Monday, April 18, 2022

Battle Report: Wars of the Republic - Ambush on Cossinius


Today's scenario idea is based on a scenario from the Revolt! supplement for Wars of the Republic found on the Wargame Vault.  

Praetor Glaber underestimated Spartacus and his slave forces at Vesuvius.  Glaber paid the ultimate price for his error.  However, his error was soon compounded.  A new praetor raised a new set of recruits to put down the slave uprising.  The Praetor was named Varinius, and he kept as his aid a man named Cossinius.  

Spartacus and his troops managed to get the drop on their Roman oppressor's yet again!  According to the story, Cossinius was ambushed by Spartacus while he was bathing in a Roman villa.  The ambush was successful, and the aid was killed and his troops routed.  

Today's battle will be re-fighting this action.  Will Spartacus be able to slay Cossinius this time?  Will the Roman forces be able to put down the slaves?  Let's find out! 


Cossinius' Levy  
1 Militia Legion
2 Irregular Infantry
1 Light Infantry

Cossinius will lead the unit that is placed in the Villa at the start of the battle.

Spartacus' Slaves
1 Elite Infantry- Spartacus
1 Drilled Infantry
1 Irregular Infantry

The Drilled Infantry represent the Gallic/Germanic contingent of Spartacus' force.  They were probably warriors captured and sold into slavery.  I like to think they were led by Crixus.  The Irregular Infantry represents the other slaves that would have been attracted to Spartacus' escaped band, who were looking to escape their bonds, but with little military skill.  

Today we will be using a 48MU by 48MU board.  The center of the board is a Roman Villa or similar terrain feature.  For the rest of the board we have: 

1- Stream- Dangerous
2- Stream- Dangerous
3- 1-level hill- Difficult
4- Hedge- Blocking

The Villa can hold one unit, and it counts as Difficult terrain, and units inside must be in open order.  1 Roman unit must start within the Villa.  This unit will be led by Cossinius.  All other units are set-up with a leader within 6MU of the Villa. 

The Romans choose to put their Light Infantry in the Villa as Cossinius' escorts.  The Militia Legion is deployed near the hedge, and the irregular infantry is closer to the 1-level hill.   

The Slaves can be set-up on any board edge with the focal point up to 6 MU in from the edge.  Spartacus is aimed at the Militia Legion.  The Drilled Infantry are on the hill.  The Irregulars are positioned to cross the stream.    

The Slaves are trying to destroy the unit that has Cossinius in it.  Meanwhile, Cossinius is trying to survive the battle or escape from any board edge within 6 turns.  

This is a variant mission from the one actually found in the Revolt! supplement for Wars of the Republic found on the Wargame VaultI am interested to see how the different win conditions impact how the game is played.    

Turn 1: 
Spartacus and his troops have 4 Commander's Gaze, while Cossinius has 5.  The Romans bid 3, but with time being of the essence, the Slaves bid them all.  This seems risky as they will not be able to charge first turn!  However, Spartacus wins.   

Crixus leads the drilled infantry forward straight at the villa, but can not reach it.  Spartacus also closes in, but is halted at the hedge.  Meanwhile, the escaped slaves fan out to try and block their edge off.  Cossinius does not try to interrupt at all.  Once all the slaves have made their move, his forces take action.  

The Romans start by spending a Commander's Gaze to get their Militia Legion into formation.  They take up a defensive position, content to let Spartacus and his troops come to them.  The Irregulars in front shuffle over to block Crixus and his troops.  Meanwhile, the other irregulars move to stop escaped slaves.  Finally, Cossinius leads his skirmishing light infantry out the back of the villa, and towards the streams.      


Turn 2: 
Both sides get their Gaze, and decide on bids.  This time the Slaves bid 2, and the Romans bid 4.  The Romans go first.  Romans win. 

The Militia Legion shuffles side-ways to cover Cossinius' flight.  Seeing their prey escaping, the slaves try to win back initiative with a Gaze, and the Slaves win.  

