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Gylis' Folly (394 BC)

By Bill Sumruld
(Inspired by Xenophon, Hellenica 4.3.22-23)

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.

The Armies

Gylis Forces:

  • 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 Spartan camp.

Special Rules

  • 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 purposes.
  • 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 so desired.
  • 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 applied.

Victory Conditions

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.