Shiny Things, or Rather the Perils of Being a Wargamer and Reading a New Book

Actually, two books. I received a copy of A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War – Ships, Men and Money in the War at Sea, 431-404 BC written by Marc G DeSantis, ISBN: 9781473861589, published on 29 November 2017.

When reading that I thought it would be a good idea to read Great Battles of the Classical Greek World by Owen Rees, ISBN: 9781473827295, published on 15 August 2016 at the same time as there was a degree of overlap between the two.

Both books are published by Pen & Sword and both look at one area of particular interest to me. I will review both books separately in other blog posts.

So, what is the risk to the Wargamer? Well, it is simple. My favourite periods of interest are Ancient Wargaming and Naval Wargaming. The Peloponnesian War has both. The 25 years of the Peloponnesian War covered a bitter period of classical Greek history and warfare. By this time the Greeks were well settled into the hoplite style of warfare with armoured man, large shields and a long spear standing in a long line with other men similarly armed.

To my pile of uncompleted projects I have added two Greek projects. One is the Greek world circa 670 BCE to 450 BCE – the period when hoplite panoply and warfare was developed to its peak. This was also the period where the Persians were defeated at Marathon and Plataea. The second is the Greek world circa 450 BCE to around 225 BCE which includes the Peloponnesian War.

Fortunately the core troops from the earlier period will also double up for the later period. Currently I am planning the hoplite forces. This little project will be in 6mm for reasons of:

  • space
  • cost
  • speed of painting

Rules will either be DBA or Basic Impetus. The armies should be easy enough to build to be useful for both rule sets. For example, the early Athenian army in Basic Impetus consists of a maximum of 8 bases of Hoplites, and one base each of Slingers, Javelinmen, Thessalian Light Cavalry and Thessalian Medium Cavalry. The DBA equivalent is 10 elements of Hoplites and two elements of skirmishers.

The only real question I have to consider from the rule perspective is whether to use 60mm or 40mm wide bases. DBA would normally be a 40mm element frontage while Dadi and Piombo recommend a 60mm frontage for Basic Impetus in 6mm. 60mm frontage is also the base frontage for Baccus’ SPQR rules.

The base size will set the area that is needed to play and 40mm has the attraction of probably only needed a 2-foot square area (DBA) or 3-foot square (Basic Impetus) while 60mm would set a 4-foot by 3-foot area (Basic Impetus).

More updates later as I start to plan further.

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Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Spartans

P1000717_01My second game was against Reon Halverson using army II/05a Later Hoplite Greek (Spartan). Reon is a junior and eventually won the encouragement award. On the day before, there was a junior DBA tournament run then when the senior tournament was being played, the juniors were invited to play in that tournament as well.

Reon was using the Later Hoplite Greek army – the Spartan variation. This force consisted of:

  • 1 x 4 Sp – the General
  • 10 x 4 Sp – the Spartan hoplites
  • 1 x 2 Ps – some light troops to back the hoplites and protect some flanks.

This was always going to be difficult for Reon as the Spartan hoplites are at a disadvantage against both the Rajput knights and the Elephant as these elements “quick kill” the spears. On the plus side, the psiloi have the ability to increase the factors for three of the spear elements.

The tactics for this game were simple. As I was the defender again (yep, lost the aggression roll for the second time), I placed the rough area, boggy ground and wood well out of the way. I then decided that matching my blades, knights and elephants as much as possible against Reon’s main group of Spears was the way to go. Battle start, we advanced and my battle line contacted his. After the first round of melee, his general lay defeated and it was game over. 8:1 victory to me.