A number of commenters over the past few posts have indicated that, whilst they are definitely primarily Horse and Musket gamers, they might be interested in a slight diversion into the ancient period (I'm looking at you, Stokes, and Jim P!). So, I thought I'd add some encouragement to those who may be considering a venture into the Successor period. For me, the Successors project has its roots in an article that appeared in the early 1980s in Miniature Wargames (issue 4). The article was called, "Have Pike, Will Travel" and was written by Jim Webster. In it, Jim described how having a certain number of core troops, in the right ratios, one might be able to represent many armies from the period. I have scanned in the article for those who may be interested in giving the period a go - something new to get the creative juices flowing whilst we are in this difficult time for the world.
I hope no one minds me scanning and sharing this, from a copyright point of view... it is around 40 years ago, so I'm posting this in the spirit that it may inspire others as it did me all those years ago.
What is interesting is the army proportions, according to the ancient sources ... 4/7 heavy infantry (phalangites); 2/7 light infantry (peltasts and skirmishers); 1/7 cavalry. That might translate, for example, to 4 x 24 phalangites (total 96) 2 x 12 peltasts, plus 3 x 8 skirmishers (total 48) and 3 x 8 cavalry (total 24). Trading some cavalry for an elephant, and possibly adjusting the number of skirmishers/ peltasts, gives a very neat WAB army.
These are perfect sized forces for a game on a 6x4 table. And the painting total is not too onerous either at around 144 infantry and 24 cavalry (a total of less than 200 'Olley Painting Points'). Now, some people will be able to knock that out in a fortnight, for others it might take longer. But it's still not like trying to produce Napoleonic armies. In reality, a perfectly reasonable game might be had with forces that are even more scaled down... each side with, say, 3 x 24 phalanxes, 2 x 12 peltasts, a small unit of skirmishers, and a couple of cavalry units. The joy, for me, of the Successor period, is that with the proportions mentioned, the games can be considered fairly representative of the armies and tactics of the period, with the bulk of heavy infantry in the phalanx occupying the centre, protected by peltasts on their flanks, and cavalry acting as a reserve and on the flanks to deliver the killer blow. Certainly, my choice of WAB 1.5 as a ruleset for this will encourage such a set up.
Talking of WAB armies, one of the other sources of information is Jeff Jonas' marvellous website www.ancientbattles.com Careful though. You might find yourself losing a good self-isolating/ working-from-home half-day here... or even half a week! Jeff has compiled a whole load of great information on the period, along with some lovely pictures of his troops, and some WAB battle reports too. Jeff occasionally pops by here, so if you're reading this Jeff, a public thank you for your efforts over many years in making information for this period accessible.
In terms of troops, there are many ranges now available, including plastic figures these days. I personally like the old Foundry Macedonians, and the range by Aventine. Why not have a surf round the net at other manufacturers. I know that Old Glory, Victrix, Essex, and many more have suitable ranges, for example. Let me know what you turn up.
Other news: I note that Partizan in May is cancelled. Well done to Lawrence and Tricks for making all communications throughout very clear, and for doing the right thing in cancelling and offering traders (most of whom are in the small business/ self-employed category) a full refund, or allowing them to hold over their investment for the October show.
More show news: Keith has announced the Cotswold Wargames Day will take place on 18th October (all being well). See Keefsblog.blogspot.com
When all this is over, I'm sure we will even more realise the value of the shows and conventions, not only for making our purchases, but in seeing games in the flesh, and meeting our fellow hobbyists. Let's look forward to those days. All the best for now.
From the 8th century BC to the 3rd century BC, the Skythians were a nomadic people who occupied large areas of the Black Sea and Middle East region. They were highly accomplished horsemen, and in the Hellenistic period supplied mercenary troops to many of the Successor forces.
Just a small unit, in WAB terms about the minimum size. They can, of course, fight for either side, although, for now, they're firmly with The Antithesids, as long as they get plenty of spoils and pay.
These little cavalry units are all well and good, but I think it's time for another pike unit to add to the Antithesid phalanx. So that's what will be next on the workbench.
I'm also considering what to do about terrain for this project. Might create some boards over the coming weeks. We'll see.
