This month's game of Hail Caesar, played yesterday afternoon, certainly did not go the way of the Carthaginians in the end, but it was great fun and I am learning more and more about the rules (and my army) with each game. Since my regular opponent and myself are both in the process of building our armies, each month's battle gets a little larger, a little more fierce and a little more fun than the previous month -- military escalation at its finest. My Carthaginian army is super fun to play, but I still make some very stupid mistakes and Aaron, who is a great player, is always swift to punish them.
Hannibal deployed the Spanish in the center, two units deep with a unit of Carthaginian veterans to each side. The cavalry anchored the left flank and an elephant on the right. Ligurian slingers were shielding each of the veteran spearmen as word had been received that the Romans had brought archers as well as some light artillery. A large wood stood the the left of the field and and a large rock outcropping to the right - it was Hannibal's decision to march the army forward in formation and reach the gap between these two natural barriers before the Romans, thus securing his flanks.
Hannibal's wise intent was to hold the cavalry in reserve, but the ever impetuous Mago, fearing the cavalry becoming trapped behind the chaos of the battle lines, sent the horse forward beyond the woods in the hopes of meeting some Roman auxiliaries and finding glory. The Romans, who had camped nearer than anticipated, easily intercepted the cavalry - trapping and destroying them before the battle had even begun.
Hannibal, despite the routing of his cavalry, continued forward with renewed determination The Romans began firing the light artillery which they had carried to the battle, causing casualties to both the Ligurians and the Spanish. The slingers on the Carthaginian left had great success against the advancing Romans, driving them back with devastating and well-placed stones. This flurry of bullets was enough to delay their advance and caused chaos among the Roman army as their lines became disorganized and unresponsive to orders.
On the right side of the field, the Romans were unhindered and charged the sole Carthaginian elephant, thinking that it would easily be driven away. Instead, the elephant reluctantly held its ground and was quickly joined by a fierce line of Hannibal's finest veterans. Together they pushed, pursued and ultimately destroyed the aggressive Roman unit on the right.
Hannibal now noticed the center of his army becoming disordered and unresponsive to his commands. The Spanish, under heavy missile fire, sheltered themselves behind their large shields and refused to be moved, either by the nearness of the enemy or by the shouts of their commander. This reluctance of the middle proved to be the undoing of the Carthaginians on this day. Despite the brave and glorious efforts of the veterans and the elephant crew on the flanks, it was not enough as the Romans smashed into the decimated center, routing the army.
The elusive Hannibal rallied the remaining units to him and made a brave escape across a nearby river.
Here are several photos of the battle, I hope you enjoy them: