Friday, 8 May 2020

Battle of Cynopscephalae 197BC using D3 Ancients Clash

This is game 47 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  It is the first historical game using my new rules D3 Ancients Clash (the previous games were with  ‘Ancient Battlelines Clash’).  I am in the process of writing the rules up from the scribbling it is currently.  D3 Ancients Clash is an evolution of Ancients Battlelines Clash but use 1d3 and designed to assist with replaying these historical games.  I am play testing the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  D3AC is designed to finish in around 30 minutes on a 16”x16” table.

Battle of Cynopscephalae
Here are a few internet links of interest I used for this replay:


4 Legions, Heavy Infantry, line relief, medium missile protection
2 Velites, Skirmishers
2 Aetolians, Light infantry, javelin
1 Heavy Cavalry
1 Light Cavalry, javelin
1 Elephant, untrained
1 General with the Legions
All trained except where noted.
Breakpoint: 8


4 Phalanx
2 Peltasts, Light Infantry, javelin, untrained
1 Heavy Cavalry
1 General with the Phalanx
All trained except where noted.
Breakpoint: 6

Scenario changes
I halved the units and did not include the Macedonian Psiloi.


Deployment. Romans on the left, Macedonians on the right.

All the Romans advance. All the Macedonians advance as well.  All Macedonians are on the hills now. 

View from Roman side

Elephant advances into the Phalanx

Elephants and pikes.

 and retreats, depleted.  Both phalanxes pursue.

Routed elephant pursued by the phalanxes.

Oh, that did not go well, the elephant routs but luckily only takes the Velites with them. The phalanxes continue to advance .

The Macedonian peltasts fire at the Velites. One peltasts routs, as does the Velites.

The missile fire exchange of the light units.

The Macedonian phalanx charges into the Roman legions.  They retreat but only one phalanx pursues.

Phalanx pursuing the Roman legions.

The Roman light cavalry wheels to face flank of phalanx but never gets a chance to fire for the rest of the battle.  The Roman left sees the light infantry dispersed as the Roman legions charge up the hill to the flat plain and combat the phalanx.  The Romans are pushed back.

Romans and Macedonians clash on the Roman left flank.
On the right, the Phalanxes continue to pushback on the Romans

Roman right flank not going well.

On the left, one of the legions retreats!

A Roman legionary unit retreats.

And then another!

And then the other.

Neither phalanx take the opportunity to followup.

On the Roman left flank, a legions is destroyed

A Roman legion is routed
On the left flank, a legion is destroyed.

On the same flank, the same occurs.

The right flank legion hangs on while the left flank legion, with the General, routs as well.  The Romans reach their breakpoint and are destroyed.

End game. Remaining Roman units are circled

The Macedonians did not lose one heavy unit.  The phalanxes are strong and I did not give the Romans enough light units to shake them up and make them easier to combat.  Also the Romans did not roll well – there are chances to disorder the phalanxes to reduce their combat value but the dice were against the Romans.

Rule changes
(only here for posterity for me to track if I ever come back here)
  • Extended shaken (kind of like unease/disorder) to heavy cavalry and also units are shaken if doing a complex move.
  • Still mulling if I have got the phalanx interactions right, although in this game the Romans did roll badly.
  • Still wondering if I like one sided combat i.e. who wins inflicts damage that then produces a negative modifier for the next combat.  I seem to remember writing that is what I did not like about my original rules based in part on Justified Ancients!  I moved to a combat results table where if both sides had equal combat value then there was a large chance both would be disordered i.e. more the Bill Banks Ancients type result.  We shall see.  After lots of thought I have added in a “both shaken" for a 0 result.  Will see if that keeps me happy.
A reverse of history. Phalanxes are tough!  In my original rules once the first round of combat was over it tended to be that phalanxes had the same combat value as the roman legions.  But in these rules, that is not the case.  And no phalanx was shaken by missile fire or lucky rolls either. So the Romans had it tough in this game.  I may add more Velites if I ever replay.  And the Elephant did nothing – it should have a least shaken a enemy unit!  In a refight I would not put the elephant in front of the legions but to the side (to attack as they did to support the legions). Oh, and the new rules are playing out fine.


  1. A nice little action and great to hear the new rules are working for you:)

    1. Thanks Steve. Hope to get another battle in this weekend, game time permitting.

  2. Shaun, I think you must be aware of Peter's blog here for D3 based wargaming, but as I cannot find a reference here.... just to make sure.

  3. Hello Olivero

    Thank you for the reminder. I do follow Peter's blog and have been following his d3 OHW variants - it is something I do like as a change to the OHW rules.