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Subject: Amphipolis 422BC rss

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Timothy Bowden
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...Being the 3rd session using Lost Battles to refight battles from Fred Ray's 'Land Battles in 5th Century BC Greece'.

This is a tricky battle to refight for a number of reasons: Thucydides account is confused, it has small numbers for a typical Lost Battles action, and the course of the battle is hard to emulate with this system.

In this battle, the Athenian demagogue Cleon has led a force north to attack the city of Amphipolis at the same time as the Spartan general Brasidas has arrived with a small force of hoplites to defend it.

Cleon had around 3000 hoplites, 120 archers from Athens, some retainers acting as psiloi and 300 odd cavalry.
Brasidas was weaker in hoplites, having only 2000, but much stronger in cavalry and light troops - 600 horsemen and 4000 peltasts from Thrace and the area around Amphipolis.

The action started when Cleon took his hoplites to recce the town from a nearby hill. When he then went to withdraw,Brasidas'forces charged from two different gates in the city. The Athenians were defeated and suffered heavy losses. Both Cleon and Brasidas were killed in the fighting.

This is an interesting battle, with one side having a clear advantage in hoplites (and Fred points out that in this period, such forces came out on top 70% of the time) while the other has the advantage in light troops and cavalry...

Gaming the battle...
For this battle, the scale of one figure = 75 men is used to ensure an adequate FV.

The Spartans:
1 Inspired Leader (Brasidas)
1 Veteran Hoplite (Brasidas led a force of 150 picked men)
6 Average Hoplites
4 Average Light Infantry
4 Levy Light Infantry
4 Average Heavy Cavalry
FV = 66

The Athenians
1 Average Leader (Cleon)
10 Average Hoplites
1 Veteran Light Infantry (Athenian archers)
2 Levy LI (described by Fred as poorly armed and no match for Brasidas'LI)
2 Average Heavy Cavalry
FV = 50

The board is set with a hill at one end, and three walled camps to stand in for Amphipolis. Key zones are both right centres. Attack value is 3.

The Athenians get the first move, and are Surprised.
I decided to wave the usual restriction on deploying heavy infantry in the first turn, as Cleon supposedly brought his hoplites with him on his recce. Thus, in the opening move, Cleon moves up onto the hill with a few hoplites. Down below, the Spartans moved into position in the left and right centre, ready to charge out.


Cleon hurriedly brought up the rest of his forces, and descended from the hill onto the plain. Brasidas sent his cavalry out on the wings, and moved out from the city into the centre left and right tiles. Battle is joined!

The Spartan's cavalry made short work of the opposing horesmen on both wings, and would be ready to turn on the phalanx once they got tired of riding down and spearing routing riders. They also destroyed the Athenian archers before they got to do anything! How disappointing.
Cleon hit hard on the left of the Spartan line, but on the right, Brasidas shattered the larger opposing phalanx. He had been able to soak up some damage with his LI and then launch an attack with his picked unit (and a hefty handful of bonuses).

It was all over soon after. True to form, Cleon was killed in the act of trying to rally his men. Brasidas was luckier, escaping his fate when his veteran unit was hit.

In the scoring, the Spartans still only won a narrow victory. Hmmm, seemed a bit more telling than that.

An enjoyable hoplite action. Having four units in a tile makes for a powerful attack - one lead unit, a second attach with support, and then a final attack which still gets a bonus for fighting fellow hoplites.
Having LI to soak up some hits was helpful - having two such units meant the Spartans could do it twice in some tiles.
There were not enough command points flying around to easily get the heavy cavalry into action in the rear of the Athenians, but their presence on the wings was still useful.

Incidentally, I contact Fred Ray via Amazon - turns out he owns the Lost Battles book, but had not heard of the new game...
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Ryszard Tokarczuk
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Thanks for doing these - "translating" hoplite battles into LB system. Still, I`m astounded - Cleon, Average General? Reading Thucydides, I`ve always pictured him as militarily noncompetent demagogue (as Cleon was not the only leader in Battle of Sphacteria). Still, I believe that with such small scale (75 men? All battles in box are larger ) it`s good choice for creating army with necessary Fighting Value.
 
