Sunday, 21 November 2010

Somewhere near Utica...

Yesterday Simon MacDowall very kindly showed my friend Ian and I his Civitates Bellatorum rules. We used them to play a game using most of my Republican Romans and Numidian Allies.

Above is a long shot of the battlefield. We diced for command of the armies, and I got the scruffier but rather more numerous superior Pompeian/Numidian forces, on the left.  The better drilled, armoured and more enthusiastic Caesarian forces are drawn up on the right, with their German cavalry on the wings.

The game started with a bang as (above) I threw my right wing cavalry forward in an attempt to win the battle on the wings before the superior Caesarian legionaries won it in the centre.  Not completely grasping the rules, I went a bit too far forward!

Caesar's well motivated German mercenaries promptly charged, chasing my bridle-less Numidians away, and smashing straight into Juba's Spanish bodyguard, who had become slightly fatigued by their aapid  advance.  They first routed the elite guards, and, to add insult to injury, caught them in the pursuit and annihilated them!  By the end of the first turn most of my right wing cavalry were dead or on the way back to Numidia.

I quickly created a Plan B; win in the centre before I lose on the flanks!  Above, the elephants are cranked into action.

Above, the Germans prepare to rally back as the elephants hit the Caesarian's skirmish screen.  Juba (left foreground) prepares to dash to the relative safety of his surviving infantry.  At this juncture we retired to the "Maid of Muswell" for a stirrup cup!

Upon my return form the "Maid", well fortified, I launched a general attack (with out, however, any great conviction as to it's ultimate success).  On the left, my Numidians rode forward and showered their opponents with javelins.  On the right my surviving elephant broke through the skirmish screen and began a long duel with the left-most of the three Caesarian legions.

Above are shown the centres, just before the moment of impact.  You can see that my legions were drawn up in 3 lines, with the opponents (with as much frontage to cover but fewer troops) are only formed up two deep.

Nellie (above in background) remained locked in combat with the enemy legion for 3 or 4 turns, forcing it to do a line exchange and buying me valuable time by delaying its advance!

 Nellie was posthumously awarded the Dicken medal!

Combat becomes general along the line...  in the foreground a unit of Germans become a Numidian sandwich.

Above, Pompeian reserves press forward into the fray (a lovely photo form Simon MacDowall).   The superior depth of the Pompeian formations largely negated the superior quality and training of the Caesarians.

And finally we ran out of time (above).  All the reserves had been committed, and most of the troops were on the verge of becoming shaken.  The general consensus was the at the Pompeians had the advantage because their surviving cavalry had the advantage on the wings, and because they were about to break the right-hand Caesarian legion, but there really wasn't very much in it.

We all agreed that the rules gave an exciting and realistic-feeling game; I'm definitely up for playing it again!  I definitely recommend trying the rules which are available as a free download from Simon's site.
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