Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Battle of Zama

The idea for this game using the Large Battles option for Basic Impetus 2.0 came from this thread on the Impetus forum:

I created army lists and and overview as follows:

Publius Cornelius Scipio has successfully taken the fighting to Carthage.
The Carthaginians have recalled Hannibal from southern Italy to deal with this.
The Roman pillaging of the surrounding countryside forces Hannibal to face them.
Hannibal has 80 elephants, 36,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry.
The Carthaginian infantry comprise citizen levies, mercenaries 
and veterans from the Italian campaigns.
Scipio has 29,000 infantry and 6,100 cavalry.
Roman infantry includes remnants of the 5th and 6th Legions.
These Legions had been disgraced at the Battle of Cannae and were looking for revenge.
The Roman cavalry had been bolstered by Numidian defectors
Hannibal deployed his forces in three lines.
Elephants, skirmishers and mercenaries comprised the first
The second line was the citizen levies with cavalry on either flank.
Finally the veterans formed the third line.
Roman deployment was similar: Velites, Hastati/Princips and then Triarii


Rule changes

To break the Carthaginian army all three commands must be broken
To break the Roman army both Legions must be broken
        Roman large units with pilum can use this weapon twice at their discretion

Ace in the Hole

Hannibal has Iron Discipline
Scipio has Decisive Initiative


With the recent purchase of Republican Romans I was ready to go and Simon encouraged me to give it a go sooner rather than later, rounding in a number of other players.  Only thing was, he had to drop out due to a Covid exposure.

This was how I set it up.
Note it is the inverse of the set up in the map
(i.e. Carthaginians are on the left, not the right)

Mark Woods as the Carthaginian commander, assisted by another Marc,
had other ideas.
The Romans were Stephen N, John and Brad.
Experience with the rules was varied.
I umpired.

The Carthaginian got off to a good start.

Their Numidians besting the Roman's Numidians
But that was as good as it got.

End of the second turn.
Hoping to repeat the success of their left wing cavalry.
the Carthaginians aggressively engaged the Romans on their right.
Note the light cavalry locked in combat top right hand corner.
They stayed that way all game.

The centre is now engaged,
the Romans had been hanging back.
The Carthaginian repositioning of their veterans in the third line,
has paid off and they are now well placed.

It could of gone better for the Carthaginians.
Their left is compromised

Both the Carthaginian veterans and the left Roman legion are close to breaking.
The Carthaginian first line has routed.
The dice are there to show on a critical turn to seize initiative,
both sides threw a double six.
The Roman Numidians who had swept round the Carthaginian left keep sweeping...

It was a bloody battle.
With just the surrounded Carthaginian second line unbroken.
we ended the game.
Note the light cavalry still fighting on, top right hand corner.

This was my first attempt to refight an historical battle using Basic Impetus and I was very happy how it played out.  Will certainly do it again.


  1. Very few Romans left at the end but even less Carthaginians. Very bloody indeed.

    1. Definitely, although it is a bit hard with these big battels to always see who is who, especially with the figures I was using.

  2. Replies
    1. It actually played better than I expected. Will run it again soon. Doable on a Wednesday with a six pm start.