I am finding the Great Battles of History as a very well suited system for a solitaire play. It is pretty straightforward to lead both sides, with some randomized elements – like trumping opponent leaders – which has to be taken care of. The actual fight, maneuvers and orders in many cases are evident and does not need a deeper system / flowchart / decision matrix. You can take them all by yourself.

With that in mind I sit down to the latest addition to the series – the Deluxe Edition of Julius Caesar. As presented in above material, box is full of great content, interesting battles and beautiful materials. I decided to start from the Gallic War. Let me invite you thus now to a picture-rich session report!

My Great Battles of History Campaigns:
(SPQR) Bagradas Plains (255 BC)

(Alexander) Erigon Valley (358 BC)
(Alexander) Crocus Fields (353 BC)
(Alexander) Sellasia (221 BC)
(Alexander) Mantinea (207 BC)
(Alexander) Sellasia (222 BC)

(Cataphract) Callinicum (531 AD)
(Cataphract) Tricameron (533 AD)
(Cataphract) Casilinum (554 AD)

Historical Background

So what was the reason for the battle of Bibracte (58 BC)? Migration of Helveti tribes endangering Roman Republict interests? Or unfulfilled ambitions of one 42 years old patrician? Let us see:

Gaius Julius Caesar, an ambitious Roman noble, had entered into a political alliance with Gnaeus Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus, which became known as the “First Triumvirate.” Caesar used these connections to obtain an appointment as proconsul for Gaul. As Caesar arrived to govern his province, the Helvetii were migrating from what is now Switzerland into Gaul to find new lands.

Caesar surprised and defeated one detachment of the Helvetii. He then doggedly followed but avoided conflict with the main body, as he was badly outnumbered by the barbarians and needed to find an advantageous position for a decisive battle. After a fortnight, Roman supplies were running short and Caesar fell back toward Bibracte to replenish.

The Helvetii followed and formed for battle against the Romans. Caesar withdrew and formed his six legions on a nearby range of hills – his four veteran legions in front, and his two newly raised legions in the rear. The Helvetii charged forward and were met by a shower of pila. The Romans then counter charged downhill with swords drawn. The disorganized barbarians started to fall back when allied Boii and Tulingi tribesmen marched forward and gave the retiring Helvetii the heart to continue.

Caesar again led his legions forward against the combined tribes, and they fled in disorder back to their camp. During the night Caesar attacked the enemy camp and completed the rout. The next day, envoys from the tribes offered to surrender and Caesar ordered them to return to their own lands, knowing that if their former country were left unpopulated, hostile Germanic tribes would fill the vacuum.


Without delay let us jump to the report. First things first – The Setup.

Remember, you can always click on the image to enlarge them in the new window.

The map for the Bibracte battle. Roman camp and two conscript legions at the top. Potential entry of Helveti reinforcements to the left / top. Main forces in the valley.
Close-up on two main battle lines – Helveti will have to charge uphill to get to the Roman lines.

Session Report

Turn 1

The first game turn and Helveti actions. Full-scale charge with some forces moving to left and right. Cavalry outflanking maneuver. No breakthrough, two own units routed though many cohorts badly mauled.
Time has come for Romans to act. First abysmal cavalry attack…
…but then four legions charged, destroying 9 Helveti units in the process (65 Rout Points). Many more Routed units stayed on map (including 4 Roman cohorts).
Dynamic situation after first turn of the game. Next will start with special Helveti Withdrawal Phase!

Turn 2

Repositioning of Roman forces – Caesar orders Legio VII to guard flank (against Boi & Tulingi), while VII, IX & X will charge uphill .
The barbarian reinforcements are ready to enter – they will be on map first thing next turn!
Helveti took defensive stance on nearby mountain (this repositioning in order is a special game rule – a rare feat on barbarian side)
The final forces disposition at the end of withdrawal & repositioning.

Turn 3-4

Tulingi got pretty lucky with two momentums, closed on & mauled Legio VII, routing two cohorts.
Still, they were in return obliterated by cavalry flank attack.
Romans redressed lines & moved three legions towards Helveti (next to river).
Things are pretty close to final clash between Helveti and approaching legions.
Losses on both sides start to grow, with decisive advantage on Roman side.

Turn 5

Boi were tremendously successful in their charge (2 Cohorts eliminated) but taken between Legio VII and Cavalry, routed.
Legio VIII, IX & X started to cross the river. Caesar will surprise Helveti next turn and move first (Elite Commander).
“I am still standing” signed the Helveti chieftain. “Not for long”, thought Caesar. Let us see what will happen!

Turn 6

Legio VII and Cav finally crushed & routed Boi. That really was not an easy task.
And here it comes – Caesar with his elite commend surprises barbarians, and before they can charge downhill, he attacks. Losses are huge o both sides but in the end Helveti start to break.
In the meantime, during the cavalries skirmish, Legate P.Considius was killed. Both sides had pretty equal losses and no break-through was achieved.
Finally – Caesar said. After very hard and brutal fight legions managed to break through the Helveti lines and general Rout of barbarians started. The usual retreat slaughter commenced…


And now let us have a look at the situation at the end of the game:

Overview of the situation after the last turn.
After hard fight Romans prevailed 121 to 39 Rout Points vs Helveti. Both Boi and Tulingi were too crushed.

That was very enjoyable experience and interesting tactical challenge. Both the barbarian reinforcements (Boi & Tulingii) and orderly withdrawal special rule (for Helveti) makes this scenario very interesting and enjoyable. This is not simply a barbarian charge uphill which will be easily crushed, broken and routed – game over. No, this is a tactical challenge in which good planning is of essence.

Stay tuned for more such session reports!