Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Back...and a change of pace

So I'm back...well more accurately I never actually went anywhere.

I pounded out a Greek and Persian force that was the inspiration for this blog and while I had tons of content planned my enthusiasm for all the bloggy bits (taking pictures, researching scenarios, making maps etc...) waned. I moved on to new wargaming projects and my (hobby) time was taken with painting, reading, modeling, terrain building and all the nifty items that get in the way of blog posting.

Now it is 3 years later...multiple projects started (some finished, some abandoned, some "still being worked on") and I want to start regularly posting again.

The one issue that really prevented me from posting was the constrained period of this Blog (Ancient Greek and Persian). I felt like as long as I wasn't working on those figures I had no business blogging on here. That is going to change from here on out. This is a place for all my gaming interests and hopefully someone at least finds it interesting.

If not...I'll just use it as a place to dump my musings for posterity's sake.



Friday, June 22, 2007

Skirmish Battles in Thrace (4th and 5th century B.C.)

Skirmish Battles in Thrace (4th and 5th century B.C.)

So here it is. We have some general (and some specific) rules for playing ancient skirmishes between the Greeks and the Thracians (see the post below for my Thracian obsession) with Warhammer Ancient Battles. While these rules are designed with those two sides in mind, it can accommodate many ancient skirmishes against a hard to catch foe (Ancient Spanish against Romans comes to mind).

Anything not specifically dealt with by these additional scenario rules use the main rules from the WAB rulebook. The games should be relatively quick, tactical and fun.


The Sides

Greek forces often fought the Thracians in their home ground which could be extremely wooded and hilly. Whether the fighting was punitive raids, colonizing forces or just part of a larger army passing through, relations between the Greek city states, and the Thracian tribes usually involved bloodshed.

Each player picks a side either Thracian or Greek. Forces should be small, about 500 - 700pts. Example force listings will be provided with the scenarios. Use the Thracian and Greek Mercenary army lists from Alexander the Great. As an alternate, you may use the AoA (or main rulebook) list for Ancient Greeks. Just use the Thracian profile for all Thracians.

Units shouldn’t be larger than 12 – 16 models (unless you have very good reason). Most units should be between 8-12 models (with cavalry being even smaller).

Playing Area

To represent the smaller nature of these conflicts it is best to use a smaller playing area.

Use a 4’x4’ playing area.

Small Encounters

Ambushes, skirmishes between foraging parties and small raiding parties encompass most of the fighting we will be covering. Due to the smaller scope of the conflicts, some modifications to the normal unit rules are required.

All formed units are treated as light infantry. Skirmishers are still treated as skirmishers. Light infantry in skirmish formation must pass a LD check to reform into a formed unit (with rank bonus etc…)

The following modifiers apply to this LD check:

+1 If friendly non fleeing unit is within 8”

+1 If Thracian unit in cover

+1 If Thracian unit in Hill Fort

-1 If enemy is within 8”

Hoplite units retain their phalanx status until reduced to less than 8 models. Drilled hoplite units retain phalanx until they are reduced to less than 6 models.

Units in skirmish formation can benefit from a characters LD that is leading them directly.

Units can benefit from an Army Generals LD that is within 6” of them (instead of the normal 12”)

Any character can be given Army General status.

Foreign Soil

The Greek player is traveling through some of the wild country of Thrace. Lacking local knowledge they can easily become lost and subject to surprise attacks.

The Thracian player places scenery. There should be significantly more scenery than on a normal Warhammer Ancient Battles battlefield. Primary terrain should be rough rocky ground and forests. Small rivers, areas of brush or simple villages could also work. No piece of terrain can be placed within 2” of another.

The Greek player deploys first. Their deployment zone is 6” deep onto the table. They may not deploy within 12” of a side (this should make a 6” deep by 24” wide rectangle for a deployment zone). Units may start in either skirmish or formed if able.

Thracian player must either deploy his units at the start of the game in cover or hold them off the board to be deployed later. They must deploy at least 25% of their units on the board at the beginning of the game.

