Monday, July 15, 2019

Battle of Sentinum 295 BC - Command & Colors Ancients

View of the table from the Samnite/Gallic side

View from the Roman side

Gallic and Roman cavalry in action

Gauls attack on their right flank

Roman right flank

Samnites on the left flank

Last Sunday Garry, Rick and I met at the Vikings Club in Lanyon for the monthly club meeting and we played a Command and Colors Ancients game (CCA) of the Battle of Sentinum, from the Third Samnite War in 295 BC. Rick commanded the Romans, Garry commanded the Gauls (the Senones) and I commanded the Samnites. In the afternoon we also played a Hun versus Patrician Roman 100 point ADLG game, and a game of Battle Ravens, the Dan Mersey shieldwall boardgame. I'll put photos of the Hun vs Roman game in a separate post.

The Gauls had early success on the right flank and before long had established a reasonable lead over the Romans. This brought in to play the Devotio Special Rule where the Romans could sacrifice the consul Decius Mus, when two or more victory banners behind, and receive a victory banner and in subsequent turns, units in combat would hit on a leader symbol. At the end of the turn the Roman player also draws two cards and plays with six for the rest of the game.

According to Livy (10.28)

Decius shouted to his men and asked them whither they were fleeing, what hope they had in flight; he tried to stop those who were retreating and recall the scattered units. Finding himself unable, do what he would, to check the demoralisation, he invoked the name of his father, P. Decius, and cried: ‘Why do I any longer delay the destined fate of my family? [13] This is the privilege granted to our house that we should be an expiatory sacrifice to avert dangers from the State. Now will I offer the legions of the enemy together with myself as a sacrifice to Tellus and the Dii Manes.’ [14] When he had uttered these words he ordered the pontiff, M. Livius, whom he had kept by his side all through the battle, to recite the prescribed form in which he was to devote ‘himself and the legions of the enemy on behalf of the army of the Roman people, the Quirites.’ [15] He was accordingly devoted in the same words and wearing the same garb as his father, P. Decius, at the battle of Veseris in the Latin war. [16] After the usual prayers had been recited he uttered the following awful curse: ‘I carry before me terror and rout and carnage and blood and the wrath of all the gods, those above and those below. [17] I will infect the standards, the armour, the weapons of the enemy with dire and manifold death, the place of my destruction shall also witness that of the Gauls and Samnites.’ [18] After uttering this imprecation on himself and on the enemy he spurred his horse against that part of the Gaulish line where they were most densely massed and leaping into it was slain by their missiles.

While our game was not quite as dramatic as that, there was close fighting and plenty of ebb and flow in fortunes from turn to turn. In the end the Romans managed to secure a close victory by eight to seven victory banners.

Gauls have early success on the right

Samnite cavalry attack

Samnite infantry

Fighting on the Samnite left flank 

Romans win a close victory


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Michal, there is quite a detailed description of the battle by Livy but as he was writing at the time of Augustus, I suspect there was some invention.

  2. I certainly enjoy seeing your CCA battles in miniature, Mike! Great visuals as always.

    1. Thanks Jonathan, the Gauls and Samnites are fun armies and the Republican Romans are always tough opponents.

  3. Some great looking figs on the table, nice work.

    1. Thanks FMB, we really enjoy our CCA games.

  4. Splendid, lovely armies and courageous Romans, great looking game!

    1. Thanks Phil, it was a fun and close game.


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