Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Small Teaching Game of Hail Caesar

Last night I had my brother over to introduce him to the world of historical wargaming and the Hail Caesar rules with the secret agenda of getting him hooked and thereby gaining a new playing partner. I am happy to report that it was a smashing success! My brother and I have enjoyed gaming together all of our lives and so it wasn't too difficult to lure him to my house with the promise of war elephants.

To make things simple we divided my Carthaginian army in half, with me getting one extra unit of Libyan heavy infantry and my brother receiving both units of Ligurian slingers as well as the Numidian cavalry. The scenery on the table was simple with several trees and ancient buildings on the edges to add depth to the game while leaving the center open for easy maneuvering of the forces while he leaned the rules.

I deployed my forces with the heavy infantry at the center and the Spanish Scutarii supporting them to their immediate right. My left flank was occupied by my lone elephant while the right flank was secured by my Carthaginian cavalry. Seeing my deployment, my brother took the field in a similar manner with his slingers screening his infantry. After some maneuvering and some feints through the middle with the cavalry, a few units were lost on cavalry charges or through skirmishing. Chris was able, in some bold moves to quickly regroup his army into a formed line with his elephant anchoring the center while his Numidian light horse quickly abandoned the left for run to the hold his right flank. My veterans had been so heavily damaged by the times the lines clashed that they were forced to retire behind the Libyans and offer only support to their comrades, which eroded my advantage of being able to bring additional frontage to the conflict.

The heavy clash of lines was immense. There was some giving and some taking, but my loyal infantry had been weakened through a very effective use of his slingers to soften them prior to the lines meetings. Curses and prayers were said, shields were bashed and in the end my army fell in a very close fight.

My brother enjoyed the evening immensely. He loved the game mechanics, the models, and our imaginative travel back through time. He left my house with a smile on his face, my copy of the Hail Caesar rule book tucked under his arm and a resolve to research an army that could oppose the Republican Romans that I am building. I have given him a few ideas, but does anybody have some suggestions for him?

Order of battle and some photographs from the game:

The deployment and ending positions of our armies. I was on the left.

My battle line awaits the enemy and offers a prayer to Tanit.

Libyan infantry falls behind the veterans, exposing their flank.

Enemy cavalry presses the advantage.

The veterans manage to run off the enemy horse but with a heavy toll.

My brother is able to reform his line, centered  by his elephant.

Badly wounded, the veterans are resigned to being a support unit.

My cavalry tried a bold move to break through but were repelled.

After much skirmishing, the battle lines finally converge.

The elephant successfully supports allies on either side.

The chaos of the battle.

The end is nearing.


  1. Sounds and looks like a fun game. Later Successors are good opponents for Republican Romans that gives lots of options from Pyrhus on down.

  2. Love seeing your stuff in action - plus it looks like you had a fun game.

    For an idea, how about Mithridates?


    1. Thanks FMB... a good recommendation, one I made myself as well! :)

  3. Celts would be good too. Great sounding game. I'm away again this weekend, but after that I'll figure out when I will have some free time.

    1. Thanks Aaron, looking forward to hearing from you. :)

  4. Nice looking figures and it looked like a great game. No further suggestions past what have already been made.

  5. First, +1,000 for recruiting your brother! That is so excellent.

    Mithridates is the Swiss army knife of the ancient world, making it fun to play and very portable to build out into other armies in period. Pike supported by shooty & heavy cav, and scythed chariots. In the 2nd war, he used imitation legions so Roman figures can pull double duty. For some personalities, the Gauls or Iberians are a great match too. Good luck!

    1. Monty, great info about Mithridates. Thanks!

  6. Looking really good Jonathan - armies are coming together nicely!

  7. Nice work snagging another player for Hail Caesar! Looking forward to seeing which army he starts from all of the great suggestions here :)

  8. Sounds like a fun game!

    I myself am going to add some Syracusans to my collection (to oppose my Carthaginians) but they, as said before, can be used as almost anything Greek in culture from that era.

    Had my first game of HC myself this week and absolutely loved it!