Sunday, November 18, 2012

Battle Report: Rome Stands for Now

I played a very, very enjoyable game with Aaron yesterday against his fantastic Roman army. Aaron is always a ton of fun to play against and always plays a very, very good strategic game. As this was the very first time either of us had played using the Hail Caesar rules, we kept it both small and simple. Each of us brought three standard sized units to the battle: Carthage with two heavy infantry units and one heavy cavalry unit and Rome with three heavy infantry units and two pieces of artillery (wait a minute!!). To keep it simple we played with zero terrain and on a table size that would see us engaged in hand-to-hand fighting on the first turn. Even though each of us had read the rules a couple of times, we spent a lot of time discussing rules and flipping through the rule book during the game.

We deployed directly across from each other, off-set by a small amount. The Roman cohorts advanced on the first turn, each ordered to march toward a single opposing Carthaginian unit. The Carthaginian cavalry, eager as ever, was able to move a very large distance on the first turn and smashed into a unit of Roman veterans. The Roman's dignitas held however (which would be a theme for the rest of the day) and the charge was repelled and followed-up by a vicious Romans pursuit of the horse. Eventually, with the help of an infantry unit, the Carthaginian cavalry was able to respond and destroy the Roman veterans.

The game proceeded from there with some fairly standard hand-to-hand combat, some flanking and some orders sent by commanders that were not obeyed. The battle turned when the Carthaginian infantry and cavalry were in a position to charge the Romans and pin them, however the messenger sent by the commander must have been captured or killed as neither unit moved. That failure resulted in the cavalry being nearly surrounded and eventually destroyed. There was no recovering.

A single unit of Carthaginians held out but was eventually destroyed. Victory for the Romans on this day.

Thought on the Rules
I really enjoyed Hail Caesar rules. We stumbled through them as best we could, and looking back there are several things we played in error (like initiative moves and counter-charges for example), but it was a learning experience and we had fun. Next time we will do better now that we have a game under our belts. I really like the command structure of the game and the giving of verbal orders to units (there could be some fun had here!). And while commands not being received played a fairly large role in our small game, I think it works well. I also really like the follow-on by the winners of the fight. The ability to press the matter home and pursue foes really made for a dynamic experience. One thing about Hail Caesar, you roll a lot of dice in some of these fights - which isn't always a bad thing, but make sure you have a bag full! It was also fairly evident that the game would thrive on a very large table (it is possible for infantry to move 18" in a single turn) and with a lot of units deployed.

I took a lot of photos during the battle since this was the first time either army had seen action and they looked great together in battle. Enjoy!

The Carthaginians advance.

The commander conducts the operations for a safe distance.

The Roman cohorts are in a frenzy and ready for battle.

The clash of shield and spear.

The Veterans of the Azure Shield press the Romans.

The Romans certainly had the larger horns on this day.

The Carthaginian cavalry stuck in it after not receiving proper orders.

Romans were able to gain the flank and press the advantage.

The veterans of Carthage attempt to hold.

The fighting was vicious and bloody for both sides.

The last stand of the Carthaginians. A Roman victory!


  1. Very nice batrep. If I'd read it before I went to Warfare at Reading this weekend, I may well have succumbed to some of the Hail Caesar deals that were there. nice models and excellent painting too.

    1. Thanks for visiting and for following the blog!

  2. Figs look fantastic! What make are they?

    1. Thanks. The Romans are plastic Warlord figures and the Carthaginians are metal Gripping Beast.

  3. This was a great game Jonathan. Even with all of the rules looking up and the stuff we got wrong the back and forth made it a nail biter. It was a lot closer than the final tally made it look. I'm looking forward to another go next month.

  4. It does look a fun game, I've not played Hail Caesar.......yet?

  5. Wonderful figures and very nice pictures!

  6. Those are two beautiful armies. And while I've never played HC, I like what you've described. I'm looking forward to much more!