I'm looking to game the Battle of the Rhone River. This was a river assault in late summer 218BC with the Carthaginians taking 3 days to gather boats and build rafts. Some 30,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry and 37 elephants crossed a 100 yard wide river on boats and rafts to assault the Gauls who were defending the far bank - must have looked quite spectacular. Horses swam behind rafts and cavalry mounted on landing. The assault was aided by an ambush the Carthaginians had sent up stream, crossed and attacked the defending Gauls in the rear as the main crossing landed.
I could just use the "Crossing a River" rules as written, and assume the elements are on rafts, but I wonder if a house rule for this game, using rafts, might not be fun. Any rule suggestions in using boats and rafts, in a river with a strong current?
I like to think of DBA rivers as being Paltry Rivers (with water below the knee), Shallow Rivers (with water up to the waist), and Deep Rivers (with water coming up to the armpits). Anything deeper is a Waterway (with water coming over the head).
I suppose you could place the Rhone as a Very Deep River, say 2 BW wide, and only allow the Carthaginians to move across as if it was a Deep River by having some of their troops, perhaps one command, on a limited number of special boat and raft bases. These bases could be shaped as a boat with one or more pointed prows and a rounded sterns, and are simply slipped under an element's base while it is in the water.
The Carthaginians may fight and recoil while in these boats and rafts (the mounted elements using their combat factors against foot), just as if they were in a Deep River. Once they touch the bank they automatically disembark by pursuing onto land (they’ll have to push back any Gallic elements first, who may have to recoil more than normal to allow their mounted opponents room to leave the water).
Hannibal then has to make a decision whether to leave the boats and rafts there (so that the element can recoil into deeper water instead of being destroyed), or spend a PIP to bring that boat or raft base back to the western bank ready to load another Carthaginian element to reinforce their bridgehead (embarking troops into a boat or raft and moving 2 BW costing a single PIP).
Mounted troops can only use rafts, foot can only use boats, but both are treated as being the same for PIP costs and movement.
But I have never tried any of this though.
P.S. The Carthaginian player is likely to wait until their amphibious command throws a ‘6’ for the maximum number of PIPs, so you might as well save time and assume this command has 6 PIPs at the start of the battle.
Any river wide enough to require watercraft to cross has to be a Waterway, so in DBA terms this is a littoral landing. You might look at the DBx naval rules for possible ship support or look at the ways DBM or DBMM handle amphibious landings.