Category Archives: Lysimachid II/17

In Defence of Macedonia

Since the release of DBA 3.0 interest in DBA continues to grow here in Christchurch. We now regularly see gamers playing both the standard game and an increasing number of Big Battle games. I generally prefer the standard game as it allows me to more easily play against historical or near historical opponents. Recently however Andrew, who like myself is interested in the wars of the Diadochi, suggested a BBDBA encounter for control of part of Alexander’s kingdom. It’s hard to resist such an opportunity.

As my own Successors are still short of a few stands needed to provide some additional options for these larger games. I therefore opted to used a Lysimachid Successor, again. I really need to get on and finish a few extra stands! Andrew meanwhile opted for an army of Antigonus Gonatas, one of his favourite Successors. Andrew was short a few stands, as a result his army composition didn’t exactly follow the official list. In particular it was without elephants and had some Tarantine light cavalry instead.

Antigonus was, in due course, found to be defending. He deployed his army with his Xystophoroi on his left wing and Galatian cavalry on his right, each supported by light cavalry. The foot deployed between the wings with the Greek phalangites were interspersed at intervals by Galatian infantry who were supported by a number of light troops. Lysimachus deploying opposite placed his own Xystophoroi on his right wing. He was heavily outnumbered by his opponents mounted and only a few light cavalry were deployed on his left along with his veteran Thracian infantry. The Lysimachid phalanx was considerably larger than Antigonas’ and was interspersed with elephants at intervals in the hope this would break up the enemy foot. Light troops of course supported the elephants.


Antigonus ordered a general advance while Lysimachus advanced with his right and centre, keeping his left flank withdrawn. Indeed, much of his left remaind in place with his Thracian veterans holding a gentle hill. Above, the Antigonid  army is on the left.

In the centre light infantry advanced displaying much courage. The Lysimachid psiloi aimed to protect the advancing elephants and disrupt Galatians, while Antigonus tried to reorganise his lines. However, the skirmishing soon abated and as it did the lines of phalangites collided. Here the overly complex Antigonid deployment of skirmishers created some disadvantage and the Lysimachid phalanx gained some initial success. However, in time these small advantage were lost. The foot of both armies now pushed and shoved with equal determination.

Above and below views of the centre before the phalangites are locked in combat.

On the Antigonid left, where both armies had equal mounted, both attempted to expand. Once completed the Xystophoroi of both armies clashed. Lysimachid elephants were thrown forward in support and eventually both commanders joined the now swirling melee each seeking out the other in personal combat. The fighting surged back and forth until the Lysimachid light horse, on the extreme flank, broke. To counter this Lysimachus’ mercenary Greek infantry were thrown in to stabilise the situation but as stampeding elephants fled the Antigonids were clearly gaining the advantage. Eventually, with casualties mounting the Lysimachid right became demoralised.

Meanwhile the Antigonid right flank had also attacked, it would seem somewhat rashly. Below Galatian cavalry in the foreground with Thracian infantry to their front on a gentle hill.

The withdrawn Lysimachid left was too tempting and the Galatian cavalry, supported by Greek light cavalry surged forward. The veteran Thracians, though forced back in places, held their positions while the Lysimachid light horse counter attacked destroying the Antigonid light horse.

Then, as the cavalry attacks broke up the Thracians poured down on the front and flanks of the Galatian cavalry. The casualties were both swift and horrific.

However, as Antigonid right become demoralised from these attacks the Lysimachid right broke in rout, Lysimachus himself carried off wounded by a few of his companions. Now a race developed as night closed in. While the Lysimachid centre and left tried to exploit the deteriorating Antigonid position, and breaking both, Antigonus pressed home his attacks. Antigonus, at the head of his own Xystophoroi and supported by phalangites, streamed forward overpowering the few reserves and breaking the Lysimachid army. Macedonian it seemed was safe, at least for a time…


Lysimachus’ Indian Sojourn

I thought it time I place a few another DBA game on-line, this time a “Big Battle” game. I won’t attempt a blow by blow recount but I hope this short summary proves to be of interest. I opted to use my Lysimachid Successors which I have been using a little lately against other Successors as well as Polybian Roman. However, today it was deployed against Tamil Indian. Not an historical opponent, but given the Successor’s sphere of influence it seemed reasonablyplausible.

