July 197 BC.
The proconsul looked across the field and saw the Lusitanian force covering the 400 paces of ground between two wooded areas and clouds of dust behind that line denoted the presence of cavalry. Taking into account the woods contained more troops; the proconsul placed his Roman legion in centre and split the allied legion to cover the flanks as they could sweep the wooded areas of any hidden enemy.
Seeing skirmishers lining the forest edge, the Roman legion moved forward as a spear point aimed at the heart of the Lusitanian line.
Lusitanian skirmishers positioned against the left flank rushed forward to attack the allied legion which was the signal for Lusitanian to issue out from concealed positions in the hills; these struck the support unit defeating it. Responding to the surprise attack, the proconsul sent his Roman cavalry to deal with the ambush while the battleline moved forward albeit at a slower pace.
The Lusitanian skirmishers kept the allied legion busy while the main Lusitanian force moved slowly forward so its cavalry could position itself on the flank. The melee in the foothills took a serious turn as a second group sprung up to add their weight to the fight wiping out the Equestrians. 2 – 0 Lusitania.
To balance the situation, the proconsul order ordered a general attack bring both the Roman and allied legions to battle. The allied cavalry were moved forward to cover the gap created between the Roman legion and the allied left now heavily engaged with skirmishers. The proconsul sent the triarii held in reserve to deal with the threat in the rear while the proconsul and guard would help the allied left to move forward. 2 – 1 Lusitania.
The proconsul’s presence attracted the Lusitanian nearby and added their weight to the general mayhem. Meanwhile, the Lusitanian centre was recoiling from the steady effect of the Roman killing machine. 2 -2 even.
The proconsul could feel victory nearing as Rome gained control over the melee taking place on the left and the Roman legion steadily made gaps in the Lusitanian centre. The allied cavalry swept clean all Lusitanian caught wandering in the gap brining the final score to 3 – 5 Roma.
This was the proconsul’s second victory in five months and although there pervaded a feeling of jubilation throughout the camp that evening in the proconsul’s tent there was a moment of silence as many of his officers looked upon the leather bag filled with gold rings.
This battle marked the first successful employment of a stratagem as the Spanish player won the bidding during the Roman player’s fourth phase. Selecting the ambuscade option up to three elements could be held off board and appear later from any bad or rough going feature. The system is adapted from the Lurker rule (HOTT) but costs more. In this battle, the Lusitanian player hid two elements to appear in successive bounds. There have been many attempts to employ stratagems but these were foiled during the bidding process.