Heraclea [SPQR]

Reposted with kind permission by Tankboy from BGG. Tracey does an excellent job of leading us through his game. His thought processes, as well as the game mechanics blend together nicely. All enhanced with stunning pictures.  I trust you enjoy this as much as I did, and we look forward to more from him.

Welcome to my initiation to the Glory that is Great Battles of History – SPQR. This will be the first to what I hope will be many AAR’s of all the SPQR battles from the Deluxe Edition, Players Guide and C3i Magazines.

 I’ve asked quite a few questions on this forum regarding the rules to this massive-in-scope game, and have been answered very well. I hope you all will continue to explain things (correct my mistakes) as you read along this AAR as I play out this 1st Battle. Many thanks in advance.



SITUATION: Pyrrhus has set up his army South of the river Siris. His army includes Elephants, which the Romans have never seen the likes of before. Pyrrhus hopes to use these behemoths as the final nail in the Roman coffin. On the North side of the river is Laevinus, with only one Roman Consular Army. Having logistical problems with being in enemy territory, Laevinus prefers to engage in battle sooner rather than later, and sends his Right Wing Cavalry detachment several miles to the West before crossing over the Siris to Pyrrhus’ side and thundering back East to attack Pyrrhus’s flank, in the hopes of distracting the Epirote Army while the Roman Army crosses.

Turn 1: Praefect Equitum Drusus uses the “one of” EIO to bring his Roman Cavalry – Routing (eliminating) a Creten Archer SK unit. Drusus deploys his Cavalry so half of them will act as a screen while the others will go about chasing off or killing the Skirmishers along the riverbank.

Praefect Sociorum Plautius of the Triarii Line passes.
Praefect Sociorum Rebilus give a LC for the Velites to move forward.
I debated on whether to use Orderly Withdrawal for the Epirote Skirmisher units as the Velites approached but opted not to in order to hold up the Roman Line on the riverbank.
Most of the Velites took a Cohesion Hit from Entry Fire and only a 1/3 of the Epirotes took hits from the Velites’ Javelins.

Pre-Shock: Velites do not roll for pre-shock against SK units, but the SK units do. All units take their hits and stand firm except for one Thracean LI, who turns and flees two hexes.
Shock: Velites shock attack using 10 Column against the SK’s and 7 column against the LI units. Since the Velites are attacking from a river, they suffer a 2L column shift = 8 & 5 columns respectively. SRD however brings the column back up to 10 against the SK units only.
All but one Skirmisher is Routed (eliminated) and 2 more Thracean LI units begin to Rout. (Something tells me I should have used OW)

Praefect Rebilus attempts momentum but fails.

A dice roll determines which side goes next since the Romans have 4 Leaders at 3 Initiative and the Epirotes have 3 Leaders with 3 Initiative. The Romans get the Favor of the Gods.

Praefect Equitum Falco and his Roman Cavalry cross the river. Falco attempts momentum, needing a 3 or less (Laevinus’s strategy rating) and rolls a 2. He attacks the Epirote Right Wing Cavalry. Roman Cavalry has 2 Cohesion Hits a piece (1 from crossing the river, and 1 from moving a 2nd time)
Epirote LC throw there Javelins on Entry Reaction Fire, obtaining some hits.




Praefect Equitum Falco is in a ZOC so cannot attempt another momentum. Falco is finished.

Milon of the Epirotes activates the MI and HI line, hoping to scare off the Roman Cavalry with the Heavy Infantry. This is were I mis-interpreted the rules thinking that the RC’s would receive a Cohesion Hit from Orderly Withdrawal, thereby routing 3 of the 4 RC’s. I was beyond fixing this since I got the answer way beyond this point.
Milon fails his momentum roll and is finished.

Tribune Cassius activates his Line of Hastati and Cohorts, moving them up to the rivers edge. Cassius rolls for momentum and succeeds with a 1!

Phrrhus has had enough and is itching to get into the fight. He Trumps Cassius’s momentum. All remaining non-finished Leaders will have only 1 Orders Phase when Phrrhus is finished.

Phrrhus attacks the Roman Cavalry Screen – Routing 2 of them. Gaining momentum, he routs the remaining RC units with one of the RC’s being eliminated after another unit passed thru it. Phrrhus gains his 3rd momentum, giving Individual Orders to the 6 Heavy Cavalry Units still on his side of the river to remove 2 cohesion hits. He gives himself the final order and heads towards the Elephant Line.

Philocles of the Epirotes activates – attacking the two RC’s in his ZOC. Both Philocles’ Light Cavalry and Falco’s Roman Cavalry rout while the remaining Roman Cavalry stands firm. Falco remains alongside the Roman Cavalry while Philocles and the Light Cavalry head towards the exit edge.

Tribune Magnus activates his line of Principe’s and Cohorts -moving towards the river.
No momentum possible.

Socrates activates his lone LI to attack the Velites in front of them still in the river. A futile gesture, but what the hell! The Thracean LI gives the Velites 2 more Cohesion Hits before being Routed themselves.
Socrates is also finished with no momentum possible.

Leonatus activates the Phalanx’s, moving them forward to even up the Medium Infantry moved earlier.
Leonatus is now finished.

Megacles wins the die roll against Laevinus for the next activation. Megacles takes command of the Epirote Left Wing Heavy Cavalry Units.
Megacles is finished.

Laevinus will attempt to head off the Routing Left Wing RC units in order to rally them next turn.

ROUT and Rally phase performed.

ROUT Points at end of Turn 1 are 44 Epirote vs 5 Roman

Things I learned and mistakes I made: Given the opportunity to use Orderly Withdrawal – USE IT! The SK’s would have been better used at a later point in the game I think, so should have been withdrawn. Their sacrifice at the rivers edge did nothing other than give the Romans a good head start in Rout points. MISTAKE #1: Not only did I screw up with giving the Left Wing Roman Cavalry a Cohesion Hit when they used Orderly Withdrawal (I now know better, thanks again Randy;-)) I gave both RC wings a double Rout Movement phase. Once when they actually were routed, and then again during the Rout and Rally phase. So both RC Wings moved in excess of 16 hexes towards their exit edge. I chose not to try and fix this since in all probability I will be replaying this LEARNING Scenario again with the Velites replacement counters from C3i 15, making them SK units. MISTAKE #2: A Subordinate Leader needs to make 2 die rolls to use a Line Command in a Momentum Phase. First against his Initiative Rating to see if he even gets the Momentum Phase, then a second roll against the Overall Commanders Strategy Rating to use another Line Command. I only rolled once but did both. Bad! Very Bad!

Now that I think about these two major game skewing blunders of mine, I think it best to end this session and start over from the beginning. It definitely has served a purpose as a Learning Scenario. I believe I have a firmer grasp of the rules now (who wouldn’t after all those mistakes?) and will be able to move the game along a bit faster. Think I’ll hold off on replacing the Velites LI with the Velites SK units though until I finish a full scenario with them.

Any comments and corrections of mistakes I didn’t catch in particular will be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,

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