Four Player Big Battle Big Base Triumph in the Punic Wars

We played Big Base Triumph in the Punic Wars – liked the Triumph rules but thought some of the troop types sucked. To really challenge ourselves and test out that impression, we played another, bigger, game with Iberians on the table in force. So “Light foot” for both Scutarii and Caetrati and “Javelin Cavalry” for Roman, Numidian, Carthaginian, big shield Iberians, and small shield Iberians. I felt, somehow, I was about to rub salt in the wounds. Of course this is Punic Wars.

Summary: Romans (Chris, Adam) beat Allied Carthaginian (Jamie) and Iberians (Steven)


Armies

We played two armies a side, and all four armies were 40 points.

Chris and Adam got Polybian Roman 275 BC to 105 BC and chose this combination with their 80 points:

Roman Army under Triumph

  • 2 x Javelin Cavalry – Roman, Gallic, Spanish, and effective allied horsemen
  • 14 x Elite Foot – Legionaries
  • 8 x Light Foot – Velites
  • 2 x Skirmishers – Skirmishing bowmen and slingers
  • 26 stands

Jamie and I went for a Carthaginian and Iberian alliance. We got 40 points each.

Allied Carthaginian and Iberian Army under Triumph

  • Later Carthaginian in Spain 275 BC to 203 BC (Jamie)
    • 3 x Elephants – African elephants
    • 3 x Javelin Cavalry – Numidian, Spanish, Poeni or Libyan horsemen
    • 4 x Heavy Foot – Libyan heavy infantry armed with spears
    • 1 x Heavy Foot – Poeni settlers
    • 1 x Light Foot – Libyan, Moorish or Numidian javelinmen
    • 1 x Light Foot – Spanish mercenary light infantry
    • 1 x Skirmishers – Balearic slingers
    • 14 stands
  • Iberians 240 to 20 BC (Steven)
    • 3 x Javelin Cavalry
    • 3 x Raiders – Mercenary Celtiberian scutarii
    • 4 x Light Foot – Scutarii
    • 2 x Light Foot – Caetrati
    • 2 x Skirmishers – Skirmishing slingers
    • 14 stands

Table

I mentioned last time that I had to make special Big Base Triumph sized terrain templates. I did that and you can see them on the table. They are quite big.

Triumph-283 Table - apologies for the odd perspective

Triumph-283 Table – apologies for the odd perspective

One of the annoying things about Triumph is the terrain placement assumes a table with 3:2 ratio. That was fine for our last game of Triumph because we only had two armies on a normal table (6’x4′ because of my big bases). But with a double sized game, we had to adapt things.

Our starting point was terrain card 5-5.

Triumph Terrain Card 5-5

Triumph Terrain Card 5-5

We just added a couple of terrain features and stretched the 3 x 2 terrain card over the full 8′ x 4′ table. We ended up with seven wood features (2 ordinary large; 2 edge large; 2 ordinary small; 1 edge small) and a stream.

Jamie and I were the defender(s) and placed the masses of woods. We assumed we could push my Iberians through the forest. Of course, Chris/Adam might have done something similar to restrict the battlefield and protect their flanks from the superior Carthaginian and Iberian horse. So, on balance, both sides were probably content with the terrain.

I was on the left flank, with my Iberians facing the giant woods.

Triumph-284 - Iberians in the woods on the left

Triumph-284 – Iberians in the woods on the left

Triumph-286 Iberian foot start the battle at the edge of the woods

Triumph-286 Iberian foot start the battle at the edge of the woods

Triumph-287 Iberian cavalry on the flank beyond the woods

Triumph-287 Iberian cavalry on the flank beyond the woods

Jamie was on our centre, up to the stream on the right.

Triumph-289 Carthaginians on the right flank

Triumph-289 Carthaginians on the right flank

Chris and Adam had their Romans between the giant woods and the wood near the stream.

