Magna Graecia Campaign Rules

The Wars for Sicily
398 BC - 211 BC

by Rob Smith

Magna Graecia is a simple campaign designed to generate tabletop battles for the ancient period. It is intended to be used with De Bellis Multitudinous ancients rules, published by WRG. However, with only minor modification, any set of rules could be substituted.

The campaign was originally designed for recreating the wars between Dionysius of Syracuse and Carthage over control of Sicily. There were four wars between Carthage and Syracuse over the period between 398 BC and 367 BC. All of these wars are treated under the Dionysian Scenario. In addition, scenarios are offered to recreate the campaigns of Pyrrhus in Sicily, and the Sicilian campaigns of the First and Second Punic Wars. Note that these scenarios do not extend beyond the environs of Sicily, nor are they an attempt to encompass even an entire war on the island. A single scenario represents only a single season of campaigning. Players may wish to string several scenarios together (with starting positions based on the ending positions of the last scenario), to create a multi-year campaign.

Each side begins the game with one field army and a possibly a fleet counter. The armies are purchased from the DBM lists in the usual fashion, adhering to the years of the scenario. The composition of the forces may change over the course of the campaign as the armies suffer casualties. However, these are all the forces that either side shall receive for the entire scenario. There are no reinforcements, since the campaign represents a single season.

For map movement, each command is represented by a counter. The composition of each command must be recorded. The composition of commands may change, but for commands to shift elements, all participating commands must be in the same node.

Capital Cities
In most scenarios, each side has a capital city, which is crucial to the continuation of the war. However, in many scenarios, the capitals do not have any strength and thus, no intrinsic garrison; these must be provided from the forces of the field army. To facilitate this, a special rule applies to capital cities that have strength of 0. Such cities have an inherent Sub-general of the same type as other Sub-generals for that army. This Sub-general may never leave the city; elements under his command may leave the city, but must remain in the node. This rule allows players to leave a small force in garrison while taking the field army with its full complement of leaders into the field. No counter need be placed for this garrison, simply a notation of what elements are located in the capital.

Neutral Cities
In addition to the forces of the two opposing armies, there are various fortified cities that begin the game independent of the player-sides. Each city has a an army of one, two or three commands (indicated by the parenthetical number next to the city name on the node maps). All independent city commands begin the same, consisting of 1 Irr Cv(I) General or Ally-General, 6 Reg Sp(I), 2 Reg Sp(O), 4 Reg Ps(O), 1 Reg Cv(I) and 1 Reg LH(O). (The generals are rated as irregular in order to cause them to be unreliable and to indicate the poor state of military preparedness of these minor armies.) If a city has two or three commands, the controlling player may reorganize the commands before a battle. These forces never leave the node of their city. They may join a battle that occurs within the node as allied commands, however.

When either side ends the movement of a counter, other than the ship counter, in a neutral independent city node, a d6 is rolled. If the roll is a 6, the city joins that player's side, even if it is currently allied to the opposing side. On any other result the city remains neutral, or allied to the other side. Another roll for alliance may be made at the end of any movement phase that a counter is in a neutral city node. (Note that this roll is not made if the city is allied to the opposition who has a command present in the node.)

A player may attack a neutral city, in which case the city becomes an ally of the opposing player. If the neutral city's forces are defeated, the remaining forces will become an ally of the victorious player. Cities with only a single command may hold up within the walls of the city. Cities with two or three commands may hold the city with one command, but must send out at least half the remaining effective elements to meet the opposition.

Forces of neutral cities will not participate in a battle between the players within their node, unless they are allied to a belligerent. However, if the city is attacked during the course of the battle, the independent city's army will immediately join the side that did not attack them as a committed ally.

Turn Sequence
Map movement is done in a move-counter-move format. There are three phases to a player-turn: movement; combat; and post-combat movement. During a side's movement phase, it may move all, some, or none of its counters. In three sided games (Pyrrhic and Punic Wars scenarios), each side moves in order described under the scenario. (Note: as a result of this turn sequence, allies can cooperate only in a defensive mode. This is intentional, since the allied armies on Sicily did not cooperate closely historically.)

