Saturday 25 February 2012

Spanish Scutarii Finished!

At long last I've managed to find the energy to paint the bulk of the remaining Spanish. Initially I was planning on having 14 scutarii units, each on 4 stands; each unit comprising 24 figs . However, in almost every game we have played we have chosen to deploy scutarii in units of 6 stands. 56 stands does not divide by 6. I thought about it for a while, looked at what figures I had, and then decided to stretch an extra unit out of them.

With the 24 stands (each with 6 figs) I already have these 197 figures add another 36 stands - for a much more useful total of 60 stands. Of course, 19 stands only have 5 figures each on them, but as 6 stand units deploy in a double rank this does not detract too much; the 5 figure stands are at the back.

Anyway here are the newly painted scutarii. There are now 341 scutarii. There are 439 Spanish figures painted. There are only 40 caetratii, plus command stand figures, still to paint.

The figures are all Renegade. They were painted in enamels on a black undercoat. They were painted in 4 batches with each batch having a limited mix of shield colours. The whole lot were mixed before basing on 4mm ply wood bases (60mm x 60mm). I'll finish the basing when all the Spanish are finished. 

Thursday 23 February 2012

The Battle of Nemausus - Full Report

"Scipio ordered the attack at once. The legionaries went forward with confidence and fought with great determination. His cavalry, of which he was woefully short, were swept away like autumn leaves in a gale. His infantry, seeing their doom, were forced to withdraw, with heavy loss, before they were surrounded and destroyed. Scipio was badly wounded by a sling shot in the encounter: He had taken control of the 2nd legion after its senior officers were killed in the cruel fight."

The Roman legions advance.

Roman cavalry advance on Numidian cavalry under a hail of javelins.

On the Carthaginian left the elephants are repelled, but replaced in the attack by veteran Spanish infantry.
On the right the Carthaginians launch their Spanish cavalry and elephants against the oncoming Romans.
The Roman cavalry are swept away in short order.
On the right, elephants are again given short shrift by the Roman infantry. 
The fight becomes one of infantry Vs infantry, but the Spanish cavalry threaten the flanks and rear. 
The Roman cavalry is defeated by the Numidians and the Roman right is similarly threatened.
The infantry battle heats up before..... 
...the Romans, with their flanking cavalry defeated (and at 2 morale chips), break off and start to withdraw.
The bulk of the 1st legion, harassed by Spanish cavalry, manages to withdraw largely intact.
The battle is ended.
Post Battle:
The battle lasted just over two full turns. We decided to call it a 5 'Hannibal: R Vs C' battle card duration battle. As the Romans had managed to withdraw with one legion, and its defeated cavalry had not been pursued off table, we decided it was a 0 adjustment victory for the Carthaginians. Both sides rolled on the losses table and the Romans withdrew to Massilia. Carthage losses = 1 CU. Roman losses 4 CU.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

The Battle of Nemausus

Several people have asked, elsewhere, how we will accurately transpose board CU to the table and back. The answer, I'm afraid, is much less precise than many would imagine. Peter and I have decided to fight a 'miniatures' 2nd Punic War campaign; we are not fighting a Hannibal R Vs C board game with just the battles transposed; rather, we are just using the board game to deal with map movement, politics and other events, and to generate the battles. Consequently, an accurate mathematical equation is not required. Our approach is far more 'kriegspiel' in nature. Peter and I are competitive, but we are able to play a campaign wearing two hats - we are both a player and an umpire. We rarely argue anything other than 'cases'. We also know that a losing anecdote is often as funny as hell!

I would also like to introduce a little known contemporary author to you (see end of post). Scrotivius (origin unknown) wrote extensively on this campaign. That he lived in Rome is not doubted, but his sympathies are far less certain. From time to time I will quote his words.

 We will, of course, be using Ager Proelii rules to determine the overall outcome (win / loss) of the battles.

Army Characterisation cards for the Romans:
46 army morale chips.
Look Sir! Army Morale card.
Wild card.
Aggressive. Melee, Up 1 card.
Carthaginian Army Characterisation cards:
86 army morale chips.
By Saturn! card

Roman deployment is typical: A standard consular army deployment of legions in the centre with cavalry on the wings. Peter and I do not hold with three quarters of the cavalry being on one (left) wing. As a third of the allies were detailed off as extraordinarii, we believe it is just as likely that these formed up with the 'Romans' - as most allies had been colonised by the Romans, they may actually have been so - equalling up the deployment exactly. I have no direct evidence that this is true or was ever done; I just find it hard to believe that a comparable 25% to 75% wing deployment is not mentioned when it comes to Hannibal's deployments - he seems to have deployed roughly 50% - 50%.

