Posted on 08/01/10 @ 04:49 AM (updated 08/02/10
Munda, 45 B.C.
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Info on the map itself is included in the zip file.
Munda was the final battle of Caesar’s civil war. In a desperate scenario for the republican army, Pompey’s sons and Titus Labienus had enlisted 13 legions to fight for their cause. The battle at Munda marked the end of all major opposition to Caesar, his making into dictator for life, and his eventual assassination on the Ides of March.
Events Leading to the Battle
Pompey had a chance to eliminate Caesar once and for all, earlier in the civil war. At Dyrrhachium, the Optimates could have pursued the routing Caesarian army. Instead, Pompey suspected a deadly trap and ordered a halt, allowing Caesar to recuperate and repair his situation. From then on Caesar continued to win victories against his enemies at Pharsalus, Ruspina, and Thapsus. Pompey was deceived and stabbed to death as he arrived in Egypt, just one day after his 58th birthday.
The Pompeius brothers and Labienus then fled to Hispania (modern day Spain) and took much of the area under control. Quintus Fabius Maximus and Quintus Pedius decided not to risk a battle and requested assistance from Rome. Upon Caesar’s arrival in the region he quickly surprised the Optimates as he took back one city after another. Though outnumbering Caesar by 5 legions, Labienus persuaded Gnaeus Pompeius not to get into a major fight. Unfortunately for Pompeius, some of his men began to defect after Caesar took Ategua, and even a military talent like Labienus could no longer delay an inevitable battle.
The Battle of Munda
Gnaeus and Labienus chose to face the Populares on a gentle hill, roughly four miles from the walls of Munda. The Pompeian army numbered 70000 men, including 6000 cavalry (13 legions), an advantage over the Caesarian army, at 40000 men and 8000 cavalry (8 legions). At first, Caesar attempted to trick the Pompeian army off their height advantage with his cavalry, but when that failed, he ordered a frontal assault.
No side appeared to be winning until the X Equestris, with a massive morale boost, pushed the Optimates back on one side of the battle. Gnaeus took one legion from his own right to reinforce his crumbling left. At the same time Caesar’s cavalry stormed in on Pompeius’ now weakened right and King Bogud’s horsemen charged into the Optimate camp. Seeing the imminent danger, Labienus turned his own cavalry around to attack the Mauritanian raiders, but the Pompeian army mistakenly thought he was retreating and started to rout. Many of the legionaries were cut down as they tried to flee to safety within the walls of Munda. The city itself was later sieged; its inhabitants were taken prisoner. In the end, 30000 Pompeians lay dead on the field, compared to the 1000 casualties of Caesar’s legions, and the thirteen standards of the thirteen Pompeian legions were captured. Titus Labienus was killed in battle and granted a burial, while Gnaeus Pompeius was captured later and executed. Sextus Pompeius became a leader of a group of pirates based in Sicily, only to also be executed by Augustus ten years later.
After the Battle
Despite one of the Pompeius brothers was still at large, there was no more opposition left to stop Caesar from solidifying his own dictatorship for life. The people of Rome, according to Plutarch, were displeased with the celebrations after the battle. “For he had not defeated foreign generals, or barbarian kings, but had destroyed the children and family of one of the greatest men of Rome." Caesar’s success was short-lived. By the next year, he was dead.
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I don’t think I’ve ever played a Crusader map quite like Munda, 45 BC. Whether the concept is entirely original is a moot point; either way it was a unique experience that challenged my (admittedly limited) siege skills. The inability to create an actual ground army was terrifying at first, surrounded on all sides by Frederick and three (yes, three) Wolfs--AI opponents that I’m terrible against. However, once the initial push was foiled by a well timed Knight charge, I began creating catapults en masse. That was mistake number 1. It wasn’t long after that I figured out cows can’t actually reach the keep summit. Then the game crashed. *sigh*
Playthrough number 2 was marginally more successful as I actually breached Frederick’s walls and came close to finishing him. Mistake number 2 was not building enough ballistae--I was too cautious, and the Wolf came and tore me to bits.
Third time’s the charm, as they say, and it held true for me. This time I amassed a massive number of ballistae (45, to be exact) and after dissecting Frederick’s castle much faster I was able to finish him off and hold off the Wolf’s push to kill King Richard--for a time. Eventually he was overwhelmed, but not before I chewed two of the Wolf’s armies up. I set their granaries on fire, and with 0 popularity they couldn’t replenish their forces. Waves of Arabian archers came but were more annoying than threatening. After the lords posed no threat it became more of a puzzle map, figuring out the correct position for my ballistae to fire on the massive amount of archers/crossbowmen.
After they were cleaned out I sent in my small ground army and finished them off.
I’m tempted to rate this lower, actually, simply because the pitch/iron in the stockpile is entirely unnecessary, and the availability of a market would greatly benefit the player. But that’s too nitpicky. :P
Balance is a subjective term: some will say pitting massive armies against what amounts to unarmed engineers and money is imbalanced, others (like myself) believe that the author creates a winnable scenario by placing the correct counters in the correct places and leaving it up to the player to find the winning formula. Case in point: 45 ballistae completely rips armored armies to shreds. In that sense, this map is really easy, despite the against all odds premise. The real challenge lies in preventing the replenishment of your enemy’s forces by denying food/housing etc. Frederick’s opening push (with the archers/knights/shields/x-bowmen) is easily countered by knights and slingers (did the slingers serve any other purpose?). I say that’s balanced.
One nitpicky point is the availability of siege towers and battering rams and not portable shields; the former two are completely worthless in this scenario and the latter would have helped me immensely. I can understand turning off the shields, as that would turn a siege into a turkey shoot, but not the availability of towers and the ram: you just need three catapults and the given stone (you can also request some of King Richard’s, I found) to tear down the gatehouse and the towers. The other castles aren’t closed, so you don’t need them for anything other than tossing cows.
All in all, this map is fairly easy once figured out, but figuring it out is the tricky part.
Not much to add to what I’ve already wrote: Munda is a unique experience and a great siege. Never seen anything like it before. I also noticed troop color changes and name changes, which is great flavor.
Map Design: 4
The map itself is fairly plain looking--but that’s not your fault. The AI needs the proper space for their castles, and that demands a ton of flat space. That said, the coastline looks pretty good despite the ocean taking up a good eighth of the map. The mountains wedged between Frederick and the right-most Wolf proved a great vantage point, with meandering paths that wound around--good stuff. Long story short: sometimes scenario design dictates map design and vice versa, and Munda is a case of the former. Not amazing looking but functional, and that’s more important when dealing with this boneheaded AI.
Very informative: I actually have never heard of this battle (I'm historically illiterate) and what you provided is pretty much all the information I’ll ever want. I love historical writeups like this, so great work.
Really recommend this map for players who aren’t that well versed in sieges.