EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Customizing Marathon (1)

< A Greek sentinal keeps watch on the Persian invaders

One of the first steps to staging  a scenario from a magazine or book, is to see how your own table, scenery and forces match what is suggested. Inevitably, there will be differences. The trick is to figure out what really matters and how to bend things to suit what you can do without breaking the scenario or changing the heart of it.   

Suggested Table: 6'x9'
My Table: 6'x8'

Issues: There is little terrain and it was easy to lay out something reasonably similar. The key feature is that the Greeks will have a hard time covering the distance between the sea and the mountain. They need to have a choice between stretching their line and risking it being broken, or deploying in depth at the risk of being flanked.   This is a cross between how wide the table is (1 foot shorter than recommended) and how wide my line of Greek hoplites is (yet to be determined)
Suggested Forces:
9 x 40 infantry, 4 x 20 infantry, 3 x 12 light infantry, 3 x 16 cavalry for a total of 476 infantry & 48 cavalry.
Greeks: 11x 24 hoplites, 3 x 12 psiloi for a totale of 264 hoplites & 36 psiloi
My Forces:
Persians: 10 x 18 infantry, most based 6 to a base 3 wide and 2 deep)  6 x 12 light infantry, 5 x 18 cavalry
Greeks: A disorganized mess of about 140 hoplites using at least 5 different basing systems and various frontages, about 1/4 missing spears, shields and/or heads, and a similar mess of about 60 light infantry not counting Thracian mercenaries (who will be fighting for the Persians)
 Issues. The first issue is that my armies are only about 1/2 the size of the suggested ones. The 2nd is that they are not organized in a similar matter. Whether or not either of these matter depends in part on the relative strengths of the armies, in part on how the armies fill the space on my table and on the rules being used.

Next entry will include a discussion of these issues and how I reached a conclusion and what that looks like. 


  1. And what rules are you planning on using for this? WAB?

  2. Well, that's part of the next post! But I plan to use the rules that came with the scenario and hopefully will then reorganize a bit and replay with WAB as a comparison. If I have more time than I expect, I may even do it again using Warmaster.

  3. I refought Marathon a few months ago using Phil Sabin's Strategos rules and 6mm toys: http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.com/2009/09/battle-of-marathon.html

    Yor post above prompted me to update the photos.

  4. Thanks for the link Tim. There's a lot to be said for 6mm troops esp for refighting historical battles. I am aware of Phil Sabin but am not personannly familiar with any of his work. I do have vague memories of what may have been a pre-cursor to Strategos appearing in Slingshot many years ago.

  5. While I would hardly describe this period as my specialist subject, I have enjoyed all the Strategos games I have played (including one umpired by Phil himself). All have hung in the balance for several turns before producing what all agreed to be a 'realistic' result.