In the second game of the tournament I had a great pleasure to play against Phil and his Alexandrian Macedonian army. I have not played against Phil before so it was great meeting him and have an opportunity to face a new opponent.
Playing against Alexandrian Macedonian with Seleucid army has something special in it. When on top of that Army Commander is Alexander the Great himself, it is like having a sparring match with the master! I was very curious about the outcome of this battle and equally interested on what Phil decided to take with his army in particular. In theory, our armies are quite similar, one evolving from another. In such cases small differences may result in quite different outcomes. Here are the details of Phil's army list:
Alexandrian Macedonian - Army List
Legendary commander, three subordinates and still one unit more than in my force. How is that possible? Especially that both, Exceptional Agema and Superior Hypaspists are present. The answer is, all Phalangites are Poor and so are the Hoplites. The latter are also in smaller units. That probably means that the infantry is there more to hold the line and do not engage too quickly (so that the potential casualties do not mount up). While the cavalry would be responsible for doing some damage.
Fielding Poor infantry may save some points for sure but at the same time makes it more vulnerable to shooting attacks. And I hoped I would be able to use that to my advantage. Other than that, with Average Phalangites, I was aiming at matching them up against either Foot Companions or even Hoplites. That would give me an edge in charge and melee phases.
The problem was, of course, the Agema and Superior cavalry. Which I had to somehow deal with. I predicted a lot of micro maneuvers and counter-maneuvers in this game!
Here is my army list for reference:
Seleucids - Army List
Five day maneuvers resulted in the battle field chosen in the terrain with mountains on the secure flank and some odd rough terrain here and there. The middle of the battle field was empty that suited both armies.
Alexandrian Macedonians were invading force and they seized the initiative.
|Early Seleucids vs Alexandrian Macedonian|
|Deployment of the Armies|
I wanted to use shooting to my advantage so I deployed Cretan Archers and mounted skirmishers in the middle of the battle field. Phil had his Phalangites across them but with his own skirmishers in the front. I guess I would have to shoot at them first!
I was guessing where would the Agema and Companions go and I was a bit surprised they ended up as a second line. But because Phil kept them till the end, I split my Phalanx into two groups. In this way I would have something that even Agema with Alexander would not necessarily want to attack in place.
The plan was thus to shoot at the center, either eliminating or chasing off the skirmishers first. Then hopefully inflicting some damage on the Foot Companions. Both Phalangites groups would seek the opportunities to engage as soon as possible. Cavalry was there to exploit potential gaps and make sure enemy horsemen would not get into the flanks of the Phalanx.
Macedonians - Turn 1
|Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions|
|Macedonian Phalanx boldly sprints forward!|
Both armies begun the maneuvers and closing the distance from each other. Macedonian Phalanx boldly moved forward while the cavalry and Hoplites guarded its flanks.
Seleucids responded with a more steady advance across their entire battle line.
Seleucids - Turn 2
|Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions|
|Sleucids left flank|
It seemed that Seleucids begun their pincer maneuvers while Macedonians initial advance through the middle was slowed down. The Foot Companions and Hoplites already shifted to meet the threat from one side, while cavalry was maneuvering to intercept the enemy on the other side of the battle field.
|Formations start breaking up|
Macedonians - Turn 3
|Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions|
|Getting crowded on the Seleucids right flank|
Both armies continued their maneuvers. This time, however, Seleucids attempted to exploit the gaps that appeared when formations started to break up. But Macedonians were watchful and plugged these before Seleucids managed to send units in.
However, in doing so both armies got into a charge range and it seemed that the first fights were inevitable.
Seleucids - Turn 4
|Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions|
|Macedonian Foot Companions vs Seleucid Phalangites!|
The first fights erupted on the right flank where Phalagites clashed with Foot Companions while Silver Shields took on two enemy units at once! Seleucid cavalry closed to sneak in between the Hoplites but they expanded their frontage in time to prevent that.
The Phalangites on the left kept enemy cavalry in check but Hypaspists also maneuvered there to engage. Seleucids responded by sending light troops to shoot and slow them down, while Thracians run towards the center to help as well.
|Quite a scrum!|
Macedonians - Turn 5
|Turn 5 - Sequence of Actions|
In the sequence of attacks and counter attacks many units got entangled in peculiar fights. It was not uncommon to have a unit attacking a flank of the foe and being flank charged in return by another element of the enemy army.
Despite that, no unit has been broken yet, although some suffered substantial casualties. And as abruptly as these charges were started, the battle was interrupted without any resolution.
|Final position of the units|
Many thanks to Phil for a great and exciting game! Such a pity we run out of time again. I must admit I am truly puzzled because neither of us felt we are doing anything in particular too slow. However, we played only four and a half turns so things were not going fast either.
It was a great game because there was a lot of move-counter move situations, that in the end resulted in these interesting combats with a few units engaged from different sides at the same time.
The following turns would obviously see some units broken. Thessalians were 1 point of damage away from breaking while Foot Companions were not in a good shape either. Line Cavalry would most likely lose the fight against Agema so it was a question how long would they last and would that matter. As Agrianians were the only casualties, the game ended with 3:2 result to Seleucids.
There are a few things I am not sure if I should do differently or rather I am not clear what would be better, even if I was not happy with the result. For example, I had 2 cavalry units on my right flank and they were threatening the enemy by being there. However, they were quite inactive and Phil spotted the gap in time to prevent my horsemen to exploit it. If I didn't have them on that flank, would that affect the movement of the Macedonians? Would they be better on the opposite flank against enemy cavalry instead?
Same with the Phalangites on the left flank. If they were closer to the center, they would have a better chance to fight against Foot Companions. But at the same time, they would have not put the pressure on the enemy cavalry that appeared to hinder the advance there as well. Maybe I should have turned towards the center right from the start?
I hope you still enjoyed the report.
Thanks for reading!