The Escaped Slaves see the fleeing Roman, and charge into the Roman irregulars blocking them.  The slaves have used all of their Gaze.  In front of the Villa, Crixus and his troops walk into combat with the Irregular's in front of them, perhaps not a wise move.  Finally, Spartacus tries to get around the Militia, but they effectively block his path.  

With the Romans regaining activation, Cossinius and his troops light troops use a point to skirmish and begin crossing the stream.  They pass a Discipline check, and avoid taking Courage loss.  

The Slaves elect to begin with the Escaped Slaves vs the Roman Irregulars.  Not great rolls for the slaves, and both sides lose two Courage and start to Waver.  

The irregulars facing Crixus' drilled infantry just bounce of his men's looted shields and armor.  

Turn 3: 
No one has lost a unit yet, so both sides have full Commander's Gaze.  The Slaves bid, 0, and the Romans bid 2 to go first.  Romans go first again.  

Cossinius use 1 Commander's Gaze to urge his bodyguards forward across the streams.  They again pass their discipline check and rush across the stream.  It looks like they will escape next turn, as they are at the edge of the board.

The Militia Legion again slide sideways to block Spartacus and his men from advancing on their fleeing commander.  

In frustration, Spartacus charges into the Militia Legion, determined to make them pay for their impertinence.  The Legion spends a Commander's Gaze to throw pilums at the attacking slaves.  

The Romans decide to start with Crixus vs. the Irregulars, probably trying to get the Slaves to burn re-rolls.  As expected, the Slaves drive the Romans back and cause them to start to waver with two courage loss.  

Next, the Romans choose to complete Spartacus vs. the Legion.  The Pilum make the difference as the Militia pushes Spartacus back 1, and reduce them to 2 Courage, only losing one in return.  

Finally, the Escaped Slaves fight the Irregular Romans by the stream.  The two sides fight hard, but both are ultimately routed from the field as their courage shatters!  

The Irregular Infantry and the Escaped Slaves are removed.  No one can really see them, so no Discipline checks are needed.          

Turn 4: - Final Turn 
Both sides collect their Commander's Gaze, minus the loss of one unit.  The Romans bid all of their Gaze to guarantee going first.  Spartacus, does not bid any.  

The Romans activate Cossinius and his escorts and they run off the table and to safety.  That's pretty much the game at this point.  However, we decide to finish off the rest of the turn to see what happens.  The rest of the units are all stuck in melee.  

The Romans choose to determine the results of Crixus' fight, looking to force the slaves to burn re-rolls before the fight with Spartacus.  The effort works, as Crixus uses one of their 3 gaze for it.  However, it is enough to rout his foes, with no losses to his own unit.  

In the fight with Spartacus and the Militia Legion, the two sides fight fiercely, but both are reduced to 1 Courage left.  No one pushes anyone back.  

With the Romans units routed or fled, the Militia make a Collapse test.  They fail, and flee the field leaving Spartacus and his troops in control of the battlefield.  

Spartacus failed to kill Cossinius, but the escaped Slaves hold the field by causing the Roman forces to collapse.  A strategic loss but a tactical victory, and a result that did not mirror the history books.  

My defeat (As Spartacus) lay in two factors: 

1. My deployment was a T, when I really needed a Y deployment.  I foolishly thought that the Romans would not try to flee towards the Dangerous terrain, and I thought it would hinder them enough for me to catch up if they did.  

2. My opponent choosing to garrison the Villa with his Light Infantry and choosing to flee rather than trying to defend the Villa.  This was an especially wise move as the Skirmisher ability of the Light Infantry would allow them to easily traverse the streams.  

Overall, a fun and quick scenario that varies a bit from the Revolt! supplement for Wars of the Republic found on the Wargame VaultIt did lead to a different approach to the tactics on the table and how the victory was won.    

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