This was my second play-test of Richard Lee’s solo DBA variant rules (see the discussion group on Solo DBA development). It involved pitting my Picts against the NPG’s (Non Player General’s) Romano-British army. The Brits defended and this is the battlefield/terrain selection that the NPG chose, using Richard’s selection mechanisms, with a gentle hill, a road and a wood set out:
I varied the positioning rules for the Brit camp as, with my three Psiloi against their one, it wouldn’t have made sense to place it near the wood (marked here by a patch of green felt – minimalism rules!). The camp was garrisoned by the odd unit of Brit spears. I then followed Richard’s deployment rules and this resulted in a mass of Brit spears in the centre backed up by a unit of psiloi in reserve, with the cavalry and light horse on the centre right and far right of the line.
I staffed my camp with a motley rabble of camp followers, and set up a column of psiloi on the right of my line to move into the wood on the left of the Brit position. My spears were positioned in the centre and centre left of my line, with my light horse on the left flank and my cavalry general behind the right end of the spear line:
This is another picture of the Brit lines:
In the first move I ordered my psiloi into the wood in column, which the NPG (who was designated as having a ‘neutral’ temperament) countered with his own psiloi while cautiously moving his spears and horse forward. My own spears and light horse also advanced:
I pulled my light horse back as they were outmatched by the NPG’s mounted. The NPG used the next move to repair and lengthen his line, and reinforce his psiloi near the woods with a unit of spears:
I attacked the British left with my psiloi but was repulsed, as the two lines of spearmen crunched into combat in the centre:
The clash in the centre went badly for me – I lost one spear element, then a second as the NPG repaired his line by moving a recoiled unit back into contact (a liberal but I think fair interpretation of the ‘repair line’ option). I flanked the end of the British line with my cavalry general:
The left-most Brit spear element was duly dispatched, which meant it was now 2 – 1 to the NPG. The next throw produced a defensive option for the NPG, but I diced to override this (as per Richard’s rules – this can be done a limited number of times each game on a favourable dice throw) to allow the NPG an aggressive move with his mounted troops. There was now fighting all along the left of my line, with my light horse flanked by the enemy’s light horse and confronted with a hostile cavalry unit. My left-most light horse element was killed…the NPG was now 3 – 1 up and clearly in the ascendant:
Back on my right wing I used my cavalry general to flank another spear unit which was summarily dispatched – it was now 3 -2 to the NPG. However, back on the left wing and the left centre the NPG came over all aggressive and moved to flank my left-most spear unit. My poor Picts crumbled, and it was game over, despite the fact that my light horse took out the Brit light horse in a final gesture of defiance.
So an enjoyable and fast game ended with a 4 – 3 win for the NPG:
Richard’s solo rules worked well with some minor tweaking, and provided me with a useful NPG opponent. Great fun!