Saturday, 29 October 2016

Battle of Gabiene 316BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

This is game 26 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.

Battle of Gabiene
In the saga of the Successor Wars, Eumenes confronts Antigonos One-Eye in Media. This was the second of two battles (the first being Paraitakene) between these two Diadochi and the outcome determined who controlled the Eastern satraps.

There is not much on the internet on this battle but here is the link to Wikipedia:

Wikipedia article 

I also used Lost Battles (Sabin)

Scenario changes
Reduced by about a half the troops due to my smaller sized table. 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.



The Antigoids
2 Phalangites, battle infantry, phalanx
1 Hoplite, battle infantry, phalanx, some protection
4 Thracians, aux infantry
4 Psiloi, skirmish infantry, short missile
1 Elephant, elephant
2 Companions, aux cavalry, high fortitude, disciplined
1 Heavy Cavalry, aux cavalry
1 Light Cavalry, skirmish cavalry, short missile
1 General, +1 command ability, with Companions

Breakpoint: 11


1 Hypaspists, battle infantry, phalanx, high fortitude
1 Silver Shields, battle infantry, phalanx, high fortitude
2 Phalangites, battle infantry, phalanx
4 Peltasts, aux infantry
3 Psiloi, skirmish infantry, short missile
1 Guard cavalry, aux cavalry, high fortitude, disciplined
1 Heavy Cavalry, aux cavalry
1 Light Cavalry, skirmish cavalry, short missile
2 Elephants, elephant
1 General,, +1 command ability, with Guards
1 camp

Breakpoint: 12



The Game
Antigonos advances along the line. On the left flank, the light cavalry successfully splits from the heavy cavalry to attempt to flank the defending Eumenean heavy cavalry and get the baggage. The Eumenean right flank heavy cavalry advances only slightly to position itself to better defend the camp, the elephant splits from the main line to set up a bit of defence.  Eumenes, on his right flank, stays in a delaying position as the opposing cavalry is stronger.

First turn advances
The light infantry and elephant advance.  The Eumenean elephant charges into the Antigonid elephant and forces it to retreat.  The Eumenean elephant cannot pursue due to the skirmisher in contact with it.  On the Antigonid left flank, the heavy cavalry charges the  Eumenean heavy cavalry, but it forces to retreat.  Surprisingly the Eumenean heavy cavalry does not pursue.  This is going to make it harder for the Antigonid light cavalry to bypass it and get to the camp.

The centre is nearly clashing, and the battle commences on the flanks.
Eumenean right flank cavalry has to charge the Antigonid cavalry but remain in melee.

Eumenean cavalry (left) Vs the Antigonid cavalry.
Eumenean peltast line advances into the Antigonid one..and all are disordered

Centre light infantry meet and all disordered.  The grey  "spears" are disorder markers
The Eumenean elephant on the right flank is still in melee with the skirmisher, but one of the Eumenean skirmishers retreats under arrow fire from an opposing skirmisher unit.

Eumenean elephant engaged with skirmishers
Antigonid elephant charges into the Eumenean elephant but locked in melee.  The light infantry clash occurs in the centre but all remain in melee.

Tusk to tusk - elephants engaged
The heavy cavalry locked in melee on Antigonid left flank sees disaster for Antigonid as their heavy cavalry is routed.  The light cavalry is unsure of whether to continue to advance (failed order roll - a single unit and far away from the general)

Antigonid cavalry guarding their left flank routed (red star) and eumenean cavalry advances.
The Eumenean heavy cavalry continues into the side of the light cavalry (does not count as a flank attack though).  Both disordered.  Eumenean elephant charges a peltast unit blocking the way - all disordered.  Light infantry line still locked in melee (bit of a pattern here!).  But...a Eumenean skirmisher and elephant gang up on the Antigonid elephant and a die roll of 6 sees it rout!  Antigonos has lost two heavy units so far - cavalry and elephant - and Eumenes has no loss.