For this game Lysimachus was deemed to be invading. The Indians opted for minimal terrain resulting in a relatively open battlefield. While deploying second the Greeks had some difficult choice due to the equal spread of elephants. In the end I placed my main strike command, the one that would be allocated the highest PIP die, on the left in the hope it would engage what I expected to be the Indian strike command. Hopefully the xystophoroi would manoeuvre into the enemy cavalry and avoid the elephants. My centre, containing the majority of phalangites and my own elephants, would gain the next highest PIP die, while my smallest command, deployed on the right, would receive the lowest die.

No sooner had I deployed the Indians moved forward with great enthusiasm along the line. Above, taken after the Indian move the Indians have reduced the gap between the two armies. On the Indian right, top right of the photo, a number of elephants have wheeled further to the right.

Lysimachus’ response was command paralysis – low PIPs. With the few PIPs available the Greek infantry pressed forward, however any hope of manoeuvre on the left was gone.

Above, a view of the Greek left, which is extended slightly further by an additional xystophoroi and light cavalry. The phalangites illustrated are also from the Greek left.

Below, a view of the centre from the Indian perspective.

In the centre the Greek psiloi were thrown forward early to first pin and then draw the Indian elephants forward.

Below, a close up showing two stands of psiloi engaged. A lack of PIPs in the first couple of Greek turns prevented much of the planned manoeuvres from occurring. On the Greek right flank, despite low PIPs the phalangites and Thracians moved forward as well. The Successor elephants were repeatedly recoiled by Indian archery.

On the Greek left however things were taking a turn for the worse. Indian elephants pressed forward, as shown below, and crashed into the Greek xystophoroi with the expected outcome! Two stands were eliminated on first contact including Lysimachus!

Yet in an interesting turn of events the loss of Lysimachus inspired the army! The following Greek PIP roll was outstanding and the army advanced. On the left Greek auxilia countered the elephants while the remaining xystophoroi charged forward cutting down much of column of archers in ensuing turns.

In the centre Indian foot came under pressure from the Greek phalanx while Successor elephants clashed with the Indian pachyderms, with the result of some Tamil elephants fleeing. As the Greek phalanx pressed forward this amplified the impact of another elephant breakthrough, now in the centre. These elephants, pushing back the Greek psiloi, found themselves confronted by an organised line of phalangites who inflicted a horrific toll.

Above, the situation just prior to the Greeks pushing back Indian swordsman and before the elephants hit the phalangites. Note the Greek Silver Shields, the banners denote Greek generals.

However, not all was going well for the Greeks as their left was by now demoralised. Seeking every advantage the Indians lapped around the phalanx of the left and the entire wing collapsed. However, the Indian left was also under pressure. As the Greek left collapsed the Indian left became demoralised, mostly a result of elephant losses.

Casualties at this point were generally similar, while the Greek casualties were mostly on the Greek left, Indian casualties were distributed more evenly.

The Indian commander tried to prepare an attack using his victorious right wing while the Greeks, free of Lysimachus, aimed to crush the centre or Indian left, both of which were under serious pressure. Below, the Indian right (left) is reorganised while a portion of the Greek centre prepares to form a line. Note the thin Indian centre.

However, it was against the Indian left that success was finally achieved. Phalangites, Thracians and light cavalry all pressed the demoralised Indians who finally collapsed.

It seemed victory for the Greeks had been achieved, but only just…

Another outstanding game. Plenty of interesting challenges that kept both players on the edge of their seat from start to finish.


Lysimachos in India

While most of my DBA games are based around the standard 12 element game I have, over the years, played a few larger games. These have tended to involve either 24 or 36 elements per side, the latter being called Big Battle DBA (BBDBA). To be honest I’ve tended to shy away from these larger games, under previous versions, as the combination of limited movement and the ability to pin elements has tended to prevent armies engaging.

