I’m in the process of re-flocking my Fall of Rome armies. I’ve mostly done the Alans, Huns, and Germanic Cavalry (Visigoths, Vandals, Suevi). Now I’ve got the the Germanic foot horde to do. Romans later.
All this activity has got me thinking about a mini-campaign. Basically I want to try out the armies under Field of Glory (although it could be any rules) and wrap a very light weight campaign around it. The context is the barbarian invasion of Roman Hispania.
See my Fall of Rome Timeline for more details but this is a potted history of the fall of Hispania to the Visigoths:
- 409: the Germanic Suevi (including Quadi and Marcomanni tribes) were the first barbarians to invade the Iberian peninsular. They settled in Roman Gallaecia in the northwest. The Germanic Vandals (Silingi and Hasdingi) and the Sarmatian Alans soon followed the Suevi into the Iberian peninsula. To make matters worse the Roman general in Hispania, Gerontius, mutinied and installed Maximus Tiranus as Emperor although he only controlled what what was left of Roman Iberia. Gerontius’s forces defeated, but did not destroy, Constantine’s forces in the first 18 months of Maximus’s reign. However the conflict weakened the armies of both usurpers.
- 411: as a piece of political expediency, the Emperor Honorius formally granted Lusitania to the Alans, Gallaecia to the Suevi and Hasdingi Vandals, and Baetica to the Silingi Vandals. Meanwhile Honorius’s general, Constantius III, defeated the armies of both usurpers Maximus and Constantine III. Constantius defeated and killed Maximus’s general, Gerontius, at the Battle of Arles. Maximus subsequently forfeited his Imperial claims and entered a monastery.
- 415: at the request of the Roman Emperor Honorius, the Germanic Visigoths invaded the Iberian Peninsular from Aquitaine.
- 416: with the Visigoths encroaching across the Pyrenees, the Suevi began to expand from Gallaecia.
- 419: the Suevi, with Roman assistance, beat off an attack by the Hasdingi Vandals.
- 426 (or perhaps 418): the Visigoths defeated the Alans and killed the Alan king. The Vandal king Gunderic became king of the Alans.
- 428: the Alans defeated the Suevi and the Romans at the Battle of Mérida.
- 429: the Vandals and the Alans crossed the straits to North Africa where they establish a kingdom.
- About 448: the Suevi began a wave of attacks on the Roman province of Tarraconense.
- 456: the Visigoths, with Burgundian allies, defeated the Suevi at the Battle of Orbigo and sacked their capital city Braga.
- 468: the Suevi sacked the Roman city of Conimbriga, near modern Coimbra, and Lusídio, Roman governor of Lisbon, delivered the city to the Suevi.
- 470: the Visigoths drove the Suevi from southern Gallaecia and Lusitania.
- 4 Sep 476: The West Roman Empire fell when the army in Italy deposed the last Western Emperor and their general, Odoacer, a chieftain of the Germanic Heruli, proclaimed himself King of Italy.
- 507: the Franks defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Vouillé and took Aquitaine. This shifted Visigothic focus to Hispania.
- 554: representatives of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I were invited into Iberia to help settle a Visigothic dynastic struggle. The Byzantines stayed as a spearhead for a potential “Reconquest”. They took control of Granada and southernmost Hispania Baetica to create the province of Spania.
- 570: the Visigoths began military actions with the explicit purpose of conquering all of Hispania. The first attack on the Suevi.
- 572 to 574: the Visigoths invaded the valley of the Douro, pushing the Suevi northwards. They took most of the northern regions (Cantabria) and regained part of the southern areas lost to the Byzantines.
- 584: the Visigoths defeated the Suevi. The last Suevi king of the held out for a year before surrendering (585). With his surrender this branch of the Suevi vanished into the Visigothic kingdom.
- 624: the Visigoths conquered the last Byzantine domains and the Basque Country. They now controlled all of the Iberian peninsula.
The protagonists were:
- Roman (later Byzantine)
- Suevi (Quadi and Marcomanni)
- Vandal (Hasdingi and Silingi)
All of these had or could have had rival factions within the nation, e.g. Maximus was the Roman usurper who set up in Hispania, the Hasdingi and Silingi Vandals operated separately, similarly the Quadi and Marcomanni of the Suevi were sometimes in conflict, and there was at least one Visigothic civil war – which was when the Byzantines were invited in.
