Thursday, January 30, 2014

Battle of the Trebbia - AAR Part 1

ROME vs CARTHAGE, December 218 BC

The scenario for this battle, using Pulse of Battle rules by Brent Oman was covered in the previous blog post. Barry opted to take the Romans, and I hardly needed to suggest to him that the possibility that Hannibal had something up his sleeve! I took the Carthagenians, obviously, and won the first dice off for impetus, and opted to go first. I turned a MOVE card fairly early, and despite my more talented commanders, I still managed to roll a "1" with my right center command.

OTOH, I rolled a Double move with my left flank Cavalry AND the left center Infantry/Elephant command. On Barry's initiative, he drew a MOVE ONE COMMAND card, and used it to answer my moves with his right flank Cavalry command. 

View of the same early action from the Roman perspective...

Barry later drew a MOVE card, and rolled a "Triple Magic Move" with the same cavalry command, and the Italian Allied cavalry charged home on Hannibal's Spanish and Gallic troopers. The melee against the heavier armored Gauls resulted in the repulse of the Italian cavalry (and their attached leader , who gives an Up 1 in Melee), down one UI and Disordered. Unfortunately, the Gauls pursued thus advancing 2" but also losing a UI, so a relatively indecisive result.  The Spaniards and their own Italian adversaries promptly both rolled 3's in Melee combat, having no effect upon one another, but ending the melee for the time being (if both side roll ODD in any round, the melee stops for them for that card - a significant change from FoB, which tends to make melees last longer, which seems appropriate for the era). Both sides made the most of their TACTICAL ADVANTAGEs in the melees. 

When the Initiative shifted to me, I eventually drew a MOVE ONE COMMAND card, and used it for my left flank cavalry; their commander rolled a Double Magic Move. My Elite Numidian horse maneuvered for a flank shot of javelins into the Italian Allied cavalry.... and missed (as they started to the front of the Italians, even if they hit them in the flank, it would NOT have counted as a Flank melee).

In disgust,the Gallic cavalry charged into the same unit of Italians, a melee in which they would have a slight advantage - and were utterly crushed in the resulting combat (hot dice by Barry)!  That is Bomilcar looking rather exposed after his Gauls did the "Shuffle off to Milano"!

Shortly thereafter, The Carthagenians drew an ARMY MORALE card; as Bomilcar's command had at least one unit that had taken hits or been in Melee since the last card, he had to roll a D12 for survival, and rolled a ONE!  "Arrrrgh! and assorted Punic curses filled the air as Bomilcar was placed hors de combat!  this would leave his command unable to move until a replacement could be appointed by Hannibal. Note the "arrow volley" marker (by Litko) indicating that the LC have chucked their Javeklins, and must wight for the next "Missile Combat" card to "reload" so nthat they can shoot again. 

The next card turned by the Sons of Carthage was... LEADERSHIP!   "Hello, I'm not really dead, I was just restin!"   A new right wing commander duly appointed, although he rolled up one level worse than the original. 

Further MOVEs by both sides l;eave those Italian Allied cavalry looking very vulnerable as both the Elite Numidian LC and the Crack Balearic Slingers shoot at them... and once again inflict no discernible damage. "Must be the Immortals.... no, wait, weren't those guys Persians?" The Romans have managed to move up the entire IV Legion and the supporting Gauls on the Northern end of the field (whose loyalty was possibly somewhat suspect).

In the center, both sides had had a run of cold Leadership dice, the Carthagenian right center command in particular rolling two "1's' in a row!  "Alright, Hanno, that's quite enough rubbing oil on Agbal!  We're Poeni, not Pubi, and we got a battle to fight, ladies!"

The Roman Knights had managed a similar feet of two failed MOVES in a row, and to make matters worse, the THWACK ("Hypothermia") card had been turned by the Romans - not the meany "chicken" markers on the Romans in the preceding picture and this one. Far too homophobic to rub oil on one another against the cold ("That's for those effeminate Greeks, eeeeew!"), the Equites seem to be trying to keep warm by staging a pig roast, as Severus longus looks for his portion!

Both side finally get their lagard commands caught up with double MOVES - the battle lines are all nice an even now, like they planned it that way! Euclid would be proud!

The SPECIAL EVENT ("Weather Worsens" card is turned by Rome, and it starts to Rain! All missile fire is Down 1. This hurts Carthage much more than it does Rome, I'd say. 