However, with DBA 3.0 both these issues have been resolved. As a result over the last few months I’ve played a few of these larger 36 element games. Today I deployed a Lysimachid Successor, against Classical Indian as an introduction to BBDBA for Brian. I’ve included a small selection of photos from the game which I thought may be of interest. The game was fought on a table 1200mm in length and 600mm in depth using 15mm figures.

Above, the Lysimachid Successors, on the right, have advanced quickly to secure a central marsh. By the time this photo was taken the Indian commander had realised his archers couldn’t fire from the marsh and retreated to firmer ground.

Below, a view from the Indian right flank towards the Greek left and centre.

Below, another view from the Indian perspective, but of the main Greek phalanx in the centre. Here  psiloi can be seen screening the phalanx prior to them being sent forward.

Below, a view of a portion of the Indian centre and right rear. Not shown are the cavalry of the Indian left who have advanced forward.

As mentioned earlier the Indian bow had fallen back from their advanced positions in the marsh. Moving through the marsh Thracian infantry advance, below, to combat. The plan involved them then threatening the Indian elephant line, as with all such plans aren’t always achieved.

The more general situation can be seen below. As the Thracians press home their attacks the Greek phalangites advance in support. The Greek plan was complex and the phalangites were not pressing the attack as quickly as invisaged. On the extreme right Xystophoroi can be seen charging the Indian cavalry. These attacks were successful, but the Xystophoroi pursued and each time they did they were further outflanked.

Below, the situation on the Greek left. Here the Greeks were outflanked but an aggressive attack caused some discomfort to the Indians who were restricted in their response by command difficulties. Soon the handful of Lysimachid elephants were thrown in to further support this flank.

However, it was on the Greek right where Lysimachus would fail. Lysimachus was victorious against Indian cavalry and drove ever deeper, until encountering a portion of the Indian elephant line. Soon overlapped Lysimachus fell and the Greek right became demoralised.

Meanwhile the Greek centre, illustrated below, continued to press forward and engaged the Indian centre. Here the Indian elephants clashed with Greek psiloi while the phalanx pressed its advantage. However, it was too late as the Greek left became demoralised and with it the will of the Greeks to fight.

An interesting game which played very differently from both the standard game and other BBDBA games. Both players made a several basic mistakes, unfortunately I paid a higher price for mine!

All up a very enjoyable game on a Sunday morning at the local wargames club.

From Italy to Macedonia in an Afternoon

One of the advantages of DBA is the ability to play a series of games in a short amount of time. With each game typically lasting an hour evening games in an otherwise busy week, or perhaps a small gaming events in an afternoon at a club among a number of players, become very pleasant and relaxing exercises. Other situations for DBA games also exist, such as this afternoon where my son and I had four very enjoyable games on a hot summer’s afternoon.


Our first two games involved my recently painted Polybian Romans engaged against his Gallic host. These Romans are true veterans, dating back to version DBA 1.0 and with many games of DBA and then DBM under their belt. However, with the release of DBA 3.0 they have been repainted and over recent weeks have engaged a number of opponents.


Alas, their commanders are of indifferent skill, suffering defeat in equal quantity to victory. Indeed, in today’s games they won and then lost a battle in succession suggesting that the senate must appoint another consul before they can take the field again. At least the manpower of Rome supports the occasional defeat!


Above, the second game where the Romans have massed their cavalry on their left flank and attempt to break the Gallic right flank. The triarii are shown in reserve before they advanced. These games were followed by two Successor encounters. This time between my Asiatic Successor army (Demetrius Poliorcetes) and my son’s Lysmachid Successor. The first engagement found Demetrius reacting to an Lysmachid invasion.


After an initial stand-off, where Lysmachus (right) refused to attack a well-defended enemy, waited until Demetrius (left) was forced to abandon his position and attack. No doubt to stop Lysmachus’ troops from ravaging the province and disrupting the harvest! Unfortuntely Demetrius was soundly defeated for his troubles.


However, in the following campaign season, or in DBA terms the following game, Demetrius assembled a new army and counter-attacked gaining a stunning victory. These two Successors will clearly be continuing their struggles, though other Successors, such as Seleucids, are also known to be preparing armies. Such are the strengths of DBA…