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"Hoplite rules for playtesting" Topic

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MichaelCollinsHimself29 Jun 2017 11:30 a.m. PST

Just wondering if anyone would be interested in testing a Hoplite version of my ancients rules some testing was carried out last year, but since that time I have added new rules which hopefully bring some finer tactical aspects to the fore…

If interested then please contact me at:

The rules will cover the period from the Pelopennesian War 431 BC to the Theban`s victory at Mantinea 362 BC.

Some photos from the earlier test games…



Jon Lead Slayer02 Jul 2017 7:26 a.m. PST

Sounds interesting. I have been working on a set of Hoplite wargame rules myself. It looks like your using HaT and Zvezda plastic miniatures yourself. I already have them completed in 15mm metal, But I am now painting up the plastic mini's too. My main interest here is the Archaic period of 750 B.C. to 480 B.C. when the Hoplite was earning his reputation and proving his worth as King of the Battlefield. The scope of my rules include not only the Greeks but Etruscans, Latins, and all oth the other peoples they fought and interacted with. In 15mm metal I have all of the armies to cover them as well. With my armies I am also playing a Silly City State Campaign with cities like Hernia, Hubris, Kleptea, and Phutsor. For barbarians I have tribes like the Gethi, Illiteratii, Obscenei, and the Simians. Then is the east there is the city of Zippur and its empire.

MichaelCollinsHimself03 Jul 2017 3:42 a.m. PST

Yes, mostly HaT and Zvezda.
Some interesting periods for sure.
I`m planing a variant centred on the Persians – about 525-400 – the period has some interesting developments, battles and campaigns.

But the period I`ve chosen of course has developments also that are fascinating – the growth of professionalism/mercenary hoplites and other troops…. and the beginnings of a concerted method of warfare by all troops types.

Ottoathome27 Aug 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

Dear Michael

I am doing the same and have already written the rules. I would be interested in helping you with yours never the less. Your interests seem congruent with mine. I am primarily interested in exactly the same period, war between the various city states of Greece. The Persians nd other unsightly barbarian interruptions are largely ignored. I have a huge collection of hoplites to use as well. They are strictly Macedonian successors, but as mere counters they will stand in well for hoplites and I have no problem remounting them.

If you want me to help contact me at

Pleased to help.

By the way, my interest springs from the study of the various Greek Poli themselves. The methodology of battle between them seems almost identical. At present my rules consider Persians and others under the category of "effeminate oriental scum" which is the way the Greeks themselves looked at them.

MichaelCollinsHimself28 Aug 2017 1:26 a.m. PST

Hi Otto,

Thanks for volunteering!

I`d like you to welcome you aboard, on this little venture with me. I`ll mail you later to establish comms.

Yes, I think I`m coming to the same view that the tactical methods employed by warring city-states were well-known and understood to one another. Apart that is, from the end of the period I`ve chosen to concentrate on and the ascendency of Thebes; but then there was perhaps little else to counter their grand-formations except attempting to out-flank them.

I have a few corrections to make, before send you a copy as one of my testers is thoroughly proof-reading before play-testing, which is very useful indeed!

We`ll speak later,



Ottoathome29 Aug 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

Thank you Mike. I am retired so I have the time to put into it.

As we know the term laconic comes down to us from the Spartans. The Spartans were not a poetic people, but one of them that I discovered was this.

"The Fox has a thousand tricks.
the hedgehog but one.
One good one."

EvilBen Supporting Member of TMP30 Aug 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

This all sounds good. I'm afraid I don't have time to help out at the moment but will look forward to seeing the results.

While I'm here I can't resist some poetrty pedantry, though. (Sorry).

The fox and the hedgehog proverb is attributed to Archilochus (who was from Paros) and Homer (although you won't find it in the Iliad or Odyssey).

Tyrtaeus and Alcman were Spartan and poetic. You've probably come across Tyrtaeus fr.11 (West) at some stage, because it is often quoted to support the idea that hoplite phalanxes existed in the 7th century BC. Edmonds' old translation (which is on Perseus and so easily available) goes:

