...with all respect to Shawn, who played a very tough game.  The Kushan empire was contemporary with Rome, but the two never met in battle. This hypothetical confrontation matched a cavalry based army buffed up with elephants and Auxilia against the legions of Rome.


First command

1 x C-in-C (cavalry), 6 x foot skirmishers, 1 x German cavalry, 14 x legionaries, 6 x Spanish auxilia
Second command
1 x subcommander (cavalry), 12 x legionaries, 4 x auxilia
Third command
1 x subcommander (cavalry), 5 x German cavalry, 7 x light cavalry, 8 x skirmisher foot

KUSHAN EMPIRE (Shawn and Peter)

First command
1 x C-in-C (cataphract), 2 x elephants, 6 x auxilia, 3 x light horse
Second command
1 x subcommander (elephant), 5 x cataphracts, 5 x light horse, 1 x elephant, 2 x auxilia, 3 x psiloi (infantry skirmisher)
Third command
1 x subcommander (cataphract), 15 x light horse


Since I was unable to take photos, this deployment is reconstituted from memory. The Romans, knowing they were in big trouble in the open, chose steep hills for their terrain and prayed to every god they could think of before throwing the terrain positioning dice. The gods were propitious and they were able to put a steep hill on their back edge at the centre of the board, and two other steep hills halfway up on the right, effectively anchoring their two flanks. The Kushans placed a couple of gentle hills (perhaps something else, but I forget), and the mandatory road running down the middle.

The Kushans deployed across the board whilst the Romans deployed between the steep hills. Light foot were to guard the hills whilst the infantry and cavalry filled the space between and let the Kushans come and get them.


After casting aspersions on each other's ancestry and parentage the two armies moved off. Seeing the vast mass of light horse approaching his left flank, the Roman general detached additional light foot to move across and reinforce the light foot already on the leftmost steep hill. A third group of Gallic light foot moved up will all speed to seize control of the two steep hills on the right - and ran straight into an ambush of Kushan light foot and auxilia. For the remainder of the game, the veteran Gauls contested the hills, only gradually been driven off them. They at least performed their job of right flank guard.

Meanwhile the legions wheeled left and filled the gap between the two hills, the German cavalry and light Roman cavalry holding back as their right flank guard, adverse to closing with the formidable cataphracts and elephants approaching them.

The Kushan cataphracts approached the Roman centre, but the Kushan light horse were reluctant to contest the steep hill, knowing they would be at a severe disadvantage against the light foot if they did so (-2 for difficult terrain and -1 for being downhill). However, realising they had nothing to lose from attacking the Roman heavy infantry (they could not be destroyed by them), they went in on the centre-left - and promptly destroyed 4 legionary bases. The Roman general, muttering something about Phil Barker's Roman blades making a geriatric ward look robust, sent in Auxilia reserves to fill the holes in his line.

The battle looked like a stalemate. The elephants hesitated to advance into the sack prepared for them by the Roman cavalry and German light foot (now driven off the hill but quite happy to teach the pachyderms a thing or two), and the light horse on the Roman centre-left, after their initial success, were driven off in confusion by the battered legionaries.

The moment had come for great things, and sounding their trumpets, the cataphracts thundered into the attack. Men went down on both sides but without any decisive result. Then, rallying on the centre-left, the legionaries managed to catch one light horse after another from the front and flank (their greater numbers finally telling), preventing them from recoiling and thus destroying them. The light horse command finally broke and ran, but Rome's central command, after heavy losses, was now itself only one base from breaking, which would have left a huge hole in the Roman centre.

It was time for desperate measures. Seeing the Kushan C-in-C exposed, two legionary bases attacked him from the front and flank. The odds were against them: factors of 4 vs 3, and whoever lost the contest would be destroyed. However the gods smiled yet again, and Rome won, killing the C-in-C. Things were now critical for the Kushans. The C-in-C's command had lost 3 bases. They had to throw 4 or more with their pip die to keep his command from routing. Alea iacta est....and a 1! The command broke, and with it the Kushan army. Game over.

Thanks for a close and exciting game, Shawn and Peter. Looking forward to the next one!
Durban War Games Club - rolling dice since 1969