The Italia campaign of Ancient Battle: Rome turned out to be more of a challenge than expected considering The Hunted Cow’s other turn-based strategy war games (Civil War 1863, Tank Battle North Africa, Tank Battle 1944) had cake-walk demo campaigns. Especially difficult was The Strike Hard 49 B.C. battle played as house Julii.
The objective of the battle is to capture and hold 2 control points, one in the Northwest (NW) and the other in the East. This has to be done by turn 15 and held until turn 20.
The Julii army, led by Plautius, starts in the Southwest corner with:
4 Auxiliary Cavalry (3 Veteran)
2 Legionaries (1 Veteran)
Here are the steps to ensure victory:
1) Divide your army into two groups. Send Plautius, 3 Cavalry (2 Veteran), and 1 Legionaries (green) to the NW control point. Send the veteran Legionaries and a veteran Cavalry to the East control point. All units need to haul ass to their objectives.
2) NW Control Point: the control point is defended by 2 Legionaries and 1 Cavalry. Wait until all of your troops are in position at the tree line in front of the enemy fortifications, then attack using flanking maneuvers. You should be able to take this control point by turn 7 or 8 losing only one Cavalry unit. Upon capturing the control point, a reinforcement of 4 veteran Cavalry units will arrive in the Southwest. Send 3 East and 1 Northwest.
3) A turn after capturing the NW control point, several enemy reinforcements will arrive including two units of Light Archers, several Spearmen and a Cavalry unit. Use your remaining Cavalry in the NW to keep the archers on the other side of the river. This is important because they will otherwise reduce your NW defense significantly.
3) East Control Point: By the time the NW control point is captured, the Cavalry and Legionaries in the East should be in position near the tree line Southwest of the East control point. The East control point is held by Marcus Scipio, 2 Legionaries and 1 Cavalry. Move your Cavalry to the trenches to draw out Scipio and his Legionaries, then flank attack to defeat him and his unit. It may be advisable to wait for at least one unit of the Cavalry reinforcement but the Scipio’s first Legionaries unit should be eliminated or significantly reduced by the time the Cavalry arrive. After Scipio is defeated, use the Cavalry to eliminate the remaining Legionaries and the enemy Cavalry, and take the East control point. This will be done by turn 14 or 15. I lost both of my original Cavalry and Legionaries units in the process.
4) Upon capturing the East control point, 4 units of Auxiliary Spearmen will arrive in the Southeast corner. Send two to the East control point and 2 toward the Northwest. The latter two will never make it to the control point, but are useful in drawing several enemy units away from the control points.
5) A turn after capturing the East control point, the enemy will receive a reinforcement of several Spearmen. Use your remaining units and reinforcements to keep the enemy occupied and away from the control points until turn 20. Victory!
The difficulty of this battle is capturing the control points in time. It is advisable not to take the control points unless you are able to hold it. For instance, don’t take the East control point with a weak Cavalry unit until you have eliminated the enemy defenders. If you rush to take the control point, and lose it in the next turn, you will lose the battle and your head will line the streets of Rome. Good luck!