Grand Manoeuvre Releases Bella Contra Barbaros, Rome’s Wars with the Barbarians Rules

By Polar_Bear
In Ancients
Apr 25th, 2017
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One of the biggest empires the Earth has known was that of the Romans. They turned the Mediterranean into their own, private lake and pushed far up into Europe with their conquests. There, they found all manner of tribes they simply called “barbarians.” For hundreds of years, the Romans and these barbarians had… disagreements over who was in charge of what bits of land, and so there were quite a few wars that were fought. Now, you can bring those wars to your tabletop with Bella Contra Barbaros, a new set of miniatures rules from Grand Manoeuvre.

From them to you:

I`ve just posted my new ancient rules at my website shop.
BELLA CONTRA BARBAROS covers the period of Rome’s wars with the barbarians from 100 BC to 100 AD; from the reforms of Marius to the Dacian War of Trajan.

Basically, there are two contrasting systems of organisation and tactics and command and control
Firstly the Romans – who are regulated and disciplined – good order is important to their manoeuvre and success in battle. This is the Roman army’s great strength.
The barbarians on the other hand – their warbands and cavalry are less-controllable but faster and rather more fluid in their battlefield movements. The barbarians’ main strengths are their impetuous attacks and surprise in ambushes.

Combat Resolution
An adaption of my Grand Manoeuvre Napoleonic set, the combat rules are not dice-heavy; the modifiers that most game systems use (for flank attacks, disorder, and other tactical advantages) are significant points in determining the combat results and instead it is the dice rolls that modify the outcomes. Generally, the die roll itself plays a less of an important part in determining combat results; usually it only adds one point in the combat calculation unless the combat element has impetus and then two dice are used.

Stratagem Cards
There are some interesting ancient period flavours in this optional rule.
These cards will provide some challenges for players to deal with.
The cards include many of the stratagems mentioned by Frontinus and Polyeanus. There are 34 tactical ploys and stratagems. The cards can be selected by players, or picked randomly in the game set up phase for use in deployment or for use during the game itself.

Inspirational Pre-Battle Speeches
A chance to deliver a rousing address to the troops before battle to encourage them to fight well… perhaps their morale is shaky and needs to be boosted?
Another optional rule which adds period flavour; a pre-battle speech may give the player’s forces some combat or morale advantages.

Heroic Death Rules
Added to the mix (and only if things are going badly for the player) is the possibility of a heroic death for both barbarians and Romans – the Roman version of this being called the “devotio”.
We may reflect that Boudicca is better known than Gaius Seutonius Paulinus.
Everyone knows the name of Spartacus, but only the rather more keen, historical wargamer would know who Marcus Licinius Crassus was, or of his ultimate fate.
This option gives the Barbarian player (who must be a tribal king, or a commander in chief) a chance to “win” on his, or her own terms even though in fact their armies will be defeated and the cause of the rebellion is lost.

Scenario Booklet
There are eight historical battle scenarios from Rome’s wars and campaigns against the barbarians; each has an introduction, umpires notes, player briefings and victory conditions, terrain generation rules and army lists.

The eight battles in the booklet are:
Vercellae 101 BC – Marius` great victory over the Cimbri.
Mutina 72 BC – Spartacus defeats the Governor of Cisalpine Gaul.
Histria 61 BC – Burebista defeats “The Monster”, Gaius Antonius.
Sabis River 56 BC – Caesar verses three Belgian tribes.
Arbalo 11 BC – Drusus ambushed by the Sicambri.
Volcaean Marshes 7 AD – The Batos unite against the Romans.
Mons Graupius 83 AD – Agricola marches against the Caledonians.
The First Battle of Tapae 86 AD – Decebalus` Victory.

Historical and Points based Army Lists
Extensive Army Lists for most of wars and campaigns with Barbarians in the period are provided hopefully these will produce historical and balanced armies. In addition, I have made points-based army lists for Romans and Barbarians.

Battlefield Terrain Generation Rule Booklet
This booklet has specific terrain rules for each theatre of the major wars with the barbarians.

QRB`s
You can play these rules with various scale figures. Three versions of a six-page Quick Reference Booklet are supplied for use with 30, 40 & 60mm base widths – players are advised to use the closest one in size to their own particular basing.

Game Markers are supplied
Game marker files for hits, order and formations are supplied – players only need to print, fold, cut and glue or laminate them. Also provided are cards to remind players about the inspirational pre-battle speech effects. And to assist players some simple orders cards that may be hand-held or placed on table.

Campaigns
Victory conditions are suggested according to scenario or campaign conditions and there are also recommendations for dealing with post-battle pursuits, and fluctuating morale in campaigns.

The Rule Book
111 pages, with 66 colour photos and images illustrating the rules, a glossary of game and historical terms and an index.
Black and white copies of rules & quick-reference booklets are provided.

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