Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Ancients Campaign turn 1 game 1 - Tamaca 218 BC

This after action report is of the first of three land games to be played this first campaign turn. This first battle takes place in Spain 218 BC and is fought along the Tamaca River. The terrain was decided by  drawing terrain cards, the river ending up having to be angled across the table to avoid other terrain features.

The terrain layout determined by cards.

Order of battle was decided by a table very similar to the approach taken by One Hour Wargames but allowing seven units to be selected rather than six units. I scribbled these notes down and will hopefully refine them over a few games.

Some quick notes on randomly generated orders of battle. The tables generate armies of 7 units. (HI=heavy infantry, LI=light infantry, HC=heavy cavalry, LC=light cavalry, CAT=catapults, EL=elephants)

Rome rolled a 6...

  • 5 x Heavy Infantry (1 unit joined by commander and treated as veteran)
  • 1 x Light Infantry
  • 1 x Catapults

Carthage rolled a 3...

  • 3 x Heavy Infantry
  • 2 x Heavy Cavalry (1 unit joined by commander and treated as veteran)
  • 1 x Light Infantry
  • 1 x Elephants

I tried out some deployment rules which meant Roman units were concentrated in the centre. I will post more on this deployment approach after playing a few more games.

Deployment resulted in Roman forces having a congested centre.

Chance cards were used as “a means of interjecting a degree of uncertainty into the control of the game, leaving the wargamer to react as required” to use a quote from Stuart Asquith from his “Military Modelling - Guide to Solo Wargaming” book.

I particularly like using them as to add a rally element which is missing in One Hour Wargames rules and I can add characteristics to the armies. For example, Romans exchange an initiative card for a rally card to represent their well discipled troops and average leadership during the 2nd Punic War period until Scipio the Younger arrived. While Carthaginian armies gain an initiative card for their experienced troops and commanders and lose a rally card.

The game used rules very similar to One Hour Wargames but using D3 dice. So for example instead of D6-2, D3-1 is used. Units are eliminated after taking more than 8 hits. I will post the rules and chance cards after a few more games have been played.

Roman forces pushed forward to defend the river and moved their centre to counter the treat of the Carthaginian cavalry massed on one flank. Chance cards allowed the Carthaginian heavy cavalry to push forward quickly and strike the flank of the Roman heavy infantry before other units were in position to support.

Roman heavy infantry defending the fordable river succumbed to the elephants. Other heavy infantry units moved up in support were able to give good account of themselves seeing off the first line of Carthaginian cavalry with heavy losses, but their flank remained vulnerable. Carthage forces were now rolling forward lead by the Gauls who charged froward and overrun the catapults.

The pressure from the elephants and flanking heavy cavalry continued and Roman heavy infantry having been out manoeuvred were unable to mount any effective counterattacks.

There was no respite for the Roman heavy infantry who having eliminated the Gauls in the centre were faced by the second Carthaginian line. Their left flank were grimly hanging on against cavalry and elephant attacks.

The Roman defences collapse and they quickly retire from the field of battle. The game ended after turn 8.

The chance cards worked out well. The first initiative card for Carthage certainly put them on the front foot and they were able to maintain sufficient momentum to carry them to victory even when chance started to go the way of Rome.

Chance cards were used during the game. They are also very useful to help track the turns which I am prone to forgetting.

With the first land game over and a victory to Carthage the campaign map now looks like this. The circle with "X" representing a Roman army will be removed at the end of this campaign turn. The second battle to be fought will be in Northern Italy and will see the appearance of Hannibal.

Campaign turn 1 after the first battle. Rome will lose one army from Spain.


  1. Very interesting. Waiting for more battles to get a better grip game play. Rough start for Rome.

    1. A shocking start for Rome. I suspect as with my other campaigns the rules will have a few modifications as the games progress. I suspect a lot of the rule modifications will be with the chance cards.

  2. Peter, that was a great start to the campaign. The armies looked convincingly deployed as per ancient practice rather by a wargamer and the flow of the battle felt just right. I am becoming increasingly won over by a small number of big units as the benefits keep on coming. This time it's the difficulty of modifying your initial plan as by the time you realise you've got it wrong you're largely fixed in combat. Keep it coming.

    1. It was a good opening battle for Carthage. I decided to stick with the larger units partly for the look and their size keep movements simple. This was a late change to the rules for the campaign, but that is one of the benefits of solo gaming. As for the deployment the Lost Battles books provided ideas which once I cease tweeting the rules I will post.

  3. This is a great campaign Peter, I like what you've been doing with OHW for ancients. Roll on the next battle.

    1. Thank you. I find the simplicity of OHW rules so enjoyable to play and the can be easily modified and added to. The next battle is set up on the tabletop.

  4. A very good looking and convincing battle, Peter!

    1. Thanks. It was an enjoyable game to play.

  5. Good looking game Peter. That Roman left looked in trouble from the outset!
    Regards, James

    1. The Romans never really recovered after the initial Carthaginian cavalry attack. Thanks.