Author Topic: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR  (Read 722 times)

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Offline Philippe

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CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« on: October 31, 2013, 07:00:18 AM »
Philippe Thibaut has asked me to help him post this AAR to the Grogheads forum, so in honor of Halloween, here goes:




This is a what-if scenario that simulates the campaign which Caesar had planned against the Parthians, a plan interrupted by his assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC.

Roman forces are positioned or arriving in the East, Caesar himself at Byzantium (he has just completed his planned campaign against the Dacians)


Intro

Caesar's strategy for crushing the Parthians is based on a long study of his future opponent's art of war. He learned a lot from Crassus' defeat and has decided to focus on making sure that Rome has the tools it needs to defeat this enemy, in particular archers and cavalry. Similarly, the importance of logistics and local diplomacy has not escaped the master of Rome, arts that he has excelled at for many years.





I know there will be events in the coming months that will give Rome more reinforcements in archers, cavalry and allies, as well as the ability to build more of those kind of units. I am planning to develop my war machine to match my opponent's while still building up the power of the Legions to give the decisive blow.

Where and how I launch my attack is critical. My strategy is to follow Caesar's plan, moving the main army and its legion into the northeastern part of Mesopotamia, where hills and mountains can handicap the mounted forces of my opponent, and supply is easier than in the steppes. I can also receive support from the Armenians when they enter the war.

But, at the same time, I need to threaten and fix the Parthians along the main rivers, especially the Euphrates, the southern-most of the two rivers that flow through Mesopotamia. So I plan to capture Apamea quickly, which will allow me to build a river fleet to support a Mesopotamian campaign with a force where I can use most of my cavalry to match the Parthians.





We are also aware (and regularly informed) that there are poor weather conditions, epidemics, and mosquitoes afflicting southern Mesopotamia. We had better be prudent: heat waves and health problems could cripple any forces that they arrive there.




Turn 1

I begin by putting my allies at Samosata, Melitene and Jerusalem inside cities, as I know the Parthians can make swift raids and take them out in the open. Better keep them alive till Caesar arrives.

I shall play some subversion at Nisibis to upset the Parthians. Caesar will move all the way down to Zeugma where he is expected in 2 months (Prince Bogud will move to Antioch with his Numidian horsemen). Let’s use the time to build a few troops locally too.
 




The turn execution shows that my fears were justified, as a huge Parthian force has pounced on Samosata: if my allies had stayed outside the walls, they would have been wiped out. Parthian allies are also besieging Zeugma, Caesar’s current destination.







The leaders Vetus and Turius are sent back from the main forces to pick up expected reinforcements and newly raised troops.
 




Last but not least, I've made the important decision of offering concessions to my mistress Cleopatra. The politicians back in Rome will be upset and agitated (NM and VP loss), but the legion freed up for the campaign makes it worth it.

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2013, 07:23:26 AM »
Great read!

I'm going to relocate this to the AAR forum, and let you keep on trucking there :)
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Offline Martok

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2013, 08:15:31 AM »
A fun read so far, Phillippe.  Thanks for posting it! 

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Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 11:25:33 AM »


Turn 2

I make sure Caesar's forces rush to relieve Zeugma and catch the Adiabeneans there by surprise. I shall order Dolabella's force (my second Roman main force) down from Antioch to Laodicea, to collect reinforcements (the forces that have sailed from Smyrna are supposed to land there safely) and start moving south toward the Euphrates.





The god of war is smiling: the battles are all victorious, and the Adiabeneans at Zeugma were all but annihilated by Caesar’s surprise appearance on the battlefield. However, the subversion of Nisibis failed. Let’s keep political warfare for later, during the bad season.





Our building strategy will continue, focusing on archers, as they take longer to train.





In the meanwhile, it’s politics as usual back in Rome (the game has some positive events, but there might be also intrigues, which are impacting negatively the Roman morale).




Turn 3

Dolabella's move caught the Rhambae Arab allies of the Parthians in the open, and they were crushed. Their village is seized, and we shall soon garrison and reinforce it (e.g. by making a decision to build walls).
 




The Fleet at Laodicea is sent by to Byzantium, as I expect some reinforcements from the rest of the Roman world to arrive at the start of next month.

Caesar will cross the Euphrates to Apamea, which should be seized and turned into a shipyard for our future river fleet.





Good news, Caesar's wealth is active and more funds are available!

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline WallysWorld

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2013, 03:58:35 PM »
Very interesting. Thanks for posting this, Philippe.
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Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2013, 07:04:46 PM »


Turn 4

I shall make use of the opportunity to sell some of the prisoners taken last turn, which will help our finances and building strategy.



