Thursday, 13 May 2021

Preparing for some Ancient Campaigning

Now my Roman and Carthaginian armies are painted and progress is being made with some supporting naval contingents, it is time to start planning for a campaign. 

Only a few more of the current batch of ships to paint

A closer view

The following map and rules have been influenced by Phillip Sabin’s Second Punic War game in his book Simulating War. In the book the game is designed for a multi-player political game and I have modified the game ideas to hopefully make a simple solo campaign game which will generate some tabletop land and naval games.

The campaign map

During the campaign land battles will be fought using One Hour Wargames rules with chance cards as described here in an earlier post, while for the naval games I am planning on using Poseidon's Warriors rules by John Lambshead.

These draft rules below are very much my starting point and I will be posting updates as I progress with the campaign.

The campaign board begins with the following setup where each round counter represents an army from Rome (Red) and Carthage (Green). A square counter represents an exceptional general, in this case Hannibal. During a campaign turn player's can gain the initiative through winning the naval contest, which will allow them to move second after the losing player has moved and committed their forces. Then battles are fought for contested regions and finally recruitment occurs.

Campaign map starting positions

Sequence of play

  1. Naval battle is fought using the generic scenarios from Posiden’s Warriors rules.
  2. The losing player of naval battle gets to move their forces first.
  3. The winner of the naval battle gets to then move their forces second.
  4. Where armies from Rome and Carthage occupy a region a battle is fought on the tabletop. The number of armies and commanders in the region add chance cards to a player's chance deck used in the battle.
  5. The loser of a battle removes one army, or in the case of a drawn game, both sides remove one army.
  6. Recruiting of armies in regions were a player has equal or more occupying armies.

The campaign runs for 9 turns in total with each turn representing two years between 218 BC and 201 BC.

Winning the Campaign

The campaign ends immediately with a total victory, if Roman armies occupy the African region with no Carthaginian armies present, or Carthaginian armies occupy Northern Italy with no Roman armies present. 

Otherwise, the side with the most armies at the end of campaign turn 9 has a partial victory.


Players can recruit one new army in regions where they have an equal number or more armies than the opposition. An army cannot be recruited if there are already 3 armies in a region.


Armies can move between adjoining regions up to 2 armies between land (brown arrows) and 1 army when crossing sea (blue) arrows.

Exceptional commanders do not apply to this restriction.

Stacking Limits

A maximum of 3 armies from one side are allowed to occupy a region after all recruitment and moves are completed. Remove any excess armies.

Exceptional commanders do not apply to this restriction.

Exceptional Commanders

Carthage has a commander counter for Hannibal that moves like armies, but does not count to the stacking limit. Hannibal as a commander adds one initiative chance card to the deck in exchange for a confusion card when battles are fought on the tabletop.

Rome has a commander counter for Scipio the Younger which becomes available on turn 5. The counter is placed in a region with Roman armies. Scipio the Younger adds one initiative chance card to the deck in exchange for a no effect card when battles are fought on the tabletop.

Preparing for Chance Decks for a Battle

When setting up for a tabletop battle the chance cards need to be set up for each side. The chance cards used during the game are acted upon during the turn they are drawn and cannot be carried over to another turn.

  • 5 x No Event. Nothing happens
  • 2 x Confusion. A player’s units cannot move this turn, but they are allowed to pivot.
  • 2 x Ammunition Shortage. A player’s units cannot shoot this turn.
  • 2 x Initiative. One unit can immediately make a move, shoot, or conduct a round of combat if already engaged in combat. The unit can still be activated as normal later.
  • 2 x Rally. A player can remove 2 hits from all units.
  • 2 x Demoralisation. All hand to hand combat D6 scores are reduced by 2.

These cards are adjusted for commanders:

  • Hannibal as a commander adds one initiative chance card to the deck in exchange for a confusion card.
  • Scipio as a commander adds one initiative chance card to the deck in exchange for a no effect card.

Count the number of armies a side has in a region and subtract 1. The result is the number of rally cards which are exchanged for no effect cards. For example, the Romans have 3 armies in the contested region and would add two rally cards, replacing the no effect cards.


  1. As always, very inventive and nicely presented - I shall watch this develop with interest.

    1. Thanks, I am looking forward to getting started with the campaign.

  2. Replies
    1. A couple of weeks away before I can start. I just need to finish off those ships and have a couple of practice games.

  3. Another campaign system that is elegant in its simplicity.
    How about the player that wins the naval battle being allowed to deny one of the sea routes to their opponent for the following army movement phase? Or alternatively they could choose to move 2 armies across one sea route?

    1. The option of moving two units could work well when there is a major naval victory. Thanks.

  4. An interesting set-up. It reminds me of a Society of Ancients postal campaign I took part in years ago. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

    1. A couple of weeks before I am able to start. I have played a test campaign, which seemed to work, using opposing dice and picking the highest value rather than tabletop games.

  5. Ohh, this looks promising!

    1. I am hoping the mix of naval and land games will make the campaign interesting to play.

  6. What marvellous looking fleets!
    I'll watch this campaign with much interest.
    Regards, James

    1. Almost got them all painted and ready for a test game this weekend.

  7. Kooks like a nice, simple framework for an interesting campaign!

    1. I am hoping it is sufficiently simple I can use the dice in the campaign to determine the actions taken by one side and I play the other.