Monday, 5 June 2023

An Ancient Campaign - Part 8

Returning to the campaign map for the next set of campaign moves. Before rolling any dice, the Carthaginian battle readiness token has been advanced by 1 square after their previous tabletop victory on the plains of Helios.

The campaign position prior to rolling the dice. On the left Carthage’s battle readiness token is advanced for its last tabletop win.

Starting from the city of Helios, Carthage rolls a 1, landing on the "Bribed Guards" square, which enables them to progress 3 squares, crossing the bridge. This is followed by a roll of 3, moving them forward through the Solara city square. Once the Carthaginian token passes through a city square, a tabletop battle will ensue.

2 dice rolls and the Carthaginian army marches across the river Aurelia and through Solara.

Finally, the Roman battle readiness token advances by two squares, with each dice roll contributing to its progression. Note, when I first drafted the rules I had the Roman battle readiness declining by 3 steps after each lost, but I have dropped this rule.

The campaign position after the dice rolls.

Planned tabletop battle…

For the next battle, I have chosen scenario 4 - "Take the High Ground" - from the One-Hour Wargames book. In this scenario, the complete Carthaginian force arrives, catching a small Roman force by surprise as they defend a strategically significant hill. The remaining elements of a Roman relief force are expected to arrive soon between the road and the woods. The primary objective for both forces is to gain control of the hill by the end of the game.

The tabletop all set up for the game.

Campaign narrative…

Having using bribery to cross the river Aurelia, Mago, the Carthaginian commander, led his army forward, pressing on without the elephants. Meanwhile, the remaining Roman force, still recuperating from a recent defeat, positioned themselves atop a strategic hill that overlooked the coastal road. They eagerly await reinforcements en route from Aurelia as they prepared to defend their position against the impending Carthaginian advance.

Orders of Battle…


Positioned on the hill:
  • 2 heavy infantry units with supporting catapults
  • 2 light infantry
  • 1 cavalry
  • 3 heavy infantry
  • 3 heavy infantry
  • 2 Gaul Warbands
  • 2 light infantry
  • 2 cavalry

The next post will be of the battle report.

Sunday, 4 June 2023

An Ancient Campaign - Part 7

This next game in this mini-campaign moved from being a solo game to a remote game with Jon of Palouse Wargaming Journal. Details of the setup can be found in the previous post.

The Roman commander’s view point.


Having rallied his forces following the setback at Cassiopeia, Roman commander Marcus positioned them on the plains outside Helios. Meanwhile, Carthaginian leader Mago, compelled to retreat back to the city of Helios due to a damaged bridge, readied his army for a fierce confrontation that would determine the next stage of the campaign.

Battle Report…

Both armies stood deployed, locked in a tense standoff across the Helios plains. Reluctant to initiate the first move, they made slight adjustments to their formations. Rome reinforced their left flank, prompting Carthage to mirror the action by strengthening their right.

As the armies advanced, Roman catapults and light infantry focused their efforts on the Carthaginian elephants positioned in the centre, swiftly panicking them. The Carthaginians responded by pushing their cavalry wide on their right flank to support their Gaul Warbands as they surged forward. Meanwhile, there were cavalry clashes on the left flank.

Despite the setback of losing their elephants, Carthage made notable progress on their right flank, launching fierce assaults against the Roman line and using their cavalry to attack the Roman flanks. In the centre and on the opposite flank, neither side had gained a clear advantage.

As the battle progressed, the Roman right flank began to gain ground, but their left was under increasing pressure as casualties mounted.

Carthage maintained a defensive stance on their left flank while sending forward their second line of heavy infantry into the fray on on right flank. The momentum was definitely in favour of Carthage, resulting in the gradual of Roman units and the eventual collapse of their entire army. The day belonged to Carthage, securing a resounding victory on the battlefield.

The initial deployment of armies.

A view from behind the Carthaginian lines.

Gaul Warbands surge forward supported by cavalry on their right.

After the initial setback 

The Roman left flank is under threat.

The Roman left flank is starting to buckle.

The Roman line collapses. Victory to Carthaginian forces.