 

The main fleet has been delayed, so the forces at Byzantium will have to wait one more month. No need to have them traveling through badlands in winter.

I have kept my amphibious units by the Syrian coast. If the assault I just ordered with Caesar is successful,  my plan is to send them to Apamea to board the river fleet I will build and to support the ground offensive by blockading cities or raiding.


My Arab allied horsemen and mounted archers will move towards Palmyra, ready to create a cavalry reaction force that I intend to assemble in the center of the theatre in order to counter or catch future Parthian raids.

The leaders Vetus and Turius are sent back from the main forces to pick up expected reinforcements and newly raised troops.
 




Last but not least, I've made the important decision of offering concessions to my mistress Cleopatra. The politicians back in Rome will be upset and agitated (NM and VP loss), but the legion freed up for the campaign makes it worth it.

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 07:16:21 AM »
Turn 5

Cleopatra now feels confident about the future, and the Roman legions in Egypt have been released. The force at Pelusium will move to Gaza to keep an eye on the Nabateans who might decide to become Parthian allies. The legions at Alexandria will go to Pelusium, to eventually meet up with the fleet at Antioch for further transportation to Syria (I try to make use of naval transport as much as possible as it is faster and less exhausting than moving by land). The reinforcements in Byzantium have been loaded onto the fleet that just arrived there and are being ordered to sail to Antioch.

The Parthians seem to be weary of all my moves and raise the siege of Samosata, falling back to Edessa. To harass them, I shall engage in subversion in their regions of Osrhoene…

The siege of Dura Europos is going nowhere, Dolabella being constantly deactivated and failing to take advantage of the breach made in the walls: as a consequence I order a special column led by Patisius with one legion and auxiliaries to detach from the main force and to mount an assault on the city.
 





Our Praetor in Jerusalem also informs us that our allies there are now ready to support us…but let’s wait a bit before calling them; there is no pressing need at the moment.


Turn 6


Patisius succeeded at Dura: the city fell but the walls were destroyed in the process, and I have decided that we need to rebuild them. I am concentrating on winning hearts and minds and increasing development, promoting public works in Zeugma and pacifying the recently conquered Rhambae Arabs near Dura.

Lucius Conficius and his river-born raiders arrive at Apamea from Laodicea, and I will eventually construct one more river fleet. 
But not at the moment, as Apamea's loyalty is not high enough to permit construction).

Caesar decides to try and go after the main Parthian force at Edessa, and orders all Roman armies to gather there with him…






It is also time to put pressure on the Armenians: I don’t plan to go through them quickly, but the move will probably upset Parthian strategy.


Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 07:17:33 AM »

Turn 7


Armenia can now be entered. The Parthians stay quiet there, but I notice that they have called up their vassals in the region, just in case. Their main force moves from Edessa to Zenodotia, escaping Caesar.

Seeing that, siege is laid, but the city is strong (level 2 walls) and it could take ages, while our supplies dwindle. Caesar informs the defenders that if they open the gates, the city will be spared (Surrender decision).
 
At the same time, orders are given to reorganize the local government at Apamea (Reforms decision): this will increase loyalty, allowing us to finally construct a river fleet and build up the garrison.
 





As our treasury is full, we lavishly supply our allies with Roman gold and order them to raise more troops, especially in Judea and Armenia.



Turn 8

Caesar’s magnanimity is renowned: Edessa surrenders to us! We will use the respite to reorganize our forces.

Consul Vatia will leave the main forces with 2 legions and the Galatian contingent of prince Kastor and move towards Tigranocerta in the East.

The Melitene contingent of prince Antiochos will keep a watchful eye inside Edessa (but we command the mountain-capable foot archers to stay with us), and the rest of the army will rush down to Carrhae, then Zenodotia, in an attempt to catch the King of Kings before he evades us once more with his main body…

Similarly, Dolabella will be ordered north across the Euphrates, to assault the enemy at Phaliga in a surprise attack.


Heavy cavalry mercenaries that Caesar had ordered long before this are arriving at ports of the Pontus Euxinus (Byzantium and Trapezus): let’s order them down south (they will ride faster than waiting for boats this time).

A Cappadocian phalanx levied early on is now ready and has been ordered south for future garrison duty in the conquered provinces. Other garrisons have been ordered up locally.






