Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Diadochi Campaign: Antipater v. Craterus

We have just started a campaign set in the Successor of Alexander period along with our mates in Canberra. The umpire & 4 players are is in Canberra, 5 players in Tasmania. The Tasmanians are mainly in the west, the Canberrans in the east.  Two very different modus operandi became very apparent in the first turn.  In the east there is a complex network of alliances and a general movement west against the Hobartians with Chris on the Agean Coast of Asia Minor in the hot seat.  In the west, there are no alliances & Mark & I have jumped straight into a fight for supremacy in Greece. Given the eastern alliance moving our way this is probably not a good idea strategically, but we would rather lose fighting interesting battles than win by boring diplomacy & treachery.
Craterus of southern Greece (Mark) on the far side surveys the intial set up.  He has his phalanx on his left, hoplites in the centre & his cavalry on his right.  Antipater of northern Greece (Jim) has his phalanx on his left, Illryan warbands on his right & cavalry in reserve. 
Antipater advances his phalanx and moves his cavalry to the left to face the enemy cavalry.  Craterus has better cavalry, but less of it.
Craterus gets the vital command dice that gave him the chance to control the cavalry clash & bad break rolls soon had half Antipater's cavalry broken & his plan facing ruin.
Antipater held his nerve, used a phalanx to help out his cavalry & fought back.
The forces are now engaged all along the line.  The Illryans on the far flank have little chance against the phalanx, but are taking some down with them.  In the centre, Antipater's phalanx has the edge.  On this flank Antipater's cavalry is on the counterattack.
On this flank, Antipater has turned the tables and broken Craterus' horse.  But the hoplites are stubbornly holding the line and the need to divert aphalanx to help out the cavalry has given Craterus the chance to outflank the phalanx's right.  The Illryans are hanging on, but clearly dooomed.
There's a bit of a gap in the photo record here as Antipater got too involved in the desperate struggle to remember to take pics.  Despite the flank attack, Antipater's phalanx had Craterus' hoplites on the verge of defeat, but Craterus' notorious luck held & his centre did not break. The battle became a race to get their victorious lefts to help their centre's out first. 
Antipater's left got their first, but bad command dice at the critical points times prevented him from putting in potentially battle winning charges.
In the end Craterus got his line back together & it was Antipater's centre that broke.  With massive casualties on both sides it may have been a good result for the unholy Canberran alliance, but it was very enjoyable & exciting battle for us - so no regrets for either winner or loser.

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