The game proved to be highly enjoyable, with the event cards presenting small yet intriguing, or frustrating, dilemmas for both players, without unduly favouring one side or the other. A well-deserved win to Jon, who commanded the Carthaginian forces.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

An Ancient Campaign - Part 6

The campaign continued to unfolded as the Carthaginians rolled a 2, allowing their forces to advance by 2 squares, followed by a roll of 3, positioning their army just shy of the city of Helios. At this point, a decision had to be made whether the Carthaginian army would venture inland at Helios or continue along the coastal road. The choice was made to proceed along the coast, and a roll of 4 determined their movement. The army token was moved forward by 4 squares but landed on a square labeled "Bridge Damaged," causing it to backtrack by 2 squares, ending up on the city square of Helios. Since the Carthaginian token passed through a city square during its movement, there will be a tabletop battle. 

The final campaign activity was to advance the Roman battle readiness token. This is advanced by 3 squares for each Carthaginian dice roll. The readiness table will be used to determine what advantages the  Romans will have in the last decisive battle, which will occur when the Carthaginian token reaches the city of Aurelia.

For details of the campaign rules see here

The moves on the campaign map are shown in red.

The campaign position as I now prepare for the next tabletop game.

Campaign Narrative

Pressing forward along the coastal road, Carthaginian commander Mago advanced quickly towards a known crossing over the river Aurelia. Having successfully navigated through the city of Helios, his progress came to a halt as he encountered a damaged bridge across the river. Lacking the necessary resources for repairs, Mago was compelled to retreat to the safety of Helios to camp his army. 

Meanwhile, Roman commander Marcus regrouped his forces after their setback at Cassiopeia, positioning them on the plains outside Helios. Mago, recognising his cavalry's advantage on the open plain, accepted the challenge, readying his army for the impending battle.

Orders of battle for the tabletop game…


  • 6 heavy infantry
  • 1 cavalry
  • 2 light infantry
  • 1 catapult unit


  • 4 heavy infantry
  • 1 elephant unit
  • 2 cavalry
  • 2 Gaul warbands
  • 1 light infantry

The next post will provide a report of the game. This time it is not a solo game, but rather a remote game with Jon from Palouse Wargaming Journal. In this game, I will be taking command of the Roman forces, while Jon will lead the Carthaginian forces. To add an extra layer of uncertainty, both players were required to draw their deployment plans ahead of time.

Deployment Rules…

The rules for the game’s deployment were as follows:
  1. Players must write down or sketch out their army's deployment plan for their units. Slow-moving units, such as heavy infantry and catapults, must be positioned in the center. All other units have the flexibility to be placed in either the center or on the flanks.
  2. Players deploy their units according to their written or sketched deployment plans.
  3. The players roll dice to determine the outcome. The winning player has the option to either redeploy one unit anywhere within their designated deployment area or choose to start the game immediately.
  4. If the game has not yet started, the losing player can also redeploy one unit within their deployment area or opt to start the game.
  5. If both players have redeployed their units, the winning player takes the initiative and starts the game.
These rules set the stage for a tabletop battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians, with each player having to decide their army's deployment before the action begins.

Both armies deployed ready for the game. The card decks in the foreground are chance (or event) cards, one beck for each player with advantages, disadvantages, and neutral events.

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

An Ancient Campaign - Part 5

This game report is of the second campaign battle from the hypothetical invasion of Luminaria. The game setup is based upon scenario 12 - An unfortunate oversight - from One-Hour Wargames. The rules used are also from the book with modifications for Gaul warbands and elephants. I do use event cards with the games to create opportunities and create friction (disappointment) during the game.

The Game Report…

Witnessing the Carthaginian army cunningly bypassing the city of Cassiopeia and effortlessly crossing the river through an unguarded ford, the Roman commander, Marcus, swiftly recognised the gravity of the situation. With a surge of urgency, he rallied his troops, spurring them onward towards a significant hill to defend against the flanking move.

Roman forces react to the Carthaginian's advance towards the hilltop. 

A view from the Roman position around Cassiopeia.

Seeing the importance of the hill, Mago, the Carthaginian commander, hurriedly ordered his cavalry forward to secure the hilltop. They were closely followed by the imposing presence of the war elephants. Simultaneously, Gaul warbands move through the woods and along the hillside, embarking on a flanking manoeuvre. Following behind, the heavy infantry advanced in formation, marching steadily behind their allies.

The battle is well underway as Carthaginian heavy infantry cross the river.

Gaul warbands can be seen moving through the woods in an attempt to flank Roman units.

Roman units react to the appearance of the Gauls.

Upon discovering the hill to be occupied, the Roman heavy infantry surged forward, ascending its slopes to confront the Carthaginian cavalry. By now battle was occurring in various sectors, but the hill remained the focal point. The Roman infantry made notable progress against the mounted enemy, yet their advances were hindered by the supporting elephants.

