Warhammer Ancient Battles

Alexander the Great FAQ
FAQ v.1.3 02/01/04

By Jeff Jonas



The Alex and Successors supplement has been worked on now for about three years off and on. The book is finished and currently off to press.  The book should be available after August 23rd.  The book includes a 16 page color section and contains 112 pages. Chances are that it will be pricier than most WAB supplements because of its page count.


The Alexander the Great supplement will follow successfully the pattern of the best Warhammer Ancients publications and includes hopefully the right blend of 'potted' history (as Stephen Patten states) as well as useful painting information and gameplay hints. As well as solid game lists that 'give good game' against their historical opponents, and at least hold their own in the wild outside world of tournaments; given the reality of how ancient games are played. My emphasis is on battles and scenarios, presentation of scenarios and their Orders of Battle being the best way IMHO to show examples of how to build an army.  Eventually once published I expect to create more scenarios and add the ones that didn't make it into the book for lack of space. Certainly this board will be an excellent place to disseminate some of these...


Many of you may have seen the draft at Historicon in the USA and Claymore in the UK, I hope it met with your expectations.


In the meantime this allows me to gather the FAQ's and website and miniature information that I wanted to present here that couldn't quite be jammed into the book.

Thanks for your interest.

Jeff Jonas

(rev. August 2002)


Release Date

August 2003.


Alexander the Great Q&A:



I guess I'll start things off by asking if you decided to go with Oracles or unit Standards or something else?  Just curious.

The answer is both. There are two Macedonian lists presented, the list dealing with the rise of Macedon uses oracles to balance games with the Greeks and Persians.. the later list deals with the Alexandrian Imperial army that invaded India and could have moved westward if Alexander had lived. This merged army with Persian and Macedonian influences uses standards. Both give excellent games versus their respective historical and



Do Supplement Army Lists supercede the lists in AoA? What is the ‘official’ word?

Officially there is no current settlement to this debate.  I have been told by Jervis that he favors use of all published lists, from supplements and AoA.

This position causes some issues for tournament organizers and I must say that the best solution there is to leave things up to their own judgement!


The official word on my supplement (from me that is.. And I'm not official by any consideration)... Is hopefully people will rather play these lists than the old ones... The Rise of Macedon and Alexandrian Imperial lists do not replace anything and are in many ways totally distinct from the AoA list.  AoA will still be needed by players who wish to build Successor armies... this is at least until a proper Successor book comes out. The Indian and Persian lists do not intend to replace the armies in AoA either. As the Persians in my supplement represent the later Achaemenids armies that fought Alexander, and in no way represent the Persians in the classical era, thus AoA will still be needed there.  The Indians represent forces that specifically fought Alexander and the Successors, and I am not to pass judgment whether my ideas are any better than the AoA list... It could be argued that the AoA list is better suited for Vedic era warfare than mine.. And that would be correct, so who am I to say that somebody that builds a Vedic army based on AoA is wrong!

OTOH some have claimed that Indians lists I have provided are easier to adapt to Khmer than AoA.. that is a serendipity that I did not purposefully devise. My lists have a different emphasis and more detailed choices... Some may prefer AoA.. I hope not..  But I'm prepared for that possibility!


Why two Books?:

Because of the amount of material generated the initial Alex AND Successors book was split into two volumes,  Alexander the Great, and The Successors.  The later book will deal with the Diadochi and the formation of the Successor Kingdoms and their eventual demise, this book is now in the works, but will most likely not appear this year. 


Were these lists playtested?:

About 20-30 WAB players have tested various lists, armies, scenarios, and special rules.  This extremely dedicated group is the reason I could even accomplish this task. Using the internet to gain immediate feedback, cell phone communications so I could handle questions about a game on Long Island, while sitting by a pool in the Anza Borrego desert on Labor Day, and head to head play with the locals allowed me better ‘blind testing’ than many other games get. Thanks to all these volunteers, on launch day their names will be up in lights!


