Sunday 9 January 2022

Goth Overload! The last Late Roman campaign game for a while

On Saturday we played out the last remaining campaign battle which would then bring the first month to an end. Johannes Rufus' Roman army was marching back to the coast after razing the Ostrogoth settlement of Tabularasa to the ground, carting everything of value and all the old men, women, kids and the sick back to 'relocate them in the east'. The Ostrogoth army quickly gave up the siege of Aquilonisopidum and pursued the Romans, who turned to fight when it was clear they would be unable to outrun the enemy.

The Ostrogoth army is very different to that of the Visigoths, insofar that they have lots and lots of heavy cavalry, close and open order archers, and the option for some Hun or Alan allies. Not a war band of nasty foot warriors in sight. John's Romans were formed around a core of good quality legions supported by heavy cavalry, cataphracts and some light cavalry and war machines.  
Johannes Rufus the Scourge of the Ostrogoths. 

The Ostrogoths had opted for a flank march, an option the Romans declined. The latter were obviously suspicious that there were so few enemy figures on the table and rightly guessed that the Ostrogoths had sent a fair number of their troops (nine units of cavalry no less!) but had no idea when or where they would appear.
Let battle commence. The Romans on the left have taken up a defensive position  to face the  vengeful Ostrogoths opposite them.
The Roman right wing, with the rest of the army stretching off into the distance, slightly refusing the flank in case the enemy appear on the table edge.
The Ostrogoths. Half of their heavy cavalry were sent on a flank march, aiming to appear on the Roman  right in turn 2.
Roman and Goth cavalry clash around the settlement.
The Roman left wing advances rapidly on the enemy.
The Romans took the battle to the enemy, but their two lines of infantry in the centre became separated.

The Goth right trying to hold back the Romans.
Esme moving this unit of Romans forward.
After the dispersal of the Alan’s, John pushed his cavalry forward.  Neil’s Ostrogoth cavalry suddenly  broke as they had hit their demoralisation point. A number of units failed their discipline tests and this tipped the command over the brink and they were forced to retire.
The Goths attacked the Roman centre, destroying this legion before the Roman cavalry 
intervened to b real the Ostrogoths in turn.
Another Goth unit hit this legion in the flank but were unable to destroy it immediately.
Conrad’s flanking force appeared and bore down on Nigel’s Romans. 
They broke one legion but then became bogged down in combat with two others. Several Goth units rode past the Roman right and attacked their centre with some effect.
On the Goth right their Alan allies began well, despatching some Roman light cavalry early in the game, but they were soon hard pressed by John’s advancing heavy cavalry and on the unfortunate demise of their captain, failed several  discipline tests and were either broken or were forced to evade off the table, effectively dispersing the entire command.
The Goths tried to make best use of their archers to delay the Roman centre. They certainly halted them, but it was only a temporary respite, despite seeing off two legions.
Dave commanded several  units of archers who did their level best to shoot the Romans down. They didn't destroy any units but did weaken them significantly.
The Roman cavalry on their left started 
badly but soon gained the upper hand.
Having now destroyed the legion they'd hit in the flank, the Goth cavalry were in turn hit in their flank by another Legio and destroyed.      
Esme is now supervising the destruction of the Alan cavalry.
A few gaps have opened up in the Roman centre following the flight of the two leading legions, but there are plenty to spare ready to fill the gap.
The Goth right flank has been turned as Roman heavy cavalry lap around the Limes watchtower.
More Roman cavalry and cataphracts advancing on the battered Goth cavalry.

By this time the Goths had lost two of their four commands and would probably have made an attempt to disengage. We agreed that their remaining cavalry under Conrad would escape but that the infantry in the centre were at risk, and indeed when I threw some dice to what happened around half of them were indeed ridden down by the victorious Romans.

It was never going to be an easy one for the Ostrogoths as despite having 18 units of heavy cavalry this was not enough to face off against a solid line of legions supported by some decent cavalry. Their flank march might have worked had it been on the other flank, but......

So, that was it. A Roman victory. I wonder how Johannes Rufus is going to justify defeating Emperor Digito's Ostrogoth allies or indeed come up with a good explanation? Obviously the Ostrogoths were angry at having their settlement razed to the ground, an act that was in direct contravention of Digito's orders.

I now intend to pause the campaign for a couple of weeks while I do the end of month accounts for everyone and publish another edition of The Gladiator. Everyone will be asked for their orders for turn five and beyond, so I expect a short pause while the various armies regroup before resuming the fight. I might also try and understand who is allied to who, if anyone, and give some of the less active players something to think about.

I've also had enough of ancients for the moment, enjoyable as the games are you can overdo it sometimes, so until all the campaign admin is done, we shall  in the meantime play  something different for a few weeks.



  1. A splendid Roman triumph! While the campaign pauses what might you play in the interim?

  2. Fantastic looking game- large numbers of well painted Late Imperial Legionaries always looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lovely game, love the sheer scale of it. Also pleased to see I'm not the only one who must contend with feline supervision of gaming ;)