Marathon (Greeks vs. Persians)
Maybe we were inspired by the movie 300. Maybe not. We played the battle Marathon (some 10 years earlier than the battle of Thermopylae) in march of 2007.
In 490 BC, King Darius led his Persian army in an attack on Greece. Their fleet arrived at Marathon Bay, northeast of Athens. The Persians had a massive infantry and cavalry between 20,000 and 50,000 men, outnumbering the Athenians at least twice, but probably even more.
The Persian fighting style was defensive. Their main weapon was the bow, and their key tactic was to wait until the enemy came close, firing a heavy barrage of bows and arrows.
(Old Glory Greeks)
The Athenians had a more offensive style of fighting. Their main weapon was the long, heavy spear, and they shielded themselves with heavy armament including helmets, shields, and breastplates and fought in a close formation called the Phalanx.
For five days, the two armies stood confronting each other. On the ninth day, the Persians decided to embark and attack the city of Athens instead. At the moment the Greek learned of this plan, they advanced. At that time the Persian cavalry was already on the boats.
The Greek centre was weak and was pushed back by the Persians, but the strong flanking forces managed to surround the Persians short spears were no match for the Phalanx of the Athenians, resulting in 192 Athenian casualties and 6,400 Persian deaths.
The Greek realized that the Persian fleet could sail and attack the undefended city of Athens. They called upon Phidippides to run to Athens to bring the news of victory and a warning of the approaching Persian ships. Phidippides became a martyr, dying from exhaustion after fighting all day and completing the run. But he successfully warned the Athenians.
When playing an historical battle, we usually try to get the models in the proper proportions. The Persians had at least twice the soldiers. But to make things playable for both sides, we also try to use the same amount of points on each side.
We also adjusted the armies a little bit :
We played this game twice. The second time we switched sides.
The first time the Greek, with heavy armour were lured into some traps. The Persians, with twice the amount of units, and three extra cavalry units, were able to swarm around the Greek. But, when they finally came into close combat, the Greek were hitting them very hard. Only due to the flank and rear attacks, the Persians managed to win the day. Greece would be ruled by a satrap from now on!
The second battle the Greek tried to prevent the disaster from the first encounter. They deployed the units more wide then before. This prevented the Persians from enveloping the Greek army. Although they missed some rank bonus, the Greek hit hard and decisive. Only in the centre the Greek had trouble with the Immortals and Persian units. After a few turns we called it a draw with the Greek in a favourite position.