Roman heavy infantry having defeated the cavalry now prepare to face the elephants.
The game is still in the balance with only a few turns remaining.

Despite managing to establish a foothold on the hilltop, the Romans were ultimately repelled by the arrival of the Carthaginian heavy infantry. The struggle for control of the hill unfolded with alternating fortunes, but in the end the Carthaginian’s held the hilltop securing them a victory on this day.

Victory to the Carthaginian commander, Mago, and his army which take control and hold the hilltop.

As mentioned in earlier posts regarding this campaign, I have been using ChatGPT, an online AI, to help with the narrative in these posts. Some readers have asked in the comments about the process. Here are the steps I take:

  1. I quickly type my notes
  2. I copy and input the notes into ChatGPT with the instructions to reword in a set number of words.
  3. I finally copy and modify ChatGPT’s response to suit my needs.

Input to ChatGPT and its response.

The screenshot above is a bit small to read, so below is the example of my notes, ChatGPT’s response, and the my final modifications.

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

An Ancient Campaign - Part 4

Turn 2 of the campaign sees the Carthaginian army at Mariposa. They choose the coastal road and roll a 5 landing on the “River Unguarded” square allowing them to move an additional 2 squares and landing on Cassiopaea. The Roman battle readiness token moves up 1 for each campaign turn. As Carthaginian forces have landed on a city square a battle will now be fought.

At the completion of turn 1.

At the end of turn 2.

Note - The objective of this campaign is to engage in 4 to 5 games, culminating in a final decisive battle. In this final battle, victory for either army will secure their overall success. Carthage gains advantages for this decisive battle by winning the lead up battles, so the successful defence of Mariposa by Roman forces prevented Carthage from gaining an advantage. While each campaign turn will enhance the battle readiness of the Roman army for the ultimate showdown. For further information on the campaign rules, please refer to the previous posts.

Picking the scenario

Looking the the situation I have chosen from the One-Hour Wargames book scenario 12 - An unfortunate oversight. As it seems to fit the campaign situation quite well.

Here is the campaign narrative….

After skillfully stalling the Carthaginian vanguard's advance at Mariposa, the Roman commander, Marcus, made the strategic decision to withdraw his forces to Cassiopeia. 

The Carthaginian forces having fully disembarked from their fleet, including some elephants, now faced a critical decision on their path to conquest. Mago Thalassar, their seasoned commander, contemplated two routes. The coastal road, while quicker, posed a risk due to its intersecting rivers, potentially impeding his progress. On the other hand, the inland approach to Aurelia offered a safer alternative, albeit at the cost of additional time.

Mago weighed the options, considering the potential rewards and dangers that lay ahead. Ultimately, he made a daring choice, opting for the coastal road. With his gaze fixed on victory, he led his army down the coast, aware of the gamble he was taking.

Mago determined to make up for lost time, had pushed his troops relentlessly along the coastal route. They arrived at Cassiopeia, catching the Roman defences by surprise as the Carthaginian army descended upon them using an unguarded ford.

Setting up the game

The game is played on a 6 by 4 foot tabletop. The objective for both armies are to control the hill.

Orders of battle…


  • 5 Heavy Infantry units
  • 3 Light Infantry units
  • 1 Catapult unit
All units must be positioned within 12 inches of the city of Cassiopeia.


  • 3 Heavy Infantry units
  • 2 Cavalry units
  • 2 Gaul War-band units
  • 1 Elephant unit
  • 1 Light Infantry unit
All forces must start on the opposite side of the river.

The next post will be the battle report.

Monday, 29 May 2023

An Ancient Mini Campaign - Part 3

This is part 3 of an Ancient campaign covering the invasion of Luminaria by Carthaginian forces and covers the first battle of the campaign. Luminaria is a hypothetical client state of Rome. 

Note - To help speed up my posts I am using the free online AI tool ChatGPT to help create the battle narratives from my brief descriptions. The process is I quickly write up my notes, copy them into ChatGPT asking it to reword as a narrative. I then get back a narrative which I do need to modify, but does provide a good framework which speeds up the writing. See what you think…

After a delay for reconnaissance the Carthaginian forces advance.

See the previous post for the setup of this game and the orders of battle.

Battle Narrative

Commander Marcus, leading the Roman forces, made a tactical decision to divide his heavy infantry, stationing them between the defense of Mariposa and the adjacent hill that provided a commanding view of the city. Positioned between the two, the light infantry stood ready to advance through the fields and orchards.

