Alexander's Successors 323-47 BC

Gametesting the WAB Pontic Army Lists


Play test report for 3000pt Pontics vs. Romans

Freddy and Trevor offered this report


Good King Mithridates having decided to rid the world Romans once and for all (obviously he did not realise how many there were and how fast they bred) raised an army.


Army Battle Standard

2 x 10 Pontic Guards with heavy armour

1 x 10 Rhoxolani horse archers

1 x 24 Sinopean Guards equipped as legionaries with large shield and pilum

1 x 32 Brazen Shields with heavy armour and pike

2 x 48 Freed Slave phalanxes with light armour and pike

1 x 24 Levy Thureophoroi with javelins and thrusting spears

2 x 18 Levy Thureophoroi with javelins and thrusting spears

1 x 24 Bastarnae with falx

1 x 24 Iberians with javelins and throwing spears

1          Scythed Chariot

1 x 9   Mercenary Cretan Archers


The Romans sent to meet him.


Army Battle Standard

2 Lictors

1 Praetor

4 x Centurions

1 x 20 Veteran Legionaries

3 x 20 Experienced Legionaries

3 x 24 Allied Galatian Imitation Legionaries

3  Scorpions each with 3 crew

1 x 9 Galatian Noble Cavalry

2 x 10 Skirmishers with javelins


The battle was fought on an 8’ x 4’ table with no terrain features as I wanted nothing to get in way of my enormous army (302 figures) and Trevor doesn’t seem to like terrain features.

Straightaway the Romans showed how sneaky and underhand they were going to be by digging two 18” long trenches straight out from their baseline about 4’ apart they then deployed all their infantry inside these barriers with 2 Experienced Legionary unit at each end of the line (veterans on their extreme right) and the Galatian Legions in the centre under the watchful eye of the General. The Javelinmen started in skirmish order just behind the main line then used their pre game 4” move to leapfrog the legions. The Galatian Nobles were left to their fate outside the trenches on the Roman right.  The Scorpions were split with 2 on the Roman left and 1 tucked between the right-hand Romans and the Galatians.

My Phalanx deployed in the centre with the two Freed Slave units on the left, the Brazen Shields in the centre and the Sinopean Legion in the position of honour on the right.  There was a Scythed Chariot between the Brazen Shields and the Legion.   Flanking the heavy infantry I had 1 unit of Levy Thureophoroi and the Bastarnae on the left and the balance of the light infantry on the right. The Levies on the right and one unit on the left were “formed” the rest were normal light infantry. The cavalry were split with one unit on each flank.

The battle started with the Rhoxolani taking their free move to close with the enemy then the Romans advanced across the entire front.  The Scorpions irritated the middle phalanx (it takes more then that to lose a rank in a 48 figure unit) and one of the Thureophoroi units on the right.  I countered by fast marching the two right hand light infantry units to try and cross the trenches and threaten the Roman rear, the cavalry not wanting to make a frontal assault on formed infantry followed. On the left the cavalry moved up to attack the Galatian Nobles supported by the Levy Thureophoroi who advanced to far and got charged next turn.   In the centre the Phalanx stood and watched whilst the archers attacked the enemy skirmishers.  Over the next two moves as the armies closed the Cretans caused the right hand skirmish unit to panic and then failed to do any real damage to the heavy infantry and the Rhoxolani ran around in circles getting peppered with javelins and eventually ran away never to return.

The Romans continued their advance with more Scorpion fire (not so irritating this time as they killed 3 cavalrymen who strangely enough failed their 3D6 panic test) and the Galatians spurned my nice tempting wedge to charge the Thureophoroi but lost, survived their CR test and FBIGO’d. Unfortunately for them they only went back 6” which left them nicely in range of the wedge, the Thureophoroi gave chase but ran out of puff at 5” so they left it to the wedge to commit atrocities the Galatian Nobility will take a lifetime to recover from (6-0 casualties, pursued and destroyed).  The Roman Veterans and Battle Standard panicked and fled after watching the destruction of their cavalry. On the right the fast march continued but the Iberians stopped and reformed to fill the hole left by the cavalry who thankfully had rallied). The centre edged forward.

Yet more advancing by the Romans next turn and of course the Veterans and ABS rallied and reformed (don’t you just hate going up against high Ld troops).  Then my Guard cavalry swung round to threaten the end of the Roman line, the Phalanx edged forward again and the Scythed Chariot launched itself at the “real” Roman Legion which was a mistake as they formed lanes and let it run straight through to the rear.   On the right the Thureophoroi split into skirmish order swarmed into the trench and threw javelins at the 2 Scorpions.

