Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hail Caesar Battle Report - EIR vs Carthage II

Today was another game of Hail Caesar.  Jonathan and I have both added to our armies, though he has actually painted his units.  As usual we met down at Collectormania, arriving just in time to get a table.  The place was packed today.  We had a fair amount of interest with quite a few people stopping by to see what we were playing.  This game went much more smoothly that our last one.  We did not bother with points, just using the special rules from the army lists and bringing whatever we had ready.

Rufus Corvinus was back in the field.  His vexillary had been assigned to escort the emperor on the march.  His two Cohorts had an auxilliary cohort attached.  The Emperor was guarded by his Praetorians and a veteran cohort from Rome.  The veterans had brought a scorpion with them but Rufus had been obligated to leave his behind.

Hannibal, arrogantly surveying the battle field.
Rufus was hoping for a nice quiet walk in the country but his, seemingly, unerring ability to find the African invaders had kicked in, again, and he found himself facing a force of infantry.  And an elephant.  Rufus hated elephants.  To put matters in an even better light, one of his scouts informed him that the enemy was led by none other than Hannibal himself.  Rufus suspected he would not be watering his wine at the end of the day.

The Carthaginian battle line.
The Romans formed up, auxiliaries on the left with the two regular cohorts next, one behind the other.  Next in line were the veterans, then the praetorians.  The scorpion was between the two divisions of the army.
Across the field the enemy had medium cavlary, African veterans, Spanish medium infantry, more veterans and the elephant.  There were skirmishing slingers to the front.

The left, under Rufus advances.  The emperor's guards move much more slowly.
Rufus gave the order to advance, his line surging forward.  His legionaries had bested this foe before and were anxious to show what they could do, while standing under the eyes of the emperor himself.  The emperor's division held back, hoping to keep him safe.  The enemy advanced slowly, dressing their lines and, no doubt, polishing their helmets.

Slingers screening the main line.
As the two forces advanced to shouting distance, Rufus and the emperor both ordered their troops forward. On his flank the auxiliaries charged the cavalry, who counter charged.  On the right flank the praetorians charged the elephant, also hitting the African veterans next to it.  In the center both charges lost steam and failed to strike home (I didn't understand the evade rule and therefore did not give my orders adequately).

The flanks engage, the center falls short.

The praetorians and the elephant/veterans were locked in combat for a couple of rounds of combat, though finally the praetorians were forced back.  On the left the auxiliaries and the cavalry fought back and forth, first the auxiliaries giving way, then the horse.  Finally the medium infantry was able to best their adversaries and sent the survivors flying from the table.

The first clash of medium infantry vs medium cavalry.  The see-saw battle was finally decided in favor of the infantry, though they were badly battered by the experience.
In the center the Romans finally made contact, and bounced, suffering many casualties.  The Carthaginians did not pursue Rufus' men, allowing him to reform his lines and force the men back to their task.  He could see the shame in their faces, it was the tool he would use to drive them back at their foes.

The Roman line, after bouncing like a bad check.
Come On Boys!  One more hard push!
Rufus rallied his men and urged them forward.  The veterans, led by the emperor, charged the Spanish, drawing the Africans in beside them.  One of Rufus' cohorts charged in, supporting the veterans.  The clash was violent and short.  The Romans could only wash away their shame with the blood of their enemies.  They crushed the Spanish to their front, stomping the ground into mud with Spanish blood.  The so called African veterans were so dismayed that they fled the field.  In one swift strike, the heart of the enemy army had been destroyed.

There is much blood being shed here.  Really, I swear there is.
The center of the field, after the rout of the Carthaginian infantry.
To his credit, Hannibal knew when he was beaten.  After the loss of two thirds of his infantry he began to attempt to extricate the survivors.  Rufus saw the chance to end the war, kill the enemy general and destroy his army.  As he reformed his troops to attack the remaining African veterans, they beat him to the punch and charged his auxiliaries, sending them fleeing the field.

Rufus' cohorts form up to crush the remaining African infantry.
While the veterans and Praetorians faced off against the elephant, Rufus led his cohorts into combat with the last unit of Carthaginian infantry, destroying them and sending the survivors running for the hills.  With the defeat of the heavy infantry, the slingers, the elephant and Hannibal Barca fled the field, leaving it in the hands of the Romans.

The few survivors decide that discretion is the better part of valor.  Jonathan's son looks on glumly.
This was a great game.  We are starting to get enough units on the table to play the rules the way they are meant to be, though another eight or ten units per side would be appropriate.  Jonathan was having things all his way for the first half of the game.  The loss of his cavalry was a blow, but it didn't seem to be too horrible.  The loss of the entire center of his army after one, bloody, round of combat, really decided the game.  It was enough of a shock that we both had to stop and take stock.  We played it right.  I got lucky with my dice and he didn't, for one crucial round.

One thing I like about the rules is that they encourage you to use reserves and to have multiple lines.  I think having the second cohort of infantry really made my troops more resilient.

It was a fun game, marred only by my shame; caused by my unpainted minis.  My only defense is that it has been hovering around 0 degrees F, a tad too cold to prime.  I'm hoping to get a bunch done tomorrow as it may be in the high 50s.


  1. Aaron, thanks for the game. It was a fantastic time and I am really enjoying these rules. We have sent for reinforcements that will surely turn things in the Carthaginians favor!!

    1. It was a great game Jonathan. I'm sorry to hear that you have more troops on the way. I'm way behind in my painting already.

  2. I enjoyed your write, thanks for sharing!
    My 2nd Cohort:

    1. Ed,
      Those are coming along nicely. Thanks for sharing.


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