Solo Game - Sparta versus Persia, 479 BC

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Solo Game - Sparta versus Persia, 479 BC

Post by shadowdragon » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:56 pm

The start of the 3rd Greece versus Persia battle on the same terrain:

http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w107 ... -%20479BC/

I'll do a write up later - when I finish the game. This is just for the photos as I'm trying out my new Samsung NX-10. I still don't have the hang of it, but it's definitely better than my 8 year old Sony with a nearly dead battery.

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Post by shadowdragon » Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:52 pm

The Persian defeat in the last battle was a bit of surprise to me. I had expected the Persians to smash the Thessalian cavalry. However, rather than bash the rules about LH being superior troop types - and that we MUST admit there IS a problem - it was poor organization and deployment on the part of the Persians. They should have deployed (or re-deployed) all of their LH to counter the Thessalians plus the line cavalry should have been in BG's of 4, not 6, and deployed in a skirmish line. I finally - after two games - decided that multiple lines of undrilled foot for the main attack is a disaster waiting to happen as the defeated first line bursts through the rear lines. I had sort of vaguely been thinking that the 1st line would wear out the Greeks. Time to change the Persian tactics....

The respective deployment areas were still limited to those defined in the solo game set up. The distribution of troops was also randomly determined as well with the Persians concentrated in the centre and the Spartans more or less evenly spread out.

Image

Figure 1: Overview of the deployment with the respective attack plans of each side.

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Post by shadowdragon » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:10 pm

Spartan Army

3 X Spartan TC
2 X 8 Spartan Citizen Hoplites
2 X 8 Spartan Perioikoi Hoplites
2 X 8 Poor Javelins
1 X 8 Archers
1 X 8 Thracian offensive spearmen
1 X 4 Armoured Cavalry
1 X Athenian Allied TC
2 X 8 Athenian undrilled Hoplites

Total BG: 11
Total Points: 810

Plan: With the experience of the previous two battles, success seemed to come on the right with the open terrain there favouring the hoplites been used aggressively. Thus the Spartan might (2 BG of citizens, 1 BG of perioikoi and 1 BG of cavalry) was deployed on the right with a plan to push forward from the start and then wheel into the flank of the Persian centre.

Image
Figure 2: The Spartan right

The Spartan centre consisted of light troops forward to delay / breakup the Persian centre. The Athenian allies were deployed well behind (i.e. beyond effective arrow range) the rough going. The lone Spartan BG here was on the left flank where its drilled attribute would be useful.

Image

Figure 3: the Spartan centre (with Athenian allies)

One the Spartan left, the Thracians were there to prevent the Persian LH moving around the rough going and tying up / diverting hoplites who were better used elsewhere.

Image

Figure 4: The Spartan left (with Thracian mercenaries)

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Post by shadowdragon » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:50 pm

Persian Army

4 X TC
1 X 4 Elite Guard Cavalry
3 X 4 Persian Cavalry
2 X 8 Immortals
2 X 8 Persian Foot (½ lt spear & bow / ½ bow)
1 X 4 Saka Horse Archers
1 X 6 Average, Armoured Asiatic Hoplites
2 X 8 Armoured Medizing Greek Hoplites
1 X 4 Armoured Medizing Greek Cavalry
1 X 8 Medizing Greek Javelins

Total BG: 14
Total Points: 1010

The random roll for the Persian attack was for a frontal attack on the Spartan centre. Perhaps that was just as well since the confined deployment area had made it difficult for the Persians to exploit the flanks with their superior numbers before the Greek hoplite juggernaut routed the amry. This time the plan was for only a limited number of forces in a 2nd supporting line with the front line in deep formations (the Immortals in a 2 X 4 deep formation and the Medizing hoplites in a 3 deep line). The medium foot Immortals were to move through the rough going and fall on the right of the Spartan centre while the Medizing hoplites would fix the Spartan line to the front. Hopefully the three-deep hoplite line would compensate for the hill advantage of the Spartans. Troop commanders were to be used aggressively in combat to give the Persian centre every advantage at their disposal. The regular Persian foot would provide some flank protection – and if practical to outflank the Spartan centre.

