Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Battle of Pharsalus, 48 BCE - Strength & Honour AAR

Saturday was the main day of the convention, and I had decided to focus on historical games. 

My first game of the day was Strength & Honour, which I haven't had a chance to play in a while. 

We were refighting the Battle of Pharsalus, between Caesar and Pompey for the fate of Rome. 

The Caesarian army was smaller but made up of more elite units, while the Pompeian army was more numerous but less experienced. 

The goal was the break the enemy army (the Caesarian morale was 19, the Pompeian morale was 23). The Pompeians did have a special rule, in that they could send a unit of cavalry off the opposing table edge to try and capture Caesar's scattered baggage train, which would be a Disaster card if successful. 

As the larger army, the Pompeians started with the first turn. Thanks to another special rule (that would give Pompeian legions a first-time only reroll on saving throughs in combat), we move conservatively, keeping our line formed up. Meanwhile, our cavalry force pushed hard on the left flank, intending to hit the Caesarian baggage train and get that Disaster card asap. 

The Caesarians had a tougher go of it, failing several movement tests and moving forward in a broken line. 

The Pompeian cavalry engaged first, forcing back a unit of enemy skirmishers. 

Over on my side of the table, the two battle lines squared off, neither side wanting to commit. 

The Pompeian cavalry pushed back the enemy skirmishers and ended up in the flank of the elite Caesarian Xth Legion. 

The Pompeian light cavalry also managed to get past the Caesarian lines and looted their baggage train. 

In an astounding result, the Xth Legion was broken and fled from the battle! This gave the Pompeian a perfect chance to launch a charge into another Caesarian legion's flank.

The other half of the Caesarian line came on and Roman shields clashed. 

With their better units, the Caesarians largely disrupted the Pompeian lines, but not enough to rout or disrupt any of my units. I was lucky with my movement dice and reformed my line. 

However, the lost of the Xth Legion and the collapse of Caesar's right flank gave them enough Setback and Disaster cards that the Pompeian were willing to call Haemonculus Est. It was delayed for a turn thanks to a Command token, but the next turn saw Caesar's morale collapse. With a decisive victory for Pompey and the Senate, history would be changed forever!

This was a great game, but I felt like the Caesarian players had a rough go of it. Lacking cavalry, they would've had a tough time stopping the enemy cavalry from sacking their baggage, and they had quite  a few bad dice rolls at critical moments that definitely saved me from losing my weaker legions. 

Despite that, I continue to enjoy playing Strength & Honour!


  1. That looks fantastic. Lovely terrain cloth and units.

    1. It was definitely an eye-catching game! There were plenty of convention attendees coming over and being blown away by the scale and table.