I am currently half way through reading Kagan's seminal tome ("The Peloponnesian War", which is a damn good read - he says on "his" third attempt to read it). "The Battle of Delium", the first big hoplite battle of the real-war, strikes me as both a golden opportunity missed (as in Athens "knocking Boetia out of the war") and a terrible confidence shaking tragedy for the Atheniam Empire. It seemed to put the Athenians off fighting in pitched land battles again, a bit of an Athenian "commitment problem". However as a battle it hung in the balance and could have easily swung either way but a moment of "fickle fate" (so hard to re-create on the tabletop), so therefore it begs as a "must to re-fight" if but only to ponder the historical "what-ifs". The Athenians at this time were exploring a more ambitious "take the war to the enemy" strategy from the original "passive Pericles" and ended up building a fort near Delium deep in enemy territory. After the fort's construction the Athenians were caught with their pants down as half their army (admittedly most of their 'lights' and useless mouths) had already sailed back to Athens. This served to even up the battlefield odds and gave the Thebans the incentive to "have a go", as their most bellicose Strategos Pagodas put it, "the Athenians would only come back later with more men another day".
Athenians and Allies
- Right Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen: Hippocrates [C-in-C]), 7 x 4Sp, 1 x 3Cv 1 x 2LH, 2 x 2Ps
- Left Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen), 7 x 4Sp, 1 x 3Cv 1 x 2LH (Alcibiades), 1 x 3Ax, 1 x 2Ps
Thebans and Boetians
- Right Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen: Pagodas), 7 x 4Sp, 2 x 3Cv, 2 x 2Ps
- Left Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen: Pagodas), 7 x 4Sp, 2 x 3Cv, 2 x 2Ps
Both armies have identical army break points (50%) 12 stands or both wings going demoralised (that is 33% in each wing going four elements OR the general). The Theban hoplite line is shown below with a curious bulge at the far end of its line of battle (Note: a "special" scenario rule is in effect).
Pagodas was experimenting with a technique that was going (eventually) to pay handsome dividends to the Thebans in their future wars against Sparta (but that was still some fifty years off). Instead of eight deep he massed a phalanx of twenty four deep at the right hand side of his line of battle.
Special Scenario Rule: Theban Deep Phalanx (optional)
Requires four x 4Sp stands to be place in column with C-in-C Pagodas in the Front Rank. If any stands are ever peeled off the column, the "deep phalanx" ability is permanently lost for the course of the battle.
- +4 Front Rank
- +1 Second Rank
- +1 Third and Fourth Ranks Combined
In normal BBDBA the C-in-C for each army can claim a +1 offensive/defensive modifier once per game (which at first glance seems rather harsh when compared to the intrinsic +1 per turn in normal DBA, however it adds its own character to the game). This still applies to the Theban commander Pagodas in this "deep phalanx".
However there were two historical characters in the Athenian army which beg a special modification to the leader rules as the army commander Hippocratis was not that inspiring. Therefore the normal leadership bonus can be played in the following fashion instead:
- Shield of Socrates: The future great philosopher was present at this battle as a hoplite. In 432 at the siege of Potidaea Socrates had showed his great courage and valour saving the aristocratic Alcibiades' life (a rising Athenian "star"). Any Athenian hoplite unit (4Sp, including Hippocratis) can claim (only once per game) a +1 defensive modifier as they are "standing firm with Socrates". Note: The implication is that it can only be used to save a friendly unit not kill an enemy one.
- Sword of Alcibiades': In the Athenian left wing "light horse" has the young Alcibides with it and once per game this unit can claim a +1 attack modifier. Note the implication here is that it can only be used to kill an enemy unit not save itself.
The armies are ready for battle. The Thebans set up after seeing the Athenian deployment but the Athenians "go first" (another scenario rule) as on seeing that the Athenian right overlapped the Thebans left, Hippocrates (the Athenian C-in-C) immediately ordered a charge up hill to press this advantage home as soon as possible.