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Tiny Tin Men :: Archives

When push comes to pike

October 6, 2005 10:04 PM - Posted by Robartes - Category: Game report

Last week, Alan and myself played another game of Armati II. The initial intent was to continue with the Bartholomeus Sinister Grassus campaign, but in a spur of the moment decision, we (well, I) decided to break out two Macedonian armies and do a Successor battle. Alan opted to play ‘that one eyed guy’ (Antigonos) while I took ‘that paranoid fellow’ Lysimachos. The intent was to see what Armati would do with a pike shoving match.

We used, among others, the Macedonian figures I had bought from JP some years ago. These are very nicely painted figures, but they come with a definite handle with care cautionary statement. To avoid the spaghetti pike syndrome, JP likes to replace the cast on pikes (and any other weapons, for that matter) with wire versions. In se, that is not a problem. The problem is that the wire has actual razor sharp points. Taking these figures from their storage boxes is best done the way hedgehogs scratch their backs — very carefully. I swear I could hear JP chuckling in the background as I was unpacking the figures :).

We decided to use 30 bonus point armies (Armati armies consist of a certain number of core units, which you have to take, and a variable amount of individually costed bonus units). My Lysimachid army was the usual pike phalanx, supported by three cavalry units and some light stuff (skirmishers and Thracian peltasts):

Unit Number Combat values Division
Phalanx 4 7[0]0 H1
White shield phalanx 1 8[0]0 H2
Asiatic phalanx 1 6[1]1 H2
Heavy cavalry 2 4[0]0 H3
Companion cavalry 2 4[0]0 H3
Thracian Peltasts 2 4[1]2 L1
Thracian Peltasts 2 4[1]2 L2
Bow armed skirmishers 2 2[1]1 L3
Sling armed skirmishers 1 3[1]2 L3
Javelin armed skirmishers 2 2[1]1 L4

In Armati, only key units count towards the defeat of your army — non key troops can be killed to ones heart’s content, but to win the game, you have to destroy a certain number of key units. In general key units are the heavy units of an army, and these armies are no exception: for both Alan and myself, phalanxes and heavy cavalry are the key units. This virtually ensures that the game will be decided by a good old fashioned shoving of pike.

And that is more or less what happened. Alan set up with, from his left to right, a bunch of light troops (peltasts and skirmishers), a line of pike, an elephant, some more pikes and two heavy cavalry units. Behind the line was Antigonos himself with a unit of Companion heavy cavalry. My own setup mirrored his, except that I had no elephants, I had light troops on both flanks and my three cavalry units were together on the far right flank. I kept no reserves were kept behind the line (a mistake, in hindsight).

The game turned out to be a pike slug fest (with a side dish of elephant and general), while on the respective right flanks the cavalry broke through. I initiated contact in the center when I charged a pike unit with Lysimachos himself attached into the elephant who got some help from Antigonos himself. Over the next few moves, while the generals were hitting each other over the head with pike and tusk, the rest of the phalanxes got into contact with each other as well.

On my right flank, my cavalry swept through some light troops (ably helped by the rightmost of the pike units), subsequently disdainfully ignored some skirmishing light horse (a bit of a stretch, that, as said light horse managed to kill one of my cavalry by way of a sneaky flank attack), only to run up against Alan’s reserve cavalry. Drat.

The Antigonid cavalry, on the other hand, also broke through on the other flank and I had no reserves to stop them (bad general!). My flight forward with the pike was partly to increase the distance Alan’s cavalry had to travel to reach their rear, but the Antigonid cavalry did reach the rear of my pike line in the end.

Luckily, while I did lose one pike unit to the marauding Antigonid cavalry, I managed to kill four of Alan’s key units before he did so to me (but only just, as the last die roll of the last turn decided which of us would win), so it was a Lysimachid victory after all!

Again, Armati proved itself to be a very good game that gives historical results (not that I would recognise a historical result in this period, of course) and was very tense and exciting till the end in this case.

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