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Xenophon's Ghost covers military history and wargaming from the ancient period to modern times.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Alexander the Morph

As a newcomer to ancients wargaming using DBA rules, one encouraging aspect is the ability to use the same figures to form different armies, known as "morphing."  You cannot easily morph more modern figures from one army to the next, much less over a time period of a century or more.  Napoleonic figures don't serve well in a WW I game, for instance.  Morphing does requires some artistic license and a more liberal approach; however, I'm comfortable with the trade-off.

I started buying figures for DBA when a major website was running a 50% off sale of 15mm figures made by Essex.  I bought three DBA pre-assembled armies - Early Spartans, Galatians, and Kappadokians.

I decided to look for a Morph army as a next step.  Checking out the www.fanaticus.org website, I found several examples, noting that Hellenistic Armies, starting with the early Macedonian army and including Hellenistic Greeks and Successor States, offered a tremendous range of options with the same group of figures. Plus, the sale allowed me to procure many of the miniatures needed for the Hellenistic Morph Army at a great price.
Using the draft DBA 3.0 Army lists in the DBA Yahoo group, I developed a spreadsheet listing the figures needed to develop a morph army that would cover 38 different Armies at varying levels of accuracy.  The spreadsheet is available in the DBA Yahoog group files site.  I'm holding my breath in hopes that the final lists don't change much!

I purchased enough Phalangites, cavalry, slingers, and a variety of auxilia infantry to create the core of two Hellenistic Armies, so I can later battle two successor states against each other.

First Batch Complete

I'm finishing the first batch of figures up now, which includes the following elements:

6 Western Phalangites (Pk)
4 Thracian Slingers (Ps)
2 Illyrian Javelinmen (Ax)
2 Peltasts (Ax)
1 Thessalian Cavalry (Cv)
1 Alexander General Knight Element (3Kn) (pictured above)
1 Alexander General Cavalry (Cv)
1 Super Heavy Cavalry (4Kn)
2 Hippokontistai (LH)
2 Allied Greek Spear element (Sp)

With this group, I can field II/12 Alexandrian Macedonian, 16b Demetrios, 16c Alketas, 17a and17b/Lysamachid, 18c Kassandros, and several Hellenistic Greek armies, so my play options have increased significantly!  I still need to complete a few elements to allow me to field all options for some of these armies.

For Want of an Elephant

Battle of Gaugemela from a tapestry
The critical path for fielding more Armies in the Morph list is a lack of Elephants.  I'll order some soon.  I need to decide on a number to paint.  Eighteen armies field one Elephant; three armies field two of the beasts.  I need to check the enemies listings to determine if I will want to purchase 2, 3, or 4 miniature behemoths.

I also plan on scratchbuilding bolt-shooter Artillery pieces (oxybeles).

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