 
Orders are then issued…
Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2013, 07:19:03 AM »

Turn 9


The Parthians surprised us by launching a raid alongside the Euphrates, towards the coast. All regions there are pillaged, which will not help our supply situation, especially with the summer months approaching. We should probably avoid rushing our operations till fall…

Caesar's strategic gambit paid off: on its way down to catch the Parthian king, a small force at Carrhae is crushed and the city captured in the ensuing assault. The battlefield that witnessed Crassus' defeat is Roman again, and Caesar will surely make good use of it (in game terms, another major propaganda campaign option is now available, plus the immediate gain in morale).







Continuing on the success, the main enemy force is caught near Zenodotia and Caesar's correct mix of troops (cavalry and archers) prevents his opponents from withdrawing.  Many Parthians are butchered by Legionaries eager to avenge Crassus' memory. Roman honor is restored, the Parthians flee in disorder…and to add insult to injury, Zenodotia falls in the rash assault that follows. Caesar’s speed and talent has struck again…














 
The great field victory at Zenodotia…

 





… is followed by the fall of the city!




And for once, Dolabella took Fortuna in his hands (he was activated this turn): his assault on Phaliga is a great victory too. Our enemies now have no cities in which to shelter and resupply in the north, and will be forced to retreat to the south-center of Mesopotamia, suffering surely from the upcoming August heat.
 






A vexillatio from Africa also arrived in Laodicea; I order them northwest to meet later with Caesar, while the Legions of Alexandria, fresh from landing there, will try to catch the Parthians on raid nearby. As a precaution, Arab allied horsemen from Emesus will attempt interception as well.

I am also ordering back the main bodies from Dura, as the desert region has been picked clean and the supply situation there is catastrophic. For similar reason, I’ll ask Dolabella to shelter in Phaliga and rebuild his supplies, while Caesar himself will rush northeast to the more supportive hills and countryside around Nisibis…


More garrisons are constructed to ensure all cities will be properly defended until the next offensive.

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2013, 07:28:50 AM »
Turn 10


The Parthians are moving fast, and if we leave them alone, we will be endlessly chasing them over the whole theater. So, despite being slightly weakened by the two fights at Zenodotia, Caesar orders a dash to Nisibis, a key and well fortified city that controls the northern Mesopotamia foothills and can prove a wonderful base for further campaigning





In the meanwhile, Vatia and prince Kastor’s Galatians will continue besieging Tigranocerta (southwest of Nisibis) and wait till breaches are made.

We expect the Parthians to run off and lick their wounds, which would be the sound thing to do.

Caesar’s speed and talent (in particular the “Assaulter” ability which allows him to launch assaults even if no breaches are made) do wonders at Nisibis: the Parthians were unsuspecting and the cities falls in a brief and bloody assault for the defenders (the losses among the legionaries look relatively small in comparison, thanks also to our vast superiority in archers that have softened the defense right before the walls were scaled).

 




This is the best news we could expect, as the large walled city can now serve as a supply base for our future offensive down the Tigris.

In the meantime, the Parthian prince Pacorus has led a foray into Armenia, which was repulsed by the Armenian King Tigranes. The Parthians have made a mistake, since their incursion has released the strong Armenian forces before their time (they were still ‘locked’ for the next 9 months). We are certain to punish them for it.








Turn 11

Caesar has decided that, because of the light losses at Nisibis, and despite a supply situation that is starting to be worrisome, it would be great to catch the retreating Parthians before they can get out of reach. Here, two of Caesar’s other exceptional abilities come into play. Caesar's master spy network allows him better information on the theater, and we have discovered that the King of Kings has taken shelter in the city of Singara, just less than a month of marching southeast of Nisibis (where they were probably not expecting us!). Second, as a Logistics Expert, Caesar is much better at living off the land (25% supply bonus) and can therefore be less worried about supply.

So we shall make another risky decision: let’s rush without rest down to Singara and besiege the whole Parthian force when they expect to quietly recover their supplies inside the city. The region is steppe-land and could pose a danger if we were caught by Parthian cavalry in the open, but we are gambling that they will need to recover their loss of strength and cohesion inside their walls, and not be in a position to attack when we arrive there.








Caesar remains very active also and decides to plan for a major siege and battle at Singara.

It is necessary to increase military control in the region to ensure a proper siege of the Parthians, reducing their logistical status while improving the Roman one. Playing the “Punish” RGD will just do that, as even if the local loyalty suffers (who cares, the Legions are almighty!), the control increases drastically.

In addition, orders are given to the whole army to go on a strict defensive. This can help defeat the Parthians if they go out of the city to break away.


In the meanwhile, the forces of Aulus Alienus will move from the banks of the Euphrates and try to catch the remaining Osrhoenian allies of our enemies still wandering on the northern bank.

