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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Battle of Sarmizegetusa

View of the table with the Dacian walls on the left

The Romans attack the walls while Dacians counterattack from the right and left flanks

Romans on the right flank form a line againt the Sarmatian cataphracts and lancers

On Sunday Craig, Bern, Garry, Ian, Peter, Greg and I had a large Hail Caesar game that was loosely based on Trajan's storming of the Dacian capital in 106AD -  the Battle of Sarmizegetusa. Sarmizegetusa Regia as it was known by the Romans was quite a sophisticated city with stone walls, paved streets and even running water in some of the houses. The Romans eventually prevailed in a hard fought victory storming the city and breaking one of the Dacians divisions but casualties were heavy on both sides. See Greg's blog for his take on the game and more photos - Land of the Lead. Thanks to all for a fun game.

Ian gives the Roman commanders some pretty clear instructions on the left flank

View of the right flank

Sarmatian cataphracts and Praetorian Guard cavalry charge

Praetorian Guard and Numidian light cavalry advance on the left flank

Roman scopiones find their aim

Roman ballista gets some target practice too

Veteran legionaries charge the Sarmatian cataphracts on their flank and break them

Romans and Dacians fight over the city walls

Sarmatian lancers charge the veteran legionaries in the flank and break them

Roman auxiliary cavalry and Sarmatian lancers at the end of the game

Foederati guard the Roman right flank

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Command and Colors Ancients - Spartan Army

I recently ordered the latest Command and Colors Ancients board game expansion from Milsims, for $56 plus postage, and have just finished putting the stickers on the blocks (hurrah!). I thought I do a short review for those who might be interested. Command and Colors Ancients, in case you're unfamiliar with the game, is designed by Richard Borg of GMT Games and has scenarios based on the great battles of the ancient world. I have five of the six themed ancient games released so far and there are also two Napoleonic sets to date. The original set deals with the Punic Wars, Expansion No.1 Greece vs Eastern Kingdoms (my favourite), Expansion No.2 Rome vs the Barbarians, Expansion No.3 Roman Civil Wars, Expansion No.4 Imperial Rome etc.

Expansion No.6 deals with the Spartan Army and has 26 scenarios from 669 BC to 331 BC it also ties in with existing scenarios in Greece vs Eastern Kingdoms. What you get for this is a fun, fast paced board game for two or more players where your troops are depicted by blocks and movement, shooting and fighting is driven by a clever combination of cards and six sided dice with symbols. The board can be covered in terrain blocks depending on the scenario and is divided into three sectors. Winning is achieved by accumulating Victory banners (usually 5-8) which you get through eliminating enemy units consisting of 2-4 blocks. The rules are subtle but realistic in depicting ancient battle but luck definitely plays a part with your command cards and dice. Playing the scenarios with hex based miniatures and  terrain is increasingly popular but I actually enjoy the quick set up, no hassle side of playing it as a boardgame.

We recently fought the Raphia scenario in Greece vs Eastern Kingdoms and were able to play two games in a couple of hours swapping sides, as some scenarios are weighted historically to favour one side or the other. Another bonus is that I can even get my long suffering partner to play the odd game! C&C is also a great scenario resource for those ancient battles in miniature you always wanted to fight but never got around to researching properly. At the same time as I ordered Spartan Army, I backordered another GMT game, Chariots of Fire, which depicts bronze age chariot warfare in the near east, so I might do a review of that in a future post.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Macedonians vs Late Achaemenid Persians

View along the Macedonian line
Another view of the Macedonians, from the opposite end

View of the Persian line

On Wednesday night my mate Rick and I had a 300 point, two divisions a side, Hail Caesar game with Macedonians vs Late Achaemenid Persians. Here are a few photos of the game which ended in a draw with both sides, each losing cavalry and infantry units.We had to stop but things were starting to go pear shaped for the Persians - as usual! The wedge rules in HC were interesting (pp.106-107) and one of Rick's Companion units burst through three Persian units leaving them disordered but not shaken!

The Macedonian list (Hail Caesar Army Lists: Biblical and Classical pp.45-46) worked well but the Late Achaemenid Persian list (pp.44-45) is a bit generic and has options for sparabara (which became obsolete in the fifth century BC) but none for Kardakes or Indian troops! That said all the basic Persian troop types and stats are there for you to use or tweak as you see fit. The limit on the Persian general to leadership 7 is accurate but frustrating to play! There are options for upgrading half of your divisions to leadership 8 at 10 points and Greek mercenaries must be in their own separate division. Thanks to Rick for a fun game.

The Greek mercenary division advances while the Persian division stays put!

Companions and peltasts advance

Macedonian phalangites screened by Cretan archers and Rhodian slingers

Companions and Persian medium cavalry charge on the Macedonian right flank

Companions and Persian medium cavalry charge on the Macedonian left flank

Macedonian pike and Greek hoplites engage

Companions break through and charge the Persian Guard heavy cavalry

Macedonian pike and Greek hoplites fight it out in the centre

Peltasts slug it out on the Macedonian right flank
Macedonian veteran pike break through in the centre

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Knossos, Phaistos and Agia Triada


Reconstruction at Knossos

More reconstructions at Knossos

Prince with Lilies replica fresco Knossos


Replica Cup-bearer fresco South Propylaeum Knossos


Pithoi at Knossos

Dolphin fresco in the Queen's Hall, Knossos


Throne room at Knossos with restored frescoes

Upper court of the palace at Phaistos


Pithoi at Phaistos



Agios Georgios 14th century church at Agia Triada

Interior of Agios Georgios

Steps at Agia Triada

Agia Triada

Bow view of the Minos, a replica Minoan ship, Hania

Stern view of the Minos