Wednesday 28 April 2010

Empire Campaign: Carthage lands in Sicily

This is the first of a pair of posts describing the Carthaginian invasion of Sicily. Simon constructed and deployed the Carthaginian army (in red above). Their right wing was composed of:
  • Two units of 12 Elite Noble Heavy Cavalry
  • Two units of 12 Veteran Gallic Cavalry
  • Two units of 8 Veteran Numidian Light Cavalry

In the centre was massed their heavy infantry:

  • 48 Gauls deployed in four ranks
  • Two units of 48 Heavy Infantry deployed in four ranks
  • 48 Spanish deployed in four ranks
  • 10 skirmish slingers

Their left was composed of:

  • Two units of 8 Veteran Numidian Light Cavalry
  • Two units of 2 African Elephants
  • Two units of 8 Veteran Numidian Light Cavalry
  • Two units of 10 skirmish javelins

Simon played their right wing and Mark the left; they shared command of the centre. I constructed and set up the Syracusan army. Our left (me in charge):

  • Two units of 8 Veteran Light Cavalry
  • 12 Veteran Greek Medium Cavalry
  • 12 Veteran Peltasts
  • A large unit of 18 Veteran Peltasts in three ranks
  • The Tyrant's Guard: 24 Elite Hoplites in three ranks. These set up behind the first of the centre command's units, intending to move wide against the expected heavy Carthaginian cavalry presence.

Our centre (Billy in command):

  • Three units of 36 Veteran Hoplites in three ranks, interspersed with:
  • Three units of 32 Veteran Italian medium foot in four ranks
  • and 14 skirmish javelinmen out front

Our right (John):

  • 18 Veteran Peltasts deployed wide in two ranks
  • 12 Veteran Greek Medium Cavalry
  • 8 Veteran Rhodian Slingers
  • 8 Veteran Cretan Archers

The battle began as follows:

This was John's first visit to the club, and his first taste of the rules. Rather than mess him around with too much information, we thought it would be a good idea if he were to take the Sicilian skirmishing right wing. This would give him a good view of the whole battle as well as introducing him to the game. He immediately started to use his skirmishers to devastating effect, keeping them out of range of the enemy javelinmen and shooting them up quite happily. In our centre, we wheeled our infantry and started to advance them; on the left, we began to push forward with our mixed bag of light troops and medium cavalry. The Carthaginians advanced their infantry centre as well.
The third image, above, shows the advance of the entire Carthaginian army, with some of their heavy cavalry peeling off to face our potential flanking movement.
The fourth map shows the initial contacts. The Carthaginians were planning to use their large central infantry units to win through, while masking them with a large number of small cavalry units and elephants. On our left, the performance of the Carthaginian heavy cavalry was miserable, much to our relief. Unfortunately, however, one of our Italian columns was caught by a ferocious Gallic warband charge, rendering our centre immediately vulnerable. To our right, John sent in the medium horse at an angle to inflict as much damage as possible on the Spanish Infantry before being crushed themselves. His skirmishers were meanwhile continuing to enjoy themselves immensely.
The final image shows stalemate across the entire front as most of the Carthaginian army ground to a halt, inflicting very little damage at all. Our left and centre continued to hold firm as a result. The only real movement was the large mass of Carthaginian troops on their left, although half of their skirmishers were by now defunct.


  1. Thank you for inviting me Paul. It was fun, (as it should be) and I can`t wait to do it again.

  2. Cheers, John, glad you enjoyed it. Hope you are still thinking of going to Falkirk for the Zama game.


  3. Just an observation but why didn't the elephants and Numidians just roll through the skirmishers and then roll up the Sicilian right wing?

  4. Haud me back Paul. See you there.


  5. Good stuff, John, see you there.

    Phil, the short answer is "I don't know!". I was on the opposite wing from the elephants so I was concentrating on my own part of the game. John's shooting dice were amazing, but the way the Carthaginian left wing held back presented him with the opportunity to pick off their units one at a time. Having said that, Mark is new to the rules too, having only played them a few times. Simon is a veteran but was pretty much running everything else, so maybe it was good old multi-player interaction fatigue. In these games, a lot can happen, so it's difficult to keep track of what is going on elsewhere. The good thing about this is that we find we don't need to add in any complicated rules to simulate fog of war - it just happens anyway.

  6. Phil B,
    When I saw the elephants and Numidians deployed against my skirmishers, I expected to get stomped on rapidly, but Mark, as Paul says, held back for some reason, allowing my forces to shoot several times, and in the end, lost one elephant.