The Blade vs Spear “fix”

August 25, 2012

I played out two battles with Mid Anglo-Saxon (b) vs Viking (b).  With the old rules, it seemed that the (a) version of Anglo Saxons had more of a chance since it had a few Wb which could Qk Bd.  Choosing the (b) versions of both armies, you get a near perfectly homogenise army of Sp vs Bd.  The Vikings took a Wb for their optional element.  The Saxons opted to not raise the Fyrd (no Hd) and took the lone Psiloi.  The Saxon was the defender and chose a woods and two gentle hills.  All landed on one side of the board in quadrant I and II.  The BUA was in quadrant III.  The Vikings chose to deprive the Saxons of the terrain and let them anchor their line on the Burgh (BUA).

The first game was simply to allow ties go to the Sp with the Bd having to recoil.  There were enough pips to allow the Saxon line to shuffle and anchor against the BUA while the Vikings advanced over the hills.  Both sides had reserves.  the Vikings kicked out a Wb on their right while the Saxon countered with a Ps to cover the flanking move.  A shoving match ensued, at first with the Sp gaining the upper hand with some good rolls.  The overlap from the bua helped and kept a Bd in check as the Viking did not want to fall victim to a sally from the garrisoning Sp.  It was not to be though.  A combination of poor pip rolls and the eventual 6-1 combination opened hles in the Saxon line.  The battle ended 4-0.

I felt that the Sp, despite being able to win ties against the Bd, could not muster enough combat power to kill the Bd reliably, even on a double overlap.  So for the second game, I allowed the Sp to Qk on a tie.  The battle focused this time on the area west of the BUA (Saxon Left) with the Vikings getting the upper hand early.  However, the Viking general did too well and the psiloi was able to swing back to the flank while a Sp fought to the front.  1 lucky roll and 1 dead Viking general.  under the new rules, this does not end the game but gives 1 extra victory point at games end.  So now the viking command structure was stunned.  Two of the next 3 turns, the Vikings could only move a single unit.  However, even though they were getting picked off here and there, they managed a late rally and did kill two Sp for the cost of a Wb and two Bd.  Only 1 Bd died as a result of a tie.  The other was a result of being flanked and killed.

That second game turned on a freak incident where the general outstripped his support and the light infantry swooping in to save the day.  So it got me thinking, what would happen on a flat plain with 6 Bd vs 6 Sp.  Each mini-army would have 1 general.  the game wuld be over after 2 kills.  I played 10 of these and the results were even.  Dead even.  The Sp jumped out to a 2-0 lead but the Vikings came back and took the lead 3 games to 2.  Then it was all Sp again for the next two games and then a trade back and forth until 10 games were played.  The total was 5-5.   Both sides won their share of laughers.  Each army won in a single bound once (scored the required 2 kills in 1 bound) and the Sp managed 3 kills once.  This seems to be a reasonable “fix” for Bd vs Sp though I have not seen what effects hills and woods have on it all.

A quick look at the moving parts.  Sp are at their best when the fight at even odds.  This will give you a 1 in 6 chance of a tie.  Any differential, positive or negative will result in a reduction in your chance to tie.  So when going against a blade army and you don’t know which combat to choose first, make it a Sp at even odds!

To recap, I would make Wb recoil against Sp on a tie.  I would make Sp Qk Bd on a tie.  Simpe.  Effective.  No need for fiddly side support and special rules.




Testing some modifications for DBA 3.0

August 24, 2012

Well, if I am going with 3.0, at least I am going to put it in to a form which I can live with.  Not being a fan of side support, I tested out some possible modifications of the rules.  The “battles” fought were 4 element armies of the same type.  All spear vs all blade and so forth.  The battle is over when 2 elements are lost on one side.  The modifications are as follows:

Bd ties Sp: recoil

Wb ties Sp: Recoil

The first matchup was Bd vs Sp.  I played 3 times.  In all three battles, the Bd army won.  The Sp were more resilient but against a 5 Cf, you need a double overlap to have a decent chance at doubling the enemy.  The most notable matchup is Middle Saxons with essentially all Sp vs Early Viking with essentially all Bd.  The Vikings do have an Aggression of 3 vs the Saxon Aggression of only 1.  So the Saxons get to choose the terrain type.  So this matchup really needs to be tested on something more than a flat battlefield.