I’ve ignored nations and events outside Hispania, e.g. the Franks and the Frankish and Visigothic conflict.
Any campaign needs some flavour so this needs to capture the key events. I think that means:
- Battles – more frequent when more protagonists in the Peninsular
- Suevi, Vandals and Alans arrive (409)
- Visigoths arrive (415)
- Vandal King becomes Alan King (426 after Alan King dies in battle)
- Vandals and Alans cross to Africa (429)
- Fall of West Roman Empire (476), i.e. no more Romans
- Byzantines arrive (554 during Visigothic civil war)
- Visigoths defeat the Suevi after many years of conflict (585)
- Visigoths evict Byzantines by taking cities (624)
- Visigoths conquer Basques and hence all of Hispania (624)
The campaign is for two players. The players take the role of different nationalities during the campaign.
The campaign starts in 409 AD when the first barbarians arrive in Hispania and Maximus revolts.
The campaign proceeds in a series of turns. In each turn:
- Determine date
- Determine nationalities in the peninsular
- Determine protagonists in conflict
- Fight battle
- Collect victory points
The first turn is 409 AD.
Each subsequent turn 1d6 years later. A further 20 years can be added for a generation of peace – see below.
Determine nationalities in the peninsular
The potential protagonists are:
The Romans, Suevi, Vandals, and Alans start in the Peninsular. Other comings and goings are determined as follows:
- The Visigoths arrive in the Peninsular in time for their first battle
- The Romans pass from history on the Fall of West Roman Empire in 476
- The Byzantines immediately arrive the first time both of these conditions apply:
- Romans have passed from history
- Visigoths battle Visigoths or Suevi battle Suevi or Vandals battle Vandals
- Any nation will pass from history if they are conquered, i.e. lose three battles and/or sieges to anyone at any time even in a civil war
- The Vandals and Alans pass from (Spanish) history by crossing to Africa rather than fight themselves or each other in battle
If it matters then apply the comings and goings in the order given. It might affect, for example, whether the Byzantines arrive and Vandals leave.
Determine protagonists in conflict
Each player rolls on this table to determine the nationality of their army for this turn. It is possible for both players to field the same nationality, reflecting a civil war. If a nationality isn’t in the peninsular for any reason – hasn’t arrived yet or has passed from history – then substitute “peace” instead.
Nationality of Army
(if in peninsular, otherwise “peace”)
Having determined the nationality of the protagonists you need to figure out what happens:
- If either player get a “peace” result then …
- there is a generation of peace, no battle takes place and a further 20 years passes.
- If either player has a nationality of “Byzantine” then …
- a siege takes place instead of a battle. The non-Byzantine nationality, if any, wins automatically. This is mainly because I don’t have Byzantine figures but also because they really only held cities and didn’t fight land battles in Hispania.
- If Alans face Vandals, Alans face Alans, or Vandals face Vandals then …
- Both the Alans and Vandals immediately cross to Africa instead of fighting a battle. In all cases both the Alans and Vandals pass from history.
- Otherwise …
- fight the battle using your preferred tactical rules. Field of Glory, DBA, Warmaster Historical would all work. In fact you could use a different set of rules and different sized armies for every battle. Army lists can extend past their nominal end date if there is no alternative list for the latter period.
Field of Glory
I’m thinking of Field of Glory using 600 point starter armies if possible. So the army lists are:
|Roman||284-425||Dominate Roman||Legions Triumphant||12|
|425-450||Foederate Roman||Legions Triumphant||18||The starter army has bow armed equites so is post 450; need a variation for earlier period.|
|450-493||Foederate Roman||Legions Triumphant||18||The normal starter army|
|Suevi||210-585||Early Frankish, Alamanni, Burgundi, Limigantes, Quadi, Rugii, Suebi or Turcillingi||Legions Triumphant||59||Starter army is Alamanni so need a variation with less archers. Can use either Quadi or Suevi options. Quadi have a lancer option.|
|Vandal||250-429||Early Visigothic or Early Vandal||Legions Triumphant||52|
|Alan||1-650||Early Alan||Legions Triumphant||41||Use Agricultural, Hilly or Woodland terrain types rather than Steppes – It is Spain after all.|
|Visigothic||250-429||Early Visigothic or Early Vandal||Legions Triumphant||52|
|425-622||Later Visigothic||Decline and Fall||13||The starter army is post 622 so need a variation with impact foot for earlier period.|
|622-718||Later Visigothic||Decline and Fall||13||Normal starter army.|
For DBA the army lists would be:
II/58. Alan. 50AD-1500AD.
