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-Lucius on Tactics - Part III -by Paul Bruffell-

Macedonian Phalangites

As in history, the Macedonian phalanx in the game can be an awesome weapon. Unless faced by another formation of pike men, the experienced phalanx will literally run over the opposition.

However, you need to be careful, the phalanx is very brittle and easily routes if attacked in the rear.

To appreciate just how impressive the phalanx can be and how exposed it is to the rear, we will look at the combat modifiers in the game.

Phalanx in the Open

For a phalanx of pike men 256 men deep in one unit, the game allows the first 3 ranks to be in combat. This means 24 x 3 ranks = 72 men attacking with a modifier of:

  • +1 if troops armed with pike with 8-12 ranks deep (that is with a unit strength of > 255 and < 385).

This would typically result in an enemy HI unit loosing 30 men in one turn.

However, if a phalanx is hit in the rear by, say a enemy HC unit, the combat modifier is:

  • +3 if attacking the rear, right rear, or left rear of a pike or long thrusting spear unit.

Then this would typically result in a phalangite unit loosing 70 men in one turn; losses such as this would result in the defensive unit routing after 1 or 2 turns.

So how do you get your unit to reach the rear of a phalanx?

The most effective way is to pin it facing forward with an equally strong infantry force then loop round a mobile shock unit capable of charging in.

A pike phalanx gains positive combat modifiers when increasing the number of men in a unit but the morale positive modifier of placing a friendly unit to the rear and sides of a unit is more favourable. Therefore I prefer to have 2 rows of units each of 256 pike men rather than a single row of 512 men per unit.

More to come...