Upon the completion of movement, possible battles are determined. If there is any node that has counters from opposing sides in it, there must be a battle. In addition, battle must occur between the moving side's commands and commands allied to the opposition.

Once all battles have been fought, post-combat movement is conducted by losing commands (also called retreat). Play then passes to the next player-side.

The nodes on the map serve not only to provide battlefields, but also to regulate movement. Each command in the army is represented by a counter (which players must provide). Counters move from node to node along the indicated movement paths. Counters may only move from one node to another that is connected by such a path. Each node moved into costs one movement point.

Commands that have only mounted or psiloi elements (but no elephants or expendables) have two (2) movement points. All other land units have one (1) movement point. A fleet counter has three (3) movement points. A counter may move as many nodes as it has movement points. At the end of movement or post-combat movement, each node may contain no more than four counters of the same side, plus a naval counter. When a land counter enters a node occupied by an enemy land counter, it must halt. A counter may move through a neutral city node or a node that contains an enemy force that is wholly within a besieged city.

Exchanging elements among commands uses a movement point. Counters of commands wishing to exchange elements must be in the same node at the time of the exchange. Embarking onto a fleet costs one movement point. Disembarking from a fleet costs no movement points.

Post-Combat Movement
After a battle, the counters of one side may be required to retreat. The distance of retreat must be at least one node and may be as many as the counter's movement points. A retreating counter may only enter a node that is empty, neutral, or occupied by friends. In addition, it must retreat along a movement path that is still open to it at the end of the tabletop battle (see below).

If, as a result of post-combat movement, a counter violates the stacking limits, it is destroyed. A retreating counter that must retreat into a node occupied by an enemy counter of the same type (land or fleet) is destroyed (that is, a land counter may retreat into a node occupied only be an enemy fleet counter).

A fleet counter is a special unit that has certain characteristics different from the land counters. A fleet counter may only move into coastal nodes (those with the number in black). A fleet counter may move into nodes that contain enemy land counters without stopping, but may not end its movement in that node. A fleet counter that enters a node occupied by the enemy fleet must halt to fight, unless the enemy fleet is sheltered in a harbour (see below). A fleet counter has a strength of a certain number of naval points (NPs), determined in the scenarios. NPs are useful for two things: to carry elements and fight other ships. Each NP allows a fleet counter to carry one element.

Land counters may embark onto a fleet counter by expending a movement point, as must the fleet. Disembarking from fleets costs no movement points. For a fleet counter to carry a land counter, all the elements of that command must fit on the fleet counter. When opposing fleet counters are in the same node, they must fight or one must retreat (for the exception, see below). To fight, each side rolls a d6 and adds the fleet's current NP. The higher modified roll wins. The loser retreats and loses a number of NPs equal to the difference in the modified die roll. If the fleet is carrying a land counter, land elements may be lost. If there are spare NPs (i.e., not used to carry land elements), those may be lost first, without the destruction of land elements. However, if there are no spare NPs, a land element is lost for each NP lost. The controlling player chooses which elements to lose. Land elements lost at sea cannot be recovered, but NPs may be recovered.

A fleet counter may shelter in a friendly, garrisoned, fortified coastal city. It cannot be forced to participate in combat if it is so sheltered. This is indicated by moving the ship counter into the node and inverting it. Troops must disembark from a sheltered ship. If the city falls to siege, the ships are destroyed (VPs awarded to the taker of the city). Ships destroyed in such a manner may be salvaged by the victorious besieger, by rolling to recover the lost NPs as their own. These salvaged NPs must join the new controlling side's fleet counter (by moving the fleet counter to the site of the salvage). If the side that salvaged the ships has no fleet counter, the salvaged ships form a new counter. A side can never have more than one fleet counter.