"Ye are of the lineage of the invincible Heracles; so be ye of good cheer; not yet is the head of Zeus turned away. Fear ye not a multitude of men, nor flinch, but let every man hold his shield straight towards the van, making Life his enemy and the black Spirits of Death dear as the rays of the sun. For ye know the destroying deeds of lamentable Ares, and well have learnt the disposition of woeful War; ye have tasted both of the fleeing and the pursuing, lads, and had more than your fill of either. Those who abiding shoulder go with a will into the mellay and the van, of these are fewer slain, these save the people afterward; as for them that turn to fear, all their valour is lost no man could tell in words each and all the ills that befall a man if he once come to dishonour. For pleasant it is in dreadful warfare to pierce the midriff of a flying man, and disgraced is the dead that lieth in the dust with a spear-point in his back. So let each man bite his lip and abide firm-set astride upon the ground, covering with the belly of his broad buckler thighs and legs below and breast and shoulders above; let him brandish the massy spear in his right hand, let him wave the dire crest upon his head; let him learn how to fight by doing doughty deeds, and not stand shield in hand beyond the missiles. Nay, let each man close the foe, and with his own long spear, or else with his sword, wound and take an enemy, and setting foot beside foot, resting shield against shield, crest beside crest, helm beside helm, fight his man breast to breast with sword or long spear in hand. And ye also, ye light-armed, crouch ye on either hand beneath the shield and fling your great hurlstones and throw against them your smooth javelins, in your place beside the men of heavier armament."

Ottoathome06 Sep 2017 2:32 p.m. PST

Dear Michael

Ok, got the rules and downloaded them. Always an adventure with PDF's

So is there any section you want me to start playtesting on right away? I will set up a few test battles on them and exhaustively work them.

MichaelCollinsHimself07 Sep 2017 8:28 a.m. PST

Hi Otto,
The impetus and combat rules would be a good place to start.

Ottoathome10 Sep 2017 7:44 a.m. PST

Dear Michael

PROBLEM! Either my computer can't handle PDF or it truncated the file. I only got up to page 34 and all of these rules did not come through. The file took up 75% of the space in my buffer so either it outran the buffer, or the printer froze up. I had to discard the file with the appended report as it was filling up the space. Can you resend the file for the post page 34 rules?

MichaelCollinsHimself10 Sep 2017 11:42 a.m. PST

OK Otto, will send shortly….

Ottoathome12 Sep 2017 9:03 a.m. PST

Dear Mike

Got them successfully Thanks.

OK I was doing some work on them. I drilled down to what I call "how do you kill things" to look over how casualties are produced. What I did was ignore all the modifiers for the moment and simply went to the base means of doing it.

I am referring to the stuff on page 70. I understand that combat effects are the result of many factors but for right now I'm dealing with the stuff on this page and the next and I want to make sure I read it right.

It says that you take the troop "attacking" or "striking" the enemy. If they roll their troop class die roll at base (no modifiers) Elite Hoplites hit the enemy on a 3,4,5,6, and hoplites on a 4,5,6. This hit can be matched with other modifiers which I am leaving alone for now. If the other side (I assume that to be the facing stands as in your illustrations) does not make its roll it gets no points.

OK -- by constructing a matrix of these matched rolls then at the very base, the most equal, there are 36 possible combinations of rolls, and for Elite Hoplites versus Elite Hoplites (the best against the best) that means that 2/9ths of the time side A will lose, and 2/9ths of the time side B will lose (they did not make their roll while their opponents did, and 5/9ths of the time there will be no effect as both sides either made, or did not make their rolls, yielding a 0 differential. For Hoplite against Hoplite the fall out is 1/4, 1/4, and 1/2. Similar things for when you have hoplites against elite hoplites. I assume that as most of the combat will be some form of hoplite against some form of hoplite) this is the base odds.

I also see the progression of disordered to shaken to broken.

I will work this both on the human level to test it, but I am making a short program for my computer to pitch 12 stands of hoplites in a phalanx against each other in an arry which will test how long the disorders take to wind up to shaken and broken etc. I want to be able to run several such computer tests on how the phalanx breaks apart etc. That is the time it takes to break or degrade the units in the phalanx.

So I'm off now, I'll contact you in a few days to a week to let you know what I found.

MichaelCollinsHimself15 Sep 2017 10:10 a.m. PST

Hi Otto,

I think you`ve already sussed out the probabilities.

Yes, impetus is worked out before combat itself – as it is to do with both sides` charges and reactions in a sense.

Without any other factors coming into play (and the ability to rally each base/unit) I think it would take a minimum of 5 turns to break a standard hoplite base/unit and therefore a whole grand phalanx of bases.

Look forward to hearing how your testing goes.



Ottoathome27 Sep 2017 6:07 a.m. PST

Dear Mike

Ok, I've got some data and experiences to report. Do you want me to do it here, or send it to you privately. Tell me your choice by sending me your e-mail address through and your postal address if you want hard copies.

Not too many surprises, but in several hundred iterations of the type of combat I have come up with a few things that might be surprising.

MichaelCollinsHimself27 Sep 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

Privately please Otto,
I`ve emailed you to reply, let me know if you have received this mail, or not.

MichaelCollinsHimself11 Oct 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

I`ll be running some solo play tests of the rules shortly; a refight of the first battle of Syracuse (415BC)

It`s all set up and so here are a few photos from various view points on the battlefield:






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