The Romans continued their advance bringing them into charge range of the Phalanx, their Experienced Legion turned to face my left hand wedge and the Scorpions shot the Scythed Chariot to pieces.

The Battle really began now.

The Pontic Guard wedge on the left with no choice in the matter impetuously charged the Legionary unit in front of them exposing their flank to the veterans. (At this point I was regretting not having Alexander at the head of his Companions who could have ignored the close enemy units and run through the gap to threaten the rear of the whole Roman army which would have been fun).  Next in line the Bastarnae charged the Roman skirmishers who fled, were caught and destroyed the hit the flank of the Romans in contact with the wedge.  Leaving the Slave Phalanx behind, the Brazen Shields attempted to wheel and hit one of the Galatian Imitation Legions in the flank but caught the next one in the line so had to fight two units frontally, one on each corner.  The Sinopean Guards charged the inside Roman unit, the Iberians threw javelins at the outside one and the Levy Thureophoroi charged out of the trench to attack the Scorpion crews.  The combats were resolved with the cavalry winning causing the Romans to “burn their stubborn”, the Brazen Shields  lost by 1 and broke due to us all losing track of the warband rules (somehow we came up with a result of autobreak despite the fact that the Galatians had not charged and they are only subject to Rule 1).  The Sinopean Guards lost but held and the Thureophoroi routed the Scorpions.

   The Roman turn had the Veterans charging and virtually annihilating the wedge, the Regular legionaries beat off the flank attack by the Bastarnae, broke them and hit the end Phalanx in the pursuit.  In the centre the Galatians charged the other Slave Phalanx with 2 units whilst the other unit having pursued and destroyed the Brazen Shields caught the ABS on his own (with 1 casualty against 1 wound the ABS ran away).  The Slave Phalanx having survived it’s panic test for the Brazen Shields breaking, lost its CR test.  Against my judgement they were not allowed to class the Galatian Legionaries as Romans and test on an unmodified 10 but fled automatically as they were outnumbered levies.  The Sinopean Guards won their combat and the Romans “burnt their stubborn”.  The end Roman unit charged the Iberians who lost but survived the CR test.

The last chance for the Pontics.

The Thureophoroi who had panicked when the Brazen Shields were destroyed rallied at the edge of the table to far away to have any effect on the battle.  The three remaining unengaged units could now move, the Thureophoroi on the left moved towards the Veteran Legionaries, the Thureophoroi on the right formed up in a position to charge the rear of the unit fighting the Brazen Shields and the cavalry finally got close enough threaten either of the two Roman units on the right.   

The Ex Slave Phalanx beat the Roman Legion but it passed its CR test.  The Sinopean Guards beat their opponent but the Romans passed again, the Iberians held (not sure how but rolling a 3 helped.

The final Roman turn started with the Veterans ignoring the Thureophoroi and charging the front last phalanx whilst one of the Galatian Legions charged into it’s flank.  This combat was lost by about 3 and the phalanx was automatically broken and destroyed (see comments above).  The Sinopean Guard won again and the Romans held again!  However the Iberians finally caved in, were broken…etc.  This caused the cavalry to take and pass a panic test and the Levy Thureophoroi to panic.

Final chance to claim a scalp had the cavalry charging the Romans in the flank, the Romans passed their panic test but finally broke in the CR test.



In no particular order:

TRENCHES-  Should they be limited to the deployment zone?  In this game they extended 6” outside the deployment zone. Should there be a cost for them as they proved very useful for the Romans?

GALATIAN IMITATION LEGION – Imitation Legionaries work out good value. Conscripts from the Spartacus list cost 10pts and have LD6, so long as they can keep rank bonus you get Ld 7 and the same stats for everything else (assuming they take the large shield and heavy throwing spear- 10pts).   In fact they make a good way to fill out the centre of a Roman Army as the middle of the line is unlikely to use the drilled attribute of ordinary Legionaries who cost 13pts.

WARBAND IMITATION LEGION – This was our mistake and should not happen, at least not to me again.  This in my opinion (obviously biased of course) changed the battle from being fairly evenly balanced into a disaster when the Brazen Shields collapsed rather than have two chances of getting 7 or less to survive.

EX SLAVE PHALANX – We had a difference of opinion about unmodified test applying to Galatian allies. My view was that the “hatred” factor should count against any unit in the Roman Army including allies, not just Romans which was Trevor’s view.

Also, how does the rule about Levies fearing any unit they do not outnumber  by at least 2:1 and automatically breaking affect the “hated” rule. I think  it should overrule the levies/fear.

IMPETUOSITY – Have you considered making Pontic cavalry take a test against their leadership to stop pursuing a broken enemy even after catching and destroying them.                                          





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