The Fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD)
Or should I say, Western Roman Empire?
The year is 476 AD. The "germanized" Roman army has sent the last Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus (a teenaged poet) off to retire on a public pension and elected their officer, Odovacer, as King of Italy. The Goths and Eastern Germans have overwhelmed the Roman frontiers and seized large sections of Europe for their own. Almost all semblance of centralized government is gone save for the Romano-Gaulish Province (Kingdom) of Soissons and Italy itself.
In the chaos that surrounded the decline and fall of Rome, was there any leader powerful enough to put back together the pieces of broken empire? That is the challenge posed by this scenario, which is designed as a massive 15 player campaign that can be easily adapted for tournament play.
A \ \ \ B----------C----------D---\ /|\ | \ / | \ / | \ | --\/-- | \ / | \ | --/\-- | \ / | \ | / \| \ / | ------E----------F--------G / | /| \ | --//| H / | ----/ | \---\ | / / | \ / | / | \- L--/ / | \ / | / | / \ / | I---------J---- | ---/ \ / | . . \ | / M--- | . . \ | / / \ | . . \-- | / /-----/ \| . . \| / / . N . . . . . .K --/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . Key: --- Land Route ... Sea Route
Conquer and/or control through alliances at least ten nations (or 2/3 if the number of nations is expanded or reduced).
Special Rules (Optional)
At least five minutes is reserved each round for negotiation of treaties and alliances, and other diplomatic matters. Allies are subject to no strictures regarding loyalty and may renounce alliances at any time at their own peril.
During each round, each player may only travel one movement stage (by land or water route (i.e., a player may only move from one country to another per round). The one exception is that an army may retire back one movement stage into it's home territory to confront an invader, even if they had previously moved that round and regardless of whether or not it has already been engaged in battle.
There are no cities and all seige-related rules are ignored. All battles are fought in the field. Armies are considered to be in supply as long as they are in either their home, an allied, or a conquered territory.
Since there are no cities, each player may transfer up to 3 troop elements from reserve into his army at the end of the autumn round.
Although armies remain limited to 12 elements, battles need not be fought as 12 versus 12. Two or more armies may join forces for purposes of giving battle and/or provide allied contingents. Overall command must be worked out between the players, and there are no restrictions on loyalty, treachery, etc. Similarly, if an army has been reduced by combat losses, it takes the field at actual strength unless/until it can recruit from its reserve following the Autumn round. Use Big Battle variant rules for handling larger armies.
Where armies of more than 12 elements per side are contending, maintain a depth of 2 feet (at 15mm) but add 12 additional inches of width for each 12 additional elements (e.g., a battle involving two 12 element allies against a third foe would be fought on a 3 foot by 2 foot game board.
I hope that someone can run this monster scenario and report back on how it went. I expect the winner will be equally well accomplished as a general and as a diplomat.
I'm pretty sure the names of rulers listed above are correct for 476 AD, but welcome any corrections as well as help identifying the rulers indicated by an "?".
There are no obvious army lists to represent the Province (Kingdom) of Soissons and the Bretons, so I improvised by assigning them the Sub-Roman British list. Any suggestions on a more appropriate list for each is appreciated.
An actual map of Europe circa 476 AD would probably be easier to use than the rough ASCII rendering above. Maps are available from Simon MacDowall's Romans, Goths & Huns, New York, NY: Sterling Publishing, 1990 and Hoyt & Chodorow, Europe in the Middle Ages, 3rd Ed., New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & Janovich, 1976.
If you were so inclined, it would be relatively easy to expand the campaign furthur, adding the Moors (#65), Frisians (75a), Rugians (#74), and Gepids (#85), as well as the British Isles and Persia. They are omitted here in that they were not major players (in my opinion) at this point in the history in exploiting the ruin of the western empire. Similarly, if it is too large a campaign, it could be easily reduced by eliminating the Bretons, the Suevi and the Eastern Empire, who operated at the fringe of scenario.
Steve Bealing (London, U.K.): Came across your '476' and all that game idea. Looks interesting except as you know to play a game like this one would need to know something about logistics. As for moving tribes and armies about, at least one expects the Roman road were still in good repair except probably Britain. The game would need a central point. Perhaps it should hinge on whether Romulus stays on the throne or not. Remember he was in the eyes of the Constantinople half of the Roman Empire , a usurper. They regarded Julius Nepos as the real emperor and he lived on in Dalmatia until 480 when he was apparently murdered by assassins on behalf of Glycerius, ex-emperor before Nepos.
As for the unknown "rulers" on your list, their names may be difficult to track down. A few inventions would have to be permitted - especially with the Slavs . As far as I know they were too remote to have been involved even potentially in anything to do with the scenario outlined.You could always revive the Huns, I understand that some were still around in 476 if by then rather minor league players.
One other question did occur to me- though if it would be relevant to the game or not is a moot point. If the object of the game is to re-unite the Roman World, I wonder if you would have to consider religious objections about who could become an Emperor. I would imagine this should rule out any of the players who have chosen to be a pagan Frank or Saxon - unless they agree to convert to post Chalcedonian Council Catholicism ! It would be a different problem for the others like the Vandals or the Goths (both types) as they were Arian Christians who did not accept the Nicene Creed . So who ever 'won' the game on the battlefield would also have to address the religious question as well . If the winner was from the 'barbarians' then they would win by combining Clovis/Charlemagne by converting to catholicism and becoming Emperor of the West at the same time - though with or without Papal blessing I couldn't say. 476 and 800 would become one and with very different historical consequences as as result !!
Last Updated: Oct. 3, 2000
Questions, comments, and feedback are welcome. Sent them to my attention at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.