Saturday, 22 July 2017

Classic Rome Vs Carthage Matchup

Today I got to play a rousing game of Sword and Spear with two of my mates. We were celebrating the completion of Zack painting his Romans and Carthaginians. The figures are mostly Newline 20mm with a few standard plastic figs as well. We have played many straight up fights and decided to try an attack on a prepared defense scenario. The Romans attacked with 500 pts and Carthage defended with 400 pts.


3 Captain
2 Veteran Hastati
6 Hastati
3 Cavalry
3 Velites
1 Cretan Archer

Roman Deployment


1 General
1 Captain
3 Veteran African Spearmen
2 Warband HI
2 Spanish Scutarii MI
2 Spanish Cavalry
2 Javelinmen
1 Balearic Slinger
1 Elephant

Carthaginians on the hill

Both armies took the Resupply Strategem.

The Carthaginians had the advantage in terrain and deployed a river on their right flank and a long ridge to deploy their infantry on. They had to set up first and set all their foot in a line on the ridge and 3 units of skirmishers forward. Their elephant was on the right and the cavalry was on the left.

Close up of nice painting

The Romans set their heavy infantry in a line 2 deep facing the ridge. 2 Velites deployed on the left to oppose the Elephant and 3 Cavalry and 2 skirmishers deployed against the Carthaginian cavalry on the right.

Carthaginian left

Both sides advanced their flanks. The Roman Velites tied up and routed the Elephant that advanced unsupported. The 2 Carthaginian Cavalry were overwhelmed by the greater Roman numbers opposing them after several rounds of combat. The Carthaginian Skirmishers in the center were destroyed but not before damaging a unit of Hastati in hand to hand.

The Cavalry thunder forward

We agreed to call the game after 4 turns. Carthage was one unit away from retiring from the field and the Romans had only lost a Velite unit.

The Elephant in the room

We discussed the game afterwards and concluded that Carthage should have held it's flanking forces in reserve and used its terrain advantage to fight the front lines. Throwing in reserves when the heavy foot were embroiled. It takes a patient wargamer to resist attacking and let the enemy come to you.

The Romans fell the mighty beast

 I have played S&S 6 times or more and have not seen the successful use of skirmishers deployed in front of the heavy infantry. They perform much better on the flanks.

Two lines of Cavalry battle to the death

Thanks for an excellent outing boys. Looking forward to the next gathering.


  1. That looks a lovely scale to do Sword and Spear in - nice army Zack!
    Interesting about skirmishers generally not working in front of heavy infantry, is that a rules problem? (are you on 2nd Edition?).

    1. Hi Norm. I think it is a rules issue. There is lots of chatter about skirmishers on the forum and some suggestions for house rules. In this case, the Carthaginian skirmishers were deployed too far forward in my opinion. They were not supported by the main line and suffered accordingly. They are a challenge to play in an historical way with these rules.