The Game

With great pleasure I unpacked my third game in the Great Battles of History series – this time Cataphract. I am very much concentrated recently on Byzantine history and extensively playing the simpler brother of GBoH – Commands Colors Medieval. As a side note, my “Belisarius Campaign” in CCM can be found HERE.

So, without hesitation I proposed Marcin – my usual wargames counterpart – a short, quick introductory scenario “to taste the game”. We have chosen Callinicum (531 AD) rather then playbook proposed Tricameron (534 AD). Not surprisingly, we already had Callinicum played together in CCM. The set-up seems confrontational enough, the forces – at first glance – similar so we quickly started the game.

The Scenario

So Sassanids had lost at Dara and Satala in 530 AD but that definitely did not end the so-called Iberian War – a conflict raging between the Byzantine and the Sassanid Empires from 526 AD to 532 AD over the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia. Spring of 531 AD saw another Sassanids army invading Roman Mesopotamia.

Belisarius was caught unawares by the quick and rapid invasion and had to quickly scramble all the forces he could muster. He outmaneuvered the Persian army and wished they just simply retreat but was forced by his subordinates – and threat of mutiny – to deploy for battle. The first scenario in the book shows initial skirmish, extensive missile fire exchange and the Sassanid charging and getting great tactical position on nearby hills. Let us see how it played-out on the table!

The Session

What follows is a short and concise photo-session report from our session with Cataphract. Enjoy!

Initial set-up of both forces on the map – I am commanding Romans, Marcin Persians (click to enlarge)
And here they come! Sassanids in attack! What? They do not charge? They just shoot? Again and again? Yes, composite bow is quite deadly sire… (click to enlarge)
Well, let us push them back – we will pin down at least one of their units! (click to enlarge)
Wait, what you are saying? What our flanks are exposed? (click to enlarge)
Commander, three of our units are routed and the enemy just rolled successfully for momentum! We should say goodbye to our comrades…(click to enlarge)
Here they come! Again! And again – just shooting and shooting. That can be really deadly – another units routs sire! (click to enlarge)
Belisarius hearing above reports from subordinates for sure could had not been happy. Three strong pushes from Sassanids versus one weak counter-attack from Romans (click to enlarge)
We had to finish after one round but the result definitely was in no doubt. 28 to 0 for Marcin’s Sassanids! (click to enlarge)


It seems that Cataphract can become one of my favorite GBoH games – not only due to the flavor and historical period but also thanks to relatively short scenarios, which can be fully played within one evening. I am really anxious to try further scenarios – you can count on session reports from them for sure!