Dangerous Country

The Thracians favored ambushes and night attacks against their Greek opponents. Using their superior mobility they would skirmish with the enemy, throwing javelins and retreating before the slower moving opponent could damage them.

At the beginning of any Thracian turn after the first, a Thracian player may deploy any off board units into terrain. The unit must be able to fit into (or directly behind, there is some wiggle room here) the terrain piece they are deploying into. Once they are deployed, they may move and charge normally. To represent the difficult nature (even for the Thracians) of organizing a successful ambush, roll a D6 after deploying a unit in this manner, if you roll a 1, they may not move or shoot this round.

At the end of any Thracian turn, the Thracian player may attempt to hide any of his units in cover. They must be entirely contained in the terrain piece they are attempting to hide in (although again, some wiggle room is necessary with certain impractical terrain pieces). The Thracian player rolls a LD check for the unit attempting to hide with the following modifiers.

+1 If unit cannot be seen

+1 If Chieftain or Shaman is with unit

+1 If the unit did not move this turn

-1 If enemy is within 8”

-1 If enemy is in the terrain with you (this can apply along with “enemy is within 8”)

If the unit passes the LD check it may be placed off board (and brought on later per the deployment rules above). This represents the Thracians ability to retreat into unknown terrain and attack from other directions and angles.

Any Greek unit may attempt to explore terrain at the end of their turn as long as they did not shoot or fight. To explore terrain you must have at least one model from the unit in (or at least touching if it is a linear obstacle of some kind) the terrain piece.

The unit attempting to explore the terrain must pass an Initiative (yes, Initiative, the stat that rarely gets used but is quite important) test. If this test is passed (equal to or lower) then the terrain piece is considered explored and should be marked in some way (dice, counter, fuzzy pipe cleaner or whatever). Once a terrain piece is explored, it cannot be used by the Thracian player to hide in or deploy from.


Fighting on their home turf, Thracian tribes could use the environment to fight their Greek enemies.

The Thracian player gets D3 obstacles per game. Obstacles are small terrain pieces like felled trees and boulders rolled into position. Each obstacle should measure about 3-5” across and be really no deeper than 2-3”. These count as linear obstacles in game terms.

Obstacles may be placed at the beginning of the Thracian players turn after any off board units have been deployed. Only one obstacle can be placed per turn and it cannot be placed within 8” of a Greek unit. As soon as the obstacle is placed a single remaining off board unit may be placed behind it as to defend the obstacle. This is the only time a unit may be placed from off board with the obstacle.

No additional units may hide in the obstacle or be placed from off board in it.

Sample Scenario

The Situation

A small force of Greek soldiers is marching through Thracian territory. They are deep in hostile land and have to escape as the local tribesmen have become violent. The Greek soldiers are carrying valuable information on the terrain and enemy disposition and must escape.

The Forces

These are just sample forces. Feel free to use whatever models you have in your collection for these troops and mix and match size and armaments. This should be fun.

Thracian (591 Pts)

1 Chieftain

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Light Armor; Shield

1 Chieftain

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Light Armor; Shield

12 Mountain Tribesmen

Leader; Standard; Musician; Javelins; Buckler

12 Mountain Tribesmen

Leader; Standard; Musician; Javelins; Buckler

8 Mountain Tribesmen

Leader; Standard; Musician; Javelins; Buckler

12 Lowland Tribesmen

Leader; Standard; Musician; Thrusting Spear; Javelins; Buckler

12 Mountain Tribesmen

Leader; Standard; Musician; Rhomphaia; Javelins; Buckler

Greek (563 Pts)

1 Xenagos

Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield

12 Mercenary Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Large Shield

12 League Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Large Shield

12 Veteran Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield

12 Psiloi

Short Bow; Dagger; Javelins

12 Psiloi

Javelin & Buckler; Leader; Dagger

Victory Conditions

The Greek player is trying to get as many points to escape off the opposite board edge as possible. If more than 50% of the Greek points get off the board then it is a major victory for the Greeks. If between 25% and 50% get off the board it is a minor Greek victory. If less than 25% of the Greek points get off the board it is a Thracian victory.

