The Campaign

After significant break due to pandemic situation, me and Marcin are coming back to Belisarius Campaign. With the seventh installment in the series we are getting close to the end of that epic tale. This is tale of the greatest Byzantine general, beautifully told by the Commands and Colors Medieval game. Today we move from the eastern frontiers to North Africa – time to start the Vandal War!

Belisarius Campaign:
Thannuris (528 SD)
Melebasa (528 AD)
Dara (530 AD)
Satala (530 AD)
Callinicum (531 AD) Part 1
Callinicum (531 AD) Part 2
Decimum (533 AD) Part 1

The Scenario

The Vandalic or Vandal War was a conflict fought in North Africa (largely in modern Tunisia) between the forces of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire and the Vandalic Kingdom of Carthage, in 533–534. It was the first of Justinian I’s wars of reconquest of the lost Western Roman Empire.

In 530 AD, Gelimer dethroned the Vandal king Hilderic, a vassal of Justinian the Byzantine emperor. Hilderic appealed for help, also citing Gelimer’s persecution of eastern Christians. After making a favorable peace with the Sassanids in 532 AD, Justinian launched an expedition led by Belisarius to bring North Africa under Byzantine rule.

Belisarius landed his army of 16,000 near the ancient city of Carthage and built a fortified camp. He sent ahead an advance guard under the command of Count John to screen the main army as it marched to Carthage. He also had his Hun cavalry screen his left flank.

Gelimer was surprised by the advance on Carthage and prepared to attack the invaders. His brother Ammatus was sent from Carthage to engage John, while his nephew Gibamund was to fall on the Byzantine vanguard’s flank. The main army, led by Gelimer, would then swing around the hills and trap the main Byzantine army and attack it in the rear. This complex plan fell apart when Ammatus’ force engaged John piecemeal before the others were in position. Ammatus was mortally wounded in the fight and his force was wiped out by John’s pursuing cavalry. About the same time as Ammatus’ defeat, Gibamund’s flanking force also was routed when it encountered the Huns, who felt they had been blessed by heaven with so many targets for their arrows.


Without further ado, let us move to the the session reports. As always, I will provide picture-reach story for your enjoyment!

We rolled for sites and in the first game I was starting as Sassanid while Marcin as Byzantine
Super Heavy Byzantine Cavalry (Cataphracts) ready for action
Immediate attack from Marcin – his cavalry uses Mounted Charge
What a roll. Full-strength supported cavalry killed in one shot.
The calamity started in the first roll only continued – Byzantine Cataphracts just smashed through my left wing. I managed to get one of charging units plus one from the light on right but that was all.


So we switched the sides and the re-match went into the different direction.
However, the beginning was exactly the same – one roll, one unit completely wiped-out plus one dead leader as bonus! Revenge!
Then, instead of pursuing the right flank I regrouped with my heavy units to the center.
After some stand-off, Sassanids attacked first but it severely back-fired.
So then it was my turn to counter-attack with Inspired Action turned into – of course – Mounted Charge. Let see how it goes…
…not bad, one Heavy Cavalry wiped out and Auxilia almost killed.
But than the disaster struck – on battle back I am losing 1 block but also a leader!
In the end, I managed to kill last unit required to win the scenario (plus leader, another bonus!) The game concluded with exactly same result – 5-2 for Byzantines!


First phase of Decimum is a very confrontational scenario, which easily and quickly escalates in full-scale, close quarters engagement. Due to the positioning of the Sassanid forces (historical set-up) they were quickly dispersed by the Byzantine Cataphracts. But to win the scenario you need five points so after initial successes Romans has to decide where to hit next. Marcin chosen to wipe out the Persian infantry (right wing) and I moved to the center (to get cavalry). Both choices proved to be correct!

More in the series to come!