Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Horde of Hastati

A Headless Body Production 
Venue: An Undisclosed Living Room
Event: L'Art de la Guerre via Table Top Simulator
Players: Phil Gardocki running Carthaginian
               Dave Ray running Republican Rome
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.

For over a hundred years, the Punic wars were fought on hundreds of battlefields. Many of these battles were important enough to have the accounts reported by the great historians.

This was not one of them.

However, in a farmers field in central France, a flint beer bottle and a fragment of petrified tapioca was uncovered. The text was engraved in nearly perfect Lorem Ipsum, which confirms the local legends of a great battle fought there, some 2,100 years earlier.

The Forces:
Carthaginian, list 55.
Commanded by unidentified commanders, we shall refer to as Larry, Darryl and Darrel.
We will assume they are Competent.
4 Heavy Spearmen, Armor Elite
2 Italians, Heavy Swordsmen, Armor , impact
2 Moors, Light infantry, bow
1 Elephant, Mediocre
5 Gallic Warriors, Medium Swordsmen, Impetuous
4 Punic Cavalry, Medium cavalry
2 Heavy Cavalry, Heavy cavalry, Elite
2 Numidians, Light Cavalry, Javelin
Breakpoint of 23

Republican Rome, List 53
Commanded by Scipio and Mettalus, both Ipsum Dolor, and Scarus, the Auctoritas.
8 Hastati or Principes, Heavy Swordsmen Armor, Impact
2 Triarii, Heavy Spearmen Armor
4 Velites, Light Infantry, Javelin
2 Cretans, Light Infantry, Bow, Elite
2 Gallic Warriors, Heavy swordsmen, Impetuous
2 Extraordinarii, Medium swordsmen, Elite
2 Illyrian, Light Cavalry, Javelin
Breakpoint of 22

The Board: Scipio wins the initiative and elects to defend in the plains

Why Carthaginians? Table Top Simulator offers a chance to play armies that we don't have figures for. While I can deploy 16 feet of 15mm Romans, and I have done it. I would have to piece together a Carthaginian list out of parts from several other armies. They have never interested me, and when I look at the list, nothing stands out as a game winner. It says much about Hannibal's brilliance that he could take this army composed of disparate parts and work it as a whole, not just to function, but to win against the premiere force in the world.

I have to say, though, the lists for the Carthaginians just suck. Not enough of anything except Gallic warbands to matter. And those are totally overwhelmed by Roman infantry. +1 vs +2 on contact. Taking 3 hits vice 4. This is somewhat mitigated by Furious charge doing extra damage on the turn of contact but after that it is down to even up rolls and Roman Armor.

Editor's Note: I have been adjusting the pictures to try to present the most informative views. Mainly by cropping to the region of interests and magnifying the picture. I am still working out the kinks in this process. But these pictures are a bit smaller than I would like. You can still double click on them and get "Original Size", and while bigger, they are not as big as I would have liked.

Other Notes:

When you see a word bubble "Ouch", this implies a missile hit, except on turn 2, which was a mistake.

"XX" implies a unit killed in that location on that turn.

"????" is an ambush marker, and so it is unknown at this time.

Scores are presented in a confusing manner. This is because it is measured in number of points towards the demoralization. If I say the score is 15-8 in favor of Rome, that means the Carthaginians are have 15 points their demoralization level of 23, while Rome has 8 points towards their demoralization level of 22. But saying 15-8 is just more intuitive. 

Not all actions are commented on. Like units chasing lights. Lights don't matter much and don't rate much commentary. Except for Illyrians. If they had lived, they would be the MVP's of the game. Oh...Spoilers!

The Romans are deployed in a solid line of 10 Legionary and two Gallic Heavy Foot. They outnumber my Heavy Infantry by 2-1, and their flanks are well secured. 

The Cunning Plan:

My thoughts are to use the field on the right as a safe area to project into the flank of the Roman line. The Carthaginian main battle line of Heavy Infantry can stand up to the Roman Infantry and will have one flank covered by the Elephant command, the other, hopefully by the Cavalry command. The Pontic Cavalry, which should be the maneuver wing has no where to maneuver into as the Roman right flank is also covered well with a field.

Turn 1:

A general advance is ordered. The advance is limited by both enemy lights and poor command dice rolls. 

The Romans see through the plan immediately. They pull back their exposed flank, and send forth the Illyrians to harass the Carthaginian Elephant command.

Turn 2:

More general advance, and into the field we go. On the right, the Gallic warriors charge the Illyrians, who stand.and receive the charge. There was a chance if they evaded, that they would go of the board. The Gauls are surprised at this and tripping over their feet, disorder themselves.
Romans advance save their impetuous Gauls. Ray didn't realize that foot impetuous are not required to charge mounted troops.

And the Illyrians, lightly armed and armored, disperse their Gallic opponents.

The score is 3-0 in favor of the Romans.

Turn 3:

On the left, Punic Cavalry has turned the flank of the Roman Line. However, they cannot take advantage of it due to being ZoC'd by the Extraordinarii in the field.
The Romans have completed their refuse flank maneuvers. There is no longer a danger of elephants charging them in the flank from the field. Illyrian Light Horse follow the Carthaginian line, merrily throwing javelins into the mix.

Turn 4:

All that maneuvering, and in the end it's just a front to front smashup. Romans win the dice offs, 5 out of 8 fights.
The second round is a bet better for the Carthaginians. 4 of their 6 Heavy Infantry are Elites, and that was a factor in a couple of the dice offs down the line. A cheap Pontic cavalry unit is destroyed, but another is ready to take it's place. Illyrian aggressiveness continues. The Elephant is being stung, while a Gallic warband is struck in the rear.

The score is 10 to 4 in Romes favor.

Turn 5:

Carthaginian Heavy Infantry begin to die but they are not going alone. Contrary to the lower right notation, the score is 14-9.
And in a major turn around and a bit of good fortune the Carthaginians defeat a number of their foes. Two Legionaries are destroyed, and one of the annoying Illyrians! The score is almost a tie at 18-16.

 Turn 6:

Elephants are gone, but they were a throw away anyway. The Roman left flank is turned. The score is 19-17, in favor of Rome.
Whoa, dead units all around, but mostly Roman. Several very bad die rolls for Rome. On the left, Pontic Cavalry (Heavy, Elite, supported, but also flanked) destroy a Gallic war band. Another Roman Legion flanks a Carthaginian Spear, but fail to destroy it. The Roman General Scarus joins his Legio, and promptly takes a spear in the eye! The last of the Illyrians is also dispersed.   
The end result is a MUTUAL DESTRUCTION. Both sides are exactly sitting on their break points.
To tell the truth, I never thought the game would go the distance. I do not like the Carthaginian list. About the only thing I do like is their cavalry. If you are fighting in their region and time period, it is pretty good. But in this game they were largely a non starter. I would have been better served by filling the left with Militia (Medium Sword, Mediocre). Hmmm, that is not so bad. 6 units, 30 points, freeing up 20 points for more elephants and skirmishers... But then it was the field that defanged the cavalry. If it wasn't there, they could have collapsed the Extraordinarii and turned the flank.
This just in! After the teams have left for the showers a flag was thrown on the field! A penalty is called! Incorrect Point Counting! Romes break point was incorrectly added as 22 when it was 23! So the game is a Win for Scipio and his team!


  1. Phil, How do you like TTS for L'Art de la Guerre? Who set it up?

    It would be nice to get in some games even if we are not using minis.


  2. TTS is very awkward to use. But it does work. I have instructions on how to set it up on a word doc with pictures I can send you.

  3. Phil,
    If I could get them that would be great.