Image

Figure 5: The Persian Centre (note that the Immortals were painted up in BG of 4 for DBM so that each BG equalled a regiment of 1,000. For FoG, 1 BG equals two of painted regiments. Sorry, Skullzgrinda, the Immortals are painted up circus-like according the references and not according to modern, Western colour harmony tastes. I admit to not liking the yellow and light blue Immortal regiments in particular, but on the other hand with my aging eyes, in 15mm, subtle shades of browns just don’t show up 2-3 feet away from the figures. In 28mm, varying shades of brown can be very effective!)

On the left flank, the Persian cavalry was to avoid getting caught and minced by the hoplites by deploying in a skirmish line. The objective was only to delay the Spartans long enough for their centre to defeat the Spartan centre. The 3 BG of Persian and Greek cavalry were supported by the Greek javelins for that extra oomph of harassment that only poor javelinmen can provide!

Image

Figure 6: The Persian Left (The forces selected for each battle are to give me an extra incentive to get unpainted lead on the table! In this case it was the Thessalian noble cavalry, which originally were 2 bases of Essex miniatures for the DBM list. I added 2 bases of Xyston – because I liked the figures even if there’s bit of a mismatch with the figures.)

The Persian right consisted of 1 BG of Persian cavalry and the Saka horse archers. Their objective was to harass the Spartan left and keep the Thracians from supporting the Spartan centre.

Image

Figure 7: The Persian Right

Now for the game….but first a short trip to Quebec city.

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Post by shadowdragon » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:15 pm

By turn 3 the Spartan right had begun its wheel towards the Persian centre, all was still going according to the Persian plan. The cavalry, skirmishing on the flanks, were holding down or delaying the Spartans. In the centre the Immortals had cleared the Greek archers out of the village and surrounding fields. However, it had cost a couple of double-moves for the slow moving Medizing Greek hoplites; and a gap had opened up on between the Persian centre and the cavalry of their left wing. The Persian foot on the right of the Immortals halted and turned to face the Greek cavalry; and the Guard cavalry that had been in support wheeled to the right. Without coming to grips with the Persians the Spartan right had weakened the Persian centre.

Image

Figure 8: The Greek archers seek refuge behind the Athenian hoplites.

Image

Figure 9: Persian cavalry on the left, delaying the Spartans.

Turn 4: Trusting to their discipline and long spears, the right wing of Spartan hoplites aggressively pushed back the Persian cavalry. Although the Perioikoi, maybe having a little more courage this day than the Spartan citizens, found themselves a bit far forward.

In the centre the battle lines had come within charge reach of each other. To show the Spartans that Athenians did not lack in courage, the Athenian commander advanced the two battle groups (4 tribal regiments) of Athenian hoplites to within charge reach of the Immortals.

Image

Figure 10: The Spartans herd the Persian cavalry back

Image

Figure 11: The Athenians advance.

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Post by shadowdragon » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:34 pm

Turn 5: The Persian left wing continued its mission of delaying the Spartans, but the Greek cavalry still managed to slip through the gap to hit the Persian foot before it had completed its turn and redeployment. The Persians were disrupted on impact. In the centre, the Immortals and leftmost battle group of Medizing Greeks took casualties but held their discipline. However the right half of the attack, all did not go well. The Persian general fighting in the front ranks of the Greeks was killed in the impact. The cohesion of the Greeks and Persian foot battle groups dropped to disrupted.
Image

Figure 12: Panoramic shot of the battle from the Persian left.
Image

Figure 13: Close up of the centre. With the death of their general, the Persians and Medizing Greeks on the right start to waver.

