This is a first for me – a battle report on my blog, but I though I’d try writing one up as this shows the figures I paint in action. It was also a fun game and I don’t play DBM that often, so what the heck, here goes. The game was DBM 3.2 at 325 pts and I took my Sea People vs. Dave M’s Ancient Libyans. These are historical opponents so no issues there.
One of the strengths of DBM in my opinion is the battle set up – which is an important part of the ancients games, where set up and terrain can make or break a game. So we used the full set up and terrain rules. It turned out I was attacking from the west, in the spring into Libyan territory. There were strong winds from the south for the weather, which made it harder for Dave’s bow men to be effective. Indeed his bow armed troops would have issues vs. the sea peoples fast but effective foot army. The terrain came down on the center and right side of the table as I looked at it – with rough terrain, an orchard/oasis and dunes. Yes the terrain was some flat felt but that’s all we had and it does work well for DBM. Dave who was defending put his largest command down on my left , you can see that below.I followed by having to put down my largest impetuous foot supporting command in the center of the table. Then Dave’s warband commands were set together to to oppose this large command. My supporting aggressive foot command also went next to the first, with the more controllable heavy foot guarding the rough ground and my baggage. So the table looked as below for the start of the game. It seemed we both had the same basic tactics, refuse our right flank and win the game on our left and center.At the start of the game I got a good die roll for the command on the left, but the others got poor rolls. This meant I could start to control the moves of the left flank while I just managed to hold the rest of the army in place, if I did nothing with them. Both armies have a lot of impetuous troops and in DBM it takes command and control to stop them charging wildly at the enemy! For both of us, this game was as much about containing and controlling the troops in our command as opposed too directing the troops with precise radio control.
As my left started to move towards the skirmish line in front of them, the second and third lines started to angle into the center. My plan was to use them to hit Dave’s main combat troops (his warbands) in the flank. The first few moves saw those very powerful warbands, which are the fighting strength of his army closing the gap with my so far stationary sea people. Dave had the strong troops from 2 commands, in the center as a single group, making that the obvious hammer of his force. In the center I then got a couple of good command rolls and could separate the two lines of sea people blades in a controlled manner. That was important, because in DBM these troops fight with no rear support, while the the warbands do – so are more effective in deeper formations. One thing to note is in DBM is if a unit/stand dies anything directly behind it (to it’s own base depth) also dies. So, although the warbands gain extra strength for being in deep formations, they also die faster when they do die. The warbands are not as good as the troops I had (blades) but if they win a combat they automatically kill the blades. So the fight actually was quite even.
At the same time as this, the Libyan on my right were making progress through the terrain to start to flank my troops. They were not close enough to be a threat at present, but it was coming. The warband in the center also closed to the point where in my turn I could, with the great command roll I made, actually attack the warbands in a controlled way. In DBM there is no advantage for attacking, as the alternate turn sequence is a game mechanic but the troops behave as they should if not under the helicopter radio control of the supreme commander. This is one of the really good things about DBM to me. The turn based charge bonuses in some games always feel way too ‘gamey’ in many systems. The advantage of attacking, with an good command die roll, is I could move extra troops into contact to ensure I overlapped the warbands to get the best chances at the combats. So when the lines hit it was as below:The combats went well for me – and although 2 sea people elements died (quick killed by warbands) I manged to win a couple by doubling the warband results, and thus killed 4 warbands in return. So we won 2 combats each. At the same time my troops on the flank were working slowly into a good position. I had lost control of the front line of troops so they were madly charging toward the skirmishers in front of them, while the other troops continued to turn towards the Libyan center.The battle in the center now started for real, with both sides making progress while stands/units died on both sides. As both the warbands and blades need command and control not to charge opponents straight in front of them, and they move forward when they kill an opponent a chaotic melee developed. Thus, we both spent most of our command points for these commands making a few expensive moves to ensure the best combat positions, or to get troops onto the flanks of other units. I managed to keep the sea people somewhat under control but the warbands were slowly killing my units. This area of the battle field was quickly moving to a critical stage, as losses were mounting on both sides. It was still mostly one of my commands vs. two of Dave’s, so the numbers on the Libyan side were starting to count. On my left, my Sea People troops had hit the skirmish line and were doing a great job of pushing that fast back (using the new press forward rules in DBM 3.2) . The skirmish line was not lucky enough to hold the troops up which is what Dave had hoped they would. So my troops were heading towards the bows at the far back of the table. The bow armed troops were getting a little concerned, especially as the wind had turned towards the east during the battle, reducing the effectiveness of their bows. The troops which were turning into the center were starting to hit the flank of the central troops though, so the flanking move was starting to come into play.Meanwhile, on my right, the Lybian forces were closing rapidly through the rough terrain and starting to use their numbers to effectively pushing my few light troops out of that terrain, especially where I could not withdraw them safely.Then the inevitable happened. Dave’s Libyans killed enough of my center command to demoralize it. That was in my turn, so in his turn his troops did a great job of killing many of the Sea people that were still in combat. Even with this one of my elements kept winning and pushing their opponents back, against all the odds. It continued to win every turn until the end of the game!
