Thursday, March 31, 2022

Byzantiad Army Lists - PW Nomenclature

I thought here I would 'redo' the army lists in terms of the troop types described in the previous posting, with strength points.  I have found occasion since first publishing it to modify the EXCEL table in my previous posting.  Otherwise the Army lists have simply been copied across from the earlier posting, and relisted in Portable Wargames 'Byzantiad' format.

 Byzantine Provincial (Thematic) Army:

1 x Commander: Provincial Governor/ Strategos with Thematic Heavy Cavalry unit - 3SP 
2 x Thematic Heavy Cavalry regiments - @2SP = 4SP (one may be 'poor')
1 x Protected Bowmen - 2SP
1 x Bow Light Horse - 2SP OR 1 x Cavalry - 2SP
1 x Loose Order Spear/Javelins unit - 2SP OR  Lance/Bow Light Horse - 2SP

6 units, 13SP

Byzantine Imperial (Tagmatic) Army:
1 x Commander: Domestic of the Schools (δομέστικος τῶν σχολῶν) with Tagmatic Heavy Cavalry - 3SP (elite)
2 x Tagmatic Heavy Cavalry regiments - @2SP = 4SP 
2 x Protected Bowmen regiments - @3SP = 6SP
1 x Lance/bow light horse - 2SP

6 units, 15SP

Byzantine Imperial (Tagmatic) Army:
1 x Commander: The Emperor with 1 Tagmatic Heavy Cavalry unit - 3SP (elite)

1 x Tagmatic Heavy Cavalry regiments - 2SP 
1 x Cataphract regiment - 3SP (elite)
1 x Varangian Guard Close Order Spear regiment - 3SP (elite) 
1 x Protected Bow regiment - 2SP
1 x Lance/Javelins Light Horse - 2SP

6 units, 15SP

1. Lombard/ Norman
1 x Commander: King or Duke with Charging Cavalry = 3SP (elite)
2 x Charging Cavalry @ 2SP = 4SP
2 x Spearmen @3SP = 6SP
1 x Bowmen - 2SP

6 units, 15SP

Normans ... or maybe Lombards.

2. Bulgar Empire:
1 x Kavkhan, OR the Tsar if objective is conquest or defence of the realm with Heavy Cavalry = 3SP (elite)
1 x Heavy Cavalry= 2SP
2 x Close Order Spearmen @3SP = 6SP
2 x Bow Light Horse @2SP = 4SP

6 units, 15SP

1 x Commander: Khan with Noble Heavy Cavalry - 3SP (elite)
4 x Bow Light Horse @2SP = 8SP
1 x Bowmen @2SP OR War Wagon @3SP

6 units, 13-14SP

4. 'Kievan' Rus
1 x Prince of Kiev with Axemen @ 4SP (elite)  or Heavy Cavalry @3SP (average)
4 x Close Order Spearmen @ 3SP = 12SP
1 x Close Order Spearmen @ 3SP or Axemen @ 3SP or Bow Light Horse @ 2SP

6 units, 17-19SP

5. Abasgians/ Georgians
1 x Commander: Prince with Charging Cavalry - 3SP (elite)
1 x Charging Cavalry - 2SP
2 x Close Order Spearmen @ 3SP = 6SP
1 x Bowmen - 2SP
1 x Bow light Horse - 2SP

6 units, 15SP

6. Bagratid Armenian

1 x Commander: Prince with Charging Cavalry - 3SP (elite)
1 x Heavy Cavalry - 2SP
1 x Bow Light Horse - 2SP
2 x Close Order Spearmen @3SP = 6SP
1 x Bow Light Infantry - 2SP

6 units, 15SP

7. Seljuk Turk
1 x Commander: Sultan with Heavy Cavalry - 3SP (elite)
4 x Bow Light Horse  @2SP = 8SP
1 x Bow Light Horse or Bowmen or Bow Light Infantry - 2SP

6 units, 13SP

8. Fatimid Egyptian
1 x Commander: Appointee of the Fatimid Caliph with Heavy Cavalry - 3SP (elite)
1 x Heavy Cavalry - 2SP
2 x Protected Bowmen @ 2SP = 4SP
1 x Loose Order Spearmen - 2SP
1 x Bow Light Horse - 2SP

6 units, 13SP

Bulgars? ... or Abasgians?

