I love coming back to C&C Ancients from time to time – that game really gives me a lot of fun. Some weeks ago I played with Marcin couple of Civil War battles (Caesar vs Pompey) and we decided to continue. These are some of the largest and pretty balanced struggles so it was obvious we will have a great time. What we decided to bring to the table was:

  1. Thapsus (46 BC) – a battle which ended the Civil War in Africa. It features Elephants and should be an interesting scenario.
  2. Munda (45 BC) – here the Civil War ended – the last bastion of Pompeians, and face-off between Caesar, Pompey Son and Titus Labienius. Very interesting due to terrain.

Without further delay, let me invite you to the session report! Enjoy!

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?

Thapsus (46 BC)

Historical background

Following his set-back at Ruspina, Julius Caesar spent some time regrouping before making a surprise night march of 16 miles and camping near the Pompeian-held coastal town of Thapsus. Caesar immediately placed Thapsus under siege. Though numerically superior, Metellus Scipio, the Pompeian commander in the area, originally had no intention of risking a direct battle with the formidable Caesar. However, Caesar had forced the issue with this threat to Thapsus. If Scipio allowed a key city to fall without a fight, then key allies would defect to Caesar. Scipio reluctantly brought his 40,000 man army up to relieve the city.

Scipio occupied a defensive position and drew up his line with elephants (provided by King Juba) on the wings. Caesar opposed the pachyderms with light archers and slingers, while taking personal command of his right wing. As the battle began, volleys of missiles sent the elephants reeling. Caesar’s horse countered a Numidian cavalry charge and forced them to flee. After the failed charge, the Pompeian line crumbled and the rout was on. Pompeian resistance in Africa had been crushed, but the civil war was not quite over. There remained one more Pompeian bastion – Spain.

Session report

We started with Thapsus – while rather one-sided engagement, it features Elephants which are always fun to play. Some time ago I acquired – during vacation in South East Asia – miniatures of those creatures and use them in CCA games. Doesn’t they look gorgeous?

PS. As always, you can click on each picture to see details.

Game set-up of our first scenario, Thapsus.
Forward, said Caesar and attacked light units. They evaded, and Elephants immediately charged against great leader. But he was prepared, and despite losses, killed the beasts!
Pompeian forces – having nothing to lose – decided to attack. Double-time is always a surprising event.
But I had just an adequate card for a counter-attack. Clash of Shields, when both side converged on each other, is perfect. Two units were destroyed.
Marcin was playing really well. This time he charged with Elephants, using Mounted Charge and killing some of the Legions!
Before elephants could do more damage, Caesar rolled and destroyed Pompeian left, managing to route enemy just in time.
Final situation of our first scenario, with decisive victory for Caesar – although earned with heavy price. Those Elephants can be very dangerous and it is good I managed to finish the game before they inflicted more damage!

Munda (45 BC)

Historical background

Following Julius Caesar’s victory at Thapsus, the remnants of the Pompeian army under Titus Labienus fled to Spain. Here, the garrison legions had revolted in favor of Gnaeus Pompey, the eldest son of Pompey the Great. Caesar traveled to Spain to put a final end to Pompeian resistance. He brought three of his crack veteran legions, the 5th, 6th and 10th, but most of his army was also composed of newer recruits.

Pompey deployed near Munda in a strong hill top position so Caesar was faced with an uphill battle. Rather than maneuver for advantage, Caesar uncharacteristically ordered a frontal assault on the strong enemy position. Some of the hardest fighting in Caesar’s life unfolded as the two armies slogged it out. The Pompeians fought with true desperation, for many of those soldiers had been pardoned by Caesar, and then deserted back to Pompey. For them there would be no second chances. Finally, Caesar’s 10th legion on the right managed to push the opposing forces back. The faltering of both wings eventually caused the raw legions in Pompey’s center to bolt back toward the town. About 30,000 Pompeians died – most slaughtered in the rout.

Gnaeus Pompey died with them, and also Titus Labienus, Caesar’s trusted aide who became his bitter opponent. Caesar had won the battle, but later said “he had fought many times for victory, but at Munda he fought for his life.” With his victory at Munda, Caesar finally brought the civil war to an end.

Session report

While from historical point of view, the battle ended in complete Pompeian defeat, on the board it was a very hard nut to crack. Those hills and numerical superiority on Marcin’s side was overwhelming. Just approaching was difficult, fighting uphill – sometimes impossible. Let us see how it developed!

Game set-up of our second scenario, Munda. Do you see all those hills?
Before Marcin managed to reposition his forces, I attacked two of his light units – each with retreat path cut. One unfortunately survived!
As mentioned above, the approach to the hills was very perilous. You can see my two Heavy Infantry units reduced to 1 block. What is more, I was also hit by the Darken the Sky.
Marcin in the end decided not to wait and charged form hills against Caesar. The hot dice was with him as he killed two units outright.
Finally, Caesar counter-attacked and the situation transformed into a kind of stalemate.
But I had still my Cavalry and Mounted Charge in reserve. Marcin again tried the attack from hills but this time it ended disastrously, with his unit and leader killed. Then, it was just a mop-up operation.
Final situation on map – most of the game was played on my right / Marcin’s left. Bold and brave sallies of Pompeian units form hills were true nuisance but in the end, historical outcome was achieved. 8-5 to Caesar!


That concluded our two session, 5 scenario’s campaign. We truly played with great pleasure; it was fun both from gaming experience but also reenacting history. As for the final score:

  • Marcin (Pompey) 23 – Michal (Caesar) 32

After initial debacle of my troops at Pharsalus and Dyrrachium, I managed to get the campaign result straight with Thapsus and Munda 🙂 It was not so easy, especially in the second scenario while attacking uphill. Of course, elephants from Thapsus were also dangerous and completely unpredictable. All in all, as always, CCA does not fails to bring exciting games!

More session reports to come!