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Testing Comitatus amendments at Daras

By smacdowall, May 11 2021 08:05PM

I have been running a number of Comitatus games to test out some new amendments to the rules. These simplify the combat mechanisms using dice rather than comparing factors. This now brings Comitatus into line with my more recent rules such as Tree of Battles (late medieval) and Malbriook s’en va-t-en guerre (WSS big battles). The 2021 amendments greatly reduce calculations thus speeding up play as well as reducing the strain on my poor brain! They are available as a free download from the rules section of my website — to be used in conjunction with the original rules.

The most recent test game was loosely based on Daras (AD 530) using 15mm figures.

Perozes, deployed the Persians in 3 lines with a strong left wing and substantial reserve. Their army also included elephants. Although not entirely historical, I wanted to test out the elephant mechanisms alongside those of more conventional troops.

The relatively poor quality Roman infantry, supported by a light catapult, were deployed behind a ditch (reminder -- I need to cosntruct some ditch sections!)

Belisarius held back his left, sending Pharas off on a wide (off table) flank march on that wing with a picked force of Huns and Heruls.

Heavy horse archers, backed up by foederati held the Roman right.

The Persians advanced rapidly on their left and a swirling cavalry combat ensued with the Persians getting the better of it. When the Roman commander on that wing was killed in hand to hand combat the line wavered and it looked like a Persian victory was near.

At this critical juncture, Belisarius detached his Bucellarii to reinforce his hard pressed right flank.

Perozes brought up his reserves, personally leading the Immortals to engage the Roman Bucellarii. But against the odds, the Romans got the better of the engagement, slowly pushing back Perozes’ Immortals.

Meanwhile, the Persian right closed in on Belisarius’ refused left, bringing up the elephants in support.

It was then that Pharas rolled high enough on the dice to arrive on table behind the advancing Persian right.

The ensuing fight saw the Huns draw off one of the elephants while Belisarius and Pharas charged with their heavy cavalry, killing the Persian right wing commander in the process.

The infantry in the centre faced each other off, exchanging missiles from a safe distance until the Isuarians on the Roman left surged forward to support Belisarius’ cavalry.

It was a good, very hard-fought game with the Persians winning on their left and the same for the Romans on theirs. In the end we called it a draw with advantage to the Persians. All of the rule amendments worked well -- improving the game while retaining the feel of the original rules.

May 11 2021 08:25PM by Ernie Fosker

It was a terrific game, Simon, thank you for all your efforts in setting it up. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the part of one of my heroes, Belisarius. My opponent, Perozes aka Richard/Spike Speedman, was a gallant adversary and fought a hard battle.
Without doubt, if we had continued, he would have rolled up my infantry and would have cut my line of retreat to the city.

May 11 2021 08:58PM by Richard Speedman

The rule amendments worked very well and the adding/subtracting dice for combat (instead of adding and subtracting factors) increases the fun and excitement of the game - except when my Immortals failed to roll 5s or 6s! ;-) Thank you for setting this up and inviting me to play over Zoom. I'm looking forward to our next game being in person.

May 12 2021 01:28PM by smacdowall

Thanks Richard. Also greatly looking forward to the next game being in person. Cheers, Simon

May 12 2021 01:29PM by smacdowall

Thanks Ernie. It was touch and go but yes, every chance the Persians would have rolled up your right before Belisarius could exploit his advantage on your left. Cheers, Simon

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