Sunday, September 1, 2013

Battle of Veseris 340BC using Ancient Battelines Clash

This is game 15 in playtesting my ancient rules. Previous games used my rules called Ancient Warrior  Battles.  The latest version is on its own blog page. I am playtesting the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Note the Peter Sides scenario is titled Battle of Suessa but my search of the internet did not find it. I did find the exact same battle under the title Battle of Veseris. 

Battle of Veseris (or Vesuvius)

The first battle of the Latin War sees Romans move to Capua to engage with the Latin allies

Here are links of interest and that I used to create the scenario:

Wikipedia article
HistoryofWar article

The Romans in 4 lines.
2 Legionaries, HI, protection 0, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude -1, line relief
2 Heavy Cavalry, HC
4 Skirmisher, SI, slings
1 +1 General

Samnite allies in the rough.  On the right flank.
5 Samnite Infantry, LI, fortitude +1
1 Samnite Cavalry, HC
1 Samnite sub-general

Breakpoint: 12

Romans general can only command Romans, Samnites only the Samnites.

Latin Allies
Latins and Campani - facing the Romans

Latins and Campani
1 Legionaries, HI, protection 0, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude -1, line relief
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
2 Skirmisher, SI, javelins
1 General

Aurunci and Sidicini in the rough.  Facing the Samnites.

Aurunci and Sidicini
6 Allied Infantry , LI
2 Skirmisher, SI, javelins
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
1 Samnite sub-general

Breakpoint: 10

Each general can only command their own troops.  

I do not have any of the Latins and Samnites as models.  So the Latins use Republican Romans, but different figures the the Romans; and the Light Infantry are represented by various Late Roman Auxilia.


Romans and allies to the left, Latins and allies to the right.  The brown is rough ground.

Romans are stronger than their Latin counterpart so that should be their focus.  The Aurunci and Sidicini are stronger that the Samnites on that flank so that will be their focus.

The Game
Romans advance, Aurunci and Sidicini advance.  Skirmishers are cleared in front of the heavy infantry while the light infantry get close in the bad going.

Latins  in the foreground advancing on the Romans.

The Aurunci and Sidicini in foreground about to contact the Samnites
Combat in the rough - a few retreats. And I have just realised I had forgotten that Light Infantry are 1/2 movement rate in the rough and should have been moving slower.  It does mean that close combat should have occurred two turns later than it has.

Combat in the rough - the Samnite have been forced to retreat a few units.
In a turnabout, the Cavalry-light infantry clash sees the Aurunci light infantry rout the cavalry unit (a 6 in the second round of melee after both disordered in the first round).

Aurunci light infantry in contact with Roman cavalry.  Both disordered.  The cavalry are subsequently routed.

The left most Latins charges the opposing Romans.

Latins (bottom in two lines with general)  in melee with Romans (in three lines)
Each "column" is fronted by a Legionaire unit (Heavy Infantry), a -1 fortitude phalanx in the middle and a +1 fortitude phalanx in the rear.  The Latins have a general.  All have line relief attribute that means interpretation has no effect, and a disordered unit can swap places with a ordered unit behind it.  The line relief rules worked really well and I am happy with them.  They worked really well to break a melee (normally a 1 or 6 will break a melee between equal unit, a 1 is bad for the attacker, a 6 is bad for the defender.  The line relief allows a fresh unit to perform the combat with a 5 or 6 now being bad for the defender.

So how did it actually play out: The front units were disordered.  In the Roman turn, the Legionnaire units swapped with the -1 phalanx that managed to rout the opposing Latin infantry.  Pursued into the -1 phalanx and subsequent close combat saw both disordered.  In the Latin turn, swapped out -1 fort phalanx for +1 fort phalanx and routs the opposing infantry, pursues into disordered HI  that routs. And then into +1 phalanx that also routs. The Latin General was key in getting the +2 in every combat.

Aurunci manage to rout a few more Samnites.

There are more Aurunci and Sidicini at the front than Samnites.  The latter are losing.

The legionaries melee described previously actually caused the Romans to reach their breakpoint.   I did play out the other legionary "column" but that did not have the swing to cause any routs and simply continued in melee. 

End game with Roman edge to the bottom.  The Latins have control of the Roman right flank and the Latin Allies are doing well in the rough too.

I did like the way the line relief rules worked - I have tested them once before and it was good to see that they did work for three deep lines as well.  After this game I did have a deep thoughts about the power of generals (+2 is a excellent modifier for a single d6 roll and the average combat value is 3).  but I did a little bit of reading and researching and soul searching and left it at +2.  The general is not merely the general - it represents a focus point for command and combat across the entire army.  The Roman general should have moved to oppose the Samnite general to cancel out the +2 bonus.  I have done this in a few previous games and it make sense. It also matches Bill Banks Ancients (from which ABC derives some bits from) that had a similar concept to this.  I am good again.


  1. Interesting battle (I didn't know it) and nice report!

    1. This is the first battle from the scenario books I had never heard of either. There seems to be quite a few battles documented for the Roman-Samnite Wars (some more than others). Peter Sides did scenarios for three. I am in the process of writing the other two up. It is an interesting period of history I knew happened, and that was about the sum of my knowledge!