Dies Martis Campaign 150 BC


"Dies Martis", I am reliably informed, is the Latin for Tuesday, which is our gaming day.  It rather appropriately means "Day of Mars", so I decided this would be a good name for the next phase in our ongoing ancients campaign.  Following on from the completion of our long running Empire campaign, this page provides the set-up and rules.  The intention is to produce a battle generator for Tuesdays that picks up where Empire finished; isn't too onerous or rules heavy; and also permits a finer grained representation of warfare in the classical world.  In other words, a workable compromise.  Map:
This is a digital map of antiquity with major provinces marked.  There is a settlement of some sort in each, and I have made six of them into special citadels: Numantia; Alesia; Alexandria; Carthage; Sarmizegutusa; and Jerusalem.


Several great powers exist, each of which controls two or more provinces; each also has at least one army.  They are by no means equal, and this is deliberate, for two reasons.  The first is that, historically speaking, all things were not equal, and the emphasis is inevitably going to be on the rise of Rome.  The second is that I want to retain some of the flavour of the relative positions at the end of the Empire campaign, to provide a starting point for this one.  This explains the relative strengths of the Ptolemaic Egyptians and the Macedonians, as well as the power vacuum of empty provinces ripe for the taking around Parthia.

The Celtiberians
The territory controlled by the Celtiberians is centred on Numantia, and comprises the provinces of Celtiberia; Lusitania; Tartesania and Carpetania.  They have a field army in Celtiberia.

The resurgent city controls Zeugitana and Byzacium; the field army is in Zeugitana.

In North Africa, the Bloody Romans (TM) control Locus Masylii; Mauretania Masaesilii; and Mauretania Tingitana.  These are in fact client kingdoms, but the distinction isn't all that important - what matters is that Rome gets money from them and also has full right of passage for armies.  In Hispania, the red dealers of death own Turdetania; Bastetania; Beribracia; and Ceretania, where they have a field army.  In Southern Gaul, they control Gallia Narbonensis and Transalpina.  They also hold Sicily and all of Italy up to the borders of Gallia Cisalpina and Venetia.  Field armies are located in Sicilia Poeni and Calabria, with a newly raised reserve army in Rome.

All of Greece up to the borders of Epirus, Dardania; Moesia and Thrace (basically the line of the Danube, excluding Dalmatia and Illyria.  In Asia Minor, the heirs of Alexander still control territory up to and including the eastern borders of Pontus, Galatia and Pamphylia.  Field armies are in the capital, Pella, and Phrygia.

The Ptolemies control the Nile Delta; Heptanomis and Thebes in Egypt proper, as well as the Sinai.  On the Eastern Mediterranean coast they own Judea, Phoenicia, Coele Syria, Cilicia and Syria.  In the interior they also hold Cappadocia, Assyria, Sophene, Adiabene, Armenia and Armenia Minor.  Field armies are in Alexandria and Syria.

The Parthians have taken advantage of the demise of the easternmost parts of the Successor states, and hold Parthyene and the surrounding territories: Astauene; Margiana; Aria; Tabiena; Choarene; and Hyrcania.  Their central field army is located in Parthyene.

The Indians control Sind, Gedrosia, Arachosia and Sattagydia.  However, although the Indians are a major power, they begin the campaign with an inactive posture - this is to give the Parthians some time to consolidate, as they did historically, before they have to face potential opponents from beyond their borders.  At one point an Indian army will arrive in Sind and they will become an active power.

Minor States
Numidia; Dalmatia/Illyria; the Gauls; the Germans; NW Hispania; and the horse nomads in various provinces to the north of the Parthians and in the Caucasus, plus Bactria.  I have deliberately left these vague, so that they are available for conquest, but they have field armies of their own that will have to be defeated first.

Ripe Fruit
Provinces ready for the taking because they don't have their own armies.  These are mostly the Mediterranean islands and the provinces near the Parthians.

