Seleucids vs Antigonids
Successor playtest battle

22 may 2010


Recently we have been playing a few successor games with the WAB 2.0 rules for the supplement of Jeff Jonas. One of these was a battle of a Seleucid army against an Antigonid army. Although the Seleucids and Antigonids were not in open conflict after Demetrius 'Poliorcetes', we liked to play these two armies against each other.

The Armies

The Antigonid empire army has not much good cavalry, and a continues lack of elephants. But the Thracian mercenaries you can hire makes much of that not a real  problem. I really love these Thracians with their colourful cloths. And their Rhomphaia is also one of my favourite weapons.

Odryssian Cavalry (Foundry)

The Seleucids empire have an infinite choice of mercenary troops, ranging from Galatians, Thracians and  Greeks to Iranians, Medians and Arabs. And don't forget those strange scythed chariots. Or, in the later periods, imitation legionnaires.
Luckily the successor supplement has all these choices woven into interesting, but consistent lists. Here is our choice for the day:

Antigonid army

Seleucid army

16 Thureophoroi 8 Elephant Escorts 
25 Galatians 2 African Elephant
8 Illyrian Skirmishers 10 Cretan Archers
  10 Thracian Peltasts
  11 Trallian Slingers
1 Successor king 1 Strategos
1 Standard Bearer 1 Standard Bearer
24 Regular Phalanx 20 Guards Phalanx
24 Regular Phalanx 24 Silver Shields
24 Regular Phalanx 24 Katoikoi Phalanx
25 Galatians with chieftain 9 Horse Archers
10 Companions 11 Seleucid Cavalry
16 Bastarnae  
16 Thorakites  
8 Illyrian Skirmishers  
TOTAL: 2000 pts TOTAL: 2000 pts


The Left

My Galatians and Thureophoroi were facing no less than TWO elephants! They were of the African type (probably captured from the Ptolemaic empire during one of the Syrian wars), but no less scarier. But Elephants are a psychological factor if anything. So I decided to go for it after manoeuvring the first few rounds to try to prevent two elephants running into one unit at the same time. I managed to get one elephant in the Thureophoroi and one in the Galatian warband. The Galatians won by luck because they slew some of the elephant escort troops. The Elephant stampeded back to Syria.

The Thureophoroi were not so lucky, but they used the give ground rule because they outnumbered the elephant 2:1 (elephant counted as 5 models). The next combat round they did the same, mostly because the elephant did not make many wounds. But the third round I managed to make two wounds on the elephant! He could not 'save' them, because the new rulebook does not give elephants an armour save (which I think is an error). This elephant also stampeded back to whence it came from.

The Antigonids were winning on this side...

The Seleucids above and Antigonids below.


The Right

Here The Seleucids put all their cavalry. Knowing that the Antigonid cavalry is a little bit less effective, I decided to play it on safe here, with five units to protect this flank.

The Seleucids advanced quickly. In panic the Antigonids tried to set op a trap. But the Seleucid bow archers with feigned flight and Parthian shot killed 25% of my Bastarnae, making them run to the edge of the table. My companions were also ineffective against them, because they kept hiding in the woods after every Parthian shot. Out of sight I can't charge them... So eventually I had to move my wedge out of the way behind my centre, making them useless for the moment.

Then the Seleucid wedge charged my Galatian warband. And they failed to win the combat. They fled with only 5 models left (thus counting as under half strength), but rallied. Quickly the Thorakites blocked the gap between the edge of the table and the woods, making it impossible for the Seleucid cavalry to do anything the rest of the game.

Now I had to get my (rallied) Bastarnae and companions into position to help in the coming combat at the centre of the battle. But the Parthians were still shooting and hiding, and shooting and hiding...


The Centre

Then is was finally time for the phalanx battle. Two phalanx units charged into my right phalanx. My brother won the first combat giving him a momentum combat bonus the next round. He changed the position of his general and army battle standard in the redress fase of the game to enable them to fight too in the next round.

But I also had my units into position. In my turn I charged with my second phalanx into the front of the existing combat. During that same turn both my Bastarnae and companions hit the Seleucid phalanx in the flank. Rhomphaia, wedge, charging pikes; nothing could go wrong anymore. I won the battle. It was nearly 17:00 hours, so it was over and done....
...I thought.

Parthian horse archers (Magister Militum)

The Result

But the Seleucid phalanx did not panic due to the flank attack. My brother did loose his close order bonus and rank bonus and phalanx benefits. But he had his second unit still counting his ranks. And he made ONE wound more than I did... This cancelled out the flank attack bonus. A draw?

Antigonid companions charging into the flank of the enemy phalanx

But no. Due to the momentum gained the previous combat, he won by 1 point. And you might guess what happened... Yes, everything that could go wrong, happened. A unit failed their break test. And the reroll. And broke. Panicing my phalanx with general and army battle standard. They flew. Were pursued. And caught. Thus destroyed. Killing my general. Panic test for the rest of my army... Shall I continue?

A quick look at the new victory points gave my brother about 1300 points against 200 for my army not even counting the destroyed or fleeing units. A clear victory for the Seleucids.


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