111 Hydaspes (326 BC)
Having gained control over all of the known civilized world, Alexander ventured into India in 326 BC. He met resistance from Porus at the River Hydaspes. Porus’ large corps of 200 elephants thwarted all of Alexander’s attempts to cross the river. Learning that a large force was moving to reinforce Porus, Alexander decisively divided his army, and secretly crossed up-river with the majority of the Macedonian troops. Craterus remained in place with a large detachment to deceive the Indians. Upon receiving the startling news that Alexander had crossed the Hydaspes, Porus hurriedly turned his army to meet him in battle. Porus sent his chariots forward but these were quickly destroyed. Alexander then sent his cavalry to attack Porus' right wing and gained the flank of the Indian army, while his heavy infantry advanced to attack the elephants and bowmen. The elephants charged the phalanx and did great execution among the elite Macedonian infantry. Only the timely intervention of the light troops prevented a greater loss. Porus, wounded six times, was captured and the remainder of his army routed. Porus so impressed Alexander with his bravery that he was allowed to retain his kingdom as a Macedonian vassal. The power of the elephants was not lost upon the Macedonian generals who fought at Hydaspes. They would go to great pains to obtain elephants of their own during the Wars of the Successors.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.
Macedonian Army (Use Greek blocks)
• Leader: Alexander
• 6 Command Cards
• Move First
Indian Army (Use Eastern Kingdom blocks)
• Leader: Porus
• 5 Command Cards
• The River Hydaspes is impassable.
• When Alexander is attached to a unit, the unit will battle with 1 additional dice in Close Combat.
• The two Greek Companion Cavalry units are special units. Place a special unit block in the same hex as the Companion Cavalry units to distinguish it from the other units. The Companion Cavalry will ignore 1 sword symbol in Close Combat and may ignore 1 flag.
PS. I am using figures for elephants which look then gorgeous
I played this scenario twice today, firstly as the Indians, going down 6-7, then as the Macedonians, winning a massive 7-1, so two more wins for the Macedonians.
The first one was very, very close. I had the chance to win it, but botched up my last turn by attacking in the wrong order, allowing a unit that I should have destroyed to retreat. The elephants performed well, smashing the phalanx. It was Alexander and his Companions that pulled the Greeks out of the fire.
The second game was a lot closer than the score would make it appear. I only lost one full unit, but boy, most of my army was looking very sick. Eric, my opponent, seemed to be able t pull any dice combo he needed with his archers, reducing half a dozen units to half or less blacks.
Two double times allowed me to get my phalanx in among the Indian infantry, causing carnage, and winning the game for me.
We just have to do this more often!
It was 2 or 3 years ago but I recall him balking at all my elephants and saying how easily I would win. He had never faced them before and had seen me solitaire a game of Bagradas (Greg Blanchett) where the elephants had gone through the Romans like a hot knife through butter for a 6-3 win. I explained that Elephants can be very hit and miss, and my Indian Elephants on the Hydaspes definitely missed big time that day. My left wing cavalry fought a valiant comeback but from 3-0 down it was a lost cause.
But if the Elephants can do their stuff the Indians can win.
I have to add that this so far is my favorite CCA scenario and can't wait to play it as an EPIC game!
As the Macedonians, I pushed my phalanx up early, using a double time card to present a solid front. Simon, my opponent, pushed his elephants forward to meet them. The phalanx failed. every single heavy infantry block was wiped out in the engagement. I had to pull back my centre, and used my left flank light infantry to clean up what remained of his elephants. Things were not looking good for Alexander, so I threw in the cavalry. Using both Companion units, one with Alaxander and the other with a leader, I smashed into the Indian left flank, carving through his cavalry and light infantry. He counterattacked with his remaining elephant, but I used a First Strike card to kiill it before it could have an effect. The Macedonians won 7 to 4.
We swapped sides, and the start was somewhat the same, with the phalanx advancing up the centre. I positioned my elephants to strike, and sent them in. This time he pulled out the First Strike card, and my elephants crumbled, followed by my right flank, the pikes of the phalanx sweeping all before them. Macedonians 7 to 3.
I think it is winnable by the Indians, if they get the elephants right. They need to get into the right position to strike, and cause as much damage as possible in their initial attack, because they do not last long. The Companion cavalry, particularly the one with Alexander, are a huge threat, four dice and can ignore two retreats and one sword dice. They should be the primary target of every light infantry unit in the Indian force to try and jag a leader hit against Alexander.
Macedonion infantry and cavalry (with Alexander as a special leader) against Indians with archers and elephants. This is a big, fun brawl. Historically, this is the battle that gave the the Diadochi (Alexander's generals) a vast desire for elephants in their armies — and, in fact, the elephants are key to the battle. They will wreak havoc on the Macedonian mediums and heavies if the Macedonian player doesn't learn how to counter with light infantry harassment tactics.
Maybe the indian slightly exotic weapons mix (heavy on longbowmen and elephants) makes it more fun to play, but on the other hand the Macedonians have the Alexander leader unit. His bonus battle die and morale effects make the Companion medium cavalry he starts with pretty nasty, but there can be worse fates for the Indian player — as I found out when I shot the Companions to ribbons and my opponent moved Alexander onto a heavy infantry unit. A six-battle-dice attack is no fun to be on the receiving end of; it will chew opposing units up pretty fast even when they evade.
Overall, well balanced. In my opinion one of the best compositions anywhere in the GMT scenario books.