II/65. Early Visigothic. 200AD-419AD.
II/66. Early Vandal. 200AD-442AD.
II/72. Early Frankish, Alamannic, Quadi, Suevi, Rugan or Turcillingi. 250AD-496AD, 506AD, 406AD, 584AD, 487AD & 493AD.
II/78. Late Imperial Roman. 307AD-425AD.
II/82. Later Visigothic. 419AD-720AD.
II/83. Patrician Roman. 425AD-493AD. Option (a) West.
For Warmaster Historical there are only a couple of armies with existing army lists:
|Dark Ages||Roman, Late||WA||116|
|Dark Ages||Roman, Late (revised)||RP|
- Need to check dates of lists and suitable compositions for Spain
- For example the Visigoths list adds Gardingi from 475 AD and the creation of the Visigothic kingdom. Is this right?
- Need Suevi list
- Need Vandal list. Rick Priestley has a Vandal list on his site but that is for the African Vandal Kingdom not the earlier period.
- Need Alan list. The Sarmatian list in WMA is closest but explicitly says it doesn’t cover the Alans.
Collect victory points
If a nationality is the sole nation in the peninsular then it has conquered all of Hispania.
A nationality fighting itself gets no victory points. Otherwise a nationality gains two victory point for each battle or siege it wins and one victory point for each draw.
A player gains two victory point for each battle they win and one victory point for each draw. Sieges earn no victory points for players.
The campaign ends when the players get sick of it or when a nationality conquerors all of Hispania.
A nationality wins the nationality-game by conquering all of Hispania or by having the most victory points at the conclusion of the campaign.
A player wins the player-game by having the most victory points at the conclusion of the campaign.
Example of play
This is an example of how a campaign might play out.
|409||Suevi Win||Visigoth Loss||P1 Win||P2 Loss||Visigoths arrive|
|415||6||Suevi Loss||Alan Win||P1 Loss||P2 Win|
|420||5||Roman Loss||Suevi Win||P1 Loss||P2 Win|
|426||6||Roman Win||Vandal Loss||P1 Win||P2 Loss|
|428||2||Visigoth Win||Alan Loss||P2 Loss||P1 Win|
|429||1||Visigoth Win||Alan Loss||P2 Loss||P1 Win|
|435||6||Alan Win||Roman Loss||P2 Loss||P1 Win|
|438||3||Alan Loss||Suevi Win||P2 Win||
Pass from history
|Alans are conquered and pass from history|
|442||4||Vandal Draw||Visigoth Draw||P1 Draw||P2 Draw|
|443||1||Vandal||Vandal||Pass from history||Vandals cross to Africa, i.e. pass from (Spanish) history. No battle.|
|466||3+20||Roman||Peace/Alan||P1||P2 Peace||Generation of peace|
|476||N/A||Pass from history||Fall of Western Roman Empire;|
|490||4+20||Peace/Alan||Suevi||P2||P1 Peace||Generation of peace|
|513||3+20||Suevi||Peace/Roman||P2 Peace||P1||Generation of peace|
|539||6+20||Visigoth||Peace/Alan||P2 Peace||P1||Generation of peace|
|565||6+20||Peace/Byzantine||Suevi||P2||P1 Peace||Generation of peace|
|589||4+20||Peace/Vandal||Peace/Alan||P1 Peace||P2 Peace||Generation of peace|
|614||5+20||Peace/Roman||Peace/Vandal||P1 Peace||P2 Peace||Generation of peace|
|636||2+20||Visigoth||Peace/Vandal||P2 Peace||P1||Generation of peace|
|639||3||Visigoth Win||Suevi Loss||P2 Loss||P1 Win|
|644||5||Visigoth Win||Suevi Loss||P2 Loss||P1 Win||Suevi are conquered and pass from history|
Summary of wins/losses and victory points:
|Nationality / Player||Win||Draw||Lost||Victory Points||Pass from history|
|Roman||1||–||3||2||476 Fall of Western Roman Empire|
So 11 battles with no nationality appearing more than three times. Player 1 won the campaign with six battlefield victories and 13 victory points. The Visigoths won by being the last man standing as the Byzantines never showed up. Their historical counterparts beat them by 20 years.