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Subject: Alexander Campaign 1: 1st Chaeronea rss

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Philip Sabin
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I decided to play a campaign consisting of Alexander's five key battles, as discussed in section 14.2 of the boardgame rules. 1st Chaeronea is always a difficult challenge for the Macedonians, because the Greeks, though poorly commanded, have plenty of good troops, a strong position, and a daunting handicap advantage. The historical turn 1 deployments are as shown below, with the Greeks in white at the top.



On turn 2, the Greeks advanced their centre and right centre and sent light infantry to occupy the Chaeronea hill. Alexander and the phalanx held back from an attritional slugfest against the entire Greek line, while Philip led his hypaspists onto the right flank with the aim of seizing the Chaeronea hill, outflanking the Athenians and rolling up the rest of the enemy line in a step by step approach.



On turn 3, the Athenian hoplites on the left were tempted down from their strong position by the withdrawal of the hypaspists (just as happened historically). The rest of both battle lines were content to avoid combat and await the outcome on Philip's wing.



On turn 4, the hypaspists managed to see off the enemy skirmishers despite suffering heavy losses from their missiles, while the Athenians were held on the limited fighting front astride the Haemon stream.



On turn 5, the Greeks decided to bite the bullet and advance the rest of their line, instead of waiting to be defeated in detail. The Athenians continued to bog down Philip's wing.



On turn 6, the Greek centre inflicted heavy damage on the central phalanx, hindered as it was by the stream bed. Philip and Alexander made progress towards breaking through on the wings, but it was infuriatingly slow.



On turn 7, the Athenians and the Greek cavalry in the Cephissus marshes were finally broken in frontal combat, allowing Philip to seize the enemy key zone and counter the morale penalty which his army had suffered for losing two of its own centre zones.



On turn 8, the desperate Greeks pushed forward in the centre and succeeded in shattering two phalanx units. Philip and Alexander's men surged round to encircle the enemy and turn the tables in terms of morale, but they were unable to secure that final elusive hit which would trigger a catastrophic morale test.



On turn 9, the Greeks exploited their reprieve by shattering the remaining two phalanx units in the Macedonian rear zone, and they were prevented from advancing only by the restriction on hoplite advances in rule 9.1. The vengeful Macedonians at last broke their surrounded opponents, first in the centre and finally on Alexander's wing where the Theban Sacred Band was holding out to the end as shown below.



Although the Macedonians had secured eventual victory on the field, their own losses had been enormous. They scored 95 victory points, but the Greeks scored 105 points thanks to their whopping handicap bonus of 42. This allowed the Greeks to scrape a clear game victory, in a classic illustration of how the handicap system works. After this first battle of the campaign, the Macedonians have just 2 campaign victory points as against 5 for their enemies, giving them a lot of ground to make up as the invasion of Persia begins.
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