Painting the scythed chariots and elephants for Pendraken Painting Competition has renewed my interest in this army/project that has been a forgotten for a while. The question is, why?
I think it is because I have no clear objective. Initially the goal was to play Impetus, but lack of opponents and time to play has relegated it to a second/third plane. So I´ve decided to restart the project and organize myself to know what I have to paint. Like any good wargamers know, you always need to have two armies in order to face among themselves. So, as my seleucid oponent I´ve chosen a Roman Republican Army (thanks Pendraken Award!). Let´s define the project.
First: Choose the topic.
I want to focus on the battle of Magnesia. It is a very colorful battle where the Seleucid army displays virtually all kind of available troops (phalangites, cataphracts, elephants, scythed chariots, camels ...) and even the Romans have an ally (Pergamon) that gives some variety to the army.
With this battle in mind, I will choose the troops that I have to paint.
Second: Decide size of the bases.
I have one thing clear: each unit will have a single base. Some of the figures that I have already painted are based on a base with 8cm front (ie for Impetus 15mm). It would be perfect, because it is a base size that gives very good sense of mass. However, on second thoughts I've noticed that I´ve chosen armies with a lot of heavy infantry, which involves buying and painting many miniatures. Money and time are not two things of wich I have plenty now, so I think it will be a good idea making the bases with 6cm front. It is a good base size to give mass effect (4cm would be too small), but it will not require so many figures.
My old pikemen. With that base size, painting would never end...
Third: Which game system to use?
Requirements: simple, fast, faithfully representing ancient warfare (well, you understand me) and with rules for (or easily adaptable to) solo playing.
Looking much I think I found a little gem, so I decided on Armati. I liked it because:
- It's simple. Although the rulebook is quite extensive, the rules are very easy.
- It's pretty fast. In an hour or an hour and a half the battle is done (at least in my tests).
- It's historic. That is, deployment is the key (a unit can not flown all over the table in a couple of command phases) and rules favor the units behave as they did historically (supposedly...).
- It is relatively simple to represent a historic battle playing solo.
However, I can also use rules as Rally Round the King, Hail Caesar or Impetus to face armies if given the situation (as both have the same front size,there´s no problem).
I have decided to start with an achievable goal, but can add more pikemen, auxiliaries, legionaries, etc. later.
Seleucids (117 pts): 5x PH, WB 1x, 2x LI, SI 4x, 2x CAT, 1x HC, CM 1x, 2x LC, 2x, 2x Scyth
A total of 22 units including:
- Pikemen and Argyraspids (PH). I have already painted most of them, just need to change the base.
- Galatians (WB). I'll have to buy them, is the only unit that I don´t have.
- Auxiliary infantry (LI). Cappadocians and other races. I have many greek style peltasts painted, but also have to paint some Cappadocians.
- Skirmishers (SI). Cretans, Tralles, Cilicians, etc. armed with bows, slings and javelins. I have enough already painted.
- Cataphracts (CAT). I´ve also added a HC unit to represent Hetairoi, less armored.
- Arabs on camels (CM). Only 300 participated in the battle, but it´s a "Must be" in the army unit.
- Dahae horse archers and Tarentines (LC). They are half-painted.
- And of course: elephants (EL) and scythed chariots (Scyth).
Romans/Pergamon (77 pts): 6x FT, LI 2x, 6x SI, HC 3x, 1x
18 units in total, including:
- Two Hastati units, two princeps units and two triarii units (FT). There should be more units (double of princeps and hastati), because there were four legions, but I prefer to have an achievable goal. I can get more romans once these are painted.
- Velites (four SI units) in front of the legions.
- Roman and Pergamon Cavalry (HC), concentrated in the right wing.
- Pergamon auxiliary infantry, probably theurophoroi peltasts (LI).
- Cretan archers and Tralles slingers (two SI units).
- African Elephants (EL). There where 16 at Magnesia, but remained in reserve because they had no chance against Indian elephants.
So, once again I have embarked on a new project! Hope you like the idea, and hope to have time to paint some units soon...