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-The Testudo -by Paul Bruffell-


This formation is most famously employed by the Roman Legionaries. Used by the Romans in both sieges and pitched battles to protect against missile fire; the testudo is portrayed on the Columns in Rome.

The Testudo

In the Ancient Warfare game, it is recommended the player forms testudo before the Legionaries are disrupted by missile fire and therefore before the Legionaries reach within 7 hexes of the enemy. The testudo is slow but effective against missile fire. Once the enemy main line is within 3 hexes, a player should look to change back to line or wedge formation before contact is made. In the testudo formation only the front rank can combat. A player should get his Legionaries in to combat as soon as possible as even the testudo is not immune to missile fire and losses will build up with time.

The testudo option is only available in Gallic Wars and Roman Civil Wars as the formation was not recorded in use before that time. Below are the key points to note on use of the testudo.

Only non-Militia Roman Legionaries can form a testudo.

Roman Legionary HI

To testudo

½ initial Action Point total.


  • Basic movement cost of infantry is increased by 10 when in testudo.
  • Units in Testudo can not charge.

A Roman Legionary unit in testudo formation may not use the pilum only the sword.

  • For infantry in Testudo formation the number of eligible ranks is 1.

Combat modifiers:

  • +1 if enemy is Roman legionaries in testudo formation but disrupted.

Infantry in testudo formation can not fire missiles.


Missile Fire modifiers:

  • If the target unit is Roman Legionaries in a testudo formation then the attack factor is reduced by 2.

More to come...