Impetus Battle Report – The Rout of Parthia

It had been about a month since I had played Impetus (much too long) and even longer since I had played against Stu. I was “gnawing at the bit” as they say and couldn’t wait to put the Romans down on the table. We played our standard 400-point sized battle.

General Jasius Maximus had sent scouts far ahead of his encampment and had learned that the western field army of Shapur II was approaching from the eastern foothills. The Roman general deployed his army in a long, thin line and used nearby forests to help protect his flanks.

The Parthians approached in two command; a condensed group of horse archers (your top-left) and a sold line of cataphracts screened by Parthian skirmishers. The Romans awaited the arrival of the Parthian army.

Shapur himself, pondering the most effective approach to the Roman line.

The Battle:

The Parthian horse archers galloped towards the Roman left flank, but the Romans had a solid defense prepared in advance.

Meanwhile, the main Roman line deployed in a semi-circular line, hoping to draw the heavy horse in.

The horse archers made their move and caused minor damage on the Roman flank.

The Roman retaliation was fierce. The main Partian line had held back, leaving the Roman general free to redeploy many of his more mobile units to the assaulted flank. A flurry of javelins and sling stones disrupted the Parthians. The Roman cavalry and Auxilia took advantage of the confusion and charged through the light horse.

When the dust cleared, half of the horse archer command was annihilated and the remainder routed from the table.

With the left flank secured, the Romans could now turn all of their attention to the slowly advancing Parthian line. A massive charge of Parthian heavy horse was inevitable so the Romans prepared to stand their ground.

In the meantime, the Roman left flank had made its way around the Parthian right flank and caused the formation to split. Light troops and a legion repelled the right-most unit of cataphracts.

In the centre, the cataphracts hit hard, but the Romans held their ground in spite of the force of the attack.

By the time the Parthian cataphracts found themselves fully engaged, there seemed to be too few to deal with the larger Roman force.

The Romans destroyed the Parthian left flank and starting closing in on that side as well.

The remnants were shortly encircled, with the few survivors either dispatched or routed from the field.


The battle turned out to be a crushing victory for the Romans. The entire Parthian army was routed while the Romans lost only two units. There were many factors that contributed to the outcome, but in the end, I think that Stu’s choice to attack piecemeal was the crucial one. By holding his main line back, I had the luxury of redeploying and dealing with the horse archers on my terms. Because I managed to cause major disruption and damage on the three front CL units (i.e. half of the command), there was no opportunity for Stu to pull the command back and regroup, since a compulsory route was inevitable.

After the route of the light horse, I had to opportunity to focus my entire (and almost unmolested) army on Stu’s lines. Without the light horse to distract me as the heavies approached, I could focus on dealing with the frontal threat entirely.

It was another great game, and I look forward to more regular Impetus gaming in the near future. I also look forward to facing Stu’s Spartans, which are rumoured to be in the final stages of painting.

Thanks for reading,

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