Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, May 11 2021 08:05PM

I have been running a number of Comitatus games to test out some new amendments to the rules. These simplify the combat mechanisms using dice rather than comparing factors. This now brings Comitatus into line with my more recent rules such as Tree of Battles (late medieval) and Malbriook s’en va-t-en guerre (WSS big battles). The 2021 amendments greatly reduce calculations thus speeding up play as well as reducing the strain on my poor brain! They are available as a free download from the rules section of my website — to be used in conjunction with the original rules.


The most recent test game was loosely based on Daras (AD 530) using 15mm figures.


Perozes, deployed the Persians in 3 lines with a strong left wing and substantial reserve. Their army also included elephants. Although not entirely historical, I wanted to test out the elephant mechanisms alongside those of more conventional troops.


The relatively poor quality Roman infantry, supported by a light catapult, were deployed behind a ditch (reminder -- I need to cosntruct some ditch sections!)



Belisarius held back his left, sending Pharas off on a wide (off table) flank march on that wing with a picked force of Huns and Heruls.


Heavy horse archers, backed up by foederati held the Roman right.


The Persians advanced rapidly on their left and a swirling cavalry combat ensued with the Persians getting the better of it. When the Roman commander on that wing was killed in hand to hand combat the line wavered and it looked like a Persian victory was near.


At this critical juncture, Belisarius detached his Bucellarii to reinforce his hard pressed right flank.


Perozes brought up his reserves, personally leading the Immortals to engage the Roman Bucellarii. But against the odds, the Romans got the better of the engagement, slowly pushing back Perozes’ Immortals.


Meanwhile, the Persian right closed in on Belisarius’ refused left, bringing up the elephants in support.


It was then that Pharas rolled high enough on the dice to arrive on table behind the advancing Persian right.


The ensuing fight saw the Huns draw off one of the elephants while Belisarius and Pharas charged with their heavy cavalry, killing the Persian right wing commander in the process.


The infantry in the centre faced each other off, exchanging missiles from a safe distance until the Isuarians on the Roman left surged forward to support Belisarius’ cavalry.


It was a good, very hard-fought game with the Persians winning on their left and the same for the Romans on theirs. In the end we called it a draw with advantage to the Persians. All of the rule amendments worked well -- improving the game while retaining the feel of the original rules.






By smacdowall, Nov 3 2016 05:21PM

Ernie Fosker, who commanded the Romans in the Daras Battle has kindly provided some more photos and better ones that I used in the previous post.



The initial deployments
The initial deployments


The three lines of Persians
The three lines of Persians


Hermogones' death
Hermogones' death


Hermogones' Bucellari seek vengence
Hermogones' Bucellari seek vengence

The infantry take no part in the battle
The infantry take no part in the battle

The Persian second line closes in
The Persian second line closes in

The Romans are surrounded
The Romans are surrounded

Belisarius comes onto the field but too late to save the day
Belisarius comes onto the field but too late to save the day


By smacdowall, Nov 3 2016 03:44PM

I have found it rather enjoyable getting back into Ancients after a bit of a pike and shot interlude. I will be returning to the latter before long, however. My French and Spanish armies for the Battle of the Dunes still require a few more units.


Warlords & Rebels game at the SoA conference
Warlords & Rebels game at the SoA conference

I think it was the Society of Ancients conference that inspired me to get out my 15mil ancients and Comitatus rules again. Before long I will do a full report on the battle I staged there, set in Gaul, 5th C AD.



Roman infanty in entrenchments with Huns out in front
Roman infanty in entrenchments with Huns out in front

Earlier this week it 15mm figures again but the game was set a century later (AD 530). The Rast Roman General Belisarius was defending Daras from the more numerous Persian army commanded by Perozes.

We used the Comitatus scenario which can be downloaded from my website here. This plays out only the action on the Roman left wing. It is an enjoyable scenario if you like lots of cavaly (I do) . I have played it several times with both Persians and Romans winning on different occaisions. We used Comitatus rules with the optional ammunition supply rule.

I introduced a couple of tweaks to keep add to the fog of war. One was the addition of a unit of Arabs in the Persian army with one or two of them riding camels. This made the Roman player nervous in case his horses shied when they came close. However, I had decided in advance that there were not enough of them to scare the horses.

The same was true for the lone Persian elephant. He was untrained and therefore not fit for combat or else he would cause as much or more damage on his own side. He was there for show only.


The Roman player was allowed to keep Pharas and his Heruls hidden until the after the third move when they could appear on the Persian right flank. Belisarius and his bucellarii were off table in reserve.


Deployed in three lines, the Persians opened the battle with their first line of mostly light horse archers delivering some devastating volleys.


The lance armed Roman foederati were shot to pieces and Hermogones, the Roman commander on their left was killed. This sent his shaken bucellarii charging out to avenge his death — a noble act with resulted in the death of every man. Such heroism will be long remembered around the campfires.


As Roman archery and countercharges began to tell against the first line of Persian cavalry, some pulled back as the second line of heavier troops advances.


Amongst the second line were heavily armoured cataphracts who never actually made it into combat.



The clibanarii of the Persian second line move up against the Roman heavy horse archers who evade out of the way after shooting a volley of arrows.



Swarming around the flank of the Romans, the Persian light cavalry, inspired by their commander, swoop in for the kill.


By the time Pharas’ Heruls and Belisarius’ reserve came onto the table there were very few other Romans still standing, apart from the infantry safely behind their trenches. We decided that at this point, Pharas would have turned to find the nearest other Roman army while Belisarius would have withdrawn the infantry back into Daras and prepare for a siege.





















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