In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bashing around with 'Hail Caesar' some more

Had a few more games of Hail Caesar recently. It's been nice to blow the dust off my 15mm ancients.

I took my 15mm armies down to a friend's annual summer game day we've taken to calling RiCon. It's always a hoot and a half, getting together with gaming buddies I rarely get to see.

Initial set-up
I've been reading my Tacitus, so the scenario had Germanicus trying to recover one of Varus' lost eagles. The German Sacred Grove is in the upper left. The Romans (on the right) have to punish the tribe, burn the oppidium and search the grove to recover the Eagle.

The Romans had 3 legions, some artillery, auxiliary cohorts and supporting cavalry, archers and slingers. The Germans had loads of warbands and some noble cavalry. I used a lot of proxies; you'll notice Late Imperial auxilia standing in for Early Imperial auxilia.

Initial clash

Romans recoil bloodied

Roman counter-attack

German center gets caught in a vise!
Brian opted to lock-shields and take the German charge on the chin. He then mounted a counter attack and pinned the mass of warbands in place while his two team mates sent cohorts in on either flank destroying most of the Germans. Meanwhile the Roman right wing cavalry had sent in a thunderously successful charge destroying the German nobles and crashing into the warbands behind.

The German defeat was pretty clear by this time so we didn't have to try out making any attacks on a fortified position.

The second game was last weekend in my basement. Two of my oldest gaming buddies came over and another fellow with his teenage son.

Inspired by reading the Osprey on the Varus disaster I thought a column of Romans getting ambushed in the forest would be interesting to try out.

Roman Column

Baggage guarded by legionaries flanked by auxiliaries

Roman vanguard
The Germans got to deploy hidden with some dummy markers. These are indicated by the squares of paper in the pictures. The Germans would have to reveal and then declare orders, but if they failed their command roll then they`d have revealed themselves but not moved. The Romans, wary of German ambush, are marching ready for battle, so they take the flank attack penalties but still use the clash value of Legionaries rather than a March Column.

Tribesmen wait

Again there was nothing subtle. The Germans charged all their units out in turn one. An ala of cavalry and a couple of cohorts got swept away. The skirmishers all evaded into the center near the mule train.


This is going to hurt...

The Romans held on in a couple of key combats and were able to start grinding back at the Germans.

Holding the line

Roman counterattacks
The initially victorious German cavalry had driven too far into the Roman position and found itself caught front and flank by angry legionaries.

Romans getting flanked
On the Roman left, Robin launched a number of co-ordinated counterattacks, destroying several warbands commanded by his son. But another mass of warriors was able to envelope the Roman left. One cohort was destroyed but the second held on and turned to face. Father and son seemed to enjoy bashing on each other, although dad had to remind offspring about the length of the drive home.

By this time the Germans were pretty disorganized and seriously weakened with a lot of warbands approaching their stamina level. The German chieftains conceded defeat and slunk back into the woods to let the remnants of the legions limp back home. This game was pretty tense right up to the very end and all sides felt that the game could have swung either direction a number of times.

In both battles the standard units had frontages of 80mm. Roman legionaries with 12 figures, cavalry and skirmishers with 6 figures. In the first game I did the German warbands with 24 figures but in the second game I made the warbands the same size as the cohorts. The Germans used a lot of rear support though, effectively making the same sized units as before but with a few more dice. This seemed fair to me if the warband is supposed to represent more men.

Both games were pretty big but went by quickly considering the table talk, looking up rules and explaining points to the novices.


  1. Nice page and a lot of nice painted miniatures. Thanks for sharing!