Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Batalla del Metauro

 From the same stable as the Battle of the Little Big Horn game that Anthony and I played back in June comes this Punic Wars game based on the Battle of Metaurus.  Originally designed and published in Spain by Rojas y Malaret, as part of a series of games called "Great Battles of the World" then subsequently produced under licence in Germany by O.M.Hausser.

This is the box art for the German version of the game, which Anthony acquired and then had the board copied onto a 6'x4' mat so that we could play it using 54mm toy soldiers.

It's a different layout to the Little Big Horn game but you can see that the graphics are the same style.  This is the Carthaginian end of the board, forces start with the river behind them and on the base line behind the river, either side of the tree, are two standards, the object of the game is to kill the enemy General or capture both standards.  Possession of the elephant should have been a game winner, sadly I proved to be no Hannibal!

At the Roman end of the board the troops start off in wooded country and have two cavalry units, pitching mobility against the greater combat strength of the Carthaginian elephant unit.  In the centre of the board there is an impenetrable mountain range with surrounding woods and an area of ruins.

Terrain features such as woods, ruins and the mountainous areas in orange are accessible only to infantry, but the lines of rocks are unpassable to all.  These features provide cover and give a combat bonus to the infantry occupying them.  The river can only be crossed at the three fords.

The figures we used were 54mm Romans and Carthaginians made by DSG of Argentina.  The dark line running across the board is just where the original board was folded, it has no bearing on the game.  

The ruins in the centre of the board became the focal point of the battle and changed hands several times.  The trees, rocks and ruins don't come with the game, we just added them to improve the visual aspect.

The Roman cavalry were put to good use running rings around the slower moving Carthaginians.  We played the game using the original rules and numbers of  figures, combat and movement are similar to the LBH game so very easy to pick up quickly.  With the original game you could also buy add on units to represent different troop types and there was also an additional rule for combat with elephants.  The game took about an hour to play and going forward we agreed that it would give a more challenging and better looking game to increase the number of figures used.

This is the contents of the Hausser box, the infantry and cavalry are 40mm Elastolin figures, they incorporated the original elephant made by Rojas y Malaret from the Spanish version.  This box has had an add on set included as the Metauro game only came with one elephant, there was another game based on the Battle of Zama, which had two elephants.  The Zama game also has a different board layout, it is played across an open area with stockade encampments at either end.

These are a couple of the figures from the original Rojas y Malaret game, the infantry (which I couldn't find when photographing this) are a bit over 54mm, the riders here are 54mm but you can see that the horse and elephant are not to scale.  The elephant is a solid one-piece plastic moulding.

11 comments:

  1. Oh my! Wouldn't I have loved the Elastolin set as a kid....(or later).
    When was it sold?

    I presume the different colour armour and shields differentiate Romans from Carthaginians?

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    1. The Spanish version was published in 1961 and the German one followed in 1963, I don't know if it was ever sold outside those countries but not in the UK that was for sure. Yes, they are essentially a red army and a blue one.

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  2. Very well done Brian and Anthony! The DSG figures really fit the bill and the mat looks great with your terrain additions! Thank you for sharing this excellent game!

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    1. Thanks Brad, the DSG figures really fit the bill but I think we need more of them!

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    2. Hi Brad, I'm very lucky to have someone like Brian in easy driving distance to share my toy soldier and obscure boardgame passion! I was going to use 'proper' Punic Wars figures from Hat but couldn't resist the DSG Carthaginians (or Romans come to that). The wonderful artwork of the boards/mats just make the Little Big Horn and Metauro games look even better. Brian's right, though: we need more figures! I am eagerly awaiting another DSG order from the Toy Soldier Company...

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    3. What other games were in this series and have you seen them Anthony?

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    4. Hi Alan, apart from Little Big Horn and Metauro, there was Zama (same rules as Metauro but new troop types and different board) and El Alamein (tanks, infantry, aircraft, mines, artillery). I have only seen Zama and Alamein online, but I would pay a lot to get hold of them in the flesh.

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  3. Terrific game and one completely new to me. I really enjoyed seeing the photos and reading about this.

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    1. It's a shame it wasn't distributed more widely, unlike the LBH game there are no rules for firing, it's all hand to hand combat and very much a case of pushing your opponent back, a bit like playing rugby.

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  4. I would love to see a play by play battle report on this game, to see how it plays out.

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    1. This was very much a play test to get a feel for how well the rules work, we will be trying the game again with larger numbers and perhaps some additional troop types, so that will probably give more of a battle report, although to be honest this blog tends to be big on images and light on text.

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