Wednesday 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas, everybody!

We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year!

The very best to all my fellow bloggers and visitors! 
In 2015, may all your dice be sixes and none of your cards Aces.

Best, Simon

Friday 19 December 2014

To the Strongest! Facebook Site

I have just set up a Facebook site for the rules, where I'll let people know all the latest developments, especially new army lists as they become available.  It can be found at:

In other news I have reorganised all the army lists so far into five separate "booklets" and an index. I will add more booklets over time, and some booklets will be later be subdivided.  So far I have:
  • Kingdoms of the East
  • Rise of Rome
  • Rome's Empire
  • Late Antiquity
  • Medieval
All of the booklets and the index are available for free download from the BigRedBatShop.  

I've added a half-a-dozen new lists over the last week (including Ptolemaics, Saxons and Normans), and expect to post some more shortly (Goths, Huns, Vandals etc).

Can I say a huge thank you to everyone who has bought a set of To the Strongest!  I am very pleased to say that I have sold a whole lot more sets than I had expected to by this stage, which is why I'm working so hard to get the most important lists published.  If there is a particular list you are after, please post in comments and I'll try to prioritise it.

I hope to have time to play a game, myself, in the first week of January; something a little different...

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Men at work..

Over the next few days I'll be giving the BigRedBatCave a much-needed makeover.  Please bear with me whilst I do so!

If you have any difficulty viewing any part of the screen, please drop me an email or add a line in "comments".

Thanks, Simon

Monday 8 December 2014

Gratianenses WIP

I'm a little up against it, but had time to grab a couple of WIPs shot of my new Auxilia Palatina unit, which was mostly painted by Shaun Watson. I really like the animated poses of these Black Tree minis. Proper photos in a few days time.  Below, the bases are grouted ready for painting.

Regarding To the Strongest!, I am currently working on Alexander and the Successors, and have a couple of new lists available for free download from the BigRedBatShop (Rise of Macedon, Alexandrian Imperial).  

You might also like to look at one of the things that has been slowing me down, recently!

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Leones to Gratianenses

Last night I repainted the shields on the "Leones Iuniores" as the Gratienses, as discussed in a previous post.  I also took the opportunity to reduce the width of the rawhide edgings and to weather them.  Here is the before...

And here is the after...

I'm pleased that they look sufficiently different to warrant inclusion in my Late Roman army.  Proper photos to follow when they are based.

On the "To the Strongest!" rules front, I have added several new armies to the free spreadsheet of army lists, including Germans, Dacians, Sarmatians and a "Rise of Macedon" list for the Armies of Phillip II and Alexander.  It can be found here.  I am pleased to report that the rules are selling well!

Monday 1 December 2014

More fun with the Notitia

I've been looking at Luke Ueda-Sarson's excellent Notitia Dignitatum site, which is the site for the Late Roman shield design alficionado.

The good news is that there is a similar design to my other unit.  I hesitate to copy images from the site due to copyright, but the Gratianenses have a very similar shield design to what I thought were the Leones Iuniores.  It turns out that, due to the failings of a copyist back in days of yore, the names of some of the units most likely have the wrong names.  My Leones Iuniores are, in fact, probably the Leones Seniores. The Gratienses probably aren't the Gratienses, either, but someone else!  It is all fearfully complicated.  However it means I can retain both units, and can probably "fix" all of the shields in an evening's work. Tomorrow evening's work!  

Saturday 29 November 2014

You wait years for one Leones Iuniores to come along, and then two arrive at once!

Whilst I was finishing the rules, my very own Spanish ulcer started playing up very badly, and I've not painted any ancients for a month.

Now, however, I'm slowly recovering and am going to base some lovely figures I bought off Shaun Watson earlier this year.  First, though, I want to repaint most of the helmets in steel, and weather the shields, so I have mounted them on temporary bases to facilitate this.

