Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Battle of Hydaspes 326BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

This is game 22 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  The latest version of ‘Ancient Battlelines Clash’ is on its own blog page. I am play testing the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on a 2'x2' table.  

I have played this battle a few times before so this report is briefer than normal.
Battle of Hydaspes
The Battle of Hydaspes was fought when Alexander the Great reached the Indian subcontinent and brought to battle King Porus.  It was a long and close fight.
Here are some links of interest that I used to create the scenario:

Four replays by me using different fast play rules
Wikipedia article
DBA scenario
Vis Bellica scenario  

Scenario changes
Reduced by about two thirds the troops due to my smaller sized table.  However, I roughly halved the Spear or pike units as the scenario units are for DBx that assumes in this case that the units will be rear supported, not the case with my rules.
I have replayed this scenario before, with an early version of Ancient Battlelines Clash and 3 other fast play rules.  The only change I have done between the scenario troops I used and this one is I have reduced the Indians from 10 archers to 9, and 4 elephants to 3.  After the previous replays, I think that there were too many elephants and archers. 


Alexander’s Macedonian
5 Phalangites, battle infantry, phalanx
1 Hypaspists, battle infantry, phalanx, high fortitude, drilled
2 Hoplites, battle infantry, phalanx, some missile protection, low fortitude
2 Thracians, auxiliary infantry
6 Psiloi, skirmish infantry, short missile
1 Companions, auxiliary cavalry, high fortitude, disciplined
1 Heavy Cavalry, auxiliary cavalry
2 Light Cavalry, skirmish cavalry, long missile
1 General with Companions
Skilled command ability

Breakpoint: 15

3 Elephants,
9 Archers, battle infantry, long missile
2 Heavy chariots, battle chariots, impetuous
2 Medium cavalry, auxiliary cavalry, low fortitude
1 General on an elephant

Breakpoint: 16


Indians at the top, Macedonians at the bottom.
The Game
Alexander moves first.

Both lines advance; The Indian right cavalry about faces.

This is what happens on the Indian left flank, purely by one advance and then only reactions:
On the Indian first turn their left Chariot and Cavalry advances to the Macedonian skirmish cavalry that retreats.  The Indian Chariot and Cavalry pursue and the Macedonian Skirmish Cavalry retreats from the threat, and is routed (Disordering some Macedonian Heavy Cavalry in the process).  The Indian Cavalry continue to pursue into Macedonian Heavy Cavalry and Companions; Indian Cavalry routed.  The Companions pursue into the proximity zone of the Chariots that then charges the Companions; to no avail, the Companions rout the Chariots and pursue.

End of turn 1.  All the previous paragraph was due to reaction to units actions - no decisions by me.  Love this game (luckily as I wrote them as what I would like to play)!

The battlelines are closer - Alexander etc. on their right have already cleaned up the opposing Indian flank. 

Alexander looking very happy to have broken the Indian left flank.
The skirmish line meets the elephants.

Elephants engage.
As a result of the clash, one elephant is in melee with skirmishers, one elephant is routed and forces the archer unit behind to retreat.  The victorious phalanx advances but it is disordered due to firing.  The elephant with Porus remain in combat with the Hoplites.

Centre Elephant routs (red 'X') 
The Indian heavy chariot (Indian right flank) routs the peltasts for no damage to themselves (a string of 5's and 6's).

An Indian Archer engages a Hoplite in melee (archer is CV3, disordered hoplite is CV2l) but the hoplite survives.  In the middle, a pike phalanx unit fares not so well and is routed by the archers. The  Indian left flank elephant is routed.

Xs: Macedonian peltasts gone on the left; Pike Phalanx in the centre.  Indian elephant routed on the right.
Companions defeat an Indian archer on the flank but when pursuing run into a traffic jam with a friendly skirmisher (the skirmisher is then routed from its combat with an Indian archer).  Another pike phalanx is routed.

Indian cavalry moving round one flank, Macedonian heavy cavalry on the other.  X is a routed pike phalanx.
Another two turns sees the Companions still stuck in melee, another pike phalanx routed for the loss of one Indian archer.  The Heavy Chariots has about faced and charges the rear of a hoplite but a lucky roll sees the hoplite hanging on.  The flanking Macedonian Heavy Cavalry charges into combat with the Poor Indian Cavalry (coming from the other flank) and routs the Indians.  This puts the Indians over their breakpoint and they are lose.

Chariots on the left charge into the rear of a hoplite but luck is on its side and it survives.  The Xs are routed pike phalanxes.  The Heavy Cavalry at the top has just routed the Indian Heavy cavalry to win the game..

The victorious Macedonian heavy cavalry that caused the Indians to reach their breakpoint.
Still one of my favourite battles to replay. A close game; the Macedonians were on 10 break points and could have easily lost 3 more heavy units to take them over their limit and lose the game.

This is the last in the Alexander sequence - there are a few successor battles so I am not away from phalanxes yet!  Following that there are a lot of Roman battles (30-50 I think).


  1. Hi,
    I am preparing to play my first game using your rules, but after reading them, I will probably need some things for you to make clear for me. Would you please contact me by mail at sharanac (at) yahoo.com so that we can continue discussion?