Wednesday, May 11, 2022

River Arar 58 BC - Strength and Honour Game


Tigurini  deployed in column while the Romans await in the woods

Opposite end Roman attackers are about to launch their ambush

Romans roll + 4 on the Auguries!

Tigurini + 2

Romans advance out of the woods, some of the Tigurini turn to face

On Wednesday I played a solo Strength and Honour game out in the shed with my 28mm Late Republican Romans and Gauls. The scenario was the River Arar in 58 BC with Caesar's legions ambushing the Tigurini with their baggage train near the river Arar. This is the first of three scenarios from the Bibracte campaign that Mark Backhouse, the rules author, posted on the Strength and Honour board on the Too Fat Lardies' forum. Caesar describes the encounter:

There is a river, the Arar which flows through the territories of the Sequani and Aedui and into the Rhone. The weakness of its current is incredible; a person cannot judge by looking at it, which way it is flowing. The Helvetii were crossing it by building rafts and tying small boats together. Caesar was informed by his scouts that three-quarters of the Helvetian forces had already crossed this river and only one quarter was left on the same side of the Arar as the Roman army; so during the third watch, he set out from his camp with three legions and came to that part of the Helvetii that had not yet crossed. Attacking them by surprise while they were burdened with their baggage, he slaughtered many of them. The rest sought safety in flight and hid in the nearest forest. They were from the tribe that is called the Tigurini, the whole Helvetian nation being divided into four tribes.

The Landmark Julius Caesar The Complete Works 1.12.1-4 pp.12-13 Translated by Kurt A. Raaflaub Anchor Books, 2017, New York.

For the game I used the reverse side of my Hotz mat with five inch hexes that I use for Command and Colors Ancients. I marked in a 15cm grid with dots from a felt tip pen which were clear enough to the naked eye but unobtrusive at the same time. I know the rules are designed for smaller scale armies, and there are a lot of advantages with these, but most of my painted armies are 28mm, so it was good to play another game to learn the rules and I think it looked OK as well. I didn't have any painted Numidian foot skirmishers for the Roman army so just substituted some Gallic skirmishers instead.

The scenario and the game were very one sided, so it  is probably best played as a solo game. The Romans rolled + 4 on the Auguries table, the Tigurini +2. The Tigurini are deployed in a column facing the river and all their units manoeuvre on 4 + compared to 2 + or 3 + for the Romans so it is tough going. The Tigurini used all their points on the command board early in the game trying to turn and face the Roman attack, with little success. In the end the Romans won very easily with barely a set back card or push back in sight but still quite a fun and satisfying game to play.

Caesar is attached to the IX Hispana

Tigurini  baggage is pushed back

Tigurini cavalry rout, baggage and a warband are disordered

Another push back for the Tigurini 

Tigurini  finally break with a single unit remaining


  1. Good looking game, even if it was one sided, it's difficult to keep up with how many ancient/medieval rule sets there are, well for me anyway!
    Best Iain

  2. Very cool looking game, Mike. I like the name of the rule set too.


Bibracte 58 BC - Strength and Honour Game

  Gauls deployed on the left, Romans on the right Opposite end from the Gallic side Both sides advance Helvetii cavalry and warband Gallic a...