Triumph-288 Roman right with massed velites

Triumph-288 Roman right with massed velites

Triumph-290 Roman left flank

Triumph-290 Roman left flank


Battle

Triumph-291 Iberians advance into woods

Triumph-291 Iberians advance into woods

Triumph-292 Carthaginian cavalry slide along the stream

Triumph-292 Carthaginian cavalry slide along the stream

Triumph-293 Velites on Roman right expand out into woods

Triumph-293 Velites on Roman right expand out into woods

Triumph-294 Legions advance

Triumph-294 Legions advance

Triumph-295 Iberians form battle line in woods

Triumph-295 Iberians form battle line in woods

Triumph-297 Romans advance

Triumph-297 Romans advance

Triumph-298 Iberians in the woods

Triumph-298 Iberians in the woods

Triumph-299 Battle in the woods

Triumph-299 Battle in the woods

Triumph-300 Iberian cavalry push ahead along the flank

Triumph-300 Iberian cavalry push ahead along the flank

Triumph-301 Carthaginian right flank face velites

Triumph-301 Carthaginian right flank face velites

Triumph-302 Velites destroy Scutarii

Triumph-302 Velites destroy Scutarii

Triumph-303 Velites destroy Celtiberians

Triumph-303 Velites destroy Celtiberians

Triumph-305 Woods battle grinds on

Triumph-305 Woods battle grinds on

Triumph-306 Iberian Cavalry head towards centre

Triumph-306 Iberian Cavalry head towards centre

Triumph-307 Iberians fall back from Velites

Triumph-307 Iberians fall back from Velites

Triumph-308 Velites destroy Caetrati

Triumph-308 Velites destroy Caetrati

Triumph-309 Romans dominate open - is there hope in the woods

Triumph-309 Romans dominate open – is there hope in the woods

Triumph-310 Battle lines approach

Triumph-310 Battle lines approach

Triumph-311 Celtiberians finally kill Velites

Triumph-311 Celtiberians finally kill Velites

Triumph-312 View of the table

Triumph-312 View of the table

Triumph-314 Velites beat Caetrati

Triumph-314 Velites beat Caetrati

Triumph-315 Battlelines clash

Triumph-315 Battlelines clash

Triumph-316 Elephants beat Legionnaires

Triumph-316 Elephants beat Legionnaires

Triumph-317 Libyans beat Legionnaires

Triumph-317 Libyans beat Legionnaires

Triumph-318 Generally Elephants beat Legionnaires beat Libyans

Triumph-318 Generally Elephants beat Legionnaires beat Libyans

Triumph-319 Elephants beat Legionnaires

Triumph-319 Elephants beat Legionnaires

Triumph-320 Iberians conquer woods

Triumph-320 Iberians conquer woods

Triumph-321 Skirmishers eat Elephants

Triumph-321 Skirmishers eat Elephants

Triumph-322 Legionnaires destroy Poeni Settlers

Triumph-322 Legionnaires destroy Poeni Settlers

Triumph-323 Roman-Carthaginian match up is brutal

Triumph-323 Roman-Carthaginian match up is brutal

Triumph-324 Skirmishers kill another Elephant

Triumph-324 Skirmishers kill another Elephant

Triumph-325 Numidians kill Velites

Triumph-325 Numidians kill Velites

Triumph-326 Legionnaires destroy Libyans

Triumph-326 Legionnaires destroy Libyans

Triumph-327 Elephants stomp Skirmishers

Triumph-327 Elephants stomp Skirmishers

Triumph-328 Legionnaires destroy Libyans

Triumph-328 Legionnaires destroy Libyans

Triumph-329 End Game

Triumph-329 End Game

Triumph-330 End Game

Triumph-330 End Game

Triumph-331 End Game

Triumph-331 End Game


Conclusions and observations

We enjoyed the game. Chris and I were active in the first half with Romans versus Iberians, in the woods. Adam and Jamie were active in the second half, in the open.

Jamie and I adopted a fairly common wargaming tactic when fielding Carthaginians against Romans. Avoid battle. Because once the two infantry lines come into contact the Romans will have the advantage. We elected to try to win in the big wood with my Iberians. This was, after all, the only place they were useful. If the Romans caught them in the open they were mincemeat. Unfortunately, our tactic did not work.

The Romans (Chris and Adam) won. That Elite Foot / Blades / Legionnaires are pretty tough in any DBx game or derivative. Once they lined up against Jamie’s army they started chewing on the Libyan Spearmen. It didn’t take long before we hit our break point.

I still don’t like what Triumph does with Iberian Scutarii and Caetrati – making them both “Light foot”. Or with Roman, Numidian, Carthaginian, big shield Iberians, and small shield Iberians – making them all “Javelin Cavalry”. By doing this I feel Triumph has lost a key element of the Punic Wars flavour. The contemporaries considered these troop types to be different and I think wargaming rules should as well.

And Triumph really needs to sort out what player should do in a big battle on a big table (not the normal 3:2 ratio).

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