Friday, 5 March 2010

Ancient Campaign Update - Roman Legions lost in Gaul

I managed to pay a visit to my local club and see the tabletop action in our ongoing Pax Romana game: 

The years (25 per turn) roll by and now the memory of Phyrus and his army at the gates of Rome fades as one by one their counters are removed. Rome limbers up to extract a deadly toll against the impertinent Greeks, yet when all looks lost, Pan plays a fateful tune on his pipes that even Cybil cannot deflect.

A random event of insurrection and a slave revolt takes hold of Italy wholesale causing the despatch of legion after legion to quell internal disputes instead of punishing a weakened Greece. Greece reforms what power it can but tussles ineffectively against the steady growing menace of a Seleucid empire, losing ground to their methodical advance. Indeed exotic trading links into the unknown Germanic lands are wisely made by Greece as a future escape avenue from the inevitable Roman and Seleucid expansions in turns ahead.

The real action spreads to the Spanish peninsular, as Carthage grows stronger while Rome is distracted in quelling slaves. The two empires are destined soon to meet on fringes of Gaul and the next campaign generated table-top battle ensues. A hardened Republican force of blade and spear face-off against their erstwhile enemies, a polyglot of Carthaginian foes with elephants, warbands and a backing of pike/spear/cavalry. The rules again are DBMM, but we are finding them hard to play with, though they are considered an improvement over DBM. Fields of Glory (FoG) has its advocates, me amongst them.

The legion deploys.

From early on it boded well for the Carthaginian handlers of elephants and paymasters of ferocious tribesman, as the quick kills on hapless legionnaires mount up. So many elephants they have to move about in column!

The warbands were just as effective!

Rome soon faced an all or nothing situation, a last gasp strategy is soon in play, gambling its fortune on those now tired legionnaires slashing and killing hoping also for a useful contribution from the massed Roman cavalry (well they call it that) that formed a reserve. The result being a quite remarkable turn around against the elephants, but the warbands were steady and eventually took their toll. The legion had to pay the butchers bill. The Roman cavalry did not impress. The post battle campaign attritions are yet to be calculated but the Carthaginian army is set to play a game of "Carry on Catch the Legion" all the way back to the borders of Italy.

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