Field of Glory Wargaming at Burton Doubles, (Badcon) 2009
The snow was falling thickly all week, and the prospect of a journey into the Frozen North in early February was not really one to warm the cockles of a Wargamers heart, but then again, this was Burton, home of many past spectacular triumphs (last time I'd gone I'd managed to pick up a placing using Sung Chinese in DBM!!). So, after making an early start on Friday, we arrived nice and early after one of the easiest drives to Burton in history.
Despite the entertainment of massed cavalry lancers, for Burton me and my new Doubles partner Mr Mackay had worked our way through the various lists allowed in this Rise of Rome, Immortal Fire and Legions Triumphant period and plumped for an Early Hoplite Greek Spartan army. The list is Our Classical Greek Spartan list is available on my FoG Wiki here.
The theory behind the list was that we wanted to have an many armoured foot as possible so we could go one rank deep across part of the width of the board against massed Parthian light horse or similar, pushing them off the table whilst contracting to 2 ranks deep to fight anything tough - ideally with our 4 units of Spartiates.
The undrilled foot were mostly in 8's, and the drilled (and Spartiates) were in 6's, with one unit of Thracians to pretend to contest rough terrain whilst really sitting behind the mine providing rear support. We also planned to withdraw our 3 units of light foot as soon as possible, maybe using them to get an extra march move but not risking them in any sort of combat.
Game 1 saw us facing .... an early Achaemenid Persian Army who's list is available here
Pictures of EAP Troops from my Ancients Photo Directory
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The Persians had been modeled and painted to be the army from film 300 (now on sale here in the UK as a 2 Disc Special Edition DVD for well under a tenner) We picked as little terrain as possible, and both of the enclosed fields chosen by our opponents didn't make it onto the board (one removed, one not fitting) so we had a relatively uninterrupted expanse across which to spread our line of spears. Rather embarrassingly, I'd be sure the army could reach across the full 6' of table, so we deployed from left to right... only to find we were about a foot short at the end of our line by the time we finished!
The Persians had stacked their left flank against our lack of troops, but with a surprisingly large number of Sparabara and little terrain to hide in, we were still cautiously optimistic.
With a big gap on our right to fill, we started the slow process of wheeling our lines - but with no terrain and the Persians looking for a defensive "come and get us" strategy we found ourselves with ample time to execute the maneuver.
The "300-inspired" Immortals and their pet Stone Giant waited patiently for our advance to reach them !
Dilios: "Immortals... we put their name to the test."
Our center was stacked with Spartiates, but with the slower moving and maneuvering undrilled Irregular C, HI, LTS, Sh hoplites nearer the camera struggling to keep pace with the maneuver of the Reg A, LTS, Sh HI Spartiates boys we started to open up a gap in our line. The Persian cavalry were probing forward to try and sneak round our undefended flank.
Dilios: "The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one, good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine."
Over on my side, the Greeks were contemptuously sneering at the Persian skirmish screen which only marginally slowed their advance towards the cowering deserting Greek hoplites on the Persian flank.
My good king! My good king! The oracle has spoken.
Second Statesman: The Ephors have spoken. There must be no march!
Theron: It is the law, my lord. The Spartan army must not go to war.
King Leonidas: Nor shall it. I've issued no such orders. I'm here, just taking a stroll, stretching my legs. These, uh, 300 men are my personal bodyguard.
Having withdrawn the Irregular D LI JLS, (no shield) they snuck across to an area of the board where they might possibly be of use as the line of Greeks marched both majestically and disjointedly forward.
The skies over the battlefield darkened to a terrible black as the Greeks advanced towards the Immortals.
With little if any opposition to our advance, we started to redress our lines - almost sidestepping the Immortals as we sensed a sniff at the far less competent Sparabara infantry (Irreg C LMI, JLS, Bw, Pavise front rank, Bw only back rank). The Persian cavalry were however coming up to try and slow our remorseless advance.
As the sneaky Persians tried to nip round our flank, the Spartans closed up quickly, pinning them and cutting off the route to the baggage and our rear.
The Persian cavalry closed up to shoot, and formed single line allowing them to skirmish away as well - but our armoured hoplite shrugged off their shooting with impunity. The Persians were forced into a humiliating retreat!
Seeing how things were going, the two mighty Battle Rhino's turned tail and retreated !
Spartan King Leonidas: Unless I miss my guess, we're in for one wild night.
As our line crashed into the hapless Sparabara we also moved menacingly towards the Immortals in the center.
Dilios: They have served the dark will of Persian kings for five hundred years. Eyes as dark as night... teeth filed to fangs... soulless. The personal guard to King Xerxes himself; the Persian warrior elite. The deadliest fighting force in all of Asia... the Immortals.
The Persian cavalry were reforming a battle line together with the Sparabara, ready for a brave stand. But Spartans vs Sparabara wasn't looking likely to be a fight they would win...
First up on the menu were the traitorous Greeks - being tempted into a rash charge they found themselves being matched against 6 Spartiates and 8 armoured hoplites - not a good start!
Back to the right, and the Rhino Charioteers returned to try and halt the wave of Red crashing against the Persian line.
It was a near simultaneous attack across nearly 4 feet of table!
Wave after wave of Greek spearmen charged home with devastating results
Even the Battle Rhino's could only dent the Spartan's armour. The boys in red pushed onwards, and hammered into the expectant Immortals
The elite of the Persian army put up a heroic resistance, thinning out the Greek lines as both sides committed generals to help shore up the lines of men slugging it out toe to toe in an epic battle of East meets West.
With the Persian cavalry being unable to remain in contact (ie breaking off) the Persian line was totally overwhelmed and their army collapsed in a flurry of dice.
The Spartans caused havoc among the hapless Sparabara...
Sparabara soon became Ancient Persian for Speed Bump as they collapsed. A total and complete victory for the Spartans!
Leonidas: This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is
where they die!
Captain: On these shields, boys!
King Leonidas: Remember this day, men, for it will be yours for all time.
Post Match Summary
As Leonidas, King of the Spartans I felt this battle showed us in our best light. We were able to dictate the terrain and ended up with a largely open field which played to our strengths and hampered the enemy severely - in what was already a bad matchup for them.
The simple fact was that Armoured Hoplites are almost invulnerable to shooting, and as this was the main tactic of the Persians, history repeated itself and we gave them a right pasting.
The Persians were somewhat half-hearted in their attempts to get round our initially open flank with their cavalry, and a more concerted effort may have given us some pause for thought.
For us, the ability to echelon on base to the side made a material difference in our ability to close up the gap in our line as we advanced against light opposition, and was worth remembering for the future.
At 900 points however, our army was just too big and too hard for the Persians to beat,.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You may have a shiny helmet, but that buys you no favors in the bath-house with me sunshine.
Your enemy obligingly stood there in a line with troops that were consistently worse than yours, but you still nearly doofed it up by deploying badly.
You should have realised by now, even at 900 AP most people are tempted to take expensive good troops, and so they end up deploying only in half or 2/3 of the table. Starting deployment at one side telegraphs this so clearly that the Persians could have been led by a real genuine live Rhino and still managed to deploy elsewhere.
This time you do seem to have put together a fairly good army list. Its one dimensional, but that seems to be the way to be successful in FoG as having lots of interrelating elements simply doesn't cut it. The best bit was having nearly everything armoured is a great help as that POA counts almost all the time.
Anyway, I'm sure your next opponent won't be so obliging.
Following a quick shopping trip to Spirit Games and a nice pint of inappropriate Summer Ale at one of Burtons many Gay-friendly real ale establishments (go figure...?)..
... we returned for the next round