Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A bit of Greek on Greek

Well, Macedon v Greek to be precise.

Mark and I were joined by John from the Serpentine Wargames Club for this, our most recent game, which we played on 10th March.

This semi-historical battle was a mish-mash with armies roughly based on Chaeronea (338 BC) and terrain roughly based on Pydna (168 BC)!

As a 'new-boy' to the Impetus rules, John joined Mark as the Greeks while I got to command Phillip II's Macedonians. History was on my side, which is often a problem...

Overview from Macedonian side
Panning the Macedonian forces. Mark has built up that phalanx (comprised of Hat figures, for those interested) just this year!
The Greeks: Athenians closest to camera, Thebans on their right.

As at Pydna, the battle began with an un-planned 'exchange' amongst the skirmishers near the creek.

In this case the Thebans got by far the better of the combat—beginner's luck for John.
Ever the comedian, he quipped "I thought all this stuff on the blog about your bad luck was just you whingeing James, but I see it is true!"

Meanwhile, the phalanxes advanced... the Thebans cleaned up the last of the Thracian javelin men

(Cue that 'wrragh' sound from Rome Total War!)

On the other flank it was the turn of the cavalry. One unit of Hetaroi chased off the pesky Greek light cavalry, copping many casualties from the flying darts in the process, while the other and their Agema colleagues took on the Greek medium cavalry.

Leaving the Hetaroi to take care of the Greek cavalry, the Agema drove on to attack the left flank of the Greek phalanx, which resisted the charge (i.e. drawn mêlée).

A damned fine sight. In these games you gotta take time to 'smell the roses'. Well done Wilko on all that painting!

Having cleared off the Thracians, the Theban lights and skirmishers begin eying off the Thessalian cavalry.

Such a fine sight.

The Agema cavalry (top right) have still not been able to break that resistant unit of hoplites.

Back on the Macedonian left flank, the Thessalian's face off big mobs of blokes with pointed sticks.

A clear message from the gods. Phillip is officially a genius (a double six for the initiative roll in Impetus results in the commander's command value going up one level).

Inspired, he leads his bodyguard infantry to join the Agema's flank attack.

At the other end, the hoplites try a flank attack of their own.

Meanwhile, the battle of the phalanxes grinds on.

It was very much in the balance, but then along came turn 7.

Finally, the Macedonian élite troops disposed of those hoplite heroes on the left of the Athenian phalanx....

but, the phalangites in the centre broke like stalactites losing combat after combat, and unit after unit.

Eventually, the survivors, looking around, blew the retreat...

A clear Greek victory. The Macedonians lost 33 points of demoralisation (VD in Impetus), to the Greeks a mere 13!

'Twas great to have John join us for what we hope will be the first of many occasions. Thanks to Wilko for providing figures, terrain and venue.

Thanks to Dadi and Piombo for the sh!t rules that made me lose; nothing to do with any of my tactical decisions!


  1. Great looking game James and a pity that those rules cost you :^).

    We have been playing a good deal of Simon Millers "To The Strongest" which is magnificent and still uses the impetus style basing. As you know, Impetus is very much the ancient go to set at the NWS these bdays but I continue to swim against the tide, almost Gatsby like!

    1. Thanks Carlo. It's amazing how useless rules are when you lose...

      I think we'll leave To the Strongest to you and others. Not really keen on the grid movement and can't see many advantages over Impetus--albeit an opinion formed from seeing summaries and reviews.

      I'm looking for something more 'literal' in rules for ancients, but, as you'll see from my post last weekend, the search continues. In the meantime, I'll settle for Impetus and see if I can encourage Mark and Julian to some local 'tweaks'. I can't get them to shift on my biggest discomfort, the demoralisation losses which see a successful discipline (morale) test result lead to a loss anyway--a passing fail! Still, it is a key aspect of the whole system, so I appreciate could undermine the rules to alter it. We may though look at javelin 'supermen' and skirmishing per se.

      One thing we are agreed on is not to take on the changes added in the yet-to-be published version 2 with double accounting of support and other changes which set back a basically sound set of rules, in our assessment.

    2. If you want tweaks for Impetus I strongly recommend looking at Basic Impetus 2.

    3. The info. about it says that it is DBM/DBA-like, using the terms 'light' and 'fast-play', which is the opposite direction from that which I (and I think I can safely say 'we') want to go. Still, maybe I can have a squiz at your copy one day?!

  2. Love the double six photo. Looking forward to an Impetus game with you all one day.

  3. I enjoyed rolling them. Probably would have been more useful as 'to hit' dice for that flank attack!

    We'll look forward to you joining us for another game of Impetus (v1, of course) or even better, Napoleonics!

  4. Great looking game. Like Carlo, I too am a fan of To the Strongest, but to each their own, of course! Rules addict Garry (Sgt Steiner blog) likes ADLG and Mortem et Glorium...

    1. Thanks Peter.
      I know of your use of To the Strongest (of course)--even though I did not acknowledge it in your comment on the other post (sorry)--you were part of my conception of 'others' in my reply to Carlo above!
      Yeah, I follow Garry's blog. He does like to use different sets of rules, hey? We looked at Mortem et Glorium and I looked at L'Art de la Guerre' after seeing Garry's latest post. Both have mechanics that don't appeal.
      You get to the stage, or at least we have, of being quite 'picky' with rules. There are mechanics that definitely rule them out (pun, pun) for us, such as PIP dice, having to dice to move units or commands each turn (no memory of what they were doing) and excessive detail in tests for no apparent benefit. I'm also wary of 'new' rules that don't offer anything new, save for a shiny cover, pictures and something else to tempt those many wargamers who are ever-keen on something 'new' to try out.
      Perhaps gettin' older and set in me ways? I prefer to consider it to be older, wiser and more discerning!

    2. Nothing wrong with liking what you like. For example, I dislike saving throws as a mechanism. On the other hand, I accept them (well, saving cards) in TtS, as they make sense there and really do simplify things, and the cared play makes them fast as opposed to players who will take forever shaking the dice, or throwing them one at a time.
      Vive l' difference(s)!

  5. Impressive and beautiful lines of battle James!

  6. You really did roll poorly towards the end, after the genius roll. I look forward to Saturday Napoleonica at ANFHQ. May your dice be kinder then.

    1. The 'genius' roll was ex post; the gods (incorrectly) anticipated the success of that attack by the Agema. *Had* they won the mêlée, the hoplites would have broken, then the left of the Athenian line was exposed to the Agema, followed by his bodyguard. Instead, the hoplites fought doggedly, for four rounds (from memory) and, to their right, the main phalanx chewed through the phalangites, ably assisted by your own successful flank attack.
      Such are the vagaries of 'gods playing dice with the lives of men'.