Tuesday 26 April 2016

The Battle of Campanica

After months of preparation I have finally reached a point where I can play a To the Strongest game at home against the Young Padawan. I worked up two approximately equal forces (with a slight points advantage to the Carthaginians) and some basic terrain so we could have our first proper game with my newly minted armies. This game was more about familiarizing ourselves with the rules than anything else. Reading a rule-book is one thing but I find I need to play a game to start understanding how things work.

The Setup
This is a fictional battle between the Army of Hannibal and the Republican Romans sometime around 212BC. Both armies have been aware of each other for several days and have played the usual game of nerve, typical to warfare in this era. Four days ago the armies camped just a few miles apart and over the next three days they have tested each others resolve and shifted positions getting progressively closer and more belligerent. Today both sides feel they have an advantage and it looks as if the two enemies will finally meet each other in battle. 

Order of Battle
Romans - BigLee - 153 points
Servilius Geminus - Senior General (Brilliant)
General Paxus - Mounted, Detached - 1st Command - Roman Left Flank
  Velites x2
  Triari x2
  Balistari x2
General Scicus - Mounted, Detached - 2nd Command - Roman Centre
  Velites x4
  Hastati x4
  Princips x4
  Camp x1
General Flamminius - Mounted, Detached - 3rd Command - Roman Right Flank
  Triari x2
  Equites Extrodinari x1
  Equites Romani x2

Carthaginians - The Young Padawan - 188 points
Hannibal Barca - Senior General (Brilliant)
Hammilcar - Mounted Detached - 1st Command - Carthaginian Right Flank
  Punic Cavalry x4
Mago - Mounted, Detached - 2nd Command - Carthaginian Centre
  Baleric Slingers x2
  African Skirmishers x2
  Elephants x2
  African Spearmen x6 **
  Hero's x2
Hasdrabul - Mounted, Detached - 3rd Command - Carthaginian Left Flank
  Numidian Lt Cavalry x4

** Technically not allowed in the army lists but I still have some allied units to paint up so I made up the Carthaginian army by fudging the lists for this game.

This order of battle gave the Carthaginian's a numerical and points advantage but I foolishly thought this would just make up for the Padawan's inexperience and create a more balanced battle.

The Action
The Table set up for action

A small pile of numbered chits replaced the need to put cards on the table. Four sets of chits were just about sufficient for this game. 

The two armies lined up and ready for action.

Opening moves... Skirmishers move forward and the cavalry wings begin to clash.....and the Young Padawan gives me a look that sends shivers down my spine!

The numbered chits in action. This sized table and the 3" squares are just not big enough to accommodate cards. 

The Numidian Light Cavalry sweep aside my skirmish screen. 

The Carthaginian elephants start to break through in the centre while the Punic Cavalry begin to attack my Equites over on the right flank. Meanwhile my Balistari catapults can't hid the broad side of a barn!

She's giving me the 'Mr Burns' look again! The Punic Cavalry have destroyed one of my Equite units and the main line of Punic Spearmen start their advance forwards. 

My one hope was that my Equite Romani and Extrodinari might win against the Punic Cavalry and threaten the infantry advance, but it was not to be. 

The view out from the Roman camp. Those elephants steamrollered on and seemed unstoppable. 

These bleedin Catapults were useless. I didn't hit a single target during the whole game. 

My Equites have been largely destroyed and the Carthaginian Elephants continue to lumber forwards. 

With casualties mounting and dinner on the way it was time to concede defeat. The young Padawan shows off handfuls of victory medals.  

This was a test game played to as close to a proper full scale game as we could given time constraints and the fact that we are both novices with these rules. All things considered the game went very well and although we run out of time (the table was needed for Sunday lunch!) we still had enough time for a decisive Carthaginian victory to be obviously clear. Playing another couple of turns would only have emphasised my humiliation!

One of the benefits of playing this battle was that I now have a much clearer idea of what units I need to paint next. The Carthaginians need some Gaulish and Latin allies while the Romans are desperately in need of some allied cavalry. I also need to make or buy some more terrain for future games so my to-do list just got even longer.

The main purpose of the game - other than fun of course - was simply to learn the rules and to test various elements to see if I had missed something. One of the main things I wanted to test was the use of numbered chits rather than cards on the games surface (there isn't enough space for cards on a 3" grid). We found that this worked well considering the space constraints. I am waiting for delivery of a load of d10 dice to use in future games and I may use these to replace the use of cards. The idea is that these can be rolled instead of turning cards and each dice can then be placed behind units instead of laying down cards or numbered chits. This will clearly take up less space than cards and will be marginally quicker than turning cards and then placing numbered chits down. Whether this is a good idea or not remains to be seen.

One thing I realised early on in this game was that the 3" square grid isn't quite big enough for my bases. The units themselves fit OK but there isn't much spare room in the box for things like ammo and disordered markers, generals etc. I'll make a new mat with 4" squares for the next game and see how this works. Once I'm happy with the size grid I'm using I'll make a more permanent mat with some texturing and shading on it - the plain green mat alone looked very dull in this game.

So there you have it. My first TtS! game ended in defeat at the hands of my daughter but also helped define the course of this project over the coming months. I have a lot of work to do. 


  1. Quality time with her father is something she will treasure for ever.

    Good to see the figs get an outing and the set up looks very good indeed.

  2. Excellent game report and pictures! Congrats to the Young Padawan for the win!


  3. Nice looking game. You can always use the excuse that you were both learning the rules, unfortunately your daughter seems to have got to grips with them a little faster than you...or was it a case of the perennial favourite, bad dice? :) Seriously, it's great that she is interested and hope it carries on. At this rate she'll be painting your figures in return for Pocket Money!

  4. Get used to it....this is your future!!
    Great to see the figures out on the table!

  5. Good batrep.I use 6mm minis on 8cm squares.

  6. Great work Lee - your minis look fantastic and I enjoyed reading your impression of the game. I'm not wild on the overt use of cards/chits/markers on tabletops so I look forward to seeing how you get on with this.

  7. Awesome game and great to spend time with the youngun. Have you considered those half sized novelty card decks.
    I was thinking about these instead of a card deck...

  8. Sounds as though you got well and truly schooled by your "pupil", which given her track record was entirely predictable! :)

    Nice pics and write-up :)

  9. The Steepled Finger Pyramid of Evil - so rare to see it deployed by one so young! I fear you have an apprentice evil genius on your hands, Lee...
    ; )

    1. She's no longer the apprentice *muwahahahaha*

  10. What an evil stare the young Padawan has! Clearly a talented gamer in the making.

    I know quite a few people who use D10 to replace cards, well worth a try. Or just draw chits from a bag?

    Best, Simon

  11. Cool. You made the roundup again:


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