As a youth, Pyrrhus of Epirus served as a lieutenant under the Diadochi, including Demetrius and Ptolemy. In 297 BC he regained his ancestral kingdom, and went on to seize the throne of Macedon. By 284 he was driven out of Macedon, and looking for new adventures. When Rome threatened expansion in southern Italy, Pyrrhus accepted an invitation from Tarentum to lead their fight in 281 BC. His campaign started badly when his invasion army of 25,000 foot, 3,000 horse and 20 elephants was scattered in its sea crossing, and he discovered a "wait and see" attitude among his erstwhile Greek allies in Italy. Pyrrhus needed a quick victory to change their attitude. Laevinus, moved south to deal with the Epirote invader. with a Roman army of two legions and allies - about 25,000 men. Both armies met near the river Siris. Pyrrhus could not prevent the Romans from crossing. In the early stage of the battle the Romans were getting the best of it, when Pyrrhus played his trump card and sent forward the elephants. No Roman soldier had seen one before and they were too much for the foot and cavalry alike. The Roman rout was on. There is little doubt the elephants were the key to Pyrrhus' victory, but it had been a bloody and hard-fought battle— 7,000 Romans and 4,000 Greeks were left on the field. The victory swelled Pyrrhus’ ranks with new allies, but Rome was far from beaten.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.
Epirote Army (Use Greek blocks)
• Leader: Pyrrhus
• 5 Command Cards
• Move First
Roman Army (Use Roman blocks)
• Leader: Consular Valerius Laevinus
• 5 Command Cards
• The River Siris is only passable at the bends in the river. Treat the other river hexes as impassable terrain.
• Fright at First Sight: Any Roman infantry unit in close combat with an elephant unit may not ignore any flags rolled by that elephant unit, even if the unit has an attached leader or is supported by two adjacent friendly units.