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Mini Granikos

Posted by Adam on February 11, 2015 at 6:35 PM

Our first game of 2015 was inspired by the Battle of Granikos. We had a Macedonian army fighting to cross a river defended by a Persian army of dubious quality.

Alexanders Army

3 units Hypaspists (Elite spearmen)

9 units  Phalanx  (Regular pikes)

5 units of Companions (Elite lancers)

1 unit Thessalian cavalry (Regular javelin cavalry)

1 unit Thracian light infantry

1 unit Cretan archers

1 unit Rhodian slingers


Persian Army

3 units Saka cavalry (armoured Militia)

3 units Persian cavalry (Trained Militia)

1 unit Arachosian light cavalry ( 2nd Rate Militia)

1 unit camels ( 2nd Rate Militia)

3 units Egyptian levied marines (Trained militia)

3 units Chaldian spearmen (Trained militia)

4 units Persian bowmen (2nd Rate Militia)

6 units Mercenary Hoplites (Trained Militiia)


The Persians would have a numerical superiority and a river to defend but pretty much lower quality troops across the board. The river was not a severe  obstacle for the Macedonians, it halved their speed but was only type 2 terrain, so movement on a standard move card not the rarer card for type 3 or 4 terrain. Although shallow, the rocky riverbed did cause all types crossing to be unformed and the steepness of the Persian bank would give a defender a superior position in hand to hand combat.

Due to a disagreement about how to tackle the Macedonian invaders the mercenary Greek contingent of the persian army had not rushed to the river so would be delayed by a random number of moves. To balance this their commander, Memnon of Rhodes, was automatically a Skilled General. Alexander did not roll high enough to be a Superior general (an off day) but his heroic status would allow him to use any "Heroic Moment " cards (there were 2 in the deck) as wildcards for a unit he was leading.


The Macedonians deployed with their strongest cavalry command and the Agema led by Alexander on their left. The pike phalanx was deplyed in one continuous line more to the right with the right wing cavalry refused. The guard Hypaspists were stationed linking the left wing cavalry and the phalanx. The Persians had positioned their best cavalry (The Saka) on their right, opposite the massed Companions and the Persian cavalry on the left flank. Their bowmen were strung all along the riverbank with the heavy infantry in two columns to the rear ready to react to the weight of the Macedonian assault.


Looking from the Persian side of the river, Saka cavalry in the foreground.


The view from behind the Macedonian centre.



The Saka cavalry protecting the flank of the column of Egyptian marines.


The Macedonians won the lions share of the impetus early on and used it to go through their deck to find the movement cards. They pushed the whole line towards the river and soon the Companion cavalry were crossing. Alexander forged on ahead with his Agema elite cavalry. The use of the Heroic Monent wildcards meant that Alexander crossed the river before the rest of his army and proceeded to attack the enemy single-handed!



Alexander the Great leads the vanguard cavalry out of the river.


This could have been the scene of an early disaster for the Macedonian side. The guard cavalry had Alexander fighting at their head which gave them up one dice type but were still unformed from the river crossing when the heavily armoured Saka nobles charged home. Still with a slight advantage they proceeded to throw a 2 on their twelve sided dice! Rather than capitalise on thi poor fortune of their opponents the Persian player (yes it was me) could only throw a 3 on a ten sided dice... the Agema were thrown back in disorder but Alexander passed an easy survival check. The Macedonian wild cards and numerous Leader Check cards now allowed them to quickly rally from the disorder and charge again. This time the Saka were thoroughly defeated and routed from the battle.



Alexander and the Agema head towards their next victim.

The rest of the Macedonian Companions followed their king into the river and their very proximity started to cause nervousness amongst the levy bowmen skirmishing on the other bank. Some of them failed a morale check and backed away.



Levy bowmen backing away in disorder and leaving the fight to their supporting cavalry.

The Hypaspists were the next part of the Macedonian army to head across the river, forcing the Persian foot to deploy facing two different threats.



Massed Hypaspist Guardsmen head for the river.



Egyptian marines attempt to bolster the right flank.


Some of the Persian foot started to fall into chaos as morale challenges and Courage checks whittled away at theri morale. The levy bowmen were putting up a valiant fight against the Macedonian skirmishers attempting to cross the river but the writing was already on the wall.



Macedonian cavalry close the trap.

Alexander had almost single handedly dealt with the entire right flank Persian cavalry at this point and was wheeling his horsemen towards the rear of the Persian army. Their only hope lay in the missing Greek mercenaries. These were indeed due, as the required number of move cards had been drawn. Their arrival could cause the flanking cavalry to themselves be vulnerable.  The Infantry Move card just would not come. The Companion Cavalry remorselessly attacked the retreating and disordered Persian right leaving the whole army in danger of encirclement. Chaldean spearmen moved up to engage the Phalanx as it followed the rest of the army in successfully crossing the Granikos River but it was a futile gesture.


Chaldean spearmen about to be swept aside by the formidable Macedonian pike phalanx.


The phalanx is across the river and the game is over.


This was intended to be a trickier prospect for the Macedonians than it turned out to be. Aside from the early  scare when Alexander could have been routed or killed, most of the vital combats went their way. With hindsight I would give them fewer of the elite troop types or maybe even bin history and let the Persians deploy their Greek mercenaries on table from the start. Making the river a tougher obstacle was another option but would have made the crossing slower, making the game a bit tedious. (Next time they will only have a couple of fords to fight their way across!)

Categories: Battle Reports

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