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Defensive Deployments and Battle Plans
(DBA Virtual Seminar)

This is the second in a series of DBA virtual seminars. In each "virtual seminar", participants are invited to respond to a problem illustrating some aspect of game play by providing a suggested solution and/or commenting on the suggestions of others. The goal is to help illustrate the basic tactical/strategic considerations of DBA to new players, while at the same time allowing more experienced gamers to refine their thinking in light of the proposals of other experienced gamers.

The Problem

This case study explores the selection of army options and the problem of deployment by the high roller who must deploy first and fight on terrain selected by the low roller. Taking the part of the high roller, you must determine what is your optimal composition composition and deployment given the available terrain and the uncertainty of your opponent's deployment. The problem is also intended to illustrate the use of battle plans. Granted, few plans survive the shock of impact. However, to fight without some plan for the effective utilization of your forces is to concede the initiative to your foe.

Our seminar problem pits Late Roman East (#77b) vs. West (#77a) armies. Your opponent, Late Roman East is the Low Roller and has selected the following army elements: 2x4Kn, 2x3Cv, 2x4Lh, 2x4Bd, 2x4Aux, and 2x2Ps.

As High Roller, you are Late Roman West and must select your army from the following list of elements: 1x4Kn or 3Cv, 2x3Cv, 1x2Lh, 4x4Bd, 3x4Ax, 1xArt or 2Ps.

Gameboard The following game board is presented:

Late Roman West (High Roller) has rolled for baseline and received the South Edge. Terrain consists of two bad going woods (green), one bad going marsh (mottled green), and two gentle hills (brown). A road (dark brown) bisects the board North to South. The sequence is off in that Late Roman East has already placed its camp (black square) next to the road (normally the High Roller places the first camp). It is now time for Late Roman West to place its camp and deploy.

Questions Presented

  1. Where would you place your camp?

  2. What Late Roman West elements would you choose to comprise your 12 element army (why?), and how would you deploy them?

  3. What is your plan of battle (briefly summarize how you plan to utilize your forces?

  4. If possible, please submit your deployment as a diagram in an ASCII or proportional font (e.g., courier). A deployment diagram might look like something as follows:

                      [Ax][Ax][Ax][Lh]    [Kn] [Bd][BdG][Bd][Bd][Ps]
                           [Camp]         [Cv]
            -------------------------------||----Base Line------------------

    Include a G in the designation of the element containing your General.

    Send your responses to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.

    John McWalters' "High Ground Strategy" and Eastern Response

    Here is my two cents concerning the DBA Virtual Seminar. This is how I would set up the Late Roman West forces:

    6" from baseline
    ===========================||====Base Line=============

    West's objective would simply be to try to take and hold the high ground of the Southern hill. Given the mobility of the Roman East forces, and since they do get to move first, I don't think that I will not have much time to redeploy. I think that I have just enough speed to capture the hill. The mounted are there to thwart attempts to flank, perhaps they will be able to flank if the East player drives straight for my Blades. The Artillery is on the road. It should be able to get a few good shots since the road looks like the fastest way into battle. The Kn is on the East flank since it is unlikely that the Lh will cross the other mounted, or swamp, to get at the Kn. The Kn will also keep East Ax in the swamp/forest where they belong.

    West's first turn will simply be to advance everyone 200 paces. If the East tries to force its mounted to the South East to flank my mounted, then the mounted should try to manuever west to protect the camp while the foot push off the hill towards the enemy camp and East's inferior foot.

    On the other side of the field, were I the Roman East player, this is how I would setup in almost all of the configurations that I have seen:

    ______________________________||___________________________ 6" limit

    If the bulk of the West army is on the west side of the road, then I would place the Foot troops on the West side of the Mounted. The idea is to use the speed of the Mounted, with the help of the road, to smash the West Army before it can react to the attack. With 1 PIP, all of the mounted can advance 400 paces, and for 2 PIPs, the Kn and Lh can move 500 paces. This will ensure that West will never reach the middle of the battlefield without a fight. On the first turn, the objective is to take the North hill and to manuever past the swamp with the Mounted troops.

    If the West takes an aggressive stance to begin with (Win the Marsh), the appearance of 6 mounted units 800 paces away will force him to start spending PIPs on redeployment. This would give me time to bring my Foot through any bad going that they may encounter.

    If the West takes a defensive stance, then I still have time to bring up my troops and to try to flank/disrupt with my Mounted. It will be a slug fest, but it will be in good going.

    [Responses Page 2]

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    Last Updated: May 14, 2002

    Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.