Saturday, 26 March 2016

One Sunny Day in 370 BC...

Well, I had my second game of Sword & Spear today. Athens v's Sparta about the time of the Corinthian Wars (sometime in  late 4th Century BC ).

We used my Greeks and I worked out two lists before hand and gave my opponent, Tony, the choice of which force he wanted to use. He chose the Athenians.

The Spartan army was pretty straight forward. 5 Mora of Spartans, 5 of Helots, some cavalry and skirmishers (slings and peltasts). The Athenian army was a bit more mixed with 3 taxis of elite hoplites, 6 of regular hoplites and two levies. They also had two units of thureophoroi (medium infantry), some light cavalry and skirmishers in the form of Cretan archers and peltasts.

With Sword & Spear the first thing you do is dice for terrain and place it (again using a dice rolling mechanic). This makes the battlefield a bit random and most of the terrain will be on the edges pretty much leaving a big vacant area for the battle. Considering this is what happened in ancient battles it's nothing unusual.

I lost the scouting phase so I had to deploy first. I deployed my phalanx in a long line in various sized groups with the Spartans on their traditional right hand side in a heavy deep formation with the slingers out front. Cavalry on the left where the area was more open supported by some peltasts.

Tony deployed his Athenians in a long line with a few deeper blocks of heavy infantry here and there and his Thessalian light horse opposing my heavy cav on the open flank. Tony also secured his left flank with the thureophoroi in the rough ground.

The Spartans looking tough.

The Athenians looking brave.

The opening moves: The Athenians moved their medium infantry out of the rough terrain looking to out flank the Spartans. The Cretans jostled around for position on the high ground. I moved a unit of Laconian peltasts into the wood on the right with an activation die of 6 giving them extra movement. My slingers then moved up and took aim at the Athenian peltast driving them from the field.

On the other flank the Athenian phalanx move forward and our cavalry and light infantry maneuvered trying to gain advantageous positions.

More Maneuvering: The Laconian line now moved up to support the Spartans and the peltasts (again moving fast with a 6) moved though the woods and made a beeline for the high ground on the extreme right. The skirmishing continued in front of the Athenian host without much effect.

The Athenian medium infantry pushed on with their flanking maneuver but the peltasts managed to gain the high ground and they found themselves trapped between the heavy Spartan infantry and some accurate javelins striking them in the flank and rear ranks. Their only option from here was to keep moving forward and do something about those pesky peltasts.

On the other flank: Things got messy with one unit of Spartan cavalry driving off one unit of Thessalian light horse but the other unit got trapped between several units and annihilated. The peltasts on that flank drew a taxis of hoplites forward and managed to evade them. They then turned to face them and got caught flat footed when the hoplites charged again but managed to fend them off inflicting heavy casualties. But their luck didn't last and they were destroyed in the next round of fighting.

"Testacles, put that thing away before it gets chopped off?"

On the open flank the Athenian's after their victory, having destroyed half the Sapartan cavalry and the peltasts, now found that it was taking them valuable time getting their troops back into order. They also had the other unit of Spartan Cavalry sitting behind them.

Spartans' Advance! From here the Spartan phalanx maneuvered into position and charged into the waiting elite Athenian hoplites. This was proceeded by the slingers driving off a unit of  Cretan archers. The initial clash saw the Athenians take some heavy casualties but they managed to hang on. However, as more Spartans entered the fight their numbers tipped the balance and the Athenian line began to break. On the open flank the Athenian's after thier victory now found a unit of Spartan Cavalry sitting behind them and it was taking time for them to get the troops back into order.

The stoic Athenian defence.

So, in the end, it was a Spartan victory (Yay!). They held the field and raised a trophy to show their dominance of their enemy and to appease the Gods of Olympus.

This was a good game and I thank Tony for his time. We're both still learning the rules and we both helped each other to figure out various aspects. I quite like the rules but I'm not keen on the number of dice that end up all over the table which, I think, clutter thing up somewhat. I have cunning plans to eradicate some of this clutter with suitable tokens/figures/vignettes (or something).

I'd certainly like to try these rules with other armies to see if they can capture other era's (Dark Ages and Medieval in particular).

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