|Battle heats up on the Carthaginian right|
The thesis of O'Connell's book is that the soldiers humiliated in the devastating defeat at Cannae later would form the nucleus of the Roman army under Scipio Africanus that brought Hannibal and Carthage to its knees at Zama. This book wraps many classic plot lines under one umbrella to produce a very readable yarn.
Varro and Hannibal array their armies thusly:
Given the initial deployments, Carthage is heavy on the wings and weak in the center. Rome, on the other hand, is strong in the center and weak on the wings with limited cavalry. If Carthage can close upon one Roman flank and defeat it, the Roman player may be in great difficulty as his line is compromised. Rome must break the Carthaginian center and hold on the flanks in search of victory.
In the annotated game photos, black arrows signify movement; red arrows denote attacks either with missile or melee; and white arrows show retreats.
Rome plays a Coordinated Attack and advances cavalry on the wings and velites in the center.
Carthage counters by playing Two Right.
Rome plays Ouflanked moving auxilia on both wings to support the cavalry.
Carthage again plays Two Right and the slingers take a shot at the Roman medium cavalry. Hit!
Rome plays Three Center pushing forward the second velites and reforming its line.
Carthage plays its third Two Right advancing two heavy infantry.
Rome plays a Two Center and continues to array its battle line. Velites take a shot at slingers to no effect.
Carthage plays Leadership Any Section +3 and uses that to activate Maharbal and the light cavalry on the right wing.
Maharbal scores two hits and the Roman medium cavalry is destroyed.
Banner Count: Rome:0 Carthage:1
Rome plays Three Left and advances the auxilia. One of the auxilia attacks the light cavalry under Maharbal. With no retreat open, the cavalry stand and suffer one hit.
Carthage, with heavy infantry and cavalry in contact with the enemy on the right, play Clash of Shields. Heavy infantry attack the auxilia and destroy it. Maharbal and LC attack the auxilia to its front. Auxilia suffer two hits and LC take one hit.
Banner Count: Rome:0 Carthage:2
Rome plays Three Center and the velites put one hit on the slingers.
Carthage Orders Medium Troops and the two warbands strike out from the battle line towards the exposed velites. The velites on the Carthaginian left suffer three hits but repulses the warband. The velites on the right, likewise, repulse the warband with no casualties.
Banner Count: Rome:0 Carthage:2
Rome plays Inspired Left Leader +4 and moves up on the left to support the auxilia while fortifying the line in the center.
Carthage plays Inspired Leadership Any Sector +3 and uses it to activate Maharbal on the right along with the two heavy infantry and light cavalry.
The heavy infantry on the right attacks Paillus and the auxilia. No hits but the Roman medium cavalry battling back inflict one hit on the heavies. The other heavy infantry has much better luck and destroys the auxilia with four hits.
Maharbal and the light cavalry attack an auxillia (two hits already) causing one hit and forcing the auxillia to retreat.
Banner Count: Rome:0 Carthage:3
Rome plays Counterattack which was Inspired Leadership Any Sector +3 and activates Paillus. The velites take on the slingers with no effect while the Roman medium infantry tackle the one hit Carthaginian heavy infantry. With Paillus adjacent, three hits destroy the heavy infantry.
Paillus and the other medium infantry attack the remaining Carthaginian heavy infantry. The heavy infantry takes one hit and retreats. Paillus advances to attack Maharbal and the light cavalry. Maharbal and the light cavalry evade suffering no hits but end up adjacent to Paillus and the medium infantry! In the battle, the light cavalry is destroyed and Maharbal retreats to safety of the heavy infantry.
Carthage smarting from the loss of two banners in one turn orders Two Units Left.
Banner Count: Rome:2 Carthage:3
Rome plays Three Center.
Carthage plays an Outflanked card and begins working from the wings. Hasdrubal and the heavy cavalry hit a medium infantry unit and destroy it. Hasdrubal and the cavalry advance to support an attack on auxilia by Carthaginian medium cavalry. The medium cavalry gives two hits but is repulsed. Finally, in a follow-up momentum attack, Hasdrubal and the heavy cavalry attack a second medium infantry. The Roman medium infantry suffers three hits while the Carthaginian heavy cavalry takes one hit.
Banner Count: Rome:2 Carthage:4
Rome plays Three Right. Varro swings around to pin Hasdrubal and his heavy cavalry. Leading with the auxilia in an attempt to soften up Hasdrubal's heavy cavalry, the auxilia attacks but does no damage. In the battle back, Hasdrubal deals out three hits to the auxilia.
Now Varro goes in. Varro leading the heavy cavalry inflict three hits on the heavy cavalry destroying them. Hasdrubal goes down in the slaughter as well! Two banners to Rome!
Carthage plays Four Units Left. Medium cavalry and warbands advance to attack towards the center. The warband attacks Varro and the medium cavalry. Varro plays First Strike! The warband takes one hit plus a second hit when its retreat is blocked.
The medium cavalry charges into the auxilia which already has three hits. The remnants of the auxilia are run down and destroyed. One banner to Carthage! Not to be stopped, the medium cavalry continue and attack the second, damaged auxilia. It is destroyed as well! One more banner to Carthage!
Banner Count: Rome:4 Carthage:6
With the Carthaginians holding six banners and heavily damaged Roman units scattered about the battlefield as easy prey, the Romans concede the game.
The Roman line was shattered and the Carthaginian center never was asked to engage. All damage was inflicted by the two active Carthaginian wings. Getting heavy infantry and cavalry engaged early seems to have played heavily upon the outcome. For me, Another entertaining solo outing with CCA and a good rules' refresher.