Assyrian army

Assyrian army

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Plataea - After the battle

Thought it was worth a few words to say how I felt things went.

Firstly, everything seemed to work OK - nothing major went wrong and everything went smoothly. Basic movement, combat factors and morale all performed well though a few tweeks possibly needed - in future I think that for combat and morale I'll use average dice rather than D6 for regulars/trained troops - Spartans shouldn't throw as many 1's as they did in this game. 

Who died and how proved interesting. Generally, the Persians died en masse in frontal actions - not many individual elements picked off, when they died it was in numbers. Meanwhile, 1:1 frontally the Persians didn't do well - their kills were in individual elements picked off by swamping the ends of Greek battalions. The performance of the Persian light cavalry - apart from the Thebans - was disappointing. In combat against Ps/light infantry they started on equal factors, if they lost by anything other than double they were simply pushed back. Meanwhile the light infantry would be destroyed simply by rolling less on the dice. Result? The Persians lost every combat (4 or 5 of them?) including 2 that resulted in a squadron and 3 separated elements dying.

One thing did work very well - treating elements as being separate but still having them grouped in definite units. The rules were simple - any unit rolled once per move to decide their random factor and that was used for all combats or morale rolls of the separate elements belonging to that unit. Thus one element might fight with a factor of 4 but the element next to it might be overlapped so fights with a factor of 3 or less. This could be enough for that end element to to be destroyed, either by being pushed back onto  another enemy or unyielding friends facing the other way, or possibly by tripping a factor less than half the enemies. Hence 'deaths' tended to be at the ends of units as that is where overlaps and being hit in the back tended to happen. It also incidentally mapped out slow attrition well as if I was removing individual figures!

Although I was treating the elements as separate units, I was initially unsure how to treat elements being separated from the main unit, either by choice or by the result of combat. As Grant's version of the battle allowed some Spartans to be detached I allowed it within limits. Thus a battalion could be split if combat caused it, or if detachments were needed to split off to protect/guard a flank. However, such detachments must be smaller than and stay close to the main body - close was never defined, one advantage of solo games.

This picture gives examples of two of these points. Looking at the Green Persians, the end element collects a -1 because it is flanked by an extra Spartan element. The element next to it is not flanked by an extra element so does not attract the penalty. Meanwhile, the Spartan battalion has detached four elements as a flank guard to face the threat of the Sakae archers.The Persians on the hill do not detach the end elements to face the light javelins - as yet they are technically in combat by acting as an overlap.

Morale worked OK. As all the units consisted of 6 elements it was easy to say 'morale test at 1/3rd and 1/2 losses'. This was based on elements lost, not just separated, and the results of a morale test would then apply to all the elements in the unit, even if they couldn't see the parent unit! However - the early WRG rules I was using as the basis of the morale test required a 3 dice roll - in future I'll change that to only 2 dice once strength has fallen by 1/3rd, then 1 dice when on 1/2.

So that's really about it. Over the next few days I think I'll try and write up the rules I used and put them on Pages.

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