413 AD Visigoths versus Vandals – A Big Base DBA Battle Report

Chris Harrod and I finally got around to playing another game of the Fall of Hispania Campaign based on these campaign rules. Four game years have passed since the first game so the nominal campaign date is 413 AD. Tragically it has also been four real years since we played the first game. Chris rolled Vandals and I got Visigoths. The rules were Big Base DBA.

The summary is: Short game with the Visigoth wedges smashing through the Vandal shieldwall.

Plans

Both armies used my Revised DBA Army List for a Western German Horde. Chris took the LH option (Alans – which makes sense in a Vandal army) and I took an extra Psiloi (Archers). Otherwise very similar armies with a majority of Warband. All the figures were from my generic Germanic Horde.

Although we used DBA 2.2 we used the terrain rules from the draft DBA 3.0. I was the defender and chose three difficult hills and two “plough”. As it happens the plough had no effect on the game. Not that the hills had much more effect.

My plan was form my Visigoths into a boar’s head / wedge (Macdowall, 1996), which I interpret as a two deep line of warband, and smash through the Vandals.

Visigothic Array

Visigothic Array

I planned to use one of the hills to protect my right flank. With two deep warband my left flank would be hanging out in space around the middle of the table so I placed both noble elements to guard that flank.

Visigothic nobles

Visigothic nobles

Chris’s deployed shallow so that he could outflank and roll me up. I interpret the shallow formation as a shield wall (Macdowall, 1996), posing a nice contrast to my boar’s head.

Vandal Host

Vandal Host

Vandals

Vandals

The battle

The photo below shows the table and terrain – three difficult hills and two “plough”. As the attacker Chris took the first turn and advanced all along the line. Given part of the Vandal host started on one of the difficult hills this took a few pips.

Vandals advance

Vandals advance

After a few moves the armies were approaching each other. As I feared my left flank was rather exposed and Chris pushed some nobles and his Alan allies forward to threaten my flank and rear.

Vandal nobles threaten Visigothic wing

Vandal nobles threaten Visigothic wing

I forgot that impetus troops can double move so it took us a bit longer to close than it could have.

Shieldwalls edge closer

Shieldwalls edge closer

Luckily Chris obliged by edging forward so I was in charge reach. Charge! The first results were a mixed bag of recoils but one Vandal kill. I got a Warband in the centre. At that point chris realised why my Warband were two deep and he repeated his refrain from our last game “I really must read the rules again”.

Contact

Contact

The fight between the warbands continued with my deeper formation getting a slight advantage. Chris continued to advance on my exposed left flank but not fast enough to change the course the battle.

Warband slug it out

Warband slug it out

Another round of combat and more Vandals are destroyed. On the far flank my two skirmisher (Psiloi) elements managed to get a Vandal warband in the flank and kill it. Similarly in the middle of the line one of my warband turned onto the flank of a Vandal and kill them as well. And on the near side the boar’s head that had previously been going backwards suddenly surged forward – fourth kill.

More Vandals die

More Vandals die

So I got the four kills necessary and took the game.

End game

End game

Summary and Conclusions

I’m a bit biased but it was a satisfactory game. Pretty quick – probably only 30 minutes from go to woe. Realistic result (boar’s head have an edge over shield wall). And once again I love the look of Big Base DBA.

2 comments to 413 AD Visigoths versus Vandals – A Big Base DBA Battle Report

  • John

    Are you still using 2.2? The jump to 3.0 is a worthwhile investment. Many army its are tidied up, most have good allies and all play really well under the new version.
    No element swapping and defenders get to move first. I think this is better and saves the pottering we often saw at the deployment stage.

  • Steven Thomas

    Yes, we are still using 2.2. They are flawed but “the devil you know” and all that.

    We have used the draft 3.0 terrain rules once. It went okay.

    I do have 3.0 sitting on my book shelf. But haven’t made the transition. Time is a constraint but also a general dislike of the changes (around troop types). For example of the army lists I have looked at they are either just as bad as the original ones (Roman) or worse (Hittite).

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