Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pharsalus Round Two

I ran Pharsalus for the second time at the South Bay Game Club meeting on April 9.  In addition to Pharsalus there were five other games being offered that day plus an additional two that had been cancelled at the last minute.   These were a naval game and a companion air combat game covering the same battle with the possibility of planes from the air combat game appearing in the naval game, a 54mm ACW game, a wooden soldier game, and  a Cthulu game,.

Alan and Robert commanded Caesar's army while Bill McHugh commanded Pompey's.  For both this game and the previous one the players on Caesar's side chose to move first on the first turn.  The opposing armies deployed 24 inches (1200 paces) apart.   Caesar's troops advanced to within 12 inches of the opposing army.   In both games Pompey's army chose to advance for their half of the first turn, closing to within 6 inches of Caesar's army.

In all there are about 4000 figures in the game.  Most are from Rapier, a few are from Baccus and the rest are Heroics and Ros.  The game took about three hours to play.   We broke for lunch near noon.   Alex Fabros was celebrating his 80th birthday and had cooked hamburgers for all to enjoy.  Alan, Bill and Bob each received a tee shirt for participating in the game and I gave a spare one to Alex.

This time Pharsalus had a different outcome.   Both sides caused so much damage to each other that the result was ruled a draw.   This is something that had never happened in any previous Scutarii game.   Partway through the battle the center of Pompey's legions broke due to a couple of units being destroyed in combat., but the remainder held.   Scutarii allows the Romans to deploy in multiple lines and replace units in the front line that are damaged with fresh units, but in this case the damage had happened so quickly that the two units were not replaced. Several more units from the Pompey's center would also break later.  

On the cavalry wing the Caesarian players hesitated to commit the infantry to support the cavalry.  This eventually led to the cavalry wing and the additional infantry routing.   On the flank by the river Caesar's infantry eventually broke.   This left Pompey victorious on both wings, but not strong enough to finish off Caesars infantry in the center, while Caesar's troops were also too battered to attempt engaging what was left of Pompey's army.   I didn't make an exact count, but about 60% of Pompey's legions had broken, while Caesar had lost about 40% of his legions.

The armies were as follows:
CAESAR ADD 2 X X 14 +/-2,1, OR 0 5 1 20
GENERALS ADD 1 X X 14 +/- 1 OR 0 free 6 0
LEGION 3+2 6 X 6 11 10 55 550
UPGRADE 10TH 4+2 6 X 6 11 +1 (8) (8)
CAVALRY 3 6 (2") 12 OR 14 11 11 4 44
POMPEY ADD 1 X X 14 +/- 1 OR 0 FREE 1 0
GENERALS ADD 1 X X 14 +/- 1 OR 0 free 6 0
LEGION 3+2 6 X 6 10 9 57 513
CAVALRY 3 6 (2") 12 or14 10 10 11 110
LIGHT INFANTRY 2 4 6" 6 OR 8 10 6 4 48
All of Caesar's army has been rated as veterans with morale of 11.   In addition the 10th legion has been rated as elite with a higher combat factor.   Each legion unit in Caesar's army represents about 384 men in six ranks.   The number of cavalry has been increased from 1000 to 2000 by including the 1000 additional infantry incorporated with them.   Extra points have been paid for Caesar to allow him to win tie die rolls for initiative, to have the initiative for the first turn, and for a higher combat and morale bonus. 
 Caesar gives Pompey 110 cohorts of heavy infantry.   He also states that 22 cohorts were guarding the camp and another location.   He does not state whether the 22 cohorts are part of the 110 or are in addition.   I chose to treat them as part of the 110 due to legions of this period having 10 cohorts and 22 cohorts would not fit this organization.   Another source for the battle also notes that Pompey had his men form up 10 ranks deep.   As such each of Pompey's legion units represent 640 men.   Although Pompey's men were of different quality, in order to prevent confusion and to reflect the greater depth, all the legion units were rated as average.  For both games Pompey's side was given the option of having 14 cavalry units, but having half of them rated at a reduced combat factor of 2 and morale of  9 or choosing to have 11 units representing units formed in 10 ranks instead of 8 and rated as average.  For both games the choice was eleven average units.

 Initial deployment
 End of first turn.  Pompey's cavalry engage Caesar's while Caesar sends additional troops to aid his cavalry.
 The legions engage.
 about half way into the game.  Part of Pompey's center breaks
 The fighting on the cavalry wing
 What is left of Pompey's center attempts to plug the gaps.
 Caesar's cavalry wing begins to break.
 The large hole in the middle of Pompey's line from Pompey's perspective.
 Caesar's infantry mops up what is left of Pompey's infantry in the center.
 Caesar's cavalry wing breaks and Pompey's cavalry begins to envelope Caesar's infantry.
Just prior to Caesar's left wing breaking.  Pompey's routers are at the bottom.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Pharsalus Round One

Returned home from Conquest Sacramento where I ran Pharsalus today.   The convention was in a new location this year.   Attendance appeared to be down from the past year.   A lot of board and some role playing games, but only five historical miniature games, including the two that I ran, on Sunday.   I will have to check the program to see how many there were on Friday and Saturday.  The second game I ran was Callinicum.

There were four participants for Pharsalus.   All of them had not previously played Scutarii.   All the participants received a tee shirt to commemorate the event.  Dominick and David commanded Pompey's army while Pierre and Reese commanded Caesar's army.
From left to right:  Dominick, David, myself, Reese, Pierre.
Initial deployment from behind Caesar's line.  There are about 2000 figures on each side.

View from Pompey/s side.  Pompey's cavalry greatly  outnumbers Caesar's which represent only 1000 cavalry and an equal number of infantry Caesar attached to them.

Behind Pompey's legions.

Behind Caesars legions.

Fighting on the Cavalry wing of the battlefield.   The legions are starting to engage.   The cohorts sent by Caesar to help the cavalry were sent too early so engaged Pompey's cavalry from the front instead of catching them in the flank. 

Both armies fully engaged.

As the fighting intensified more units became shaken or fatigued.  Both sides rotated fresh units into the combat.

End of the battle.   Caesar's legions are breaking after several cohorts are shattered in combat.  Victory to Pompey.
The game lasted about three hours in both game and actual time.  It was a close fought battle where the result could have matched the historical outcome.  I will post a more detailed account along with additional pictures after next weekend's game at the South Bay Game Club and compare the two games.