For a Greek unit to count as escaping they must get to the opposite board edge from their deployment zone. As soon as they touch the board edge during movement they are removed and points are counted for them. If any part of the unit escapes, the whole units cost is counted.

The game can be played with no turn limit but should easily be finished within 10-12 turns.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Thracians

The Thracians were an Indo European people who lived in the area north of Greece and around the area of modern Bulgaria. They were a numerous people stretching into Asia Minor and north into the Balkans. Thracians were a tribal people with the land of Thrace divided into as many as 40 different major tribes. A warlike and boisterous people, who valued warriors and plunder, they fought for and against just about every civilization they encountered. Seriously, these guys (and gals) were bad asses.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the tribes bordering the more recognized/civilized areas and Thracians are no different. I’ve managed to acquire and paint a fair number of the little guys in 28mm to use as peltasts for my Greek army. But I’d love to give them their own army, their own chance to shine not as some auxiliary arm of slow ponderous hoplites. Each time I think this, I do a quick count of the Thracians I have that are painted (around 60) and think of the amount I would need to finish to give them an army of their own. I then go into a corner and cry myself to sleep where I have nightmares of painting another 120 geometrically patterned tribesmen. I don’t know if I have the stamina to paint all those tribesmen when I know in a straight up fight they’ll still have a rough go at the hands of period opposition.

So what to do? There are already great figures, great lists and great history for the Thracians but I’m having trouble getting them involved in a great game. Then I thought about it some more…and I happened to be flipping through an Osprey and saw this picture.

I was going about this all wrong. Thracians shouldn’t be shoehorned into big linear battle lines. They should be fighting skirmishes and ambushes. They need to be surrounded by the rough ground of their native lands savagely attacking out of the rocks and woods. They needed scenarios that played to their strengths and had them fight the way they did historically (90% of the time). Don’t get me wrong, the existing Thracian list is great, and they are definitely fun and useful to include as allies in a period army. I would love to field an entire 2000 pt Thracian army but I have no delusions of grandeur about its likely performance against the pike blocks and companions of Macedon.

So I’ve created a skirmish mini-game within the Warhammer Ancient Battles system to hopefully make for some fun battles between Thracian tribes and their multiple enemies (starting with the Greeks). I’ll have the basic rules uploaded in the next day or two and then add additional scenarios as I can. They are pretty loose and hopefully fun. The idea is to play a quick game with a friend focusing on just one small part of the larger conflicts in the region. An ambush of a marching column, skirmishes between foragers or even a night raid on a Thracian hill fort will all be covered.

Battles will focus on between 50-60 figures and around 600-700pts per side. Basically, Thracians are a fascinating people on and off the battlefield and I wanted to give them a chance to shine (even if it is just in my own little games).

Comments welcome.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Answering Questions.

A few people (both at the convention and online) have asked how the board was created, so i've decided to answer, and how. It was my first time making a complete scenery board and I was on a rather short deadline (due to some flakey terrain makers) but I think it turned out decently. There are already a ton of great sites showing how to construct a scenery board that I took inspiration from. The useful thing about this was that the whole thing was created indoors, with no power tools or noxious fumes.

The whole board is made out of 2” thick sections of blue Styrofoam. I bought a little extra expecting to mess up some so my poor little car was full of the stuff for a day. It was cut into 4’x 2’ sections for the base and the cliff was made out of 2’x 2’ sections. This allowed for transport, storage and still held onto a good aesthetic (there weren’t to many seams).

Here you can see my poor dining room covered in drop clothes and stacks of foam. I’m still in the process of cleaning; it was a huge hassle to do all this in a one bedroom apartment.

I laid out the boards on the floor and marked a line across for reference (at the 12” mark).

I marked the basic shape of the board and cliffs using figures for reference. I knew about how wide I wanted it at the thinnest parts and went from there. I used some reference maps for the general shape and made sure to include the narrow portions that made the hot gates. I then proceeded to my first cut.

Here you can see the height of cliff compared to the 28mm figures. The main portion of the cliff would be 6” high with another 2” augmenting that to make the mountain trail.