The loss of the central command made a huge hole in the center of my army. The figures facing towards the camera here are fleeing the battle. Having the more controlled command behind the first at least provided a third (and last) line between the Libyan warband’s and my baggage, but it was only a matter of time before more bad things started to happen in the center of the battle field for me.In my turn the my flanking units had hit home, breaking Dave’s right hand command. My troops also hit the bows on the refused flank and they died quickly after the sea people troops got in melee with them. You can see the results in the distance below . So it was one broken command each, with troops fleeing the field and being pursed across the table on both sides. On my right side, Dave’s troops were finally getting into position to try to mount a serious threat. So I moved into a defensive layout. I did not have enough light troops, or command points to seriously challenge Dave’s troops on this side. Although, it would take a lot of command effort, and some lucky rolls from him to get any quick success here. So all I had to do is hold on this side of the table and in front of the baggage (which was much harder) while using the flanking troops to kill enough of Dave’s center command to break that. My baggage was the big concern, as Dave had 8 bases of warbands moving towards it. My troops were moving across the flank of the remaining Libyans and trying to defend the baggage…
Then, one of the interesting items of DBM occurred. Part of the reason I like DBM is exactly for this type of thing – that tactics work in the game but there is a random element as well. So, even though a command is demoralized, one units/stand can make a tactical move each turn. Also, although units in a demoralized command fight at a big negative, they do still fight. So a demoralize command can sometime still have an influence on a battle.
That was the case here, where one of the few remaining Sea People units fleeing past the advancing warbands turned and attacked them in the flank. The flank attack worked (against the odds) and recoiled the warband. As they could not recoil due to other troops being present in their recoil path, that took out 4 warband elements in one combat! So suddenly the advancing wall of 8 warbands became 4 and that command was out of the battle. Below you can see the gap where the warband elements were. With this turn of events that was the end of the game. The lucky roll for me in many ways decided the game, although we both agreed I was in slightly better position tactically at the end of the game. I had more chances of a victory but Dave’s plan was close to winning – powering through the center and to my the baggage. I was surprised at the end I have to say, both for my luck and that my battle plan had sort of worked!
So, the Libyan army was defeated and the Sea People’s went on to celebrate. I think it was a seriously lucky win at the end but, heck I’ll take it. The unit of the battle award goes to the above sea people unit, but the below one that was the last of the front row of the central command troops get an honorable mention. This unit kept winning their combats, against significant odds. Both were from the central command, which did the majority of the fighting for me.I have to say this was a fun game, and wish to thank Dave again for the playing as well as helping me with the rules at times. The Blades(fast) vs Warband(fast) central match up made this interesting and brutal game, with both of us trying to control and get the better positions for combats in the game.
It’s been a year since my last DBM game but I plan on it not being another year before another game. DBM may be an old game in some peoples view, but the fairly recent 3.2 version still provides a good, fun game in my opinion.