On the left side, The Eumenean cavalry engages the Antigonid light cavalry but it is not destroyed.  On the right, the Antigonid elephant is routed.
Finally one Eumenean light infantry in the centre is routed.  On the Antigonid left flank the heavy cavalry destroys the light cavalry, and nearly pursues them off the table.

The Antigonid Light cavalry is destroyed,, and the victors nearly pursue off the table.
Eumenean elephant on Eumenean right flank finally succumbs to the opposing light infantry.  As does the left flank elephant!!  The tide has turned to Antigonos.

BANG! Eumenean elephant on their right flank routed.

BANG! and the Eumenean elephant on their left flank does as well.
Antigonid light infantry advances into the Hypaspists and one breaks off to go for the camp.  The light infantry is destroyed but they force the Hypaspists to advance out of the line.

Another Eumenean light infantry gone in the centre.  Eumenes definitely got the worst of it in the centre; the light infantry flank attack was unsuccessful.

Antigonid light infantry top right heading for the camp, Left red star is a lost Antigonid light infantry, Eumenean light infantry lost at right
Antigonos and Companions charge through their skirmishers (allowable for a mandatory charge) into Eumenes Guard and the light cavalry.  Eumenes has been dreading this from the start as he is at a disadvantage in heavy cavalry.

Antigonos (in front of picture) and Eumenes meet
The light cavalry retreats and the Companions opposing them do not pursue (so it is can support Antigonos Vs Eumenes; Eumenes will be at a -1 disadvantage due to being a single unit) And the die roll is a 3 - both disordered.

Eumenean supporting light cavalry retreats
Another Eumenean light infantry in the centre goes.  Breakthrough! (even if it is just light infantry).

Antigonid light infantry breakscthrough to rush for the phalanxes.
It does not last long, both Antigonid light infantry in the centre are routed - one by the advancing Eumenean pikes, the other by the flanking of light infantry.

All that is now left between the phalanxes is a Eumenean light infantry, that will get out of the way soon!
The Thracians begin looting the Eumenean camp!

The Eumenean camp being looted.
And now Antigonos is so very unlucky:
Eumenes rolls a  natural 6 Vs Antigonos.  This has no effect as Antigonos has a +1 advantage due to not being a single unit due to supporting Companions. A modified 6 would have been required to rout them but this is ony a 6.
BUT a natural 6 requires Antigonos to do a General lost - on a 1 he is wounded/killed.  A 1 is rolled.  Oh dear.   No general ability on the Antigonos side any more. Each unit takes an army morale test but only a skirmisher is lost.

In the meantime, the Eumenean heavy cavalry on their left flank has been turning around and coming back to the battle.  They is ready to attack the Antigonid phalanx in the flank.

Before the phalanxes can meet, the Euemean heavy cavalry that nearly pursued off the board is coming back into the battle and heading for the Antigonid phalanxes.
They force a phalanx to retreat but does not pursue.

...but only force one to retreat.
The phalanx line finally clashes and after a turn of disorders all round, one of the Antigonid phalanxes routs under the pressure of the Silver Shields.

Eumenes' Silver Shields finish them off.
Antigonos has reached his breakpoint and game over. Eumenes wins.

end game, Eumenes forces  remaining to the left of the line, Antigonid to the right 
Note that during the last few turns Eumenes continued to melee with the opposing Companions but kept remaining in melee.

It was a close game - Eumenes was also near his breakpoint. Rules working as designed and I am glad to be back with them after a year hiatus.  The narrative generated is great, and it is a very fast game.  I also got distracted re-reading up on the battle and why it came about.  This is a good thing as one of the reasons to play the historical game is to get more historical reading in (either new or stuff I had not read in ages).  So that part is working as well.


  1. Really enjoyed that, Shaun.


    1. Thanks Aaron. I have played the next one, and the one after that it setup. So there is at lest a few more coming.