Turn 6: The loss of cohesion of the rightmost Medizing Greek battle group was fatal as both this battle group and the neighbouring Persian foot routed. The remaining Medizing Greek battle group started to fragmented while the Immortals, taking heavy casualties, grimly held on.

The Persian foot regiment that had been the left flank guard of the Persian infantry attack, routed and vanished beneath the hooves of the Greek cavalry.

Realizing their centre was in trouble, the Persian left wing cavalry prepared itself for a do-or-die charge in order to rescue the day.

Image

Figure 14: The Persian attack begins to break up.

Image

Figure 15: The Persian left wing cavalry prepares to charge the Spartan long-spears.

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Post by shadowdragon » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:50 pm

Turn 7: While it was close, the Persian cavalry attack failed to break the cohesion of the Spartans and the Persian cavalry broke off with two of four battle groups disrupted.

In the centre, only the Immortals, severely reduced in numbers and their cohesion faltering, held on. All else in the centre was destroyed or in rout. The Spartans and Athenians closed in on the remnants of the not-so-Immortals.

On the Persian right wing not much was happening - other than a cat-and-mouse game between the Persian cavalry and the Thracians.

Image

Figure 16: Repulse of the Persian left wing cavalry

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Figure 17: Last stand of the not-so-Immortals

Turns 8 & 9 - By the end of turn 8 it was all but over with the few remaining Immortals in flight. The great Persian attack in the centre had imploded with barely a dint in the Spartan and Athenian lines.

On the Persian left, their cavalry had at least partially reformed. I might have ended the game at the end of turn 8, but I decided to give the Persian cavalry one more chance since they had come close in their previous attack. However, it was not to be as the Spartan line was stronger than the first attack and the depleted Persian cavalry was not as strong. One Persian cavalry battle group broke, while the other battle group and the Medizing Greek cavalry fell back fragmented. Only the Guard cavalry maintained its order.

The game was over.

Image

Figure 18: Last hurrah of the Persian cavalry.

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Post by shadowdragon » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:15 pm

Post-Mortem

This was the last of three games fought on the same terrain between variants of the Classical Greek and Early Persian army lists.

I had expected a lot more of this version of the Persian army. The Immortals, with a general fighting in their front ranks proved tough. On the other hand the Medizing hoplites had proven to be brittle. However, it wasn’t until playing this game that I realized how much the terrain aided the Greeks. The forward position of the hill with the terrain in the centre (village plus woods and fields) caused a real problem for any Persian attack in the centre. (Note: I roll for attack options and the rolls for the three games resulted in 2 X attack the centre, 1 X attack the centre and left flank.) As this game showed, as long as the Greeks can push the Persian left back a little, it will create a gap allowing the Greeks to weaken or disrupt a Persian attack on the centre. While I still have to learn how to use the Persian cavalry well, the small groups of woods scattered about narrowing the battlefield at critical points and thus allowed the hoplites to shepherd the Persian cavalry with only a few battle groups.

As I mentioned, I’ve got more to learn, but I will take a little break from the Greco-Persian wars. However, I really think these are great rules.

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Post by Strategos69 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:01 am

Awesome AAR! I have enjoyed it a lot and it seems odd that I am the first one to comment. I think that the result is very historical as the Persian gave the battle the Greeks wanted (a clash of infantries in good going). I post here a different plan for the Persians that might be worth trying to exploit the advantages of their cavalry and their Medium Foot.

Image

The white stripes show the position of both cavalry and main infantry line whereas the arrows show the direction of the attackts. It seems to me that the weakest point in the Greek line is the far left, with the javelinmen and the Tracians. Your Medium foot should fight quite well these troops so maybe they should be the first target, your forced Greek allies being the standing line in good going. That way you can have a local superiority and you will force the Athenian line to move.

