And so, after a short break, the campaign continues. We left the campaign just as Nero was about to strike a decisive blow for Rome by knocking Hannibal out of Italy and the war. He attacked at Paestium which is in the region of modern Salerno. I looked at this area on Google Earth; the coastal plain south of Salerno is wide and very, very flat - it is the perfect place for a battle. I set the table with a few places of 'Type II' scrub land and left it at that.
The Romans fielded a total of 76 Unit Integrity points to represent the 12 CU Nero had brought to the battle. Hannibal fielded 57 UI to represent the 9 he had brought. Nero drew 7 characterisation cards (8 for UI, minus 1 for being two command grades less than Hannibal).
Hannibal also drew 7 characterisation cards (5 for UI, plus 1 for being two command grades better than Nero, plus the 1 for just being Hannibal).
The shots above show the two hands of characterisation cards for each army. You should have seen Nero's face when he discovered the lack of morale chip cards he had drawn (right) in comparison to Hannibal: The Roman army wasn't up for it at all.
As Scrotivius wrote:
"....the 'Pride of Rome' would rather have been in a brothel than in the open field and showed it with irreverence and ill discipline...."
Hannibal deployed his infantry in a convex curve with the left refused. His cavalry and elephants were deployed forward on the flanks.
Rome deployed in a balanced formation with equal cavalry wings and infantry massed in triplex acies in the centre.
Rome began the attack.
Carthage threw out skirmishers in an attempt to slow them.
The Carthaginian skirmish line was was thrown back having caused little harm.
The Roman infantry crashed home in the centre.
On the Roman right the cavalry clashed. At first honours were even.
Then the cavalry battle began to swing in Carthage's favour.
Then the Romans collapsed after being flanked by superior numbers. Most of the Carthaginian cavalry was still in the field but quite shaken (all units needed to rally back lost UI).
The Roman infantry, still present in great numbers, were now surrounded and outflanked by rampaging Carthaginian cavalry - could Hannibal's infantry perform as well?
Yes it could!
A victory was awarded with a double envelopment bonus. First battle casualties were diced for. Rome did well - losing 1 CU. Hannibal did badly - losing 3 CU. But then the Romans rolled for retreat with a plus two modifier - they rolled 5 scoring the magic 7! The whole army including Nero was lost. Bloody hell, there are only 2 Roman CU in the whole of Italy!!!!!!
"When news reached Rome, Senators were mobbed in the streets by wailing wives and mothers asking for word. The people began to riot and shout Nero Zero, Nero Zero! No one could believe the stories of isolated pockets of brave soldiers being hacked to death without mercy - for none, not even the allies, were spared.........."
"....Such was the shock of the defeat that Rome's allies also failed her. Many places thought true to Rome went over to Carthage."
Carthage played card campaign card 24 immediately Rome had removed the appropriate number of control markers (because I couldn't believe the effect and wanted to take advantage before I woke up). Carthage took control of Regium and Neoaplis (both walled cities) and gained a foot hold in Sardinia.
I'm not sure there is any chance of Rome coming back from this but we shall see.