Shaun's unit are the Leones Iuniores.  But, I hear you say, surely BigRedBat already owns a unit of Leones Iuniores? (below)

Shaun's are so much better painted than the above unit that I painted myself, however, I just couldn't resist them.  I'll have two, and probably sell mine later on.  Or just maybe, there is another unit with a similar shield in the Notitia... I do recall some similar shield designs.  I shall have to take a look at Luke Ueda Sarson's excellent Notitia resource.

To celebrate their unpacking I have loaded a free, illustrated Late Roman Army List for my To the Strongest! rules into my shop.  It can be downloaded from here.  

Friday 28 November 2014

To the Strongest is released!

Over the last few days I have written about the mechanics of the rules; today I'll talk briefly about what's contained within them.

The rules come in the form of a 68 page PDF, illustrated with many photographs of beautifully painted figures (including many by leading painters) and of games, small and large. Diagrams They can be printed off or run from a tablet, such as an Ipad. When run on a tablet, the many hyper-links enable players to navigate swiftly to the appropriate section of the rules.  

I've just launched the rules in my new eShop, the BigRedBatShop, as the modest price of £9.99! They can be found here, where you can also download a number of free army lists:

Next week I will get some army lists out, and hopefully have time to play a game, myself!

Thursday 27 November 2014

To the Strongest D-1

The To the Stongest! rules cover a period of two thousand or so years of history, and thus require a generous number of types of unit to represent the various combinations of warriors and weapons encountered.  There are consequently twenty nine different unit types, which expand to thirty eight when variants are included.  Moreover, units can also be small, standard-sized or deep and veteran or raw, which gives a huge amount of wiggle room when it comes to modelling historical units.

Units have a save factor representing their armour, shields and drill.  This is expressed as 6+, 7+ or 8+, representing the card they need to play to save against a hit.  Some units have bonuses to their saves in certain situations; units with long spears, for example, gain a save bonus when charged by cavalry.  It is also possible to add additional gear; crossbowmen can have pavises, for example, and longbowmen optional falchions and mallets.

Some troops have unusual qualities; cataphracts, for example, save on a very low 6+ representing their very heavy armour, but may become disordered when charging or moving too fast.  Scythed chariots play a bonus to hit card when they charge two boxes.  And whatever you do, don't play an Ace when activating a cannon to shoot...

The most common missile weapons are the javelin and bow, although all of the usual suspects are present.  Unusually ammunition supply plays a part in the rules.  I wanted to created a model where skirmishers play a significant role at the beginning of a battle but decline in importance as it progresses.  Ammunition supply is also very important when modelling armies with a high proportion of shooters, such as Henry V's longbowmen.  Units typically have between two and four ammunition chits, and there is a small additional reserve in the baggage train. 

I have included points values for all the troop types, partly because they can be very helpful when building a couple of evenly-matched armies for an evening's play and partly for those people who want to play competitively.

Tomorrow I'll make a final post about the rules in general, and where to buy them from.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

To the Strongest! D-2

I mentioned yesterday that I'd describe in outline how shooting and combat are tackled in the rules.

Firstly, the rules are quite decisive.  Most units only have two hits, and skirmishers, in particular, are only ever a single failed save away from destruction!  In fact it is not uncommon to see units of skirmishers perish inside the first thirty seconds of game play.  Formed units, however, have two or sometimes three hits and can attempt to rally if they are disordered by enemy action.

Shooting is very straightforward; units play a card to activate to shoot and a second card to hit.  If they hit, then the defender must play a card to save, usually requiring a 6, 7 or 8 depending upon its type. Veteran units save on a number one lower than the average.  

