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phalanx: a wargaming perspective

Love the diversity of the poses in each of these sets. While Zvezda's phalangites were versatile and HaT's decent enough for Alexander's battles, I feel like this range will show the true range of phalangite style that were on display after Alexander's conquests down to the fall of Cleopatra's Egypt (if not sooner). The shield positioning for the most part is quite satisfactory and I believe in the all important sarissas which are provided, for now.

My main grip is the box contents. Not only is there 24 of them, which as stated above is typical for this weapon type, the proportions of each rank are significantly off. The typical sarissa phalanx had 18 men per file, of which only roughly about six could have their weapons lowered at any sort of angle. So getting just 6 back rankers for poses that should be providing 66% of an ideal phalanx is annoying and not a huge improvement on the old Zvezda or HaT sets. It is also worth noting that sarissa phalanxes would have all held their weapons vertically except when they were lowered for the stabby combat part, so they are not particularly great for the beginning of a battle either. The poses provided are very nice though, great shield angles. Frankly I would not mind a set or two of JUST these back rank guys, or poses similar to theirs. Given what I see here that could be a future possibility.

So the summary is that while they are great for dioramas and smaller wargaming pieces that only have 4-6 figures, I don't feel it would be economically practical to give the actual feel of the human mass that went into making the typical sarissa phalanx due to having only six guys who are fit for the rear ranks. Certainly useful sets though, I see more positives than negatives here.
The Babylonian covers the historical aspects behind these sets well and makes several pertinent points about their possible use. I think his points both erudite & useful.

I will give a wargamer's perspective - or, at least, my perspective which of course won't have universal application.

I am building a Pyrrhic army which sadly means the Linear A Seleucid figures have no place. Their Pyrrhic phalangites obviously are relevant. This comes down to armour as the later period has a greater use of it & I'm specifically looking at the unarmoured & lightly armoured Tarantine phalangites trained & used by Pyrrhus.

The poses in the box are of importance. I have a phalanx of Newline figures who represent the Epirote/Macedonian phalangites of Pyrrhus.

They can be seen here:

You'll notice I have used no figures with horizontal pikes. These are, IMO, a bit of a pain to store or to use in a game as the sarissas stick out to an exceptional degree & stop an enemy from closing. I have one rear rank of vertical pikeman, with two ranks of pikes at decreasing angles. These 36 figures represent a phalanx. Clearly they are not in realistic numbers even though I intend to add another (a fourth) rank of "vertical" pikemen (bringing the total to 48 figures.

As the average unit in the rules I use (Field of Glory) is a two rank unit of 16-24 figures, the phalanx suggests the larger, deeper unit of history, even if it comes no where near the reality. Wargaming is usually, for better or worse, about perceptions.

My Linear A purchases will attempt to approximate a second & similar phalanx but I'm still considering issues to do with poses.

Ultimately, due to the cost & the available poses, I am expecting this to be quite an expensive addition.


Re: phalanx: a wargaming perspective—an alternative one

Speaking for I, me, myself personally, I can't wait to get me hands on them.

Four boxes of each, likely mixed and matched within them and a bit with Zvezda's Macedonians and linear b's Mithridatic heavies with seven (most likely) or perhaps six to a rank and two ranks on a 120 mm x 40 mm base (a left-over from Impetus that I'll use for Lost Battles; and whatever other system I may use).

For Successor stuff I'll limit myself to two bases per unit, I expect, but may go to three if there are only phalangites on one side of 'the argument'. Lost Battles is agnostic to basing, so it's purely about the effect and preference.

I'm also happy to have the shabby, pointy-fighty ones (to expand on your wonderful expression 'Babylonian') as I like the look of them and you get a nice 'push of pike' on the table. With similar poses in my Great Northern War figures I have interlocked them or set them up with pikes above or between other troops for storage.

As with everything, I appreciate that what may suit me may not suit others, but they look like they are gonna be the cat's guts as far as I am concerned.

Regards, James

Re: phalanx: a wargaming perspective

You'll notice I have used no figures with horizontal pikes. These are, IMO, a bit of a pain to store or to use in a game as the sarissas stick out to an exceptional degree & stop an enemy from closing.
In reality though, that was kind of the point of pikes (pun unashamedly intended), they can attack us but we can't reach them. Could a phalanx be just the ancient equivalent of a WWII tank?

I do understand your need for bases to touch for the game mechanism.