Monday, 16 September 2013

Battle of Sentinum 295BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

This is game 17 in playtesting my ancient rules by replaying historical battles. 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.

Battle of Sentinum
It is the third Samnite war and the Samnites gather allies to defeat Rome.  The Romans manage to draw away some of the enemy troops and are left facing the Samnites and the Gauls.

Here is a link of interest that I used to create the scenario:

Wikipedia article

Roman and allies - Romans infantry are the two deployed 4 units deep

2 Legionaries, HI, protection 0, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Skirmishers, SI, javelins
3 Heavy Cavalry, HC

10 Latin Ally troops, LI
4 Latin Ally Skirmishers, SI, slings
1 General, +1 command ability


Samnites and Allies
Gauls on the left, Samnites to the right.

10 Spearmen, LI, fortitude +1
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
1 General

8 Warbands, LI, impetuous
3 Skirmisher, SI, javelins
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
2 Chariots, MCH
1 subgeneral

1 Samnite Camp

Breakpoint: 13

Each general can only command their own troops.  

I do not have any of the Samnites as models so are represented by various Late Roman Auxilia. 

There are a lot of troops for a small board!


An overview of deployment - Gauls and Samnites (with camp to the rear) on the left

The Game
Romans move first.  Not sure they will do so well against the Gauls, but they better chance against the Samnites so advance on the right and only slightly on the left.

The Romans right advances

The Gallic warband group

Gallic cavalry and Roman cavalry locked in melee on Roman left.  The warband group advances, as does the Samnites. Note the warbands are now split into two waves.  This is due to an echelon rule where, for a warband, a unit in a rear rank behind a retreating front unit will be disordered and will need to move into the vacant space, and will not get a charge bonus.  But if separated, the warband unit will still be disordered, but will be able to charge in with the charge bonus.   If the separation is more than 6cm, then the warbands will not be interpenetrated by the retreating front line (retreat distance of 6cm for light infantry warbands).

Samnites charge and ensuing melee sees a Latin ally routed.

The Roman right from the Roman side.  Cavalry in melee on the right and the Roman allies in centre not doing so well (green markers are disordered markers).  One lot of Romans in 4 lines can be seen on the far left.

There is a cunning plan for the Gauls on the Roman left - the cavalry melee with the Romans has the Romans at a +1 advantage due to be supported.  Gauls do have a general, the Romans have the command marker (a +1).

Roman cavalry on the lower left in combat with the Gallic cavalry.  The gallic chariots are in reserve,ready to pounce.  And to the right can be seen the advancing warbands.

During the Gallic turn, the Gallic general is moved to the chariots.  It is hoped the cavalry will be defeated and then rout.  The Roman cavalry will likely pursue into proximity range of the Gallic chariots, who will likely charge.  The chariots will be at an advantage as they are not disordered and also will be supported while the Romans no longer will be.  It worked just as planned. And the command marker is captured.  A command marker is deployed for the +1 command ability, and is not a general, so while is does not count towards the breakpoint, it does reflect a loss of the marker and so won't be on the table any more.

The Roman Cavalry in melee with the Gallic chariots, just before the cavalry routs.

Warbands charge in.  A lucky 6 sees a Hastati unit retreat though the other "ranks" (ranks here representing the Romans lines).  As they all have the line relief ability,  interpenetration has no effect.

The Roman lines in melee with the warbands.

Note the rear line of warbands is 6cm behind the first. An unlucky retreat roll (a 6) will see the retreat distance become 8cm and then interpenetration will have an effect.  Will take the chance.

Samnites move into close combat.  Mostly disorders and so locked in melee.

On the Roman right, the Romans are doing OK against the Samnites.

Over next turn or two, a Latin ally unit and a warband is lost. Line relief is working well for the Romans.

The second Roman heavy cavalry in reserve manages to make it around the flank to hopefully cause havoc in the rear.
The Roman reserve cavalry heading for the Samnite camp.  The game ended before they had a chance to do some looting.
Some Samnites units in the centre failed orders rolls for a number of turns and so were unable to clear the centre of the one lone Latin ally that was defending it.

Facing the lone Latin ally at the bottom centre are 4 Samnite units that just did not follow up the opportunity to attack (failed order rolls).

Another turn on both sides sees the Roman centre finally fall.  Importantly, the Gallic general and a warband charges into a disordered legionary unit and routs it.  The Roman reaches their breakpoint and so have lost.

A very happy Gallic general with warband.

The Gallic chariots were in the process of turning to reenter the battle.

End game.  Remaining Roman units are circled in red.  Not that many.

I really like this scenario - Romans, warbands, stacks of light infantry (medium infantry in some rules) and an interesting setup.  The rules work as I expected them to, always a good thing.  There was a lot of troops - about double what I would recommend for a game with my rules.  I am still not sure whether the Samnites should be poor heavy infantry or good light infantry.  Sticking with the latter for now.  The Medium Chariot troop type worked well for the Gallic chariots.

I have been looking for a scenario to test other rules with as I am close to being over the Battle of Heraclea.  I was thinking one with warbands if there was one I liked.  Bibracte looked good, but Sentinum could be a contender if I cut down the number of bases by about 50%. Sentinum has more troop types in it!

Side note on Imperator
Lastly, I have been busy since having received Bill Bank's Imperator boardgame.  I love how this game may work.  This may change once I play it :-)  I have spent the last week madly doing up a spreadsheet to take a lot of the tedious bits out - events, random provinces, ownership of provinces etc.  Hopefully I will start to play a game soon and replay the battles using my rules.  I will try out the first scenario which is Middle-Eastern in 1700BC.  Back to chariots!  I will still be replaying the Peter Sides scenarios and also doing some other battles on the side to test out the rules. All part of the plan to have a lot of the playtesting done by early next year so I can get back to testing out other rules - the original aim of the blog!


  1. Nice report, love your Gallic chariots...

  2. It was their first outing for all of the Gauls (except the skirmishers), and they performed just fine.