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Subject: Pataliputra. A first battle for Chandragupta and I rss

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Ryan Powers
United States
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Pataliputra is my first foray into Chandragupta and I am playing it as part of my chronological GBoH blog. It pits a young Chandragupta's army being led by Chanakya against a Nanda army led by Bhadrasala. It seems a good intro to the game as it's a fairly straightforward ancients battle in that it's a flat plain with two armies lined up facing one another.

There are still plenty of new wrinkles to get a handle on though starting with what would seem to be an odd mix of units in other ancients games. Add to that that some of said units are tribal or guild based, and then Dharmayuddha rules which dictate who can attack what and how (but can be violated at will if you're willing to pay the rout point penalty) and you have something that isn't near as similar to other GBoH games as it would first appear. Despite that, I'm not quite sure how to use these new things, so much like with Chariots of Fire, the first few scenarios are going to be filled with bad ideas and poor execution on my part

The setup image in the scenario book has a few errors, but there's a correct looking setup image in the gallery:

Footnote 1

Turn 1:

Despite asking around a bit, I'm still uncertain as to how to make the Chandragupta system work for me. So for now the lines are mostly just closing and we'll see what happens. I already made one mistake as I missed the fact that there is actually an initiative two leader on the map. I skipped over him and stared with the threes and had to come back to the two leader later.

Turn 2:

Turn two started off with the correct initiative two leader unlike turn one. That meant Siva and his Sibis tribals got to start things off. Two of the tribal light advanced, and the opposing cavalry withdrew (not out of fear of the tribals, but not wanting to get pinned in place with elephants about). The chariot on the end of the Nanda line did not withdraw, but did turn to face the approaching light infantry. One of the infantry units routed upon hearing even the suggestion of charging. Left unsupported, the second one routed after shock combat. Not an auspicious start to "actual" combat for young Chandragupta and his allies.

Chandramas activated next for the Nanda army, and moved up the back line of light infantry in preparation for plugging any holes caused by future combat. An attempt at momentum failed, and so his big plan of breaking the Dharmayuddha restrictions and crashing into the opposing chariots with his cataphracted elephants would have to wait.

The Mauryan elephant Nayaka leader on the Mauryan right activated next, moving forward and pushing the opposing cavalry back with substantial damage to the cohesion of the terrified horses.

Back on the Nandan side, the left wing chariot/light infantry Nayaka activated. Since he could not use a line command, he made due and sent two heavy chariots plus some supporting light infantry against the Mauryans. This routed an opposing light infantry, and he moved to capitalize on this success by rolling for momentum. Chanakya attempted to intervene, but was instead finished. Continuing on, the Nayaka sent in another chariot unit into the fray and routed away an additional light infantry. NOTE: This broke the Dharmayuddha restrictions. With the Mauryans having units that could already ignore them, it seemed a reasonable move.

The elephant Nayaka on the Mauryan right was up next scattering away a Nandan chariot that failed to be orderly enough in its orderly withdrawal and then driving the Nandan right cavalry back with heavy cohesion damage. A dieroll of doom on the momentum roll ended up being mostly harmless, but it did eliminate the ability to push the cavalry even farther back.

The Nandan left cavalry activated next, and was occupied with fixing the cohesion damage done to it by the advancing elephants. Not a terribly exciting thing, but the units were pretty useless in their initial condition.

Moriya Pottala led his tribe into action next on behalf of Chandragupta. His infantry drove off the chariot anchoring the Nandan left and then pressed the attack against the infantry that was left holding the edge. That infantry ran away instead of facing the oncoming foes, having seen the nearby chariots flee probably contributed.

Dhana activated the Nandan cavalry on the right next. His first activation, much like his counterpart on the opposing side was to bring some order back to his troops. Then he utilized momentum to surround and eliminate one of the pesky elephants that had driven him so far back in the first place.

Kashyap and his Weaver Guild continued the battle for the Mauryans and he attacked and eliminated an isolated Nandan chariot unit, while losing one of the two light infantry units involved in the combat.

The right wing chariot/light infantry Nayaka was up next on the Nandan side. And like his counterpart he sent two heavy chariots plus a supporting light infantry into combat. They routed away two of the opposing light infantry. But when he rolled for momentum to press the attack, Chandragupta trumped him and took over.

Seizing the initiative, Chandragupta was up next. He promptly failed to rally the two light infantry that had just been routed, eliminating one of them. The rest of his activation was more promising though, he sent two of his lancer units in to attack the heavy chariots that had just breached the center-left of his line and routed them both.

Vyadi led his Artisans into the fight on Chandragupta's left and the four light infantry he was able to commit routed one opposing light infantry.

So far it was looking pretty good for Chandragupta, he had done significant damage to the chariot corps of the Nandans and had himself taken limited losses. When he looked up he was dismayed to find that both the Artisan and Weaver guilds fled the field as well as the Sibis tribe. The flight of the Sibis was not unexpected, having two thirds of their units in flight already. But both guilds only had one routing or eliminated unit. Losing one would be a bit of a surprise, but far from shocking. Losing both is sure to put a big monkeywrench in his future plans.

In the casualty image below, be aware that not all of the guild and tribal units were wiped out in actual combat.

