While waiting for responses from other play testers I
can say from our own tests I am very pleased with how well the game played. The
use of cards to resolve campaign issues during each phase offered enough tension as players overcame or undermined each other’s strategy.
For example, Rome using her diplomatic skills gains a
native tribe as “friend” and the Spanish player on his bound can attempt to
convince friend to return to a neutral status, there were even moments when the
Spanish player foiled Rome’s diplomatic mission and turned a neutral tribe into
a “hostile” one. Players moving through each phase can generate
a lot of card play, but of course players are not obliged to play a phase even
if holding the appropriate cards which adds a nice level of suspense to the game.
With the frequent use of cards in the “bidding” process, the card deck is
generally re-shuffled four or five times during a campaign year giving both sides opportunity to accumulate good cards.
The game is fast pace and the quantity of counters
needed to signify successful activity steadily grew; I found it expedient later to
have both sides labelled with positive or negative outcomes. Movement on the map of a Roman command or a hostile tribe counter does not require
the use of cards but can help modify its move distance in certain situations; guides can help locating
fords or passes to negate otherwise a movement penalty to cross as an example.
Supporting each province of Ulterior Hispania and Citerior Hispania are two consular armies of 36 elements each, which at first glance may seem
excessive, but not so when one considers each of the 90 plus squares across the
frontier contain are the home of an army of 12 elements. Following Livy’s description of the
campaigns the consular armies were split into two equal sized columns with a
proconsul or propraetor generating four independent columns. This increased the potential to make new allies and gain valuable resources.
During the campaign test year we experienced five battles,
four of which Rome won and the fifth involved an inter-tribal conflict. The initial battles between Rome and a native tribe, the proconsul could field superior numbers of 18 elements versus a hostile
tribe of twelve. Rome would win, however each victory however was bought at a cost such that by the third battle it was no longer prudent to fight as the risk was too great.
The best strategy for the Spanish player was one of attrition, such that by the end of the summer period Roman columns would be sufficiently weakened so to ensure a victory in the fall season. To do this, the Spanish player needed allies.
The stratagem options listed in this rule set and are taken from the writings by Frontinus and Polybios and were easily adapted for the DBA 3.0 game. In time the number of options may increase, but I
do not see that as happening anytime soon.
Looking to the win/loss columns for the year 197 BC.
3 battles won, 3 tribes made “Friend” and 1 tribe remained
hostile at the close of the year.
1 battle won, 1 tribe made “Friend” and 1 tribe remained
Further, other factors such as the losses incurred on
campaign and additional resources generating revenue earned for the proconsul
of Ulterior Hispania high marks; but not enough to earn a triumph in Rome, but would bring honour to the family name.
Further discussion of the rule set or
suggestions I would invite readers to join us at the new Fanaticus DBA Forum given at the link below. Look to Building DBA Armies at the forum page for the topic thread.