Saturday, 16 August 2014

Battle of Rome, 103 BC (fictional)

(We return to our mini-campaign with a game that Mark and I played back on 13th July)

Concerned at the Ambrones and Cimbri rampaging so deep into Italy, the Senate had ordered Qunitus Caecilius Metellus’ recently-raised army of veterans and recruits to be stationed outside Rome. Thus deployed, they were available to protect the City, making use of the time for the veterans to work at turning the new recruits into soldiers worthy of the title of Roman legionaries.

The state of alarm in the capital increased when Lucius Cassius Longinus’ small army, which had escaped Silanus’ disaster at Spoletium in the first month of 103 BC, arrived at Metellus’ camp. Shortly afterwards the triumphant Ambrones, full of confidence after their destruction of Silanus’ command, made their way towards the City.

Metellus immediately advanced. He met the barbarians on a plain north of the city. The latter deployed with their flanks protected by two small hills.

Metellus had deployed his forces in parallel lines. Longinus' small force in front, his own veterans behind them and Saturninus' partially-tgrained recruits in the last line. Longinus' men were to absorb the initial Ambrones' onslaught, which would then be broken by Metellus' veterans. Saturninus men, the largest of all the commands, was in support, available to defend against any break-through.

Seeing the large Roman force before him, Boiroix sent forward his slingers and archers, whilst holding his warbands at a safe distance.

(A six of spades turned up meant that Longinus' legionaries were not at their best that day).

The Ambrones' skirmishers got the better of the initial combat 'tween the opposing light troops.

Boiroix unleashed the first of his warbands,

while the Romans advanced steadily in their deployed lines.

The Ambrones' cavalry attempted to outflank Longinus' line, but were themselves flanked by Metellus' Roman cavalry.

Metellus' plan seemed to be working as more of the Ambrone warbands reacted to the advance of Longinus' troops.

Longinus' Italian cavalry took the first onslaught,
and were unable to resist!

To their right, Metellus' Roman cavalry fought an inconclusive mêlée with their Ambrone opponents.

That six of spades proved prophetic as Longinus' legionaries were over-run in the first contact (in Impetus a six for determination of permanent losses is not a good result!).

On the Roman left flank Metellus' Italian cavalry suffered a similar fate.

Longinus' command broken, Metellus' veterans prepared to receive the still-fresh Ambrone warbands (the plan had not worked so well after all). Saturninus' men provided depth in support.

Pressure mounted on the Roman right flank as Metellus' Roman cavalry and Cretan archers were broken, ...

... followed by one group of velites.

The warbands drove on to Metellus' veterans.

First blood to the Ambrones, ...
... who drove on to the first line of Saturninus' men. These were going to be determined this day (a three of diamonds meant that they were as good as veterans).

Further to the left, Metellus' men stood tall.

The Ambrones attacked along the entire Roman front, ...

and everywhere they were beaten.

Romana victoria! 

It had been a close-run battle. Both sides lost 19 points of demoralisation (VD), so the result was a marginal victory for the Romans. It was sufficient though and Rome was safe, for now at least.

Thanks to the veterans that the senate had withdrawn from Spain and Africa, firstly the Teutones and now the Ambrones had been defeated. There still remained the Cimbri who, while this battle was occurring, were attacking Caepio at the Second Battle of Spoletium.


  1. I really thought the Romans were on their way straight to Pluto there until the main battle troops clashed. SPQR indeed!

    1. We really enjoy the ebb and flow that Impetus creates. Obviously they are not the only rules to produce such an effect, but most games are "not over until they are over"; i.e. a side has a chance to come back from initial set-backs. This particular game ebbed, flowed and ebbed again! It was all going to plan early on, then Longinus' command 'dissolved' and my 'rock-hard' veterans lost the first mêlée. Fortunately (for me) Roman quality (and numbers) came through in the end. The Ambrones were in bad shape, but had taken a lot of Romans and allies with them, hence the marginal victory.

    2. Very true with Impetvs. Games really have not been over until it was over and often victory can be snatched from the jaws of defeat (or vice versa!). Most games are nail-biters, indeed!

  2. This is a great mini-campaign, and the nail-biting stuff on the tabletop is rather glorious. Thanks for posting!


    1. Thanks so much Paul. Pleased that you find them interesting!