Thursday, 3 January 2019

Mortem et Gloriam - Game 18 - 2019/01/03


In the second game of the tournament I faced another historical opponent of the Seleucid army - Classical Indians. The army was commanded by Paul and I had a great pleasure to play against him a few months ago during WinterCon2018 tournament. It seemed that we had a perfect opportunity for a re-match!

Of course with 7000 points as opposed to 10,000 the conditions were not exactly the same. However, with Magna style rules for army compositions our respective forces kept their character and, in fact, were not that much smaller than before. At least that was my visual impression! Here are the details of the army that Paul brought to this event.

Classical Indian - Army List


Army Commander - Talented Instinctive
Subordinate General 1 - Competent Instinctive
Subordinate General 2 - Competent Instinctive


Camp(C2) - Unfortified, Average


3 Elephants (E) - Elephants, Tribal Loose, Average, Protected, Shove
3 Elephants (EwF) - Elephants, Tribal Loose, Average, Protected, Experienced, Bow, Shove

4 Cavalry (C1) - Cavalry, Tribal Loose, Average, Protected, Unskilled, Javelin

3 Chariots (C3) - Battle Chariots, Formed Loose, Superior, Protected, Experienced, Bow 

6 Javelinmen (J) - Infantry, Tribal Loose, Average, Protected, Unskilled, Javelinmen, Short Spear
6 Javelinmen (J2) - Infantry, Tribal Loose, Average, Protected, Unskilled, Javelinmen, Short Spear

4 Archers (A1) - Infantry, Tribal Loose, Average, Unprotected, Experienced, Bows
4 Archers (A1) - Infantry, Tribal Loose, Average, Unprotected, Experienced, Bows
3 Spearmen & 3 Archers (SaA1) - Infantry, Tribal Loose, Protected/Unprotected, Experienced, Bow, Short Spear
3 Spearmen & 3 Archers (SaA2) - Infantry, Tribal Loose, Protected/Unprotected, Experienced, Bow, Short Spear
3 Spearmen & 3 Archers (SaA) - Infantry, Tribal Loose, Protected/Unprotected, Experienced, Bow, Short Spear


4 Skirmishers with Bow (SwB) - Infantry, Skirmisher, Poor, Unprotected, Experienced, Bow, Combat Shy
4 Skirmishers with Bow (SwB) - Infantry, Skirmisher, Poor, Unprotected, Experienced, Bow, Combat Shy
4 Skirmishers with Bow (SwB) - Infantry, Skirmisher, Poor, Unprotected, Experienced, Bow, Combat Shy

Classical Indian Army outnumbered mine and as before, the number of bows and javelins was quite disturbing! The plan I had last time worked well so I wanted to replicate that success if possible. 

Hence, the goal was to offer the battle in favorable terrain, i.e. with the coastal line and some protection to keep the flanks of the formation secure. Next, focus on one flank and close the distance as fast as possible to allow Phalanx to get into the fight. Tarentine Cavalry and Horse Archers would be slowing down the enemy on the opposing flank and try to hunt down some Elephants if possible.

If that works then Phalangites should be able to break through and wheel to face the other part of the force. However, it would be interesting to see if after the initial fight the units are going to be combat worthy, as under Magna conditions the casualties bring units towards the breaking point much faster.

Here are the details of my army list as a reference:

Seleucids - Army List


Army Commander - Talented Professional
Subordinate General 1 - Talented Professional
Subordinate General 2 - Mediocre Professional


Camp - Poor, Protected

6 Argyraspides - Infantry, Drilled Close, Superior, Protected, Pike, Shove
6 Phalangites - Infantry, Drilled Close, Average, Protected, Pike, Shove
6 Phalangites - Infantry, Drilled Close, Average, Protected, Pike, Shove
6 Thracians - Infantry, Formed Loose, Average, Protected, Devastating Charger, Melee Expert

4 Companions - Cavalry, Drilled Loose, Superior, Protected, Charging Lancer, Melee Expert
4 Line Cavalry - Cavalry, Drilled Loose, Average, Protected, Charging Lancer, Melee Expert


4 Tarentine Cavalry - Cavalry, Skirmisher, Average, Protected, Javelin, Experienced, Cantabrian
4 Horse Archers - Cavalry, Skirmisher, Average, Unprotected, Bow, Experienced, Cantabrian
4 Cretan Archers - Infantry, Skirmisher, Average, Unprotected, Bow, Skilled, Combat Shy


Thanks to the fact that I had more cards for the pre-battle stage of the game, I managed to secure the coastal line and thanks to Paul we even had a proper way to show it on the battle field! We also got a few pieces of the terrain. Not many of them ended up on my right flank so it looked like my cavalry would have a busy day to keep that side of the formation safe.

I believe I managed to out-scout Paul as well. Again, a few more cards for this stage of the battle proved to be very useful. However, with a significant numbers advantage, Paul still could deploy his hard hitting units last. 