The sequence of a melee is as follows.  Once players are familiar with the rules, each melee is usually resolved inside ten seconds, amidst a flurry of playing cards. 
  1. Charge – the active player plays a card to activate a unit to charge.
  2. Evade – some defenders may be able to evade.  If the evade is successful and the box is now vacant, the attacking unit must advance in, and the melee is concluded.
  3. Attacker hits – if the charge was successful, the attacking player plays a to-hit card on his baseline, requiring either a 6+ or 8+ to inflict a hit, depending upon its type.
  4. Defender saves – if hit, the defending player must play a saving card on his baseline.  This card may sometimes be modified by terrain or other factors.  If the defending unit fails this save then it will be disordered or even lost, depending on its type.  If it is lost, and the box is now vacant, the attacking unit must move in, and the melee is concluded.
  5. Defender strikes back – if the defending unit has survived, and did not try to evade, then the defending player now attempts to strike back.  He does this by playing a to-hit card on his baseline, requiring a 6+ to 8+ to inflict a hit, depending upon its type and whether or not it is disordered.
  6. Attacker saves – If hit, the attacking player must play a modified saving card on his baseline.
There are also tactical factors that can effect saves; cover, for instance, or infantry standing to receive an uphill charge.

Tomorrow I will write about some of the different types of units encountered in the rules.

In other news, mates Scrivs and Mog played a very pretty Roman vs. Carthaginian game yesterday, and here are some links to their respective blogs:

Tuesday 25 November 2014

To the Strongest D-3

In To the Strongest!, players use an innovative (and entertaining) mechanism  system to activate units, which can each potentially move or fight multiple times during the same turn.

In most rules a turn consists of a number of phases: perhaps a march phase; approach move phase; shooting phase; charge phase; melee phase and reaction test phase.  In To the Strongest, however, there is only a single phase during which all these activities take place, on a unit by unit basis.

Each player will have TtS! activation deck of 80 playing cards (the number cards from 2 packs of playing cards).  This will consist of eight of every card from Ace to 10.

To activate any unit for the first time, a player must play single card is on it. Anything except an ace will permit the unit to either move, shoot, charge or rally. After successfully activating the unit, the player may go on to activate another unit in the same command, also on a two-pip or greater card. Alternatively, he or she could choose to return to attempt to re-activate the first unit for a second time. For this latter to succeed, however, he must play a card higher in value than any previous card played on the unit. 

Once any activation attempt fails, then activations for that entire command (typically of 4-6 units) cease.  However, the player may then go on to activate other commands in his army.

A To the Strongest! player must therefore master the art of deciding which moves, out of all the potential unit moves, are the most valuable to him.  He must prioritise his activations so that these critical moves take place before a low value card is played and the command's turn ends.  

Tomorrow I'll describe how shooting and combat is resolved.

Monday 24 November 2014

To the Strongest! D-4

Thapsus 46BC at Partizan in 2013 using To the Strongest!  Photo by Henry Hyde
To the Strongest! is the set of rules for tabletop wargaming that I'll be launching this Friday. I have developed the rules for gaming both for use here in the BigRedBatCave, and for running huge wargames at shows. They are designed to be simple enough for novices to the ancient and medieval periods to easily pick up, whilst, at the same time, providing seasoned gamers with a challenging battle that can be comfortably concluded in an evening (with a glass of beer or wine to hand).

The rules were originally written to address my passion for re-fighting the battles of Greece and Rome. However, following requests from play testers, I have extended them to cover everything between the Biblical and the Later Medieval eras. They have been tested for both small games with two players and 15mm miniatures on a 4' by 3' table, to large games with ten players and 3000 28mm miniatures on an 18' by 5' table.     

To ensure that games would run as fast as I wanted them to, I decided that I would need to cut out both measurement and dice rolling.

To eliminate measurement, I decided to use a square grid. From my Zama game back in 2010, I had learned to appreciate the speed that the hex grid in Command and Colors Ancients brings to a game. A square grid, however, is quick to mark out and has the benefits of making it abundantly clear where a unit's flanks and rear lie. The grid itself is very subtle; I just mark the corners of the squares with a tiny black dot. The use of a grid also enables figures which have been based for use with a variety of different rule systems, to be used together on the same battlefield.

