Alexander's Successors 323-47 BC
Gametesting the WAB Seleucid Empire Army Lists
I took 2000 points
of SE Seleucids to play Rich Norton's EIR.
Here's my list:
Successor King heavy armour, barding, kontos
Army Battle Standard heavy armour, barding
10x Cataphracts LMS heavy armour, barding (Ws3)
10x Royal Guards LMS light armor throwing spears and javs Stubborn
24x I Regular Phalanx LMS
24x II Regular Phalanx LMS
30x Settler Phalanx LMS
9x Elephant Guards
12x Thureophoroi (Thorakites) LMS add light armor and javs
1x African Elephant 2x crew save 3+ front 6+ sides
The elephant has a tower, this increases the crew's and mahout's armour save to 3+ including lt. armor and shields.
x3 crew armed with swords and javelins may be added for +8 pts each.
1x +2 pts pike, 3x Lt. armor +2 pts, 1x +3 bows.
9x Kyrtian Slingers (Levies)
24x Babylonian archers (Levies)
1999 155 models
Note: A similar army list can be constructed in AoA by swapping Shock cav for Cataphracts (but cost more at WS4), and levy phalanx for Settlers, and Persian levy bowmen as allies.
The AoA army comes out to 2031 pts. (mainly due to the higher cost of ten cavalry, but has higher leadership phalanxes as well, with really cheap levies subbing for settlers. So a direct points comparison means the new list doesn't give too much more bang for the buck, actually less Ws 4 troops and far less Ld 7 units. AoA could also be used for useless Cataphracts, but the 25% allies condition is exceeded. The Cataphracts were effective because of their 3+ saves, but not overly so, there maneuver restrictions did come to bear in this game too much, although after defeating enemy units it is much harder for them to wheel back into play than a nifty wedge!
Rich's army was a heavy Roman army consisting of three regular Legions, plus one veteran unit. Supported by a large Gaullic warband of 40 models with chieftain, 1 bolt shooter, and one unit of auxiliary infantry. Rich knows that I don't usually try to shoot his army into the dust so he needed no skirmish screen. So we had a fairly even match of heavy units, with me having the edge in the extra elephant unit, and the cataphracts 'fear' factor. Other than that my infantry was way out
classed. We played on a rolling hills 8x4' table. Most of the terrain made little impact on the game, there was a large hill in the center of the table that we were to crunch over. From my left, Rich's army was bolt shooter, Gauls with Chieftain, Legion I, Legion II, Legion III, then Legion IV "Veterans". Their
left covered by the auxiliaries.
My left was held by the thorakites, then a gap, the the Cataphracts with Antiochus and ASB, then the settler phalanx, then Phalanx I, then Phalanx II,
then the Elameian (Babylonian archers) then the elephant covered by the slingers and elephant guards, then the Hypaspists.
Rich won the toss and was join by another player to help, this was a novice player named Kevin Boyle. Rich was gracious to Kevin play but this probably
led to their undoing as it came down to their left wing not supporting their right and not getting their veteran legions into the heat of it. Anyway I'm jumping
ahead... the initial rounds were desultory, my shooting missed or everything was saved, his bolt shooter whiffed as well. The Romans rolled froward, I
pushed forward my Hypaspists and got stuck in with the auxiliaries in a very tough fight (darn re-rolls beat me the first round).
I rolled to see what kind of King 'showed up' and it was a six! Extra attack and must pursue! And they were poised to try to roll over the massive
warband opposite.. off the Cataphracts went! The warband stood the charge and easily passed their fear test. the phalanxes tried to cover the line
with the elephant anchoring my right flank. The Warband caused much mayhem in my Cataphracts and stopped them cold.
