So, to the tallying of VPs. For readers who may not be familiar with Lost Battles, it is perhaps as well to mention now that the Seleucids start with a 30 VP handicap in their favour courtesy of the fact that they are the weaker force by 10 points of fighting value. Therefore, they were effectively 30 VPs ahead before the battle began.
Points gained by the Romans:
Shattered: 1 levy cataphract unit and 1 levy heavy cavalry unit for a total of 8 points.
Routed: 1 scythed chariot unit and one levy light infantry unit for a total of 5 points.
Spent: 1 levy heavy infantry and 2 levy light infanty units; 3 average phalanx units; 1 veteran heavy cavalry unit, 1 average heavy cavalry unit and one Indian elephant unit for a total of 26 points.
Roman total points: 39.
Points gained by the Seleucids:
Shattered: 1 average and 3 veteran legionary units; 1 average heavy and 1 veteran light infantry unit; 1 veteran and 1 average heavy cavalry unit for a total of 58 points.
Routed: 2 average light infantry units; 1 average and 3 veteran legionary units; 1 veteran heavy cavalry unit for a total of 32 points.
Withdrawn or lost: 1 average heavy infantry and one average commander for a total of 9 points.
Killed: 1 average leader for a total of 12 points.
Seleucid total points: 111 + 30 (the FV handicap) for a total of 141.
The Seleucids won by 102 points, thus notching up a 'stunning victory' - the highest possible category in Lost Battles - for Antiochus.
The emphatic nature of this result is not surprising given that the table top battle played out as an almost exact reverse of the historical battle! It should also be noted that spent or shattered veteran units are worth a lot more points than other units in the final tallies: a shattered veteran unit is worth 8 points to an opponent compared to 6 for an average unit and 4 for a levy unit. The Romans therefore with a higher number of veteran units have more points to give up, with a possible 168 VPs on the table (including the handicap) compared to a possible 122 that can be gained from the Seleucids.
The Romans therefore have a narrower window for success and a wider margin for failure.
Turning now to our earlier post's identication of key moments in the historical battle, let's look at how these played out on the table top.
1) Eumenes' panicking of the scythed chariots.
Under Lost Battles rules scythed chariots automatically rout once they are attacked. There is no need even for dice to be rolled, and their departure does not result in a morale test. Thus, the chariots fled as soon as Eumenes advanced to the attack, which was in the second turn of the game.
2) The defeat of the scythed chariots causing a wider morale crisis on the Seleucid left.
According to Livy, the routing of the scythed chariots disordered and shook the morale of the supporting troops. We did not see this happen under Lost Battles, and I wonder if perhaps there could not be a slightly different mechanism in place to allow this effect to occur as a direct result of the scythed chariots being in action.
3) The battle between the phalanx and the legion in the centre.
This was a good fight under these rules. The combination of elephants and phalangites was pretty potent when things were going well, though a double hit on the elephants at one point showed how things could quickly turn bad for the Seleucids if the Roman dice were right. The Romans had plenty of staying power in terms of morale, but were simply worn down by the sheer number of hits registered upon them. Lost Battles does a pretty good job (in my opinion) of simulating the legion v phalanx match up, and things would have gone better for the Romans if they had held back and let the Seleucids advance to close the gap between the forces, thereby giving the Romans the first strike. That this did not happen was because of misplaced confidence that Eumenes would follow up his strong start with equally aggressive attacks on subsequent moves and would soon be available to hit the phalanx on its flank. Then as the battle wore on it would perhaps have been sound practice for Scipio to have withdrawn his centre and Eumenes' flank so as to buy a little time and to allow the heavy infantry in the camp to be brought up as a reinforcement.
4) Antiochus' success on the right, and the timing of the advance on the Roman camp.
Antiochus did not gain dominance on his flank until the end of the battle after Eumenes had been killed and the Roman right dispersed. The king probably needed to have got himself onto the exposed Roman flank to really make use of his capacity to give the household guard a double attack bonus when in the lead position. This advantage turned out to be unnecessary in this fight, but it is a tactic that should probably be explored next time I undertake the battle.
5) The collapse of the Seleucid centre leading to Antiochus' decision to flee.
Again, this did not occur - quite the opposite in fact, as it was the collapse of the two wings that caused the Roman centre to flee.
The overriding impression I got from this refight was that the dice were abnormally favourable for the Seleucids and at times execrable for the Romans. The Romans only scored fourteen hits in five rounds of combat, while the Seleucids scored twenty-five in the same time (though two were rallied), despite rolling fewer dice per turn. The number of double hits that the Seleucids registered was quite extraordinary, with four (one being an all-out attack) that I recall off-hand, and possibly one or two more as well. When one side is consistently rolling 10s, 11s and 12s and the other side is getting 4s, 5s and 6s then there's not much that can be done - though it does give me a good excuse to play the battle out again!
In terms of general tactics, the Romans did not maximise their chances. Neither did the Seleucids, but they did not need to as it turned out. The Roman commander should have held back his centre to get in the first attack and later withdrawn his under-pressure troops to force the Seleucids to chase him, hoping that he could catch them on the hop. Instead, the Romans gave up their great advantage - manoeuvrability - and through lack of proper caution in the face of the phalanx allowed themselves be drawn into a slugging match in the centre. As I was playing both sides, I have a lot to answer for...
Finally, and referring once more to my initial post, I must address the question of whether this was indeed one of those ideal refights of grand spectacle and compelling event, and whether it proved to be the thrillingly immersive table top experience that one might have hoped for.
In this answer I suppose I must equivocate. It certainly looked spectacular to my eyes - as I was setting up I couldn't help thinking that it was times like these that the many hours spent painting figures seemed worthwhile - yet while the sequence of events was believable, frustration did creep in over the one-sidedness of the dice rolls and this tended to strain the wires upon which disbelief is so carefully suspended. That said, even once the battle was surely lost for the Romans on VP count there was the possibility of redemption through Eumenes, and for two turns he could have routed the Seleucid left given decent dice. If he had rolled something other than 3s this might have been enough to allow Scipio to win the field; so the battle did not lack for moments of excitement, tension and decision.
It was certainly not the perfect battle, but it was a fine thing to do and as a culmination of many months of work it was quietly satisfying to be able to add Magnesia to the list of battles done with one's own figures. Still, incentive remains to keep striving for that ideal battle!