Thursday 27 November 2014

The Hydaspes

I have just updated the ancients scenarios page for 500-250 BC with a modified version of the Hydaspes. We are hoping to run this game at Carronade in May 2015, and maybe again at Claymore in August. However, we were able to try it out at the Glasgow leg of the Armati tournament. This is the second year we have have been able to put on a large 25/28mm game for our visitors. Last year we tried Ilipa, and since Simon has the figures, we thought we would pre-empt the Society of Ancients Battle Day for 2015 and try Hydaspes. The Friday night large game is becoming a bit of a fixture before the tourney proper begins; it's kind of a way of saying thanks to those make the journey to Glasgow, and provides some light relief.

The table was pretty basic, but I hope the photos give you some indication of how the game played:
The Macedonian right, from an Indian deity's perspective. Note that nasty little man in front of the Companions dishing out orders.
The next section of the Macedonian army - plenty more is off table. Bruce ran Alexander and the cavalry, while Vincent took the rest. The echelon deployment makes it difficult to fit the invaders onto the field, so we just fed them on as the phalanx advanced.
A shot of Simon's lovely Indian army: the massed centre. Carl played the Indian left, Mark the centre and Ian their left.
Chariots and cavalry on the Indian left. That's Poros at the top right as you look at it; after the battle we decided he should have an elephant unit all to himself.
Full table shot, side-on from the Hydaspes itself. Alexander's weight can be clearly seen to the left, and the whole Indian deployment at the right.
An attempt at an atmospheric photo-opportunity. Note the celestial hat stand in the corner.
One of the Indian chariots too.
The battle begins, with Bruce attacking aggressively, and being heckled by the onlookers, just because he is playing Alexander.
Mark advances some of the elephants to try to cramp the style of the invaders, who are pretty much all on table by this point.
A close-up of chariots and Companions mixing it.
It's not all going the way of the Macedonians, though, as the leftmost unit of Companions gets caught by elephants as well as chariots - I hope you can see it in the centre of the photo above. In the right foreground, though, Alexander is doing what Alexander does best, apart from killing his friends after a drunken binge.
A gratuitous shot of the Indian army's moment of glory.
Phalanx against elephants. despite the initial crunch, it can only really end one way.

Fleeing Companions. You don't get to see that very often, so we posed them specially for the shot.
In the meantime, the chariots start to have a bad day. Apologies for this one, it seems a bit blurry - just wanted to keep the narrative flowing.
Some of the Companions break through to the cavalry beyond.
I shifted positions to take the one above from the Macedonian side of the table: the Indian left is looking ominously bare, but the elephants in the centre have about-faced to try to come into the flank of the Hypaspists.  They will need to re-order themselves first, though. At this point the initiative dice gods fled and the enemy light cavalry were able to get the elephants from their flank and rear.
Alexander has finished off his chariots, and is now squaring off against Poros in person, who has joined the other Indian cavalry unit.

Alexander meets Poros, especially remounted on an elephant for the occasion. Was that a speed bump? The Indian army disintegrated at this point.

We had a good post-battle discussion, and I have modified the scenario we used accordingly.  People seemed to enjoy themselves, and the armies sure looked pretty.


  1. Poor fleeing companions, sorry for them! A beautiful report, these armies are just splendid, chariots, pikes, elephants....and companions!

  2. I have played this battle a few times over the years. I am always going for Porus to win, even though the odds are usually stacked against him overall. So I cheered at the routing Companions!

  3. Thanks, both - routing Companions seems to catch the imagination, somehow...

  4. Both armies look fantastic, but the Wall of Heffalumps blew me away!


    1. Thanks! Although I can't take any credit, since they are all painted by somebody else. 25/28mm armies just look good in big battles, and all those elephants are rather impressive. I'm starting to have ideas about a better looking tabletop: can't have all those figures on a dishcloth when we take them out to play at the shows...