Big Battle Weekend – Punic Wars with To the Strongest

On Saturday four of us (Goat major, Essex Boy, Count Belisarius and I) played a big 15mm Punic Wars game at Wargames Foundry’s premises near Newark.

We planned the weekend months ago, and more recently did the final prep to ensure we had everything we needed on the day – scenery, tokens, army rosters, and so on. As these things tend to, it came around very quickly at the end but fortunately there was little last minute panic painting to do (except for the Count of course!)

We chose the Punic period because 3 of us had suitable figures (most of which hadn’t seen the light for day for a lot of years), and To the Strongest because it offered a relatively quick-play experience and, being grid-based, wasn’t going to be fazed by mild variations in people’s unit basing.


We collated a list of available figures and drew up two armies, each about 550 points in game terms. As a first go with the rules (apart from a solo test game I played a while back) this was rather ambitious, but we wanted a bit of a spectacle and the look and feel of a big battle. Hopefully the pictures give the impression that we achieved this.


You do need quite a few bits and pieces to play TtS – playing cards, activation markers, ammo markers, as well as a gridded battlefield. We chatted through all this beforehand and were able to turn up with the right items on the day. We used two 6’x4′ Mat-o-War cloths, foliage clumps placed at 6″ intervals, and some other scenery, then deployed the armies and got stuck in.

Inevitably we were playing more slowly at the beginning than we were by the end, but we soon got the gist of things and enjoyed the way the rules worked.

EB and I drew the Carthaginians, with their various Spanish, Numidian and Italian allies (plus some elephants of course). GM and CB each had two Roman legions, plus hordes of Gauls and other allies.



Naturally everyone advanced and got stuck in, infantry in the middle and cavalry on the flanks. 4 or 5 hours of play later we hadn’t quite got a decisive result, but we had had a lot of fun. Elephants had rampaged back through friendly troops, generals had died and hat-tricks of aces had been drawn (an unlikely occurrence but repeated several times – mostly by the unlucky GM). By the time we had to stop and pack up I had a slight positional edge over GM’s Romans/Gauls, and hadn’t committed many of my doughty African Spearmen, while to my left EB and CB had fought out a fairly bloody draw. A close thing all-round then, and a very enjoyable day.






Great company as always and the game was played in a friendly spirit all-round. We had a good night out in Newark too, with a few ales and an excellent curry.

There are some tentative plans for games next year, which will hopefully happen. It’ll probably be mine and Simon’s turn to travel, if EB and the Count can get their gaming spaces sorted!

Trying out To the Strongest

Although I’ve been pretty idle in terms of painting, I have managed to play a few more games recently. There were three goes at Dragon Rampant last weekend with a good friend, which were excellent fun – my first non-solo battles with these rules. We used the various forces I’d been trying out in solo games, pairing them off and fighting it out. Lots of fun, and plenty of beer. Fortunately I don’t have any pictures of that 🙂

That was after a visit to Hammerhead on the Saturday, which was worth popping along to. It’s good to see the enthusiasm of the participation games at this show, the venue is pretty good and there are plenty of traders too. I didn’t buy much but it was nice to wander about and bump into some friends – Purps, GM and Gary, for a catch up. I missed a ‘hi’ to Henry as he was embroiled in hosting his 18th century paintballing game!

Since then I’ve been investigating the To the Strongest rules from BigRedBat, and very interesting they are too. There are plans afoot for a 4 player get-together later this year for some 15mm ancients gaming – specifically the Punic Wars, and we’ve decided on (not without some debate!) using these rules for their benefits of grids for movement, ease of learning, and flexibility in terms of figure basing.

Quick pic here, and I’ll follow with some observations on my initial playtesting in the next post.