In the interakl, the Northern flank Italian Allied cavalry managed to Rally off most of their many markers on Roman LEADERSHIP cards. Frustrated, Bomilcar the Lesser has his Numidians charge them in flank... 

while the Roman Allied hairy Gauls use a MELEE card to charge the Elephants, and the Spanish cavalry add to the odds against the beleaguered Italian cavalry. The main infantry battle lines are closing with another, and hail of Javelins fly, large having little effect. 

The Elephants repulse the Gauls, while the Italian Cavalry perform prodigies of valor, defeating both of the opposing Carthagenian cavalry units. 

Overview of the battlefield at this point, looking South to North.  the Carthagenian Spanish Scutarius units have charged the more lightly equipped Velites, driving them back with losses. Roman Republican Infantry units can freely interpenetrate one another, to reflect their reported ability to withdraw and reinforce units along the line of combat. A subtle, simple but neat and effective special rule for them!

The Roman Knights finally finished their weenie roast, and have moved forward grudgingly to support the open flank of the I Legion. Hannibal turns a MOVE card, and springs Mago's ambush - a unit each of mediocre Numidian Javelinmen ("Peltasts"), and one of the dreaded Numidian Light Cavalry appear to the flank and rear of the flower of the Roman Patrician class!  "Punic Faith!" they scream.  "I told you the Romans have no eye for Stratagems", remarked Hannibal to Gisgo.

View from the Northern end of the field at this juncture; the Gauls have charged the Elephants again, while the Velites have engaged the African Javelinemn.

A Carthagenian MANEUVER card allows the Ambush force to home in on the flank of the Roman Knights, wile Sempronius Longus looks on.

Not to be outdone, the Romans turn their only MANEUVER card as well. The Triarii of the Reserve turn to face Mago's rear attack... as do the Roman Knights. 

A Roman MOVE card and a Double Magic Move roll later, and  the Knights prepare to stick it to the supposed Ambush.

The Numidian "Pelttsts" are wiped out. "Now see here you rude blighters; it's not nice to bust in on me an my mates when we're hanging out all macho like at the barbie, now is it?"

The Insubrian and Boeii Gauls use a WARBANDS CHARGE card to charge the front line of the III Legion, composed of Hastati. "Let's stick it up, em, Bois!"

Meanwhile, the Ponderous Pachyderms have thoroughly enjoyed stomping on the renegade Gauls that charged them - they are shattered, losing 3 UI and being thrown into severe Disorder (note markers). "I do love the squishy feeling of tenderized Gauls between my toes; how about you, dears?"

At this point we had played completely through both decks, ending the turn. We had played for about 2.5 hours, making fairly frequent reference to the rules. As Barry was due to take the Czarina out to dinner shortly, we stopped play at this point.

CARTHAGE: 5/19 Morale Points remaining
ROME:          11/22 Morale Points remaining

I will finish the battle solo this weekend; that will be reported in part 2!



  1. Very nice, great looking lines of troops! That's a battle I have played with the boardgame SPQR, really interesting, and you made something very nice with the special effect and the mountain too...

  2. Epic battle with equally epic battle report! Carthage looks to be in trouble. When your ambushes fail, what hope is there? Divine intervention?

    Really nice job!

    1. Well, Archon (Classic Piquet) has a Divine Intervention cardm, LOL. Carthage is in trouble, but the battle is far from over. The Roman knights have their flank badly expoised, and they have poor leaders and only one "maneuevr" card. The Roman infantry is tough, tough, tough, though!

    2. Here's to hoping that Carthage can pull that card out of the hat!

    3. I played another hour of the game tonight, and wrote it up before I forgot too much; hold onto your hats, Poeni fans! :-)

  3. What a great looking battle, serried ranks of unipose figures and an effective style of painting on the board too. Well done.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it - definitely on the "Old School" side of things with the figures and painting style, if not the rules!

  4. Nice report. This was a fun read. I predict the elephants will smach two more units...

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Mike!

      Re Elephants: Yes, but will they be enemy units or... their own!

  5. Great stuff and good to see POB in action. Your AAR shows well the narrative the rules engender. Look forward to next installment.

  6. Thanks, Gary. A sort of review of PoB will follow later this month.