Monday, September 7, 2009

Seleucids defend the road to Damascus

Today we had Game #2 in the Syria campaign. Following up on their last win, the Ptolemaic Army is rushing to take Damascus. The Seleucids managed to gather a opposing army and block a pass. So this game is in pretty hilly terrain with 2000 points per side.

I had a Strategos as general, a mounted ASB, a Hipparch leading a unit of Politikoi Cavalry (medium cav with xyston), a unit of Arab cavalry (they are like mini Tarentine cav without the Parthian shot, good ballistic skill, large shield... hmm well they can feigned flight at least!), 2 units of regular Phalanx, 1 Silver Shields, unit of Thureophoroi, unit of Thracians with Rhomphaia, some Arab archers, unit of Trallian slingers, and at last a unit of generic Euzonoi skirmishers. I wanted to make another frontier army but with a bit of the higher quality stuff arriving slowing (the 1 unit of Silver Shields). The elephant herd and Hetairoi haven't arrived yet.

Here's my setup. The Euzonoi are off the picture to the left. But battle line goes Euzonoi, Thracians, Silver Shields, Pike 1 & 2, Thureophoroi, Arab archers, slingers with Politikoi Cav behind, and the Arab cav on the way left.

Jeff took a Strategos general and ASB, 3 Kleruch phalanx (basic phalanx), unit of elite light cav (good BS on them), unit of regular light cav, Thureophoroi, small unit of Thorakitai, the dreaded Cretans, some expert slingers, unit of Neo-Agrianians, and finally a African elephant.

This was his setup. The Agrianians are off picture to the left, then the Thorakitai, elite light cav & slingers behind, 3 pike units, elephant, Cretans with Thureophoroi behind looking to climb the hill, then the normal light cavalry on their right flank.

This is view from the Cretans. They had a big target on them this game for the man handling of the Politikoi Cavalry last game.

Close up of the dreaded Cretans.

The first couple turns were mainly moving up with not much happening. The Thracians marched hard to get on the hill in front of them before the Thorakitai, but in the process they got themselves surrounded and pelted after the Neo-Agrianians and Elite light cav ran right through the Euzonoi. The Arab cavalry got into a throwing match with the Ptolemaic light cav across from them and ended up getting charged. They tried to feigned flight but it came up short and they ended up in hand to hand... for the next 4 turns.

This is the Thracians getting seeing the wrong end of the a hail of javelins.

Here is the Arab cavalry fighting over the hill on the left. The Ptolemaic light cav were tenacious fighters almost dying to the man.

Knowing the Thracians can't hold on long my right flank was going to fold pretty quick, I turned my heavy cav unit to go help out. They weren't doing much anyways seeing as their targets in front of them were an elephant and a spear unit. The Silver Shields next to the Thracians charged a phalanx while the Thracians moved up to hold the flank a bit longer and toss some of their own javelins at the Thorakitai. Not a whole lot happened in my turn in Jeff's turn he charged the Thracians in front and behind and moved his elephant and Thureophoroi to engage my Thureophoroi since my heavy cav left them to help out on the right. The Cretans and Trallian slingers have been pelting each other this whole time. Actually one time the Trallians did get too close and got charged by the Cretans but they couldn't catch them and the Trallians rallied. So the Thracians got murdered, the Silver Shields didn't take kindly to seeing their flank wide open from the fleeing Thracians decided to take off with them. Yep this wasn't looking good.

Before the Thracians died....

and after. Well at least they died to the man almost instead of fleeing right off the bat.

Polotikoi Cav turning to save the right flank.

In my next turn I charged in my remaining phalanx and hoped I could pull out a miracle before being flanked by the open Ptolemaic phalanx on my left and the elephant and Thureophoroi beating up my Thureophoroi on my right. I guess be in good with the dice gods because I managed to beat the middle phalanx by one which he failed his break test twice and ran off. His general and ASB saw this and ran too. Then the open phalanx on my right panicked and ran off. All the Ptolemaic pike units ended up either running off the board or getting run down by my phalanx.

Here is a picture of where the pike units ended up after the Ptolemaic line broke. The Egyptian elephant was probably surprised to see all his targets run off into the sunset.

By now the Arab cavalry finally broke the light cav unit they were fighting and started to head back to the center. The Politikoi cavalry got themselves stuck between an elephant to their front and a battered Thorakitai unit behind them. They ended up swinging left and heading down the hill into a hornets next of angry skirmishers. They got their ranks thinned down enough that when they did manage a charge against the Ptolemaic elite light cav it wasn't enough and they fled. The Polotikoi did keep the skirmishers busy for a few turns for the Silver Shields to escape the showers of javelins and block the Egyptian Thureophoroi and elephant. The Silver Shields held the charge from those two units, giving enough time for the red shielded Seleucid phalanx to his the elephant in the rear. That was enough and the Egyptians fled for the hills.

I need to leave a special note for the Cretans and Trallian slingers. They must of had some blood feud because they both stayed until the last. Each giving and receiving turn after turn of fire. Even the Arabs got into it at the end and the Cretans didn't budge.

I practically never made an armor save this game but break test on a 3 or less? no problem! Jeff made a crazy amount of armor saves but a break test on an 8 with a reroll then multiple panic tests on 8's and 9's didn't go his way. I guess it's better have consistently low rolling dice in WAB!


  1. Great Report Paul! My pictures did not turn out as nice... I reckon that's due to the loss!! Good game though... we will lick out wounds and come back!

  2. Very nice report, photos and figures!