The Roman centre. Comprising the meat grinder - 2 legions with their ala in triple acies formation(Ager Proelii style).

Historically, a consular army had a frontage of about one mile.
Another shot of the centre from the front. Velites, Hastati, Principes, Triarii.

P. Scipio can be seen giving encouragement from the rear.
A cavalry wing. In this case the right, comprising Roman equites and the extraordinarii.

The Carthaginians have deployed their army, comprising African and Iberian troops only (the Gauls in these parts are not too friendly!), with an infantry centre and two equal cavalry wings. Spanish infantry are deployed to take the brunt of the fighting, whilst the deployment of Libyan spearmen and elephants has the look of 'Trebbia' about it. Hannibal has chosen to put all of his Numidian cavalry on the left and his Spanish cavalry on the right.

Spanish cavalry outnumber their Roman counterparts by 2 : 1.

Elephants and Lybyan spearmen. 
The Spanish infantry. The shield markers denote 'solliferrum at the ready'. 
A mirror of the right except for Numidian instead of Spanish cavalry.

Command quality, and the disparity of morale chips, may be the key to this battle. The Romans rolled low command quality rolls and have two D10 and two D8 command group officers. The Carthaginians rolled high and have three D12 and one D10 command group commanders.

Scrotivius wrote: "On the morning of the battle Publius encouraged his troops with brave words and vows not to let the despoiler of Sagentum pass. Hannibal, for his part, stood before his troops and merely raised the skirt of his tunic, winked and smiled: The roar of the Carthaginians echoed across the Alps."

Thursday 16 February 2012

The Second Punic War Campaign Begins

To decide who played which side we rolled dice - high dice got to be Rome: Peter J. will be Rome and I will be Carthage.

We are blasting straight into this campaign with very little written down on how we will translate map to table and back. We will make it up as we go along using the rule of "sounds reasonable". One thing we have decided is not to think of this campaign as a Hannibal: Rome Vs Carthage campaign with a mathematical equations to govern CU value, etc. It is rather a wargames campaign with Hannibal: R Vs C running the map movement and events. This will allow thing to flow and not get bogged down in silly detail.

Turn 1: 218 BC

The Roman player began the campaign with '37, Minor Campaign' card. Publius Scipio sailed from Rome for Massilia and Sempronius Longus marched from Agrigentum to Rhegium.

There then followed a series of cards used for diplomacy by both sides. Carthage played cards 46 and 47 to place Political Control (PC) markers in Idubeda (Northern Hispania) and Gallia Cisalpinia, Rome played cards 50 and 32 to place PCs in the Massilia region.

Next Hannibal attempted a forced march over the Pyrenees with card 63, but the weather was awful (card 42) and he was delayed. In Italy Sempronius entered Rome (using card 62) to the sound of cheering crowds - the Romans like parade.

Hannibal continued his march (using card 57), but as he tried to skirt Massilia, by heading north to the Rhone, he was intercepted by Scipio (he rolled a 1). Hannibal attempted to avoid contact but failed (he rolled 6). Thus, near Nemausus, the army of Hannibal Barca and the consular army of Publius Scipio met.

The site of the battle was just west of modern day Nimes on a gently rolling, scrubby, ground (Google Earth: 43:48:27.12N  4:17:33.51E elevation 95m).

The Romans had 9 CU of troops (8 + 1 allied); the Carthaginians had 10 CU. We will give Scipio a consular army. Counting the velites as half a unit each this equals 18 units. Consequently, Hannibal gets 20 units plus two units of elephants (elephant CU count as both CU and elephants in the game).

We will be using Ager Proelii rules for the battle. Hannibal has a battle rating of 4 so his army gets a D12* sequence deck and army die. P. Scipio has a battle rating of 2 so gets a D10 sequence deck and army die.

Scipio gets an extra characterisation card for interception, Hannibal loses one for failing to avoid, but he is Hannibal so gets an extra one anyway.

This battle will be fought next Wednesday - May the Best Carthaginian win!

