Monday, March 21, 2011

Zama DBA update

A while back, I promised a fuller report on my 'double' DBA Zama game, and more pictures of the 10mm armies I built for it.

Well, I have finished the Slingshot article, now, (so if you want more of the 'how and why' discussion about the battle and how to depict it, then at some point you need to follow one of the links and join the Society of Ancients ... This isn't a hard sell: I think most people stop by here on a whim, and to look at pictures - so this is the place for the eye candy, Slingshot it is the place for publishing articles on Zama; second, if you are interested in how battles work in the age of Hannibal and Scipio, then you will enjoy being part of the Society ... and encouraging you to join is my gift ...)...

Zama BattleDay links

Here is the eye candy ...

DOUBLE DBA ZAMA ... armies and pictures:

This is a top down view of the battlefield. As can be seen, each player has two 12 element DBA armies, one deployed in fron of the other (rather than side-by-side, as is more common in 'big battle' variants). The red and blue lines, at left, indicate the notional four deployed lines of battle described at Zama (in this case amalgamated to three - though 10mm does allow a line of figures to be shown).

Double DBA
... Double DBA is a straightforward idea (though not one I
have seen before) ... each side has two standard (12 element) DBA armies, but instead of deploying them side-by-side (in the usual allies or 'doubles' format), one deploys in front of the other.
Each side's forward army is 'expendable' and fights on until either of those two 'engagement' armies reaches its normal (4 element) DBA break point. At that point both forces are withdrawn - except the 'winner' is allowed to retain the margin between the engagement forces (so the loser of that opening phases withdraws the remainder of his force, the winner removes 8 elements) ...
(a Carthaginian elephant pushing into the Roman lines 'old' Chariot 10mm figures)
Conduct of battle: until the engagement armies are withdrawn, both sides play both forces simultaneously. Pips are rolled for each independently, and any damage done to the reserve army is, of course, permanent. (Scipio stationed amongst the Roman Triarii in the last line)

When the engagement armies are withdrawn, the two reserve armies may reorganise a little by swapping 2 elements (as the defender may, at the start of a normal DBA battle), and the engagement army's Pip die is no longer rolled (the player with any extra elements from the engagement phase must control those elements as well as the reserve force with the reserve army's Pips) ...
(Roman Velites)
The game is won when either reserve army breaks by losing 4 elements or its commander. Remnants of the engagement army are not part of the reserve force so do not count in this analysis.
(Carthaginian Mercenaries and Levies)
Carthaginian Engagement Army
(as deployed, L to R)
2 LH, 3El, 1 Ps, 3 El, 1 Cv, 1 Cv Gen, 1 Cv
Carthaginian Reserve Army
(main line, L to R)
1 Ps, 5 Hd, 1 Ps;
(rear line, L to R)
2 Sp, 1 Sp Gen (Hannibal), 2 Sp.

Roman Engagement Army
(as deployed, L to R)
1 Ps, 1 Bd, 1 Ps, 1Bd, 1 Ps, 1Bd, 1Ps, 1 Cv gen (Masinissa), 2 LH with 2 Ps deployed in a supporting rank behind the LH.
Roman Reserve Army
(main Line, L to R)
1 LH, 2 Cv, 6 Bd,
(rear line, L to R)
1 Sp, 1 Sp gen (Scipio), 1 Sp
For DBA completeness, both armies were given a camp behind the lines, but they cannot be 'taken' in the game. The battlefield is a flat open plain with no terrain features in play.

(fearful of the Numidian host on the Roman right, Hannibal has deliberately drifted half his line a Masinissa, allowing a gap to develop)

(Masinissa, with closer order troops around him, leads the skirmish line to spoil the Carthaginian elephant attack)

(The Romans push into the gap, meanwhile, Hannibal tries to reorganise his rear lines in order to bring his veterans into the battle earlier ...)


(with most of the engagement armies removed, Rome's Numidians remain in battle and attempt to turn the Carthaginian position)

(The end: Hannibal and Scipio close ... however, the Numidians in the foreground are Rome's allies, and are poised to block the Carthaginian spear-line's recoils. This will win the game for Scipio)

This year's Battle Day is in Bletchley, on 2nd April, and features the great showdown between the Egyptians and Hittites at Kadesh.

More here: Society of Ancients BattleDay information


TWR said...


Excellent to hear you have submitted the article fro Slingshot. I for one will be keen to read it.

One question, what do the grey areas represent?

SoA Shows North said...

I tried to modify the flat open plain of the battlefield with the patchwork of random field systems etc. as used in the bigger scale presentations such as Simon Miller's (say, )
but I think (particularly in photos) the grey flock doesn't really work in contrast to the motley-poly surface (so it comes out as a random patchwork ... but a patchwork of what? ...)...
I didn't want to model in detail because at the moment the figures still slide nicely (which is an advantage for a quickfire unfiddly game) ...



TWR said...

Thanks for the clarification on the table design.

Was there a reason for the additional area of battlefield for the camps, compared with a rectangular board and placement on the side?

SoA Shows North said...

I was happy to include camps for the modelling fun, but, of course, at Zama as with most battles of the period, they play no part in the engagement and are in reality far too far back to be present on the battlefield - even given DBA's scale ...

So there is a rear zone behind each army which is 'beyond the battlefield', and the camps sit there... not in the playing area.

Though a long way back, there are plenty of battles where the camps, one or other, do come into the equation - so I'm sort of happy with DBA's inclusion and mechanics ... but not for this particular battle.

Properly creating a scenario for an actual historical battle is, I firmly believe, about choosing which bits of the rules apply, and which do not.

That said, I guess I still could have made the board rectangular ...

Hmmm ... would it then say 'visible but not actually accessible from the battlefield' (originally, I was going to make a model palisade cutting that entire back zone off physically from the battlefield, but I thought it then would look far too close to the deployed troops)?