Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Project Rome – historical match up – the Numidian

Since the start of this project I have collected a variety of enemies to field against the consular army and as the size of the collection was based on historical numbers I have not had an opportunity to field these armies in their standard 12 element a side format. Therefore I have a series of test matches with each of Rome’s enemies using options available to both sides. This series may prove useful for those starting ancients and for the experienced player perhaps shed some insight to the finer aspect of the rules and the use of allies which was not available in the older version.

Consular army meet Numidians.
II/33 Polybian Roman have two cavalry including the general’s element, two each velites (Ps), hastati (Bd), principes (Bd) and triarii (Sp) totaling ten elements. The remaining two elements represent the allied troops which may be either 3 or 4Ax.

II/40 Numidian have four each light cavalry (LH) and skirmishers (Ps) lead by a general which can be either (Cv) or (LH) and for this experiment I selected the remaining three elements from the Roman trained infantry and elephant option.
In all three tests Numidia defended and selected only difficult hills and wood to be placed as a river and road would benefit the Roman player as attacker he would select the base edge.

Test 1
The Numidian would open the battle with the Roman trained infantry (4Ax) and elephant deployed in centre and each flank covered by two Ps. The plan was to engage the Roman infantry while the Numidian LH would encircle the Romans and attack their reserves or threaten the camp.

The elephant earned its keep by destroying an element of blade and by the third and fourth turn the battle lines were becoming disjointed; skirmishers fled from spear or blade in most cases giving no other option to the Numidian player than to use the general and LH reserve to plug holes. The general showed his worth by destroying an element of blade to bring the Numidians to their first victory (4 – 2).

Some observations.
The elephant accounted for two kills, the second being a recoil into a Roman allied element before eventually succumbing to encirclement by Roman infantry. The Numidian psiloi fleeing from spear and blade I found an advantage as this would bring them well out of a Roman TZ to be redeployed elsewhere and by the sixth or seventh turn there were plenty of exposed flanks to attack.

The LH encirclement did keep the Roman reserve occupied but this could easily have been accomplished with half the number of elements. On hind sight additional LH may have been useful supporting the infantry.

Test 2.
Some minor adjustments were made to the composition of the two armies, Numidia would replace the two Roman trained Ax for Bd and Rome would make use of Celtiberian allies (1 x Cv, 2 x 3Bd) to replace one Sp and two 4Bd.

As you will note from the photo, Rome deployed with her flank resting on the only terrain features placed; the Numidians formed up in a similar manner as the previous game. Moving first, Numidia would attempt to turn the Roman right flank with their LH and the centre would add their weight (El, 2 x 4Bd) forcing the Roman line onto the wood. Rome advancing in echelon formation with the right flank leading effectively nullified the Numidian plan.

Moving forward in a cohesive formation gave Rome an advantage with an overlap or two in successive combats. With steady loss of troops by Rome and Celtiberia, Numidia suffered a defeat (2 – 4). In retrospect, both games ended after a high number of turns and this was not due to poor pip scores, but through the necessity of redressing lines to attack as a group. 

Next: final test match.


  1. Interesting read as always. I've played Numidians twice in tournaments in FOG and can tell you they are not a tournament army. Keep up the good work.

  2. Numidian can be very dangerous against an over confident player

    Light Horse and skirmishers can easily turn formations creating opportunity to strike an open flank.

    The mobility of the Light Horse can be unsettling as they can sit inert for a few turns waiting for the battle lines to engage, then quickly encircle the enemy to pin their reserves, strike their camp or roll up a flank.

  3. Sometimes setting someone up for the "kill" is more powerful than a kill through frontal assault. Maneuver is very important. I've seen time and time again where players (in any game) will measure to come into contact or turn a flank and not do it because they cannot finish the move in that turn. So, in the hands of someone who wants instant gratification, the Numidian army is terrible. For those that embrace maneuver, the Numidian army can be quite powerful.