In recent years I have continued to develop my own universal wargame, playable with multiple players and in solo mode. I have not yet chosen a name for the game and I do not think the game can be released in a short time, however the following is the english translation of the first test I did with the latest version of the game.
My Little Home-Brewed Wargame:
- Historical, Ancient Period, Alpha Test #1
- The Battle of Marathon (August/September 490 aC)
- Athenians (AI) vs Achaemenid Persians (AI)
- Athenians: Strategos Miltiades, rank 4
- Persians, Admiral Datis, rank 1
- Athenians: 9.000 Hoplites, 1000 Hoplite(Plataean Allies), 1000 skirmishers(Plataeans psiloi and freed slaves)
- Persians, 12000 Sparabara Archers, 6000 Light Infantry, 2000 Light Infantry (Median and Persian guards), 1000 Medium Cavalry (Reserve)
Miltiades is able to deploy troops after the attackers, he concentrates his forces to the wings of the army, the center will have to be defended only by 1000 hoplites of the Athenian tribes Leontis, led by strategos Themistokles (the future hero of Salamis) and by the 1000 hoplites of the tribe Antiochis led by strategos Aristides, behind them only skirmishers of Plataea and the slaves of Athens enrolled with the promise to be left free after the battle. Miltiades is in the right wing of the Greeks. The Persians had to do without much of the cavalry, replaced by light infantry, General Datis stays as usual in the center of the army, the light infantrymen line up on the front lines forming a thin wicker shield wall to protect the huge number of archers behind them.
Phase 1, Initiative: Athenians
Athenians, with no shooters, should get in contact with enemies quickly to avoid being hit by wave after wave of Persian arrows. They employ the new tactics of ‘hoplitodromos’ (the hoplite run), they run the last few hundred yards before clashing with the enemy light infantry. It works, only a few holpites of the center and the right wing are injured by arrows.
The melee is driven primarily by the hoplites of Cecropis tribes in the Greek left wing, in the center Themistokles men face the guards of Datis in a fierce clash, the hoplites of Miltiades lead the fight in the right wing.
Phase 2, Initiative: Persians
Perhaps because of the surprising tactics of the Greeks, the Persian archers fail to inflict losses on the enemy this turn, but the army of Datis still takes the initiative and counter effectively on all fronts. The melee continued and the Greeks in the center and the right wing continued to kill enemies, the Athenians are better protected and more easily penetrate the defenses of Persians. Themistokles’ hoplites get the first victory point by destroying the Mysian light infantry unit.
Phase 3, Initiative: Athenians
On the right wing Persian archers inflict some losses to hoplites of the Acarantis tribe that recede slightly to regroup.
On that side, the troops of Miltiades and Callimachus have no more obstacles to reach the Persian archers and start the massacre, in the opposite wing the Pisidian light infantry is overwhelmed by the Athenians, in the center the Greeks are in the minority and must give ground to the enemy: Saka light infantry and the Median and Persian guards. The guards led by Datis eliminate Themistokles’ hoplites, one point for the Persians.
Phase 4, Initiative: Athenians
Perhaps encouraged by the reaction of their comrades, the Persian archers unleashed a hell of arrows, focusing on the right wing hoplites and the skirmishers on the center. But the Greeks also reach the archers of the Persian right wing, starting the melee. The archers of both wings must use their axes and short swords against the Athenian warriors in close combat. Miltiades easily remove the first archer unit (Cilicians). In the center the guards of Datis are facing skirmishers of Plataea and the former slaves, surprisingly the Greeks maintain the position even if the have to recede much, next to them the hoplites of Aristides eliminate the last enemy light infantry unit.
Phase 5, Initiative: Persians
Only the Persian archers in the center can hurl their arrows effectively and manage to rout the last hoplites remained to defend the center of the Greek formation. The score now is four to two in favor of the Athenians. Datis is advised to call the cavalry reserve, the Persians are about to break through the center of the enemy line, but in the Persian left wing, the one closest to the beach, there are only the Carian archers that are going to be overwhelmed.
The cavalry will take some time to get from the back and in the meantime the Greek disintegrates, as expected, the Persian left wing. The guards of Datis have been decimated by the previous fight with the hoplites of Themistokles but they don’t think that the enemy skirmishers they face are coming back, instead of running away they approach from all sides. The right wing hoplites led by Miltiades begin to converge toward the center, the Persian guards flee precipitously.
End of the Battle:
Athenians get 6 victory points against the 2 obtained by the Persians.
Estimated losses by the game rules:
- Athenians: 500 casualties (192 historically), Aristides and Callimachus PoW (historically Callimachus died and Aristides survived)
- Persians: 6000 casualties (6400 historically!) And other 6000 sold to slavery (no historical data), Datis KiA (historically his fate is not clear, for some he died in the battle to others he survived)
the rules have worked pretty well ! Even the losses were strikingly similar to those estimated as realistic for this battle.
If you want to get more information about the battle you can read the Wikipedia version here. Last note: with regard to the disposition of the troops I followed a different theory with armies parallel to the coast.