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Am I a 'pin-up' ?

After some thought I decided to go for the map and pin route for our 2nd Punic War Campaign.

I have managed to find a Hannibal: Rome Vs Carthage map on the Internet. It seems not to be an original map, but one made up in a simpler format. Anyway, it was the only one I managed to print at a reasonable size (for some reason). Sticky tape not withstanding, I like it quite a lot.

I quickly knocked up some army roster sheets and found a couple of envelopes for putting any cards not used in the campaign turn between battles. Set.....

...Set, well nearly....

......I discovered that I was woefully short of pins for this campaign. 

I think that indicator pins, the ones with a circular paper centre, are essential for this campaign. These have previously been too expensive for me to consider, usually coming in at £3.50+ for a pack of 10 in 5 colours. For this game I would need 5 packs (I want only red and blue pins) with, including postage, a cost of close to £20. This is half the cost of the original boxed game! However, with Lady Luck shining on me, I managed to find a supplier knocking said 10 pin boxes out with a 90+% discount. I bought 10 boxes (100 pins - 20 of each colour) for £7.00 with postage. This is double what was required, it is true, but I have learnt over time to bag bargains when I see them, and double what I need. I purchased these through Hunt Office Technology (not tested on animals - LOL).

I also found myself short of plain push pins. This came as a bit of a surprise because I thought I had collected hundreds of the bloody things over the years - but not so (less than 30 of each colour in fact). But, I'm not short now; I bought 600 in various colours in a single pot for £6.00, free postage, from eBay. I was a little worried about these being so cheap, but the quality (for things costing 1p each) is very good.

So now I am set. I just need to finish the armies. 2000 figs painted, less than 300 to go!

I'm a'bustin'!

Thursday 9 February 2012

A night by the fire

Last night, Peter J. and I took a look at "Hannibal: Rome Vs Carthage" by Valley Games with a view to using it as the main driver for a 2nd Punic Wars miniatures campaign. It was the first time either of us had played the game. For a change of venue, and to ease play, I set the game up in my rather untidy dining room. It was below freezing outside, so I stoked up the wood burner for a toasty evening.



The board game itself is card driven. This is a mechanic both Peter and I like as it breaks the game into manageable and different U-go-I-go chunks. The game itself (I think this is a 2nd edition version) is of top quality manufacture. The jigsaw board is pretty and made of thick card. The counters are also made of thick card all with double sided artwork. A nice touch are the Roman and Carthaginian dice with their own numerals - though the Carthaginian die takes some getting used to.

We thought the game, as a game, is pretty good. The force sizes (with a multiplier) are just about right for translation to the tabletop in a miniatures campaign, and the command quality is also transferable. Post battle results and transfer back to the board would have to be consultative (regarding margin of victory and 'battle' casualties), rather than an exact science, but as most casualties seem to occur through post battle retreats this should not prove to be a problem. We played the first five turns in the course of the evening; we got a good idea of strategies that might work; we discovered a lot of things not to do in general play, you know, things which only become apparent that way. 

We think it will work quite well as a campaign driver for table-top battles and plan to proceed with a campaign very soon - as soon as I finish painting and basing the Spanish troops (350 down, 150 to go). I might also scan the web for rule ammendments people use.

The one problem we had, and that will have to be overcome one way or another, is keeping all the bits on the board between campaign sessions; especially as I have a kitten in the house - seen [below] retreating under the table after spilling a deck of cards and the consul election pot. I'm not sure if I should build a low, flat, lidded storage box to put the game in, or photocopy the map and stick it to a cork notice board and use map pins. The former would be useful long term and for other board games played as board games over a few weeks. The latter might be better for running a tabletop campaign over a few months. That is one to ponder.

Saturday 4 February 2012

I'm an idiot....

I'm an idiot and I apologise. Before downloading the pictures from my camera, with all the battle shots of "Telyermum", I accidentally erased the entire memory on the stick thing. Consequently, there will be no battle report - Sorry!

The battle was closer than expected and the Gauls put up quite a show until they ran out of army morale and collapsed. It was quite a game; and a good looking one; and I'm rather miffed at losing the shots. Peter and I will re-run the game at some point in the future.

Next week Peter and I will play "Hannibal: Rome Versus Carthage" the board game. We will do this with a view to using it as the basis of a table-top campaign.