Campaign Seasons

There are three of these in a year: spring, summer and autumn.  Each power gets to take one action with each of its field armies.  Roll them all randomly to keep things interesting.  Actions can be:
  • move up to three provinces internally
  • move into an adjacent province that is either uncontrolled or is owned by another power.  This may lead to a battle.
  • rest and recruit from the current and neighbouring friendly provinces.
  • subdue an enemy or neutral province if the army is already inside it, and is strong enough.
  • besiege a citadel: this will cost!
  • reinforce a friendly army by transferring troops up to the maximum allowed
  • move by sea to another province, except one that contains an enemy capital.  The move will not succeed if a certain number is rolled on 1D6, depending on the distance to be travelled - storms, bad omens or something else delays the troop transports.  Land and sea movement cannot be combined in the same season, so an army will have to begin in a coastal area in order to make a seaborne crossing.

Winter Quarters

Armies do nothing at all during the fourth season.  However, this is when the central treasury accrues taxes from every province that does not contain or is adjacent to one of the state's armies.  These territories are excluded because they are too busy feeding the troops locally.  Winter is also the time when a power can declare war on another power, be it minor or major.  Only when this is done can they make a hostile move.  Note that this does not apply to minor undefended provinces, which can simply be annexed.  Another winter warning comes when certain events take place, such as rebellions, or the appearance of migrating tribes.  I have a list of these occurrences which will take place pretty much around the times they did historically - thus, the campaign will reach points where it mutates.  This will become especially messy when the Romans start fighting one another...

Armies and Tabletop Battles

This is the guts of the game - the rest is just the logistics by which we get there.  The tabletop rules we use have a basic points system, and the average size of game is 2000 points.  I have taken advantage of this and scaled the campaign to suit.  Each armies starts at 2000 points plus 10 per province controlled by the state, thus:

  • the Celtiberians: 2040
  • Carthage: 2020
  • Rome: 2220
  • Macedon: 2200
  • Egypt: 2150
  • Parthia: 2070
  • India: 2040
An army is capable of offensive moves and combat if it contains at least 1500 points; the maximum permitted is 2500.  A force smaller than 1500 points can make other moves as a detachment of sorts, so long as it contains at least 250 points.  So, for example, if the treasury in Rome has over 250 gold solidi (or whatever you want to call your campaign currency), it can constitute those points as a detachment and send them off as reinforcements for one of the field armies.  An already existing army could theoretically do the same thing by hiving off some troops and sending them to an active front - sort of like later imperial vexillations.

If an army is attacked and is not outpointed by at least 250 points it must stand and fight.  All the local commander knows is that a field army of comparable size is coming his way and needs to be dealt with.  Failing that, he must retreat to an adjacent friendly province or into a citadel if it exists.  Anything else results in elimination.  An exception could be made in the case of civil wars, where the defeated force simply hands over the losing general and is then assimilated into the victor's army.

The idea, therefore, is to have a range of slightly different army values that then come together into a field battle.  However, in order to keep book keeping to a minimum, you don't need to keep track of the exact composition of a force - all that really matters is its points value.  After a battle is fought, each side, both winner and loser, retains the points vales of the troops left on the field; this means that you won't have to record the exact status of every phalanx unit or whatever.  I have deliberately left this all a little bit vague so that if anyone reading this wants to adapt it for their own purposes, they can work it into their own games system relatively easily.  Points systems vary widely; in some, you pay per unit, in others you pay per figures, and some don't have them at all.  I think they are a necessary evil; might as well take advantage of it.  


A nice simple mechanism: pay 250 points from the army per campaign season.  These are permanently lost, but each time you do it you gain a 2 in 6 cumulative chance of taking the place; a roll of 6 is always a fail.  Don't roll for the first 250 points - these are meant to be protracted major events, and it doesn't seem right if one of them falls immediately to a surprise attack. If you have to raise the siege at any point, tough - this could happen if a relief army arrives.  Alternatively, if you have the rules and the wherewithal, play out the assault.

Conquest and Booty

Attrition is going to be nasty in this campaign, so I have a way of rewarding generals that succeed where others fear to tread.  If the remnants of an enemy army are holed up in a citadel that is then successfully assaulted, apply the following rule of thirds:  one-third of the army value is lost; one-third goes to the victorious attacker in the form of booty; and one-third goes to the winning state's capital city as treasure.  This would represent, for example, the fall of Carthage at the end of the 3rd Punic War.  There will be some circumstances in which a citadel is captured without an army present, say in Celtiberia, where the defending army can retire to an adjacent territory.  But that seems reasonable - there wasn't much left to loot in Numantia.  The same rule applies when a the army of a minor power is cornered and destroyed.  There will be circumstances when the successful general hoards all of the available loot, for example the doings of Caesar in Gaul as part of the First Triumvirate.  This represents both phenomenal success and the snowball effect that will lead to the Civil Wars.


