Alexander against the Persians

A while back we played a Might of Arms game pitting Alexander and the Greeks against the Persians in a generic battle. Both sides deployed a few large units of infantry in the center of the line.  The Persians then anchored this with some archers and beyond that on each flank some skirmishers and cavalry wings.  The Greek deployment was similar, but with a shorter line and no archers.  Tom and I were on the Greek side and I had Alexander and the Companion cavalry.   On looking at the Persian deployment I saw a big block of Asiatic levies – some of the worst troops in the game – anchoring the Persian line opposite the Companions.  There were certainly a lot of them, but their morale is awful and I decided to try a classic Alexandrian tactic – to smash through the levies with the companions, then wheel to the right and fall on the rear of the Persian line.

The game opened as expected, with the Persian infantry stopping short to allow their archers to work while their numerically superior cavalry came forward on the flanks.  On my side my light cavalry and two units of skirmishers were to be hard pressed, as I intended to leave them to delay the Persian cavalry (which included both some heavier medium cavalry units and horse archers which outranged my own javelin-armed horemen).  The Companions set off and immediately charged the levies and the adjacent skirmishers.  The levies immediately began to crack and one of the units of companions soon routed the two units from the field.  The other Companion units chased down and destroyed one of  the skirmishers.  Having punched a hole through the Persian line and broken into the rear, the trick now was to get the Companions behind the main line.

In the middle the two infantry lines came together after some initial shooting by the Persians and the pikes began to push.  Both sides (especially the Persians) were making every morale test, including the improbable ones so that the units continued to fight, accumulating fatigue.  Neither side could gain the advantage, which was actually working out in favor of the Greeks.  the Companions began engaging the Persians from the flanks and rear.

The Greek cavalry on the two flanks fought and maneuvered to keep the Persian cavalry at bay and were successful in both cases.  On the right (my side) the greek light cavalry traded space for time, suffering heavily from the bows of the horse archers, but generally keeping the medium cavalry from breaking through and engaging the Greek line.  On Tom’s flank the cavalry became embroiled in a wild melee that at one time had the two side each facing in the opposite direction from where they started!  The outcome may have favored the Persians in the end, but time was not on their side.

As the Companions hit the Persian line from the rear, the accumulated fatigue finally took it’s toll.  Combined with the penalty from being threatened by the cavalry, Persian units began to rout and the resulting panic took most of the Persian army along.  The Persian infantry was in equally bad shape, but had managed to hang on just long enough.

We played this game well over a month ago, but I forgot my real camera that day so ended up taking these photos with the camera on my cell phone.  That required me to actually locate the cable to download the photos from the camera…   Not the best pictures, but they give a sense of the action.

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3 responses to “Alexander against the Persians”

  1. miniark says :

    Impressive battle lines, makes me wish I was there!
    I know that Bob Bryant is working on MOA-2, we’ll wait some preview posts on the subject when you guys get to playtest it

  2. Brian Cantwell says :

    We playtest MoA-2 everytime we play 🙂 Bob is always tinkering with this or that and uses us to try out his latest ideas.

    Unfortunately it was long enough ago that I played the original version back in College Station before moving to Knoxville that I cannot remember any of the particulars to make a good comparison. In general though the basic mechanisms are all the same and the upgrade is in the details.

    Maybe Bob will chime in with a comment.

  3. Bob Bryant says :

    MOA-2 has the same mechanisms as MOA-1. There are some adjustments to play balance–details, as Brian says. Depending upon the army you are using, the occasional gamer probably won’t notice the difference. One difference will be altered melee factors for infantry vs cavalry which make it harder for either to do much to the other in a frontal attack. A new feature will be trained or drilled troops. Brian was able to maneuver as much as he did with the Companions because they are rated as trained and the Persian cavalry are not.

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