This put the Cats in the lurch as Legion I was ready to pile into the flank. Of course the blue shields closed up and wheeled in easily.. the Cats passed
their panic... things were looking grim. My right wing Hypaspists were now worn to a nub, but defeated the auxillia who fled into the temple, I broke
off the pursuit trying to get my elite troops (the only ones with Ws4 in my army) back into the main action! On my right Legion III had pushed ahead
and smashed the elephant guards and then ran into the elephant itself.. the standard turned it around and it was off like lightning........ bad stuff
everywhere! The only good news is two phalanx units (all leadership 6) was now mostly closed to within 12" of Antiochus so I was hoping that if he
The Cataphracts Vs Romans
and Gauls was a hellacious fight... Antiochus' extra hits, and horses was key as the
Cataphracts ratcheted up the wound
count and made some saves against the heavy throwing spears (these cats were 3+ save). In the end the bloody round went to me by one point. His troops
held. This turned the scales, as my settler phalanx then hit his Legion I in the flank, and the Thorakites hit the Gauls in the flank, both passed
panic. On my right Legion IV was way out of position an trying the find something to charge. Kevin had way overreacted to the elephant, and Legion
III then plowed not the Babylonians, all my lights were gone except the Hypaspists who were harassing Legion IV with javelins.
The Babylonians miraculously held off the legion on round one, by making a tough LD check. Legion III and IV had rubbed out about 500 points of my
In the center Rich was in
trouble his Legio II had to charge my two regular phalanxes on the hill to hold his
line.... this was a disaster as the two
phalanxes gutted the single unit with both overlap and ranks. On my left the Gauls and Legion I broke, I missed the pursuit of the Legion but grabbed
all the standards, the Gauls got vaporized. The Roman commander's will failed and he took off, Legion II was hammered in round two and routed off
the hill... only one chance for Rome was left.. my right wing phalanx pursued into the range of Legion IV that was hustling back to the fight,
it's flank totally open and Antiochus was pursuing more than 12" away!!!! My leadership 6 phalanx was in deep doo doo!!
Rome rallied al their troops and formed a new line and charged my right wing phalanx... here I was forced to play the (rather stupid IMO, but part
of WAB in general) break and flee reaction to a charge my unit could not see.. the phalanx got away temporarily saving my flank. The next turn the
other phalanx passed it's leadership 6 (phew) and to add insult to injury the routing phalanx made a (6) as well, creating a new solid front. On
Rich's right Legion I got hammered by the dwindling Cataphracts an Settler phalanx and was broken... this broke his center again.. it was turn 7 we
This game totally went my way because of some luck at the right time.. I survived a flank panic check with my general's unit, that could have been
the end right there, and allowing my phalanx to flee the returning Legion IV's flank attack was the only 'game' response possible.. it saved my army
and I made two leadership 6 tests which made things tense.. even though the Romans were getting pummeled they were in the fight, and mostly it was
because their best unit waffled around on the flank and two of the four legions spent too much effort knocking out my support troops... if just one
of those units have been nearer the center I am sure that it would not have gone so well.
Things learned changes needed:
Cataphracts only cause 'fear' when they are charging, there is no need for any infantry to fear them in a flank charge.
The Babylonian archers should have the shoot in two ranks if stationary stats and need to be light infantry (may not skirmish)(dropped off
Elephant Guards need some kind of feigned flight if they fall back behind their elephant, otherwise they are kind of useless on offense or as screens.
Taking the lesser Cataphracts was good option for a 2K list, but still I missed the 2+ save.
WAB in general needs to force players to accept charges if the unit cannot 'see' them to react, this is the only way that a "Cynoscephalae" can happen.
Things that worked swell:
The lowered leadership of the phalanx caused much trepidation on my part, especially when the King got stuck in and was pulled away from the main
battleline, quite a trade-off.. without his four attacks and warhorse them Cataphracts would have routed, but the phalanx needed to make Ld 6 checks in
his absence... luckily I made them and that was the turning point.
(Rolling the six for the general's skills in the short term saved me, but also forced him to pursue, something I didn't want to do!)
Rich's comment was this Seleucid Empire match seemed more fair than the typical game of EIR vs. the AoA Alexander list, even though his legions were still pummeled by the phalanx, this time I had three 24 figure phalanxes concentrated on two 18 model legions, hardly beatable odds. If his flank legion had intervenedd one turn sooner, the game would have turned in his favor.
All in all a very good start to the testing IMO.
The figures above are Old glory and Newline Designs Seleucid Companions, figures by Jeff.
Dave Smiths' has crafted this fine looking Seleucid Cataphract regiment, these are a mix of Navigator and other lines...
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