DBM Club Tournament 2004
A Player’s Perspective

Battle 8 (the final mash) – Late Carthage

Well, having taken Bob’s Early Carthaginians to bits, I’m quite confident about this one. I think Lee’s spears are better (so I’ll avoid these even more) and he’ll have elephants (better bring some artillery then!), but I’m assuming it’ll fight fairly similarly. I think the same basic plan will suffice for this one as for against Bob. If I can pull off a second 10-0, this will raise me finally out of the mid-table to 3rd place behind John with his Sciri. As he’s fought all his battles, this is my target to aim at. I can’t beat it, but I might be able to pull out a bronze medal! Hehe…That said there are a lot of players aiming at this so if I come in the top half I’ll be happy. I think its safe to say that the winner will be Gary with his Tudors. Admittedly he benefitted from a couple of forfieted games (free 10-0’s) but a win’s a win.

Lee’s a strong player and delivered a sound slapping to Malcolm’s Sung Chinese last battle (which is rather misrepresenting what was a very tense battle that hung in the balance until Lee’s warbands sacked the Chinese baggage) so this’ll be a hard fought contest. The pressure will be on as well, given that I can take 3rd place in the rankings if I score a 10-0!

And so to the battle. All concerned must have been apprehensive as the lines were not drawn up finally until 2pm, as the Mongols invaded Carthage on a fine winter’s day.

Lee deployed a fair amount of terrain but nothing that unduly worried me. He placed a hilltop fort in his setup zone to my right, and a scattering of gentle slopes covered with rough ground, bush etc. I placed nothing and so set-up began. Lee deployed a strong centre of mixed elephants, cavalry light horse and psiloi. Facing my left, in his rear were spearmen and auxilia that arrived in column. Lighter infantry defended the hill fort and attempting to hide behind were some more light horse. Assessing the size of his force I suspected a flank march or that further hidden troops were waiting to pounce! I deployed my Light horse on both extreme flanks, formed in column. My cavalry sat forward on my left and the centre was held by the now typical swarm of hordes. Artillery defended the baggage.

Night would soon fall so we set about things and I began the assault by advancing my left light horse across the hill and into Lee’s flank zone. Suspecting an ambush I sent a single element over the hill first just to make sure. This flank was my main attack. The success here would dictate the winner of the battle. The cavalry wheeled in but otherwise made no advance. My right flank light horse stayed put as they were facing a hill fort and I saw no reason to commit them yet. This flank was my ‘holding flank’ and would only need to react to Lee’s moves and delay whatever he put forward.

As I wasn’t coming out to play on my right, Lee took the initiative here and advanced his hidden cavalry across the crest of the hill. Supported by the light horse and another elephant they came steaming down onto me and the light horse decided to withdraw behind the hordes. Lee aslo met my left flank advance by wheeling his central command to face may cavalry and with a frankly inspired spear formation. His infantry here had no open flanks so my light horse were totally negated. Although basically immune to the spears, the light horse have no chance of killing them frontally so to engage in this manner would simply result in stalemate.

It was about this time that the Mongol command went to sleep with a spectacular series of dreadful PiP dice. For the majority of the critical mid battle, my mobility was severely restricted by PiP rolls that averaged 2 across three dice for several turns. As a result, my right flank light horse were unable to withdraw quickly enough and were caught by Lee’s advancing cavalry. Although by brave mongols put up a good fight, ultimately their luck couldn’t hold and the losses started piling up.

With my right, pinned and suffering, I could see the battle slipping away. I’d already lost the initiative and so times were desparate and I had to throw the left flank into Lee’s infantry. Picking off the warband I struggled to make headway and with no lovely flanks to turn my losses mounted here as well. Finally this command broke. Lee’s light horse had sprinted through the gaps in my hordes and was steadily ravaging my baggage. This together with the demoralised command and my losses on the right broke my army for a crushing 10-0 loss. Curses!!

This was a very tough game with headaches all round at the end! Three factors lost me the battle:

  1. Lee blocked my left attack with some frankly masterful positioning that denied me the flanks I so desparately needed to take his infantry apart. This really was the game winner for him, as once I’d stalled here the second factor came into play to stop me recovering.
  2. Poor PiP dice. For most of the middle of the game, I had appauling PiP rolls. This would not normally be too bad and on its own didn’t lose me the game, but when my attack was blocked I seriously needed to redeploy. The low PiPs stopped that happening. With such a mobile and fragile army, high PiPs are vital and with 3 regular dice I can usually rely on at least one good dice roll each turn. Sometime that just doesn’t happen and a stuffing results!
  3. Finally, Lee took the initiative from me on the right. Again, with poor command rolls I was unable to withdraw quickly enough and as a result I was fatally pinned.

So, in the final account, in the last battle of the tournament for me, I was out-fought by a better opponent and hampered in my own efforts to recover by a betrayal from the great dice goddess…

Lee is a hard fighter, very smart and dare I say; tactically masterful. The game ws played in the best spirit of sportsmanship and it was a joy (as much as a defeat can be) to be beaten by him. My dreams of a podium place in tatters, this result has vaulted Lee into the laurels. With a small number of clashes left, the final places are still in contention.

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