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Thread: ANNOUNCEMENT: Introducing the Hellenistic Military Reforms

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    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Dec 2007

    Default ANNOUNCEMENT: Introducing the Hellenistic Military Reforms

    Greetings fans of Europa Barbarorum!

    As many of you will now be aware, there is a new version of EBII on the horizon (announced back in April), due in the summer. The Twitter feed has been busy with previews of new units, many of which will feature in this upcoming release. Something else we're excited to reveal is that the Hellenistic factions will be getting new reform events, which will significantly impact their unit rosters, and thus gameplay right from the start. This change will affect quite a number of factions: Baktria, Epeiros, Kimmeros Bosporos, Koinon Hellenon, Makedonia, Pergamon, Pontos, the Ptolemaioi, the Seleukids

    The primary reason for these changes are historical; the existing roster features units which weren't actually available in 272BC and fails to reflect the evolution of Hellenistic armies in response to the conflicts of 3rd century BC. It brings the Hellenistic factions on par with the Romani for nuance and representation of military development.

    The second justification is gameplay. By constraining the recruitment options of all of these factions, it alters the tactical considerations involved in building garrisons and armies, and forces the player to make some harder choices about what to recruit. Furthermore, it means that, as with the Romani and their reforms, you have something to look forward to as the game develops. Instead of receiving all the best troops right at the start, you have to wait for them, making the reform event a significant one. This will also increase the challenge in the early game, though the AI will be labouring under the same restrictions as the human player.

    The reforms will increase in significance in later releases, as new units are added to the Hellenistic roster, many of whom will not be available at the start of the game. This is by no means the final version of the Hellenistic reforms.

    The Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi

    There is a new unit which is responsible for enabling this shift, which has already been previewed: the Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi.

    In the early part of the game, they fill the gap between skirmisher and heavy infantry. I'll hand over to our historians for an explanation:

    The Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi are the peltastai of the early Hellenistic Age. They wear only a partial panoply, thus the name hemithorakitai, and carry throwing spears along with their melee weapons, making them a versatile infantry force. Their helmets, peltai shields, and occasional body armor, afford them some level of protection without so encumbering them as to erase their advantages over heavier infantry, or to completely inhibit them from running down other skirmishers. These semi-heavy infantry filled an important set of roles in the first generations of Hellenistic warfare, later on being replaced by thureos-equipped soldiers.

    The rise of the mercenary, the peltast, and finally the Makedonian phalanx exerted considerable pressures on the Hellenic way of war. The changing face of war during the conflicts of the successors, helped carve out a permanent place for peltastai, mobile infantry equipped mainly for skirmishing, yet competent in melee. The role and panoply of peltasts evolved over time, from Thracian-influenced skirmishers to Iphikrates' mobile line infantry to the multi-role infantry of the Thessalian League and Sacred Wars. The precise roles of Hellenic mercenary or allied infantry in Alexandros' army is unclear, but what is fairly clear is that an evolved version of the peltast continued to play a significant role in the first century of the Hellenistic era. During the third century BC it became common to refer to these troops by two new names, although "peltastai" continued in use on occasion. An Athenian inscription related to the war against the Galatai refers to hemithorakitai, half-armored men, among the contingents that fought the Latter-day Titans. Likewise the 262 BC defense treaty between the Akarnanians and Aetolians lists hemithorakitai as a contingent receiving superior pay to light troops and inferior pay to hoplitai. While the evidence is scant, both mentions likely refer to troops otherwise recognizable as peltasts. The other popular term, deployed across much of the Greek world, was peltophoroi, very similar to peltasts, as a way to refer to infantry who carried peltai and could fill multiple roles, either in close order with pikes as a phalanx or in looser order as a multi-role infantry. In Boiotia, the peltophoroi filled the gap between light troops and hoplitai just as the hemithorakitai did in Akarnania and Aetolia. This late form of the classical peltast passed away as the classes of thureophoroi troops became more and more popular.
    At the start of the game the following units will be affected:
    • Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi become available to Koinon Hellenon, Epeiros, Makedonia, Pergamon and as mercenaries.
    • Thureophoroi, Euzonoi and Machairophoroi are no longer available to any factions.
    • Lesser phalangites (Deuteroi, Leukaspides, Pantodapoi, Machimoi etc) will be available to all bar Koinon Hellenon.

    In the early game, this will be your skirmishing mainstay besides the Akontistai and the other psiloi.

    The Reforms

    There are two reform events: the Thureos Reform and the Late Hellenistic Reforms. In the new release they will be date-triggered, but the intention is that they will have a more sophisticated trigger mechanism with later releases. We were keen to get this reform into this release, rather than wait until the final method of it's execution was completed.