Basically, that's it.  The idea is to have a campaign background that more or less runs itself and generates plenty of tabletop battles, not all of which have to involve the usual suspects.  I want a campaign that picks up where Empire left off, but which operates with some more detail than the grand strategic organisation of that particular game.  I will also add to this page some more information such as suggested army compositions and campaign events as and when they occur.  I don't want to give these away in advance in case any of our regulars are watching!  I am hoping that some of the intended nuances become apparent as we play.  For example, the Romans might defeat the Celtiberian army in Hispania but lack the force to invest Numantia; they will have to wait for Carthage to be destroyed before sufficient reinforcements arrive to allow the Celtiberian War to be properly pursued.  As with Empire, the plan is to produce a campaign that broadly follows historical parameters, and which gives us an ongoing story as context for fights between wee men made of metal (or plastic, or resin...)

Parthian Army List

Most rulesets give the Parthians horse archers, cataphracts, some skirmish infantry and maybe some 'camelphracts' - armoured camelry.  This seems a bit too vanilla to me, and I have been looking around the web for army list compositions that give them a bit more flavour, basically to make them more interesting on the battlefield.  This is what I have produced:

15-30%:  Cataphracts.  These can be average morale and/or elites.
0-5%:      Armoured camels.
50-75%:  Horse Archers.
0-5%:      Skirmish infantry with bows
0-5%:      Skirmish Infantry with slings
0-5%:      Skirmish Infantry with javelins
0-25%:    Auxiliary Infantry with javelins.  These can be average morale and/or militia grade.

These are pretty much self-explanatory, except perhaps for the last category.  They represent the tough light infantry hillmen, Greek civic militia and (from 147 AD to the end of Parthian rule) thureophoroi types from Elymais.  They can be light infantry, heavier or better quality light infantry, or massed medium foot with spears rather than javelins.  They could also be a combination thereof.  I know that the armies that fought the Romans very rarely had any infantry at all, but I felt there should be some guys capable of fighting in the rough and also the possibility of some massed foot from the Greek colonies.  If nothing else, these could serve as a rallying point for the cavalry. I have drawn up the percentages based on our usual rules' points system, but you could probably translate these proportions quite easily to rulesets that use other methods.  At least it's a guide to a somewhat more interesting composition, something we are going to need with the rise of Parthia as a great power in the campaign.

Carthaginian Army of the 3rd Punic War

This is the army that gave the Romans such as hard time in North Africa, at least until the advent of Scipio Aemilianus:
  • Punic Nobles: 12 Elite Heavy Cavalry
  • Iberian Mercenaries: 18 Medium Cavalry
  • 24 Light Horse in three units
  • 36 Heavy Infantry
  • Five units of 48 Medium Infantry
  • Two units of 8 Skirmish Infantry with slings
  • Two units of ten Skirmish Infantry with javelins
Note the relative paucity of heavy and elite troops and the complete absence of elephants.  There are historical reasons for this.  Basically, the Romans were out for blood and revenge and the Carthaginians went to extraordinary lengths to accede to their demands.  They gave up weapons and armour and even divested the,selves of their elephant corps until they had nothing left to give - and still the Romans pressed them.  There was no alternative but war.  Rome's behaviour so disgusted Masinisssa, the aged King of Numidia who had helped win Zama for Scipio, that he maintained strict neutrality during the conflict.  This list represents the last gasp of Carthage - an army of stodge.  Solid enough to give Rome a hard time in the initial stages, but no campaign winner.

Later Hellenistic Greek

This is a list produced by Simon for the campaign.  There are no minimum troop types, the idea being that you can mix and match depending on which Hellenistic state you wish to portray.

