In the first game of the tournament the players were matched based on their armies. The attempt was made to match up armies from similar historical periods if possible. Thanks to that system I was about to play against David and his Macedonian Successors!
I played against David once before and I was very glad to have an opportunity for a re-match. Even better, this time he had a very similar army to mine! It was the first time I had such a chance and I was really looking forward who would prevail in pike-vs-pike fight. And it did feel like one of these monumental battles that were fought after the death of Alexander the Great between his Successors.
Here are the details of the army list David decided to bring to the tournament:
Macedonian Successors - Army List
As I would expect in such match ups the small differences here and there may be the real factors that contribute to the over all result.
It looked like we have exactly the same amount and type of phalangites. David had better cavalry, as I had 2 average and 1 superior TuG while he had two superior units. And in addition he had Elephants! Something my cavalry would need to avoid at all costs.
Greek Mercenaries would be more than a match for my Thracians if we would fight in the open. Hence I would try and use them in some terrain if possible.
David had 1 more unit of skirmishers as well but his units were smaller. It was then up to the particular set up of the terrain to determine the details of the plan!
Here is my army list for the reference:
Early Seleucids - Army list
This element of the game was interesting because it looked like we both would prefer the similar type of the terrain. David was an invader and we both were happy with a river on a secure flank. A bit of additional terrain was present but it landed mainly on the flanks, with the middle of the battle field clear.
That effectively narrowed battle field and did not leave much space to maneuver around the flanks.
I kept the best cards for the out-scouting but that element did not have a significant impact.
|Early Seleucids vs Macedonian Successors|
|Deployment of the Armies.|
One of the most important factors for me was to see where would Elephants go. David decided to use them in between the Phalanx TuG's with skirmishers running in the front of them for protection. That meant I could deploy majority of my cavalry on the right flank. I still left one TuG of Line Cavalry in the middle but I believe I had to deploy some of my horsemen before the Elephants.
Although phalanx formations seemed to be evenly matched, I wanted to advance my left part first and engage the enemy there. Argyraspides could have a bit of a better chance to win against average enemy Phalangites. At the same time I wanted to delay the fight with opposing Veterans. If, in addition, I could use Cretans and Thracians to do some damage on the flank, preferably forcing Mercenary Greeks to fight in the woods, perhaps I could start rolling that flank.
The right side was also very interesting due to cavalry match up. My intention was to use my own, more numerous light cavalry to slow down the enemy there and to win shooting match against the light horse. Then it would depend on card and maneuvering who would get to a better position to overwhelm the opposing charging lancers. I would aim to get into a fight where I could send two of my own TuG's against one of the Xystophoroi.
Let's see if that plan worked!
Macedonian Successors - Turn 1
|Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions.|
|Phalanx vs Elephants.|
Both armies advanced towards each other, already looking for potential openings in enemy formation to exploit any holes. Seleucids shifted some units towards the left, hoping to send them through the cover of the nearby woods and to surprise the enemy with timely flank charge.
The light cavalry on the right also advanced towards the enemy, getting ready for inevitable exchange of missile fire.
|Getting a bit closer to each other.|
Seleucids - Turn 2
|Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions|
|Meanwhile on the right flank.|
Both armies continued their advance but while Successors kept their uniform formation, Seleucids moved the left part of the battle line closer to the enemy than the rest of the army. Only on the extreme right flank the light cavalry SuG's got into position for some skirmishing and harassing the enemy.
|About to clash on the left flank.|
Macedonian Successors - Turn 3
|Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions.|
|The battle lines collide.|
The phalantiges and elephants on the left flank collided. The Seleucids held their ground and let the enemy charge them. The impulsive Thracians were ordered to stay in the woods but were still drawn into the fight. Selecuids even managed to do some damage on the attacking enemies and the grind match begun.
The cavalry skirmish on the right flank begun with Terentine Cavalry drawing one Xystophoroi formation forward and Horse Archers winning the shooting duel with enemy Light Horse.
|Units engage in combat.|
Seleucids - Turn 4
|Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions|
|Time for the center to enter the fight.|
More and more units were sent into the fight. Seleucid Phalangites in the center could not avoid the enemy any longer. One of the units was sent against their counter parts but the last one had a tough job to do. It had to hold alone against the combined might of the Elephants and enemy Veteran Phalangites.
Seleucids noted some success though. On the left flank, the Elephants were routed by determined Phalangites. On the right flank, the Companions outmaneuvered the Xystophoroi and were getting ready for a flank charge.
Macedonian Successors - Turn 5
|Turn 5 - Sequence of Actions|
|Finally the cavalry joins the fight.|
After whole day of the fight the evening was approaching really fast. However, all the intricate maneuvers finally resulted in Companions catching the Xystophoroi off guard. The flank charge hit home but failed to break the enemy - just!
Line Cavalry stopped second unit of Xystophoroi from intercepting the Companions but Horse Archers were routed by the enemy Light Horse.
The phalangites kept fighting, with Elephants suffering more damage. On the left flank the Line Cavalry finally cleared the woods and emerged on the flank of the enemy formation.
However, that was too late as the night fell upon both armies. Not risking further confusion during night fights, the Army Commanders of both sides sounded withdraw to resolve the battle another day.
|Final positioning of the armies after Charge Phase.|
Many thanks to David for a great game! It was fantastic to meet again and I immensely enjoyed our battle! I wonder if a turn or two would bring a resolution to the game, as we had almost all units engaged in combat already.
I certainly wanted to see if Companions could break Xystophoroi or if Charging Lancers would help to defeat the Mercenaries. I still needed my center to hold on, which was not a guarantee, especially with Veteran Phalangites and Superior Xystophoroi fighting against average counter parts.
In general, I was happy with the plan. If we played again, I would probably move my Charging Lancers from the middle towards the right to create numbers superiority and hopefully had a better chance to win there. Going through the woods takes way too long.
At the same time I should have kept Thracians a bit further back so that when the Phalangites collided, they would have an opportunity to threaten the flank.
In the end, I managed to rout 1 TuG of Elephants and 1 SuG of Light Horse at the loss of 1 SuG of Horse Archers. The result of the battle was: 5:3 in favor of the Seleucids.
I hope you enjoyed the report!
Thank you for reading!