DBA 2nd Punic War

Carthaginians vs. Polybian Romans

After a very long pause, Aidan and I are finally back to playing some games of De Bellis Antiquitatis. Our first significant game was set in the 2nd Punic War between Carthaginians and an army of the Roman Republic. We diced for sides and I ended up playing the Romans. The Carthaginians began the game as the attackers with both sides lined up fairly evenly against each other.

The Carthaginian Army

The Carthaginian army relies on a large mix of units. A small number of auxilia (Ax) and spears (Sp) can fight off most light infantry while the elephants (El) and warband (Wb) are the troops most effective at breaking through the powerful Roman lines. A small amount of mixed cavalry including the general can also be used to skirmish with the enemy. It is critical this commander is kept safe as the battle is lost as soon as he falls.

The Roman Army

The Roman Army is made mainly of blades (Bd) that formed a solid line across the centre. The blades are capable of defeating almost any infantry toe-to-toe and can be supported with lighter psiloi (Ps), allowing them to fight against mounted opponents with reasonable success.

The Roman command advance on the flank

Like the Carthaginians, the Roman general was mounted on horseback and immediately began to move around the side to attack the warband which are particularly vulnerable to cavalry.

Light infantry run for the forest!

This could have proved a major threat to the Carthaginian line as being pushed back with an enemy unit directly on a unit’s flank will instantly destroy it. However, with quick manoeuvring, the auxilia were able to make it to the forest. The Roman cavalry would not be able to attack without engaging them in the forest so chose to instead break off the attack.

The two lines clash

The two major forces collided with each other at this point with the warband on the Romans’ left flank and the elephants in the centre. While The Romans were able to kill one unit of warband and drive the other off, they were put in danger as the spears guarding their right flank were lost to the enemy general. This would allow enemy cavalry and spears to sweep around the side of the Romans and decimate their blade line.

The elephants are repulsed

Luckily for the Romans, the Carthaginians rolled only 1 PIP, meaning they could not move enough troops to capitalise on their advantage. At the same time, the blades that were now on the flank drove off the elephants, relieving the pressure on the line.

Roman cavalry race to the rescue

The Romans killed one of the elephants as it returned to battle, leaving a large hole in the Carthaginian line before immediately being set upon by the enemy general. The Roman cavalry shot back across the Blade line, forcing legionaries to dive out of the way as they passed. Despite this, it was clear that they would not make it in time. This would be a fight between the Carthaginian general and the unit of blades that needed to keep the Roman flank secure.

The final blow!

At this point, a lack of PIPs for the Carthaginians had left their warband stranded in the forest while the spears were regrouping at a crooked angle behind the general. On the fateful dice roll, the Carthaginian general was sent recoiling into the side of their own spears, breaking the unit apart. With a third of its units now lost, the Carthaginian army was forced to retreat, leaving a narrow victory for the Romans.

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