To eliminate dice rolling, I decided to use playing cards. Once the face cards are discarded from a deck of playing cards, it effectively becomes a sort of large, squashed D10. It turns to be faster to play a card than to pick up and roll a dice, and a card never "cocks" like a D10 does. The cards are used to determine which units can move, to resolve shooting, and, well, for everything. Card play also turns out to be quite exciting, too!

Tomorrow I'll write about the activation system, which is the innovative "engine" of the rules.

Play-testing To the Strongest! on a 4' by 3' table with improvised English and French 100 Years War armies

Saturday 22 November 2014

They don't like it up 'em!

...before I get back to plugging my new ancients rules, have a look at these!

This week I received a copy of "Sands of the Sudan", a set of Colonial rules written by Carl Pagano, but based on the old Peter Gilder Sudan rules, for gaming the conflict against the Mahdi and his successors.

What I really like about these rules is that they retain all of the flavour of Peter Gilder's originals, including the look of them; they incorporate same big battalions of Imperial troops, in many cases from the same ranges of miniatures as Peter's were recruited.  This is very nostalgic for those of us that can remember the pictures of his stunning Sudan Games from the Wargames Holiday magazine.

There is nothing old-fashioned about the rulebook, however.  It is very modern, with striking photographs of Carlo's collection and excellent production standards including a cracking deck of random event cards. The rules are clearly written and appear simple to learn and use.

I am now very sorely tempted to start another period... I must try to resist...  Rather than reading me blathering on about them, I commend you to follow this linky to Carlo's Blog where they are more fully described and from whence you can go forth and purchase them!

Friday 21 November 2014

To the Strongest! D-7

This blog has been uncharacteristically quiet of late, because I have been working overtime putting the finishing touches to my "To the Strongest" Ancient and Medieval wargames rules. 

These are the rules I have developed both for my own use here at home, and for putting on huge battles with friends at shows. They are fast moving, relatively simple and, most unusually, do not use any dice at all!

These will be published one week today, as a 68-page highly-illustrated PDF, priced at a modest £9.99.  I'll write more about them (including where to purchase them from) over the course of this week!

Thursday 6 November 2014

Poulet Marengo a la Legatus

Last night I cooked Legatus' recipe in Wargames Bloggers Quarterly Issue 2, skipping the crayfish and croutons, but adding brandy and anchovies.  The traditional eggs worked surprisingly well.  I must say it was absolutely delicious, especially as it was washed down with half a bottle of Gavi di Gavi (currently 25% off at Waitrose, fill your cellar!).

I've not posted any ancients recently because I've been working hard on my rules, daytime, and painting Napoleonics at night, of which more anon.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Wargames Bloggers Quarterly Issue 2 available for download!

I'm very pleased to announce that the second edition of Wargames Bloggers Quarterly is now ready for download, from this link here

For those who didn't see Issue 1, the Wargame Bloggers Quarterly (WBQ) is a FREE community driven electronic magazine (PDF e-Zine) composed of the best wargames and miniature painting content from the collective blogosphere.

I've not had time to contribute to this edition, on account of the fact I am in the final stages of editing my rules, but I have been able to quickly look through it and it is quite spiffing!  I currently have a bottle of Gavi di Gavi chilling in the fridge ready for Legatus' Poulet Marengo recipe...

Thursday 30 October 2014

A medieval bash with To the Strongest!

Last night I mate Ian and I had another play-test of the eponymous rules with medieval armies. Lacking any suitable minis, we used "Battlelore" plastic figures tacked to cardboard bases and the game was no less enjoyable, for this, although it does invite comparison with this rather more aesthetically pleasing play-test run by Scrivs and Mog.

In the above deployment one can see that the terrain is relatively sparse- the English (top, red) have managed to position a couple of small woods on either flank, and a low hill behind them, but the French (bottom, blue), deploying second, have placed most of their cavalry on their wings with the intention of passing around the outside of these.  The English have deployed in depth so as to be ready to counter any outflanking move.