I cut the foam with a foam cutting blade. This is basically a long exacto blade style knife. I couldn’t use a foam cutter since most of this was being done at night after work and inside my apartment. Cutting made a huge mess on the floor but I figured the cleanup would be better than sniffing toxic fumes for a few nights.

Once the cliffs were cut out I stacked them up on my table and glued them together to form the final 2’x 2’ sections that are 6” high. I stacked heavy (nerdy) books on top of the sections while they dried to make sure there were minimal gaps. When I glued the second and subsequent sections I placed its adjoining (already glued) section next to it to help line them up properly and ensure a tight fit.

The front cliffs didn’t line up perfectly but that is okay because I just hacked away at them when they were all glued to make it reasonably seamless.

I then painted the top surfaces with slightly thinned down white glue and added a mixture of different grain sands.

I used a very scientific method of clasping a handful of sand in my fist and then shaking it out over the whole board to give a good, light coverage. I then turned the boards on their side to get rid of the excess.

Once the sand had thoroughly dried, the painting began. This was probably the most painfully time consuming section. During painting I watched the Champions league final, most of a season of Big Love, The Lost Boys and some other movies/shows I can’t remember. I painted a base coat of dark brown over the entire surface. It was difficult to get into a lot of the cuts and crevasses in the rocky cliff surface and I had to use different sized brushes to make sure it was all covered.

I then heavily dry brushed a yellowish sand color over the entire surface as well.

After that dry brush was done, I added a final lighter dry brush of a whiter sand color. A road was dry brushed in bleached bone as a final addition to break up the flat terrain a little. The final pictures of the board in action can be seen in the post before this.

The top pieces to the cliff were carved from off cuts of the main board. They are separate pieces placed at the top of the cliff for additional height/separation from the mountain trail.

All in all I’m happy with the results and the relatively simple techniques created a decent presentation. Total build time a little over 2 weeks of mainly evenings.

Someone also commented wanting to know about the scenario cards used so I’ve added their text below. X2 means there are two of these cards in the deck. I made these to bring flavor to the scenario as well as teach some of the history of the battle.

As always, comments, questions, insults and threats are all welcome.


Whips of the barbarians X2

Persian forces get an extra D6” added to their basic movement this round.

“Persian casualties were high, because their regimental commanders wielded whips and urged every single man ever onward from behind”


Death of Leonidas

Spartans must charge the nearest enemy unit and must pursue a defeated enemy. This lasts for D3 turns.

“The Persians and Lacedaemonians grappled at length with one another over the corpse of Leonidas, but the Greeks fought so well and so bravely that they eventually succeeded in dragging his body away.”


We shall fight in the shade X2

Persian units do not get a -1 to shooting while moving this round. Persian units may use massed archery while moving this round.

“…when they fired their bows, they hid the sun with the mass of arrows.”


Xerxes demands obedience X2

A single Persian unit may re-roll a break or panic check this round.

Xerxes considered himself a living god and demanded obedience from his followers.


The Greek forces gain D3 oracles.

“The first warning the Greeks in Thermopylae got was when the diviner Megistias inspected the entrails of his sacrificial victims…”



The naval triumphs at Artermision inspire the Greek side. Gain 1 oracle.

Artemision was the second part of the Greek plan to hold the Persians at Thermopylae. A severely outnumbered Greek fleet (along with rough seas) dealt a great blow to the Persian naval forces.

Thebans desert

Lose D6 hoplites from the allied unit.

“Then they held out their hands in surrender and approached the Persians.”


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

I ran a scenario of Thermopylae over the weekend at a local convention (Gamex, for those in southern California) as support for our chapter of HMGS-PSW. I’ve written up the whole scenario below for those interested, just look at the post before this appropriately titled Thermopylae (sneaky I know).

I ran the scenario a couple times throughout the day as it is a relatively short game (a little over 2 hours once things get going) and had a load of fun doing it. Here are the pictures I managed to take during the event.

Click on pictures to make them bigger!

The Spartans and allies defend the pass while the Phocians face the Immortals on the mountain trail above.

The Greeks start in their position defending the Phocian wall facing the advancing Persian horde in the pass.

