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Romans 1, Goths 0

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

A test of the Adrianople scenario mechanics in advance of the Society of Ancients’ Battle Day sees the Romans gain the upper hand.

The Roman players concentrate their cavalry on their left flank, hoping to sweep around the Gothic foot and come in behind them. Random event cards bring on Gothic mounted reinforcements early — but not all of them. A small band of Huns shows up on the Roman right, and the Alans on the Roman left. The Greuthungi, however, do not make it to the battle on time. This gives the Romans a slight cavalry superiority on their left but not so much as to make it an easy fight for them. The action flows back and forth with the Romans eventually gaining the upper hand but not before the infantry lines clash.

Grass fires set by the Goths (another random event) reduces visibility and impacts Roman morale as they advance through the smoke. The appearance of the Huns slows the Roman advance on their right but eventually the infantry lines clash and a long hard slogging match ensues with most initial combats being inconclusive. The Gothic commander, leading his dismounted comitatus from the front, takes a serious wound. With blood streaming from his helmet he keeps fighting but is no longer able to inspire his men to greater deeds of valour.

The breakthrough comes when the Roman general leads a reinforced line of infantry to push back one of the Gothic shieldwalls. Following up, the Roman player scores an impressive seven ‘hits’ on nine dice. The Roman general is wounded but remains in the saddle as the Romans break open the centre of the Gothic line.

The game was played with 15mm miniatures and Comitatus rules. I varied the scenario a bit so as not to end up playing the same game as we would play on the upcoming Battle Day.

It was a very hard fought action and could have gone either way. I think it fair to say that the Gothic defeat was down to the fact that the Gruethungi mounted warriors never made it to the field, making it impossible for the Goths to replicate what happened at Adrianople. This was down to the chance cards I introduced into the scenario in order to prevent the game from simply being a re-play of August 378. The Adrianople Scenario I will be using at the Society of Ancients’ Battle Day is available to download here. A more fulsome description can be found in the latest edition of Slingshot.

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