The French move first (above) and charge forward with their knights (unfortunately the right flank stubbornly refuses to move, after playing an Ace which their general replaces with another Ace). In the centre, though, the Dauphin rashly charges into contact with the English archers and on the extreme left the knights flank the English line.  The French bows and crossbows advance, cautiously.

The English line fragmented as they attempted to respond to the flanking threats.  The required movement prevented several of their longbow units from shooting.  Above is the situation at the end of the French second turn. The round blue markers indicate disorder, and the larger wooden discs indicate planted stakes. The smaller round discs are ammo markers.

Above, the French left-hand flanking force almost cut its way through to the English camp, before retreating in the face of superior English numbers. The English left is hard-pressed by a mass of French chivalry.

Above, the English left is crumbling under the pressure of the French knights, but the yeomen still have some arrows left and, below, destroy two units of French noble knights and seriously wound the Dauphin, who is carried from the field. The French wish they had some cavalry who could exploit the wide gap in the centre of the English line. At this point the game is very close, with the French having but three victory medals left, and the English, two.

Finally the low-status French archers in the left foreground below (New fangled longbows? Pah! Zee old ways are zee best), firing off the last of their arrows, are able to kill the disordered English bowmen opposite them, and the English surrender.

The game lasted around 90 minutes, and was very different to last week's test.  The swiftness of the French charge forced the English to redeploy and consequently their archers weren't able to deliver the clouds of arrows that cost the French the last battle.  The lack of terrain was a real issue for the English as the French were able to utilise the greater mobility of their mounted knights and attack on both flanks, in a double envelopment.  The French Heroic Generals passed very many saves!  It was an enjoyable game, as was the Brunello di Montalcino we drank whilst playing it.

I'm now less that three weeks from releasing "To the Strongest" into the wild, initially as a pdf, of which more, anon.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Laager III

This is a continuation of my wagon laager project.  The bases are now painted and the base coats are on the wagons. These are coming on fast, now, and I hope to finish them in around a week, after which I'll have to look at basing the crew.

I'm planning to have the crews removable, so that the wagons can be used with different armies.

Some farm animals seem to have jumped the painting queue!

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Caesar at SELWG- pukka photos!

Mate Ian Notter has sent me some decent photos of Caesar's expedition into Kent.  All are "clickable" for higher definition.

Here's the view down the table, at the start of the game.  SELWG gave me a slightly larger table than anticipated, and I couldn't resist sticking in a spare board and making it 16' long.  This would cause his nibs problems, later on... The game started with a Roman legion (the VII) deployed in a square around two baggage units, their carts groaning with stolen British grain, and several herds of fat (looted) cattle.  Many Britons, have turned up to contest ownership, and surround the VII on three sides.

The other legion (X) and Caesar was in the camp at the far end of the table (below).

Above is another view of the beleaguered VII, several of whose cohorts started the battle surprised and disordered.  Below you can make out the Roman baggage wagons, in the centre of the square. I had intended that the cohorts at the front of the square would help them to break out, but this proved to be no easy task. 

I am finally starting to get enough Britons, although a couple hundred more wouldn't go amiss.

Below is a shot of Caesar's relief force, marching to the rescue, but somewhat delayed by skirmishing chariots.  In my rules the presence of the well-handled chariots prevented the legion from using march moves, and that (and the extra long table) prevented Xth from relieving its comrades.

Finally, below is my favourite shot of the game, which conveys something of the carnage and excitement of the fighting around the Roman square; a unit of Britons has just broken through. Legio VII was, eventually, over-run in both games. Card play turns out to be quite exciting!

The various teenagers and parents who played both games really seemed to enjoy themselves.  It was also great to see Nick Speller (who has painted so many of the Celts) again, and mate Mark.  Thanks to Ian and George for helping to set up and knock down the game, and to Ian for his great photos!

