Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Wargaming: An Introduction - Battle of Bibracte

And as is becoming traditional, after two plays of the scenario using the Polemos SPQR rules (here and here), I again bring you the Neil Thomas' Wargaming: An Introduction version!

The scenario remains as previously:

 The Forces:

The Romans:
Commander: Julius Caesar
6 units of Legionaries (Elite, Heavy Armour)
1 unit of Legionaries (Average, Heavy Armour)
1 unit of Skirmishers (Average, Javelins, Light Armour) (n.b. could be replaced by slings or bows)
1 unit of Heavy Cavalry (Average, Light Armour)
1 unit of Heavy Cavalry (Levy, Light Armour)

The Helvetii
Commander: Divico (Poor)
7 units of Warriors (Warband, Average, Light Armour)
1 unit of Noble Heavhy Cavalry (Elite, Light Armour)
1 unit of Noble Heavy Cavalry (Average, Light Armour)

The Game

A simpler game, so simpler tactics: the Helvetii advance!

No crocodiles in this stream, centurion...the Helvetii continue their advance

There is no advantage in waiting - the Helvetii try and get as many of their troops into combat as quickly as possible and hopefully create and advantage by breaking through whilst they have the numerical superiority at the point of contact

Crunch - the clash of sword, spear and shield.  Honours are roughly even...

The fighting continues, but the rough parity remains.  The Roman infantry accompanied by Caesar (X Legion?) is doing very well though

The adjacent Roman legionaries are fast approaching break point however, and the Helvetii have been able to turn the Roman's right flank...

The Romans break through the Gallic line!

But the nearest Roman unit is on the brink of destruction...the flank attack is about to go in, too

The wider struggle - stalemate in the cavalry clash (left), and the Roman reserves are about to intervene (centre)

The Romans dispose of their frontal enemies and are thus able to meet the flank attack without suffering too much

A closer view

The Romans exploit their breakthrough to try and roll up the Helvetii line

They aren't in time to save that Roman infantry unit, but two more units of warriors have been eliminated.  It can't be too much longer now...

Caesar leading his army to victory

Even the cavalry conflict seems to be going the Romans' way

Only a few Helvetii are still fighting in the centre now, and their situation is hopeless

The Helvetii collapse

...and it is all over!
 Game Notes:

Another good game, although simpler as befits these simpler rules.  I still don't really see how a warband army can win in the open against legionaries with these rules: this is especially true because Neil Thomas consistently minimizes the effects of flank attacks, unless the opponent is pinned to the front.  I suppose it is broadly consistent with his generally attritionist approach, although I strongly disagree myself - I think that historically flank attacks are powerful things which rarely failed once they had been pressed home.  That isn't to say they are a bad tactic in Neil Thomas' rules, but what happens is that they still have to work in an attritionist way.  This disadvantages the tactically inferior side, since they can't use a flank attack to suddenly change the tactical situation.

As I drew attention to in the previous battle report, the overall look is quite different, since the simple all-out assault by the Helvetii is possible in these rules in a way which is pretty impossible in the SPQR rules.  Although much good it did them in the end!

Figures by Baccus 6mm.


  1. The wargaming version of extreme sports...extreme scenario testing !!

  2. The doyen of this was Bob Barnetson in Battlegames and Miniature Wargames - he used to play the same scenario with 5 or 6 different sets of rules. I think he ended up getting so much criticism from irate rules writers that he packed it in though. I vaguely recall that the authors of Republic to Empire were really hacked off about his comparative review of that ruleset against other Napoleonic rules released 8-9 years ago. Not that this blog is likely to generate such intense criticism, no matter what I write!