One might observe from this list that some armies are more formidable - at least in aspect - than others.

Something about Campaign 'moves'.

I'll really have to 'wing it' to start with.  But here's the general scheme.

1. 'Political moves'.  
This is where allegiances and hostilities are determined.  At present, the plan is to roll for these whenever a particular campaign 'ends'.  I have to admit, the criteria for 'ending' a campaign might not be clear cut!  These 'moves' will represent about 1 month's events.

2. 'Campaign moves'.  This is generally an invading force moving from battlefield to battlefield along the connecting lines.  The defending forces will be assumed to have marched up betimes to face the invaders.  I have given the 'Barbarians but one army, but in fact they might sometimes have two: an invading force and a defending force, depending upon events.  These will represent about 1 week's events.

In general, 'Campaign Moves' are suggested by the progress of battles, not of army movements. 

It is possible that some distance restriction will have to be placed upon the availability of defending forces, especially Byzantine Imperial.  However, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the Imperial Army based in Constantinople could intervene within about a month in Italy if called upon.  

A point about shooting.

Just today someone in the facebook group (The Portable Wargame) asked about adding +1 to dice rolls for shooting without moving.  Not having considered the matter, I was, upon reflection, inclined not to do so, mainly on the grounds of scale.  I have also more than half an idea I forgot to add this factor in my recent 'raid' campaign games (though I did use other modifiers). 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Troop types for 'Byzantiad' campaign

In my last posting, I presented several army lists , but provided no information ('stats') then upon strength points or weapons or fighting capability. At that point I had not yet determined 'labels' identifying troop types. I'll do that in this posting, and then later present the Army Lists again with the appropriate 'stats'. The following 'stats' are designed specifically for use with the FP3x3PW rule set.

In the centre, Byzantine cataphracts making
life miserable for Bulgar spearmen


 Some further explanations are called for here.

Those types that have a shooting range listed may shoot at any target in the adjacent square (Range 1).  They may also shoot before close combat, whether contacting or making contact.  However they can shoot only once in their own turn, counting as 'shooting before contact' if they are then moved into close combat.

Some troops are permitted under this regime to shoot before close combat only, when contacted or making contact.  They may not shoot in any other circumstance (it's a shooting range thing).

'Shooting before contact' takes place only at the beginning - i.e at the moment of first contact - of a close combat that lasts over more than one turn.  If contact is broken off, then shooting before contact can apply to a subsequent close combat.

Byzantine skoutatoi: 'protected bowmen' 
as I have styled them, on account of the 
leading rank(s) of spears.

Note that opposing forces in adjacent squares are not necessarily in close combat.  Who initiates a close combat moves the combatant unit to overlap slightly the edge of the square containing the enemy.  Any supporting unit must be in front to rear (or possibly flank to flank)  contact with the attacking unit.  Supporting units do not add to shooting before contact.

I'm thinking of permitting light horse to retreat 2 spaces if forced to retreat.  However, it is an option that might not very often be realisable.

I have finally abandoned my suggested reduction of light troops to SP=1 as being unnecessary as well as impractical.

Abasgian 'charging cavalry'.

Commanders -

Owing to the way my armies have been assembled, I am considering attaching generals/ commanders/ rulers permanently to their units, rather than as separate stands.  This will have the following effect:

Such units add 1 to their standard SP.  This will make a Rus axemen command unit - the Druzhina - a formidable unit indeed at 4SP; unique in this campaign. 