I think that the main goal of the Persians should be to crack the enemy line to obtain local advantages. In the Medic wars the Persians did frontal assaults and they did not succeed so a different tactic might work. Regarding the cavalry, one way to crack their lines might be, as you did, skirmishing. But in order to have an effective skirmishing maybe you should scatter more the battle groups and, moreover, only use a few ones. In this battle the skirmishing did not disorder much the Spartan line. Two BG, one on the far left of the Persian line and other where the line for the cavalry has been marked could have worked. If the Spartans scatter to catch the cavalry, then gaps will appear, and those gaps are the ones that have to be used by the cavalry. Sooner or later your third cavalry BG would be in a position to charge them for the flank.

So, to summarize, I think that it would be good to have the Greek allies standing in the main line where the clash is expected, whereas the Persians take the offensive on the wings to crack the Greek line without fighting but rather manouvering.

Anyway, I have enjoyed your reports a lot. Keep going!

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Post by grahambriggs » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:29 am

Very good AAR. Nice to see the excellent painting and terrain also.

I feel the problem that the Persians have had is that they have attacked the Greeks head on in a prepared position. In this campaign, the Greeks tended to take up defensive positions with secure flanks and the Persians could not break through frontally. A flank attack, either on table or a flank march would be interesting. The Greek army can't quite fill the table so the persians sould be able to stretch them and work the flanks.

Attacking the centre on a hill takes a brave Persian!

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Post by shadowdragon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:02 pm

grahambriggs wrote:Very good AAR. Nice to see the excellent painting and terrain also.

I feel the problem that the Persians have had is that they have attacked the Greeks head on in a prepared position. In this campaign, the Greeks tended to take up defensive positions with secure flanks and the Persians could not break through frontally. A flank attack, either on table or a flank march would be interesting. The Greek army can't quite fill the table so the persians sould be able to stretch them and work the flanks.

Attacking the centre on a hill takes a brave Persian!
Thanks, Graham.

One challenge of solo play is that it does not lend itself to complicated manoeuvring. Plus it's hard - even is sometimes possible - to dupe yourself. I admit I was a little disappointed with the option of "frontal attack" for the reason you mentioned. If I did this again I would signficantly modify the options in Charles Grant's scenario (e.g., limit "frontal attack" to 1 option out of 6 and include options for "flank march" and "draw the Blue force out of position"). Thanks for the suggestion (in another thread) of the Immortals in a 2 X 3 or 4 formation. Very tough unit.

Not so obvious from the pictures was that even if they Greeks couldn't fill the table, the cluttered terrain allowed them to control the table - at least with respect to the Persian cavalry. If I replayed the game (Athenians versus Persians) with the scads MF for the Persians to exploit the terrain while the cavalry worked the flanks, I"m sure that game would have been a lot closer.

Still it was interesting - fun as a solo play - to see how the rules worked with the historical match ups of Persians and Greek. Again, kudos to everyone who's had a hand in developing FoG.

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Post by shadowdragon » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:27 pm

Strategos69 wrote:Awesome AAR! I have enjoyed it a lot and it seems odd that I am the first one to comment. I think that the result is very historical as the Persian gave the battle the Greeks wanted (a clash of infantries in good going). I post here a different plan for the Persians that might be worth trying to exploit the advantages of their cavalry and their Medium Foot.

Image

The white stripes show the position of both cavalry and main infantry line whereas the arrows show the direction of the attackts. It seems to me that the weakest point in the Greek line is the far left, with the javelinmen and the Tracians. Your Medium foot should fight quite well these troops so maybe they should be the first target, your forced Greek allies being the standing line in good going. That way you can have a local superiority and you will force the Athenian line to move.

I think that the main goal of the Persians should be to crack the enemy line to obtain local advantages. In the Medic wars the Persians did frontal assaults and they did not succeed so a different tactic might work. Regarding the cavalry, one way to crack their lines might be, as you did, skirmishing. But in order to have an effective skirmishing maybe you should scatter more the battle groups and, moreover, only use a few ones. In this battle the skirmishing did not disorder much the Spartan line. Two BG, one on the far left of the Persian line and other where the line for the cavalry has been marked could have worked. If the Spartans scatter to catch the cavalry, then gaps will appear, and those gaps are the ones that have to be used by the cavalry. Sooner or later your third cavalry BG would be in a position to charge them for the flank.