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Timothy Bowden
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Hi Ryszard
Yes, on reflection the man with a voice like a scalded sow (as described in Aristophanes'The Wasps) is probably better labelled an Uninspired Leader. I was thinking that his impact on the Assembly - getting himself this and the Spacteria campaign - maybe translated into the troops thinking highly of him too... Inspirational pre-battle speeches maybe? But no, uninspired is probably better.

Yes, this battle is at a much smaller scale. Using the lowest in the system - 125 men - would have yielded a pretty small counter set. 4 hoplites for Brasidas and 6 for Cleon, etc.

cheers
Tim
 
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bertrand d
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Thanks for these new battles. Excellent historic battles to simulate !!

Some comments:
-I am surprised by the level given to the leaders.
Brasidas stupid early death in this battle and also the limited impact of its death on the historic course of the battle should make him an UNINSPIRED leader.
Therefore CLEON should receive the same level as best or be ignored.

-Light infantry
TimothyBowden wrote:
Having LI to soak up some hits was helpful - having two such units meant the Spartans could do it twice in some tiles.


Note that only the first LI can use the special limit to 1 hit max. As soon as a first unit is spent, the LI protection is less efficient.

I have seen in Nemea that some peltasts are represented as HI instead of LI or HO. Without changing the number of points maybe HI can replace some of the Spartan LI without changing point numbers.
 
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Timothy Bowden
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You've caught me out - I confess to having a 'thing'for Brasidas!

Ok, so maybe Average suits him better... This is one of the great things about this system, getting to try different permutations. I was thinking that compared to other Spartan leaders, he displayed more flexibility, and thus deserved a higher rating. But comparing generalship across time, then he has to drop.

I insist on keeping Cleon on the board! I want to see if he can survive the battle next time I fight it. And yes, he must drop to Uninspired.

The fact both leaders died in this battle reinforces Phil's rally rule. As to the impact or lack thereof on the battle when Brasidas died, I can only point to the popular saying of the time "That's the way the Spartan general gets it right in the neck"- which suggests his men weren't in the least surprised when he bought the farm*whistle

Your idea about HI to represnt mass peltasts is good. Yes, I knew the second unit couldn't screen double hits, but they were still able to soak up a hit that would have gone to a hoplite unit otherwise.

Tim

*except Spartans didn't buy farms, did they?
 
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Miguel [working on TENNISmind]
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Lugbar wrote:
Brasidas stupid early death in this battle and also the limited impact of its death on the historic course of the battle should make him an UNINSPIRED leader.

Everything I've read about him suggests that he was VERY inspired, both as a warrior and a leader. He lead the whole campaign to the North, that ended at Amphipolis, without a single Spartan (he only got allies and helots because he was not of a "pure" Spartan origin). And he died from his wounds after the battle. The Amphipolitans appreciated his leadership by adopting him as founder of the city.
 
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bertrand d
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franchi wrote:
Lugbar wrote:
Brasidas stupid early death in this battle and also the limited impact of its death on the historic course of the battle should make him an UNINSPIRED leader.

Everything I've read about him suggests that he was VERY inspired, both as a warrior and a leader. He lead the whole campaign to the North, that ended at Amphipolis, without a single Spartan (he only got allies and helots because he was not of a "pure" Spartan origin). And he died from his wounds after the battle. The Amphipolitans appreciated his leadership by adopting him as founder of the city.


Before the battle, no problem.
Now what do you want to simulate ?
Do you really want to reproduce what happened that day ?

That day the guy rushed with a small vanguard to pursue a retreating enemy and the enemy was only partially retreating or at least did make a stand.
The vanguard got caught and its leader killed, well that day Brasidas was UNINSPIRED, at least for himself:
- it gives more chance for him to be killed
- the impact on battle will remain minimal. If you put him average, the whole army will get -1 morale immediately, which did not happen that day.

