Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Battle of Orchomenus 86BC using Ancients Battlelines Clash


This is game 54 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  I am using my rules Ancient Battlelines Clash.  I am in the process of writing up some revisions to the rules.  I am play testing the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in around 30 minutes on a 2’x2’ table.

Battle of Orchomenus

After the Battle of Chaeronea, Mithadates Vi managed to scrape up another army to face Sulla.

Here is an internet link of interest I used for this replay:

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Orchomenus



Roman forces

3 Legions, Heavy Infantry, elite, line relief, medium missile protection

3 Allied Legions, Heavy Infantry, line relief, medium missile protection

3 Velites, Skirmishers, javelin

2 Heavy Cavalry

1 Light Cavalry, bow

1 +1 General (Sulla) with the Heavy Cavalry on right.


All trained.

Breakpoint: 10



Pontic army

3 Phalanx, poor

2 Allied Heavy infantry, poor

4 Light infantry, javelin

2 Skirmishers, javelin

1 Cataphract

2 Heavy Cavalry, poor

1 Light Cavalry, bows

1 Scythed Chariot

1 General (Archelaus) with the Cataphracts on left.


All trained.

Breakpoint:  11

Scenario changes

I drastically reduced the number of light infantry in the Pontic force but they still have more overall units than the Romans. 


Roman on the left, Pontic on the right


The only way the Romans are going to win this in the infantry battle in the centre.  Their left flank is equal to the enemy, and the right is inferior (so will hold back both flanks).  Of course, the Pontic side know this and will be aggressive with their left flank!


Romans advance the centre, Pontic advance the cavalry flanks and launch the Scythed chariots.

Scythed Chariots contact the Roman line

The Roman skirmishers manage to rout the chariots.

The Roman centre continues their advance.  The Pontic cavalry left flank is so close to Sulla.

Pontic Cataphracts and heavy cavalry advancing on Sulla’s heavy cavalry.

The Roman line makes it to the enemy.  There is a of missile fire that goes on between the skirmishers and also the peltasts at the legions.

Roman battle line encountering the enemy

Summary for right side:  skirmisher missile fire sees the Pontic one retire, Pontic infantry then advances, Roman skirmisher retires, Pontic infantry continue to move into legions.  Combat ensures and one phalanx retreats, legion pursues and another melee.    All done via reaction and dice rolls.  I have said it before but this is what I like about the rules – very solo friendly!

Roman battleline right side.

The left battleline flank was easier to resolve – skirmishers retired and legions advanced.

Roman battleline left side.

Wow!  In the Pontic turn for battleline combat they lost 3 heavy units while the Romans lost none.  Mainly due to the Pontic are Poor units so at a disadvantage. 


Three Pontic units lost

Archelaus contacts Sulla! Sulla retreats off the table.  Archelaus follows!  Both leaders are counted as lost, although there are rules that will allow Archelaus to come back in a few turns.  But if the Romans can destroy another unit, they will reach their breakpoint now and free the field before Archelaus has a chance to return.

Archelaus contacts Sulla!

The Romans manage to rout two light infantry.  This is enough to make the Pontic army reach their breakpoint and so flee the field.  Rome has won!



Rule changes

None!  That is good news due to the multiple minor changes I made to the rules. 


A great game and a bit of a nail biter – can Rome defeat enough in the centre before their inferior cavalry flank is overwhelmed?  In the actual battle, Sulla did through in his cavalry to allow the infantry to win the battle.


  1. Very nice once again Shaun:). Your AAR does show that you an have fun Ancients games in a small space and the rules do not have to be DBA or HoTT.

    1. Thanks Steve. I don't mind DBA/HOTT but much prefer other rules for small board gaming.