Seleucids vs Classical Indian

Deployment of the Armies.

First of all I would like to apologize for a discrepancy between the army list as described in the introduction to the battle report and how it is depicted on the maps. I realized during the battle report making that TuG of Spears and Archers (SaA) was in fact smaller and there was another TuG of Javelinmen behind them. I decided to continue with the maps as I realized the mistake when almost finished with them. This unit, as you will see, did not enter melee throughout the battle so fortunately the mistake was about the unit that did not impact the flow of the game dramatically.

I hope it will not affect the report and the clarity of the situation described. Once again, I apologize for the mistake and any inconvenience caused.

I was happy with the way the battle field shaped out, in particular that I could protect the camp with natural obstacles. That meant more freedom and flexibility in maneuvering the army. I placed Thracians to protect the left flank and added Cretan Archers there to help with that task. I considered placing them in the middle of the formation but I was concerned that they can get singled out in the open by enemy cavalry.

I divided Phalangites into two groups. This time, regular Phalangites were advancing on the left flank while Argyraspides joined those on the center right. Their Superior training will be helpful in fighting the enemy in the open. 

The deployment of the cavalry is also important. On one hand it is tempting, especially with the secure flank and coast/river, to place them all on the opposing flank. In this way I can use the space there for maneuvering and bring more units to fight the enemy there. Perhaps even create a break through. On the other, I also noticed that having one unit in between the Phalangites helps intercepting faster elements there and also attack weaker points in the enemy lines.

In the end, I placed one unit if Line Cavalry exactly for that purpose. I was an invader in this game so I took the first turn.

Seleucids - Turn 1

Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions

Elephants' Corp is approaching!

Both armies approached each other. Seleucids managed to keep the formation steady while it seemed that the commanders of the opposing force had some difficulties in coordination of the maneuvers. Part of the army advanced in good formation but the units on the opposing flank seemed inactive.

Closing the distance.

Classical Indian - Turn 2

Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions

Infantry on the left is getting ready to charge.

Both armies continued the advance and two battle lines were now close enough to prepare for inevitable melee. Seleucids sent their light cavalry units to harass the Elephants that were now beginning to outflank the Phalangites. Horse Archers and Tarentine Cavalry adapted Cantabrian formation as they needed to succeed in slowing down the enemy to buy time for the rest of the army to break through. If they survive the incoming storm of arrows that is!

Armies ready to lock horns!

Seleucids - Turn 3

Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions

Battle line collide!

Finally the battle lines collide! Thracians attempted to charge their enemies but had to slow down the attack due to incoming fire. They were not able to reach their chosen target yet.

Nearby Phalangites, however, made it thanks to the encouragements of their commander. Line Cavalry attempted to charge as well but ended up being intercepted by the Chariots. Then another Phalangite unit got into that fight, which in turn brought them into a proximity of the Elephants and all units were now entangled in one big melee in the center of the battle field.

Second group of Elephants also charged but this time their enemies were nimble Terantine Cavalry. Mounted skirmishers skillfully avoided the enemy and their javelins hurt one of the Elephants too.

Now both armies were engaged and more units were about to be committed to the fight soon.

Armies locked in mortal combat.

Classical Indian - Turn 4

Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions

Last charge of the Elephants

(Edit: As we were running out of time we decided to resolve the important combats only and we skipped movement phase entirely. )

This time Thracians managed to get into the fight but despite inflicting some casualties upon their enemies, they have not routed them. 
Argyraspides joined the fight in the center as well. First the Chariots broke and that resulted in a chain reaction. Some of the units managed to hold their ground but Elephants were already under high pressure and they eventually broke too. 

Victorious Seleucid units created a big whole in the enemy formation. However, the prolonged fight did not allow them to fully capitalize on that success. The Indian army withdrew in good order before the day was over. Defeated but unbroken, making an oath to regroup and come back to fight another day.

Break through!


Many thanks to Paul for a great game! It is always a pleasure to play against him and I am looking forward for more opportunities to have battles in the future!

I wonder if we would be able to conclude the game in 1 more turn. I think we probably would have needed at least 2 more, because the units needed to maneuver and clash again. It did not seem like we would have been able to do it in a single turn.

In any case I was very happy with what we could achieve, as I don't think we spent too much time on the maneuvers. Perhaps the pre-battle part, together with setting up the terrain took a bit longer than it could have. I am sure we can improve it with more experience in the future.

It seems the plan have worked in general. Paul told me he simply did not have enough good cards to move all the units he had. I guess it is one of the issues an army led by Instinctive commanders with so many units has to face. Thanks to that I could get into a fight relatively quickly and the mounted skirmishers protected the flank as required. Poor Elephants were exposed and did not have support of their own missile troops to avoid being shot down.

At the same time the Phalanx also lost some of their numbers and were not at their full strength so I wonder what a round or two of shooting could do to them if we continued. Something to consider for the future games!

Thanks for reading!

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