The commander's unit will always have the extra +1 to close combat, and to shooting, if applicable.

If the commander's unit is supporting a close combat, rather than being directly engaged, the combatant unit will receive +1 bonuses for the supporting unit and the general, both.

If the commanded unit takes a hit that reduces its SP, the fate of the command is rolled for, a '6' indicating the loss of the commander, and hence an extra loss of SP.  It will also lose bonuses for the commander's presence.

For the rest, the rule set to be followed will be the FP3x3PW modification of the DPW rule set for 'Ancients' warfare.

To be continued -
- The modified army lists. units identified by 'type'
- The Byzantiad Begins
Spoiler alert:
      Barbarian raids in the north and southeast
      Provincial disaffection in much of the Empire's Mediterranean littoral
      One provincial commandant declares an independent despotate...

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Byzantiad - Ambush!

This is a slight diversion from the Byzantiad campaign project, based on a reader's suggestion.  Now, I had no real intention of going into the sort of detail  involving scouts and ambushes and ruses de guerre. But the notion of a FP3x3PW ambush did intrigue me.  So, I set one up.

This one involved a Byzantine column passing through some thick, wooded country. Only somewhat apprehending the presence of an enemy therein, the column was led by a unit of javelinmen (akontistai), followed by the Varangian Guard, a spear/bow unit (skoutatoi) and 3 units of lance/bow cavalry (kavallarioi). The commander, the Strategos of the Thrakesion Theme, accompanied the rearmost unit (probably not the best place for him!).

Lurking within the sylvan shadows lay three units of Bulgar foot - two units of spearmen, and a unit of bowmen. True, they might have found better employment for a unit of javelinmen, but none were then available (I didn't really think of it). The local Boyar, one Zingri, led a band about to enter a tongue of woodland flanking the road to catch the head of the Roman column in a pincer.

The thing did not go well. The bowmen tried to shoot up the column leaders, then the spearmen flanking the road stormed out and were stopped cold. Zingri led his band into the wood flanking the head of the column and attacked the flank of the lead Byzantine units, also without much success. Ones, twos, and the occasional three on the combat dice don't inflict much hurt.

They managed at last to flake off an SP or two, but really the Byzantines, outnumbered three to two up at the sharp end, and surrounded on three sides into the bargain, were more than holding their own. Better than that, they forced the spears to the front to fall back down the road. The javelinmen followed up, whilst the Varangian Guard turned to face the enemy beside the trail.

Meanwhile, the Bulgar archers moved through the woods to engage the rear of the stalled column in a shooting action.

This didn't go especially well, either, the archery proving ineffectual, and the Byzantine horse simply turning to face, and sending their return arrows into the undergrowth.  Neither side received much discomfort.

When the javelinmen scattered the enemy spears to their front (note that I was not using my idea of light troops having 1SP only to begin with), the Bulgars figured that it was time to remove themselves from the scene. The remaining two units faded back into the woods, and the column was allowed to continue their march without further let or hindrance. The Byzantines had successfully fought their way out of the ambush, inflicting the loss of 3SP whilst losing 2SP of their own.

That was an interesting little exercise, but, truth to tell, the Bulgars didn't fight very well, with some indifferent dice rolling. I think this an nice little scenario, but another time I'd leave the ambushers in the flank and reserve zones (concealment), to arrive and engage the column at the appropriate time. But the ambushers have to make the most of flank attacks and of shooting from cover. This proved a bit beyond the Boyar's little band.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Byzantiad - Some Campaign ideas...


Work on the Byzantiad campaign moves along; yesterday was productive of ideas. My thanks to those who have made suggestions. The fruit of those might be seen in the following.

First: the map now in its third or fourth incarnation. This has been simplified down to 'battle-boxes' with links (thanks to Neil Patterson for the idea). Additional places are present because I simply haven't removed them. 