Land Battles
Land battles occur when a movement phase ends with opposing land counters, or their allies, in same node, or when one side wishes to attack a neutral city. Each node has a corresponding battle map. The battle map represents an 8' x 8' table top area, but only a 4' x 8' area is used for the battle.

The attacker's base edge is determined by his path of entry into the node. In other words, if the attacker enters from the west side of the node, then the west side of the game table will be his base edge. The defender then has three choices: whether to defend forward, centrally, or to the rear. If the defender chooses a forward defence, the 4' x 8' section closest to the attacker's entry point is used. If a central defence is chosen, the central section of the battle map. The choice of a rear defence will place the battle in the section of the map furthest from the attacker's entry point. (If players wish to use a 4' x 6' battlefield, the attacker determines whether to lop off the right or left 2' of the map AFTER the defender has decided where to defend.)
Once the defender has chosen his area of defence, the armies are deployed in the normal manner. The attacker is the side that just completed the map movement. Weather and time of day are rolled for normally. All battles are in the summer in a Warm climate. The battle proceeds in the normal manner with the following exceptions:

Voluntary Demoralization - At the end of any turn, a player may declare any non-allied command to be demoralized. As with any other demoralization, this is permanent and contributes to the collapse of the army.

Allied commands that become demoralized will attempt to flee into their city. If the enemy occupies the city, the entire command will surrender immediately. Next campaign turn it becomes an ally of the side that holds the city at the end of the battle.

When a battle concludes the loser must retreat (see below). If the battle ends without a loser being determined (night falls, or both armies go demoralized in the same bound, or the battle ends by mutual consent), the armies may retreat or remain to fight for a second day. In such a case, both commanders secretly write their intentions (stay or retire). They reveal these
simultaneously. Retiring commands are moved as explained below (with the non-phasing player going first). If both commanders choose to stay, the armies are locked in place to fight for a second day. Lost stands may be rolled for recovery (neither side counting as holding the field). Commands that are locked on the field, however, may NOT be reorganized, although new commands may join the battle for the phasing player. The non-phasing player is now the defender, and may choose to shift the battlefield to his rear (if not already at the edge of the map), but he may not shift it toward the opponent. If using the 4' x 6 table, the attacker may then decide which 2 flank section to eliminate.

Retiring From Battle
In order to successfully retire from a battle, an army must have access to a table edge with a road that leads to a friendly or neutral node. Elements that move off or flee off such a table edge are automatically recovered for the next campaign turn. Elements need not exit at the road itself. Inferior elements that flee off of a board edge are considered destroyed and must be rolled for to recover.

Upon agreement of the two side, a battle may be ended before all retiring elements have exited the table. Remaining stands are considered to have successfully retreated.

Rather than storming an enemy held or neutral city, a player may opt to lay siege to it. Sieges only occur when the defending player declares all of his elements to be in the fortified city. If any defending elements are outside the city, a land battle must occur instead. Rather than submitting to a prolonged siege, the defending force may sally in his own player-turn, prompting a land or naval battle.

In order to lay siege to a city, a force must consist of at least as many effective elements as are within the city. At the end of a full turn of siege (i.e., the besiegers made no movement), a d6 is rolled by the besieging player (only in his own turn). If the roll is 8 or more, the city falls and all within are destroyed, while the attacker suffers casualties equal to 20 percent of the DEFENDER's force.

On an unmodified roll of 1, disease has arrived. On each successive turn, the phasing player must roll a d6 for his force involved in the siege (either besieger or defender); on the roll of a 1, that force loses 10 percent of its effective elements. The disease roll must be made for all armies in that node until the siege ends. Even commands passing through the node must make such a roll (except fleet counters).
Modifiers to the die roll are as follows:

2 to 1 effective elements of besieger over defender
+ 1
3 to 1 effective elements of besieger over defender
+ 2
Besieging Syracuse
-  4
Each turn of consecutive siege after the first
+ 1

For coastal cities, each Naval Point counts as an effective element for the besieging force. NPs of sheltered fleets do not assist in the defence of a city.. The siege is lifted and must be started again if the besieging army and/or fleet is forced to retreat. 

