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Subject: Alexander Campaign 4: Gaugamela rss

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Philip Sabin
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This classic final battle against Darius opened with Alexander needing a very one-sided triumph to offset the heavy casualties his army had suffered in the campaign so far. The initial deployment was as shown below, with 2 AHC from the Persian right wing swapped with 1 LHC from the Persian right centre, as suggested by previous refights of this scenario, to give this part of the Achaemenid army greater resilience.



Turn 2 saw both sides proceeding cautiously, with the Persians hindered by lack of commands and with Alexander deciding to hold back and reserve his flip-flop for a later opportunity to break through with his guards and outflank the enemy centre. The Persians drove back some Macedonian light troops while suffering matching losses themselves, but the turn ended as it began with only Alexander's own zone in contact.



On turn 3, Darius decided to charge forward against Parmenio with the horsemen on his right, and to follow them himself in hopes of repeating the success he had enjoyed on this wing at Issus. However, this time Parmenio gave a lot better than he got. Alexander charged at the head of his Companions in search of the desired breakthrough, but he was held up for the moment by light horse shifted across in anticipation from the Persian left flank. Despite this delay, the Macedonians in the centre and right flank moved up alongside Alexander ready to deliver the next blow.



On turn 4, Alexander duly declared his flip-flop, even though neither he nor Parmenio could attack again because of rule 8.7. The Macedonian centre and right flank did a little extra damage, and were reinforced by spare troops from Alexander's own zone. However, the Persians surpassed themselves in their all-out counterblow and inflicted hit after hit right across the front. Alexander threw himself into the fray to try to mitigate these losses which he could so ill afford, but nemesis came as he rolled snake eyes and was carried back gravely wounded! His exhausted veterans weathered the shock and pressed on with grim determination to avenge their stricken king.



Turn 5 saw Parmenio shatter a levy unit with a double hit, and a dismal morale roll carried away the other 6 Persian cavalry units in the zone, led in their flight once again by Darius himself. The central phalanx then shattered another levy unit, and a further poor morale roll carried away all of the rest of the discouraged Achaemenids, as shown below. The Macedonians were masters of the field, but with so many casualties including their beloved king, there was no rejoicing at the achievement.



With only 2 Persian units having been shattered before their fragile army fled, the Macedonians scored only 87 game victory points. Even had Alexander been unhurt, the Persians would have scored 100 victory points thanks to the damage they inflicted before routing, giving them a clear game victory. As it was, they scored a massive 136 points, thereby achieving over three times the margin of 15 needed to grant them another major game victory as at Issus.

The Macedonians conceded the campaign at this point, having scored just 9 campaign victory points as against 19 for their enemies. The Hydaspes battle would never be fought, and one may imagine Parmenio reopening negotiations on Darius's earlier offer to split the empire between Macedon and Persia. Despite this very clear cut defeat in game terms, it is noteworthy that the Macedonians won on the battlefield in all four engagements, thereby giving the best possible demonstration of how the handicap system allows balanced contests even while simulating decisive military advantages like those which Alexander historically enjoyed over his foes.

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Andrew Hobley
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Great AARs. Alexander the what?
 
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