'Byzantiad' Campaign Map Version 3.2

This is designed to be a solo campaign, but there is no reason why, say, fifteen like-minded types can't get together for a multiplayer sort of game. The purport is that of an empire in a continual struggle for survival, in the face not only predatory and parasitical neighbours (who no doubt view the Empire in the same light), but also against corruption and treachery within. Surrounded by eight potential enemies, the empire must guard its frontiers with armies built for the purpose. In the heart of empire more powerful forces stand ready to defend any breaches in its outer defences.

For their part, those eight 'barbarian' peoples, two or three at least with claim to civilization, eye hungrily the  richesses of the Imperial lands and cities. At the same time they fear Imperial ambition to expand into their smaller realms and territories. On the other hand, they know that, in its dealings with its neighbours, pays well to set one against the other...

This need not be a campaign of the one against all eight. My own armies - especially the 'Barbarians' are quite limited. I have no Fatimids at all, nor Armenians. Some of the others, Lombards/ Normans, Rus, and Seljuks can be plausibly represented by 'ring-ins', and my Bulgar Army doubles as Abasgians. My 'sample campaign', when I begin it, will probably be confined to the Empire west of Constantinople - quite sufficient to be going on with! 

Apart from the Byzantine Empire we have:
  1.                                                   1. Lombards/ Normans

  2. Bulgarian Empire
  3. Pechenegs
  4. 'Kievan' Rus
  5. Abasgians/ Georgians
  6. Armenians
  7. Seljuks
  8. Fatimid Egyptian
The Byzantine Empire (Purple) is the 'central player' in this campaign, surrounded by enemies and potential enemies. The Green is the Bulgar Empire; and the others are various realms, territories etc home to different peoples.  

Movement is carried out between locations represented by boxes via the coloured routes between them.  Dotted sea lanes allow for the inclusion of a naval component, or at combined operations.  

Inside the Byzantine Empire, the boxes with stars are home to 'provincial' governors, each with an army of under command. These armies are provincial, gathered from the regional 'themes'.  The governor of Nicaea is called the 'Domestic of the Schools'. His army is more Imperial - 'Tagmatic' - in nature, with better quality troops. The six-pointer star at Constantinople signified the Empire's capital, where lies the main Imperial army and its elite troops such as the kataphraktoi and Varangian Guard.

Inside the Bulgar Empire, the capital is represented by the white star.  

Except the Rus, all the other peoples' territories are represented by 3 locations, mostly cities, but in the case of the Pechenegs, by laagers. The White Star cities are the objectives of any army that essays the conquest of the territories associated.

Each 'people' has associated with it a measure of it hostility towards the Byzantine Empire.  This level ranges from 0 to 7:

0 = Allied with, or in the pay of Byzantium against a neighbouring non-Byzantine country.
1 = Friendly towards Byzantium
2 = Neutral
3 = Neutral
4 = Neutral
5 = Neutral
6 = Hostile, will undertake a raid into the Empire
7 = Hostile, looking to conquer Byzantine territory

The starting friendship/hostility stance is to be diced for by every power at the beginning of the 'Campaign'. Each campaign turn all countries roll, with their current stance being modified according to the scores:
1,2 = subtract one from the friendship/ hostility stance
3,4 = no modification
5,6 = add one to friendship/ hostility stance.

The Byzantine Empire itself will have certain attitude towards the surrounding 'barbarians'. The dice are rolled as before for each 'barbarian country':

0 = Allied with, or the client state of, the Byzantine Empire
1 = Friendly 
2-5 = Neutral
6 = Hostile, Byzantine undertakes a punitive raid upon the enemy country (The Emperor orders local provincial governor to carry out a raid to the enemy 'capital').
7 = Hostile, The Domestic of the schools OR the Emperor himself takes the field, the objective to add to Imperial territories.

This stance, however, is not diced for any neighbour that exhibits friendliness or hostility towards the Empire.

 Army Lists:

Battles may be fought under any rules regime, but for now I'll be looking specifically at the battles under the FP3x3PW set, for which the following lists are designed.