    Once again I'll let our historians explain the reasons these reforms occurred:

    Thureos Reform

    The Hellenistic military world could, at times, be quick to change and revolutionize, or dogmatic and unresponsive. The coming of the Galatians in 279 BC forced the Makedonians and Hellenes face to face with this unwelcome truth. Despite key successes by Antigonos Gonatas and Antiochos Soter, the performance of the Hellenistic powers were mediocre at best, which allowed the Galatians to permanently settle territory in Mikra Asia. Furthermore, their military prowess gained them employment as mercenaries throughout the eastern Mediterranean basin. The Ptolemies were so impressed that they gifted land to many in Egypt in return for their service. And where the Galatians went, their fighting style and equipment did.

    By the 250s BC, the Hellenistic powers were adopting the thureos – the ovoid, wooden shield that the Galatians used to such good success in their initial invasion. Longer than the aspis and held further from the body, it proved to be a very flexible shield for a variety of formations while still offering significant protection. As such, it could be seen carried by men among the psiloi or heavy infantry.

    The shield was popular among the powers in Asia and Mikra Asia. The Ptolemies were particularly fond of the thureos as witnessed by their near total abandonment of the pike phalanx after the Battle of Panion. In the Greek city-states, the shields popularity waxed and waned depending on fortune. The Boiotians took to the thureos quickly, but abandoned it in the 240s after military losses to the Aitolians. Yet, the Achaians began using the shield soon after. Regardless, the thureos became a permanent fixture in the region as testified in sculpture, funeral stele, and other forms of art.
    With the Thureos Reform (c257BC) the following changes take place:
    • Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi and Hoplitai Haploi become less common.
    • Thureophoroi and Euzonoi become available.

    This will occur on or around turn 60 (257BC).

    Late Hellenistic Reforms

    A little over a century after the death of Alexander, the militaries of the Hellenistic world were both much different and very much the same. Still reliant on large infantry formations – often without a proportional amount of supporting cavalry – generals tried their best to find success with what resources they had available. However, the one constant trend was toward heavier equipment as a sort of arms race among the powers of the eastern Mediterranean basin.

    Through constant pressure to succeed and survive, the militaries of the Hellenistic kingdoms and city-states continued to evolve and innovate throughout the 3rd century BC. Nor were they unwilling to borrow successful ideas from other peoples. These new formations allowed the Hellenistic powers to diversify their armies and increase their versatility. By late in the century, the variety of unit types available were staggering. Chief among these were units carrying the thureos shield, which continued to gain favor as the role of the traditional hoplite shrunk. Thorakitai, men carrying the thureos and armoured with mail or cuirass, performed admirably as heavy infantry. Even the elite hypaspistai were superseded on the battlefield by the picked men of this class.

    Among the equestrians, the traditionally anemic Greek cavalry were replaced by those carrying the thureos or aspis and the heavier lonche throwing spear. These cavalry units could be found throughout the Greek peninsula as well as Mikra Asia, and were able to skirmish or fight in melee better than their precursors. Yet these failed to compare to the splendor and power of the kataphraktoi, which were introduced to the Mediterranean world by Antiochos III after he had likely encountered such cavalry during his anabasis – perhaps even among the secessionist Baktrians. A rousing success, this cavalry type became a permanent fixture of the Seleukid military after 200 BC.

    Finally, the Makedonian phalanx was eventually adopted by the powers in the Greek peninsula. Although never in great numbers, the longer reach afforded by the sarissa and the solid wall of spear points were benefits difficult to ignore. Unfortunately, the Greek city-states never had much luck with phalangites. Cleomenes of Sparta was only able to organize a woefully small 2,000 phalangites at Sellasia, where he was soundly beaten.
    With the Late Hellenistic Military Reforms (c222BC) the following changes take place:
    • Koinon Hellenon are able to recruit Deuteroi Phalangitai.
    • Thureopherontes Hippeis appear, replacing Hippakontistai.
    • Lonchophoroi Hippeis appear, replacing Hippeis.
    • Thureopherontes Hippotoxotai appear.
    • Hellenistic Kataphraktoi become available to Arche Seleukeia and Baktria.
    • Machairophoroi and Thorakitai become available.
    • Epilektoi Thorakitai appear, replacing Hypaspistai.
    • Hoplitai become less common.
    • Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi disappear.

    This will occur on or around turn 200 (222BC).

    Once again, these will fill out significantly further once new units appear. We will confirm which units will be available at the time of the summer release... but not before!

    As ever, thank you for your support and remember to read more history.

    - The Europa Barbarorum II Team

    donated by ARCHIPPOS for being friendly to new people.
    donated by Macilrille for wit.
    donated by stratigos vasilios for starting new and interesting threads
    donated by Tellos Athenaios as a welcome to Campus Martius

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