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Killing Alexander

A Lion Rampant game scenario
for Wargames, Soldiers, & Strategy Magazine #114

These are notes,  images, and details that accompany the article that appears in Wargames Soldiers and Strategy issue 114
Jeff Jonas, 'The Great King's gambit to defeat a pesky foe - Killing Alexander'.
More to come, this is a holding place.


Richard Hook recreates the drama (Below)

  Alexander attacked

28mm figures by various companies.
Newline Designs, Warlord Games, Victrix. Old Glory, Wargames Foundry, and some Vendel horses (now Thistle & Rose).

Alexander rides out ahead of his Companion cavalry to be attacked alone by Persian lords and assassins sworn to take him out and literally decapitate the Macedonian invasion.

This is Warlord Games Alexander the Great in 28mm part of a two pack with his dad Philip II of Macedon. The figures are over animated, Philip appears drunk and about to fall over backwards.
Alexander is rearing back and looking quite like somebody shoved a corn cob up his wazoo. Perfect for this scenario!

The figure has some merits. The horse is nice, but some of the armor and facial details are fuzzy and the green sash is entirely fictional. However, the pose matches the action and drama in the Osprey publication illustration on the Granicus battle by Richard Hook, which made it appropriate for the "killing off" of Alexander.

I used a Victrix plastic lance for these photos. But it broke! The good news is this fits the scene.

      Persian Charge

Waves of Persian cavalry throw themselves at the Macedonian Companions hoping to break through and kill Alexander.

Fine looking older metal miniatures.

28mm figures by various companies.
Newline Designs, Warlord Games, Victrix. Old Glory, Wargames Foundry, and some Vendel horses (now Thistle & Rose).

  Companions ride in

The elite Companion cavalry begin to push back the Persians, and attempt to rescue the rash young king.

Alexander is wounded and almost killed by a fatal blow.

28mm figures by various companies.
Newline Designs, Warlord Games, Victrix. Old Glory, Wargames Foundry, and some Vendel horses (now Thistle & Rose).

  Battle Rages

After a sharp struggle, the Persian cavalry are mowed down as more Macedonian cavalry arrive. Alexander's luck holds symbolized by his eagle ascendant.

28mm figures by various companies.

  Agrianians rush in

Agrianians, Alexander's crack javelin men from Paeonia, brush aside the Persian light infantry guarding the river bank. They flow around the cavalry melee and infiltrate and attack the Persian horses form below.

  The hypaspists arrive

Hypaspists, elite super peltasts or swift light hoplites, take your pick!

28mm figures by various companies.
Newline Designs, Warlord Games, Wargames Foundry.


  The Persians run

The hypaspist guards arrive and  clinch the victory. The Persian foot and the Greek mercenaries on the retreat in haste. Many of the Greeks in Persian hire are cut down as they make a last stand on a nearby hill.

  Memnon befuddled

Memnon of Rhodes had argued against fighting the battle. He preferred to use hit and run and harassment tactics. Now the Persian army is fleeing all around him. He and his retinue retreat in good order along with some of the mercenary Greeks to the coastal cities to fight another day.

28mm figures by various companies.
Casting Room, Newline Designs, Old Glory.


  The game scenario

The article included a brief description of my take on the Persian strategy to "cancel" Alexander. It was a serious attempt, often overlooked, since Alexander was hit and almost taken out.
Unfortunately beyond that the Persians had no real strategy, and the rout opened up an easier path for Alexander to romp all over Asia Minor.

The scenario is based on variants of the popular Lion Rampant medieval skirmish rules by Osprey publications. This rules set allows for skirmish level games, or portions of battles to be played out. In this case the battle of the Granicus is boiled down to Alexander's flank march and charge across the river as extrapolated from a number of conflicting sources.
The game begins with the Persian shifting as Alexander has pinned them along the river with one group while he and the elite Companions have found an open place to cross. Now the chase is on. Will Alexander's main charge be able to connect with the main Persian forces, or will they concentrate and hurt the Macedonian pinning force. Will the Persian assassins get close enough to Alexander to knock him out? Finally, will the Macedonian infantry be able to intervene and help the cavalry out on its own.

  Alexander's Eagle

Luck is a big factor in the game. Normally with the Lion's Rampant system there are two ways to randomly knock out an opposing commander, challenges or by lucky blows when their troops are engaged and tale casualties. Because  Alexander is at the tip of the spear he has a couple of tokens that add special abilities.
The eagle is a symbol of good fortune and allows Alexander to make some re-rolls of bad dice tosses. Once it fails it flies away.

  The Shield of Troy

The shield of Troy allows Alexander an armor save. If he passes a wound is negated. If the shield fails, Alexander is still safe, but the shield is removed. It too is a limited asset.

The shield bearer is a Victrix plastic peltast minor conversion.
The shield design is from this reference:



The Persian assassins are initially hidden in units and randomly come out if within range of Alexander. They each get a try to inflict a killing wound on Alexander, and are eliminated afterwards. In most games they fail because Alexander has his talisman's to protect him. Every once in a while they break through.

   Game testing

Most of my tests were on a printed game board with counters. Lion Rampant isn't too fussy about formations and positioning so it was much faster to play it on this small map. I'm hoping to run this game on the table top publicly soon.

Here a Victrix plastic Companion Cavalryman in 28mm takes on a beefy old Persian figure from the BattleStandard range.

  A WAB version?

With Warhammer Ancient Battles 1.5  being resurrected from the dust, I am working on converting the units to that game. It's harder to do in such a small scale. I'm working on it.

  Phalanx Rampant

Using a Lion Rampant variant is fun because the data and special rules are included on a roster card and unit factors, dice throws, and combat effects are very standardized.

  28mm hypaspists

Hypaspists are a common unit in Alexander's Macedonian army. They were elite troops and served as royal guards and deployed on the right flank of the phalanx. There is a lot of controversy about their gear. They were specialist troops and were able to perform many different roles. They could act as marines in naval assaults on cities. Or as commandos riding on the backs of cavalry to speed them up. They were expert in all sorts of weapons from javelins and spears to pikes. They wore armor according to the mission.
Here I have depicted them as troops with typical hoplite gear. But they are trained to act dispersed, or form up quickly in a shield wall. In short they are incredibly flexible troops, ready to tackle any mission.


Carnage and Culture,
Victor Davis Hanson.

The Mask of Command,
John Keegan

The Generalship of Alexander the Great, JFC Fuller.

Granicus 334 BC Osprey Publications, Michael Thompson, Richard Hook (Illustrations).

Alexander the Great: His Armies and Campaigns 334-323 BC,
Nick Sekunda, John Warry, Angus McBride (Illustrations).

Lion Rampant: Medieval Wargaming Rules, Osprey Wargames
Daniel Mersey, Mark Stacey (Illustrator)



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