What army lists are in Warhammer Alexander the Great?:

The first called simply Warhammer Alexander the Great, deals with the Rise of Macedon, Alexander the Great, and his enemies, including army lists covering Late Achaemenid Persia, India and Thracians and Illyrians.  The army lists are further broken down into sub variants which include the ability to field an early or Alexandrian Macedonian army, a Persian army commanded by the Great King or a frontier Satrap, Lowland, Getic, and Highland Thracians, and a number of Indian variants, including the army of Porus, Mountain Indians and the Republican or Kingless lands, as well as the rise of Chandragupta Maurya. A list is provided to secure allies and mercenaries that covers the Greeks and allows players to build a list of Mercenary Greeks if they wish for home consumption. Finally there is a brief Steppe Horsemen list that allows the player to build scenarios pitting Macedonian vs. Skythians.


Hellenistic Age:

Can anyone tell me what is considered the beginning of the Hellenistic Period? Would it be roughly from the time of Phillip II (Alexander's father) of Macedon?

That's the basic cutoff-- usually 359 BC when Phillip took over Macedon till the Roman Empire settled in around AD1.


Cavalry Shields:

I've recently read through several books (mostly Osprey's)  concerning mostly Greeks of the Classical Period. I'm getting the

impression that Greek cavalry, including Macedonians did not carry shields at this time. Also no armour other than a helmet and no barding on their horses.

Greek and Macedonian cavalry did not use shields in this period, or use barding.  Macedonian Companions, Thessalians, and occasionally Greek cavalry did wear armor, both metal and linen.
The Companions and Thessalians of Alexander’s era could have either light or heavy armor.  Thessalians use the throwing or thrusting spear option, as they appear not to have used xyston, and it is debatable whether they carried javelins at this time.

No cavalry wore barding in Alexander's era, excepting some Persian Empire troops. For AoA I just stay legal by giving the Companions Light armor and shields.. And call it "heavy armor", as none of my models carry shields... Nobody has ever fussed over this, it is also possible to leave the light armor as is and be careful with them!

This is one place where AoA falls down, as unshielded light cavalry are illegal, and anachronistic. Of course this is one reason why there will be a new Rise of Macedon army list.


When did Greek cavalry start using shields?
Generally shields are not seen in cavalry usage until the introduction of Tarentine cavalry mercenaries in Antigonos Monopthalmus’ Successor wars.  The popularity of this style of fighting led other cavalry to adopt shields as well.  Also, contact with Galatians, Illyrians, and wars in
Italy are other contacts with shield bearing horsemen.  After the 280’s BC more and more cavalry are shown as shielded, unless  they are wielding a xyston or kontos.



I'm thinking about using plastic rod for pikes, squeezing and shaping the tips at the business end. From the references that I have so far, they would seem to be on the small side with a sort of leaf like flare.

Was thinking of the Old Glory types but the tips seem awfully big for scale and then there is the top heavy concern. I have heard of some people using brass rods but I don't want to really be spearing anyone. Does anyone have any other suggestions?  Van

I use evergreen plastic rod. They come in different thickness and I use a small hobby vise to flatten out the ends. I then cut with a knife to form a tip.   Very cheap and they are forgiving

take care, larry huber


Plastic rod is wonderful stuff. But in sunny SoCal... Sometimes they bend in the heat of the car! I've had this happen on the way back from Brookhurst! :(

I usually use floral wire from Michael's. They are cheap and the material bends a little and the tips are easily pounded and filed into shape. I find that this wire is a little sturdier for long pikes, but I use the same plastic rod as Larry for xyston and hoplite spears.  The plastic tends to bend rather than pop out of hands, but I have had a few get brittle and break at the hand joint, which means re-drilling and replacement. Steel rods are difficult to shape and are dangerous!!! I don't use molded on spear points anymore as they always have too thick a sleeve, I prefer the shapes that pounding and filing give me now.


As for points, the pike tip is described as narrower than a broad bladed hoplite spear tip. Both are easily built out of plastic or metal, with the help of a hammer or flat crimping pliers.  The Alexander mosaic gives some insight into spear points as reference, there are some subtle differences. The Vergina spear point and butt spike are interesting as well.. Of course the Vergina spears have been surmised to be 12 feet long.. Suggesting a xyston to me, rather than a pike...


