Wednesday, 21 April 2010


The Zamaday event was last saturday, and although I cant quite say the WAB game was without a hitch it went pretty well I think. The main hitches arose because I hadnt checked over the lists well enough - I'd managed to completely miss out the Carthaginians left wing of Numidian cavalry, and left a couple of barbarian units behind.

This was my first SOA battleday, and I thought the format was excellent - well done to Richard Lockwood, the other organisers and the speakers. Essentially its a full day (8am to 6pm including set-up), opened up by an expert introduction to the battle (by Phil Sabin in this case) and with a lunchtime Q&A session (Adrian Goldsworthy and Dundan Head as experts this time). In between the same battle is gamed in as many different scales and systems and Richard can recruit and cram into the hall.

I enjoyed looking at the other games, but didnt give them as much time as I would have liked - I got a bit too involved in my "half a Hannibal" act trying to work out a way to reverse the historic result.

For the actual game, we deployed roughly historically. The elephants did a little better than in most of the games, all of them doing damage to Velite formations, 2 of them getting behind the lines under control and turning round to annoy the Roman third line, and a couple of others panicing in useful directions from the Carthaginian point of view. Even the one that paniced through the left flank did more harm to the Romans's numidian cavalry than the Carthaginian.

The first line - mostly Celtic types - did much worse than historically. Pretty much to a man they bounced off the hastati and fled on contact or in the second round. In fleeing they also caused a fair bit of panic, so the second line didnt really get to fight as a line - just the way the dice go with panic tests. At this point the numerical advantage of Roman Numidians on the Carthaginian left hadnt really come into play, and on the Carthaginian right Guy had skillfully led the cavalry to victory over their Roman counterparts.

The last phase of the battle saw the Romans advancing steadily on foot, sweeping all before them except where a couple of stray elephants were hanging them up, and the Numidians under Manassas finally turning the Carthaginian left flank. The fleeing first liners were still spreading panic around as they retreated, and eventually Hannibal himself paniced off the board accompanied by one or two veteran units and we conceded.

I know you're all eager to get to the photos, but I need to acknowledge the help of several companies and people - in no particular order
  • Gripping Beast - scenery boards and many figures from the original WAB Zama demo game, and general help
  • Wargames Factory - Numidian foot troops, who also saw service as Carthaginian citizen infantry
  • Companion Miniatures for their last-minute loan of their demo Republican Roman Army
  • Will Denham - Numidians from his personal collection

And the "team" - Martyn, George and Guy.

The view from the Carthaginian left. Carthaginians are to the right as you look. About turn 2 from the positions

And from behind the Carthaginian right flank.

Wargames Factory Numidians from the Roman right flank. Gripping Beast Hastati in the background.

Nellie Gets stuck in. Must have been around turn 2 or 3. I think those are Gripping Beast Velites from their demo army, and my Gripping Beast Elephant.

A little later - Martin and George are rolling to victory - the Cathaginian centre is in confusion and the left is about to be rolled up by the Numidian cava;ry. Thats me in the red shirt encouraging the veterans to one more effort. Guy is behind the camera.

The photos were taken by (and are copyright of) Guy Bowers. Guy Bowers is doing a feature on the day for WSS magazine in the near future.

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