Mike and I got together for our every other Thursday game. It was my turn to pick the game, and I picked Big DBA Spartacus vs the Romans. As a way to save time I set up the board, and Mike had the choice of the table side and army. Mike chose Spartacus because he is a Romantic.
The armies square off. The slaves supply of Diet Pepsi can be seen lower right and Spartacus himself, upper right.
The Roman army has 30 stands of Legionaries (Blades), four stands of skirmishers (Psiloi) and two stands of Cavalry. The slave army has 12 Blades representing enslaved men with military training, armed with the best of what Roman equipment has been scavenged from stricken fields and captured towns. Three more stands are Warbands representing German and Gallic POWs who have banded together. 16 stands are Fast Horde representing the majority of the slaves with no military background and the worst of the available equipment. 4 stands of skirmishers (Psiloi) representing shepherds and the like and Spartacus himself at the head of the army's single Cavalry stand round out the army. The sharp eyed wargamer will note that this is not a fair fight. In fact, normally I wouldn't have built two armies that are such a mismatch, but I saw the movie when I was a kid and it stuck with me. To try to even things out a bit, and represent Spartacus apparent tactical skill I set up the table with more woods and hills than Roman armies of the period would like, and required the Romans to set up first.
One of the three Roman legions
The Roman scouts reported the rapid approach of the slave army, and they rapidly deployed their three legions to face the onset. Spartacus deployed his best men on his left, hoping to overwhelm that enemy flank and then turn and roll up their line.
The best of the Slave army. Experienced men armed with previously enjoyed Roman gear.
The Romans moved forward slowly on both flanks and pressed the attack vigorously in the center. Honestly, that had more to do with how the movement dice played out than any concious decision on my part. However it came to be, the heavily armed legionaries clashed with the poorly equipped slave hordes on a hill in the center, and quickly broke them.
The onset of the ill equipped, untrained hordes. What could go wrong?
Spartacus, although illiterate, could read the writing on the wall and withdrew back into his inaccessible mountain stronghold. I think the next time we play this matchup I'll propose that slave commands won't break until they reach 50% casualties to represent desperate men who know what will happen to them if captured. I hope that will balance the two sides.
The slave right anchored firmly on a hill by skirmishers backed by German and Gallic warbands.
The end comes quickly. You can't talk to a man with a gladius in his hand.