448 AD Roman versus Visigoth – Basic Impetus Army Lists

The fifth game in our Fall of Hispania Campaign will occur in 448 AD, 2 game years after the last battle. Chris Harrod rolled Roman and I got Visigoth. Despite misgivings I have chosen Basic Impetus as the rules.

Basic Impetus has army lists but, even after I reformatted them, I don’t like them. So I tweaked the two that we are intending to use. Okay, I only made two small changes to troop types, but those changes stem from mistakes that get me quite het up.

Late Roman Empire – West

The only change I made was to make the Auxilia Palatina heavy infantry (FP). I don’t buy the WRG myth that troops with the label “Auxilia” are lighter than the legions, particularly not the Auxilia Palatina who were elite and probably fought in armour. I’m not convinced but I left the Auxilia Comitatensis as “light infantry” (sigh, I hate that troop type).

Total Demoralisation Value (VDT) = 17/9 if without options

Number Name Type Movement (M) Basic Unit Value (VBU) Impetus Bonus (I) Demoralisation Value (VD) Notes
1 Equites Medium Cavalry (CM) (General) 10 5 2 3
2 Equites Illyricani Light Cavalry (CL) 12 3 2 1
2 Legionaries Heavy Infantry (FP) (General) 5 5 1 3
2 Auxilia Palatina Heavy Infantry (FP) 8 5 1 2
1 Auxilia Comitatensis Light Infantry (FL) 8 4 1 1
1 Archers Skirmishers (S) 8 2 0 1 short bow B

Special rules.

  • Impetuous foot charging Auxilia Palatina don’t get Impetus bonus. Impetuous foot charging Legionaries halve their Impetus Bonus.


Another army list where the list writer has bought into wargamer myth. In this case it is the mythical “Medium Cavalry” of the Visigoths. This idea stems from a view that the Gardingi were lighter equipped than the Bucellarii. Bollox I say – for a slightly more rationale counter-argument check out my post on the Gardingi. Heavy Cavalry (CP) for sure.

Total Demoralisation Value (VDT) = 19/10

Number Name Type Movement (M) Basic Unit Value (VBU) Impetus Bonus (I) Demoralisation Value (VD) Notes
1 Bucellarii Heavy Cavalry (CP) (General) 10 6 4 3
3 Nobles Heavy Cavalry (CP) 10 4 1 2
4 Warriors Heavy Infantry (FP) 5 4 4 2 impetuous
2 Archers Skirmishers (S) 8 2 0 1 short bow B

3 thoughts on “448 AD Roman versus Visigoth – Basic Impetus Army Lists”

  1. The Impetus rule that takes away the charge bonus of warbands is imho another part of the WRG myth: it was put in to ensure auxiliares would be put in the front line, as at Mons Graupius. I suppose they are using their Light Medium Infantry abilities to dodge matador-like out of the way; who knows. The alternative, that dead foreign mercenaries are politically preferable to dead Romans, seems far more plausible to me fwiw. Giving early imperial auxiliaries a lower contribution to the demoralisation value would make more sense to me. For the period of your battle, I can’t see any reason to differentiate auxiliaries, as they were fully fledged members of the Roman establishment, albeit, perhaps with recruiting access to areas beyond.

    • I agree.

      And your comment made me realise I hadn’t finished the post!! Really this is just the preparation for the battle and the battle report is yet to come

  2. A couple of ideas that I’ve come across for basic impetus. Cap the amount of permanent losses to the number of hits inflicted for shooting and for melee to hits plus one. Allow a charged unit which is not disorderd to countercharge (maybe only cavalry?). Cavalry that did not win a melee must retreat 5+d6units and infantry cannot pursue them.


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