Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Campaign Begins

I'm not sure that re-reading several volumes of Robert E Howard's original Conan stories was the most appropriate preparation for a vaguely historical campaign but it seems to have done the trick.  My original idea was to wait until both armies were fully ready with old troops refurbished, new ones painted, all units re-based to a new standard and so forth. It has become clear that this condition is unlikely to be met this year so I decided to start with what I had ready. The overall campaign forces are the same but units may not be used before they are ready and no stand ins will be allowed. As units are completed, they may be fielded (which may drive the painting as other units get eliminated).

I have also decided that, since time is at a premium and the mini-campaign a mere precursor,  the battles should be kept small, so I have effectively cut the scenario forces in  half. The paradigm for this round will be 6 cavalry or 12 infantry per scenario "unit". These will be grouped into wargame units as appropriate. This is an ultra lazy campaign with minimal background and paper work, If a unit is destroyed during a game then it is no longer available for future games, otherwise all units will take the field at full strength each game. Each side may choose units up to the scenario limit from their pool of units..

If I didn't mention it before, I have also decided that since I don't speak any ancient languages, I am not going to pretend but will stick to modern English as far as possible and thus will field  Generals, Regiments etc..
Not calling the Greek hoplites, hoplites will be tricky due to habit.

Each side had a theoretical force of 3 cavalry and 10 infantry regiments each of 24 figures plus conscripted pioneers if needed. The forces are as follows:

MEDES led by General Rosius in a light Chariot.

Royal Chariots: 3 Heavy chariots  (counted as equal to 12 cavalry)
Hyrcanians: 12 Medium Cavalry (bow, spear, shield)
Raffum Regt: 24 Medium Cavalry   (javelin and shield, 1 squadron also has light armour)
Saka: 18 Light Cavalry Horse Archers,
Arabs: 6 Medium Camelry ( bow and spear) (eventually will be 12 strong)

Ecbatana, Raffum and Hyrcanian Regiments: Medium infantry with spear, bow and wicker shields.
Saka: Medium infantry with bow and wicker shields
Uxians: Light Infantry with bow and shield, levy
Scythians: Light Infantry with bow and axe, mercenaries
Armenians: Skirmishers with javelin, sling or bow, levies.
(being recruited: Susa Medium infantry regiment, Cappadocian Light Infantry, Dara Medium Spearmen)
The Mede army enters the pass.

LYDIANS led by General Aloettes

1/2 Regiment of Lydian Heavy cavalry (armour, spear, stubborn)
1 Regiments of Mercenary Medium cavalry (javelin, 1 squadron with shields)
1/2 regiment of mercenary light cavalry (javelin, buckler)
(another, full regiment of Lydian cavalry is being formed)

Sardis Medium Infantry Regiment (armour, shield, spear)
Ionian and Aeolian Heavy Infantry Regiments (armour, large shield, spear, phalanx)
Thracians and Mercenary Light Infantry Regiments (shield, spear and javelin, mercenary)
Bythnian Light Infantry (shield, sickle and javelin, levy)
Archers (bow, skirmishers, levy)
Skirmishers (javelin or sling, levy)
Egyptian Allies 1/2 regiment of Ethiopean archers (1/2 regiment of Nubian archers is en route)
 Phrygian light infantry with javelin and axe is being recruited

It is interesting the psychological effect that shifting the African troops has had. I am used to thinking of the Persians as a polyglot, multi-racial army defending the established power structure but suddenly it is the Lydians who have a multi-racial army representing the powers of the day and the Mede army is a coalition of related Aryan peoples sweeping down from the hills to establish a new order.

The Battle of the Pass was fought on June 26th and a report will appear soon on my battlegame of the month blog.


  1. Although I am not am 'Ancients' player, I can see why the Conan stories would inspire you; I read them recently and they certainly inspired me!

    I also like the idea of fighting a campaign where units appear as and when they are ready ... it would be a real 'driver' to get things painted and based.

    Good luck with your forthcoming campaign. I am looking forward to reading all about it as it unfolds.

  2. Hi Ross,

    I, too, am following this project and campaign with interest as I gather samples of hoplites, their friends, and enemies.

    Of particular interest, will be how the battles go using WAB and the smaller unit sizes. This makes the game much more affordable for those of us starting over (again, say no more). I have gone round the WAB tree several times and have decided that for ancient warfare, especially hoplite warfare, it works well.

    If I remember correctly, you mentioned you were using WAB 1.5. No problem there. Any interest in your group for the 2.0 version? I have 1.5 and am waiting until the voluminous 2.0 errata shakes out before I purchase it.

    I agree with Bob's comment that fighting battles with only the units you have ready is a good way to keep yourself painting.

    Thanks for the effort in documenting your project and for the pictures, which make it all come alive.


  3. Thanks Bob & Jim. The battle report has been delayed by my getting involved in a trench raid this afternoon but it was an enjoyable diversion.

    We haven't talked much about WAB2, actually I keep forgetting that its out there and it is only tonight that I made any effort to get an idea of the changes. Most seem like good ideas but the price tag isn't worth it for me. We only play a few games a year at most and if playing solo, well I have to keep fighting the temptation to write my own as it is!