Friday, August 13, 2010

Preparing to play Platea using the new rules

Slings and Arrows of the outrageous fortune sort.

Turns out what I thought was a bit of a cold coming on, appears to be some sort of infection that the doctor  suspects that I may have been incubating since my little hospital 'incident' 6 weeks ago.  Anyway, now under the influence of antibiotics on top of everything else, I am slowly starting to function again but alas, no game this week  A little planning has now resumed though.


The day after listing Platea on the poll as the potential historical battle, I decided to refresh my  memory on the numbers involved,  FORTY THOUSAND HOPLITES! . plus 10,000 more on the Persian side!

 I don't have that many hoplites!

Even at 1 to 200 I don't have that many. Even if I had gotten around to getting one of those Garrison 100 hoplite deals that I had been adding and subtracting from that e-shopping cart and had then painted them up, I still wouldn't have enough to be convincing, although it would start to look better. Oh, and the Spartans got bumped from a previous order and still waiting so, not 1 Lambda in the lot. Luckily, before panic set in, I remmbered that the original idea hadn't been to refight Platea, it had been to replay Charles Grant's refight of Platea in The Ancient Wargame.

Technically, I still needed those extra 100 hoplites  but since his 20mm Garrisons appear to be on the old 10mm wide frontage per hoplite and my troops are on a comfy 20mm wide base, one of my 24 man units should substitute nicely for one of his 42 or 50  strong units, especially on my smaller table. So a quick in-house vote was taken and me, myself and I voted unanimously in favour of using his order of battle but with my standard units sizes and classifications. As he remarks in his description of setting up the Sambre: "This is not an accurate conversion but the plain fact was that this was the total number of figures available, so what else could one do?" Indeed.

I did make a few changes to the details of troop types. Grant makes no mention of  the WRG 3rd ed  morale class used for the hoplites but does rate the Spartans and Heavy and the rest of the Greeks as Medium. Now normally, the Spartans are accepted as superior to other hoplites but the Athenians were at the top of their game. They were the only citystate to have met the Persians in battle and defeated them, indeed, there were probably veterans of Marathon in the ranks. The Spartans even tried to give them the place of honour vs the Immortals .So I figured they should rate the same. On the other hand, I'm not sure the Immortals were sufficiently better than the other contingents to warrant Elite status. Instead, I have invoked a shield barrier rule. Since the Persians were a hand picked force, I haven't rated any as "Levy".

The Persians also have several units of "light" infantry which under the WRG 3rd edition, would be the equivalent of my "Skirmisher"  category. I would have called them "Medium" infantry myself but will compromise and field them as "Light" Infantry under my rules.

Last up, both sides are given 3 generals. That works fairly well for the Persians but is a bit of overkill for the Greeks who will end up with 1 general commanding a single unit of hoplites. After some debate,  I decided to let it stand but ruled that each General only has authority and influence on his own units to reflect the allied and quarrelsome nature of the army.

Without further ado, here are the armies with their deployment based on the game described by Charles Grant in his book The Ancient Wargame. Each general will be assigned a card for activation. The unit names refer to the ones fielded in the book. The exact allocation of units on the Persian side is a bit vague but I have included the Phrygian spearmen in with the Thebans as the over all numbers of Medizing Greeks seemed low and it made sense to lump all the heavy units together.

The intent will be to play once with the battle plans as described in the book. I may, or may not follow that with a 2nd play through either basing the battle plans on Herodotus or going free form.    



  • Pausanius General for the Spartans and their allies only
  • Alpha Battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry on the right wing on Asopus Ridge 
  • Mesenian Javelinmen: 8 Levy skirmishers deployed behind the Alpha Battalion 
  • Beta battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry in march column nearing the rear table edge 
  • Antelope Javelinmen: 8 Levy skirmishers with Beta battalion 

  • Aristeides General for the Athenians and their allies only 
  • Omicron Battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry deployed on the left wing on Asopus Ridge 
  • Sigma Battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry deployed on the left wing on Asopus Ridge 
  • Athenian Archers: 12 skirmishers with bow.deployed with hoplites.  
  • A Corinthian General  (Grant only provides player names for the sub-commanders on each side)
  • Corinthian Battalion.24 Heavy Infantry deployed on 'the island' in the rear of the army. 