Byzantine Provincial (Thematic) Army:
Commander: Provincial Governor
3 x Thematic Kavallarioi regiments - Cavalry, lance bow (some may be 'poor')
1 x Skoutatoi regiment - Infantry, spear, bow
1 x Hyperkerastai regiment - Light Horse, bow OR Kavallaroi
1 x Peltastoi regiment - medium Infantry spear, javelins OR Prokousatores - Light Horse, lance, bow

Byzantine Imperial (Tagmatic) Army:
Commander: Domestic of the Schools (δομέστικος τῶν σχολῶν)
3 x Tagmatic Kavallarioi regiments - Cavalry, lance, bow (one may be elite)
2 x Skoutatoi regiments - Infantry, spear, bow
1 x Prokoursatores regiment - Cavalry, lance, bow

Byzantine Imperial (Tagmatic) Army:
Commander: The Emperor

2 x Tagmatic Kavallarioi regiments (one may be elite)
1 x Kataphraktoi regiment - Extra-heavy Cavalry, mace, lance, bow (elite)
1 x Varangian Guard regiment - Heavy Infantry, spear (elite) 
1 x Skoutatoi regiment
1 x Trapezetai regiment

1. Lombard/ Norman
Commander: King or Duke
3 x Charging Cavalry, lance (one may be elite)
2 x Spearmen
1 x Bowmen

Normans ... or maybe Lombards.

2. Bulgar Empire:
Commander: Kavkhan, OR the Tsar if objective is conquest or defence of the realm
2 x Cavalry, javelins, bow (one may be elite)
2 x Spearmen
2 x Light Horse Archers

Commander: Khan
1 x Heavy Horse Archers, javelins, bow (elite)
4 x Light Horse Archers, bow, possibly javelins
1 x Bowmen OR War Wagon

4. 'Kievan' Rus
Commander: Prince of Kiev
1 x Axemen or Cavalry, lance (elite)
4 x Spearmen
1 x Spearmen or Axemen or Light Horse 

5. Abasgians/ Georgians
Commander: Prince
2 x Charging Cavalry, lance (one may be elite)
2 x Spearmen
1 x Bowmen
1 x Light Horse Archers (javelins, bow)

6. Bagratid Armenian

Commander: Prince

1 x Charging Cavalry, lance (elite)
1 x Cavalry
1 x Light Horse Archers
2 x Spearmen
1 x Bow Light Infantry

7. Seljuk Turk
Commander: Sultan
1 x Heavy Horse Archer, javelins, bow (elite)
4 x Light Horse Archer
1 x Light Horse Archer or Bowmen or Bow Light Infantry

8. Fatimid Egyptian
Commander: Appointee of the Fatimid Caliph
2 x Cavalry, lance, bow (one may be elite
2 x Spear/Bow Foot 
1 x Loose Order Spearmen 
1 x Light Horse Archers

Bulgars? ... or Abasgians?

Revolt in the Provinces:

In the absence of any other activity, there is a chance of one (or more) of the provincial governors to take into his head that he would look good in purple. There are two possible ways to discover whether a given star city is governed by one harbouring imperial ambitions.

(A) Roll (1D6) for each star city, a 'six' signifying the revolt of that governor, who will then, of course, set out with his army to take Constantinople.  This could result in more than one revolt going on.

(B) As with the neighbouring countries, roll for 'loyalty'. A 'six' will mean open revolt and a declaration of independence. This army will defend its own city, and undertake no other activity, even if 'ordered' by the Emperor. The number thus assigned will be adjusted up or down as before. If the number reaches 7, the governor is bent upon usurping the Imperial throne. 

When a provincial governor is in open revolt one of the Imperial Armies will set out to recover the province's loyalty. It it happens that the Domestic of the Scholars is the serpent in the undergrowth, then the army sent to deal with him is to be sent from Constantinople itself.