The second matchup was Sp vs Wb.  I played this one out 7 times or more.  The first fight went to the Sp.  The second fight went to the Wb and the Sp were destroyed to the last man.  Not boding well.  the third fight went to the Wb as well but it was a closer match.  The rest of the fights went to the Sp.  Every one of them were close.  I think this might be a good balance for this matchup and no fiddly side support rules are required.

So what of the SOLID vs FAST thing?  All I can stay as is, if you want the detail, keep it in.  There will be some overlap of outcomes but oh well.

The last item is Kn vs Bd.  The answer is lots of terrain since most Kn armies are also high aggression armies.  It will be up to the defender to place enough terrain to help his army while hindering the opponents army. There is, in the current rules, that the Kn are Qk on a tie against Bd.  That might be enough to even the score on a flat battlefield.   I have not tried this matchup yet.



Ancients D6 now in German

August 13, 2012

Bernd Kohler has translated version 2 of the game to German.  His version accommodates large stands of 4-12 figures depending on the unit type.  Rather than simply assigning 2, 3 or 4 strength to the unit, he modified the game to include all figures in the unit.  So from handfuls to buckets of dice rolling fun.  You can find it on the AD6 Page here in the German section right below 3.0.

Light infantry fend off an attack by a group of Elephants. From a game using the German version of AD6.

Thoughts on DBA 3.0 so far…

August 10, 2012

I like DBA.  I do.  I don’t play in competitions and many games I’ve played lately have been solo.  Most of what the author has done have been positive improvements in my opinion.  Here are my thoughts:

  1. The move to contact rules have been clarified.  Groups now simply conform to enemy groups.  Unit generally conform to other units.  There is a free move for sliding about to line up with the enemy.  There are also rules to kick blocking units aside so that you can properly line up.  Very nice.
  2. There have been some combat adjustments that are, for the most part, for the better.  El have lost much of their Qk abilities but the factors have been reversed from old El.  They now are +5 Foot +4 mounted.  Some are complaining about this but to my mind, this is fine.
  3. Others want more parity with Wb and Sp.  All Wb armies can wipe the floor with all Sp armies.  This much is true.  How they are going about balancing this is by introducing side support.  The idea is that if you are in full side contact and facing the same direction as another Sp or Bd, then you get a +1Cf.  Its a way to get support without reducing your frontage.  This is fine except now Sp seem to be extra tough against Wb with a near guaranteed +2 over the Wb.  I am not fond of this.  I think it is because extra factors are making Sp exceedingly tough against other units.
  4. Speaking of rear support, most has been removed.  That is fair except Pk now get +3 vs most infantry and +1 vs mounted.  The Wb rear support has also been re-introduced.  I’ve always found rear support to be a sucker bet in DBA.  Pike formations were usually only as deep and as wide as Roman formations.  Probably just like other formations if they deployed in two or more lines.  No general would ever shrink his line length without good reason.

Some time at the beginning of the summer, I did some test games with single stand Pk and giving them +5 +5 for Cf.  The games worked out reasonably well against their Roman opponents.  “yesthatphil” on the miniatures page has taken this idea a step further and made double based pike (spear really) for his armies and played out some Medieval battles with good results.  I think that this is a good change.

Another problem is the spear vs Wb matchup.  An idea I was kicking around was to do a sort of a side support but without adding +1.  Instead, when Sp or Pk are in side support with another Sp or Pk and are being attacked by Kn or Wb, they can negate the Qk and only have to recoil.  If the unit is isolated (that is, are not in full side contact and facing the same direction as a Sp or Pk) they are Qk.  Bd can get the same effect against Kn only.

Finally, to balance the Sp vs Bd interaction,  Bd lose ties and must recoil against any Sp.  These essentially brings the chance of victory for the Sp up from 28% to 42% with no chance of doubling.  If the Bd gets overlapped, the Sp would get a 58% chance of victory and a small chance of doubling.

None of my ideas have been tested yet.  I have such little time to paint, play and design so there it is.  I might be able to get a game in tonight.

I think the book will be well worth just for the army lists alone.  I like most of how the game plays and hope to find a better solution (to my mind!) to my points above for solo and friendly face to face games.