Monday 13 October 2014


Yesterday I took Caeasar and mate Ian to SELWG. We had a very enjoyable day running my Kent 55 BC scenario, which twice turned into a sort of Roman Isandlwana. The game and rules (my "to he Strongest!") proved particularly popular with kids and their fathers (and one mother). I think at least a dozen teenagers enjoyed it, which is a Very Good Thing! One young Roman commander was called Kaiser, which had a certain symmetry. It was great to see mates including one very old mate, on my last show outing of 2014. The photo above is the only one I managed to take, but I should have some better ones in a few days time.

Friday 10 October 2014

Caesar at SELWG

I'm bringing a big Ancients game at SELWG in Crystal on Sunday, and am keen to find a few players.

It's the follow up game to my C-Day game at Salute, and features a British counter attack against Caesar's Legions led by chariots and my new band of fanatical British warriors.  We'll be using my "To the Strongest!" rules, which will be published (initially as a PDF) next month, so it's the last chance to try before you buy.  I'll run it once in the morning at 11:00, and a second time in the afternoon at 1:30.

If you are about, please drop me a line at the address above to the right, and I'll book you in!

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Wagons... roll!

Here are two wagons that fill a gap in my arsenal.   Both are from Irregular Miniatures, with Front Rank oxen and resin loads from Colonel Bill's.  The top wagon has converted Front Rank crew, and the bottom wagon Foundry/Black Tree.  They will serve in the baggage trains of my various Roman armies, along with some more wagons I intend to build later on, and will see action on Sunday at SELWG.  Irregular are a great source of cheap components, and the Front Rank oxen are great models!

Monday 6 October 2014


"On the beach stood the adverse array, a serried mass of arms and men, with women flitting between the ranks. In the style of Furies, in robes of deathly black and with dishevelled hair, they brandished their torches; while a circle of Druids, lifting their hands to heaven and showering imprecations, struck the troops with such an awe at the extraordinary spectacle that, as though their limbs were paralysed, they exposed their bodies to wounds without an attempt at movement."  Tacitus Annals, Book XIV, 30

I've just finished basing a unit of Celtic fanatics, based on Tacitus' above description describing the Druid-led forces at Anglesey, preparing to receive the Roman landing (and golly that is a scenario I will need to tackle, one day!).  Pics are clickable.

These are a mixture of Renegade and Black Tree Designs Celts, led by two Druids who are fantasy figures, a Foundry German priestess, and a converted Foundry nymph. I painted most of the figures, and Nick Speller the remainder. Despite earlier misgivings, I am really delighted with the way the unit has turned out, and want to paint a second one at some stage.

In my "To the Strongest!" rules (to be published in November, initially as a pdf), fanatics fight in much the same manner any other unit of warriors. Their fanaticism, however, enables them to ignore the effects of disorder, and they consequently fight with full effectiveness until they drop!

I am gradually basing/re-basing the front rank of all my Celtic warrior bands as 18cm frontage single elements. They look better this way, and are quicker to deploy and move around the wargames table.

These new recruits to my Celtic army, along with Caesar and some invading Romans, will be at SELWG on Sunday- please drop by and say hello if you are there!

Friday 3 October 2014

Still not feeling it for the Celts...

WIP shot of my celtic fanatics, now almost ready for base gunking.

Who will be first to spot the elf?

Monday 29 September 2014

Did I mention that I hate painting Celts?

I find myself back at the brush, painting some more Celts for a demo game at SELWG on Sunday week.  To minimise painting the detested plaid, I decided to paint a unit of nekkid fanatics and fustian-robed druids.  These, however, have turned out to be quite as annoying as their plaid-clad comrades to paint, as they all wear fiddly bangles and chains, and because most of them will need tattoos.  Plus skin takes a lot of care to get right.  And then there's the shields!  So much for my shortcut.

