I have continued the experiments, playing DBA with uneven odds, and used the Polybian Roman against the Gallic army. The Gallic horde consists of three sub-tribes and one of these have their number increased by two extra elements.
For the new reader I would like to preface this by stating these experiments are meant to help build historical scenarios where the antagonists are fighting one another with an uneven number of troops. A number of examples come to mind but high on my list are the Maccabean battles against the Seleucid armies. My preference is to find a way within the rule system that can best duplicate the conditions set historically rather than tinker with the combat abilities of the troop types.
All tests were fought over 'arable' terrain which meant the presence of fields, a wood and a gentle hill. Both sides deployed on an identical frontage with the barbarians making use of deeper formations.
The Romans withdrew their left wing to establish a new defensive line resting on the hill. This forced the Gauls to move forward using a series of wheels which took up needed time.
As expected with the changes in direction and realignment of formations not all the groups could do so on the same bound; the situation developed into piecemeal assaults. Rome managed to beat back the central tribe but the eventual assault by both Gallic wings was enough to send the Romans off the field. Score 3 – 4 for Gaul.
Both battle-lines remained unchanged in their deployment, but the Gallic warlord’s group formed up on the right so as to take make better use of his advantage of cavalry.
This battle lacked the finesse of the first one but was no less exciting. Rome did break the two groups of the left wing and centre. The Gallic warlord could not hold the rout that followed as all his energy (pip score) was focused on breaking the Roman left flank and perhaps killing the Roman general.
This was a closely fought battle with both sides one element short of breaking. Unfortunately Fortuna departed confident of a Roman victory and in stepped the Muses. Score 6 – 4 for Gaul.
Rome, as defender in all three games, deployed first and kept its standard formation. At the opposite end of the field, Gaul deployed in a far deeper formation than before.
Rome took the offensive and would take advantage of their deeper formation to attack their exposed left flank. The Gauls responded by holding their left back while the centre and right wing rushed forward to strike the Roman wall.
Rome did not relinquish the initiative and continued the attack first driving into the Gallic centre and left wing.
Roman overconfidence was quickly dissipated as Gallic ferocity succeeded in destroying the triarii and hastati in short order. Score 3 – 4 for Gaul.
Despite the barbarians having to move by tribal groups they did manage to overpower Roman resistance in all three tests. It is possible that odds of 5:3 are a threshold for the Polybian, but their main weakness is a shortage of mounted troops which are useful when fighting warband. On a historical note, when fighting the Galatians of the east, Rome could make use of the Pergamene as allies with their knights-class cavalry.
Further on a tactical note, interspersing the Gallic cavalry among the warband worked well as the triarii could not benefit from side support against mounted. There were plans to group all the cavalry together, but this was discarded as it would require too many pips to be of any use.
Next tests will bring two cavalry armies to the game table.