EXCERPT 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

Saturday, August 28, 2010


As long as the troops and terrain were laid out, and the rules still needed testing, it seemed a good idea to run the game through again. (see previous post) I don't have the patience to keep refighting exactly the same battle so I made two small changes. The first was in deployment, I revised the Spartans so that the main body was halted awaiting the detachment that had lagged behind and which was now on its way and pulled the Athenians back level with them. but heading off at an diverging angle. This fits my reading of Herodotus better. The second change was to remove the Elite status from the Greeks as along with having 3 generals for 5 units, it made them too strong. I now set both sides free to follow what ever tactics and battle plans seemed good to the commanders.

The end of turn 2 from behind the Persian lines as my camera batteries die.
 Having more room to maneuver, certainly helped the Persians to cross the river and get sorted. However, the Greeks made excellent time and were well formed on the ridge before any but Persian light cavalry had made it up to harass them. The Immortals, led by their general were particularly bothersome as after rolling low, I decided to hurry them which resulted in a few extra inches at the cost of a disorder which cost me several turns to clear. Patience is a virtue.
The cellphone camera comes out as I decide the Persians have no chance of winning this one.

While the Persian cavalry and light infantry cleared off the Spartan skirmishers, the main clash came again on the Persian right against the Athenians. The Thebans, who had also tried to hurry across the river were stranded in disorder in the mud (4 1's in a row ), only the presence of their general stopped them heading full speed for the board edge). The Phyrgians had their blood up though and headed straight for the Athenians, supported by a unit of Caduscian Light Infantry. Heedless of the disparity in numbers and a few straggling casualties from bowfire, the Omega Battalion charged down into the enemy. They sent the lightly armed archers reeling but the heavily armed Phyrgian spearmen struck hard and the Athenians themselves recoiled in disorder.

The Phyrgians followed up on the next card but aided by the hill the Athenians sent them back down the hill. Next turn was another tense card draw and again the Greeks won. No problem except suddenly the difference between elite troops led by a general and an ordinary unit on its own came into play. The officers were unable to steady the ranks, and only 1 casualty rejoined while 1 left the field for good. The Corinthians who had also charged down the hill and driven back some Saka, fell back onto the hill.

On their turn, the Phyrgians ordered their ranks and not pausing to  rally, charged back up the hill, this time  forcing their way onto the top. One more push on the next turn and the Athenian  battalion dissolved under the pressure and headed for the hills.   On their right, the Corinthinians were dismayed and recoiled in disorder.    
The Athenians break and I wonder if I was wrong.
By now, the Thebans were fast approaching, holding the Sigma battalion fixed. In the center, the Scorpion cavalry, seeing a mess of disordered hoplites charged forward at a very  slow walk (10 inches on 4 dice!). The Captain urged them to hurry and they lost all order as they barely caught up to the last stragglers. Despite their advantages, they initially failed to break into the shaky Corinthian ranks but rallying back they charged  again and shattered them, driving the remnants into the hills. (they were stubborn though, the Corinthians were unable to rally but they refused to rout, retreating disordered step by step but defending themselves the whole way. You may wonder what happened to their general, I am wondering now myself....oops.... perhaps he died early on and no one noticed)  

On the Spartan end of the line, it was the same old story, the Persians plied their bows, inflicting a steady stream of casualties and the Spartans shrugged them off and just kept rallying back the hits. On one turn only the Persians had a chance, a faint chance of causing a morale check but couldn't get through. Finally, Pausanius decided the omens were right and the Spartans swept down the hill, once again after a short struggle, the shield barrier was broken and the Persians forced to recoil. This time, however, the Persians had cavalry around the Spartan flank and rear and after the desperate fighting, the Beta battalion was down to near 1/2 strength. Charging in from the flank, the Crescent Light Cavalry smashed into the Spartan flank, they  recoiled in good order but Pausanius went down in the struggle. In came the Horsetails, the Spartans recoiled in disorder  only now they were below 1/2 strength. Under a hail of arrows they broke,  The Alpha battalion formed to charge the now rallied Immortals but the storm of arrows from all sides threw them into disorder and finally the Crescent light cavalry rode down the survivors.
The Spartans are ridden down and I start wondering whether Carthage or Sicily would be next.
On the far right of the Greek line, only the Athenian Sigma battalion supported by their loyal archers remained. Caught between the anvil of Theban hoplites to their front and the hammer of the hard fighting Phrygians approaching at last from the rear, they hurled themselves on their traditional foe but were unable to break through. The end was not long in coming.

So, unlike Marathon, (see January refight)  this battle, the Persians were able ro turn the tables. Would they have been able to do it if the Spartans and Athenians had maintained their Elite status? Possibly, especially if I  had promoted the Immortals to Elite. But 2 replays is enough for me. On to something different.

Sometime this fall the Lydian Campaign will resume, but for now its back to horse & musket.


  1. Not that this day trip into bronzed Greek country wasn't fun, but hurrah for horse and musket!

  2. Wow, what an awesome looking and massive game ! It sounds as though the Spartans put up a good fight.

    I really enjoyed reading that. I have been surfing peoples war game blogs looking for inspiration because I'm thinking of moving on from fantasy.

    Thanks for sharing,
    my Bat Reps blog
    my WFB Gallery