The Return of the Romans (Carthaginians v. Marian Romans).

4 June, 2010

Joel got around tonight for the last game before I leave for a holiday in Korea and Europe. I’ll be gone for 5 weeks and the week after I’ll get down to Christchurch for the CWC DBA Competition. This was my chance for the Carthaginians to break their 6 game losing streak (if I don’t count their one win in a solo game last week).

Joel chose his Marians and I chose elephants (I figure I need practice with them, though I’m tending towards the idea that two 3Cv and two 2LH might be better). I also took two 3Wb (the naked fanatics were left out for some clothed ones—I’m looking for ways to change my luck!).

Hasdrubal, after his loss to Duncan of Galloway, set to sea anxious to get out of this place, but things only got stranger; he met Romans, an army that shouldn’t be around! They had been decisively defeated by Hannibal, and when with their characteristic perfidy they had not abided by the terms of the peace treaty, with great reluctance Hannibal’s son had had to destroy their city. So where had these Romans come from? One can wonder what the Romans were thinking at the sight of the Carthaginians!

I had done some work on my terrain: Selley’s No More Gaps over the felt terrain, and then the paint and flock I use for bases. I was pleased with the road and the waterway; I’m less sure about the hills and other bases.

I was the attacker, so Joel placed a steep hill and a small wood along with a road. He deployed in his characteristic tight formation with the cavalry in reserve. I decided to put the elephants in the centre, the Gauls next to them and the spear on the left in case the cavalry came around that way. The Spanish were in the woods to hold the right flank.

Initial Deployment: Carthaginians on the right; Romans on the left. The waterway on the edge is for display.

Opening manoeuvres were helped by good PIPs to Hasdrubal and poor ones to the Romans. When the two battle lines were very close Joel repeatedly rolled 2 PIPs and was unable to advance. Eventually the Romans opted for a cautious flank attack, hoping to drive off the cavalry to the right of the elephants, but instead he was recoiled and the Numidians only gave ground slowly.

The first contact; the Roman left flank advances. On the right the German cavalry can be seen attempting a flank move.

At this point Hasdrubal threw everything in and everything went wrong; or more accurately, Joel rolled two 6s for combat. Despite the Libyan skirmishers driving back the Roman auxilia, both the Gallic warbands were destroyed. The elephants both got sticks.

Ouch! the Gauls didn't sign up for this sort of fighting and scarper!

Joel then gets one PIP, enough to close the door on the elephant, which is destroyed (this was his third 6 for combat), though the other is only recoiled.

Three down and not much of a centre left.

Hasdrubal hoped to get some traction on the right flank where the Romans lacked psiloi support, but everywhere he was thrown back. Due to the earlier Roman attack on this flank, which had moved a little to align, there was a small gap at this point.

No luck for Hasdrubal on the right flank.

At this point, PIPs did not desert Hasdrubal; in fact they heavily favoured him, and he was able to block the German cavalry with his spear while retire in the centre. This manoeuvring lasted for quite a while. Eventually, Hasdrubal, being faster, was able to create some gaps in the Roman line and attacked, supported by the Numidians. He recoiled the Romans opposite him (needing only to roll one higher to double), but with characteristically mediocre dice, at even odds the Numidians got a stick. If they’d won, they’d have recoiled the Romans into the psiloi behind.

Not quite good enough; the Numidians need more grunt!

The Romans then attacked the Numidians, outflanked on each side and with psiloi support, but now the Numidians rolled the 6!

The Numidians show some gumption.

On the next turn Hasdrubal retires, and when the Romans are again bogged down by low PIPs, he decides to risk attacking the cavalry with his spear and to send the Numidians through a gap after the camp. The odds favoured the Spear 4-2 on the first one, which they win, but on the second, again 4-2, which they needed to win to avoid recoiling off the edge of the world, the dice continued to mock them and the game was over!

Things briefly looked like the Carthaginians would make an improbable comeback, but the dice continued to be cruel.

With the loss of the spear, his army had had enough and Hasdrubal was forced to retreat again!

  • Review:

I’ve now lost seven times straight with the Carthaginians; and although I made some unwise decisions, I reckon with the Gauls I would  have won (they’re just luckier and have won both their battles). I’m beginning to suspect that the Spanish princess in the camp is not blessing my dice. She might have reason to be annoyed this game, as she got caught in my jumper, inverted, and had the dagger of her priestess broken! Perhaps it is time the Carthaginians went for a more vanilla camp!

The spear on the left flank eventually got their favourable match-up, but I wonder if they might have been better in the centre, refused a little, along with the elephants, while the Gauls and the Spanish went for the hill and tried to turn the flank there. I figured the spear would never win against blade, but they wouldn’t fold too quickly either and moving into the gap between the hill and the wood might not seem too attractive to Joel, so they would serve as bait.

I was in too much of a hurry to attack, and my plan relied on something quick happening, as the right flank was skirmishers who would probably flee at some stage. More learning! And meanwhile, I’ll have to go in search of better dice while on holiday!

10 Responses to “The Return of the Romans (Carthaginians v. Marian Romans).”

  1. Stephen Says:

    That terrain looks good Mark. The Cv/LH option would make the army a lot more dashing than how it is now, but wouldn’t you be tempted to keep one heffalump?

    • Mark Davies Says:

      I know, they look so impressive, and I suppose I could forgo the extra LH. Speaking of which, I think the Numidians could do their last move as, though they avoided ZOCs, they passed within one base width of the Romans on subsequent moves–oops!

  2. Craig C Says:

    Unlucky Mark!

    The terrain looks good.

    It looks like you played to the Romans strengths! Would the Gauls slipping through the steep hill to try to out flank the Roman line made a difference? Also as a Roman commander I’d be happy with 2 Cav units tying down 3 spears so my blades could concentrate on the rest of the army!

    I like the idea of 0-1 elephant with Carthaginians to try to make the most of your mobility- have yet to try it though.


    • Mark Davies Says:

      Very true. I didn’t make much use of that hill at all. Perhaps I still think the elephants will bulldoze their way through! You’re right also about the cavalry, who also occupied a psiloi as well!

  3. TWR Says:

    Another excellent report. I understand the Roman commander enjoyed the battle as well. I shall miss the regular reports.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks, I’ll miss the games; and may suffer from withdrawal symptoms not having anything to put on the blog!

  4. Nick Grant Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the report. I wonder if double ranking the Wb might have made some difference? I find single ranked Wb too fragile.



    • Mark Davies Says:

      You’re probably right. Especially in GGo, but I was trying to make the line longer, and hoping to get lucky! Their destruction helped to split the Roman line as I retreated, so they weren’t totally useless!

  5. Andrew Says:

    Mark, you should set up an RSS feed for your blog. That way I would remember to follow it more!

    • Mark Davies Says:

      The email subscription on the top right should be an RSS feed. It used to have the icon to match. I may work on getting it back again.

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