I've been posting rather less frequently, of late, because I've been spending a lot of time getting my "To the Strongest!" rules into a publishable state.  With the assistance of a few very helpful chaps who have been spotting errors and inconsistencies, this is going rather well, and today I've been churning out diagrams.  Hopefully I'll be able to pick up the modelling and blogging rate in October.

The game at SELWG will follow on from the Caesar's "C-Day" landing at Salute, as the Romans push inland.  If anyone coming to SELWG would like to play (for around two hours) then please drop me a line via comments.  I've run the scenario before; its a blast!

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Laager II

Lousy photo, but all the wagons are primed black, and the bases have been grouted.

I've decided that the civilians in the wagons will be removable, so that I can used them for any laager-related need, from Sparta to Adrianople.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Getting laagered-up

I've been to busy writing to do very much modelling, recently, but am trying to get back in the saddle. This is a revival of a truly ancient project, which I've been working on in a very desultory manner, since 2009

Recently I've bought and assembled the additional models I needed to complete the project, and mate Nick Speller has painted all of the civilians for the wagons, so I have no more excuses for delay! These pieces will form a one metre length of laager. A second phase will be to incorporate the civilians who will man the wagons, and the third and final phase will be to built a camp to go behind them.

Some of the models are from Irregular, and some from Front Rank.  A couple of the old ones are Minifigs, c. 1975!

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Pydna at Partizan

My brief tour of the Midlands culminated with our Pydna game at Partizan.

The Pydna Project was a joint venture between myself and friends Keith Branagh from Aventine, Craig Davey, David Imrie and his friend Jack Glanville, Dug Page-Scott, John Thompson, Shaun "Bunker" McLaughlin and Andrew Fielden, most of whom brought miniatures to the event.

I had initially planned a Zama-sized 1500-mini game, but the project spiraled upwards until we had 2,850 miniatures on the table on the day, recreating the battle at 1:30 scale. The phalanx (not including supports) was 2.8 metres wide, and 4-6 miniatures deep.  David Imrie was kind enough to re-base his Roman legion in a similar style to those we already had, giving us the required 4 legions of around 200 miniatures each.  Simon MacDowall kindly let me use the briefing and order of battle from his recent piece in Wargames Illustrated.  

Here's a shot of the deployment (all pictures expand when clicked):

View down the phalanx, looking up the hill towards the legions
I build the terrain, which was roughly 6 metres wide by 1.6 metres deep, with a nearly invisible grid. To recreate the slopes of Mount Olocrus upon which the Roman formed up, I jacked up the rear  nine boards by 130mm and supported it underneath with timber and Really Useful Boxes, so that a giant slope ran the entire length of the battlefield.

Here's a link to a 30 second video showing the table after deployment; this is too good to miss!

The rules we used were my "To the Strongest!" set (to be published in November), which I originally designed to play large games at shows. I was able to shout (!) the basics across the table to the players in around 15 minutes, and field questions as they went along.  We didn't need to consult the rules. The game took 3 hours and ten minutes to come to a suitably bloody conclusion.   

Mid battle
The Macedonians attacked fiercely from the outset, all along the line. From my position on the Roman right (assisting a 13 year old tyro called Solomon), I could see that the Keith's Macedonian Agema were making fast progress, successively carving their way through Dug's velites, hastati and principes. There were some local Roman successes, with Solomon pushing forward with the Numidian elephants. 

The killer taxis
However Aventine Keith managed to kill a unit of triarii and get a taxis of the Macedonian guard phalanx (above) to the top of the hill, turn it through 90 degrees (not easy) and march through the rocky terrain at the top of the hill (not at all easy) to kill the four more units of triarii (pretty darned difficult) required for a Macedonian victory. 

We all had a terrific day and it was great to catch up with friends made at previous Partizans and through blogging. An especial thanks to everyone who helped with setup and knock-down! My hat goes off to Richard and Laurence for organising the event, and dealing efficiently with the curve-ball delivered by the Kelham owners (an unexpected stage in the main hall). 

Onwards to the next big game; perhaps Magnesia?