Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Touch and go on the Ticinus

I'm currently putting together a research article (hopefully for Slingshot) and Lost Battles scenario for a not-so-well-covered battle from the 2nd Punic War and did a quick play test last night.

As it turned out, quick was the operative word!

This is a summary of the action.  Note that the text is positioned below the relevant photograph.

Rome (on the left hand side of the table) deploys first, utilising a light infantry screen with heavy cavalry in support.  Carthage responds by advancing its heavy cavalry in the centre and putting the Numidians on the flanks.

Rome gets first attack, and makes it count.  She scores five hits, curdling the cream of the enemy cavalry straight out of the pail (I know; sorry for inflicting that one on you...).

Carthage in return manages only two hits.  A low command roll prevents her from advancing the Numidian cavalry as speedily as would normally be desirable.

Rome continues to attack with devastating effect - one unit is shattered in the Carthaginian centre and those around it panic and flee.  Rome has a breakthrough almost immediately!  Elsewhere, the Carthaginians lose another unit on the left and the velites score a hit on the advancing light cavalry.

The Carthaginian cavalry begins to inflict some damage of its own, shattering a unit of velites on the Roman left and leaving most of the forward Roman units spent.  She also gets the Numidians in position to envelop the Roman line.

The Romans appear exhausted by their breakthrough: they are unable to press the attack with any success at all this turn.  The enemy commander manages to rally the only hit that is made and the Carthaginians can scarcely believe their good fortune.  Moloch will no doubt be expecting due reward!

Carthage seizes the initiative and with it the advantage: her attack panics and scatters the Roman left just as the Numidians get in behind the Roman right.

The enemy numbers are starting to tell but Rome is not quite done yet.  The cavalry of the right break through as well, driving off the Carthaginian left centre.  Rome now controls the middle of the field, but the enemy commander is still alive and the Numidians are marauding with intent...

The Carthaginian commander now turns inwards to attack the Roman centre: he shatters a fourth Roman unit, and this, combined with a low morale roll, is enough to see the Roman survivors head for the safety of the camp while they still may.

Points tally:

Carthage shattered 3 light infantry units and a heavy cavalry unit for 24 points.  She routed 6 heavy cavalry units and a light infantry unit for another 28 points.  She forced the withdrawal of 2 more light infantry units, another 2 heavy cavalry units and the commander for a further 15 points.

Carthage then scored 67 points.

Rome shattered 3 heavy cavalry and 1 light cavalry unit for 24 points.  She routed 4 heavy cavalry and 2 light cavalry units for a further 24 points.  An enemy light cavalry unit was left spent, for another 3 points.

Rome scored 51 points and gained another 30 on handicap. The total of 81 is enough to give her the game victory.


  1. Excellent scenario and lovely looking game Aaron. I've got the Lost Battles book but haven't really delved in to it yet.

  2. Interesting playtest, Aaron. Definitely a sweeping engagement...

  3. A nice looking game, well explained with these great pics!

    1. Thanks Phil. It's amazing what a difference a decent tripod makes!

  4. Good looking game! Perhaps more generals would offer battle if there was a handicapping system in place?!

    Lost Battles is a classic although I have not (yet) given the rules a try. Multiple units per zone or area seem a little like stacking rules in boardgames to me. Not convinced I like that notion...

    1. LOL - maybe they would Jonathan!

      Yes, the lead/supporting units in a zone thing is something you either get used to or don't, I suppose. It doesn't bother me because I find it a functional way to include multiple lines, combined arms and advantageous/disadvantageous match ups while still staying true to a broad-brush vision. But I am an unashamed Lost Battles apologist, so I would say that! ;-)


  5. Nicely done Aaron. I am given the impression that you did this solo?

  6. Nicely done Aaron. GMT games included this battle in their Great Battles of History series. has a map of the scenario. The Carthaginians are noted as being fatigued.


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