Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Battle of Leuctra 371BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

This is game 10 in playtesting my ancient rules. Previous games used my rules called Ancient Warrior  Battles.  The latest version is on its own blog page. I am playtesting the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Battle of Leuctra
Thebans and Boeotians, led by Epaminondas, defeat the Spartans and their allies.  This victory broke the Spartan domination of Greece.

Here is a link of interest:

Wikipedia article

Changes to the Bill Banks Scenario
The scenario is designed to play on a 24"x16" board, so no changes required there. The depth ratio will be fine being longer as ABC has longer move distances than DBA.  The scenario also had all the Spatans and ally hoplites as Spear (O), except 1, and all the Theban and ally hoplites as Spear (S). I changed this by improving some Spartans, and downgrading the Theban allies.  Lastly, I reduced slightly the number of bases on each side so they would fit onto a 24 frontage - DBA allows for Spear rear support, and my rules don't.  In the original scenario there are too many units to deploy in a single line on a 24" frontage.

Thebans and allies
Thebans, from left to right, skirmishers, hoplites, cavalry (and elite hoplites behind).

2 Elite Hoplites/Sacred band, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1
5 Hoplites, HI, protection 0, phalanx
3 Heavy Cavalry, HC
4 Skirmisher, SI, javelin
1 General (Epaminondas)


Sparta and allies

Spartans, left to right, skirmishers, cavalry, hoplites, skirmshers.

2 Spartan Hoplites, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1
8 Hoplites, HI, protection 0, phalanx
2 Heavy Cavalry, HC, fortitude -1
4 Skirmisher, SI, javelin
1 Camp (on a hill)
1 -1 General (Cleombrotus I)



Spartans to the left.  Their battleline is definitely a lot longer than the Thebans!

The Plan
Theban: The Theban cavalry need to charge the opposing Allied Cavalry and hopefully force them back (rout or retreat) through the hoplites, disordering them.  Followup really fast while disordered to gain an advantage.  Refuse the weak right flank.
Spartan: The Theban Cavalry are going to come on, and are better than us.  Hold on as long as possible while attacking with the left flank where we have the superiority of numbers.

The Game
Theban cavalry charge the Spartans counterparts.

The Theban cavalry (right) charges into the Spartans.  The generals are the single cavalry figures.

Three average heavy cavalry Vs two poor ones;  one Spartan cavalry routs back through their own hoplites and disordered them.  This is something I have borrowed from Justified Ancients - every unit will involuntarily interpenetrate others when routing or retreating.  Heavy infantry will be disordered when interpenetrated.  It also allows for the historical event in this battle where the retreating spartan cavalry disrupts the Spartan hoplites behind them.   One Theban cavalry is also forced to retreat.

The elite Thebans hoplites move up to be closer to the cavalry battle.

While cavalry battle is a swirling, the rest of the battleline on both sides moves.  The Thebans needed to advance to protect there cavalry flanks.

The Spartan cavalry is depleted and routs backwards, disordering another Spartan hoplite.  A Theban Cavalry pursues into a skirmisher unit - routs it and then pursues even further into a Spartan hoplite and is locked in melee.

After the cavalry met - the Thebans are on the left.  One Theban cavalry (at the rear of the picture) pursued a routing Spartan cavalry unit into a hoplite unit.  Green bushes are disorder markers.  There is a lot of disorder!
More toing and froing with the Theban cavalry and Spartan hoplites.  A Theban cavalry unit retreats through the elite Theban hoplites and disorders them (ha! just like they did to the Spartans).  Spartan unit with  Cleombrotus I commands the centre. Epaminondas had the Theban cavalry unit he was attached to destroyed, but he survived.

Another turn and on the Theban left flank sees all the Spartan cavalry gone.  One Theban cavalry lost. Theban elite hoplites are in the centre (both disordered by the retreating Theban cavalry seen on the right). 
Epaminondas can be seen alone between two enemy hoplites.

The Spartan left flank advances and manages to rout some skirmishers (skirmish infantry will usually evade from heavy infantry but are disordered.  Two evades will destroy a skirmish infantry).  They also engage some Theban hoplites  but they are both disordered and locked in melee (which is what normally happens when two similar units meet).

On the Theban right flank the Spartans (on the left) are doing better on this flank. 

This ends turn 3!

A Theban hoplite charges into a Spartan hoplite already in melee and already disordered.  This fresh hoplites manages to deplete the Spartan hoplite which is a rout (a deplete result when disordered is a rout).

..well, maybe not so good.  The Spartans are down a hoplite (the gap in the middle of the line at the rear).
Epaminondas moves over to assist cavalry in combat with disordered Spartans and with a good roll depletes them and the Spartan breakpoint is reached.

Theban cavalry that routed an opposing disordered hoplite and caused the Spartans to reach their breakpoint.
 Game over.

End game. Most of the Spartans are in the centre line and the darker bases - the Thebans are to the left and lighter.

 The Thebans had only lost one cavalry and all their skirmishers, but they did have a few lucky rolls as well.  More of the cavalry would have gone with average rolls and it would have been a much closer game.  Rules are still fun and no changes required, a good thing.  I will be out of the hoplite clashes in a few more games and so will have to wait and see if more changes are required with different troop types.

The shorter format definitely is helping me focus on getting more games - I have the next one already half played and the four after that in varying stages of scenario development.


  1. You're making good progress, Shaun. 150 battles will probably be more playtesting than most professional rules sets get!


    1. At the rate I am going, 150 battles will be done in about 2025!