Brave Phocians defending the trail against the elite of the Persian Empire.

The Greeks quickly tired of the Persian arrows and attacked in both the pass and the mountain trail. You can see the remnants of the Greek army withdrawing to the left. They had to get off the board before the Immortals flanked them.

The Greeks driving forward pushing the Persians back. The basic Persian infantry just couldn't hold them off for long although their arrows did serious damage when they had the chance.

The Greeks in the pass have pushed all the way to the Persian board edge. They were soon sorrounded and killed but they bought their retreating allies time to get away.

It's a foot race between the withdrawing Greeks in the pass and the Immortals on the mountain trail.

A wide shot of the board built for the scenario.

Scenario cards made for the battle. This allowed me to throw in some random elements to both sides such as Thebans deserting.

As always, comments and questions are welcome.


Thermopylae – 480 BC

Thermopylae – 480 BC

Spartans and allies vs. Persians

A Warhammer Ancient Battles Scenario

Strategic situation

In 480 B.C. Xerxes, mighty king of the Persian Empire was marching south into Greece attempting to conquer the city states that had caused his father trouble in the past. While some cities did submit and give the token of earth and water to the Persian king, there were those that determined to fight the vast army invading their land. The two most powerful city states of the era, Athens and Sparta refused the great kings demands and chose to fight.

Plans were made, but like on most issues, the city states were divided on which course of action to pursue. Many of the southern cities preferred to defend the Isthmus of Corinth while cities farther north felt that they were being abandoned. The gifted Athenian Themistocles felt the war would be won at sea and did his best to keep a concentrated fleet together to defeat the Persians there. More and more Greek cities were thinking of joining the Persian Empire in order to avoid ruin at the hands of the vast conquering army.

Leonidas of Sparta led a small force of Spartans to the hot gates at Thermopylae where the terrain made a strong defensive position where few could hold many. His intentions cannot be known for sure, but many believe he went there to martyr himself in order to prompt the rest of the Greek city states into action. Whatever his final goals where, his immediate desire was to hold the Persian army at the pass and therefore give the rest of the Greek mainland time to prepare. The fabled 300 Spartans were joined by about 7,000 other hoplites from city states around Greece determined to hold the pass for as long as possible.

The forces

I’ve attempted to represent the battle in about 1 figure = 10 soldiers scale. This is not an exact number but more of a general feeling.


24 Spartan Hoplites w/ light armor

This is Leonidas and his elite bodyguard of Spartan hoplites. I’ve only used 24 both for game balance and because they would have suffered some casualties by this point in the battle.

24 Allied Hoplites w/ light armor

These are the Thebans and Thespians who stayed with Leonidas to hold the pass. The Thebans were less willing participants and Herodotus reports they might have defected to the Persians during the battle.

20 Allied Hoplites w/ light armor

These represent the Phocians holding the mountain trail that the Immortals took to outflank the Greeks. These hoplites gain +1 leadership as they are defending their homes.

And a smattering of skirmishers

Also include a few extra hoplites from your collection to represent the withdrawing Greek army.


Just grab every Persian figure you’ve got and it should work fine.

I used…

24 Immortals with large shield, light armor, spears and bows.

5x 24 Persian infantry

Front rank – Spara, Shield, Bow

Back 3 ranks – Bow

A smattering of skirmishers

The battle as a game

This scenario takes place on the third day of the battle with the majority of the Greek force withdrawing. I’ve played around with time and history a little to allow the Phocians a chance at defending the mountain pass the Immortals take to flank the Greek position.

Special Rules

Greeks start the game with no Oracles.

An event card is drawn at the beginning of each turn after the second.

There are 3 groups of retreating Greek hoplites, they represent the withdrawing Greek army. At the beginning of each Greek turn during compulsory moves, the withdrawing Greek hoplites move d6”s towards there table edge. Roll separately for each group. These troops should start no closer than 36”s to the friendly board edge at the beginning. They move as a loose mob and are not required to hold formation or wheel. Once they reach their friendly board edge they are removed. If contacted by an enemy unit they are destroyed.

