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An Athenian Hoplite in the Court of King Malcolm

Tutoring 11
Skill 11
Idea 11
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So, I finally managed to get a couple of games of DBA in at my usual club, re-learning the intricacies of the game and my hatred of Barkerese. I wasn’t expecting much from my army at this point, but I went in knowing that, so low expectations and all that. I only got two games in against the same opponent, who was using III/45 Pre-Feudal Scots with II/81d Strathclyde allies (namely a unit of Knights and two of Spearmen)

One day, whilst out testing their newest class of Triremes, a group of Athenians rowed into a sea mist and somehow found themselves displaced by 5000 miles and 1500 years to the coast of Dark Ages Scotland. Landing there and finding themselves unable to speak to anyone (as well as probably shivering like mad in the changed climate), they immediately annoyed the Scots who gathered up their local forces (including some visiting forces from Strathclyde), and descended on the bewildered Greeks.

Round 1

The terrain for the two games was the same – two fields of plough and two of scrub, although the plough only played a part in the first game, when my opponent, who was the defender, rolled a 1 for his PIPs in the first bound. My plan was to line up between the two close areas of scrub and try to take the charge, but I ended up charging in on my third bound after his allies got stuck in the muddy fields.

It didn’t last long, however – Pikes are really good vs infantry, and I didn’t really give myself enough room to spread out and get the flanking bonuses I needed to win the fights. After two bounds of combat, the Scots made a breakthrough, and at that point it was all over.


Round 2

As the attacker again, I chose to set up in between the scrub again to try to protect my flanks, but, in retrospect, I would have been better off in the open fields, getting the spread out line since my opponent’s frontage was shrunk with his pikes.

The end result was a fight that eventually broke into two parts – with my General and a few others going against the Strathclyde on one side, and the rest taking on the Scottish pikes. I managed to last longer this time around, mainly suffering from push backs rather than kills (the Scottish general’s 4Wb was particularity bad at getting kills this time around), but, eventually, one of the pike columns made the breakthrough and it was all over.

So, lessons learned? Yes, Spears are nothing like Blades! Spears are good all-rounders, but against most other troops in the open they really do rely on having the support and flanking bonuses to win the fights. They really can only go toe-to-toe vs Auxillia and lighter troops – against Blades and Warband, they really are average. Making sure I have plenty of room to spread my line out is a must for this force, and the Psiloi really are for making sure I don’t get flank charged – so I should mainly use them for ZoC denials.

For future games, I think the first couple of bounds will be spent only advancing 1BW at a time, spreading the line out. It was worth trying using the scrub to guard my flanks, but, ultimately, I don’t think it really works as well as it may for Blades. It might work if I had woods or difficult hills, but scrub just delays the enemy.

I will also be revising my prayers to Athena, as rolling 1 to your opponent’s 6 for combat really doesn’t help things…

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