This was our first game for 2016. We do not yet have all of the forces for a 'proper' re-fight of the Battle of Thapsus, so we settled for a fictitious game based loosely on that battle. The aims were simple, to have a bash with some ancients so as to blow the cobwebs off the Impetus rules and to deploy as many units of various troops as possible that are appropriate for the Second Civil War campaign in Tunisia.
We were joined by Mark 'Sun of York', Mark 'Biko' and Stephen our honorary ANF members from the NWS. You may already have read Mark's excellent report of the game (I recommend it to you if you have not).
As so often happens, the civilians were out in force early, taking photos of the deployed armies from various vantage points
It was easy for Cretan archers to see off the second unit of Thracian peltasts having seen their comrades turned into elephant tusk-picks.
Labienus sent his veteran cavalry to attack Caesar's elephant-crushing Gauls, but they too met with defeat.
The second, flanking unit now moving to attack finally overcame the brave Celts. There's that six that I was after, pity that it was for the cohesion test. We were to see a bit of this flawed strategy from most players throughout the afternoon.
In the centre-right, Caesar's auxiliary spearmen charged and broke Scipio's unsuspecting Hispanics.
The next unit of Optimates charged the victorious Caesareans, the mêlée continuing.
Over on the Caesarean left, Marcus Antonius was getting some revenge against the Numidians as first one...
More of the African horsemen counter-attacked the previously victorious spearmen, resulting in an inconclusive mêlée.
The final unit of Numidians rained spears on one of Antonius' antesignani, who were unable to return the compliment.
Back on the Caesarean right, Labienus' remaining unit of elephants charged the veteran legions, neither side prevailing.
Further down the line, the sides continued to exchange skirmish fire, in preparation for the attack of the legions.
Scratch one elephant. It was Labienus' turn to try rolling a six in a cohesion test, a sure-fire losing strategy!
In the centre two units of levy Spanish spearmen combined to break the Caesarean veterans.
In went the legions in the centre, neither side gaining the upper hand as pila went sailing through the air and a cacophony of steel on steel and shied resulted.
Had lady luck deserted the Populares? First Marcus Antonius and then Caesar himself rolling double-one, resulting in a downgrade of their command status.
Time to for action! Caesar sent his veteran legions to take the hill.
On the far Caesarean left, the Optimates' veteran cavalry and Caesarean Germanic horsemen decided to wage their own private war.
Building on their initial success, Caesar's veteran legions pressed on, breaking a second unit of pseudo-legionnaires and taking control of the central hill.
One of Caesar's victorious legionary units joined the fight in the centre, breaking the Spanish spearmen, but failing to repeat the dose against one of the Optimates' legions.
Those losses took the Caesarean army past its demoralisation level. Could the legions break sufficient Optimates to also break them before the adding up at the end of the turn?
They tried to repeat the success of the previous two turns, but, fatigued by their exertions (wargamer's story telling), they fell short
It had been another excellent game using these fine rules. The result attests to the closeness.
Caesareans VDT at the end of the game 24 points (army break point 22 points)Optimises VDT at the end of the game 28 points (army break point 29 points).
So there were but three points in it and, just one inch of charge move on the die. Meaning? The unit of pseudo-legions just visible at the bottom left-hand corner of the second last photo above was one inch too far for the fresh unit of Caesarean legions, who were bearing down on its rear...!
Not the only what-if, of course, and mistakes on both sides did not help one's own cause. Top stuff!