Monday, February 1, 2010

The Battle of Pydna 168 BC

I contribute fairly regularly to Wargames Illustrated. This article was my first one published after the Battlefront re-launch of this excellent magazine (in #261). It takes a good look at Rome’s Third Macedonian War and the big showdown at Pydna.

I think this one is hard to understand from a gaming point of view – it’s just so obvious that you don’t send phalanxes of pikemen up a rough hill. I think it’s a case where the Macedonians had the wind behind them and only saw hesitant Romans and the chance to plunder their camp. The game scenario was a bit of a challenge (for the reasons cited above), but its special rules encourage and reward the Macedonian player for taking an aggressive role despite some obvious tactical disadvantages – and neither can the Roman player just sit and wait for the Macedonians to stumble their way to victory or defeat. Any game that pulls in almost every archetypical warrior from the Greco-Roman Mediterranean world is worth trying out on the tabletop.

I thank D. Leavesley and B. Pickel for helping me playtest the original scenario concept.

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