I've run it twice - some proxies - to figure out if anything is needed to play out better. The first time was a massive Persian victory. The second time played out similarly to the historical results. The Macedonians had great command rolls early and the Persians did not. The Macedonian Companions also had a couple key battles go their way at first contact. They still had a hard time pressing their advantage. The Macedonian center broke but was able to keep enough in for the right wing to finish off the Persian center. The Persian left wing broke fairly quickly but great command rolls actually kept them in it long enough to mount a defense and give Darius time to move some troops around. The Persian right flank suffered maybe one casualty but Parmenion was able to hold off long enough and never broke - though they were almost to the center of the board by the end. In the end Alexander won by crashing into the remaining Greek mercenaries in the rear.
approximately 1 fig = 300 fighters
This is used as general numbers to get the sides correct but not kept to strictly for playability and because of the abstract nature of scale in Triumph.
After rolling command points, Alexander may switch with either of the other commands
Lead from the Front
Alexander was known to lead from the front and was considered a great warrior and inspired his troops. To represent and encourage this, Alexander gets an additional +1 in Combat (total of +2).
To have any chance in this battle, the companions need to be able to break through. In Triumph it is generally very risky to lead from the front, though it usually worked out for Alexander. This rule is to both encourage that historical action as well as give the Alexander player a better chance of it working.
Hold the Line
The Companion Cavalry and the Hypaspists all have Hold the Line. The Macedonian side can use this four times in the battle.
Special Troops/Differences with Triumph Army Lists
In general, I tried to keep with the standard Triumph Army Lists for Macedonia and Late Achaemenid Persia. Here are the differences below.
I rated these as a Elite Cav. They don’t fit the normal description of armored cavalry archers but they were said to be particularly effective against enemy cavalry. They were also considered the premier cavalry in Greece. From a game design perspective, they need to be better than Jav Cav to fulfil their role in this battle, and generally how Alexander used them.
Note: in the list below, the Jav Cav represent the Thracian cavalry, though probably not in great enough number to be a full stand.
Alexander used these as his special forces similar to how the Hypaspists were used. In this battle, they initially were used to repel the attack from the surrounding hills. I wanted them to be a more elite light infantry so upgraded them to Raiders. Standard Light Infantry would also be completely reasonable.
Left Wing - Parmenion
Thessalians: Elite Cav (2)
Thacian Cav: Jav Cav (1)
Greek Cav: Bad Cav (1)
Cretan Archers: Skirmishers (2)
Phalanx: Pike (4)
Command Total/Break: 33/11
Center - Nicanor
Phalanx: Pike (8)
Hypaspists: Raider (2)
Reserves - part of center command
Greek league Troops: Heavy Foot (4)
Veteran Mercenaries: Light Infantry(4)
Mounted Grooms: Bad Cav (1)
Command Total/Break: 59/20
Right Wing - Alexander
Companions: Knight (3)
Paeonians and Lancers: Jav Cav (2)
Macedonian Archers: Skirmishers (2)
Agrianian or Thracian Slingers: Skirmishers (1)
Greek/Illyrians Peltasts: Light Infantry (3)
Greek Cav: Jav Cav (1)
Command Total/Break: 46/16
Army Total/Break: 138/69
Right Wing - Nabarzanes
- Elite Cav (4)
- Jav Cav (4)
Command Total/Break: 50/17
Center - Darius
Kinsmen (Darius): Jav Cav(1) - I use a chariot to represent this stand
Kardakes - heavy: Heavy Foot (4)
Greek Hoplites: Heavy Foot (8)
Light Infantry: Skirmishers (4)
Command Total/Break: 52/18
Persian Left Wing - Rheomithres
Kardakes - heavy: Heavy Foot (4)
Kardakes - light: Light Foot (6)
Mardian Archers: Skirmishers (2)
Median Cavalry: Bad Cav (2)
Hills Surrounding - part of left command
Light and Skirmishing Infantry: Rabble (3)
Army Total/Break: 150/75
Persian Levies: the Persian army had many levies behind Darius that didn’t play a part in the battle – numbers vary wildly. If you want to represent these, any number of Horde and Rabble would be historically reasonable. I did not include these here, partially because the played no role, and partially because I didn’t want to build 10 Horde units. At some point I may build 4 Horde and 4 Rabble just so they are represented and will probably look cool on the battlefield.
No camps are used in this battle. They certainly could be and it would be completely reasonable, probably even more correct. I simply wanted to focus it on the battle itself. If you add the camps, you probably do need to include the Persian Levies.
Map and Historical Deployment
I use at 4'x3' mat for 15mm. That may seem thin for this size of a battle, but Issus was fought on a narrow battleground which helped reduce the size advantage the Persians had. There was an ocean to the west and mountains to the east with only a couple miles in between. The area near the shore was flat and good for cavalry - which is why Darius massed his best cavalry there.
The delta leading to the sea, I made open terrain. It was said to be very shallow there and I wanted to allow the Persian cavalry free reign, though confined. I didn't have any crossing areas in the rest of the river, though it is all crossable. I might add one or two on the Macedonian Right flank. The center was historically difficult to cross because of the fast water.