I started work on an unarmored Macedonian phalanx. (25 mm foundry ) Would clothing be all red or can I mix and match ?

David Karunanithy has done the most recent work on this.. His Slingshot articles state that many colors are possible, red, blue, green, unbleached linen... This is based on small statues of unarmed soldiers of Hellenistic times.  The Osprey Alexander the Great book even has elite troops in purple based on the Sidon Sarcophagus. Eventually we will see a Montvert book on the subject that will certainly be the best and latest guide to a very obscure subject. Of course anything Duncan Head says is good too. And barring me pasting my "how to paint Macedonians section" here, I shouldn’t go on.. but hopefully others will jump in and answer too!


Scythed Chariots:

So, I've never figured out why the Scythed Chariots are so expensive.

They do have a 3+ save and are T4. They do count as large targets so they can be destroyed by shooting... they are a gambler's tool, and obviously they are most effective against
high point troops. A unit will suffer at least 3 S5 hits, and on average 5.5 hits per chariot. The curve is 3 minimum to 8 maximum hits. Obviously against 10 point enemy troops this means the chariot cannot on 'average' pay for itself. Becuase they count as two losses (scythed chariot + 1 wound page 33) at the minimum they will inflict one wound, but if they roll a *hot six*  then they will pay off. I always assuem my chariot will crash so it is serendipity when it doesn't!

It is not the averaging math here which determines the price, it is  the effectivness of usage in combined arms attacks which can blow away a unit. Scythed chariots on their own are useless, but combined with a cavalry flank attack, or a phalanx they can be devastating.

Note also there is no 'carry over' of wounds in WAB. So a scythed chariot that hits a hoplite phalanx will roll its impact hits, if it rolls a 2+ it is destroyed along with the impact, the crew does not fight and nobody rolls back as the chariot is not longer there.

Of course, if a scythed chariot is attacked in hth it is another matter and it's wide frontage is a detriment.. yes 13 hoplite attacks will probally bounce off, but the ranks will surely win as they always do! If your scythed chariots are holding the line then they deserve a rough handling!



Why aren’t mahouts armored?

Good question... And I don't really have a good answer. Indian mahouts are at times shown with shields, but I have rarely seen armored mahouts depicted... Sounds like a query for my H.H. Scullard "The elephant in the Greek and Roman World".


Mahouts were called "Indi" no matter where they came from, but as for armor I don't know why a mahout would not want to wear it, unless the wide riding stance needed a special set of armor.. Or nimbleness was a priority over protection.. Metal armor was scarse in India.  After all the mahout usually dodges by placing the elephant's head in between him and any foe, and relying on the beast or other crew to parry and thrusts.  Missiles are a different matter, and one would expect that a mahout would want as much protection as possible.

This plate from Latium is one of the few that appears to have an armored mahout.. He at least has a helmet:


Sorry I couldn't find a better image, but a repro is in Connelly and Warry.


Successors Q&A:

What will the Successors volume cover?

Everything from Alexander’s death to the including the Maccabean rebellions.  So the lists will cover Diadochi, Epirotes, Antigonid, Seleucid, and Ptolemaic empires, Hellenistic Greeks, Bactrian, Pergamum, Kappadokia, Galatians, and Maccabees.

Are you planning to cover the really late & quite debatable stuff Mithradates, Tigranes, Jewish war etc.? 

My plan is to end the 2nd volume with  the Maccabees roughly around 166-142 BC... This leaves open the option to add the far later (and debatable) armies for a further set of scenarios or publication in a forum like Slingshot or the WEB. I realize that this skirts the army that I love to hate-- the Pontics who always get high marks based on wargame's lists.. But in reality were quite duds... Again can't quite do it all... If there is room who knows?  Of course if the scenarios added to the Alex book are deemed an unpopular choice then maybe there will be a lot more elbow room?

Hopefully the Alexander and Successor’s books will inspire others to go forward and research these armies and create their own lists, and carry the Hellenistic armies further.. I cannot do everything! I’m not Spiderman you know!