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"Most interesting Battle of the Ancient Period to game " Topic

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AlexMacP03 Feb 2017 4:05 p.m. PST

I'm a newcomer to Ancient History and am trying to decide what armies to build for my first pair of opposing forces. I am looking for a starting point to begin my research and reading

What is your vote for your favourite battle ? Why is it interesting to you?

idontbelieveit03 Feb 2017 4:31 p.m. PST

Magnesia. Puts the roman legions up against the Greek pike phalanxes. It's interesting because of two different styles of armies.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2017 4:34 p.m. PST


Sobieski03 Feb 2017 4:39 p.m. PST

Magnesia seconded.Though I use Seleucid Macedonians, not Greeks.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2017 4:55 p.m. PST

Zama usually comes up in the discussion. As with Magnesia, you can get a lot of mileage out of the armies, too.

Something to be said for for armies under some sort of discipline so the wargamer makes more decisions--unless you're a solo player and need one of them to run on automatic--and something to be said for armies which fought a number of battles and had different opponents.

Berzerker7303 Feb 2017 5:29 p.m. PST


jefritrout03 Feb 2017 8:08 p.m. PST

Magnesia was my initial thought as well. Zama is a darn good idea too. One is Rome vs Macedonia and the second is Rome vs Carthage. And since they are only 12 years apart you can just make a Roman army and then both opponents (which is what I did).

Then you can expand out your Gallic section followed by the Spanish and just pick up more Macedonians. Add in a couple of Indians then Numidia's and then…. Now you have 10 or 11 armies.

Deuce0303 Feb 2017 9:13 p.m. PST

I don't know how often it's gamed, but Orchomenus is a fun one. Pontic armies are always entertaining, and you have a nice contrast with the Romans on the other side of the table. It's also a more dynamic battle than some of the other clashes between Romans and Hellenistic foes.

In terms of historical context, it's hardly a household name, and it doesn't have quite the same epic weight as Gaugamela, Cannae, Zama, Magnesia, Alesia, Pharsalus, perhaps. But you do have probably the best of the late Pontic commanders on one side of the field, leading a veteran army, and one of Rome's greatest generals on the other, as well as a second, rival, Roman army in the field elsewhere, which means it shouln't be too hard to make it seem like fun.

Clays Russians03 Feb 2017 9:41 p.m. PST


AlexMacP03 Feb 2017 10:03 p.m. PST


Your idea sounds great. Perhaps I will start with Republican Romans and the Seleucids … and add more opponents later.

I'm going to go with 6mm… for the epic battle look

AlexMacP03 Feb 2017 10:04 p.m. PST


What figures would you use for the Pontic army?

GarrisonMiniatures04 Feb 2017 4:18 a.m. PST

Cunaxa. Two battles in one – Cyrus loses the battle against Artaxerxes while the Greek mercenaries win the battle against the Persian left.

davbenbak04 Feb 2017 6:36 a.m. PST

I highly recommend the book "Lost Battles" by Phillip Sabin. There are numerous OOB's that give a fun game. To answer your question I would say Trebia or Asculum. Both balanced so either player could win. Also lots of troop types.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Feb 2017 7:17 a.m. PST

Chaeronea 86BC. A corking battle between grizzled and sunburned Roman veterans and Pontics famed "for the brightness of their armour, embellished magnificently with gold and silver, and the rich colours of their Median and Scythian coats, intermixed with brass and shining steel, (Which) presented a flaming and terrible sight as they swayed about and moved in their ranks."

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2017 12:05 p.m. PST

I've always liked Kadesh.

Toronto4804 Feb 2017 12:27 p.m. PST

The last one he does

williamb05 Feb 2017 8:51 a.m. PST

Asculum and/or Magnesia. Magnesia has elephants(both Indian and African), cataphracts, scythed chariots, horse archers, pike phalanx, Romans and Pergammon allies. Asculum doesn't have the cataphracts, horse archers, or scythed chariots, but is very evenly matched battle between the Romans and the pike phalanx. I have run Asculum several times and the battle has gone both ways.

