Sunday, June 30, 2013

First, peep a couple of my Greek leader stands. On the right , the Golden Fleece. On the left, the Hippocampus. (Turns out, that's Greek for seahorse, or, to them "coiled horse". I didn't know that term during the battle, and I regrettably referred to this leader as "Captain Seahorse"). These are customized standards, the seahorse bought as a little charm or bead, the Fleece just some gold painted scrubbing pad and the ram's head off a Wargods of Aegyptus figure, all mounted on some assorted metal battle flags from Reaper, I think.
I love em. Gonna try to do one more with a Medusa head earring.

 Now, to the battle. The year is 500 B.C. The Greeks have spread their brand of civilization across the Mediterranean. To the far-flung west, the Hellenes have built a colony on the southern coast of what will one day be called France.

In the hills lurk the Celts -- unwashed, illiterate, and mistrustful of civilization. They look upon the fledgling city and they do not like what they see.

Let's see if they can wreck it.

Here's the table we played on, my 3 coffee tables pulled together, actually. Covered in white felt and with snowy outcroppings crafted by Chris W, it gave us a snowy double mountain pass. Does it snow on the French Riviera? Well, it was a little ice age.

 I joked that if the Celts could read, they'd know not to face Greeks in a mountain pass. Unfortunately Mike's chieftains were better than my strategoi at getting off those first few  commands and he got to hold a pass first. Slingers in front so that they could easily fall back in their loose formation when my men engaged them, they posed an obstacle that was tough to approach, tougher to dislodge. It was just the position that I wanted to occupy.

On the other flank, the Hippocampus phalanxes do lodge themselves right in the sweet spot between the tower and a scrubby hill (difficult terrain where formed units could not tread). My toxotoi (archers) are a little behind, but they're going to nestle up in the safety of those bushes.

The Celtic warbands stampede towards the pass.

On the right flank, my light cavalry wings around the far edge of the tower, too narrow a space for a unit in close formation. Right now they're just startling some slingers, which evade, but these guys in that space are going to prove extremely useful in a few rounds.

On the left flank, the Golden Fleece hoplites go for the glory and charge their barbaric foes. This combat was more interesting than I thought it would be. I hypothesized that the combat would be decided in a round: if the warband, with its amazing clash value, broke the phalanx, then the Greeks lose. If the hoplites stood, the Celts, with their worse sustained combat value and morale saves, would slowly get ground into hamburger.

Over the next couple of rounds, the Celts do begin to get the worse of this exchange. The meat grinder effect is going slower than I anticipated, and when the Celtic morale wavered, I didn't anticipate that they might give ground in good order. But they did, and this removed them from the meat grinder AND allowed them to  benefit from their high clash value again.

Here comes the Greek medium cavalry to save the day! Actually, these guys got stuck out of formation on the scrubby hill and could do nothing but hurl javelins at another warband.

Here's where we ended up -- my hippotes caught in the hills, my archers deliberately in the hills, both basically daring a warband to charge uphill a them ,while not being willing to charge the warband either. This basically tied the hands of M's warband and my horsemen. BUT in this pic you can see that my phalanx has pushed that warband back, abandoning the security of the pass. I'm not certain that the pass was all that desirable a position --it limited how many units could support a phalanx because I couldn't put anybody on its flanks. It did prevent me from GETTING flanked, though. And in the picture below, I manage to hit the enemy flank with those sneaky light cavalry --Thessalians? It tipped the balance between phalanx and warband and I finally broke one.

On the extreme left flank, a group of peltasts finally manage to sneak around the edge of a cliff after failing their command roles five more more consecutive times. Way to go, guys. You arrived way too late to contribute your meager attacks against an enemy who probably would have shrugged them off anyway. Fuckin' javelins.

We stopped playing around midnight. The battle wasn't decisive but I had the advantage in both position and kills. Celtic warbands v hoplites is NOT a fight that gets determined in one round and each round of combat was pretty close, so a couple of bad rolls could  have had my phalanxes rolling backwards while the warbands pushed me around the table instead. But that didn't happen, and for now, Massalia stays Greek.

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