Saturday, 17 August 2013

Battle of Crocus Field 353BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

This is game 13 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 Crocus Field
Philip comes to the aid of the Thessalians to defeat the Pheraeans.  The Pheraeans were allied to the Phocians (led by Ononmarchos) who invaded Thessaly and defeated Philip.  Philip went back to Macedon but returned the year after with a greater force.

Here are links of interest and that I used to create the scenario:

Wikipedia article
DBM Scenario

Changes to the Peter Sides scenario
The width was 37" so I had to reduce the number of bases by 1/2 to reduce it to 24".


Macedonians - cavalry to the left, hoplites in centre and flanked by peltasts and skirmishers

3 Hoplites, HI, protection +1, phalanx
2 Peltasts, LI
2 Poor Peltasts, LI, fortitude -1
2 Skirmish infantry, SI, javelin
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC, fortitude +1
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
1 General (Philip II)


Phocians similar with cavalry on the right, hoplites in centre and flanked by peltasts and skirmishers
4 Hoplites, HI, protection +1, phalanx
2 Peltasts, LI
4 Skirmish infantry, SI, javelin
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC, fortitude -1
1 General (Ononmarchos)

Breakpoint: 6

Note on unit types: I have updated missile protection in the rules so that instead of missile protection being expressed as either -1,0 or +1 it is not 0, +1, +2.  It made it easier to do the missile firing - most units are missile protection -1 and that meant for every missile fire I have to mentally subtract 1 from the die roll.  Too taxing and I sometimes forgot :-)  A clear sign it needed change. So now that is one less modifier to normally worry about.


Phocians on the left with less cavalry but more infantry. Macedonians on the right.

The Game
Philip moves to proximity range of the Phocian poor fortitude cavalry that stand of charging (rolled a 1 for reaction). Oops, Philip was hoping to draw them out and so have a good flanking force for the next turn. So on the next turn, Philip charges them; Phocian cavalry retreat, Philip pursues and routs them.  But now Philip is a fair way from the line and a turn later than he would have liked.

Philip at the back, near the edge and a long way from the enemy battleline (bottom left)

The Phocian main battleline continues to advance.  They have more hoplites and a general as well so need to get into melee as fast as possible before the cavalry comes back. 

Phocian battleline (at rear) moves very close to Macedonian battleline (front)

Proximity tests are required as the Phocians moved with 4cm of the Macedonians.  It would all be a pass here - the worst result to roll would be a 1. For an undisordered with support, the only effect of a 1 will be for skirmishers, archers, shock and impetuous and none of these needed to take a test so I did not roll.  All Macedonian unit stand their ground.

Macedonians about face their elite cavalry (are greater than 20cm from enemy so a normal move, not a complex one that would likely disorder them).

Philip moves to the other cavalry.  botrh cavalry are now at least facing in the right direction - towards the enemy in the centre.

Phocians fire with skirmishers and charge the Macedonian line.  Some reaction tests on each of the ends with skirmishers and the main hoplite clash saw a few retreats (a 1 and a 6 rolled in combat).

Result, looking from the Macedonian side, after proximity tests and one round of melee.  Green 'bushes' are disorder markers.

Another turn sees two Macedonian hoplites routed, for no loss to the Phocians.  But the Macedonian cavalry comes charging in from the rear.

Macedonian cavalry is approaching the rear of the Phocians

...and slams into the rear of the Hoplite unit with Ononmarchos.  The Phocian unit hangs on though.

The rear attack will only fail to rout the unit on a 1 or 2.  Rolls a 2.  Locked in melee. Elsewhere another Macedonian light infantry is destroyed.  The Macedonians have reached breakpoint - all light infantry and two-thirds of the hoplites gone.

Macedonians lose another unit and lose the game.  This is a view of what the centre looks like.

If the cavalry have not gone so far, the Macedonians would have won; or even if the Light Infantry had hung on one more turn.  Maybe sending both cavalry against the single opposing Phocian Cavalry was not a good idea.  I did think about doing just that but two is better than one, even if the Phocian cavalry is crap against the Macedonian elite cavalry unit.  Bad Macedonian tactic by me.

Surprised a little that the rear attack did not work, and had a 1/3 chance of still going.  I guess all attacks against it count as flanked and if it was not for the general attached to the flanked unit, the Macedonian hoplite to the front would have routed it.  So, the general kept them in the game. Otherwise still fast, still fun.


  1. Brave hoplites!! Nice report...

  2. Thanks Phil. I am near the end of the Hoplite Vs Hoplite battles.

  3. Interesting. I guess that is why we play the battles out. Because sometimes the expected doesn't happen.

    1. playing the battles has been interesting. Philip was unlucky as the start when he pursued too far on the flank and so was late coming back to help. Maybe this could have happened...