So give the reproduction of history a chance, please !

On the Amphipolis side there was also another leader who lead the second column sortying from the city. So 2 Uninspired leader would be not a bad choice, against one uninspired Cleon.
 
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Miguel [working on TENNISmind]
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Lugbar wrote:
That day the guy rushed with a small vanguard to pursue a retreating enemy and the enemy was only partially retreating or at least did make a stand.
The vanguard got caught and its leader killed, well that day Brasidas was UNINSPIRED, at least for himself:
- it gives more chance for him to be killed
- the impact on battle will remain minimal. If you put him average, the whole army will get -1 morale immediately, which did not happen that day.

So give the reproduction of history a chance, please !

Thucydides account has little to do with your version. He said that Brasidas set a trap to the Athenians, by letting them believe that they wouldn't go out and fight. He waited till their left wing marched past the South Gate, and with his best men charged the disorganized Athenian center, while Clearidas emerged from the Thracian Gate with the rest of the army.

This way he nullified the Athenian superiority in numbers and pushed more than half of their army to flight. After Thucydides, about 600 Athenians died, while only 7 on the Spartan side, including their brave general. That is the definition of a very inspired leader to me.

But fell free to reproduce your personal view of the battle, please!
 
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bertrand d
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franchi wrote:

Thucydides account has little to do with your version. He said that Brasidas set a trap to the Athenians, by letting them believe that they wouldn't go out and fight. He waited till their left wing marched past the South Gate, and with his best men charged the disorganized Athenian center, while Clearidas emerged from the Thracian Gate with the rest of the army.

This way he nullified the Athenian superiority in numbers and pushed more than half of their army to flight. After Thucydides, about 600 Athenians died, while only 7 on the Spartan side, including their brave general. That is the definition of a very inspired leader to me.

But fell free to reproduce your personal view of the battle, please!


ok, but not in game terms:
- A general who dies early in the battle in Lost Battle game, gives a great chance to his side to rout early: -1 to morale check. His death was ignored during the battle.
- In addition an Inspired leader does not die easily (close shave effect with a "3"): you reduce drastically the chance to make happen what did happen
- the battle was won without the great bonus of an inspired leader (+4) as he died early. So the battle should be won by the Spartan allies without a great effect from this leader.

All this advocates for uninspired leader in terms of simulation.

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Miguel [working on TENNISmind]
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All good points, indeed I've read a lot on the Peloponnesian War but I don't own Lost Battles, and so don't know how historical facts affect the flow of the game...
 
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Timothy Bowden
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I do wonder if, given the nature of hoplite warfare and the custom of the polemarch to lead by example in the front rank, whether the death of a leader had less impact in hoplite battles?

Can anyone think of any examples where one side routed after a leader was killed?

Off the top of my head, when Leonidas fell at Thermopylae, the Spartans are described as fighting to reclaim his body, not being disordered in any way.
 
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Lucius Cornelius
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TimothyBowden wrote:
I do wonder if, given the nature of hoplite warfare and the custom of the polemarch to lead by example in the front rank, whether the death of a leader had less impact in hoplite battles?

Can anyone think of any examples where one side routed after a leader was killed?

Off the top of my head, when Leonidas fell at Thermopylae, the Spartans are described as fighting to reclaim his body, not being disordered in any way.
Leuctra?
 
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bertrand d
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sullafelix wrote:
TimothyBowden wrote:
I do wonder if, given the nature of hoplite warfare and the custom of the polemarch to lead by example in the front rank, whether the death of a leader had less impact in hoplite battles?

Can anyone think of any examples where one side routed after a leader was killed?

Off the top of my head, when Leonidas fell at Thermopylae, the Spartans are described as fighting to reclaim his body, not being disordered in any way.
Leuctra?


