I had another game against Al on Tuesday, it was good to get the Carthaginians out in the field again. This time it was with Phil Sabin’s Lost battle set of rules where we pieced together enough cavalry for the Battle of Trebia.
Trebia is pretty heavily stacked in the favour of Hannibal’s troops, as not only does it have the big man himself, but it also has a rather obscene amount of cavalry to smash the Romans on the Flanks. The Center however, looks a bit shaky when confronted with Roman Legions. Legions in lost battles are resilient, maneuverable, and don’t run away easily. At Trebia, it really is a race to batter them on the flanks before they crush your centre, or so I thought.
Above, you can see the forces line up for battle. Closest to the Camera is the Carthaginians, which true to style, had to borrow everyone elses figures to participate. Mercenaries one and all. The Flanks are bolstered with Cavalry, with a line of infantry in the centre. An Elephant bolsters the left flank. Across from them, the mass of Roman Legionaries prepares for battle.
I probably of been more agressive on the flanks, but both the cavalry forces advanced to engage the Romans, causing some early casulties. My Left infantry advanced also to support the cavalry with the Elephant. Roman Infantry surged forward and easily brushed the Carthaginian Skirmish screen aside whilst some of their infantry moved to bolster their far left flank.
Giving up the Centre ground with my infantry and retreating with my left infantry was not an easy thing, as I can be something of an aggressive (I would prefer Dynamic) Commander, but it was nessacary to buy the time for my superior cavalry to take the flanks. My Right Flank was a little more timid than my right, with Mago and his light cavalry bolstering the Numidians to hold off the Roman forces on that flank, a duty they performed admirably, with Mago making not one, but Three Rally “Saves” to save his unit from destruction over the course of the game. Nerves of Steel that bloke. This Delaying action allowed the Heavy Cavalry on that flank to turn inwards and put the pressure on the flank of the Roman line, to try and chip away at them as they approached.
Here you can see the described manuevre, something I used Hannibals “Brilliant Commander Turn Reversal” to use to its fullest effect. This turn reversal also allowed for the fighting retreat of the left flank infantry, they already having a bit of a mauling from the Romans. As you can see, Early successes leave the Romans a little undermanned on this flank, but they moved more infantry out to stop it folding just yet. In the Background you can see the Roman cavalry giving ground to their Punic Adversaries.
Within a couple of turns of this point however, my Left flank cavalry had seen off their Roman counterparts and the encirclement of the Roman infantry was complete. From here it was only a matter of time before I could chip away at the Legions, eventually causing a Rout. However…. my guys would have folded long before that if they had been receiving the same punishment.
However, in Lost Battles winning the actual battle is not always the same as winning the game. As the Odds are stacked against the Romans in this battle (Due to losing it historically) They get a handicap to their score. However, mostly due to luck on my part, the Romans had failed to do enough damage to bring the game itself into their favour. A solid win to the Carthaginians. Below you can see the Encirclement of the Romans, and in the background, Mago still fights his delaying action against the Roman infantry on that flank.
It felt touch and go for me at times. There was a few turns within the game where if any of my units had been shattered in combat and I had rolled even mediocre on my Morale tests more of them would have gone as well. Unfortunately, Al didn’t have the dice rolls needed to press that advantage. An Interesting game however, and one which I would like to play again, maybe with the Sides reversed so that I can get to play with the Mighty Legions of Rome.
In other news however…
Al has been working on some new boards, ones which are actually made out of Carpet tiles. I was at first bemused, but I think that the results speak for themselves…