Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Forged in Battle Pontics

I'm back to playing ancients with the excellent L'Art de la Guerre rules. ADLG succeeds where Field of Glory (FoG) ancients stumbled.  ADLG creates a fun and decisive 2- 2.5 hour game with lighter figure requirement.  Needing half the figures of FoG, you can paint an army in half the time.  For my first ADLG army, I used Forged in Battle's superb War & Empire figures. They have 30 (!) ancient armies to choose from and many more coming.  FiB sells a Pontic army but I built mine using individual packs. Bonus, the Pontic starter army is 22% off for the month of June. 

So how did the figures paint up? Using "Monty's Method" I finished them in just under two weeks. That's fast by even my standards and a big thumbs up to FiB.  I've used Old Glory 15s almost exclusively for the past 4 years.  With FiB deep bench, variety and crisp detail, I won't be going back to Old Glory.

Scythed Chariots: (4-Horse Scythed Chariots - Later Seleucid pack)  These are my favorite models of the army. Nothing says "Company is coming!" like feather-crowned horses!  I'll be running two of these.  

Sarmatian Heavy Cavalry:  (Rhoxolani Armored Lancers) In the ADLG Pontic list, you can run Sarmatian horse as Impetuous heavy cavalry or as mounted bowmen.  I should mention a single base of cavalry is a unit in the game.  The banner is a my interpretation of the comet Mithradates claimed he was born under.  

Sarmatian Light and Medium bow cavalry:  (Light Cavalry-Sarmatian) While less spectacular than their brass covered brethren, these horse archers are just what I need to "Shoot and Scoot".  

Pontic Heavy Horsemen: (Companion Heavy Cavalry-Later Successor pack) These emphasize Mithridates' Hellenistic bend. 

Javelinmen and Light Javelinmen:  (Skythian Skirmishers) Mandatory in my Pontic list, I'm a bit nervous about how they'll hold up in melee.
Light Cavalry with Javelin:(Militia light cavalry) Mandatory and about as good as the javelinmen.  

Imitation Legionaries:  (Roman Argyraspides Infantry) After seeing his imitation legionaries beaten to a pulp by the real deal, Mithridates was heard to say "Accept no substitutes!"

Thureophoroi with long spears: (Thureophoroi Infantry - Later Successor) Love the red capes!  

Pikemen: (Successor Asiatic Phalangites pack)  No need to drill  the hands out, I simply glued my metal spears (sold separately) into the hands and done! 

The Pontics are the Swiss army knife of 88 BC with loads and loads of options! I'm already thinking about adding Galatians and some Thracians with 2 handed weapons.  

King Mithridates of Pontus is one of my favorite "enemies of Rome."  Pontus was situated in what is now northern Turkey.  As King of Pontus, Mithridates styled himself after Alexander the Great and even acquired his cloak.  Mithridates expansionist policies put him on a collision course with Rome.  In his first campaign, he seized much of what is now modern-day Turkey and Greece.  He orchestrated the massacre of 80,000 Roman citizens throughout Asia minor in a single day to collectively throw off the Roman yoke.  When war came, Marius and Sulla each vied for the opportunity to lead legions to conquer and plunder the vast riches of the Pontic kingdom.

While Mithridates ultimately failed to beat Rome, it wasn't for a lack of effort or imagination.  In his first campaign, he reintroduced scythed chariots to the battlefield, something not seen for a generation or two.  In his second campaign, he employed  Roman ex-pats to reform and retrain his army to fight in the Romans style, thus introducing the Imitation Legionaries. He also started leading from the front.  In his third campaign, he utilized asymmetrical hit and run guerrilla warfare.  For a man who was repeatedly at war with Rome, he managed to live long enough to die old.


  1. I'm just about to take the Pontic plunge and your army is a big inspiration. I managed to pick up some Essex figures from someone at my club very cheaply as he was getting rid which is good for a start, but will deffo be finishing the army off with Forged in Battle figs as they look great.

  2. Ian! Good pick, the Pontics are a lot of fun to paint and play. Can I ask what rules do you get to play them under? Good luck with your project!

  3. Monty, I'll be using Sword and Spear. I've never had the urge to get involved in ancients but had a game of these rules with a club mate and had a great time, great rules with some nice features and they are the standard at my club now. I chose the Pontic chaps due to playing them on Rome: Total War but, as you said, they do have a nice mix of troop types so I thought they'd be a good army to start with in ancients.

  4. Excellent! I'm going to give these a try. The Command and Control sounds very intriguing!