Saturday, October 12, 2019

Ephesus 496 BC

We recently played out the Battle of Ephesus, a battle between the Greeks and the Persians. The scenario was taken from Command and Colors Ancients. (Thanks to Jim Duncan the author of the scenario.) The rules used are my version of DBA which I call DBA_BR. My previous post explains many of the house rules that go into my version.

Here's the map and historical background and CCA map for the battle:

Historical Background
In 499BC the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, persuaded the Ionian Greeks to rise in rebellion against their Persian ruler King Darius. Darius placed Miletus under siege while Aristsgorus sailed to Greece to enlist the support of Athens and Sparta. The Spartans refused, but the Athenians sent 20 ships along with 5 ships from the city of Eretria who owed a debt of gratitude to the Milasians for their help in a former conflict. The ships landed at Ephesus and an allied army of Athenians, Eretrians and Ionians marched on the Persian regional capital of Sardes under the command of Charopinos, the brother of Aristagoras, and Hermophantus a man from Miletus. 
The Greeks easily captured Sardes and drove the regional Satrap, Artaphernes, into the city citadel. The approach of a large Persian army, probably the one that had been besieging Miletus, forced the Greeks to retreat back to Ephesus, but the Persian supremecy in cavalry meant the Greeks were caught and forced to turn and fight. The outnumbered and mainly infantry Greek army was heavily defeated with the Eretrian general Eualcides being killed. The Athenians retreated to their ships and then back to Athens. 
The Ionian revolt would rage for many more years and was eventually crushed in 494BC. Darius never forgot the aid the Ionians received from mainland Greece and he determined that Persia should exact its revenge in the future.

Taken from Ancients - Commands and Colors System website.
Page title: JD59 Ephesus (498 BC) - Ancients - Commands and Colors System
Page link:

I translate the counters from CCA into DBA terms and divide the opposing forces into groups according to the number of commanders in the CCA version of the scenrio.
I created a system of dicing for terrain for my 4' by 4' table. Three features dominated and through the dicing all ended up in the center of the table. This was key in how the battle went. The view here is from the Greek side of the board.
The Persian left was dominated by LH, CV and A HVChar. Sadly for the Persian commander (me) this placed them behind the rough terrain section-not good for horse of any type.
The Persian center, Sparabara (LtSP\BW combination) and Indians (Bw).
This is the Persian right. Again we wee LH, CV, a HVChar and one element of Ps.This flank would be initially successful.
This picture shows the Persian groupings very well. Two strong wings of mounted troops with decent infantry in the center. It would be a deadly combination had the terrain been more clear.
Nice close up of the artwork from my friend Mike.
Greek LH on the Greek left. The Persian horse would make short work of them.
The imposing Greek center-all SP and a tough nut to crack head on!
More great art work from Mike.
The Greek right flank. Two elements of SP supported on both sides by Thracian Ax.
Nice aerial view of the Greek deployment. The rough terrain serves as a nice anchor for the Greeks who lack  horse.
The Greek horse got to the high ground first. The hill was not rough ground.
The Persian horse approaches the hill.
And vanquish the Greek horse!
The Persian center advances to support the victorious horse.
Ranged BW recoils one element of Greek SP. Things look promising for the Persians. 
Sadly, the Persian left is paralyzed by the hill, held by Thracian Ax and the Greek SP between the hill and the rough terrain. It proofed to be a terrible bottle neck for the Persians.
The Greek commander managed to shift a significant number of SP elements to prevent the Persian horse from outflanking them. Each group commander gets "x" number of moves per turn that must be diced for. Therefore, he must make priority decisions based on his die throw. Once the Greek SP made contact with the Persian CV I knew I was in trouble!
The Greek gamble was to leave the center lightly held.
The Persians still have a chance for a break through in the center. The Greek player moves  some Ps  and Ax to flank the Indians on the left of the picture.
The Indian unit is flanked and the Greek SP unit has recoiled the Persian Sparabara opposite it. I don't like the way it's going at this point.
The Persian horse has been routed from the hilltop. The units that remain are no match for a head on with the Greek SP.
The paralyzed Persian left. In desperation I considered an attack but I had already lost almost enough elements to force a concede.
This would be the near climax of the game as the Greek SP pushes relentlessly while the Indians on the far right of the picture will die thus forcing a roll up of the whole line!
Bah! The unengaged Persian left. What a waste of good horse. 
Uh oh!
The end.
The game was a lot of fun and unusual given that it was historically set so early in the contest between the Greeks and Persians. All the miniatures were provided by my friend Mike while I designed the scenerio.


  1. Super looking battle! I have often considered building a Persian army due mainly to the colorful troops. Your photos make resistance that much harder!


    1. I understand. The same thing happens to me when I see other people's work including yours. In this game most the foot figures were painted by my friend Mike and the horse by my friend Jim. They are both excellent painters. Thanks Jonathan.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Michael. It's a little unusual too and I like that!

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