|View from the Athenian side|
|View from the Spartan side|
|Athenian Peltasts and Drilled Hoplites|
|Athenian Elite Hoplites|
|Athenian Militia Hoplites and Peltasts|
|Spartan Elite Hoplites and Helot Psiloi|
|Spartan Elite Hoplites|
|Spartan Drilled Hoplites and Helot Psiloi|
Yesterday in the mail I got my copy of the new Osprey skirmish rules, Men of Bronze Ancient Greek Hoplite Battles, a day before its official release. I've really been looking forward to these rules, as I have numerous armies for the period (Marathon to Chaeronea) and they are based on Dux Bellorum, my favourite dark age rules. After reading the rules I was disappointed for a variety of reasons but decided to try them out with a solo 38 point game with Spartans and Athenians of the Peloponnesian War meeting in a decisive battle.
One of the things I found confusing about rules was the measurements in base widths as Hoplite units move 6 base widths which is doubled to 12 when charging. In Dux Bellorum the standard infantry move is 2 base widths or 3 for impetuous warriors charging. I think this refers to a single base width as all the figures in the photos are 28mm based on single circular 25mm bases, so in effect a single base width equals 1 inch and this is what I went with in my game.
The Spartans had three hoplite units (2 Elite and 1 Drilled) and two units of Helot Psiloi. The Athenians had three hoplite units ( 1 Elite, 1 Drilled and 1 Militia) and two Peltast units. Both sides started the game with six Arete Points each (arete means excellence in Greek). These are similar to Command Points in Dux Bellorum and are used to bid for Initiative, charge, use a special rule, steal Initiative from your opponent, rally a Wavering unit and re-roll any one die.
In the centre the Spartans charged and the Athenians counter charged. The slogging match continued with units on both sides wavering and courage faltering. In the end two units on both sides bizarrely routed at the same time! A hoplite and skirmisher unit remained on either side, three units then failed their discipline tests, leaving a single wavering Spartan hoplite unit victorious.
I feel ambivalent about these rules but may try them again with Greeks and Persians or Thracians (Hill Tribe Barbarians). The last two army lists are very generic and seemed to have been added as an afterthought and do leave quite a bit to be desired in terms of historical accuracy. For me this is the main problem with this rule set and having major battles like Marathon, Plataea, Thermopylae, Cunaxa, Leuctra and Chaeronea reduced to skirmish game scenarios just doesn't really cut it.
|The two forces close|
|Peltasts are within firing range|
|Spartans charge the Athenians|
|Athenians counter charge|
|Action on the Athenian centre and right flank|
|The slogging match continues|
|Units are wavering and courage is faltering|
|A single Spartan Hoplite unit remains victorious|