Recover of Lost Elements and Naval Points
Immediately after a battle, both sides may roll to recover destroyed land elements, inferior elements that fled off the battlefield, or Naval Points. For each element or NP roll a d6, if the roll is 5 or greater, the element or NP is recovered. Apply the following modifiers:

Held the battlefield
+ 2
Command element (land only)
+ 1
Elements of a Command whose leader was killed
- 1
Allied element (land only)
- 1

If a commander is lost and not recovered, the elements of that command must immediately be assigned to another friendly command in the same node. If there is no such command, the elements form a leaderless command that cannot move. If they are attacked, the battle will be fought normally, but the leaderless elements will comprise an army of a single command with no leader. On the first bound that the command suffers a lost element, roll for demoralization as if the commander were just killed.

End of the Campaign
The campaign ends when 18 campaign turns have been played (the season). Alternately, the campaign ends upon mutual agreement by the combatants (a common outcome). A side is eliminated from the campaign when its capital is taken (unless specified by the scenario).
Victory points are earned as follows:

Each previously neutral or hostile city that is now allied
+ 1VP
Each enemy (but not allied) commander destroyed
+ 1VP
Each 5 enemy naval points destroyed
+ 1VP
Capture of enemy capital
+ 10VP



The Wars for Sicily

Dionysian Wars, 398 BC - 367 BC
Belligerents are Carthage and Syracuse. This is a two player scenario, with two sides. Carthage moves first.

Carthage begins the game in control of nodes 00, 01, 02, 03, and 04. All of those cities are allied to Carthage. Node 00 (Motya) is the Carthaginian capital and has a strength of 0 in this scenario. Carthage begins with one 500 point army and a fleet counter of 20 NPs, which may be deployed in any controlled nodes.

Syracuse begins the game in control of all nodes east of the line created by nodes 09, 10, 11, and 12, inclusive, plus node 08. However, only Himera (08), Paliki (22), Catana (24), and Naxos (26) are allied to Syracuse. Syracuse is the capital of Syracuse and has a strength of 0 in this scenario. Syracuse begins with one 500 point army and a fleet counter of 20 NPs, which may be deployed in any controlled nodes. However, Syracusan counters cannot begin in a fortified city node that is not allied.

Pyrrhic War, 278 BC - 276 BC
Belligerents are Carthage against Pyrrhus and Syracuse. This is a three person scenario, with one player each for Pyrrhus, Syracuse and Carthage. There are three sides: order of movement is Carthage, Pyrrhus. Syracuse.

Carthage begins the game in control of all nodes west of a line created by nodes 27, 17, 22, and 30. All of the cities along or west of that line are allied to Carthage. Node 01 (Lilybaeum) is the Carthaginian capital and has a strength of 0 in this scenario. Carthage begins the scenario with one 500 point army and a fleet counter of 15 NPs, which may be deployed in any controlled node.

Syracuse begins the game in control of nodes 23, 24,25, 26 and 31. Only Catana (24) is allied to Syracuse. Syracuse begins the game with one army of 300 points and a fleet counter of 12 NPs, which may be deployed in any controlled node. Syracuse is the capital of Syracuse and has a strength of 0 in this scenario.

Pyrrhus begins the game in control of node 28 only. Pyrrhus has an army of 350 points, all of which must be deployed in node 28. Messena is Pyrrhus' capital in this scenario, has a strength of 1, and is permanently allied to Pyrrhus.

Special Rules:
VPs for all three sides are calculated independently.

If Syracuse is captured, Syracuse is out of the game, the fleet transfers to Pyrrhic control and Syracuse can earn no further VPs. The Pyrrhic player may continue to fight, however, until his army is destroyed, the Carthaginians surrender, the campaign season ends, or Messena is taken. If Syracuse falls, the Pyrrhic player may earn 2 VPs for each Pyrrhic command that is exited off the map through Messena. Commands cannot exit the map if Carthaginian land or naval forces are in Messena. Only one command may exit per turn.

