On Friday I finally managed to get the Romans and Seleucids on the table for a first taste of DBA. OK, a couple of elements of the Seleucids weren't finished and I haven't made camps yet, but we just decided to get on with trying it out. Terrain was also a bit of a problem as I don't really have anything small enough, but we reckoned that was no bad thing as it allowed us to concentrate on the rules and learning them. Being the first attempt at DBA by either Carl, James or myself I'm pretty sure we probably did something wrong, but overall I think the games were decided by the right deployment and strategy rather than any quirks of the rules, so overall I was very pleased with how the battles 'felt'.
We laid a pretty flat table with a river and one hill and then diced for the invaders table edge (the Romans were the aggressors...who else?!). Below is the starting setups.
I played the Seluecids and set up with my pike block between the hill and river with the elephant and one psiloi on their left and the cataphracts on the right. The hill was held by the auxilia, warband and psiloi, with the scythed chariot on the far right. The Romans (Carl and James collaborated in playing them) started in two lines with the spears on their right and half the blades on the left of the first line. One cavalry element was on the right flank and the psiloi on the left. The General lurked behind the first line and the rest of the blades in the rear line (not in shot). I thought that having a full quarter of your army so far in the rear immediately put them at a disadvantage. I think they should have been a lot closer to the front line. Also, none of us realised how little effect a river has and we seemed to treat it as a real barrier, so the battlefield was a little more squashed than it should have been.
The first few turns saw the lines approaching each other cautiously. As neither of us really knew the rules I think none of us really knew what was going to happen. I decided to throw my chariot at his psiloi in the misunderstanding that they would mow them down, but all I got was a recoil before the chariots were destroyed. Afterthought showed that this is actaully the right outcome...what was I thinking? Chariots against loosely ordered men that can dodge out the way? At least I could be satisfied it didn't count for a lost element! :)
To even things up, though, the Romans pitted their cavalry against my elephant without realising the inevitable outcome and were quickly destroyed. This seemed to stall the Roman advance...I think the wall of pointy sticks coming at them was a bit intimidating. At this point I was reasonably confident the double ranked pikes were safe from the triarii spears so I looked towards pitting the cataphracts against his hastati. I moved the auxilia and psiloi to neutralise the Roman psiloi and split the warband off to joint the cataphracts to get into position to prevent an overlap.