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P126 – “By the time of Macedon, the phalanx had adapted further in its training and organisation”
Despite this Hoplites have a distinct advantage over pike phalanxes =
1. The length of the pike gave a bit of protection from both shooting and combat due to its length, almost twice that of the Hoplite spear yet the Hoplites get the same Phalanx benefits, this means they get an AV4. while a pike armed unit gets AV3 because they do not have a large shield, yet they outreach the Hoplites.
2. If both Hoplites and Pikes stand for a charge they both get two ranks, again as the pikes have a 21ft length and prepare to meet a charging enemy why the same?
In a stand up fight the Hoplite unit wins almost all of the time, there seems to be no advantage to having a pike phalanx in a Macedonian.or Successor army rather than lots of Mercenary Hoplites who are far more useful troops.
Disgruntled Seleucid player.
As I understand it, pikes fight in one more rank than spears:
1st round, charging: Spears 1 rank, pikes 2
1st round defending: Spears 2 ranks, pike 3
subsequent rounds: spears 3 ranks, pikes 4
That is almost true, pikes only get two ranks in first round, it is the phalanx rule that screws things up, It gives them protection for combat and shooting, it also allows two ranks irrespective of type of spear standing or charging. In other words they get all the advantages of the weapon which made them obsolete, and allied to the large shield this means they will normally beat pikes most of the time in a straight fight.
Ah. Forgot to look up phalanx rules.
I see your point.
Perhaps a simple fix would be that pikes cancel out the phalanx benefit for shorter weapons (like spears)?
So in a pike v spear phalanx battle – spears fight like normal spears.
That would be a simple solution but Greek players will not agree I think. I could have fought the battle better on reflection and the lack of players here means I do not encounter Hoplites armies very often, however I feel the match up is just wrong.
Thanks for the observation and there is a simple solution, one that should have been there from the start – Long thrusting spears can reroll their ‘to hit’ rolls in the opening round of combat against thrusting spears, the same should apply to pikes against both types of spears – as the combat continues, these bonuses are lost because the troops have got much closer (but pike armed get the advantage of more models fighting if they have taken extra ranks) – I will look to add that to the errata
Other comments most welcome – sorry late to the party, the problem with the new forum is it doesn’t seem to show the most recent posts on the main page
And as I am currently reviewing the Alexander list (because another player had sent in a few observations) I noticed some of the Alex era pikes can have extra armour on top of light armour, so this would certainly neutralise the large shield – but of course remember a Trained Phalanx has benefits over a Phalanx when it comes to manoeuvring and over time, armour was sacrificed for this advantage
PLus of course – take plenty of pikes to win out on numbers fighting!
The problem for me on the wargame table is with Hoplites getting phalanx rule, nothing else, this makes them a superior troop type than the guys who made them redundant. I would quite happily swap a fourth rank for a 3 up save. As for extra armour I am not convinced phalangites stuck with armour for very long but that is another story. My only option is to become Alexander or steer clear of Hoplite armies, the former is not going to happen but the latter can.
George its worth considering (as I was last night) that the reason Macedon moved forward was their use of cavalry and other troops, as I understand it the Pike blocks were the anvil that held the enemy in place and the cavalry and other troops finished the enemy off.
The Greek hoplite phalanx is powerful to the front but is severely limited in its ability to manoeuvre as I know only too well – I have lost enough battles because of it!
Anyway, just updating both Alexs and Successor lists, they will be online a little later today – just going to make a note about the pikes versus spears bit
We are currently in self isolation as one of the daughters has a temperature, that seems to have broken now thankfully