Field of Glory Wargaming at Burton Doubles, (Badcon) 2009
The first game had gone according to plan and we also had clearly gotten ourselves a good drinkers army - line up and advance!
With maximum points from game 1 and feeling replete after a bit of pork and stuffing sandwich action
Game 1 saw us facing .... a Later Selucid Army who's list is available here
Pictures of Hellenistic Infantry from my Ancients Photo Directory
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We opted for an amusing novelty in terrain - an impassable obstacle, which fell nicely in the most prominent part of the table.
Unable to resist this invitation, the Selukids deployed their line of pikemen in ready to swing into the gap between the impasse and a handy marsh, and teed up all their cataphracts in what is rapidly becoming the traditional position, against one side of the table with a load of Thracians and evil nasty Thorakitoi ready to race past the impasse and claim the large area of rough ground beyond it,
Deciding to take a chance even against the superior rough terrain force of the Greeks, we also poured our paltry Thracians and some hoplites in column into the rough going. Being in column formation allowed us to move at our normal speed of 3 inches per turn, and give the ability to expand out after impact we fancied our chances of just toughing it out against the Selukids in the unfavorable terrain.
Having expected a clear run, the Selukids were clearly surprised by our boldness, and rushed more cavalry to reinforce the flank attack.
Over to the left, we had a very thin line of spearmen advancing remorselessly - which proved to be a magnetic target for the oh-so-bold Selucid shooting Irregular C LH Bw.
Both sides were panicking as the race to clear the terrain hotted up - neither could see clearly how it might pan out.
Traitoro: Stop kicking people into the pit of death! Honestly!
Meanwhile the main Seleucid line, mesmerized by the excitement on their left, stood motionless.
Xerxes: I tell you kid, you got balls. I come over here with a big army, we're goin' to shish kebab your ass..
The race was really hotting up, with 6 Spartiates now bearing down on the Cataphracts, and another column of spearmen making their way out of the rough going to support them as the enemy Thracians looked on impotently, unable to react due to the threat of yet another column of Greeks bearing down on them from their right.
The battle in the center was developing at a totally different pace, isolated from our right by the Impasse. The Greek line had time and opportunity to re-deploy a unit of Spartiates and carefully and methodically tee itself up for an assault on the line of pikemen and imitation legionaries.
The situation was getting more complicated than a decision on whether to consistently spell Seleucid with a "k" or a "c". Spartans were ganging up on the cataphracts, more Spartiates were arriving from stage left and the previously confident Selukid Thracian heavy weapon wielders and Thorakitoi were spoilt for choice - who should they charge, and if they did, who would end up hitting them in the flank afterwards?
The first clashes were - as expected - inconclusive. The Cataphracts bounced off the line of robust spearmen, and even in the rough the hoplites held off the enemy Thracians - who had cleverly managed to charge into the only protected unit of hoplites on the board. But as a disordered unit the hoplites had little to fear - even going disrupted would not reduce the number of dice rolled !
Leonidas: Yo mamas so hairy, the only language she speaks is wookie!
The Thorakitoi also then joined the melee (hitting Spartans in the open, so a -1 in cohesion tests if they lost), and the Cataphracts charged in yet again as well. but the Seleucid Thracians were gradually gaining the upper hand ...
Suddenly both sides suffered a catastrophic reverse. The Thorakitoi imploded just as the protected hoplites did the same! The Spartans poured forward, and the panicked and surprised Seleucid Thracians did the same, realizing that a dash forwards was the best way to get away from their cousins in Spartan employ in the Benny-hill inspired madness that is an IGO-UGO rule system!
Over on the far less interesting left flank, overly-brave Irregular D LI JLS no shield were working in tandem with a line of hoplites to cause untold problems for the skirmishing Selukid light horsemen, who were helpless to attack the peasants flinging stones as the threat of a flank intercept charge from the spearmen was too great.
But really this was just a sideshow to the action in the center of the park, as the Spartans teed their subject foot up carefully for an attack on the enemy pikemen. Well, that was the theory anyway, but the overenthusiastic levies decided to charge against some skirmishing light foot, and rolling long on their pursuit move, placed themselves in a totally isolated position where the Seleucids could charge them.
With the rest of their army looking on aghast, the smallest unit on the Spartan army took on the whole phalanx alone. And then rolled catastrophic cohesion test dice at impact, to shatter and implode immediately long before any support could join it's struggle.
Smashed in combat, and pursued by several units (each removing a base in each round of pursuit where they stayed in contact) the Greeks evaporated, with their loss also shaking the morale of their colleagues to the left and right, who soon also broke and fled under the advancing pikewall.
The stage was now set for the Spartiates to redeem the loss of their subjects. They faced up against the imitation legionaries and massed pikemen.
The pikemen continued their rampage, fragmenting and disrupting the brave Spartans and thinning their ranks even with 2 generals aiding the Spartan cause.
Soon only one unit was left - and it too was at deaths door.... and it then stepped through, broke and routed...
But the rearguard action of the Spartans had at least allowed some of the routing Greeks to be rescued and rallied by their generals, and soon the victorious pikemen found themselves chasing shadows as the game thinned out considerably.
Having pushed some of the Seleucid light horse off table, more Greeks slowly came back into the picture.
And as the end credits rolled, the two units of mercenary Thracians finally set about each other with some gusto. But with that the game finished.... a loss, but a close run thing.
Post Match Summary
As Leonidas, King of the Spartans I was rather disappointed by the failure of my subjects to stand up to the phalanx.
We had engineered a small advantage in what had initially seemed an unpromising position in the rough terrain, but this was thrown away in an instant of madness as one lone hoplite unit made an unscheduled charge against some light infantry that frankly they should have been happy to ignore.
This led directly to the collapse of our center, shredding an attack we had ample time to tee up and execute.
Maybe we should have totally ignored the phalanx..... but I did feel that with a well planned attack the Spartans should have been able to take down those blokes with longer sticks.
However even allowing for this, we did pretty well to deal with some rough ground, and take the initiative to a more technologically advanced foe with some initial success.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Your army fought like cowardly girls.
They weren't just beaten, they imploded.
They didn't even put up any sort of fight at all.
And why? Well, you entered into a fight that you probably didn't need to even attempt. If you'd ignored the phalanx you could have picked up the Thorakitoi, 2 units of Cataphracts, fled 2 or 3 LH off table, maybe ganged up on the Thracians and beaten them too. For no risk.
OK, it wouldn't have been a massive victory, but it would have won the game. But you ended up losing through not being able to control your own men, from a position when you coudl have won.
So, in my world, that means you actually beat yourself.
Which is rather down my list of Top Generals Tips for the Day isn't it?
The night that followed then saw us fail to take the skinheads bowling...
..due to the bowling alley being shut, but we did manage to play pool instead, drink some real ale and gently tee ourselves up for the next day. You can even download an MP3 version of "Take The Skinheads Bowling" (by Camper Van Beethoven) by clicking this link