pips.

Fighting is indecisive across the front though the Phalanx in the center is making good progress. The cavalry figt on the Pyrrhic left is deadlocked.

The Romans get 4 pips on bound 5 and are able to retaliate.  They use the Ps and Sp to drive back the Pyrrhic cavalry and managed to win a few fights in the center.

The pushing and shoving continue. No casualties yet but it looks like Rome won't go quietly.

Pyrrhus gets 3 pips and renews his attack, this time killing the center Sp but losing the Lh with an unlucky toss of the die. On the Pyrrhic right, the El can’t quite clear the woods but fight the Roman Cv anyway since the combat factors are close.  The El is doubled and destroyed.

Mixed results. Pyrrhus kills a Sp but loses an El and a Lh.

The Roman general hopes for the Pk to clear a good distance so he can flank them with his Cv Gen.   The shoving does continue but not to his liking.  He is obliged to move his Ps to the safety of the woods but is able to “Barker” the Pyrrhic Kn Gen.  He also concentrates on flanking the Pyrrhic Ax in the woods and destroys it with cavalry and a Ps.  However, in leaving his Sp double overlapped he loses that contest.

Rome destroys a Pyrrhic Ax but loses another spear. This one is going down to the wire.

The lines are thinning on both sides.  Pyrrhus does manage to double overlap a Bd in the center and destroy it.  He is not able to cause any further casualties.

Lucky damage for Pyrrhus. The score is tied again.

Rome rolls a 3 for pips.  This is enough for Rome to flank the Ps in the woods.  Pushing and shoving continue in the center but the Ps is destroyed ending the game with a Roman victory.

The end is here. Final score is 4-3.

I wasn’t sure how fun the game would be without support.  I have to tell you, I did not miss the support rules.  The game played fine.  It wasn’t boring.  The large amount of terrain kept the game interesting.  As for the pike modification, I think +6 across the board is a bit too much for pikes.  Whenever they were in dire straights with a double overlap, it felt like they were still indestructible at +4.  I think I will try pikes at +5/+6 (Foot/Mounted) next time.  I’ll keep the double penalty for bad going should it be needed.

The new setup rules require the infantry to be placed in the center half of the board.  This adds another tactical problem and forces the general to decide what he will place in reserve if he has an infantry heavy army.  Both armies started with some elements doubled up but it was less ofg a problem for Rome and they managed to get out of the woods (literally!) more quickly.

I have come to the conclusion that the greater movement rates are a good thing.  This allows the armies to come to grips quickly and prevents one side or another from shuffling about too much.  Flanking is a bit easier but not overly easy.  Barkering” is just as effective as in the previous versions of the game.  In all, I think that playing the game without the fiddlly support rules would work much better and…dare I says…the DBE rules actually would make a bit more sense!

4 Responses to Pyrrhus invades Italy!

  1. John,

    If you make pikes +6/+6 for a single element that is equivalent to 2 pike elements in vanilla DBA. So instead of 4 pike elements would not Pyrrhus have only 2 elements in a game without the support modifiers. it may make pikes seem less powerful as you will only have 1/2 of them. Possibly do as you say in a previous post and make then a DBE but with no benefits of a DBE. Did you make spear +5/+5? or just leave them at +4/+4 without the option of support?.
    Was it a blanket +6? or was it +6 against all except +3 against Cavalry, LH,Bow and Ps?

  2. I have a classic Indian army with three elephants and would never, ever put an elephant in the woods. I’d go so far as to say this was not a fair test of the Phyric army with one of its key elements so misused/abused. And paid the price, elephants never move out of the woods soon enough if you are demented enough to put one in bad going. Considering Psiloi are their worst enemy (well, maybe artillery) why set yourself up for failure by making it a no-brainer for Psiloi to attack the elephant? Does anyone else agree what a strange placement putting an elephant in bad goint is?

  3. Dale Hurtt says:

    What was the rationale for not using support rules for Pikes? Just the heck of it?

    Good report. Thanks.

  4. acarhj says:

    Thanks for the comments. First @Dale There were some discussion on fanaticus about if the game is supposed to be high level, then why have any supporting ranks at all? So I tried it out and liked the way the game played. Getting the Pike strength right will be key since they now deploy on a frontage equal to any other army. Pikes generally deployed 16 ranks and a Roman formation is 15-20 ranks.

    @Richard The elephant in the woods was a calculated risk. I didn’t expect to get a 1 pip on the first turn and wanted to drive off the Roman cavalry. If the Elephant won the first fight (only +2 to +3) it would have easily cleared the woods. As it happened, it not only lost, it was doubled. If it was only driven back, likely the Roman cavalry would not follow. I could have placed the elephant on the other flank, but Ps are there to kill it. Probably the best bet would have been to place it in the center where it would enjoy +5 to +3 which could get the line broken up.

    @Shaun In 3.0 Sp do not support so +4 was it. Similarly, the Wb were viewed as too tough so they remained at +3 instead of +4. I think the +4 is a good idea or even +3 vs shooting, or Ps, Lh Bw and possibly Cv on the first bound of contact. With that in mind, +6 might be OK for the general value.

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