0-5%:  Elite Heavy Cavalry
0-5%: Line Heavy Cavalry
0-5%: Light Horse with javelins
0-2%: Tarentine-style superior quality light cavalry with javelins
0-20%: Pikemen.  These can be of average or elite quality
0-50%: Thureophoroi
0-5%:  Thorakitai
0-20%: Thracian Warband
0-20%: Illyrians
0-2%: Cretan Skirmish Archers
0-4%: Rhodian Slingers
0-4%: Psiloi with javelins

Heavy Cavalry in this period do not have Impetus.  Thureophoroi are an intermediate troop type, somewhere between Light Infantry and Massed Foot.  They operate as medium infantry, but can also move through rough terrain as LI (not disordered) and can throw javelins.  The Thracians should be loose formation warbands, and can deploy in the flank sectors.  The Illyrians can choose either to fight in exactly the same way as the Thracians, or as loose formation medium foot similar to Thureophoroi (just not so densely organised).  This list is intended as a menu of possible choices.  For example, the Aitolians might have access to Illyrians (and possibly Thracians), but would be unlikely to have pikemen.  Thorakitai have elite morale.

Middle Period Ptolemaic Successors

This list represents the Ptolemaic Egyptians after the initial rush for territory in the generation or so after the death of Alexander, but before full contact with the growing might of Rome.  It is basically a typical Hellenistic phalanx-based army as opposed to one with Thureophoroi, but quality has declined from the initial glory days.

0-5%:  Cleruchs Heavy Cavalry
5-10%:  Greek and/or Mercenary Medium Cavalry
0-5%:  Light Horse with javelins
0-5%:  Bedouin Camels
0-10%: Indian elephants
0-20%: Pikemen
20-70%: Machimoi medium phalangites
0-5%: Peltasts
0-2%: Cretan Skirmish Archers
0-4%: Egyptian Skirmish Archers
0-2%: Egyptian Slingers
0-2%: Egyptian skirmishers with javelins

There are no elite types as such in this transitional army, and its best heavy troops are the relatively small contingents of Cleruchs Heavy Cavalry and pikemen.  Machimoi freed slave phalangites can be bought aplenty, but are Medium Infantry.  They can have either standard or Militia Grade morale ratings.


0-10%:  Massed Cavalry
0-5%:  Light Horse with javelins
30-50%: Warriors
0-30%:  Thureophoroi
0-30%: Peltasts
3-6%: Skirmishers with javelins
0-2%: Skirmishers with sling
0-2%: Skirmishers with Bows

The Massed Cavalry must be medium types (FV 4-6 in Tactica), but any or all of them may be upgraded to Elite to represent the nobility.  The same goes for the Warriors, who are Warband types with Impetus. The Warbands can be in loose or close formation, whether or not any of them are elites. The Thureophoroi represent Greek influence, and are basically FV 4-6 medium foot with spears in close formation. The Peltasts can be either FV 3-6 or FV 4-6 to represent this particular speciality of the Illyrian tribes; they must be in loose formation.  The Illyrians were noted for especially high morale, hence the possibly high proportion of elite types.  Apart from these, everyone in the army is of standard veteran quality.


0-8%:  Massed Cavalry
50-95%: Warriors
3-6%: Skirmishers with javelins
0-2%: Skirmishers with sling
0-2%: Skirmishers with Bows

The Massed Cavalry may be either heavy or medium. The Warriors can come in several flavours: loose or close formation Warbands with Impetus, and loose or close formation medium foot.  Any combination of these can be used. The Ligurians were not well known as horsemen, but they did make tough infantry opponents.

The Professional Legions

  • Rome may raise up to four legions from the capite censi in a single season, always bearing in mind the cost! Such a legion will initially be counted as raw, i.e. it will comprise 9 cohorts of fresh recruits counting as medium militia. The eagle cohort will be a step better, fighting as heavy militia. The legion breaks on 44 hits.
  • The army may move on immediately, or it may spend the season training. In this case each legion pays an extra point per figure, giving a trained legion of 9 cohorts of heavy militia and an eagle cohort of veterans. Such a legion will still have 44 hits. A raw legion may use this training rule at any time - it just takes a season and costs cash.
  • In order to simplify campaign book keeping, a legion is lost when it is broken on the field. If, however, it survives and either draws or wins the battle, it automatically improves as follows. A raw legion beomes trained. A trained legion becomes veteran, with an elite eagle cohort and 58 hits. Legions that survive will always come back in effect at full strength.
  • Should a veteran legion survive in this way for another two battles, it becomes elite, with a legendary eagle cohort (think Caesar's Tenth). It will have 66 hits.
  • If an elite legion loses a battle it is reduced to veteran status.
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