Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Big Battle DBA - Macedonian vs Tamil

This is a report of the second battle my Tamils fought against Andrew's Macedonian successors, but unfortunately I lost half the photos of the first battle somehow so could not finish that report. In the first battle Andrew was using the historical tactic of Antigonus Gonatus of alternating phalanx and Galatians. It didn't work so well against my Indians due to all my elephants but against Romans or other heavy foot armies I can see it being more effective.

Andrew also brought along some antique coinage from the Successor Kingdoms. This is Tetradracham, over 2000 years old, which was a about a weeks pay for a phalangite!  And it's still worth about a weeks pay now! :)

More coins. Andrew figured his army will fight better with all this real Successor Kingdom pay available!

Often new rulers would stamp their mark on existing coins, so they can be dated very accurately to particular dynasties.

Here's the setup, some fields (which will have no effect given the weather so we removed them). A gentle hill to my left with a phalanx on it, and a rough hill the right with Galatian Warband on it. Both flanks also have woods.

My plan is a big massed elephant charge on the right where the cavalry and warband are deployed, and archers to pick off lighter elements. Hopefully the rest of the army can hold off the phalanx for long enough. Off we go.




Andrew advances in the centre against my Indian Swordsmen (blades).

And the lines hit. Psiloi fall back before the elephants which pursue them, and the phalanx pushes back my blades.

On the right Galatians thump into my Swordsmen.

My Swordsmen survive (for now).

Things get messy on the right, but my blades are still surviving vs Warband somehow.

Pikes push back my blade into the second line of reserves. My levy hordes wait anxiously...

The Galatian Warband on my right destroys my two blades and turn their attention to my archers. My plan at the start was to send an elephant or two into the Galatians, but the elephants are cumbersome to order around and otherwise occupied so this doesn't happen. Time to shoot and hope with the bowmen.

The Phalanx on my left stays sitting on its hill for unknown reasons... I breath a sigh of relief.

I redeploy my bow just in time on my right. My cunning plan to kill off a warband by hitting them from two directions at once doesn't work though.

But the pikes have exposed their flank as the elephants push past and they lose a pike block as I hit them in the flank.

Bows and Warband battle it out on the right, with the Warband having difficulty reinforcing due to poor rolls on their command die. One of my bowman gets flanked in turn and survives several rounds against the odds.

Cavalry and light troops move in to plug the gap in the centre of the Macedonian line.

The Phalanx on my left finally decides it better help out and charges down the hill.

A Warband dies on the right to archery...

and one of the elephants on the right is destroyed by light troops.

The Macedonian cavalry is now fighting elephants and not liking it very much!

Indians and Macedonians bother suffer casualties.

On the left psiloi and bow battle at the end of the line, and one of my bow dies.

The phalanx breaks through my centre and my Hordes bravely enter the fray...

Yet another elephant dies on the right to light troops, but cavalry trying to hold off the elephants also dies.

The Warband are disorganised and struggling to move forward under a hail of arrows.

The Macedonian centre breaks under casualties as the cavalry guarding their flank is vanquished.

And the elephants are almost at the Macedonian baggage.

The phalanx beats back my left flank but too late...

...as the Galatian Command succumbs to archery at last.

Last combats in the centre, another elephant is killed - by a demoralised psiloi! But his friend is pushed off the battlefield by my Commander in Chief on his elephant. Half the elephants are lost.

With their centre and their left flank Galatian command defeated the Macedonian army breaks. My centre and right wing are each only one element off breaking!


A close fought game. I think the Macedonians might have had more luck if they had been more aggressive with their right flank phalanx early on but they seemed keen to stay on their hill. The Galatian command on the other flank suffered from a lack of command die to attack my archers after they had defeated my Swordsmen, and couldn't get the one extra casualty they needed to break that command for many turns despite some good opportunities where my dice rolling saved me. If they had done so the battle would probably have turned in their favour. 

Big Battle DBA is simple but with tactical depth. I recommend giving it a try if you have an interest in ancients! Has inspired me to finish rebasing my Indians and perhaps add a few of the chariots for the early period. And maybe even build that successor army in 28mm I've always thought about doing!


  1. Yes BBDBA is a great game. I prefer it to DBA now.

    1. Thanks Warlord, yes I find the normal game is a bit small for my tastes, but BBDBA feels more like an army game with a greater tactical depth, and without lots of rules complexity.

  2. Nice for a change, I played this long time ago but wasn't very good at it so...

    1. Cheers, this new version is cleaned up a great deal and plays faster, worth giving it a shot. :)

  3. Great report Mark, sounds like a very exciting game.

  4. Nice looking game, impressive elephants and pikes!