Turn execution is again surprising and the gods are still with us (Caesar is the darling of Venus). In the north, the Armenians are on the move and catch Pacorus, defeating him but not decisively and suffering a few losses.

 





Aulus Alienus is also successful and destroys the remaining Osrhoenian forces in the field.

 






Caesar was right -- our enemy tried to sortie, but our tactical position helped defeat them.



 


another magnificent jewel to the roman crown (and his!) and getting ready, may be, to follow Alexander’s footsteps into Sogdiana, the Indus valley, may be India and who knows, to China and beyond. Julius Caesar would this surpass his model and become the greatest conqueror of all times!




Author’s Notes: I've tried to write this AAR in the spirit of Caesar’s “De Bello Gallico” (The Gallic Wars), with the author writing about himself in the third person and not forgetting to display proudly his great feats! A wonderful historical and propaganda masterpiece.


Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2013, 07:29:55 AM »

Turn 12

Caesar's foresight payed off. The Parthians are trapped in Singara and have failed to sortie. We shall decide to get them now, like we did with the Gauls at Alesia back in 52 BC. We shall first try to foment some discontent by bribing a few people inside the citi\y, as gold can always help find potential traitors. If we succeed, we might get the doors to open or a section of the wall handed over to us. (sketch below shows success!)
 





So now that we own some of the walls, the Parthians are doomed. Let’s stay on defense for now, to gather forces for the upcoming assault.



Turn 13

This turns shows the end of the Parthians, with the king of king dead after a 6-days slaughter in the streets of Singara. This was a very bright move of Caesar, as the famous Parthians horsemen are totally useless in street fighting, while the heavy foot legionary does wonders there.

 



But they don’t give up without a fight, and the battle was costly.





With their great King dead and most of their army and clan forces eliminated, the Parthians are doomed. Conquering the rest of the realm will just be a walkover (although a defeat is always possible, like the one suffered by Turius – see next picture – if the Roman are careless). Caesar’s perfect timing, logistics and well-laid plans will prevail.




 

Conclusion


At this point, the game will change character and turn more into small guerilla warfare and mopping up operations against the Parthians. It illustrates how in all Ancient battles, the loss of the main army and the ruler was often decisive and ends up with the losing side asking mercy. Caesar will probably organize the conquest as he did for Gaul, adding another magnificent jewel to the roman crown (and his!) and getting ready, may be, to follow Alexander’s footsteps into Sogdiana, the Indus valley, may be India and who knows, to China and beyond. Julius Caesar would this surpass his model and become the greatest conqueror of all times!




Author’s Notes: I've tried to write this AAR in the spirit of Caesar’s “De Bello Gallico” (The Gallic Wars), with the author writing about himself in the third person and not forgetting to display proudly his great feats! A wonderful historical and propaganda masterpiece.


Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline Martok

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 12:10:17 PM »
Very cool, Phlippe!  That was well done.  8) 

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Offline Philippe

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2013, 01:40:40 PM »
Credit should go to Philippe Thibaut who wrote the original text. 

I hope this will translate into increased sales for the series, because there are many fascinating scenarios that will only see the light of day if more people support the product.  I just pulled out my dog-eared copy of West End Games' "Imperium Romanum"  and there are a good twenty scenarios (some of them very exciting) that could be worked up in the AJE format.  And that's before you start playing around with Keith Poulter's "Barbarians".

So let's hope that this is a niche product that catches on.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 01:42:15 PM by Philippe »
Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

Offline Anguille

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2014, 09:44:42 AM »
Excellent read...
My all time favorite games:
Master of Orion, Field of Glory, Caesar II, Civil War Generals II, Nexus: the Jupiter incident, Star Trek: Birth of the Federation, Far Gate, Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, Conquest: Frontier Wars, Master of Orion III, Spartan, Haegemonia: Legions of Iron, Knights of Honor, Port Royal II, Celtic Kings: Punic Wars, Rising Kingdoms, Glory of the Roman Empire, Armies of Exigo, Takeda 2 and 3, Imperium Romanum, Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar and Armada 2526 Supernova, Strategic War in Europe, Storm over the Pacific, Omerta: city of gangsters

Kuntari rule the galaxy: an Horizon AAR

James Foley RIP

Offline Boggit

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Re: CAESAR'S REVENGE -- A Parthian Wars AAR
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2014, 09:50:19 AM »
I really enjoyed this. I bought the Parthian Wars at Christmas, but just haven't got around to playing it. This AAR is whetting my appetite for it again. Thank you.  :)
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