So as promised I have replayed last weeks Battle of Ticinus using the To the Strongest! ruleset, but this time gave the Romans more freedom to deploy and fight. I used exactly the same forces as last time but for this game, I was able to twist the arm of the Young Padawan to play Hannibal while I took on the role of Publius Scipio. I started off by explaining to her the historical background for this battle and how the last game unfolded, so she was fully aware of the potential weakness of my small army.
So as already indicated I set this battle up exactly the same as last time, but with some differences to the Roman deployment. I was convinced that Scipio's deployment of his Velites in front of his own cavalry was a mistake and postulated that the light infantry would have been better deployed on the flanks. My plan was to engage the Numidian Light Cavalry in a Javalin fight but make full use of my greater numbers if at all possible. In the centre, my Cavalry would go toe-to-toe with the Punic cavalry and I hoped that they could hold the line long enough for my Velites to deal with the enemy cavalry. As with any game, the dice could go any way, so I really wasn't sure if this plan would work.
|The setup - The Carthaginians at the top have again put their Numidians on both flanks. The Romans have deployed the light Velites out on the flanks this time.|
|The Young Padawan enjoying the game...Now she is officially a |
moody teenager this is as close to a happy face as she is willing to go.
|The Carthaginians move up quickly|
|My Romans are more cautious than Publius Scipio was in the last game. The Velites on the flanks spread out and the centre advances just outside of the Carthaginians charge range. The Padawan will have to activate twice if she wants to get into melee.|
|My Velites start lobbing Javelins at the Numidian Horse. Indeed, all along my line, a rain of missiles head towards the Carthaginians.|
|By the end of a second successive turn of missile fire, I have success! Two Numidian Light Horse units are destroyed making this already a much better performance by the Romans compared to the last game.|
|The destruction of the Numidian Horse (or at least half of it) is a blow for Hannibal. The plan to encircle the Romans is dead in the water.|
|Things now unravel quickly for Hannibal as first one of the Punic Horse units is defeated and then another Numidian unit. Suddenly the Carthaginian position looks very vulnerable indeed.|
|With superiority in numbers, the Romans are able to direct a lot of firepower into the centre and another Punic Cavalry unit is destroyed.|
|We have met the victory point for this game and the Padawan concedes defeat. Now massively outnumbered there is no way she could win from this position.|
Well, that couldn't have gone better for the Romans. Putting the Velites out on the flanks they were able to a) hold their ground against the Numidian Light Cavalry, and b) bring a lot of missile firepower together against individual enemy units. They quickly got the upper hand and within a few turns were in a position to begin encircling the Punic Cavalry, utterly reversing the historical result.
I know that a game can never completely simulate real battle but I think this refight very clearly showed that Publius Scipio used his light troops in a completely inappropriate way historically (which was my conclusion after the last game). I didn't expect the Punic Cavalry to be defeated the way they were in this game but that was just unlucky dice for the Padawan. However, with the Numidian Cavalry eliminated I would have brought my light troops around the flanks of the Carthaginian forces and I think the result would have been the same.