Lost Battles is a game for effect.
Most hoplite leaders are rated UNINSPIRED
- Callimachus at Marathon
- Hippocrates at Delium
- Agis at Mantinea
- Aristodemus at Nemea
- Cleombrontus at Leuctra

Interestingly enough, the leader from Thebes are different, rated average or inspired. Agiselas of Sparte at Second Coronea also, but is he not the leader of a personal army, not truly a national Spartan one ?
- their influence on battle is therefore greater, but their loss usually spells the doom of their army
- the leader is more at risk if he is average than inspired due to the close shave rule

It is to the designer to chose the correct leader level for effect.So what is best for Amphipolis Brasida simulation ?

- For me to reproduce the course of event, I would give 2 unsinspired leaders to Amphipolis side and 1 to Athens
- But one can also prefer an average leader for Brasidas and say than even if Brasidas died the course of battle was so in favor of Amphipolis that if his death happened as historically, it would not influence the battle more.
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bertrand d
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The course of battle, if of interest:

"When Brasidas had thus said, he both prepared to go out himself, and also placed the rest that were with Clearidas before the gates called the Thracian gates to issue forth afterwards as was appointed. [2] Now Brasidas having been in sight when he came down from Cerdylium and again when he sacrificed in the city by the temple of Pallas, which place might be seen from without, it was told Cleon [whilst Brasidas was ordering of his men] (for he was at this time gone off a little to look about him) that the whole army of the enemies was plainly to be discerned within the town, and that the feet of many men and horses, ready to come forth, might be discerned from under the gate. [3] Hearing this, he came to the place; and when he saw it was true, being not minded to fight until his aids arrived, and yet making no other account but that his retreat would be discovered, he commanded at once to give the signal of retreat, and that as they went the left wing should march foremost, which was the only means they had to withdraw towards Eion. [4] But when he thought they were long about it, causing the right wing to wheel about and lay open their disarmed parts to the enemy, he led away the army himself. [5] Brasidas at the same time, having spied his opportunity and that the army of the Athenians removed, said to those about him and the rest: ‘These men stay not for us; it is apparent by the wagging of their spears and of their heads; for where such motion is, they use not to stay for the charge of the enemy; [6] therefore open me some body the gates appointed and let us boldly and speedily sally forth upon them.’ Then he went out himself at the gate towards the trench, and which was the first gate of the long wall, which then was standing; and at high speed took the straight way, in which, as one passeth by the strongest part of the town, there standeth now a trophy, and charging upon the midst of the Athenian army, which was terrified both with their own disarray and the valour of the man, forced them to fly. [7] And Clearidas, as was appointed, having issued out by the Thracian gates, was withal coming upon them. [8] And it fell out that the Athenians, by this unexpected and sudden attempt, were on both sides in confusion; and the left wing which was next to Eion, and which indeed was marching away before, was immediately broken off from the rest of the army and fled. When that was gone, Brasidas coming up to the right wing, was there wounded. [9] The Athenians saw not when he fell; and they that were near took him up and carried him off. The right wing stood longer to it: and though Cleon himself presently fled (as at first he intended not to stay) and was intercepted by a Myrcinian targetier and slain, yet his men of arms, casting themselves into a circle on the [top of a little] hill, twice or thrice resisted the charge of Clearidas and shrunk not at all, till begirt with the Myrcinian and Chalcidean horse and with the targetiers, they were put to flight by their darts. [10] Thus the whole army of the Athenians, getting away with much ado over the hills and by several ways, all that were not slain upon the place or by the Chalcidean horse and targetiers, recovered Eion. [11] The other side taking up Brasidas out of the battle, and having so long kept him alive, brought him yet breathing into the city; and he knew that his side had gotten the victory, but expired shortly after. [12] When Clearidas with the rest of the army were returned from pursuit of the enemy, they rifled those that were slain and erected a trophy. "

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%...
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Timothy Bowden
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I like this - not only considering the leadership potential of the general, but the role they played in the battle, including their death and its impact...

So yes, to make the death of Brasidas more likely, and to decrease the impact of his loss, rating him as uninspired works well. Adding the other general still gives a leadership edge over the Athenians.

The game system wins again!
 
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