Rout Points:

Maurya: Nanda:
Initial = 0 Initial = 0
3 x tribalLI (1) = 3 2 x CH* (6) = 12
10 x guild LI (2) = 20 2 x CH (4) = 8
Siva (2) = 2 1 x CH (5) = 5
Kashyap (3) = 3 1 x EL (5) = 5
Vyadi (4) = 4 1 x LI (3) = 3
Total = 32 (out of 60) Total = 33 (out of 70)

Turn 3:

With no more initiative two leaders left on the map, Moriya activated his Pottala tribe. Moving around the Nandan left his two light infantry units eliminated one opposing chariot unit and forced a second to orderly "withdraw" forward. That last bit may have made my particular path of attack less clever than I had thought... No momentum allowed.

The cavalry on the left of the Nanda army were quick to respond to this and they pounced on the Pottala light infantry units, routing them both. Failed momentum.

The lone elephant unit and it's Nayaka leader on the Mauryan right activated next pushing back the opposing cavalry in great disorder. Failed momentum.

Chandramas was up next and he sent some of his elephants in. The goal was all of them, but he was unable to issue a line command. A line command here would have been devastating... Instead his three chosen cataphracted elephant units still did massive damage routing three opposing chariot units and one lancer unit before shock was even joined. Two light infantry joined their mounted compatriots in flight once the elephants trampled into and through them. Failed momentum.

The other Mauryan elephants activated, avenging the retreating Pottala tribe by routing one of the cavalry which had driven them off and getting a Mauryan light infantry unit in the process. Failed momentum.

The left wing of the Nandan main line sent some high speed chariots through the hole on the Mauryan right that had been vacated by the fleeing Weavers guild last turn. They routed a light infantry unit and destroyed two more outright and then failed the momentum roll (is anyone catching on to a theme here?)

The Nandan right wing chariots and light infantry were up next and used two chariot units to drive off two Mauryan light infantry units. They also pushed some of the previously ordered cataphracted elephants to attack the lancers that they had previously advanced into the rear hexes of. Somehow, the lancers held while the elephants did not and rampaged right into said lancers eliminating both units. Failed momentum.

Dhana activated next for Nanda hoping to repeat his feat of dressing his lines and then surrounding a lone elephant unit. But failing his momentum roll just like everyone else meant that it didn't work out this turn.

Chandragupta himself activated next rallying four fleeing light infantry units and then promptly failing his momentum roll.

That left Chanakya to attempt to salvage the battle despite the evaporation of a large portion of his forces. Some light cavalry ran up to a unit of cataphracted elephants from behind and routed them with javelins continuing on to charge a heavy chariot unit in the flank and routing it as well. Another light cavalry attacked another cataphracted elephant unit in the rear, causing it to rampage into a third elephant unit which was shaken but held.

And then... he succeeded with a momentum roll! He used it to attempt to burst through the Nandan light infantry that were now accessible because the elephants to their front were no longer there, but the infantry shot up and routed the chariots before shock could be fought. He sent two light cavalry units against the flanks of two heavy chariot units. In one case his attacking cavalry had light infantry support. That was a good thing too, since the cavalry ran off instead of charging while the light infantry carried the day and routed the chariots on their own. In the other light cavalry vs heavy chariot encounter, the unsupported cavalry did just fine and destroyed their opponent. Another momentum roll was also successful, and it was used to rally the light cavalry that had just turned tail instead of charging and to clean up some cohesion hits here and there.

Surprisingly, the Pottala tribe did not officially flee the field though the entire tribe was routing away.

Lots more eliminated units this turn:

Rout Points:
Maurya: Nanda:
Initial = 32 Initial = 33
5 x CH (4) = 20 3 x catEL (6) = 18
2 x LN (5) = 10 2 x CH (5) = 10
3 x LI (3) = 9 1 x CH* (6) = 6
Total = 71 out of 60. 1 x LI (3) = 3
Total = 75 out of 70

Both sides went over the limits, but the Mauryans failed by more (and further, the Nandan reserve had not yet been committed). Chandragupta and Chanakya were therefore forced to flee to lick their wounds for now.


If I hadn't violated the Dharmayuddha restrictions with the Nanda side, the results would have been markedly different. It didn't occur to me until it was too late that I could demolish the opposing chariots simply by moving instead of attacking which would have let me push through the center without technically violating the rules.

Additionally, had I known that both guilds plus one tribe would all flee after turn two, Chandramas would have chosen to be more patient... All part of learning a new variation in the Great Battles of History series.

The low TQ numbers on a lot of units makes combat of any sort a lot more variable. Despite the low rout point penalty for losing light infantry, losing that bulk hurts quickly. Particularly with the absence skirmishers.

All in all that was a fun battle. There's lots I would do differently now that I've played the system once. The next battle offers actual terrain plus a fortified camp. Time to get reading up on those camps...


[1] Thanks to
Knut Grünitz
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for the initial setup image.

EDIT: Fixed broken image link
EDIT: Fixed blog link (It went to 1027 instead of 1072...)
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Mr G
United Kingdom
Hatfield Heath
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Great report, but it's 'me' not 'I'.
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Ryan Powers
United States
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fentum wrote:

Great report, but it's 'me' not 'I'.

I am aware. The elephants made me think of "The King and I" Despite not really being far enough east. So I very mildly played off of that for the title. I considered moving it to the beginning of the sentence where it would hold it's own with a bit of revising, but in the end decided not to.
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