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.


legatushedlius said...

This is great stuff! I have just finished a small unit of Thracians and am now painting some Spartans and was thinking aboout this sort of encounter. You have just saved me a heap or work. Thanks a lot!

受傷 said...

cool blog,期待更新.........................

天氣的 said...


微笑每一天 said...

how do u do?

佩璇 said...

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour..............................................