Alexander's Successors 323-47 BC
Gametesting the WAB Successor Army Lists
A Desert Refight
(with no coastline in sight)
Opalka gives us this excellent report of a multi-player Successor game played out in
Arizona. Quite stirring and he also found some issues with the OOB and troop
characteristics, which makes it great play-testing! My thanks to all the participants, I
hope they had fun, wish I could be there! (next time)
Today 6 of us from our local gaming group
pooled our resources and fought Raphia. We used Jeff's OOB with the original 64's and 50's
for the phalanx, but with the cav/skirmishers the larger sizes as in the later version.
The end result was 799 painted figures on the table facing off. The main game was on about
12 feet of table with another 18 inches or so on either end for the hills and dunes.
I had intended to give a blow by blow account, but that will have to wait...I was the center command of the Ptolemaic army and once engaged, there was just no way to keep taking pictures and writing commentary as the game went on.
All in all though, it was a great game and everyone had a good time. Some observations though:
1-The table should be 5 feet deep for this game. We played on a 4 feet wide table with the elephants forward at 12 inches in. With the cav and supporting troops right behind, and in some cases touching the baseline, there was little room to maneuver (especially for that 15 man Egyptian cav unit...it couldn't get out of it's way, even as a wedge!)...this was less of an issue on the Seluecid left and Ptolemaic right due to the number of light troops...this was primarily a skirmish and elephant fight with the not becoming engaged. It also didn't matter in the center due to there just being a million pointy sticks facing off. However on the Selucid right and Ptolemaic left the table depth was a huge issue...the heavy cav on both sides never engaged! This was initially due to the tight deployment...and then once a couple of skirmish units and elephants moved forward, the heavy cav that was in the second line behind was hemmed in and couldn't march! More depth would have allowed an earlier swing to the flank through the dunes. So recommend that this be played with a 5 foot deep table...
2-The wing commands. We agreed at the end that the wings are important, but the center is the main fight...how about putting in a scenario specific rule that once a wing command is down to 50% or less of models, it cannot charge? We had some wonky things happen once the Selucid left was spent and had very few figures/units left...basically charging into ugly situations just to stop the victorious Ptolemaic right from turning and coming to the assistance of the center.
3-The Arab units are supposed to be pretty crappy historically, aren't they?...but 2 of those light troop units broke into skirmish and with their ability to double pace that way and use Feigned Flight they were able to completely tie down a 64 man phalanx and a 24 man hoplite phalanx....the lack of light troops in the center didn't help. But you can't come to grips with these guys...historically didn't they just run away? For this to happen they need to be able to be caught, and you can't catch these guys. It may have been easier to deal with with smaller phalanxes (see #4 below).
4-For this scenario, even if you use the reduced phalanx sizes Jeff now has posted, the pike units are very big. Maneuver isn't much of an issue since you pretty much have to face off with the opposing battle line...but if the units were smaller it would lead to 2 things: 1) you could peel off a smaller unit to deal with the pesky flank units (Arabs, Hypaspists, etc.), and 2) once the main lines class, the chances of a prolonged struggle are increased. In regards to #2, I ended up charging into the Seleucid line due to my lower WS (the Egyptians ended up as WS2's as well!) and wanting to do some damage before getting hit by higher WS troops. Anyway, 3 units from the Seleucid phalanx fought 4 of mine in one mega-combat that was decided by stinking 1...5 casualties to 6...with the Seleucids winning. My hyparchos was there, so I need 7's...I proceeded to lose 100! figures (even with the reroll) in the first turn of combat...after the 2 50 man units had only lost a total of 4! figures. They weren't even flanked. And the situation could have easily occurred on the Seleucid side too and he would have lost 1/2 of his battle line. My point about smaller units being that chances are there will be more break tests across the board as units will be able to match up with smaller sizes, but the chances of a huge hole appearing are reduced as there are more units and more chances to roll a 7 or 8 LD chance for panics. I just didn't look right having these huge units lose 1 or 2 models and then melt away...no matter what side it happened on. So, what if you go back to the original OOB phalanx sizes and simply halve the # of figures, but double the # of units (64's become 32's and 50's become 25's or 24's)? This would also allow players to scale the game a bit more by simply reducing a few units here and there to match what they have.
Again, these are just observations after one play test...not sure if we'll get a chance to test this again in the near future. The scenario is balanced IMO as we fought to a bloody draw after 7 turns with the Seleucid left crushed but with the Ptolemaic right unable to assist the Ptolemaic center which was hard pressed by the Seleucid center. The Ptolemaic left was in rougher shape than the Seleucid right, but all of the heavy cav was intact for both sides and only 1 of the African 'phants was stampeding (luckily it was into the flank of the Seleucid pike in the center! :-))
(Jeff: We need more photos!)
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