AAR – Rome vs. Syracuse

It has been some time since I got a game on the table. This time it was Syracuse that was to defend their rights and land from Roman incursion. Albeit Romans have had some challenging situations, there is nothing so abundant as Roman manpower pool and slight defeats that have been suffered against Carthage, Seleucids, Iberians and others have not put down the enterprising spirit of Roman commander. We are certain that eventually there will be nation that succumbs under Roman might.

Rome-vs-Syracuse06Syracuse, of course brought in their secret weapon – bolt shooting ballista classed as Art A, archers and some hoplites. Most troops are mercenaries. Syracuse has no decent troops to field from the city state and those available are quite rubbish. Peltasts that have seen remarkable career elsewhere were of course deployed to cover the flanks of the hoplite phalanx.

Rome-vs-Syracuse02Romans adopted traditional setup with cavalry at the wings and legions forming strong center. Velites were screening cavalry and legions as usual. Committing Roman cavalry early appears to be major mistake in every game where Romans have hard time and now there is really good amount or room to maneuver and find decent position. So perhaps this time things are different.

Rome-vs-Syracuse03Of course, since Syracuse had artillery, and that was pretty much fixed in place, it was Romans who made first many moves. Syracuse hoplite phalanx only stood waiting, while skirmishers and peltasts adjusted to meet any emerging threat from Roman more mobile arm.

Rome-vs-Syracuse04Only cavalry unit of Syracuse, Tarantine CL armed with javelin met it’s end in the hands of Roman equites that judged it worth the risk to charge from 5 cm away, after turning – entering the engagement in disorder. Potentially gamble played off very well and Equites got away without a scratch and eliminating the only real mobile treat Syracuse possessed.

Rome-vs-Syracuse05It was not only first time Syracuse took the field, but it also happened to be first time the new gaming surface and some of the pin trees and unfinished forest canopies were in use. All those are still very much under progress, but at least the surface worked as expected. Some pins were lost from the trees but that is a minor issue. Ground was held in place as planned.


Battle is entering to the final phase, both lines are closing in to what ended up in general melee. Hoplites of Syracuse have taken hits close to the artillery. They were to be wiped out, general among them during Roman charge.

Rome-vs-Syracuse06That was, however early commitment of cavalry and it soon sucked in the other wing, protected by not only peltasts, but both artillery and skirmishing archers. Flank attack spelled doom for the Roman Equites. While left was in trouble, right wing entered fray and met the peltasts. There was little effect and after a long and bitter fight peltasts dispatched the Equites and accompanying velites.

Rome-vs-Syracuse10About this time it was the legions turn to lumber forward and give their contribution what soon devolved in general melee in the centre. Both sides had suffered some damage at skirmishing action but situation did not look that grim for Romans. Legions are formidable enemy, except that loss of single legion would break the Roman army and send them home.


Hoplites put up a fierce resistance and were not to give ground, much to my amusement. Legions did likewise and slowly both sided ground each other up, until – again – peltasts on the left flank of Rome had the last word, and legion routed. This loss caused the remaining army to break and Syracuse had won the field – this time.

At the end, there were still some engagements going on, and as seen below if Equites were not wasted at the beginning, the end would have looked quite different. Cost to dispatch the CL was way too hard.

Rome-vs-Syracuse12Lesson learnt, again. It it is quite obvious that expensive Equites are not to be risked in combat until decisive moment. They should be kept out of harms way until there is opening that allows that single charge they are able to pull off with a bit of luck. Let the less brittle legions do the fighting.

While in that topic, I noticed that Basic Impetus 2.0 is to be released during 2015, and that should streamline few bits and solve some things that have been a bit old fashioned. Excellent news on that front then.

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4 Responses to AAR – Rome vs. Syracuse

  1. arkiegamer says:

    Nice battle report. Sounds like a close run thing. Great looking setup-everything looks very naturalistic.

    • Tichy says:

      Thanks. It was. Actually, contrary to my expectations, hoplites are interesting force. Not so much because they would have some specialities like pila of legionnaires, or high impetus. They don’t. However, the force composition of archer-peltast-hoplite is quite interesting because it lacks nearly completely the mobile arm of others.

      It is again about securing flanks and performing counter charge at the right moment to maximize the offensive capacity. Of course, reading ‘Storm of Spears’ at the moment may affect the way I look at hoplite warfare. Excellent book by the way, but more on that later.

  2. Jon Freitag says:

    That is a pleasing looking game layout and enjoyable BatRep. Your 6s look terrific.
    The BI v1.5 was available recently. Did you look at those amendments? I wonder what differences will exist between 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 besides a nominal cost for the latter?

  3. Tichy says:

    Yes, I saw the amendments. Technically version 1.5 was not produced, or sanctioned by author and albeit original BI was free, author still holds Copyright to the work and because of that reason distribution was cut short. For differences, question could be posted to Lorenzo but would probably be quite close to what became known as 1.5.

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