Palace Coup: 

It is also possible that treachery lies at the very heart of the Empire, within Constantinople itself. The Capital begins with a loyalty factor of '1'. If it ever reached '6' there is a revolt in the city. This may result in a battle within its walls, or the Emperor will flee to the nearest friendly army to try and recover his crown. I've deliberately made this event pretty unlikely, in the short term at least, but all these numbers will be subject to tweaking if it is discovered that there is too much going on ... or not enough.

War at sea:

Only the Byzantines, Fatimid Egyptians and Rus have sea going navies. The Bulgars may have a riverine navy of sorts on the Ister (Danube) River. The Lombards (or Normans) may acquire a navy if they conquer the Byzantine hold on Italy. Sea going travel is by the dotted lanes on the map.

I drew this sketch of a Byzantine dromon back
in 1988, from a postcard picture original.

There will be no sea battles (at least until I acquire enough suitable vessels), and it seems unlikely that the Rus navy is designed for sea going battles anyhow. The Byzantines have a huge advantage with their Greek Fire. So far the plan is that the sea lanes are used to mount army landings upon islands of Crete or Cyprus, and/or for transporting troops across the Strait of Otranto.

Battle between Bulgars and Byzantines 
on my 10x10 square grid table

Loss of a governor's city:

If a Byzantine 'Star City' - the centre of local government is lost, the Emperor may order the Domestic of the Schools to recover the place, or set out himself to do so. Given the particular vulnerability of Thessaloniki, this is is mandatory to set up a sequence of battles should the place be lost in the first battle.

To come:
1. Tweaks to the Fall of Rome (FP3x3PW) rule set.
2. 'Sample' campaign.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

FP3x3PW - A New Battlefield

The idea for making a new 3x3 battlefield converged from 3 sources: Mark Cordon'e addition of 'flank' areas to his own invention; the vast amounts of sea in my Byzantiad map; and David Crook's idea of naval battles on a 3x3 battle board. Rather pleased with my box-lid board, I was rather reluctant to add in the flank areas, but other considerations prevailed upon me to give the thing further consideration. Finally I found a piece of something upon which to inscribe my 'map'.

Given the area available, I made the squares rather larger than they are on my box-lid - 8cm instead of 7. The whole board is 40cm square. 

OK, what about the sea, then? That came from the idea of long sea shore-lines, and the occasional large water way like the Dniepr and the Ister (Danube). It so happens, I have a Byzantine dromon that I scratchbuilt about 30 years ago. All I needed then was something.... aquatic looking.  

Here it is, a piece of ... vinyl? - cut to size, with a bit of grey paint drabbled on for the shore line. Here, a dromon ghosts along, just offshore, where it might disgorge a unit of marines (my peltastoi stands will do nicely for that sort of thing) or perhaps discharge javelins, arrows and fire syphons at any enemy that comes within range, on land or water...
The waterway might equally well be placed in one's 'reserve' area, signifying a combined operation beach landing.  This would be quite appropriate for actions involving islands such as Cyprus, Crete or Sicily, or for Norman landings around Dyrrhachium, say.  And let's not forget the Rus... It might mean making some long ships, though...  At any rate, this could be a rather high risk undertaking by the invaders!

Monday, March 21, 2022

'Byzantiad' Campaign Map - Work in Progress

 'Illuminated' map for my Byzantiad campaign/ narrative.  I have a feeling that there are too many place names - within the coloured area at any rate.  Not yet sure whether to divide up into 'themes', or to connect the places by a road network.  

Probably the Fatimid Egyptians won't feature, as the figures I gave don't really 'fit' that army.  Otherwise I think I can dredge up armies that will look like what they purport to be, even if they reappear in Italy, the Balkans or the Levant!

If anyone has any suggestions for this map, I'd be glad to hear them!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

The Deuteros Raid - Battle of Deuteros


Starting set-up - Bulgars nearest the viewer.