(all lined up along the Asopus River, ready to cross)

  • Mardonius Over all commander as well as left wing
  • Green Immortals 24 Medium Infantry Archers with Spara  
  • Black Immoratals 24 Medium Infantry Archers with Spara 
  • Horsetail Light Cavalry: 12 Light Cavalry with bow 
  • Scorpion Cavalry with javelin
  • Artabazos  Sub General
  • Median Javelinmen: 12 Light Infantry with javelin 
  • Crescent Light Cavalry: 12 Light Cavalry with bow & javelin 
  • Cadusii Light Infantry: 18 Light Infantry with spear and bow 
  • Apadan Light Infantry: 18 Light infantry with bow 
  • General over the Greeks (and Phrygians)
  • Phrygians: 24 Heavy Infantry 
  • Boeotian Hoplites: 24 Heavy Infantry 
  • Theban Cavalry: 12 light cavalry with javelin 

With a little luck I should be able to play the 1st game on Wednesday and post a report a day or so later.   


  1. Hi Ross,

    We all wait with anticipation the forthcoming battle. I'm curious what your opinion of the rules will be after a game or two.

    First, though, take care of yourself.

    Second, give your wife frequent hugs. That's good medicine for everyone involved.

    Third, my hoplites are slowly being painted. I started with 20mm square bases but switched to 25mm square, Litko 3mm. I love rebasing! Not. The 25mm square base works better for me and the few figures I have. Not all figures fit on a 20mm base without turning them left or right 45 degrees. Also sparabara troops didn't have room for the shield. Guess I'll just be "non-standard" and go my merry way.

    Like you, I am making both side of my small setup and will be playing primarily solo, so I asked myself if the basing was ok, and myself answered that he had no problem with it. Life is good.

    Take care,


  2. I suspect a lot of 28mm troops won't fit comfortably on a 20mm square base. I find that I can often squeeze figures onto a tighter frontage if using multi-figure 'element' bases.

    My "real" 25's, looked a bit loose 3 wide on a 60mm element base but they fit quite nicely on the single 20's and in the end that's what matters.
    The rest can be fudged or allowed for.

    So when will pictures be up? :)

  3. Hi Ross,

    Pictures? You silly boy!

    I'll send you a picture of the units as they are completed. That will be a good motivator for me.

    Don't expect much in the photo department or, for that matter, the figure painting department. My best is most people's wargame standard. But, hey, at two or three feet it looks good!

    Time for some Commands and Colors: Ancients.


  4. Hi Ross,

    Four things this evening.

    1. How are you feeling? Well I hope.

    2. Good to hear the Platea game is on your schedule.

    3. Good news! I have completed my first hoplite unit. 24 brave lead soldiers. Bronze helmet and greaves. White helmet creat. White linen corselet. Red tunic. Plain red shield face with bronze rim. On to the next! They are standing patiently, waiting for priming.

    I have also been putzing around with a box of Immortal Miniatures plastic hoplites. I like the figures once assembled, but haven't come to love putting them together yet.

    4. Bad news! It appears my cheap old digital camera, emphasis on old and cheap, has gone to Kodachrome Heaven, or should that be Megapixel Heaven. Don't have a line item in the budget for a replacement, so it may be a while. A minor bump on life's highway.

    Life is good.


  5. Hi Jim, I am trying not to whine too much about health issues but the delay in staging this game directly reflects how I've been feeling. Its laid out now though!

    Glad to hear your hoplites are coming along, I'll just have to be content with the description. Sounds like a classic and imposing phalanx.