Hanno the Carthaginian commander, after a brief pause for reconnaissance, observed the advance of his forces. The primary assault would be led by the heavy infantry against the city, while the Gaul war-bands were tasked with clearing the challenging terrain of the fields and orchards.

The attack by Gauls in the centre is well underway as the Carthaginian heavy infantry slowly advance, coming under fire from catapults in the city. 

The assault on Mariposa is well underway.

The Roman light infantry fiercely defended their central position, delaying the advancing Gauls, while the defenders of Mariposa soon found themselves under intense pressure, prompting Marcus to deploy supporting troops to counter the relentless assaults on the city.

The Gauls are finally making good headway in the fields and orchards, pushing back the Roman light infantry.

Supporting troops arrive in an attempt to divert the attentions of the attackers.

Despite their valiant efforts, the Roman light infantry eventually succumbed to the relentless onslaught of the Gauls. The fields and orchards were cleared, and the victorious Gauls regrouped, then joined the assault on Mariposa.

With darkness descending upon the battlefield, the Roman forces managed to hold onto Mariposa by a narrowest of margins. Marcus had executed a commendable defense, successfully delaying the invaders. However, with additional Carthaginian reinforcements en route, he made the wise decision to withdraw his forces and regroup.

The fields and orchards are cleared.

The assault on Mariposa almost succeeds only to be thwarted on the final turn.

The next post will return to the campaign map.

The next campaign turn to be played.

Sunday, 28 May 2023

An Ancient Mini Campaign - Part 2

After completing the campaign map, I quickly set it up and rolled the dice. I rolled a one, so the Carthaginian advance one square towards the city of Mariposa. Once a Carthaginian token reaches or passed through a city or town, the campaign transitions to the tabletop for a battle.

The campaign map as a game board. All the tokens are setup at the start and on the tables (all identified with red circles)

A 1 is rolled and the Carthaginian token moves one square to the city of Mariposa. I also moved the Roman token on their Battle Readiness table up 1 rung. This happens with each roll of the dice (see the rules in the previous post)

Looking at the map, I searched through the One-Hour Wargaming scenarios for a suitable option. Scenario 14 - Static Defence - appeared to be fitting. The objective has the defending Roman forces attempting to hold and occupy both the town and strategic hill nearby. Instead of using woods in the central area, as indicated in the scenario, I chose a terrain feature of fields and orchards, which will be treated as difficult terrain where light troops would have their melee hits reduced by half. The Carthaginian force would enter from the south.

The Romans deployed and waiting for the invading Carthaginians to arrive.

The orders of battle…


  • 5 Heavy Infantry
  • 2 Light Infantry
  • 1 Cavalry
  • 1 Catapult


  • 3 Heavy Infantry
  • 2 Gaul War-bands
  • 2 Light Infantry
  • 2 Cavalry

I will be using One-Hour Wargames Ancient rules for this game with modifications for the war-bands and catapults.

The start of the game - more on that in the next post.

The game report will be in the next post, but for now I will leave you with the campaign narrative so far. It has been created by first listing out roughly what is happening and the commander names, then using the ChatGPT online AI tool, where I asked it to create a narrative in less than 100 words based on my brief notes, one for the Roman commander and another block for the Carthaginian commander. I did then have to do a little bit of tailoring to what it created. Anyway, here is the campaign narrative from the different sides.

Campaign Narrative - Turn 1

Mago Thalassar, a seasoned Carthaginian commander, set his sights on landing near the city of Cassiopeia but encountered treacherous coastlines. Sailing further along Luminaria’s coast, he steered his fleet towards Mariposa, where the shores offered safe haven for his fleet and army. To assess Mariposa's defences, Mago dispatched his trusted companion Hanno Magid and a select force. With determination and a keen eye, Hanno ventured forth, probing the city's fortifications.

News of a looming invasion reached the ears of Marcus Aemilius Tullius, a resolute Roman commander. With urgency, he swiftly assembled his troops stationed in the city of Mariposa, renowned for its sprawling fields and bountiful harvests. Though Mariposa lacked imposing city walls, Marcus tasked his soldiers with fortification improvements, determined to bolster their defenses. Meanwhile, he strategically positioned the remaining forces atop a neighboring hill, granting them a commanding view over the city of Mariposa. With diligence and strategic foresight, Marcus prepared his troops for the imminent threat, ready to protect the cherished agricultural hub from any encroaching enemy.