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Subject: Tunis x 3 rss

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Philip Sabin
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At the Cavalier show in Tonbridge last Sunday, we easily managed three refights of Tunis, 310 BC, taking less than 90 minutes each. This was the first time we have done this battle at a show, partly because of fears that it would degenerate into a frontal slogging match on the restricted front (as shown in the following photo). As it turned out, there were more tactical nuances than we had expected.



The first refight was the most conventional, with both sides reinforcing their forward forces and grappling across the three centre zones. Agathocles and Hanno both risked frequent rally attempts without much result as the Sacred Band and its opponents battered one another on the Punic right. On turn 4, the Syracusans broke through in the centre and started a panic, with another hit on the Sacred Band carrying off the remainder of the Carthaginian army. Agathocles won a clear game victory by 71 points to 54.

In the second refight, the Carthaginians reinforced their right and left centre zones, but pulled back their cavalry and refused their centre, with the Syracusans not choosing to advance into the pocket. Both sides could now focus their commands on the two engaged zones. The Carthaginians did better in these contests than in the first game, and on turn 4 Agathocles had a close call during a rally attempt. All three of the average heavy infantry units with him were shattered. Fortunately for the Syracusans, Bomilcar's left wing succumbed to panic on turn 5, soon followed by most of the remaining Punic forces. The rest withdrew voluntarily on turn 6. After a tense count, the outmatched Carthaginians won a narrow game victory by 72 points to 67.

The final refight saw the Carthaginians take their strategy of selective engagement even further. They sent their light infantry onto the flanking hills, while concentrating all their chariots and cavalry in their right centre. This time, the Syracusans took the bait and advanced into the enemy centre and left centre zones, while shifting their own light infantry across to engage the neighbouring hill (as shown in the following photo).



As fighting spread all along the front, Agathocles again suffered a close call on turn 3 from the concentrated Punic right, and by turn 5, three Syracusan units and no Punic units had been shattered. The tide turned when Bomilcar's zone panicked later that turn, followed by the rest of the Carthaginian army on turn 6, demoralised by the enemy occupation of two centre zones. Despite again losing the field, the Punic forces had done enough damage to win another narrow game victory, this time by 82 points to 71.

One could hardly ask for a more balanced overall result than we had at Cavalier, with just one point between the total scores across the three refights. Even this apparently unpromising scenario offers interesting tactical choices and fascinating asymmetries between the numerically weaker Syracusans and the worse led and morally flimsier Punic host.
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David
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May the Great Spirit Bless all who read this.
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Great fight and report. Co-incidentally I'm listening to Philip on a podcast, very interesting.
 
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Robert Mosimann
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A very interesting set of tactical replays of the battle.

I wondered if the possibilities would be enhanced even
Further if the choices of maneuver to battle were still
Allowed to each side.

I have often felt that these grand tactical aspects of
Ancient warfare have not been well addressed by
simulations/games.

I would like to see these armies not simply engage in battle
on the chosen Field of battle but still consider their options
for Maneuver and avoidance of battle open and even choose
to leave the field until further additional maneuver had
Yielded some advantage from terrain or disorder or surprise
Against their enemy.

Can Lost Battles be adapted to accommodate such grand
tactical aspects ?

I am a novice in only recently studying your game.

My appreciation

Robert Mosimann

 
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Philip Sabin
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The Lost Battles system does certainly allow free deployment, as a fully integrated element of the simulation. We tend to use historical deployments at shows, to save time. Going back even further and playing out the choice of battlefield and decisions over whether or not to engage at all are beyond the scope of Lost Battles, but they are covered as a key element in my operational sim 'Roma Invicta?'. You can find the latest edition of this game in my book 'Simulating War', which has just been published in paperback.
 
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