Any Persian unit on the mountain trail, who reaches the Greek board edge, is removed from the table and placed on the Greek board edge in the pass in the following turn.

Any Persian unit (except the immortals) destroyed or routed off a table edge can be placed on the friendly Persian players board edge starting next turn.


Terrain should represent a narrow pass between a cliff and the sea. This is the setup I used.

The Historical Battle

The Greeks held the Persian troops for two days causing heavy casualties to Xerxes men. During the night after the second day, a local led the Persian immortals around the Greek position on a mountain trail. The Phocians who were guarding the trail could not stop the immortals (depending on the source, they retreated to a good position or fled) and the Greeks in the pass were now surrounded. Leonidas sent most of the Greek army away and made his final stand with a small force of allied Thespians and Thebans. The Spartans and allied Greeks fought the Persians to the death and killed a great number of them before eventually being overrun.

This heroic sacrifice helped galvanize the other city states into defending their homeland. After Themistocles brilliant defeat of the Persian fleet at Salamis, the Greek city states got their revenge at the battle of Plataea and the Persian Empire never again contested mainland Greece.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mantinea – 418 BC

Spartans vs. Argives (and Athenians)

A scenario for Warhammer Ancient Battles.

Strategic situation

In 421 B.C. Athens and Sparta (along with their allies) had been fighting the second phase of the Peloponnesian War for 10 years. They had both suffered disasters in this phase of the war. Athens was ravaged by plague and eventually lost one of its most gifted leaders, Pericles, to the disease. Sparta had over 100 of its elite Spartiates surrender at Sphacteria and held captive by Athens as trophies. This had a great psychological impact on the supposedly fearless Spartans. Both Athens and Sparta had recently lost dynamic and successful generals in Cleon and Brasidas. All of these events helped lead to the peace of Nicias which was supposed to last 50 years between Athens and Sparta, but was never observed by their allies, and was quickly broken.

Open hostilities began again in 419 as Argos came to the end of a peace treaty with Sparta, and with Athenian help, began attacking Spartan allies. Sparta along with its allies such as Boiotia and Corinth opposed these attacks and a series of almost battles and a lot of maneuvering took place. The young King Agis of Sparta was severely criticized for not bringing the Argives to battle when he had the chance and was given a 10 man board of advisors.

In 418, the Argives and there allies turned the city of Orchomenos to their side and moved farther south to Mantinea. The Spartans had no choice but respond to these aggressive moves against their valued allies the Tegeans who were now being threatened.

When the allied Spartan army arrived at Mantinea the Argive army deployed on a steep hill in a superior defensive position. King Agis, desperate to avoid the criticism he received early for failing to fight the Argives, charged his army up the hill. Luckily he was convinced to halt the attack, possibly by one of his 10 advisors (just in time, they are said to have gotten within a stones throw of the Argive line) and just narrowly avoided a military disaster. The Spartans moved south, hoping to use nature in an effort to force the Argives into battle. The Tegeans, fighting on the side of the Spartans, explained that they could divert water flows in the area and this would flood their enemy’s land during the rainy season.

Meanwhile, the Argives were actually seeking a fight with the Spartans and had come down from their defensive position on the hillside. As the Spartans marched north again they ran into the Argive army, drawn up and ready for battle, which caught the Spartans by surprise. It is a strong testament to the organization of the army fighting for King Agis that he was able to deploy them into a battle line quickly and efficiently with the enemy so near.

The forces

The forces below are meant to be representative of the two armies that met on the field for the battle of Mantinea. I was working roughly off of a 1 figure = 35 soldiers scale, but again, it was a very rough ratio. In reality, the Spartan army should outnumber the Argives, but I felt that could lead to a very poor game within Warhammer Ancient Battles (since the Spartans are represented as such dominant hoplites). I’ve chosen to represent only an elite core of king Agis’s army as “Spartan” hoplites while leaving the rest of the Laconians as generic hoplites. Again, this was to try and keep the scenario balanced.

The Argive alliance has larger phalanxes but is lacking the punch of the Spartan hoplites. The elite Argive 1,000 are given veteran hoplite stats and are stubborn. The Argives are also outclassed in cavalry (one of the few times Spartan cavalry had the advantage) and must be wary of their flanks.

