In 279 BC, hordes of Celtic invaders swept down on the Greek world from the wilds of the north, destroying all before them. One branch of the invading army attacked the sacred oracle of Apollo at Delphi. According to ancient writers, the god Apollo appeared before the barbarians and put them to flight. This is the story of the Delphi incident...
This week I finally managed my first game of the month. It has just been one of those months... Jim popped up the mountain to visit and we reprised our old roles as Greek and Irish deities for a game of Of Gods and Mortals (Osprey Games). I took Apollo and a force of Greco-Macedonians defending the temple of Apollo, against his Irish, lead by Lugh of the Long Arm.
Apollo and his escort of centaur archers.
Lugh, supported by Queen Medb and the warriors of Connacht.
I had less-than-stealthily placed my Macedonian hypaspists on top of the hill to dominate the table. Jim won the initiative, activated his banshee and watched my face turn white. She saunted up behind my heavy infantry and let out a terrifying cry to cull the weak. In a moment, I lost three of my eight men in the unit. Lugh also immediately killed the hero Atalanta before she could so much as take a step! That first turn really set the tone for the evening.
As soon as I could, I used a reaction to get Herakles into combat to punish the banshee. He took her out with his first hammering blow, but by that stage, the damage was done to the hypaspists.
Apollo used his healing power to bring back one of the hypaspists, and put a plague on the Irish warriors of Connacht over by Lugh. Meanwhile, my hoplite shades and the hypaspists both charged into Medb. In a succession of tied combat rolls, my shades lost several of their number thanks to Medb's armour.
She was eventually beaten in the combat, but only enough to force a recoil. And then she charged the hypastists alone.
Meanwhile, Apollo started making his way over towards the action and Cú Chullainn snuck in behind him to attack the centaurs.
Here too, we drew two consecutive combat rolls and while I lost figures, the Irish hero's armour saved him.
What you can't see in this shot is Lugh throwing a spear and defeating Apollo, forcing him to quit the field. The centaurs failed one morale roll and retired further away from Cú Chullainn.
Lugh also managed to take down another of my shades, reducing the unit to a fairly useless three models.
And then Medb and my hypaspists had yet more drawn combats, killing three of my men in succession. I now had three units of mortals in play, none with more than three figures, meaning I couldn't invoke Apollo again and we called an end to the game. So, without engaging a single one of his mortal units, Jim had me well and truly beaten. Probably my most comprehensive (yet still enjoyable) defeat on record in any game.
Looking back on it though... I failed to remember to use Apollo's prophesy dice which could have saved him or Atalanta from Lugh's attacks, and, and this is really a pretty big AND, I forgot that my hypaspists were armoured, so their combats with Medb should have ended a couple of turns earlier, and with her death! These are the learning points we must take forward.
The moral of the story - don't believe everything written down by ancient historians!