With the holidays over, I finally played this last of my round-robin ancient games, this time between Epirus and Carthage. The rules again were the Ancient Portable Wargame, as published in Developing the Portable Wargame. I used a rough draft, more-linear, randomized deployment chart and terrain tiles to complete the set-up. The army compositions were again based off DBA 1e army lists. This confrontation was of course fictional, as it features a later-period Carthaginian army facing off against the Epirotes, but how could I resist elephants versus elephants?
|Epirote war elephants melee with Libyan heavy cavalry.|
The randomized deployment landed all the heavy infantry in the centers, with the bulk of cavalry not across from each other. The Epirote elephants were on the Epirote left, while Carthage's elephants were in the center.
|After first moves, Epirus on left and Carthage on right. At the top, Epirote elephants rolled for extra move distance and went ahead and engaged Carthage cavalry.|
In the Ancient Portable Wargame, elephants (along with light cavalry and light infantry) can test each turn for extra movement. The Epirote elephants passed this test on their first turn, so went right at the Libyan heavy cavalry.
|View from the Epirote left flank.|
The Carthaginians, having four cavalry units to the Epirotes three, sent one of their Numidian light cavalry units galloping along the back of the Carthaginian infantry line to lend support to the Carthage left, where Epirote heavy cavalry had already routed the Baeleric slingers and was starting to flank the end of the Carthaginian battle line.
|Balaeric slingers are routed, Epirote heavy cavalry is behind Carthage right flank.|
Wanting to strike while Strength Points were still fresh, the Epirote heavy infantry commenced its attack on the Carthaginians, despite the Carthaginians being in better position with part of its line atop a hill.
|Epirote heavy infantry engages the Carthaginian center.|
While the Carthaginian elephants in the center held the hill, the infantry on the Carthaginian left gave some ground. On the Carthaginian right, the Libyan heavy cavalry, assisted by Iberian heavy infantry, routed the Epirote elephants, giving the Carthaginians an advantage over the single remaining Greek light cavalry unit.
|At lower right, the Epirote war elephants are routed by Iberian infantry.|
Said Greek light cavalry unit eluded destruction, however, and the Carthaginian massed cavalry did not make easy headway in attempting to flank the Epirote left. Worse yet, the Carthaginian chance cards had burned off a rally card early one before even losing any Strength Points, so the Epirotes were attacking from a position of confidence that they could rally some losses.
|Epirote light cavalry and a phalanx of heavy infantry are working to turn the right flank of the Carthaginian infantry.|
The Epirote infantry continued to make headway against the center and the Celts and Iberians at the flank ends of the Carthaginian battle line were taking a beating, while the victorious Carthaginian cavalry on the Carthage right had to abandon efforts to turn the Epirote flank in order to deal with the persistent Epirote light cavalry.
|Epirote light cavalry brings Iberians to brink of routing|
|Epirote hoplites trying to flank the Carthage line.|
|Things looking shaky for Carthage, with both flanks curving back...|
BUT THEN, a good turn of luck on the chance cards! Epirus draws "Loss of Nerve" which confers a -2 on all melee rolls. Although Carthage draws a "Confusion" card (no movement), many of their units are already adjacent to Epirote units, so no movement is needed to engage in close combat.
Carthage's attacks go well enough bring Epirus roughly equally close to its exhaustion point.
|Celtic mercenaries attack Epirote hoplites in flank.|
|Epriote line thrown back, but the Celts route, at top.|
Although the entire Epirote battle line is pushed back, the Celts do route, having already taken too many lost SPs.
|Celts on Carthaginian left are routed.|
|Carthaginian war elephants.|
Fortune then seems to swing back to Epirus, with the Iberians on the Carthaginian left routing...
|Iberians on Carthaginian right are routed.|
But then Epirus draws its second Loss of Nerve card! Heavy Epirote cavalry is routed on its right flank.
|Epirote heavy cavalry are routed.|
And the pesky Epirote light cavalry is routed on its right flank.
|Epirote light cavalry are routed.|
And the Carthage come-back victory is sealed when a phalangite block is routed in the center!
|Epirote phlangites are routed.|
|Defeated Epirote commander.|
|Victorious Carthaginian elephants!|
The chance cards really delivered the goods for this game, making what was starting to look like a bog-standard Carthaginian defeat (wherein they basically just get pummeled by a more heavy infantry-focused opponent) into a narrow victory.
Overall, this round robin sampling of battles lays some good foundations for potential solo campaigns. the DBA 1e army lists created competitive armies and gave each their own character. More importantly, with the 12-units-per-army system in place, the simple campaign system at the back of the 1e rulebook can be used.