To commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the battle of Thermopylae, the Thailand DBMM group held a small game day. Four players, DBMM 200, round robin style. Unfortunately no-one in the group has an Achaemenid Persian army, so we had to content ourselves with four armies from the Aegean world in 480 BC, and had ourselves a spear fest.
Runners and Riders
Myself (Bob):. Early Hoplite Greek (Athens): A big command of 22 hoplites, a small command of 10 hoplites and the best light troops, and a Thessalian ally with 6 light horse (including the general).
Anthony: Lycian: A big command of spearmen, with 6 fast blades. A command with another block of spearmen and 4 CvO and a light command of AxO and Ps.
Nash: Highland Thracian. One huge command of PsS and PsI with a few AxS and two smaller commands of Ps, Ax and a few LH.
Peter: Early Hoplite Greek (Spartan). This list pretty much writes itself at 200pts. It had one large command of SpS backed by SpO and a smaller command with more Sp and a few Ps.
Game 1:. Athens vs Thrace.
|The lines close. Game 2 in background|
The Thracians were hoping to defend, but ended up attacking. I just picked an open field for my terrain choice, so the only terrain was one difficult hill on my left. My plan was pretty simple mask the hill, extend my line to the table edge on the right, then advance and push the Thracians off the table. The Thracians plan was to confront my hoplite line with a line of PsS backed by I, hoping to break up the line and get a few kills with overlaps and his S bonus. Meanwhile another horde of Ps would swarm over the hill and LH would come round on my extreme left.
The line of Ps and Sp quickly collided, with poor Thracian dice seeing a number of Ps being spent and the hoplite line holding firm. I moved my reserve Thessalian ally over to reinforce the left, while retreating my heavily outnumbered psiloi from the hill. The Thracians surged up onto the hill, but then the advance was stymied by several bounds of poor PIPs. The Thessalians and spears on the left polished off the Thracian light horse, while the hoplite line continued pushing forwards and spending Ps. One Thracian Ps did make a breakthrough on my extreme right, but it was too little too late and the hoplites polished off the last few opposing Ps to reach the 20 spent needed to break the command and army.
|Hoplite line totally broken up|
The Thracians only killed two hoplites, but did completely break up the line and most of the hoplites ending up surging forwards impetuously in isolated columns. Had there been reserves positioned to counter attack, the Athenians could have been in trouble.
Result: Athens 25 - Thrace 0.
Game 2: Sparta vs Lycia
The Spartans were very worried about being surrounded and formed a defensive perimeter on the base edge (even if it doesn't look that way in the photo) anchored on a craggy hill. The Lycians were eventually able to take the hill but were still unable to pierce the Spartan defenses with their swordsmen failing to make an impact.
Result Lycians 13 : Sparta 12.
Game 1: Athens vs Sparta
A good old fashioned local derby this one. Spartans invaded, and placed a sea on my right. I placed two difficult hills on their base edge to disrupt their deployment, and a gentle hill in the center for me to defend.
Getting the win in this game would be tricky. The superior Spartan hoplites would easily defeat mine in a frontal fight, though they'd have a hard time defending their flanks, and if I formed too deep, they might use their regular maneuverability to march round my line. If the Spartans defended they'd be hard to defeat within the time limit even though I had enough light troops to take one of the hills they'd anchor on. Therefore I'd have to lure them out by offering them something they could attack, while making sure I could hold on long enough to turn their flank.
So I deployed a two deep line of hoplites between the sea and the central hill to act as bait, with a large force 3 deep on the hill to be a strong anchor and flank threat, or to advance and pin the Spartans frontally if they defended. I sent the Thessalian on a flank march across the sea in improvised shipping. The Spartans placed their large command in a line resting on the sea, with a deep column on their right. Their smaller command was placed further back on their right with some Ps thown out on the flank.
Spartans advance in silence
The Spartan line advanced along the sea, bringing their baggage with them, while the Athenian spearmen held position as their light troops moved round to drive off their Spartan opposite numbers. These fell back while the hoplites from the small Spartan command moved behind their main line to protect their rear from the impending flank march. The Thessalians did arrive, but the Spartan second line fended them off easily. However, this left the main Spartan command facing two Athenian ones, with very stretched flank protection.
|Spartans totally surrounded|
The lines clashed by the sea, with Spartans killing a fair number of Athenians. However the latter also bagged a couple of Spartiates, and turned the right of the Spartan line and started rolling it up. Meanwhile the force on the hill pivoted and overran the Spartan flank protection breaking the army.
