I’m starting to see the twin pronged Carthaginian attack formation develop before my very eyes. Their cavalry has rushed to both my flanks and has turned in on my forces, closing my troops in. Forcing them to defend their rear as well as attempt frontal offensive or defensive manoeuvres.
A fundamental mistake to expose your flanks, and I have already committed myself to playing the conflict on the back-foot. Even my left flank, where I designed a flank refusal, has found itself compromised. As Makris mentioned, you should use the battlefields edges to keep the Cavalry out. As you can see, I failed to take note of that advice. Lesson learned.
The Elephant charge has fully engaged my Legions, passing through the Carthaginian Skirmishers, and leaving their line behind the Elephants in support of their morale. If I’ve understood it properly, the Elephantine charge was covered with Skirmishers up front, as they trample up to the front line, and then the exchange was made upon point of impact. This tactic would seem to also offer some protection of the Elephant force from behind.
The assault on my mid-line of troops and Legions has already caused some fragmentation (F) and disruption (D) to the unit cohesion level, shaking the troops as they repel the stampede. These factors can often ripple through lines of troops as they become engaged and demoralised. The red arrows displayed above denote the units that are engaged in combat, and they restrict that unit’s movement or attack options. These engagements have to be processed before the turn can be ended – so another concern during any battle is to try and avoid being locked in unfavourable engagements that you are forced to take part in.
As you can see, my Fragmented Legion is about to attack the Elephant to its northeast, and the unit is supported by the adjacent Legion. The white shield with two percentages displayed shows combat success values. With 2% blue/84% red, it seems this attack is going to go badly for my troops even with support. My unit has already lost 25% of its starting strength, denoted by a white skull displayed at the bottom of the miniature (the skulls stack, with every 25% loss of troop strength).
On my left flank, my weak troops are about to attack the Carthaginian Commander Xanthippus, again even with support my Fragmented troops are pulling unfavourable combat percentages, yet they are locked into the engagement. This is hardly an exemplary defence. They are being cut to shreds, with only weak lightly armoured Cavalry troops at their rear.
My right flank is fairing better, however they are being harassed from their right whilst trying to assault their left. So you can see I’ve split the troops to meet the demands, not exactly what I wanted, nor planned. I realise forcing your troops to fight on two fronts at once is not good, but my reasoning behind the up turned ‘V’ split was to drive the cavalry northwards, routing it if possible, and then to continue swinging those troops further north to close the ‘lid’ on the northwestern Carthaginian reserves.
You can see the Carthaginian Cavalry are out of their Commanders zone of influence by the fact that they have a white hand symbol by their miniatures. This means the unit is more likely to not follow orders and fall into a state of Anarchy.
Finally we’ll take a quick peek at the Victory Conditions Scoreboard for the game.
You can instantly see I’m taking way more casualties than the Carthaginians, and as your troops morale and cohesion falls apart you begin to accrue Break Points. Once your army’s Break Point total exceeds your Initial Army Score you are defeated. Comparing the two Initial Army Scores, the Carthaginians can take slightly more demoralisation, punishment and loss.
Still, even with the fundamental formation mistakes I’ve made, it is early on in the game, perhaps I can turn it around?