One thought: during these difficult times for all, perhaps we can especially remember to support the many small, self-employed, traders who provide our hobby with so many great products, for those who feel it's possible. In the weeks to come, I'll be putting in as many orders as feasible for the projects I have on the go at the moment.
Thanks to everyone who has been commenting on the blog recently. it's good to know that we can all stay connected, even if just in this corner of our little world.
The first of my Successor armies, The Macadamians, is now 'complete' (ish).
I may eventually add another 24 figure pike unit, and possibly another elephant. But for now, my attention must move to the other side of the table to complete the enemy army, The Antithesids. More news over the next few days.
Here is the final unit (for now) of the Macadamian army... Thessalian cavalry.
They were considered the finest Greek cavalry of the age.
Now shifting my attention to the opposition forces, The Antithesids (a sort of Seleucid-based force). Panic buying phalangites as we speak! Actually, I've just put in a top up order to Foundry to carry me through the next couple of months. Expect more painting over the coming days... Fun this, isn't it?!
I get the impression (and this is purely anecdotal from looking at wargaming FB groups, and forums, and blogs) that a painting pandemic has broken out in our little hobby. Well done lads (and some lasses). Self-isolation is what we wargamers crave, isn't it!
Following a series of business meeting and speaking engagement postponements, and the development of a new cough (although, like many I've had a bit of a cough over the whole winter, on and off, nothing dramatic), I've decided to self-isolate. So in the interests of health, and the lead pile, I'm taking it easy for a couple of weeks. Although I have some client work that is booked to happen remotely (phone, zoom, etc), and a fair bit of writing to do (new book due this year), I am taking this opportunity to progress the Successor armies.
On the workbench at the moment, a small unit of Thessalian cavalry.
Keep spirits up everyone... It will all be over by Christmas!
Introducing the first of the Seleucid phalanx units... In fact, I'm calling this the Antithesid army under their commander Antithesis II (again, fictional). I decided to give these a slightly more 'eastern' look, and a blue theme for helmets and tunics, in opposition to the 'Macadamian' units which have a red theme.
Quite a number of units in this collection have a casualty figure... useful as markers, or to simply scatter around the table for effect.
Amongst all the current news, with events being cancelled left, right and Chelsea (literally), I'm delighted to be able to attend a concert at Birmingham Symphony Hall this evening... Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and Saint Saen's Organ Symphony. These have been 2 of my favourite classical works since I was about 10, courtesy of my parents who introduced me to classical music all those years ago. I am very much looking forward to it.
Next week, I'm away on business for Monday-Tuesday, but might get some painting in towards the end of the week. And next weekend, viruses permitting, Steve and I have a game booked. We're staying flexible, and whilst it's not a gathering of 500 people, there may be 500 figures on the table... it will take quite some time to wash all those little hands.
On a serious note, to all my wargaming pals around the globe, stay safe and healthy. All the very best...
Well, due to the threat of inclement weather conditions, preventing Steve and I getting together, the game we had planned for last week didn't happen. One of those things, and sometimes erring on the side of extreme caution makes sense.
However, as I had some time off last week, I've been painting, and reading. I finished these Cretan archers - ever present in any self-respecting Successor army. I decided to paint their tunics a mix of very dark sea greens, some extremely dark blues, and black. In fact, they're pretty well almost all black until you get really close. I just wanted them to look a bit different to the standard Skirmishers of the period. I made their headbands blue as a field-sign indicating they will be on the blue (Antithesid) side in my Successors campaign.
I've also been stocking up my Successors library.
A bit of an Amazon binge added another six books to my ancients shelf. Flipped a coin as to which one to read first and am enjoying the ""Armies of Hellenistic States" very much indeed. It gives a good overview of the period, and the armies and is certainly whetting the appetite for the rest of the books.
As yet, I haven't quite decided who my favourite of the Successors is... I always thought it might be Seleucus, but that's based on nothing more than a great picture of a Seleucid army way back in Miniature Wargames issue 4 in the early 1980s. Antigonus is also in the running. But, in reality, they all have their less-than-savoury features. I suspect that's what was needed to be victorious in the 3rd century BC!