Armies and Enemies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars has illustrations and descriptions of the various troop types and some information on ones that can be used for the Pontic army.

For 6mm Rapier Miniatures and Baccus mix well with Rapier edging out Baccus for the phalangites (less bendy pikes)

Khusrau05 Feb 2017 4:07 p.m. PST

Daras, with Later Roman vs Persian, or Talas River. There are also a bunch of very interesting engagements in Italy like Montaperti and so on, but it depends whether you want Biblical, Classical, Late Antiquity or Medieval, or parts of the world outside the usual eurocentric approach.

Tarty2Ts06 Feb 2017 4:28 a.m. PST

Yes Kadesh for me too. Real ancient battles have to have chariots ;-)

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2017 6:21 a.m. PST

Battle of Watling Street. Ca 61 AD.

You get Roman legionaries versus Britons led by Boudica.

Screaming Britons in massed formations, with slingers and chariots and some cavalry, all facing the disciplined lines of Rome.

Not to mention lots of civilians on both sides. Pro-Roman folks fleeing while the families of the Britons are along for the adventure.

So many ways to game this, either as a set piece battle, or the end of a campaign.

Mars Ultor06 Feb 2017 10:52 a.m. PST

Heraclea – the original engagement between manipular Romans and the Macedonian phalanx, heavy cav, and war elephants. Both sides had some surpises for the other.

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2017 4:21 a.m. PST

i must admit I really found Heraclea the most interesting battle to play to date. I have played it with about 12 different rulesets and think it is one of the most interesting battles. But I haven't played many historical battles, but of the ones I have – Heraclea.

lionheartrjc15 Feb 2017 2:45 p.m. PST

We recently refought Chalons (451 A.D.)
Romans allied with Visigoths against Huns with subject Gepids and Ostrogoths. Lots of different troop types. Really interesting!

PHGamer Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2017 5:45 a.m. PST

I share Duece03's opinion. The advantage of a Pontic army is that it has numerous parts, each of which can act as a starter for a different army. They have Cataphracts, Pike, Barbarian Tribesmen and Scythed Chariots. On the other side is Romans, which historically fought everyone.

Deuce0316 Feb 2017 7:46 a.m. PST

AlexMacP, assuming you can't get "Pontic" figures, I'd sub in successor figures for most of the infantry (Thracians or Celts for the rest), and Parthians for the cavalry. Depending on scale you could probably even get away with some Romans, although Orchomenus was before Mithridates really got stuck into training his imitation legionaries and I think you'd want phalangites out of preference.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

I would say the Two battles of Pyrrhus in Italy.

Again you got the pike vs republican legions.

But Pyrrhus has to make due with unreliable allies.
When I read about those battles, they seem very dynamic on both sides, reads much more like a 19th-century Napoleonic battle, With Pyrrhus riding back and forth taking control ect.

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Feb 2017 9:00 a.m. PST

I agree on Magnesia because it has two different style armies, then as set out above, you have all these unique has elephants, cataphracts, scythed chariots, horse archers, phalanx, manipular legions, etc. All look really good on the table and present both sides with different tactical options.

Personally I am doing Raphia at the moment, mainly for the visual aspect of the elephants, mass phalanx, etc. But once that is completed filling things out for Magnesia is not all that much more.

The figures for these battles are very nice with several really good compatible figures lines. I'm mainly using Aventine, then adding Polemarch, Crusader and Relic. All match nice.

Research is readily available.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Feb 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

Magnesia is quite a stretch from Raphia- there are a heck of a lot of Seleucid light troops at Magnesia and a great many horse archers and cataphracts. Not to mention the Romans! :-)

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian04 Mar 2017 3:01 p.m. PST

I should have said that if you squint you don't need that many more.

I intend to squint.

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