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Sunday, 10 January 2016

Battle of Tanagra

Spartans and allies on the right, Athenians and allies on the left

 Athenian generals consult the Oracles

Athenian right flank advances

Turncoat Thessalian cavalry evade Athenian peltasts' charge

Spartan right flank advances

The centre closes first

Last Sunday Craig, Bern, Gary and I met at the Vikings Club in Lanyon for a Hail Caesar game, a refight of the Battle of Tanagra 457 BC from the First Peloponnesian War (460-445 BC). In this rather obscure battle (Thucydides devotes a sentence to it), 14,000 Athenians and allies including some Thessalian cavalry under Myronides fought an allied Spartan army of about 11,500 (1,500 Spartan hoplites) under Nicodemes. The Thessalian cavalry joined the Spartan side during the battle and while both sides suffered heavy losses the Spartans eventually prevailed.

In our game Craig and Bern were the 'defenders of democracy' while Gary and I were the Spartan and allied commanders. The Athenians had a slight numerical advantage and chose to deploy in deeper formations rather than trying to out flank the Spartans and allies. The Athenian centre charged first and before long the Spartan centre and right were driven back. In the end the Athenian gained a minor victor but suffered heavy casualties and broke divisions themselves. The Spartan right and centre were forced to give ground repeatedly but proved to be surprisingly resilient and survived. Thanks to Craig, Bern and Gary for a fun game.

On a totally different topic, Craig has just has had his Renaissance skirmish rules, En Garde!, published by Osprey. These use the same combat system as his Ronin rules and look really good with the usual Osprey quality photos and illustrations. Osprey currently have a 25% off sale until the 31 of January so if this period interests you, now is a good time to pick them up!

Side view of the battle line

Spartan centre is driven back, while the flanks fight it out

Spartan left flank/Athenian right flank

Spartan right flank and centre are driven back

Spartan right flank gives ground

Side view from the Athenian right flank


  1. Very cool looking armies!
    Congrat's to Craig on publishing his rules too!

  2. Terrific looking armies! Is that Hail Caesar?

    1. Thanks Simon, it is Hail Caesar. Hopefully I will try out a few different rule sets this year if I can persuade anyone to play them...

  3. My goodness what an epic looking battle.

  4. Looks like a beautiful battle...Were the Oracles right?

    1. Thanks Phil, they were for the Athenians!

  5. Impressive battle, Mike! BTW, please pass on my congrats to Craig on the rules.

  6. Thanks Dean, En Garde! looks like a lot of fun.

  7. Love it! A superb looking game!

  8. Thanks Jason, the Spartans haven't been much chop in most of our games.

  9. Another very impressive looking battle Cyrus!


  10. Thanks Christopher, hopefully try a few more rule sets this year.