Gylis' Folly (394 BC)
By Bill Sumruld
(Inspired by Xenophon, Hellenica
After Coronea, the wounded king Agesilaus returned to Sparta, but sent part
of the army with the Polemarch Gylis to help the Phoceans punish Locris.
Having spent most of the day plundering several small villages, Gylis got a
late start in heading his forces back to rejoin the rest of his army in
camp. He and his Spartans were providing the rear guard. Angry Locrians
attacked them "with volleys of stones and javelins." The Spartans turned to
fight and managed to chase of the Locrian lights.
But the Locrians were not finished. They next attacked out of some high
rough ground to the Spartan right. In danger of losing the plunder and some
of their allies, the Spartans hurried to chase the Locrians away a second
time. But this time the rough ground and steep terrain bogged down their
attack. Worst of all, as night fell, their units lost cohesion (and often)
their footing in the rough and steep terrain. The hoplites felt trapped,
trying to fight an enemy they could neither see, nor reach. Many a hoplite
fell as a casualty in the deepening darkness. Gylis and nineteen of his
fellow Spartiates were among the casualties.
Xenophon believes the whole force would have been destroyed if troops in the
camp had not left their supper to come to the aid of the hoplites.
- With Gylis: 2xSp (Spartans), 2xSp (Asian Greeks), 1xSp (Veterans of the
10,000), 1xSp (Phokians), 1xCf (Camp followers carrying the heavier plunder,
such as grain etc.)
- In Camp: 2xCv, 3xAx, 1xPs
Locrians: 8xAx, 4xPs (Slingers)
Terrain and Deployment
Two villages should be placed as small BUAs on Locrian side. On the left of the board for the Spartan player (on the right for the Locrian) is a long string of hills with
lots of rough going about 1/3 of the way in from the side. On the opposite
side is an unfordable river about 1/3 of the way in from the side.
One of the BUAs serves the Locrians as a camp. The other is a charred
wreck. The Spartan camp is in the middle of their own table edge.
Gylis forces are only two base widths from the Locrian table edge when the
game begins and are in column marching toward their camp with the General's
Sp unit and the other Spartan Sp taking up the rear of the column.
Locrians can place their forces anywhere except within 10 base widths of the
- Night: At game roll d6, this gives the number of bounds until dusk. Roll
d6 a second time to determine the time til complete darkness when dusk
falls. Dusk inhibits Sp and Cv movement and coordination, halfing their speed. Ax
and Ps lose nothing. Night: Troops can no longer use group movement and Ax
and Ps half their speed.
- Cf (Camp Followers) carrying plunder count as two lost elements for victory
- Camps cannot be taken by opposing forces and any troops reaching a camp are
safe. They leave the board but can return one at a time through the camp if
- If the Spartans fail to get the Cf carrying the plunder to camp within 20
bounds it is the equivalent of losing one element for victory conditions.
- Until night falls, any element in close combat with the Spartans (2Sp) gets
-1 to its combat factor. After the fall of night this penalty is no longer
The magic number, as usual, is four.
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Last Update: August 4, 2000
My thanks to Bill Sumruld for this scenario. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.