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Vespasian Crosses the Medway

I’m continuing to experiment with a house rules version of DBA. My goal is to not radically change DBA 1.0 but to tweak it in small ways so I can do historical simulations to my satisfaction.

I’ve been taking scenarios from Command and Colors Ancients and converting them into a DBA type game with my tweaks.

We had a communication problem with this scenario and I had to use Gauls instead of Britons for Vespasian’s crossing of the Medway. The only differences in the basic lists was the absence of chariots and subbing Gaul Cv for Briton Lh.

Since the game was another experiment I didn’t mind the subbing and besides it was a good exercise in how to do a river crossing.

The first thing I did was tweak the Order of Battle subbing the Gauls for the Britons. The basic lists have been modified. There were about 18 elements per side. Explanation after the OB.

Britons (divided into three commands or groupings)
Right Flank
3 Bd (1 of which was a leader element)
2 Wb
2 Cv
1 Bd (leader element)
2 Wb
2 Cv
2 Ax
1 Ps
Left Flank
2 Bd (one of which was a leader element)
1 Wb
2 Ax
2 Ps
Romans (divided into 2 commands or groupings)

Left Flank to Center

9 Bd (including the Vespasian command element)
1 Cv
1 Ps
Right Flank to Center
4 Ax
2 Ps
2 Cv including one Cv command element
Rule modifications:
1. Ps are subunits of other elements. They give a plus 1 in combat and suffer the same fate as the element they are attached to but do not count as a separate element. They evade to the rear of the element they are attached too and simply serve a skirmishers that give that plus one. In this way I believe you get a better look to the game as well as a better representation of how Ps usually functioned. In some historical simulations I would use them as independent elements. It just depends.
2. Wb units get a +1 on their first impact.
3. Command elements are what they are (Bd. Wb, Cv, Ax, whatever) and function as an element without the +1 for a general. In these historical simulations more leaders are available and this seemed a good way to represent them (and name them if possible).
4. The Gaul\Briton list is obviously a departure from DBA. In my opinion it’s perfectly fine to have leader elements of noble infantry or fanatics be classified as Bd and other Wb’s classified as lesser warriors by making them Ax. It certainly makes for a more interesting game with a little more variety the elements..
5. The game was played on a game mat with some 3d terrain but the only terrain that mattered was the river itself. The playing area was about 33″ by 33″ since I have very limited space.
6. As CCA players are aware in CCA the order of battle is divided into right, center and left. Counters are activated by means of cards played. Counters in groups are sometimes connected at the start of the game but sometimes not; at least not in how it’s done in basic DBA.
What I did to convert CCA to DBA is give each command it’s own opportunity for dicing for pips depending on how many elements were in each command. In some cases it was a full die roll and in others 1\2 die roll.

(Eventually, I’d like to convert my changes to DBA into a solo mod.)

Victory Conditions
To win you had to destroy 8 elements of the enemy without losing 5 of your own.
To win the Gauls had to destroy at least 4 Roman Bd elements.
To win the Romans had to destroy at least 5 Gaul Bd, Wb or Cv.
The loss of a command elements counted as two elements lost.
The loss of two command elements would result in a sudden death loss.
The loss of the Roman pontoon bridge would also result in a subbed death loss for the Romans.
According to the CCA scenario Batavian Cv had already crossed the river by swimming their horses across thus outflanking the defending Britons. In my game I had the Batavians represented with the Ax on the Roman right.

Batavian Cavalry by Strelets. I have some on my “to do” pile.
In the scenario description the author stated that once the Britons were aware they were outflanked they attempted to concentrate on the more dangerous legions that were crossing. Hence, the loss of the pontoon bridge as a reasonable sudden death loss for the Romans.
My opponent kept within the spirit of things and did his best to take the pontoon bridge and indeed seriously threatened it causing the Romans some concern. The Gaul left and Roman right were hardly engaged as things played out on the other flank and center.

Box art of Celts from the Italeri set. My Gauls\Britons consist of Italeri, Hat, the old ESCI Barbarian set and a few old Airfix Britons.
The game was not fair in a DBA sense. That was and is fine with us. I am more interested in a historical simulation than a competitive game although I still want the scenario to be playable. I usually have a sense of odds in mind when designing the scenario. What I mean by that is what percentage of a chance does the weaker side have of actually winning the simulation.

My Romans are from Hat,  the old ESCI set plus a good representation of the old Airfix Romans. 
In this case I rated the Gauls as having a 30-35% chance of winning the simulations. 
So, having said all that here are some pictures of the game.
The Roman left and part of the center. Vespasian can be seen leading a column of Bd’s across the pontoon bridge.
The Roman right flank. Notice the bow armed Ps screening two elements of Ax. Batavians on the far left.
The extreme left of the Roman one. This group got into quite a jam and was nearly fatally outflanked losing the Cv element and one Bd. The group survivors ended the game with their backs to the river.
Part of the Roman center as well as the relief column being led by Vespasian himself.
Roman Auxiliary cavalry by Hat and Newline. I used them to represent the Batavian although Strelets makes a unique set of Batavians in Roman service.
The Roman right. Hat Roman Auxlia and one element of the old Airfix Roman archers.
The Roman command stand-ESCI and Revell figures.
Aerial view of the Roman forces from the Gaul pov.
The Gaul right flank that gave the Romans such a hard time.
The Gaul center. They held their own for quite a while but in the end gave way.
The unengaged Gaul left.
Aerial view of the Gauls from a Roman pov.
The stand off. Neither side sough to pick a fight.
The Gaul left bearing down on the Roman right.
The Romans wait hoping Vespasian will cross in time!
About to be heavily engaged as the Gaul player tries his best to turn the Roman right.
The Roman Cv is outflanked by the Gaul Cv and destroyed! Oh, oh!
Reinforcements are on the way! Vespasian himself enters the fray!
The stand off on the Roman right continues.
The Roman left is bent back.
Romans in the enter advance on the Gaul center which has moved to support the Gaul left. It took quite a while for the Romans to break through and achieve the victory conditions.
Gaul Cv and fanatic Bds applying pressure!
Part of the Gaul center versus the Roman center. The Romans would eventually prevail here.
Looks bad for the Gauls and it was.
The Gaul Cv on the far left threatened to cross the river and caused one element from the legions to back track and protect the bridge,
Gaul high tide. The flanked Roman Bd would die!
Vespasian and the two adjacent Bd’s vanquish all before them and give the Romans the victory! 

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