THE BATTLE OF RAPHIA 217 BC
The invite was from David Marks, along with other members of the Herts Volunteers Club to play the game at his 'Ugley Hougoumont'. I had previously been there in May to play in the Gravelotte-St.Privat game (see Wargames Illustrated 313 November 2013 - to get an idea of how big his games are in fact the 'Ugley Hougoumont is as big as the house I live in, and yes I'm jealous!)
Anyway as it turned out I couldn't make it to this game because the day before the suspension spring (thingy) went on the car. I was very disappointed as I was really looking forward to it.
To compensate though Martin Lampon has sent me lots of photos, and David has emailed me some more pictures taken by Phil Mansfield....and I am very grateful to them as it has made it possible for me to put together a blog post about the game.
The game was played using Warhammer Ancient Battles, and I would like to mention the ADC system that was used to help play such a big game, a system designed by Martin Lampon. Without this system the game would have become slow and bogged down with paperwork, as there were so many units. (You can see the green base and blocks next to each unit in the pictures. And these were pretty big units...40 figure pike blocks!). I asked Martin to sum up ADC for me:
"The ADC device is a simple base and block system to keep unit stats and status info to hand on the wargames table. The insert sheets can be adapted for just about any ruleset and the blocks show the status of the units as they change during a game. In play testing it really speeds the game up as you don't have to keep searching through rulebooks and playsheets all the time"
For more information on this excellent system (ADC) visit www.wargamer-aide-de-camp.com
Now more pictures of the game. Not all of the figures were painted by me, where they are I have indicated them. I guess I have chosen pictures with a bias towards showing my work. What follows is more a case of "ooh look I painted those" rather than a detailed description of what happened. It doesn't help that I couldn't make it on the day for this game (I'm not bitter honest, just disillusioned). I do apologise for this, but I thought it was nice to see the figures I have painted actually in 'action' rather than the usual 'posed' images. To be unbiased I have to say that all of the figures on the table looked brilliantly painted.
First of all the opposing battle lines:
Elephants painted by me apart from the one at bottom right. Photo above that are pike blocks I painted except the first one on left. Pike blocks below are my work but not the light units. Dave hadn't managed to glue the pikes on in time! Its probably the safer side of the table for the players now!
More movement goes on on the flanks than in the solid centre! Below some more general views of the starting moves
Next are some more pics featuring my work below
Seleucid Elephants painted by me fleeing back into Antiochus and his Companion Cavalry, also painted by me! Below a pike block painted by me showing the ADC device next to it displaying all the unit's stats.
Above: I painted these!
Below: the battle lines draw closer...
A pike block of Vendel Miniatures that I painted. Where did Vendel Miniatures go?
Above: there's lots more movement on the flanks, and one elephant has forgotten to wait for its tower and crew, so unpredictable.
Some pike blocks painted by me, right hand side minus pikes (health and safety).
The battle lines are getting closer
A clash of Tarantine mercenaries on the flank. The larger unit is my work.
Above and below the fight has really started now.
Things start to break up in the centre
Above: Rear view of two pike blocks I painted
Getting near the end!
Above a Vendel Miniatures pike block heading for trouble.
Below: Lets decide this elephant to elephant!
I painted these! (I know, "Shut up we get the idea" I hear you scream). I could perhaps give a bit more narrative about how the game went if I had been there, but I aim to be at the next Herts Volunteers game in January, a very large Roman game set in the Civil Wars of 69AD (Bedriacum). It will feature some EIR Romans I have painted as well. However, for Raphia I will directly quote David Mark's synopsis of the game:
The Seleucid right wing smashed the Ptolemaic left wing (with the Seleucid elephants seemingly doing more damage to their own side than the opposing) the reverse happening on the other flank. However Antiochus moved to bolster the Seleucid centre which felt like it was about to be overwhelmed by the greater number of Machimoi Egyptian phalanxes (the Seleucid levy phalanxes having fled as it did in the battle, further worsening the Seleucid numerical inferiority in pike). Its basically how Polybius recounts the battle...
It was great fun - elephants are hilariously unpredictable. The push of pike in the centre a grind (if they stood!). As per history, the Machimoi fought better than expected (but I think more due to Tony's die rolls than anything else..) On turn one it also seemed the Saxon SAS from our Bishop Germinus/Wuffa campaign had reappeared in the form of Cretan archers: they moved forward, shot and panicked a Seleucid elephant which promptly stampeded back into Antiochus and his Companion Cavalry! After that the game could only get better...
Thanks to those that helped set it up and the good humour of all those that fought.