Friday, March 13, 2015

DBA 3.0 Early Achaemenid Persians vs Early Hoplite Greeks Part 3

The previous two battles between the Early Achaemenid Persians and the Early Hoplite Greeks saw Later Athenian victories. The main points regarding the Athenian victories are as follows:

  • ·         The ascendancy of the hoplite battle line which was irresistible against the double element bow Sparabara and Immortal infantry.
  • ·         The failure of the Persians to mount any meaningful flanking threat to the Greeks with their superior numbers of cavalry and the restrictive nature of the terrain
  • ·         The failure of bow armed troops to inflict any meaningful effect on spear troops with individual unsupported fire.
This sets the stage for the next encounter between these two armies.

     Army Lists: 
     The Persians are list I/60c in the DBA 3.0 rules. The list allows the Persians to take either 3 Double element 8Bw for the Sparabara or fast 3Bw. The 3Bw may have been a better option in the previous games where there was more terrain. In the case of the Immortals, they Persian can take either one 8Bw double element or a 4Bw single element. The list also allows the Persians to take 3 Hordes or Psiloi as the Levy. Horde elements cost an extra pip to move, but when destroyed, do not count toward the army breakpoint of 4 elements lost. Psiloi on the other hand, only fight at +2, but are harder to kill. They flee from spear if doubled, move faster, and can fight in bad terrain. They also cannot be corner overlapped and can interpenetrate and make subsequent moves. The army list allows the Persians to take a combination of Horde or Psiloi. For the next game, the Persians decide to stay with 8Bw instead of 3Bw, but take only two Hd and add an additional Ps. The Persian starting line up for the next encounter now looks like this:

3 x Cavalry (one is the general)
3 x 8Bw (Sparabara)
1 x 8Bw (Immortals)
1 x 3Ax (Armenians)
2 x 7Hd (Levy)
2 x Ps

     The Athenians (list I/52F) look like this:

9 x Sp (one is the general)
1 x Cv
2 x Ps

For the next battle, the Athenians are the defenders and Littoral is their home terrain. A waterway is compulsory terrain for Littoral. The Athenians also chose a marsh and a difficult hill.

Above shows the game at the end of turn 2. Instead of deploying in a large main battler line, the Persians (on the left) used the terrain as much as possible. The Sparabara were placed in the marsh, where their bow fire would not be effected and their movement slowed, but is a better place to be against hoplites, who take a -2 if in close combat in bad going. The Immortals and the Armenian auxilia were placed near the difficult hill, where they have the same protection against hoplites, and the additional advantage of +1 if higher than their opponent. The Persians have also massed all their cavalry on their far right flank, while the psiloi are operating along the waterway near the marsh. The hordes are covering the camp. The Athenians have formed another long main battle line, with their sole cavalry on the left flank and psiloi along the waterway on the right.

Above shows the end of turn 3. The Persian cavalry has deployed into line. The Athenian cavalry has moved into a supported position on their left. The Athenian battle line has not moved forward yet.

Above shows the end of turn 4. The Athenian battle line has held stationary due to the threat on their left, while the Persian cavalry has attacked the Athenian left flank cavalry, recoiling them. Near the waterway, the Persians got lucky and destroyed one of the Athenian Psiloi. The Persians are winning 1-0.

Above shows the end of turn 5, where the Athenians are in serious trouble. The Persian cavalry has destroyed the sole Athenian cavalry unit and a hoplite element. Good die rolls helped. The Persians are now winning 3-0.

Above shows the end of the game on turn 6. The Persians have destroyed another hoplite unit with their cavalry and the game ends, a 4-0 win for the Persians. 

Discussion: The Athenian battle line never got going forward and all the pips were spent on the flanks. The Persian infantry never really got involved, but they were in much better positions. The Persian cavalry won this battle. If the Athenians had concentrated all their command pips on the Persian cavalry, they might have had a better chance, as the Persian infantry was not about to move out of their defensive positions.



  1. Dave, did the bows do badly just because they rolled bad or does it have to do with the rule changes for 3.0?


  2. Bill, the bows are stronger in 3.0, but lost anyway. The Persian 8Bw fight melee vs spears at +3 while the spears fight at +5 with flank support.