Domitian's Dacian war

This is a team game for 6-8 players that will be played in one session. The two teams will simulate Domitian's Dacian war in 86-89 AD.


In 86, the Dacian king Duras ordered his troops to attack the Roman province of Moesia on the southern course of the Danube river.

After this attack, the Roman emperor Domitian personally arrived in Moesia, reorganized the province into Moesia Inferior and Moesia Superior, and planned a future attack into Dacia.

Domitian, started a strong offensive against Dacia in 87, ordering General Cornelius Fuscus to attack. Therefore, in the summer of 87, Fuscus along with five or six legions crosses the Danube.

They encountered the Dacian army at Tapae, where the Romans were ambushed, suffering a great defeat. Almost all of the soldiers from Legio V Alaudae were killed, the Dacians captured their flags and war machines, and general Cornelius Fuscus himself was killed in battle.

After this victory, the Dacian king Diurpaneus received the name of Decebalus, meaning as strong (or brave) as ten men.

The Roman offensive continued the following year, with general Tettius Iulianus having now taking command. The Roman army entered Dacia following the same route Cornelius Fuscus did in the previous year. The battle took place mainly in the same area, at Tapae, this time the outcome being a Roman victory. Because of the difficult road to Sarmizegetusa, the capital of Dacia, and because of several defeats suffered by Domitian in Pannonia, the Roman offensive halted and Decebalus sued for peace.

Following the peace of 89, Decebalus becomes a client king of Rome, receiving money, craftsmen and war machines from the Roman Empire, to defend the empire's borders. Some historians believe this unfavorable peace for the Romans might have been the cause for Domitian's assassination in September 96.

 Decebalus, the king of the Dacians, instead of using the money as Rome intended, decided to build new citadels in the mountains, in important strategic points, and to reinforce the existing ones.


The army used will be Early Imperial Roman, Dacians and Sarmatians.

The Roman team will be lead by a player impersonating Emperor Domitianus, while the Dacians will be lead by Decebalus.

The teams will replay the four stages of the war that are:

86AD: Dacians invade the roman province of Moesia (Dacians attacks EIR)

87AD: The romans counterattack, enter Dacia and start reducing the Dacian border fortresses (EIR attacks Dacians)

88AD: While the Roman reorganize for a final push on Sarmatageteuza, the Dacian capital, in Pannonia starts a barbarian revolt (this game is between Sarmatians or Marcomanni or Quadi that attack  Romans)

89AD: New roman offensive in Dacia (EIR attacks Dacian)

The two leaders must secretly allocate their players to each of the four scenarios. Once the four matches are set, they are all played at the same time.

The player allocation is important, because each game final score is modified by the result of the previous one in the stage sequence:

If friendly forces have won a partial victory (scoring more without breaking the enemy army) the score is 50% higher rounded up. A total victory (enemy broke) will give a 100% bonus.

If the friendly forces lost the previous game, a minor defeat will cost 25% of the score while a major one 50% of malus, rounded down.

Example: In the game set in 85 The Dacians win a major victory breaking the Romans. In the battle in 86 The Romans win the game for  22-3 result. This score becomes 11-6 because the roman halves and the Dacian doubles the scoring for what happened in the previous event.

Another example: In game set in 85 the Romans win a partial victory. In 86 the game ends with a 13-12 for the romans, that is modified to 20-9.


The army size is left to players choice, as the identity of barbarian sideshow in 87AD. You can choose whatever the army you can field.

If the players are just 6, you can avoid the 85 or 86 AD stage, as you prefer.


The team that will score more points will win the war. The losing team must pay a drink to the winners


Campaign report played at our club