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.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Polemos SPQR: Gallic War Battle 3

So the next battle in my test for the Gallic War campaign was a third time through the same basic scenario, but back to Polemos SPQR, since by this point my rules clarifications' questions had been answered and I had begun to feel a bit more comfortable with the rules again.

The Set-Up:

I won't go over the set-up details again since they were covered in previous posts, just to summarize saying that two Roman legions (total of 14 bases) are taking on a Gallic army of  three contingents (16 bases); there was a possibility that another two Roman legions would arrive (on a D6 throw of '6' made on every turn after the first, but this never happened...

The Battle:
This time, the battle begins with the Helvetii taking the initiative and moving forward to assault the Roman Right

The massed Gallic foot are ordered to advance down the slopes and sweep away the Romans...

The Gallic horsemen crash into the edge of the legionaries and push both them and their supporting Horse (centre-left) back...

The Roman cavalry is swept away (left) by the Gallic cavalry; the skirmishing Numidian cavalry has delayed some of the Gallic foot warriors (top-right)

The Gallic warriors crash into the Roman legionaries...

Who are struggling to take the strain (note the shaken markers); and the legionary commander has gone down in the fighting

The left-hand cohort is outflanked...but some Numidian horseman are riding to the rescue (centre-left)

The Gallic warriors have their blood up and are distincly ascendant over their Roman foes (The edge of the table means that I had to fudge this slightly*); note that some of the Gallic horsemen were eliminated and the remainder have been pushed back though (centre-left)

One of the Roman cohorts has been routed and the others are under extreme pressure (bottom centre)

The Romans continue their advance in the Centre, wondering if this legion can win the battle before the other legion loses it

It seems not! The Gallic Cavalry quickly rout their Roman opponents (left)

However, the Gallic Cavalry in the centre is finally seen off by the legionaries

The Roman Right overall is in total disarray though - another cohort breaks and runs (bottom left); the Numidian Horse has caught and routed a couple of groups of the Helvetii (right) but are now severely shaken themselves
The flight causes some consternation within the Gallic army...

But it doesn't affect the men actually fighting and another cohort breaks (bottom-centre)

The undefeated Roman centre has not been able to make any impression and with both of its flanks collapsed, the remaining Legionaries also break and run and must hope to evade the victorious Helvetii...
Game Notes: A lot smoother and quicker this time, and a rare but very comprehensive win for the Gauls!  If they can get a decent charge going with a mass of warriors with plenty of depth and a middling frontage, they can cause real problems for the Romans, especially if the Romans line is too thin or being attacked on its flanks, and so it proved in this battle.  Getting caught in the flank or rear is almost always fatal in these rules unless the troops being caught are much, much better than the attackers.  Anyway, not much to say except it all went pretty well and was quick - still nowhere near as quick as DBA though, although that is so streamlined it is hard to beat.  What is a big difference is that formations are much more manouevrable and flexible than in Polemos: that is why it can look as if troops aren't always doing very much at some points in Polemos, it is because it is so expensive in terms of time and command effort that it sometimes just doesn't make sense to do it, when command energy needs to be invested in the warriors in combat instead.

*because my table is quite small, I need an "edge of the table" convention.  If troops are fighting, then I move them in the most logical direction along the baseline rather than moving them off the table; if not in conflict I move them off the table and a commander must expend tempo points to bring them back on...

As ever, figures by Baccus 6mm.


  1. Certainly a convincing win for the Gauls. Glad to see you are getting into the swing of things again with SPQR.

    1. Yes, nice to see the Gauls get a win for a change. With enough troops and a bit of luck, they are a formidable opponent for the Romans.