Result: Athens 23 - Sparta 2.
Game 2: Lycia vs Thrace
|Nash's lunch in top left corner|
The Lycians placed a wide river running between the two short table edges midway into the Thracian deployment area. The Thracians defended the river with two commands, and sent a third on a flank march. The Lycians stormed across the river, and eventually broke the enemy there. The Thracian flank march rolled a six to arrive at an opportune moment, but then rolled two ones in succession for PIPs and was unable to come on. Eventually it headed towards the Lycian baggage, where it appeared there would not be nearly enough booty to go round.
Result: Lycia 25 - Thrace 0.
Game 1 Athens vs Lycia
The Athenians invaded, and the terrain ended up with two gentle hills in the Lykian deployment area, one on their extreme right, and one nearer the center, with a difficult hill on their baseline protecting their left. They deployed with a large command on the central hill with a two deep wall of spears fronted by their six fast blades. Another command extended the spear line out towards their right, with their cavalry at the end of the line. Another command of auxillia was placed to the rear.
The two threats posed by the Lycians were their blades chopping their way through my spear line, and their superior mounted and light troops sweeping round a flank. The first threat could be countered by forming 3 deep, which would exacerbate the second one. However the Lycian line was a bit thin towards their right, so I formed up a big block of hoplites three deep opposite their blades on the hill, with the rest of the hoplites extending the line towards the left table edge with a view towards pushing the Lycian cavalry off the hill on the edge and overwhelming the force between the hills. Ps and the Thessalian ally would I hoped be enough to protect my right given that the Lycian heavy horse were on the other side.
|Blades crash into spears|
Initially the game played out as expected with the Athenians extending their spear line towards the left table edge while moving up to mask the force on the hill. The Lycian reserve Ax came out to line up opposite my light troops on my right. The Lycians would eventually triumph in this area as I moved a couple of Thessalian LH over to support my left.
It was soon "game on" for real though when the Lycian force on the central hill came down, and their six blades crashed into my hoplite line killing five spears in the first hit. This was bad, but as the spear line remained two deep, I hoped that any just dice gods would allow some severe retaliation against the fragile blades in my turn. Sadly the dice gods are not always just, and I killed just one blade in retaliation, and worse still it was the only one I managed to kill all game.
|Athenian line broken up and depleted|
The Athenians did have some success on their left killing some Cv with lucky die rolls and pushing back the parts of the Lycian line held by light troops to get some nice overlaps on their spears. However, in the center the Lycian swordsmen kept chopping down spears, breaking the small hoplite command and disheartening the large one. As the time limit approached they needed only one kill on their last turn to defeat the Athenians, but our luck held and when the bell arrived we were severely battered but unbroken.
Result: Lycia 15 - Athens 10
Game 2 Sparta vs Thrace
|Spartans form semicircle|
Once again the Spartans formed a tight defensive perimeter on their baseline, and the Thracians swarmed around them. However, Peter hadn't flown 300 miles just to sit the corner and started pushing out after the Thracian Ps. He didn't catch many, but they did manage to kill a few Spartans, and by the time the bell intervened the Spartan position was looking a bit dodgy.
|Ps bag a Spartiate|
Result Thrace 13 - Sparta 12.
Bob (Athenians) 58
Anthony (Lycian) 53
Peter (Sparta) 26
Nash (Thracian) 13
All in all a great day's gaming with three of the four contestants enjoying it, and the fourth swearing never to play DBMM again. There was some concern before the event that it might be a series of dull grindy spear clashes, but in the event this wasn't the case as all the armies had a different character. The Athenians were big but unruly, the Spartans most dangerous, and the Lycians the best supported. The Thracians of course were something completely different.
Personally I was happy that my new Athenian army was able to get a couple of wins. I had originally planned on using them in a COVID cancelled event where they would probably have struggled, but glad that they fare ok within a historical setting.
Thanks to Anthony for noticing the anniversary and organizing, and to Chris's Pie Shop (aka Battlefield Bangkok) for hosting us.