For the battle I used all optional rules included in my VARIANT, available on line on www.grognard.com: http://www.grognard.com/variants1/spqr.html and on Dave Townsend’s Great Battle of History unofficial website
A victory for Graccus’slaves, achieved without relying on the “Emancipation special rule”, a very bloody contest though.
Like most of the scenarios provided by Dan Fournie, the two armies started quite far apart from each other. Lots of space for maneuvering, but this is not going to be a cavalry battle.
The skirmishing is opened by the opposed Light Infantry lines, without producing any decisive blow.
On the only open flank, the one non anchored to the river, Cavalry of both sides start closing the gap, the only elephant unit keeps the roman cavalry from launching the attack first. The same roman cavalry, in order to shrug the tuskers off their back try a desperate attack from the rear with just one unit. It’s not its lucky day, besides the 2 hit taken for moving adjacent to the pachyderms it also fails the TQ-check routing even before trying to shock!
But the Carthaginian cavalry is not up to its standards this time: besides three nice Numidian LC, you get two weak Bruttiam RC that will stand the battle even less than the Roman counterpart (what a performance…).
Nevertheless, Mago the Samnite launches his squadrons. The attack is poorly conducted though: most of units, hunting down some exposed cohorts, will end up isolated and trumped on enemy ZOC as a result of pursuit. Had he kept them in a more cohesive formation he would have exploited them much more efficiently.
Meanwhile in the center things are getting good for the Roman. The first blow dispatched by the Hastati line roots most of the enemy Light Infantry, the Principes line is advancing as well. Unfortunately the core of Carthaginian foot units is still too distant, few enemy LI still in play and a couple of Velites get in the way, preventing a faster advance.
So, Graccus, instead of risking a double movement in the same turn that could hand him the initiative at the cost of exposing their two main infantry lines (not anymore in great shape) to a possible counterattack, lingers on his positions, using his successful momentum die roll to redress his units, especially the battered hastati line, still suffering from the last clash.
Had it be a normal battle against superior cavalry already pushing on the flank, he would have probably regretted it, but in this case it will turn out as a good move.
The third turn is the crucial one. As already said, the Carthaginian cavalry fails to prevail. Hence: on whit the TOUGH GUYS! The Carthaginian push forward both wings of Heavy Infantry, with the units at the edges in a most advanced position (sort of echelon) and all the others descending till the Medium Infantry line, left behind in order to delay as much as possible the deadly contact with the Legionaries.
Unfortunately Hanno’s plan doesn’t work. The Bruttiam HI doesn’t produce enough harm and more importantly: not fast enough. The second Roman Tribune is successful in obtaining a Momentum, Mago the Samnite tries a trump but fails, as far as Mago is concerned The Game is Over!
Now it’s Graccus to be activated (the Roman rolled higher than the Carthaginian). Principes keep pushing and smash furiously on the Medium Infantry line, playing havoc among them….
The Roman seems having a lucky day, Graccus succeed in his first momentum attempt, Hanno would love to intervene but holds fast, his Initiative rating is not that high (a mere 5), so he is forced to assist powerlessly to Graccus show, busy in rallying a couple of cohorts and grinding some more MI.
Graccus is having fun and scores a second momentum. This time Hanno is not going to play the “watch and wait” game: at the cost of not being activated at all he try a trump attempt and succeeds. He activates the left wing Heavy Infantry and manages to root a couple of cohorts and some Principes before failing his momentum attempt.
I played that all routed units on the map counts as eliminated, so the net result is:
-Carthaginian: 115 RP. That is 15 RP over his Rout level
-Roman: 112 RP. That is 2 RP over his Rout level.
A relatively small battle but fun, another nice score by our great Dan Fournie.
As for the battle result, I honestly expected a game favoring the Carthaginian a little bit more: the Roman has under his command two mediocre legions, I utilized all variants to further limit their power but they prevailed notwithstanding.
Nevertheless, I still believe that with a little luck Hanno can make the day.