Alexander’s Art of War

By Cueball

Alexander III (often referred to as Alexander the Great) is probably the most well recognizable figure of the Ancient World. His conquests of the Near East, Egypt, Greece Proper, Iran, and the western most portion of India left a long lasting effect on the world, but that’s for another topic. I’m going to teach you how to utilize Alexander’s tactics to effectively defeat your opponents using the armies of Macedon, Seleucid, and to a lesser extent the Greek Cities.

Alexander’s battle plan was always very simple and always the same: hold the left flank and win with the cavalry. This basic tactic worked time and time again as Alexander marched through the Persian Empire. Now then to demonstrate what this looks like, let’s take a look at this diagram:

Battle Strategy

Ok, the blue lines represent your phalanx units. Any unit that can form a phalanx will due, though it goes without saying that the more expensive and higher tier phalanxes are more desirable. It’s vital that you use these rather than any light or in the case of the Seleucids legionary units for this tactic to work. Now then, you’ll notice the left flank is much thinner while the right flank should have several phalanx units to form its line. Furthermore the black triangles, representing your cavalry, are offset to the right flank. This is where the Greek Cities will be hurting since they lack heavy cavalry but this tactic can work with the basic Greek Cavalry. Nonetheless, when playing the actually campaign be sure to either bribe good cavalry units or hire heavy cavalry mercenaries to fill this role.

Now then, why should you use such a strange formation? It’s an easy way to lure your enemy in, thinking that you have an exposed flank with little to support it.

Battle Strategy

The next step can vary depending on what the enemy throws at you. If the enemy attacks with light infantry or light cavalry then your best bet is to drive them off with the left flank and keep your right flank intact. Your primary goal here is to have the enemy charge that line with the brunt of his army, hopefully leaving his general with a relatively small rear line protecting him. When this happens, swing your right flank around to the left and smash into the enemy’s flank as shown:

Battle Strategy

With your opponent now stuck in an awkward moment it’s time to use that heavy cavalry to hunt down their general. Alexander always personally led this charge against the Persian Emperor who, every time, turned tail and ran for the hills. You should have the same result or, even better, the enemy general will be slaughtered:

Battle Strategy

And just like that you’ve got yourself a bona fide victory. Once the opposing general and his men are routed, you can swing the cavalry around to finish off whatever troops are left in between your phalanxes. Of course, if the enemy general is foolish enough to participate in the charge against your lines then simply move your cavalry around in a big U-Turn to smash into the enemy’s rear.

I hope all you would-be Empire builders out there find this guide to be useful, I know that this battle plan is yet to let me down.