Last Friday night we started the next battle in our ongoing 2nd Punic War campaign. This battle is the Battle of Praeneste. As a strange coincidence the game was on October 12th, which happened to be both my birthday, and the birthday of the Carthaginian commander, Charlie. What are the odds? To celebrate my lovely wife, Lori, had a special cake made to celebrate the day. She pinched an ancients photo from my blog. Unfortunately for me she's on Charlie's side and picked some Carthaginian Celtiberian infantry. Still it was good cake. Our campaign GM, Mike also brought a delicious Alden Merril lemon cake. There was much goodie eating during breaks.
Before the game we had some show-and-tell. Mike did some re-basing work on some 28mm hoplites that he's working on for our next ancients campaign after we finish this one. Charlie brought some of his yet-to-be-rebased hoplites as well. I had some unpainted Numidian cavalry from Old Glory that will be added to the collection for the campaign. Doing the games in 28mm will allow us to use my whole large table with each 'MU' in the game being 1.5 inches. It should look quite grand!
For the game, the terrain was hilly, due to the location of the battle. Charlie picked the minimum number of terrain pieces for his very cavalry-heavy force. I picked the maximum number of terrain pieces as I wanted something to anchor my lines on. As fortune would have it this battle, some of the terrain pieces actually ended up in the middle of the battlefield. After deployment our plan was to anchor our lines on two terrain pieces and flank with our cavalry. If possible we'd race a medium or light foot unit into the rough hill on the Carthaginian side of the battlefield.
As it worked out, it looked like the Roman plan was a solid one, but as is often said, no plan survives contact with the enemy. Mike was able to skillfully push a Velite unit to the rough hill as desired, despite pressure from the horde of Spanish and local Italian cavalry swinging around the left flank. Our medium Italian infantry thought it too dangerous and held their ground in the broken ground on our left flank. On the right we were able to score a lucky rout of the only Carthaginian light infantry, but from there on fortunes favored the bold, meaning the Carthaginians. As we broke for the evening the Carthaginians definitely have the upper hand, but there may still be time for the Romans to turn their fortunes. It will take a strong run of good luck and smart tactical decisions to do so though.
On a personal note, some of you may have noticed the blog posts have slowed down lately. I'm dealing with a ruptured disk in my back and have surgery planned for next week. During my recovery time the blog may go dark. I have saved up some painted and re-based figures, which if I can get them photographed, I may be able to time-release post here. If not I will be back some time in December.