You had probably noticed that I really like to play C&C Ancients scenarios in logical groups, combining them in mini-campaigns – especially, if they are spread across multiple expansions and C3i publications. To really have a feeling of logical and chronological set of events I would normally read historical accounts, create special maps to depict the locations of battles and try to play the whole set in maximum one-two sessions – so the flow of history unfolds nicely and connect together. That is my way of playing and I get a lot of satisfactions from such approach – not only pure gaming experience but also a historical insight.
Some of my articles regarding C&C system: Commands and Colors games – my 3 favorite [REVIEW] Commands Colors Ancients [STRATEGIES] How to attack in Commands Colors Ancients? [STRATEGIES] How to defend in Commands Colors Ancients?
Exactly that was the situation with a group of so called by me “conquest of Britain” scenarios – by which I mean:
- Medway (43 AD) from Expansion 3
- Cefn Carnedd (51 AD) from Expansion 2
- Mona Insulis (60 AD) from C3i #23 magazine
- Camulodunum (60 AD) from C3i #23 magazine
- Boudica’s Revolt “Watling Street” (61 AD) from Expansion 4
- Mons Graupius (84 AD) from Expansion 4
Important disclaimer: as you can see there are no Caesar battles here. But rest assured, they will be in another campaign I am going to describe in the future – Caesar vs. Gauls.
So, the map first – in our initial session we covered the battles 1-3:
For each you will get the historical background (based on various sources) and the actual session report. Enjoy!
Medway (43 AD)
In 43 AD, Aulus Plautius led an expedition of four legions to Britain. His army advanced with only minor skirmishing as far as Rutupiae on the coast of Kent. Late in the season, Roman scouts finally found the enemy camped on the northern bank of the River Medway. Togodumnus and Caratacus, the commanders of the Briton tribes, believed the river would halt the Roman advance. They were taken by surprise when a force of specially trained auxiliaries (described as “Celtic” in one account) swam the river and attacked the British charioteers. The Britons, while preoccupied with the auxiliaries, were again surprised when Legion II Augusta, under Vespasian suddenly crossed the river (probably using a pontoon bridge) and established a second bridgehead. The remaining legions began crossing to reinforce Legion II Augusta.
During the night, the Britons turned all their strength on the legions, knowing they were the bigger threat. The Briton assault penetrated the Roman lines, putting the bridgehead in great danger. Just then, Hosidius Geta led a legion that had just crossed the river in daring counter attack. Geta’s force broke through the enemy’s line and saved the bridgehead (which earned him a “triumph,” very unusual for someone not a consul). The defeated Britons disengaged and withdrew back to the Thames.
The campaign beginning is reasonably large battle from Claudian conquest of Britain. The situation on map is interesting, the Medway river is passable only for light units (and you can see them already on the left Roman wing – the Batavians) while heavy legions use a pontoon bridge to slowly cross the river.
Historically, Britons attacked light auxiliary units but legions managed to cross in time to turn the tide of battle. Well, in our game the initial part actually started historically – I attacked light units:
However, the heavy legions were too slow to make a significant difference and – to our surprise – I managed to achieve victory. The ferocity of British chariots attack on Batavians – supported by Mounted Charge – was too much and Marcin really did not have much time to play with the other wing. Still, the final result was a pretty close call and very exciting game!
Cefn Carnedd (51 AD)
The Roman conquest of Britain had been underway for four years when a new Roman commander, Publius Ostorius Scapula, was assigned to the province in 47 AD. He faced an on-going insurgency, led by Caratacus, chieftain of the Cautuvellauni tribe. In 51 AD, Caratacus took up a good defensive position with his tribesmen on high ground with the Severn River to his front. Most of the hills were steep, and he constructed rough stone ramparts where the hill slope was not as great, making it difficult for the Romans to close with his forces.
At first, Scapula did not want to attack the strong defensive position. Only the eagerness of his men – and the prospect to finally bring Caratacus to battle after chasing him for so long – changed his mind. Scapula ordered a frontal attack. The Romans crossed the stream with little difficulty, but suffered heavy casualties from the rain of enemy missiles. Once across, the legionaries swarmed over the stone ramparts and up the steep hills. At close quarters, the Romans’ superior weapons and tactics took a heavy toll on the tribesman, and their resistance collapsed. Caratacus escaped, but the battle of Cefn Carnedd was the final battle in his resistance to Roman rule.
Another eight years passed and we move to the nowadays Wales. Romans have a very hard nut to crack – Britons are hidden behind river, in hills, with many strong positions & ramparts built. And of course they are lead by Caratacus, already very familiar with Roman tactics.
It was a very hard scenario for me and what is more – Marcin played perfectly. Having good cards like Line Command my troops quickly progressed forward but were meet (Darekn the Sky) with volley after volley of barbarian javelins and arrows. I managed to break the resistance on the right but Britons were perfect in rotating their units – as you can see above, Marcin had 4 (!) one-block units at the end of game.
This was second scenario, and Britons won again. Or I should say – crushed enemy. Well, seems that Roman conquest of Britain goes not fully according to the plan!
Mona Insulis (60 AD)
The island of Anglesey (Ynys Mon to the Welsh and Mona Insulis to the Romans), rich in grain and copper mines, became a refuge for several tribes opposed to the Roman occupation of Britain. The Druids there gave moral and material support to the resistance, and it was felt by Rome that Britain would never be at peace until the druids were eradicated. For those reasons the imperiail governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, an able and ambitious general with Agricola on his staff, lead his XIV legion “Gemina” to lay waste to the isle. When the Romans arrived at the Menai Straits they found Mona defended by many Celtic warriors, mainly of the warlike Ordovices tribe.
Tattooed with blue woad, the Celts stood taunting their enemy. Their druids stood nearby in circles raising their arms to heaven and shouting curses, while women with black robes and disheveled hair ran here and there wailing and screaming. The superstitious Romans were rooted to the spot, terrified by this supernatural display, making themselves an easy target for Celtic ranged combat. Finally, emboldened by their leaders, the legionaries crossed the shallow straits. The Celts put up a fierce tight, but eventually their lines broke and they were slaughtered, and the druids were burned alive in their sacred oak grave. Despite this crushing defeat, the Ordovices continued to resist and were never fully Romanized.
That is one of the most attractive CCA scenarios – it depicts attack on a small island just at the northern shores of Wales. That was pretty difficult and horrifying experience for Romans as they faced druids, painted warriors and screaming women – however, that is what you would expect at the place which was the heart of their religion!
Definitely that one is a very, very difficult scenario for Romans. To simulate parlays of Legions, no formation can enter the stream in their section unless a leader-lead unit crossed and survived a turn on the other side. On top of this, Druids are giving a bonus – sword dice roll will hit in a range combat.
Marcin managed to repel my attacks on left and right wings. But the center was mine – and definitely key to success. Once on the other side, the efficient and systemic progress of heavy legionaries swept through enemy ranks. No water was asked, nor was given – the game ended just as I was about to storm the main camp with the Britons rout.
This was the end of our first session. Very interesting games and scenarios, with various tactical challenges. The summary results were (we were switching sides sometimes as you can see above):
- Michal 14 – Marcin 14 (very close competition)
- Britons 15 – Romans 13 (surprisingly, a slight Briton advantage was visible!)
With excitement we awaited our second meeting, where the final 3 games were to be played – including Boudica revolt and Agricola facing Caledonians! More to come!