Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Now that my second Late Republican era Roman army is painted up thoughts have naturally turned to getting them to table, so last night I set up Pharsalus, using the Strategos II scenario for Lost Battles.

Caesarians in foreground. Pompeians have the red shields.

The battle started dramatically as the Pompeian cavalry charged their Caesarian opponents and immediately crushed them. The attack was so swift Caesar's carefully selected 'fourth line' of legionaries could not come to the support of the cavalry in time.

(Pompey took a risk in charging from distance and using almost all the army commands in paying for three combat bonuses. On this occasion it came off splendidly).

Pompey advanced his left centre and centre off the hill to link up with the victorious cavalry while keeping his right in place to see if he could tempt Mark Antony to advance and so break up the solidity of the Caesarian line.

(If Antony advances out of the line Pompey will gain two significant advantages: a) Caesar's veteran legions will not be able to use their ability to slide across the field to relieve one another, and b) Antony will be attacking uphill.)

Situation after Pompey's left sweeps all before it.

Caesar's men were left with no choice but to make the best of the situation. The Caesarian 'fourth line' swung into action and began to drive into the victorious (but now disorganised) cavalry. Who could blame the horsemen for feeling that they had done enough fighting already?

(By using commands judiciously and giving combat bonuses to the key attackers wherever possible, Caesar was able to begin wearing down the Pompeian forces).

The battle of attrition commences.

For the next while the infantry lines engaged each other while Caesar's fourth line veterans slowly forced back the Pompeian cavalry.

The fighting was attritional, with both sides taking casualties and exhaustion beginning to take its toll.

The Pompeian cavalry eventually broke, and with his own position becoming increasingly precarious, Caesar ordered the victorious troops forward at the double to relieve pressure on the main infantry line.

(Caesar used the once-per-game perk of a brilliant general to reverse the turn order and get his fourth line into action again immediately, this time against the light troops harassing Caesar's exposed flank).

Caesar's fourth line breaks the Pompeian cavalry and advances to attack the light infantry.
Gaius Julius has plenty to ponder.

As the infantry units began to break, Pompey's position on the left became increasingly exposed. But with Mark Antony shuffling troops away from his own section of the line to reinforce the centre, the great man sees an opportunity to move to the right and advance his fresh troops down off the hill.

As if the gods approved this move, Caesar was wounded trying to steady the line just after Pompey's departure.

(As a result of this wound Caesar will not able to contribute any further command resources to the battle - note that the way I have done this is not strictly as written in the rules!).

Pompey moves to the right, hoping to destroy a weakened Antony. Shortly afterwards, Caesar is wounded.

Caesar's centre and right wing. Ascendant, just.

Pompey is now outflanked and his left is soon in full retreat. His legionaries in the centre and right have not yet given up, however. The Caesarians in front of them are wavering: Antony desperately tries to muster his strength, but the reinforcements he sent right earlier are nowhere to be seen.

Pompey's left is gone, but the Caesarian left is under severe pressure.
Antony in strife as fresh legionaries pour down off the hill.

The Pompeian centre crumbles under pressure from three sides, but in the time this takes Pompey destroys Antony's command. There is no one left to oppose him, and with a third of his force still intact Pompey marches towards Caesar's camp.

The Caesarians are in disarray; Pompey marches from the field unmolested.
The battle is inconclusive. As for whose cause is most damaged, much will depend on the severity of Caesar's wound...

Pompey catching 40 winks.



lost shattered, 7 x average legionaries, 1 x average heavy cavalry, 2 x levy heavy cavalry.
lost routed, 4 x average legionaries, 1 x average light infantry.
spent, 3 x average legionaries.

Total: 56 + 22.5 + 9 = 87.5 points for Caesar


lost shattered, 5 x veteran legionaries, 2 x veteran heavy cavalry,
lost withdrawn, 1 x average commander.
spent, 9 x veteran legionaries.

Total: 56 + 6 + 36 + handicap (24) 122 points for Pompey

It is a clear victory (in game terms) for Pompey.


  1. If my math is correct, Pompey beat Caesar WITHOUT the handicap! No small feet!

    1. Yes, he did. Those legionaries are tough to rout!

  2. Looks very interesting. Getting in some early practice for the Battle Day?

  3. Interesting gamble by Pompey's cavalry. I wonder what the outcome might have been if they had not pursued into the opposing right wing zone, Caesar would have to hold the 4th line in place to prevent a later encirclement. Committing them to aid the right center would expose the army to encirclement while moving them to the right wing would give the cavalry an attack bonus and leave his right center at a disadvantage. Neither of which would be an appealing choice.

  4. Great looking figures with interesting and well thought out movement/action, Aaron.

  5. Late to the show, nice! The work paid off and it looks impressive seeing all those troops on the board.


  6. Fantastic Battle Repport
    Lovely Figures and nice battle set-up

  7. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.


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