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

Monday, February 20, 2012

Macedonians Face Athenians

Macedonian Peltasts and Phalangites prepare to advance 
Ryan and I playtested the DBA 3.0 rules, using my newly painted Macedonians.  The paint is dry, but the bases are not finished.  By combining elements with my Spartan army, we were able to field Alexandrian Macedonians (II/12) and Athenian Hoplites (II/5b) in the first game.  We wanted to learn the BUA and littoral landing rules.  Since these were test games, Ryan played defender so we could use a waterway, and we decided to place the BUA on his side of the board.  As a result, the BUA never came into play.

Initial deployment with three Athenian spears in reserve
Ryan deployed a Psiloi in the BUA and held three Athenian spear in reserve for a littoral landing.  He placed Light Horse and Auxilia on the right and left flanks respectively.  The rest of his spear line and a troop of Thessalian cavalry formed the main force.

I deployed the Macedonian Pikes in a two deep formation, flanked by the Knight General and Auxilia.  Expecting Ryan to land deep into my area,  I placed light troops and cavalry on the right to cover the flank.

On the first bound, Ryan rolled a "1", so he could only land his spear.  He played it conservatively.   The flank side of one element of the group is in contact with the waterway per the rules.

Rolling a five on the first bound, the Macedonians advanced forward.  I shifted the Knight General to the right and formed it into a group with the Light Horse, planning to attack the three Spear forward.

In the second bound, the first combat occurred when the Macedonian Knight and LH advanced, joined by a Psiloi.  I would have preferred to use a stronger element than the Psiloi, but the force positions wouldn't allow it.  Ryan continued to advance his main Spear line, aiming to reinforce the landing party.

The Knight General prevailed, quick killing the middle spear.  However, the other two melees resulted in recoils.  With other Spear to the right of the Psiloi, I started worrying that my General might end up in trouble.

Ryan flanked the Psiloi and used other PIPs to begin moving his mounted forces to the left, intending to flank the main Pike phalanx.

The Psiloi was destroyed in this matchup.

To prevent a flanking of my General, I moved an Auxilia forward in my next bound. The Spear turned and faced it.  The dice favored the Athenians, and the Auxilia were destroyed. 

The game culminated in a flanking of a Spear and the main phalanx engaging. 

The Knight General  and the Companion Cavalry engaged a spear element, with the Spear turning to face the Knight.  The Macedonians won this match-up, making the game tied at 2-2.

Pikes with rear support are very strong.  While the first Pike-Spear melee resulted in the Athenians recoiling, the Macedonians won the next two melee, ending the game.

After Action Review

We intended to use this game to learn the BUA rules, but we never got that far.  This was our first game played with Pike miniatures.  When we first tried out DBA, we fought a few games with paper armies that included the Imperial Macedonians using DBA version 2.2.  I must say that Pikes are impressive.  Ryan and I discussed what type of tactics you would need to use in a Pike -Spear match-up like this.  Duking it out with the main force wasn't a good plan for the Athenians.  Between the Pikes and the Knight General element, the Macedonians are very strong against a spear-heavy foe.

The littoral landing rule works fine, and it adds interest to the game.  If Ryan had more PIPs in the first bound, I suspect that he would have been more aggressive.  He never got his cavalry or light horse engaged in the game which could have made a difference.  Similarly, a Psiloi and Auxilia element were deployed primarily to protect the BUA, so the Athenian's fighting force was weakened.

 We tested out the BUA rules in a second game - Alexandrian Macedonians vs. Thessalian Hoplites (II/5d) which I'll describe in my next post.  We had so many questions about the BUA rules that we ended the game early...

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