The Perfect Captain
"It is a common mistake in going to war to begin at the wrong end, to act
first, and wait for disasters to discuss the matter."

- Thucydides
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The Perfect Captain


A set of miniatures rules for the peloponnesian war, 431-404 bc ...with full colour graphics!
An Almost Demosthenean Speech
In no other era has the experience of battle been as common as during the classical age…it’s quite  probable that the majority of citizens in any of the great city states of Hellas (Greece) in the 5th-4th centuries saw at least one campaign; a whole civilization of literate, cultured men saw horrifying close combat before their very eyes. They smelled the sweat of their bronze-clad fellows in the phalanx, could feel if they trembled with nervous energy as their enemy, only a mere 400 yards away sounded their trumpets, and answering it with their fearful armour-shaking voices as they raised up the paean, the hymn their people, the glittering mass formation lurching towards them. Their own approach sounded, they themselves would begin to sing and tramp forward, hearts beating faster as they measured their voices in their own hymn, making sure not to let their tones falter or crack, and thus show their kinsmen and friends any lack of courage.

Soon as the two spear-bristling blocks grew closer, those near enough glanced again and again in the direction of their mantis, a hoplite leading a young goat alongside; and just when it seemed that the lines were getting too close, they saw his sword glint for a moment in the shimmering heat, and plunge into the beast’s neck! They saw the god-satisfying stream of blood arch into the air- and with it, up went their deafening war cry! ELELELEU! It rang in their bronze helmets like the ringing of gongs, as they broke into a run, spears raised and shields brought forward and up to their eyes, the enemy line jerking up into view and down behind the shield, closer with every step; in what seemed like an nightmarish eternity, they saw the fearful devices on the enemy shields grow larger, and saw the flash of their enemies’ eyes, wide open with terror and hatred, and the seemingly countless spear points aimed at their hearts- and then the astounding crash!
Are you tired
of having hoplites from the neighboring city trample down your wheat, hack up your grapevines, and chop down your precious olive trees?

Have you had it
with those rascally Thracians swanning around your farms, heaving javelins at your old rustics, and carrying off your lovely daughters?

Has the local Satrap
Yes, having a mantis on the board will help you win. No foolin', its in the rules.
Send somebody around to Delphia, just to make sure...
Looks like its D-Day
for the Corcyrans. Next time make sure you're tossing out the right faction!
Have you been looking for a set of fast, easy to learn rules that generally simulate any engagement from 3000 BC to 1500 AD? You have?

These rules are not for the faint of heart! There are lots of strange and arcane systems which may baffle the novice gamer, and loads of Greek words and terms that you’ll have to memorize. You have been forewarned! We here at the Captain’s Mess have been looking far and wide for a set of rules that would give us the closest feeling to the awful and bloody battles that are crammed into all the historical writings of the ancient Greeks. We looked far and wide, but found nothing that “tasted” anything like the accounts in Herodotus, Thukydides, or Xenophon- so we decided to “cook” one up ourselves.
What else is featured?
A ranged combat system that makes you feel your troops cringing under their shields as another squall of arrows, javelins or rocks come their way!
~Paean singing & goat slaughtering rules! ~
we're not kidding. Get it? Kidding!
-Melee rules that actually allow you to feel how far your spear penetrates into your enemy!
More than 40 unit cards, with literally hundreds of variations, yet with almost every factor pre-calculated into each system
-Comprehensive battle generation system which covers every battle situation possible in the Classical era Full army lists for virtually every Greek City State and League,even including the Western Persian Satrapies and the Odrysian Thracian Kingdom!

More Greek terms than you can shake a souvlaki stick at!
What’s not in these rules:
-No rules for stupid Elephants or Gunpowder.
-No lists or troop types for the Great Persian Wars of Marathon,
Thermopylai or Plataea (what, are we crazy? Yes we are! Crazy about the Classical age!)
-No lists or troop types for Alexander the Great’s armies
(No, we’ll never be able to sell them!… hey wait a minute!)
We have tried to embody all the main characteristics of warfare at that time in the systems of Hoplomachia

This includes:
An additive system for determining Army morale, depending on both artificial events orchestrated by the commander-in-chief, and events that are beyond his control
-Pre-battle Sacrifice,
-Breakfast and Speech-making
-Managing your army merely by signals
-Different modes of movement, depending on intentions
Actually test the manhood of your troops!
The Hoplomachia Oath
I will not allow the precious information gathered in playing this FREE game, (which our generous Captain has laboured on for three years while playing hookey from his day job) escape into the ether; but I will compose it into an email which I will send back to the good Captain, telling him where he has screwed up AGAIN, along with all the pedantic and trivial criticisms that I in my meager power can muster.

May I be DESERTED BY THE GODS if I break this oath, particularly the next time
I really need to roll a twelve on two dice.
Is there a campaign system for these rules?
Of course? We would leave you up the Strymon without a paddle! That's why we made
How 'bout some
links, Cap'n?

Perseus Digital Library
While it's pretty easy to locate most of the Greek Classical Histories in cheap paperback form,
there's only one place that the Captain knows of where you can find all of them with commentaries,
and an instant Greek translation, with each word linked to a lexicon entry as well! Phenomenal site,
a must for the Philhellene!

Xyston 15mm Ancient Miniatures
Simply the finest 15mm Classical range of figures the Captain's ever seen (even outstripping his old, long favoured Battle Honours Greeks) this range continues to grow monthly. If you guys at Xyston are listening, how
'bout some heralds, trophies and a mantis or two?

Eureka Miniatures
They still produce the old Battle Honours City-State Greeks, now under AB miniatures. A little bigger than the average 15mm fig, they make an formidable looking phalanx!

Osprey Publications
What? You don't have all the marvelous editions they have available covering the Classical era? Stop wasting your money on food or rent, and send it to these guys...

The Strategikon- Wargames Club of Athens, Greece (Hellas)
A neat site, particularly sequential diagrams of the battles of Leuktra (371 BC) and Mantinea (362 BC).
Also links to other free games, articles and pics.

Thrace and the Thracians
We never seem to be able to access this site anymore, but it still seems to be there. Christopher Webber's
excellent site on all things Thracian- if you can't access it, go buy his Osprey book instead (heck- go buy it anyways! It's great!)

Everything Spartan, Lakonian and Messenian
Well, not EVERYTHING, but lots of good stuff here anyways.

The Peloponnesian War
Excellent site by Sven Delille- with lots of articles, chronologies, maps and links (too many of them dead, unfortunately)-
makes for interesting reading for those looking for the historical framework of the era. Lots en français, aussi.