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Subject: Crimisus times three rss

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Philip Sabin
United Kingdom
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At the Cavalier show in Tonbridge today, we refought Crimisus three times, using Eric Cruttenden's 28mm figures on my cork tile terrain. This is a fascinating contest because of the asymmetric balance between the overwhelming Punic numbers and the Syracusan advantages in troop quality, generalship, terrain and surprise, as the Carthaginians were caught crossing the Crimisus river. The battle is very closely balanced, with the Greeks being awarded 27 handicap points for their fighting value inferiority while the Carthaginians get 23 points (one per unit) to compensate for being surprised.

Our first refight saw the Greeks struggling to overwhelm the Punic chariot screen, which was constantly being reinforced by Carthaginian infantry crossing the river. Timoleon tried to rally a unit on turn 4 on the principle that 'things can't get any worse', but they promptly did when he died! The Syracusans still managed to retire in fairly good order to the hill, but the enemy followed up energetically, and on turn 7 the Greeks broke and fled. The Carthaginians won a major game victory by 100 points to 50. The picture below shows this refight from behind the Punic right.



The second refight went very differently. The Greeks shattered the rightmost Punic chariots on turn 2, and through a series of all-out attacks on turns 3 and 4 they defeated the chariots and half the Sacred Band in the enemy centre. The Carthaginians suffered from a vicious circle, losing units as fast as new ones could be introduced. The advancing Syracusans faced some hard fighting along the river, but on turn 6 the remaining Sacred Band was shattered and the mass of levies panicked. The Greeks hence won an even more striking game victory by 114 points to 49.

Our final refight would be the decider. A thunderstorm began straight away, but it stopped the very next turn (as had happened in the first game also). The Carthaginians prevailed on their left on turn 2, but then they faced a stand-off with the two hoplite units on the hill. The Syracusans won on their own left on turn 4, but their advance was checked by fresh infantry along the river and outflanked by Hamilcar with a cavalry unit. Hence, it was in the centre where the battle would be decided.

Timoleon displayed almost suicidal bravery by leading the attack with his own guard, even after it had become spent. He almost succeeded in breaking the Punic centre, but Hasdrubal succeeded in a crucial rally attempt, and it was Timoleon who was carried away when his battered guard fled on turn 7, followed by almost all the forward Syracusan forces. Just one veteran unit remained, and instead of retiring to join the 3 Greek units on the hill, it continued trying to achieve a breakthrough. Only on turn 10 was it finally shattered. Although the Greeks were left with the minimum of 3 units on the board, they just scraped a game victory by 92 points to 90, thanks to the carnage suffered by the best Punic units during the initial surprise attack.

Crimisus is one of the most interesting scenarios to play, because of the interacting special rules for chariots, hoplites, terrain, weather and surprise, and because of the constant dilemmas over which units to activate and where. Time is of the essence as forward units hang on by their fingernails while awaiting reinforcement. The scenario is so knife-edged that taking great risks can sometimes be the height of wisdom.
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David
New Zealand
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Great AAR, awesome setup.
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Germany
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Thanks, this sounds very exciting!

This is the first AAR for this battle on BGG (I just added it to the wiki), but there is a report on Prufrock's blog which shows another extreme result (11 vs. 94), and I especially like the following line:
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It was a perfectly believable sequence of disastrous events that lead to an overwhelming victory for Timoleon and his small band of men.
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