Wednesday 2 September 2009

Macedonians attack Greece

Above is the plan of our first battle using Phil Sabin's Society of Ancients game, Empire: The Macedonian and Punic Wars. This is a highly abstracted mechanism for playing an ancients campaign, and we have set it up for use with Tactica II. So far, Bactria has rebelled from Persian control, which we are rationalising as a Saka incursion, and Philip II of Macedon has attacked Greece, which is the battle we played yesterday evening. I brought in the Greeks (in dark blue above), and Simon the Macedonians (red). Our setup was Gordon on the left wing, commanding two units of 12 Peltasts in two ranks (P1 and P2), two units of 12 Militia Grade Medium Cavalry in two ranks (MC1 and MC2), and a unit of 10 Skirmish Archers (C). David commanded the heavy infantry centre, which was composed of four units of 36 Hoplites in three ranks (H1-4) and two units of 40 lesser armoured Athenian Hoplites in five ranks (H5 and H6), one at either end of the infantry line. I had the sixteen figures of the Theban Sacred Band (SB), two more units of 12 Peltasts (P3 and P4), and 8 Psiloi Javelinmen (PS) on the right. The Macedonian right was Stuart, with a unit of 12 Prodromoi in two ranks (Pr1), two units of 18 Light Infantry in three ranks (LI1 and 2), and the Companions led by Alexander (20 figures in a four-deep column). Their centre (Mark) was a unit of 32 Foot Companions (FC) and five 32-figure Phalanxes (S1-5), all deployed in four ranks, with some skirmishers in front. On their left, Simon had 12 Thessalian Heavy Cavalry in two ranks (T1); 12 Thessalian Light Cavalry in two ranks (T2); and the other two units of 18 Light Infantry in three ranks (LI3 and 4). The Greeks won by destroying all of the non-pike units apart from the Thessalian heavies, who fell back in front of one of the Athenian blocks. The crisis came when the Greek centre started to crumble, but one of the Pike blocks (S1) routed, and Alexander was badly wounded when the Companions were destroyed. This happened because Gordon was able to use his skirmish archers to damage the Prodromoi very badly before contact. A cascade of unfortunate events then befell the Macedonians on this flank as Gordon's Peltasts destroyed the Prodromoi and the two Light Infantry blocks one after another. In the meantime, his two cavalry units managed to swarm the Companions, one of them hitting it in a "wing" attack because the light troops were unable to protect the deep sides of the Companions in column. Eventually three Companions and Alexander made their way through, only to fall to shooting from the Peltasts and the Archers. If this and the destruction of the pike unit had not happened, the Greeks would have lost. As it is, the Macedonians have retired to lick their wounds. Next week's game in the campaign is a Persian assault on Egypt.

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