Sunday 29 July 2012

Empire Campaign: 220-210 BC

This is a full turn report:

  • Bactria rebels from Indian control
  • Hannibal's invasion of Italy is thrown back in Cisalpine Gaul
  • The Indians reconquer Bactria
  • A Ptolemaic attempt to wipe the Seleucids off the map is foiled in Mesopotamia
  • The Persians take Bactria from the Indians
  • A Seleucid counterattack into Syria is defeated by the Ptolemaics
  • Hannibal receives reinforcements from Spain and further bolsters his forces with Gauls
  • Hannibal attacks the Romans in Cisalpine Gaul and they retire before him, ceding the territory
  • Hannibal follows up and is fought to a standstill in Central Italy
The map at the start of the next turn:
I hope you can make it out okay; it's the high quality map of the Empire boardgame as included in Phil Sabin's Lost Battles.  We have already rolled for the turn's random event, and Sicily has rebelled from Roman control.  However, Hannibal has been contained and Scipio is poised to take command.

I will be unable to make it to the club very often over the next couple of months.  I have commitments to four large games: Claymore, Mark's wedding bash (quite literally...), September's big First Tuesday game and then Borodino on Willy's sand table.  Keeping the campaign going will be rather difficult, but I will make it on August 14th, when the Ptolemies attack the Seleucids again in Mesopotamia.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Hello to Walter

Just saying hi to Walter, and thanks for joining.  Hope you find something useful!

Hannibal's Last Gasp

Hannibal arrives in central Italy to find a Roman consular army waiting for him:
The Roman right as seen from the Carthaginian side of the field. Two units of light horse plus two units of Equites with slingers out front. You can see an area of rough ground that shields the flank to the left of the photo; to the right you can see a Latin legion (in white) with Velites.
The Roman centre, in the familiar multiple line deployment.
The third photo shows the Roman left, which is a mirror image of the right with even more rough ground, in which a bunch of Cretan archers are lurking.  The Roman deployment is, as expected, symmetrical.  Paul runs their right and right centre, David commands the rest of the army.
Gordon deploys the Carthaginians in his Hannibal persona.  This is my command on the left, the point from which all of the photos are taken.  I have some javelin skirmishers, two large units of Numidians and a large unit of Gallic horse.  Not a lot you might think...
Our centre, with Willy in command.  More skirmishers, with three large Gallic warbands and some spanish in reserve.

Our right.  Hannibal in person leads the bulk of our forces: more Gallic foot, more Spanish, two units of elite spearmen, a large unit of Spanish cavalry and some Punic heavy horse.  Gordon is hoping to refuse our left, pin the Romans in the centre, and punch with our right.  The multi-wave attack will provide enough troops to move into the centre.  His plan is predicated on the destruction of the two leftmost Roman legions. But will it work...
Knowing that I am simply to hold the Romans at bay on my wing for as long as possible, I decide to make maximum use of my large Numidian units.  At the top right of the photo above you can see the endmost legion already angling in towards the centre.
The shot above is a view of the rest of the field from my position.  In the far distance Gordon's massive command lumbers forwards.
My aggression pays off (combined with some very effective javelin fire from the Numidians).  Here you can see a cavalry melee in the right foreground, with some of the Numidians threatening the flank of the reserve unit of Equites.  At the top right of the shot you can see the legionaries piling forward to the right of my forces.
Above is a view of the rest of the field at this point.  Getting nasty...
A slightly closer view of the hill in our centre, and Gordon's advance.  He needs to crush his opponents and swing in before the legions finish off whatever is in front of them.
A gratuitous close-up of my Numidians mixing it with some of the Equites.  My Gallic cavalry have been destroyed, but at great cost to the Roman horse.
More of the central action.  Gauls die by the bucketload (of dice).
And the Romans in the centre continue their remorseless advance.

I got lucky and managed to wipe out the enemy horse facing me, sending my Numidians on a wild ride into the Roman rear.  Gordon was hampered in his efforts to come into the centre, mainly because the terrain constrained him to fight on a narrow frontage.  The upshot was that all of our Gauls were wiped out to a man and Gordon managed eventually to break the Latin legion facing him.  Both sides' infantry lines were now out of kilter, so the commanders of both armies prudently withdrew to re-establish cohesion.  At this point Hannibal retired his force from the field, realising that he didn't have enough strength to break the enemy army.  The right punch was unsuccessful.

This brings us to the end of the current campaign turn.  Hannibal is still sitting in Liguria, but the loss of the Gauls has weakened his force, whereas the Romans are about to go onto the offensive.  Rumours are reaching the Carthaginian camp of the rise of an energetic Roman commander called Scipio, of the ancient family of the Cornelii.  We rolled to see if there were any rebellions at the start of the new turn, and unfortunately for the inhabitants of Sicily, they chose this moment to rebel from Roman control.  In other words, they heard about Hannibal's progress in central Italy and chose to throw their lot in with him, wrongly assuming that Roman power was about to collapse...

Sunday 22 July 2012

Hello to Fred Jackson

Saying hello to Fred - thanks for joining!

Sunday 15 July 2012

Rob Shackleton

Saying hello to Rob, and thanks for joining.  His blog is here and his painting is amazing.  You have to see his Sassanid general diorama - this is lovely, lovely work.

Saturday 14 July 2012

A few more Parthians

A unit of twelve horse archers for Willie:
He gave me 11 Navigator Miniatures figs to paint, and I added in an extra Warrior Miniatures guy I had lying around to make it up to a full unit.
I stuck the extra one onto a captured 1st Corps Roman horse.
On the table top nobody would ever notice, but I'm sure that if you picked them up and looked closely enough you'd see which one it is.
My running total for this year is now 219 painted 25/28mm figs.  Still more to do...
The final shot is from a gamer's perspective.  Next is to finish the terrain tiles for Plataea and squeeze in repair work to my Greeks for the same battle.  If I'm lucky, I may also finish a unit of a dozen 1st Corps Persian horse archers before the end of this month, but we shall see...

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Campaign Update

Yesterday evening we played a Successors battle in the Empire Campaign.  I ran a Macedonian army attacking the Ptolemaics, but even with Paul's help I threw it away.  No photos, because my camera batteries died on me.

However, this is pretty minor stuff compared with the epic struggle in the west.  After being roughly ejected from Liguria, Hannibal has with his usual energy put together a formidable army.  The remnants of his previous force have been bolstered by more Gauls and some reinforcements from Spain.  Relaunching his invasion, he presses forward into Liguria, which the Romans give up without a fight, preferring instead to fall back on their lines of supply into central Italia. 

Here they will make a stand, in two weeks' time.  The game will be 25% larger than our usual in points terms, but that doesn't matter - these are both high quality, expensive armies, so we will still be able to play it out.  Hannibal attacks a Roman consular army that is ensconced in an open plain, with both flanks resting on rough terrain.  Not a great prospect for the attackers, but Hannibal has to seize the moment, because after this turn Scipio will make his appearance and the Roman counter-offensive will begin in earnest...

Sunday 1 July 2012

On the Painting Tray: July 2012

Quite straightforward, although somewhat numerous: 12 Parthian horse archers; 12 Persian horse archers; and 32 Persian foot archers.  Realistically, given that I will be away on holiday for a week at one point, I should finish the two cavalry units and get part of the way through the infantry...


...a Monsieur le Rosbif, whose Napoleonic blog is here.  He also has a blog on wargaming and modelling the Late Roman Empire here. He has some excellent information on late Roman shield desgins, including a weblink to the Notitia Dignitatum.