Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Game day - Raphia

I was fortunate enough to have Luke make the trip down for a game day on Sunday.  He brought down his impressive collection of Naismith Macedonians mounted on 80x80 bases and the plan was to do a Successor battle or two and discuss a few things that he's been working on for his own projects.

First up we did a Raphia refight using Lost Battles.  Luke took the Ptolemies and I the Seleucids under Antiochus III. We used the 'historical' deployment and got straight into the action.

Under the Lost Battles rules, The Seleucid forces are represented thusly:

3 units of Indian elephants equating to 120 beasts and 6000 supporting light infantry.
2 unit of veteran heavy cavalry with an average leader (Antiochus and his guard) for 2000 men.
2 units of average heavy cavalry for 4000 men.
1 unit of average light infantry for 4000 men.
7 units of average phalangites for to 28,000 men.
2 units of levy phalangites for 16,000 men.
2 units of levy heavy infantry equalling 16,000 troops.

And the Ptolemaic forces come out like this:

1 average commander (Ptolemy).
1 unit of veteran heavy cavalry for 1000 men.
1 unit of average heavy cavalry for 2000 men.
1 unit of average light cavalry for 2000 men.
2 units of African elephants representing 80 beasts and 4000 skirmishers.
1 unit of veteran phalangites for 2000 men.
11 units of average phalangites equating to 44,000 men.
2 units of levy phalangies for 16,000 men.
1 unit of average heavy infantry for 4000 men.

Deployment, with a smiling Ptolemy Philopater
The Seleucids start with a refused left and the bulk of the phalanx in a strong central position.  The elephants are on each wing and Antiochus is on the far right leading his veteran cavalry.

Ptolemy has advanced on the centre left and on the right.

Ptolemy has first move, which he uses to bring up the phalanx and advance on his right to engage the refused flank.  His attacks are not especially successful, resulting in only two hits.

During the 2nd turn

The Seleucids press the attack on the right and apply as much pressure as they can in the centre and against Ptolemy's zone.  They score seven hits and an all-out attack, which is a pretty good return if I do say so myself.

After the 2nd Seleucid turn
The Ptolemaic forces hit back as strongly as they can, but only three hits register.  Importantly, two of them are against elephant units.

After the 3rd Ptolemaic turn
Antiochus now breaks through on the right and the phalanx continues to make good ground against the enemy.  Four hits are scored, and one unit is shattered.

After the 3rd Seleucid turn

Pressure on the Seleucid left tells and a unit of levy heavy infantry is shattered.  With two other hits also scored, the Seleucid left is now looking vulnerable.

After the 4th Ptolemaic turn
Antiochus advances around the rear of the Ptolemaic forces.  With the enemy both in front and behind them the light and mounted troops in Ptolemy's zone flee in the face of another successful attack.

In an attempt to preserve the left the cavalry takes off on what is euphemistically called an 'outflanking' manoeuvre.

After the 4th Seleucid turn

A strong showing sees four hits scored by the Ptolemaic centre and centre right, but they cannot break through just yet.  The veteran infantry on the left, threatened with overwhelming odds, begin to march off the field.

After the 5th Ptolemaic turn. Ptolemy has wisely repositioned himself.
Antiochus sends a unit to sack the enemy camp and turns himself into the rear of Ptolemy's centre.  The phalanx continues to push and under this pressure the remainder of the enemy army breaks and runs, with thousands presumed slaughtered in the pursuit.

After the Ptolemaic collapse. The man himself has vanished...

It was an entertaining but pretty one-sided game. There were some tense moments on the Seleucid left, but more than anything this was a battle decided by dice and (I'd like to think!) by the judicious positioning of Antiochus' victorious cavalry to have maximum impact on the Ptolemaic morale.

The final victory points favoured Antiochus 111 to 34, but the return match would not be such an unhappy one for our guest...


  1. Looks great, Aaron! A battle very close to my own heart. :-)

    1. Yes Simon, it's a classic all right. Has just everything you might want :)

  2. There's something immensely satisfying about fielding elephants.

    1. There is, and we had another twenty or so that didn't get to take the field, the poor things!

  3. Drop me a line - wargamer in Bangkok.
    Alexander (

  4. Enjoyable BatRep , Aaron and your Ptolemaic opponent looks quite cheerful at the beginning of the match. Was he still smiling after the conclusion of the 111:34 thumping? I bet he was because it looked like fun!

    1. Well, he gave me a beer at lunch, and it's hard not to smile after that...

  5. It strikes me we should have zoomed the camera in a bit - we don't really need to see the near corners, and in the absence of a tally sheet on the wall, we don't need to photo the wall either. And that bald geezer sitting there ts none too crucial for matter as well :-)

    1. Luke, I could hardly ask the man of the moment to get himself out of shot! ;-)

  6. A nice sequence of pictures. By advancing through them, since they are all from the same perspective, one gets a satisfying view of the battle's progress.
    I agree with John L, any game with elephants is a good one.

    1. Thanks, Michael. I like the consistent view as well, though I think I do need to work on better angles, as Luke says!

  7. Nicely done Aaron and Luke. The only thing that would have made it better for my viewing pleasure would be a close up of a unit or two of the painters fav figs used in this battle.


    1. I took a couple of such shots, although they aren't really close up - see the post on my blog... (Hmm, Aaron's got two separate links to my web-site, but none to my blog. Something to be remedied, perhaps!). I guess I should post some photos of actual close-ups there too.

    2. Thanks Kevin. I'm just trying to make doing reports easier - usually I have 50 photos from all different angles and it takes me a day to sort through them all :) Now I just want to show the battle and be done with it!

    3. Your blog's in the 'blogs I follow' section Luke, so when you post it comes up!

  8. Just catching up on your games - marvelously done too. I see you guys knocking out a great Successor campaign. Best, Dean


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