"Having flung aside the puny force Pithikos had assembled to oppose them, the raiders, now commanded by the Tarkhan Tiercel, hurried to gather the richer pickings further on.  Next on the raiders' agenda was the large village of Deuteros, a settlement important enough to contain within its precincts sufficient treasures to attract a war band's attention.

Meanwhile, the local Turmarch, Yannis Zimiskes, had gathered the remnants of Pithikos's command, and added to it such reinforcements as to offer hope that the Bulgar raiders' aims might yet be thwarted.  With part of his foot infantry, he garrisoned the town, and, as Pithikos had done at Hapas, stationed his own person and entourage there to supervise the defence.  The bulk of his heavy horse he placed in the right; the skoutatoi, covered by the light horse, to the left of the place."
Michael Psellophanes, Byzantiad
The armies were:

Bulgar Raiders:

  • Command, Tarkhan Tiercel
  • 1 x Heavy Horse Archers, javelins, bow, (elite)
  • 1 x Heavy Horse Archers, javelins, bow, (average)
  • 2 x Light Horse Archers, javelins, bow, (average)
  • 2 x Spearmen, spears (average)
Six units, two each of heavy horse, light horse and spearmen, @2SP; 12 SP.

Byzantine Defenders:

  • Command, Turmarch Yannis Zimiskes, 
  • 2 x Heavy Horse, 1/2 lance, 1/2 bow, (average)
  • 1 x Light horse, 1/2 lance, 1/2 bow, (average)
  • 1 x Heavy infantry, 1/2 spear/pike, 1/2 bow, (average)
  • 1 x loose-order Medium infantry, spear, javelins, (poor)
Five units @2SP; 10 SP.

After the first action, in which the Bulgars opened the ball, in subsequent battles the sides rolled for the initiative. As seemed to be a consistent feature of this whole campaign so far, the Bulgars (green dice in the pictures) emphatically seized the initiative and went boldly into the attack. Part of he heavy horse, backed up by lights, went in on the left against the massed Byzantine heavy cavalry. Spearmen undertook the attack in the centre, with the Tarkhan urging on the charge. 
Bulgars win the initiative...

... and attack

The lines holding firm on the Bulgar left, the situation was more mixed in the centre.  The garrison repulsed the Bulgar spearmen, but, a panic setting in led them to abandon the village themselves.  For a brief moment it seemed that the Bulgars might have secured another quick and easy victory, but he Turmarch, rallying his peltastoi, reoccupied the place.  Just in time, for the Bulgars were soon back.
Bulgars have thrown back by the garrison,
who then evacuate the town.

Soon rallied, both sides were once again battling along the north edge of the town.  On the flanks, neither side seemed able to establish an ascendancy or even to inflict much hurt upon the enemy.

As the fighting grew more protracted, however, the defenders gradually began top edge back their assailants, from the town, and on the Byzantine right as well.

Bulgars driven back from the town.

This reverse seemed to galvanise the raiders to greater efforts. The Tarkhan called up his reserve heavy cavalry to assist his spearmen in front of the town.  As a result, all along the line, both sides began to feel the strain of the fighting, the Byzantines losing three Strength Points and the Bulgars two.  
Bulgars put in an extra effort
to stem the Byzantine advance.

Bulgars take terrible losses, and the Tarkhan
meets his demise.
"For long the two armies struggled, first one side then the other prevailing. Suddenly, the Bulgar left fell back with loss. In the centre, the battle line of spears collapsed altogether. Somewhere in the rout the Tarkhan caught an arrow in the throat that occasioned his immediate decease. This time it seemed that the Imperialists might have won a signal victory, the Bulgars on the brink of defeat.  A local Boyar, hight Edsel, taking over the command, rallied the raiders to a final effort. The battle raged on..."
Michael Psellophanes, Byzantiad
The end of the Tarkhan...