So, to summarize, I think that it would be good to have the Greek allies standing in the main line where the clash is expected, whereas the Persians take the offensive on the wings to crack the Greek line without fighting but rather manouvering.

Anyway, I have enjoyed your reports a lot. Keep going!
Hi Strategos69,

For some reason I missed your reply way back when. These are all good points. The weakest point of the Greek line is indeed their far left. I played the Persian attack according to a die roll as to where their effort would be….as a Persian player I would have preferred attacks on both flanks and not in the centre!!!!

On the right flank the Persian intention was pretty much to do as you indicated, but the forests in the middle of the deployment caused trouble. However, what I did not appreciate at the time of deployment was how quickly the Spartan hoplites would close the ground and form a line from the village to the clump of trees on the left of the Persian deployment. If I had realized that at least one of the cavalry BG would have deployed in a position to move as quickly as possible around the flank of the Spartans.

Ah well, it was a learning experience. The next time the Persians come out of the box it will be skirmish, stretch, skirmish, stretch, ….until a gap appears.


...and, yes, the rightmost sparabara unit should have moved more to the right so as to not get caught in the hoplite fight to their left.

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Post by Strategos69 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:27 am

shadowdragon wrote:
Ah well, it was a learning experience. The next time the Persians come out of the box it will be skirmish, stretch, skirmish, stretch, ….until a gap appears.
We are eager to read that!

Anyway, I find interesting that, when Persians did attack as they foolishly did historically (like the frontal assault in Platea) they just lose as they historically did. It is interesting that idea of rolling a die to determine the strategy in solo games too. I might try it!

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Post by robertthebruce » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:02 pm

Nice report.


Is this a geohex terrain set?, I´m looking for one of these for years but it´s very hard to find, a reasonable price at least.

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Post by shadowdragon » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:19 pm

robertthebruce wrote:Nice report.


Is this a geohex terrain set?, I´m looking for one of these for years but it´s very hard to find, a reasonable price at least.
Thanks. Yes, it is GeoHex. The owner closed shop a few years ago - and just when I was about to order more! You'll have to look on places like Ebay for someone selling theirs.

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Post by Spartacus » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:35 pm

Fine report there shadowdragon.

Nice figs
Nice terrain
Nice photos

I like the graphics for direction intent.

I will see you get mentioned in dispatches :D
--Terry--

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Post by shadowdragon » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:40 pm

Strategos69 wrote:
shadowdragon wrote:
Ah well, it was a learning experience. The next time the Persians come out of the box it will be skirmish, stretch, skirmish, stretch, ….until a gap appears.
We are eager to read that!

Anyway, I find interesting that, when Persians did attack as they foolishly did historically (like the frontal assault in Platea) they just lose as they historically did. It is interesting that idea of rolling a die to determine the strategy in solo games too. I might try it!
Most likely the next games I play will be English Civil War with FoGR and Early Carthage versus Syracuse. I expect the next time the Persians have an outing it will be against either the Early Carthaginians or the Neo-Bablyonians.

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Post by shadowdragon » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:41 pm

Spartacus wrote:Fine report there shadowdragon.

Nice figs
Nice terrain
Nice photos

I like the graphics for direction intent.

I will see you get mentioned in dispatches :D
Thanks, Spartacus.

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Post by smaul1 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:54 pm

thanks for the battle report

great pics and great looking figs

thanks again.

steve

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Post by shadowdragon » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:11 pm

smaul1 wrote:thanks for the battle report

great pics and great looking figs

thanks again.

steve
Thanks, Steve. Since I play solo, it has made it a little more interesting for me to have this as an objective. So....thank you for reading.

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