Alea Jacta Est - The Cantabrian Wars DLC

Legio IV Macedonia sets off for the interior of Spain to put down a revolt by the Cantabrians of Northern Spain.

It turns out Rome's Italian commanders had as much trouble on the Iberian peninsula as Napoleon's French ones did.

It is 29 BC and I have gotten sucked into a quagmire of guerilla warfare in Spain.  Sound familiar?!?

I am playing the Cantabrian Wars DLC (purchased for half price during a STEAM sale this past week) for Alea Jacta Est, an AGEOD game that I have had for some time sitting un-played in my STEAM game library.  I have finally gotten around to trying it and so far so good.

Historically, the Romans pacify the Cantabrians but the war is longer and far more expensive than anticipated and it requires the direct intervention of the Emperor Octavian (think Napoleon late 1808 after Junot and company's failures).  That's got me thinking a lot about my Napoleonic gaming of the Peninsular War and the common problems facing armies of occupation as I lay out my initial plan for Rome.

My Plan:

I have two experienced legions at the start of the campaign.  Legio IX Victrix is on the eastern end of the peninsula under the command of an 3-2-3 commander named Proconsul Titus Statillius Taurus who kicks things off with a 10 day march into the heart of darkness.

10 days into the campaign and the Proconsul and Legio IX Victrix make contact with the rebel forces
On the western coast of modern day Portugal (coincidentally not too far from where Wellington and the Army of Portugal landed in 1808), Legio IV Macedonia under a less effective commander named Tuberus is beginning a 33 day march into the interior following the Tagus river.

My goal is to effect a junction of these two forces before entering Cantabria and Asturia.  I am learning the game as I play and my first mistake is underestimating the importance of my commanders. Tuberus and Taurus aren't up to this particular task and so far, neither am I.

Armies of occupation:

From the start this feels a lot like two other conflicts, modeled by AGEOD, that I have dabbled in:  the Sepoy mutiny of 1857 and the American Revolutionary War (Pride of Nations and Birth of America).

Rome, like London in the two previously mentioned conflicts, is a long way from the battlefield and the effort to build up a force equal to the task takes time.  The eastern coast of Spain is settled by Rome and prosperous (Britain's AMRW maritime strategy would have been perfect to protect these loyal friends of Rome).  My objectives however, take me far away from these provinces into the rugged interior.  As I march towards the rebellious provinces, barbarian forces ravage the Pyrenees and the rebel forces I am fighting are burning the lands around me, making supply difficult  (think about Howe and Burgoynes 1777 struggles during the AMRW).  I just don't have the forces to strike into the interior while also protecting my flanks and the objectives I am holding to the east and south.

As it turns out, Napoleon had it easy.  France is contiguous to Spain and he could easily reinforce and resupply the various armies under French command there.  Only Massena got himself into real trouble as he marched into Portugal in 1810.  What Napoleon had going against him, that the Romans didn't, was a third party (Britain) bankrolling, retraining and arming the opposition only to lead them in a fight against the hated invader .  Cantabria and Asturia weren't so lucky.

The weather effects are great (the provinces experiencing snow are in white).  Along the coasts during one turn, severe storms impacted my shipping.

Winter is inconvenient and unexpected:

It turns out Spanish winters are very inconvenient.  Tubero's Legio IV Macedonia is turned back from it's line of advance along the Tagus, losing strength and time from a brutal patch of wintry weather.

This unexpected December snow causes him to miss his planned junction with the Proconsul's eastern column and consequently my plan is shredded as the Cantabrians and Asturians mount a counterattack against the Proconsul's forces.

That was six turns ago.

I have completed 11 turns so far, and I've been forced by the AI to pull back what's left of my legions towards lower and relatively safer climes along the coasts until I rebuild a force capable of taking on the enemy. I have another 110 or so turns to go, which seems like a long time but I played through the first 11 turns in less than an hour.

If you own, Alea Jacta Est and don't have this DLC I think it represents a real challenge and is worth the $3.99.

More to follow...


Marco Diaz said…
Looking good, the key perhaps relies in the forces, as you see their forces are light, so light auxilia and equites could deal more damage as they could engage their forces for more time, another round in battle perhaps, than the heavy infantry of the Legion. This game simulates good how the guerrilla forces withdraw from combat easy and make the legions go after them region after region.
Chris said…
Thanks Marco for the comment. About 5 turns in, I realized it would be better to break out my Germanic cavalry and my equites and use them to harass/scout various regions. Taurus' force got pummeled despite that strategic shift but I have a new commander that I hope can help turn things around. I mismanaged Legio IV Macedonia after snows turned them back from their line of advance along the Tagus. I tried a different way in and put them about 60 days behind schedule.

Popular Posts