It was certain that the Romans failed to capitalise on their successes, for Edsel seized the initiative and renewed the close assault upon the defenders' lines.  
Bulgars don't give up easily - not when there is 
loot.  Here, they again win the initiative! 

The spears on the right pushing forward against the refused Byzantine left covered the charge of the Bulgar light horse into the flank of the peltastoi, just as the Boyar's heavies thundered into their front.  Even the Bulgar left had arrested their enemy's momentum and began pushing them back. This proved to be a shortlived success, as the Bulgar heavies here suddenly disintegrated.  Only the light horse archers in this sector of the field remained to oppose the Byzantine kavallarioi.
To offset this loss, the Bulgars came for the second time within an ace of victory. At first, the peltastoi spearmen seemed to be holding comfortably enough, inflicting a Strength Point loss upon the Boyar's horse. As suddenly as had the Bulgar left, the Roman centre folded, and the surviving fugitives fled back through the town. With them went the Turmarch himself.  
The Bulgar heavy horse charging...

Hastily bringing across his prokoursatores light horse to defend the town, the Turmarch successfully intercepted the Bulgar, just barely betimes. 

Here I decided that the Built Up Area, though the major feature of its grid square, did not occupy all of it, or even most of it. There is no doubt that troops that could make best tactical use of the feature would certainly do so, but those that could not would defend the place in front of the town, in the open.

In the ensuing fight, both sides incurred heavy losses. Then it was the Bulgar turn to suffer a unit collapse.  By now the Byzantines had lost 5SP, the Bulgars 8 plus their commander. The mention of the Boyar has a narrative purpose only - to keep the Bulgars in the fight, but he is represented by no command figure. Without that command support, the early Bulgar advantage had probably by now been reduced to less than evens.  The issue was still in doubt!

Now was the time for Yannis Zimiskes to take the fight to the enemy. The Bulgar centre having collapsed altogether it remained only for him to complete the breakthrough into the enemy rear.  At the same time, the skoutatoi on the left had driven back the enemy spearmen. Following up, they caught the Bulgar horse archers and flung them back onto the spears.  

But the Bulgars yet retained some resource. Recovering themselves, the spearmen advanced resolutely to meet the foe, whilst the light horse archers flung themselves onto the flank of the pursuing Byzantine centre.  
Turning upon this new enemy, the prokoursatores fought off the enemy light horse, whilst the skoutatoi  fought the Bulgar spearmen to a standstill. There was to be no recovery this time.  
The the Byzantine mounted arm routed the Bulgar light horse in the right and in the centre.  All that remained of a formed body of the raiders were their battered spearmen, making off under cover of the fading daylight. There would be slim pickings this raid...

It was plain at this point that the raid was a complete failure, despite the two earlier Bulgar victories.  Eleven Strength Points the Bulgars lost in this battle; to just five Byzantine. Yet, twice, this battle could have ended in a Bulgar victory, but for the timely recovery of a unit apparently beaten, or the intervention of an unengaged unit. Though it didn't 'go the distance', or yield the raiders much in the way of loot, it might very easily have done.

For the Fast-Play 3x3 Portable Wargame (FP3x3PW), I am thinking of making certain slight modifications to the core rules the better to reflect the 'troop types' that were available to the various peoples in and around Asia Minor at around the end of the First Millenium. There is plenty of variety - from the almost all mounted light horse of the Pechenegs and Seljuk Turks, to the almost all foot of the Rus, to the charging cavalry ('knights') of the Normans and the more balanced army of the Abasgians.

This is an interesting period, full of intrigue, double dealing, treachery and dire battles for survival. Ruled by strong emperors, the Byzantine Empire was going though a phase of expansion. Yet it was beset not only by so many adversaries, but menaced - as the Roman Empire ever had been - by an enemy within. I've begun work on a campaign game, working title Byzantiad, with the idea of building in some of the multiple perils and hazards the empire had to face.