Year Published
# of Players
1 − 4
User Suggested # of Players
Best with 2 players
Recommended with 1–2 players
(14 voters) [poll]
Mfg Suggested Ages
12 and up
Playing Time
140 minutes
User Suggested Ages
(5 voters) [poll]
Language Dependence
Some necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(5 voters) [poll]
(18 voters) [vote]
Primary Name
Lost Battles
Alternate Names
Lost Battles: Forty Battles & Campaigns of the Ancient World
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ObjectID: 83325
Description Edit | History

"Lost Battles" is forty games in one. The game covers battles and campaigns in the Mediterranean and Near East from the Persian defeat at Marathon in 490 BC to Caesar's victory at Pharsalus in 48 BC. It has been exhaustively tested and refined over the past several years, and is based on Professor Philip Sabin's decades of research and simulation design on ancient warfare; and it includes an updated copy of his book, with extensive historical and design notes on every scenario.

The game can be fought on three levels - the grand tactical, the grand strategic, or a combination of the two. At the grand tactical level, 1 or 2 players may refight any of 35 different land battles such as Leuctra, Gaugamela, Raphia, Cannae, Cynoscephalae or the Sambre - far more than in any other single boxed game. At the grand strategic level, 1 to 4 players may refight the epic duels of the two centuries from 350 to 150 BC, starting with the eclipse of Achaemenid Persia by Alexander of Macedon, and ending with Hannibal's campaigns and the conquest of Carthage and the Hellenistic states by the resurgent Roman republic. The most ambitious games combine these two levels, and see 1 to 4 players using tactical battles to resolve strategic campaigns across part or all of this two century period, or else refighting a series of historical battles to decide conflicts such as the three-cornered contest for dominance between Athens, Sparta and Thebes from the start of the Peloponnesian War to the death of Epaminondas.

The accent throughout is on combining historical accuracy with speed and accessibility. The free-standing strategic game may be completed in just 30 minutes, while individual land battles may be re-fought in two hours or less. There is constant player interaction, and a series of tortuous dilemmas - how should the scarce command points be allocated across the battlefront, which troop types should be put in the lead against particular opponents, should units attack all-out at the cost of becoming exhausted themselves, and should generals join the fighting to rally their disheartened men at the risk of being killed and so making things far worse? The game includes all the many troop types from hoplites, legionaries, phalangites and archers to cataphracts, scythed chariots and war elephants, and it includes simple rules to reflect the huge differences in generalship and troop quality and to allow outclassed armies to win a handicapped 'game victory' even if they are defeated on the field, as long as they do better than they did historically. All aspects of the game are avowedly solitaire-friendly, and can be run by a single player swapping sides just as easily as by one or more players per side.

Tactical battles are fought on a 5 x 4 grid of full-colour 5 inch square hard mounted terrain tiles, which dovetail to form any desired battlefield. The individually die-cut counters have rounded corners and are also in full-colour; they depict the various different troop types. The strategic game is fought on a hard mounted map showing the area from Spain to India.

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More Information Edit | History

Battle and Campaign Scenarios (with AARs):
Lost Battles (in the BoardGameGeek Wiki)

The Gamebox contains:

  • 50 double-sided 5" square semi-geomorphic map tiles
  • 324 rectangular 1" counters
  • 72 large rectangular 2" counters
  • 1 full-colour Rulebook
  • Three full-colour double-sided A4 player aid cards
  • 1 paperback copy of Professor Sabin's book
  • 1 12"x33" "Empire" strategic overview game map
  • 90 "Empire" 1" playing pieces

Reimplements the Hambledon Continuum book, Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World and the Society of Ancients folio, Empire: The Macedonian Punic Wars, 350-150BC. The Lost Battles system itself is a direct descendant of the miniature rules set Strategos. Phil Sabin's game Legion uses a number of mechanics similar to Lost Battles, but uses a standard wargame hex grid as a playing field.

Microbadges: mb

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Pg. 1
Lost Battles
First Edition
Publisher: Fifth Column Games
Artist: Mark Mahaffey
Year: 2011
Size: 12.00 x 10.50 x 3.00 inches
7.70 pounds
Release Date:  
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Title | Hot | Recent
[Browse »]  [Upload File »] Language:
Pg. 1 of 2 »
2 LB_gap-filler
If you want to build up your battlefield using a clip-on picture-frame 50cm x 70cm then you need to fill up the gaps on the left and right side/edge, while the tiles perfectly fits in the height. REMARK: Get a stable frame and have a look on the backboard. If it is to thin it tends to warp and the tiles are not pressed on the glass anymore.
5 MARATHON Quick Player Aid
Quick play aid: One page for Athenians, one for Persians, using only modifiers for the battle of Marathon. (Base to hit is 9, reflected by included modifiers) PDF
5 1st MANTINEA Player aid
I am working on special charts for each individual battle, where each player has all of their modifiers for their own specific side on one easy to read sheet. These speed up play by not needing to search for your specific modifiers from the entire list. I have 4 done so far, and will be making a set for all 40 battles. I will continue to post them here if there is interest. Note: a base number of 9 is needed to start causing damage, attack modifiers reflect this...
25 LB Combat-Modifier-Markers
This was developed weeks ago and we found it very helpful when we came back to Lost Battles after a while having played other games. I decided to share it. Feel free to download the attached file. The Combat-Modifier-Markers allow you to pick up only combat-modifiers for the battle you just want to play. So, for example, at Marathon there are no chariots, no elephants, no light infantry, no light cavalry, no phalanx, there is no wet weather and there are no streams, no rivers, no woods, no marshes - hence, you do not need combat modifiers for this. As a result of that you can play that battle with a handful of markers which will represent the modifiers and you have the advantage to put the valid ones beside the attacking unit (even good if you play solo) to show your decision....
6 Lost Battles and Successors
Version 1.0 Rules for resolving the battles in GMT's Successors with Philip Sabin's Lost Battles.
47 My player's aid
Here is a new version of "My player's aid"-file. Feel free to download. Comments/suggestions are welcomed. Many thanks to Reinhard and Steve for their support and clarification. REMARK: express activation for Light Infantry and Elephants at a cost of 1 command should only be for forward deployment of these two types, not during normal play.
9 Lost Battles Unit Inventory
Version 1.01 fixes a miscount of one unit type, and includes subtotals of infantry, cavalry, and other units.
11 tile manifest
list of tiles for Lost Battles.
18 Lost Battles - "Empire" Strategic game Example of Play
A fifteen-page PDF walkthrough of ten turns of the "Empire" strategic level game - written by Professor Sabin.
6 Lost Battles - Book Excerpt - Chaeronea
The sub-chapter of "Lost Battles" the book, on the battle of 1st Chaeronea.
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Board Game Rank: 2246
War Game Rank: 216
Num Ratings: 161
Average Rating: 7.93
Standard Deviation: 1.71
Num Views: 157383
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Avg. Game Weight: 3.2
Fans: 73
Personal Comments: 111
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Serious Games At Work, episode 6: Philip Sabin
53.33 MB
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