Thursday, 26 March 2020

Inspiration and Reference Material

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

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

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.


  1. Ah, yes. Thank you for raising this point, Phil. I have the issue of MW and will reread the article in bed this evening. A very dangerous butterfly indeed!

    Best Regards,


    1. Go for it Stokes! A new project can be quite a tonic in difficult times... And a boost to the desire to paint, which can have a positive knock on effect on other existing projects. Best regards. Phil

  2. Replies
    1. Lol! No guilt Jim... Just take the plunge in your usual positive fashion. Best regards. Phil

  3. Dip your toes in the water you won’t regret it!

  4. Phil,
    You're making me wish I hadn't sold my Sucessors now! However they are being replaced in 15mm! Although I can see myself still doing Greeks and Persians in 28!. Jeff's site is extremely inspiring and I regularly visit.
    I fully agree with your comments re the shows and it would be nice to see a few more people appreciate them as a social event and not just a hit and run on the Trade and that's where I think Partizan scores highly.
    I have noted the Cotswold Day I think I need to bring my Jacobites out to play - keep safe

    1. I remember you were building quite a lot of successors at one point Graham. My first Seleucid army was in 15mm... A mix of minifigs and TTG I think. A long while ago. Keep up the great work. Best regards. Phil

  5. Nice point to the past Phil. All food for thought after I get these 500 Gauls done.

    1. Presumably one of your Gauls is Asterix, just to be topical Paul. All the best. Phil

  6. I remember the article well (I have revisited it recently) and have based two armies on a similar principle. Classic Indians expanded to indo Greeks, Greco bavarians, then successors_/ Macedonian etc. Then numidians to be expanded to carthaginians and north African Roman civil war.

    1. I think it is one of the best wargame magazine articles of all time Lee, and like you, I have frequently re-read it over the years. Best regards. Phil

  7. Gosh I remember that issue... who could forget elephants with sunglasses....

    I have been listening to this podcast...

    It is very good... he is currently covering the fall of the Seleucid Empire.

    All the best. Aly

    1. Oooh... Good call on that podcast Aly. Thanks for that. Very useful in these times of isolation! Best regards. Phil

  8. An interesting piece, Phil. My Late Romans started like that, but somehow just kept growing...

    1. Yes, it's the megalomaniac in all of us David. Best regards. Phil