Alala! at the Society of Ancients Conference

Last weekend I gave my Alala! Hoplite game its third outing at the Society of Ancients Conference. For me this event is the highlight of my wargaming calendar. The mix of games, presentations, and discussions, with plenty of time to socialise over meals and drinks, makes for a perfect weekend away.

My game was another Spartan vs Theban bash-up. With the troops deployed I explain the essentials of the game mechanisms. In the background another game is being set up based on The Eagle of the Ninth.

The Theban players consider their options...

... as do the Spartans

The Theban right wing cavalry, supported by Hamippoi, launched a ferocious attack on the Spartan skirmishers. Although initially successful against the Spartan peltasts, they were cut down and surrounded by the Spartan cavalry as they pursued.

The cavalry and skirmishers on the Theban left were more successful. Although their psiloi failed to support the cavalry they did at least manage to inflict some casualties on the Spartan hoplites.

The Spartan right was held by a unit of elite Spartiates. Their good order and fine appearance struck their foes with terror.

Some of the allied hoplites on the Theban side (no doubt from a democratic city) had chosen to paint their shields with some rather unique designs.

When the hoplite lines clashed the Theban players were enthused by the success of the deep Theban phalanx on their right wing. Alas, it did not go so well in the centre or left. There the Spartans had the ascendancy, driving back several Theban units. Despite the untimely (and valiant) death of the Spartan King, the Theban line was wavering and so, despite the success of the Theban right wing, it was a Spartan victory.


The full Alala! rules (including the ‘God cards’) are available as a free downloaded from the rules section of my website.

Elsewhere at the conference there was a wonderful Hellenistic naval battle, along with many other games including a Command and Colours knock-out competition, Bosworth and Pharsallus in 6mm, demonstrations of Strength & Honour and Total War rules, a workshop on gaming Alexander’s victory at Issus and several others that I did not have the chance to observe or take part in.

Interspersed amongst the games were several excellent presentations and discussions. One of which saw Ernie Fosker addressing the Hall in old English, dressed as a high status Saxon warrior. This was a prelude to a presentation about the conflict for the English throne between Danes and Saxons in the 9th Century. Others included Harry Sidebottom’s take on wargaming siege warfare, Duncan Head on the second battle of Mantinea, and Richard Thomas on the Greek/Macedonian Phalanx.

It was a great weekend and I highly recommend the Society of Ancients Annual Conference to anyone with the slightest interest in ancient history and wargames.

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