Spartans and allies vs. Persians
A Warhammer Ancient Battles Scenario
In 480 B.C. Xerxes, mighty king of the Persian Empire was marching south into
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
Leonidas of Sparta led a small force of Spartans to the hot gates at
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.
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.
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 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