If Messena falls while Syracuse is still intact, the Pyrrhic player may continue to fight.

First Punic War, 264 BC - 241 BC
Belligerents are Rome, Carthage and Syracuse. This is a three player scenario with three sides. Carthage moves first, followed by Rome and then Syracuse.

Carthage begins the game in control of nodes west of a line created by nodes 27, 17, 18, 19, and 20, inclusive. All cities in that are allied to Carthage. Node 01 (Lilybaeum) is the Carthaginian capital and has a strength of 0 in this scenario. Carthage begins with one 500 point army and a fleet counter of 16 NPs, which may be deployed in any controlled nodes.

Rome begins the game in control of node 28 (Messena), which is the Roman capital and has a strength of 2 for this scenario. Messena is permanently allied to Rome (but will join Carthage or Syracuse if defeated in a field battle). However, the Roman side is not out of the campaign if Messena falls. Rome begins the game with one 500 point army and a fleet counter of 12 NPs in Messena.

Syracuse begins the game in control of all remaining nodes, the cities of which are allied to Syracuse. Syracuse is the capital of Syracuse and has a strength of 0 in this scenario. Syracuse begins with one 325 point army and a fleet counter of 10 NPs, which may be deployed in any controlled nodes.

Special Rules:
Carthaginian, Syracusan and Roman VPs are all calculated separately.

Hiero, the Tyrant of Syracuse, was a fickle ally. He begins allied to Carthage. However, if the Carthaginians lose a land battle, the Syracusan player may choose to switch sides. He must announce this immediately or forgo the change of sides until his ally loses another battle. Subsequently, whenever the player ally of Syracuse loses a battle, the Syracusan player may switch sides.

Second Punic War, 219 BC - 210 BC
Belligerents are Rome, Carthage and Syracuse. It is another three person scenario with three sides. Rome moves first, followed by Syracuse and then Carthage.

Syracuse begins the game in control of nodes 22, 23, 30 and 31, with Paliki (22) allied to Syracuse. Syracuse is the capital of Syracuse and has a strength of 0 in this scenario. Syracuse begins with one 300 point army and a fleet counter of 5 NPs, which may be deployed in any controlled nodes.

Rome begins the game in control of all remaining nodes. All fortified cities in those nodes are allied to Rome and have strengths of only 1. The Roman capital is Messena, which has a strength of 1 for this scenario. Rome begins the game with one 500 point army. At least one Roman field army command must begin in Messena. Rome has a fleet counter with 10 NPs that begins in Messena.

Carthage begins the game in control of no nodes and with no allies. Carthage begins with one 300 point army and a fleet counter of 5 NPs. The Carthaginian army and fleet counters do not begin deployed. Instead, On the first Carthaginian turn, the army and ship may land at any node on the southern portion of the island (between 00 and 30, inclusive) that is not occupied by a Roman counter. The Carthaginians may land at nodes containing fortified cities and roll to ally them or attack them in the normal fashion. Carthage has no Sicilian capital in this scenario.

Special Rules:
All three sides accrue points independently.

If the Syracusan and Carthaginian fleets can be brought together, they may be combined into a single counter (with the NPs equal to the total NPs of the two fleets). The allied players determine who will command the fleet (it moves during that player's phase and can only transport that player's troops.) If VPs are attained by the combined fleet, they are divided equally among the two allied players (fractions being lost).

Since Carthage has no capital, they can only be totally defeated by destruction of the army.

There is an additional -3 to the die roll when besieging Syracuse (for a total -7), because of Archimedes's defences and Hippocrates's excellent defensive command. However, the Romans earn 20 VP, rather than the usual 10, if they take Syracuse.

© Rob Smith, 1997