of the Celts
By Dave Murray
We will fight them on the beaches…….
Summer, AD 43
In the summer of AD43 four Legions with auxiliary support
under the command of Plautius, governor of Pannonia (a Roman
province located in present day Hungary) were ready to launch
an invasion of Briton. As Caratacus and his brother Togodumnus,
rallied the British tribes awaiting the Roman arrival, events
took a strange turn. The Roman soldiers refused to board the
invasion boats, having heard stories of magic and fearsome
creatures. Lacking a supply infrastructure the delay caused
the British tribes to disperse and return home and so when
the delayed Romans arrived on Britain's shore they were unopposed.
This hypothetical scenario examines what could have happened
if Plautius’ invasion force had not been delayed in
Gaul and they had met Caratacus’ Britons waiting for
them on the Kent coast. The Romans landed at three sites along
the Kent coast and presumably the Celts would have been slightly
scattered to cover all the potential landing sites. In this
hypothetical engagement Plautius' XIV Legion with some auxiliary
support have landed and are awaiting the arrival of the rest
of the Roman invasion force. Caratacus, seizing the opportunity,
attacks with his available forces and sends word to the other
tribes nearby. As news of the battle reaches the other British
tribes waiting along the coast some rush to support Caratacus
while others delay, unsure on which side their loyalty lies.
All the while the Romans continue to land and move to support
Plautius' XIV Legion. The fate of the whole Roman invasion
is in the balance!
The exact location of the invasion landing site is unknown,
although widely considered to be at Richborough on the Kent
coast, although there are some minor dissenting voices who
claim it could have been near Fishbourne in Sussex. Use map
1. The beach is just a few areas away from the 241-254 edge.
Because this is a hypothetical engagement the players have
wider options in setting up their forces on the map. Only
the location of the formation commander is stated below, any
forces they command can be set up within command distance,
but no closer to the enemy board edge than the formation commander.
In this setup the Caratacus has sent his chariots to his
(top right of the picture)
Roman Setup -
the Roman board edge is 241-254
Formation 1: XIV Legion of Plautius (Army Commander)
Area 206: Leader Plautius
XIV Legion 1, XIV Legion 2, XIV Legion Artillery, Thr Heavy
Cavalry, Thr Light Cavalry 1, Thr Light Infantry 1 & 3.
Formation 2: Auxiliaries of Sentius
Area 203: Leader Sentius
Batavian Auxiliary, Illy Auxiliary, Gaul Light Infantry 1
& 2, Thr Light Cavalry 2.
There are 2 reinforcement groups available to the Roman Player,
starting on turn 3 these reinforcements will randomly arrive.
Formation 3: II Legion of Titus Flavious Vespasian.
Leader Vespasian, II Legion 1, II Legion 2, II Legion artillery,
Crt Light Infantry 1 & 2, Pann Light Cavalry 1 & 2.
They will enter along the board edge between areas 185-245
Formation 4: XX Legion of Hosidius Geta.
Leader Geta, XX Legion 1, XX Legion 2, XX Legion Artillery,
Bal Light infantry 1, Thr light Cavalry 3.
They will enter along the board edge between areas 198-252
Use the following table for Roman reinforcements –
roll 1 dice at the start of the stated turn:
Roman special rules
New Leaders: If Plautius is killed,
Vespasian becomes the new army commander, and a lesser leader
(18.22) takes his former command. Other leaders will be replaced
by a Tribune if eliminated.
Special command rules: Vespian and
Geta are automatically in command on the first three turns
after entering the map.
Exiting the Board: Roman units and
leaders may only exit the board due to army collapse (18.3)
– they have nowhere else to go!
Briton Setup – the
Britons' board edge is 101-114.
Formation 1: Infantry of Caractus (Army Commander)
Area 149: Leader Caractus
Catu & Trin Elite Barbarian, Catu, Trin, Dobu & Dumn
Barbarians, Trin light Infantry 1&2, Catu Light Infantry
Formation 2: Chariots
Area 153 OR 145: Leader Segovax
Dobu, Duro, Trin, Corit, Atre & Catu chariots.
There are 2 reinforcement groups available to the Briton Player,
starting on turn 2 these reinforcements will randomly arrive.
Formation 2: Infantry of Togodumnus.
Leader Togodumnus, Cant, Atre, Duro Barbarians, Dobu light
infantry (use Cale. Lt. Inf. counter)
They will enter along the board edge between areas 105-143
Formation 4: Celtic infantry
Leader minor tribe leader (use Venutius' counter)
Minor tribes represented by: Atr & Cale Barbarians, Corn
& Cale Chariots.
They will enter along the board edge between areas 110-170
Use the table below for British reinforcements – roll
1dice at the start of the stated turn:
Briton special rules
Special command rules: Togodumnus
and the minor leader are automatically in command on the first
three turns after entering the map.
New leaders: If Caractus is killed,
Togodumnus becomes the new army commander, and a lesser leader
(18.22) takes Togodumnus former command. Segovax will be replaced
by a lesser leader if eliminated.
Exiting the board: There is no need
for units the exit the board. If a Briton unit exits the board
it cannot return.
As Plautius and Caratacus clash in the centre, reinforcements
from both sides rush to battle
The scenario ends when the Britons have amassed 75 victory
points. If at that point the Roman player has less than 75
VPs the Britons win the scenario, if the Romans have more
than 75VPs when the scenario ends they are victorious.
The Romans score 2VP for every Briton long barbarian step
or leader eliminated, and 1VP for every other Briton step
The Britons score 3VP for each Roman Legion step or Leader
eliminated and 1VP for any other Roman step eliminated.
Steps brought back through recovery (18.1) are not considered
Of course historically no such encounter took place. The Romans
landed unopposed and the only fighting that occurred was a
few skirmishes before the major clash on the Medway. Details
of the events around the invasion are somewhat unclear. The
only two sources available are the accounts written by Cassius
Dio, some 150 years after the events and limited archeologically
To play the real battles of the invasion
pick up Queen of the Celts
and change history.