Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Battle of Magnesia of the Roman–Seleucid War, 190 BC , fought in 54mm, using "About Caesar" wargame rule.

Inspired by the Wargames Soldiers and Strategy issue 54, we did the battle for our New Year game.
It is one of the most "exotic" battle in troop types used.
As not all troops can be found as 54mm figures, we had to improvise.
We had 10 participants to our game, and it lasted from 02.40 pm until 06.00 pm.
We used our home made rule, "About Caesar"  that went commercial at Caliver Books.

We diced for who would take what position.

Result was on the Selucid side: from Right to left, Siegfried (as Antioguis III) commanded a large force of cavalry, 4 units of medium cavalry and one heavy impact (the cataphracts), 2 units of archers and 4 om medium infantry.
Next on the centre right was Steven,  commanding the 5 phalanxes of which one was elite and one veteran ,with 2 elephants and 3 units of medium infantry.
The left centre was controlled by Alwin: 1 unit of heavy impact cavalry(cataphracs), the companions  (heavy/impact/ elite) and one medium cavalry. Also the scythed chariots, 3 units of Gauls (yes there were Gaul tribes present!), and a unit of skirmish slingers.
On the Left, Mark had 7 units of medium infantry and 2 dromedary cavalry,  Bart had 4 units of medium cavalry and 2  archer cavalry units.

The battle started with some skirmishing.

On the Roman left/reserve, Kristof had 3 units of veteran  cavalry, 1 bowmen unit and 2 elephants.

Then, as Scipio we had our Dutch friend Marcel, covering the left centre with  in total, 2 units of veteran velites , 4 units of veteran hastati/principes and in the third line 4 units of elite triari, and he had also a unit of war dogs. 
Next to him, in the  centre  was Alex, with also units of veteran velites , 4 units of veteran hastati/principes and in the third line 4 units of elite triari. 
On the centre right, we had the first part of Ronny’s command, 3 units of medium cavalry. Then the infantry of Pergamum, commanded by Dirk, consisting of 1 unit of archers, 2 units of peltast (light infantry) 3 units of medium infantry and 5 heavy infantry units. 
On the far right, there was the second command of Ronny, 3 units of horse archers.

The battle started with some skirmishing and the charge of the scythed chariots.  Historically, they proved to be poor and of little influence for the Romans, and therefore they were downgraded to 4 dice in contact instead of 7.  They also were removed after they have done one round of contact.  The skirmishers on the Romans side, did neutralize them without sustaining much losses.

Then the Seleucid players went into the offensive with their cavalry and elephants. They on the flanks, they were met by their counterparts, the cavalry of Kristof and the horse archers of Ronny,  who was unable to activate his medium cavalry due to bad dicing.  The Horse archers proved to be a bad match against the Seleucid  cavalry, clearing the field after a few rounds of fighting., the victorious cavalry now taking on the Pergamum infantry. Also the dromedary cavalry attacked Pergamum light infantry, who were able to withstand the charge in the end, with backup from the other infantry destroy the dromedary force.


In the centre Alwin attacked the advancing hastati of Alex,  with his cataphracts  and  Gauls, and later on with his companions. Stevens elephants weren’t able to do much  harm to the veteran velites, one elephant even went stampeding towards his own base line, and luckily for the Seleucid units didn’t attacked their own troops from the rear.

Kristof had some initial success with his cavalry and elephants, but numbers became telling and one by one his units were destroyed, as was his command when it reached  more than 50 %  of it’s units lost.  The only unit remaining was a stampeding elephant, but without doing  harm.

Still strong and with the  lager part of his infantry uncommitted, Siegfried started to take on Marcel legions, who’s triari had to form a defensive line behind the river, while his hastati had to face the hard pushing phalanxes.  
The Seleucid players thought victory was imminent.  Mark launched his infantry to back up the Bart’s cavalry, and was able to destroy the Pergamum archer unit.

But by now Alwins command almost reached breaking point, as Alex’s legions resisted all attacks. Tired of the bad command dicing, Ronny attached his remaining officer and general each to one unit, his third unit being condemned to stay immobile in the rear.

 Dirk brought his heavy infantry in the front line and also closed in against Marks Seleucid infantry.  Ronny took on Alwin’s remaining Gaul unit and that way destroyed Alwins command.  Ronny had taken a big risk with attaching command ,  as his general could always become a casualty in a fight. With his command at 50%, the loss of the commander would also have meant his command to be broken.   Ronny also destroyed a unit of Mark, and the Pergamum heavy infantry  had little trouble with the Selucid medium infantry, destroying one after the other. On top of that Barts command had not much troops remaining. 

With Mark’s command broken the battle was over. Indeed  the Roman right flank was cleared, and the Roman cavalry could now take on the phalanxes  in the flank, the latter unable to defend themselves as they were committed to the front against Alex’s  Hastati. 

As historical, it was the Seleucid right that gave way leading to a Roman victory.

A game as a game should be, balanced, intense, the outcome never certain.  Fast and fun!

As said, we used "About Caesar", that is also published in Dutch and Italian!
All to be found at Caliver book.

Soon also the battle on our youtube channel:

Figures of Steven, Gilbert De Munck, Marcel and Dirk.
Many thanks to our host Bart.

Our thoughts go to Patrick VDB(and his family) and Massimo Mannari and family, who both lost a family the past weeks


  1. First, my sympathy goes to the two families who suffered the loss of beloved relatives. My condolences.

    Great battle report Dirk! Compliments. More photo's of this battle can be found in my Facebook community page titled -The Batavian: painted toy soldiers-


  2. I have already seen them, thanks. If it's ok for you I will try to use them for my youtube posting.


  3. Salve a tutti,
    I would like to thank everyone for your affection that makes me really feel like a seconded member of the group,
    then I offer my most sincere congratulations for this great epic reconstruction. I assure you that many of my friends were very impressed with the nice selection of photos in battle.
    Also we are working, but we are still far from these exercises, it is true that this is also the year in which we will try to give life to our toy soldiers.
    I join you in sympathy for Patrick, to which I am close in a moment that I know very difficult.