[#’s] pertain to the corresponding deployment map.

Spartans and allies

(From the Armies of Antiquity Ancient Greek list)

King Agis of Sparta – Placed with [6] or [7]

1 Army General

Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; General; Spartan General

Sciritae – [2]

20 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Freed Helots (Brasdians etc…) – [3]

24 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Laconian Hoplites – [4]

24 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Laconian Hoplites – [5]

24 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Spartiates – [6]

24 Spartans

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Drilled; Stubborn; Greek Phalanx

Hippeis – [7]

24 Spartans

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Drilled; Stubborn; Greek Phalanx

Arcadians – [8]

32 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Tegeans – [9]

32 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Spartan Cavalry – [1]

8 Greek Heavy Cavalry

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Heavy Armor

Spartan Cavalry – [2]

8 Greek Heavy Cavalry

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Heavy Armor

Light Troops

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Sling; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Sling; Skirmishers

Argives and allies

(From the Armies of Antiquity Ancient Greek list)

Leader of the allied Argive alliance

1 Army General

Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; General

Mantineans – [11]

32 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Arcadians – [12]

32 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Elite Argives – [13]

28 Hoplites (+1 WS, +1 I, +1 LD)

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx, Stubborn

Argives – [14]

32 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Argives – [15]

32 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Orneaens – [16]

24 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Cleonaens – [17]

24 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Athenians – [18]

28 Hoplites

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear; Light Armor; Large Shield; Greek Phalanx

Athenian Cavalry – [19]

8 Greek Heavy Cavalry

Leader; Musician; Hand Weapon; Thrusting Spear

Light Troops

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Javelins; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Composite Bow; Skirmishers

12 Skirmishers

Hand Weapon; Sling; Skirmishers

The battle as a game

Use the pitched battle scenario and the setup detailed in the map above. Light troops can be deployed along the front line as well as the flanks. The Argive side gets first turn representing the Spartans still deploying into their battle line. Can be played to army break point or 7-8 turns, whichever you decide (it is a game after all). You don’t have to play with a turn limit and can slug it out to your hearts content if you prefer.


Terrain should be relatively flat with possible two small hills on the sides of the battlefield. There should be forest behind the Spartan deployment zone (since they had just emerged from it when they spotted the Argives).

The Historical Battle

King Agis, in an attempt to combat the natural movement of a hoplite combat overlapping on the right and being overlapped on the left, shifted a portion of his line to the left. This opened up a substantial gap in the Spartan line which he attempted to fill by ordering Spartan commanders from the right to move into the gap from their positions. The Spartan commanders refused (most likely due to the proximity of the enemy, as well as the inexperience of their king) and when the two lines met, the elite Argives swarmed into the gap.

The Spartan army was cut into two, with the Scirtae and Brasdians on the left surrounded and routed back to the baggage. At the same time, the Spartan center and right, pushed back and surrounded their opposition and isolated the Athenians. The battle had now broken into two separate parts, with the Spartan left being pursued by the Argive right, and the Spartan right pursuing the Argive left. King Agis, realizing the trouble his left wing was in turned a large portion of his forces to help, allowing much of the Argive left to escape, but encircling the and defeating the previously victorious Argive right.

Meanwhile the Mantineans and their allies and the picked body of the Argives ceased to press the enemy, and seeing their friends defeated and the Lacedaemonians in full advance upon them, took to flight. Many of the Mantineans perished; but the bulk of the picked body of the Argives made good their escape. The flight and retreat, however, were neither hurried nor long; the Lacedaemonians fighting long and stubbornly until the rout of their enemy, but that once effected, pursuing for a short time and not far.


In the end, the Argives side lost about 1,100 men while the Spartans are said to have lost about 300. Winning such a large land battle helped restore the Spartans reputation in that respect (some of which had been lost due to Sphacteria). The battle also once again settled the rivalry between Argos and Sparta for control of the Peloponnese.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and comments are always welcome. Look through the rest of the blog for additional battles as well as pictures of my growing Greek army.