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Notes from the Designer #21

The Scenarios: Takshashila 316 BC

After overthrowing the Nandas, Chandragupta had to justify his new dynasty by proving it able to secure the protection of the people against foreign invasion by the Greeks. His opportunity presented itself out in the western province of Gandhara, in the city-state called Takshashila.

Takshashila (aka “Taxila” in Greek) was at the time under the joint rule of the Indian king Ambhi, who had allied himself years earlier with Alexander against his rival king Puru (“Porus” of Hydaspes fame), and the Thracian general Eudamus, a successor of Phillipus. When Eudamus treacherously has Puru murdered, a native revolt begins.

Shrewdly, Chandragupta transforms the revolt into an organized military action against Takshashila. Not only is Takshashila garrisoned by the hated Yavana – Greek and Macedonian mercenaries – but it is strategically important as a trade-route crossroads, connecting the Mauryan home kingdom of Magadha with Bactria. Seizing Takshashila would extend the young Mauryan Empire out to India’s western frontier.

Eudamus is not committed to this battle – his joint rule with Ambhi was meant to be temporary, but his permanent appointment as satrap was never made. When things become “too hot,” therefore, Eudamus throws in the towel. He quits India to later help Eumenes in his fight against Antipater. The Greek officers remaining are put to the sword by the Mauryan troops, and Chandragupta assigns Chanakya – born in Takshashila – as its viceroy.

The Combatants: Chandragupta, now leading a fully-fledged Mauryan army, confronts an alliance of Greeks and Indians outside the city of Takshashila. The Yavana army is comprised of Phalanxes and Hoplites, plus the vaunted heavy cavalry. The Indian king Ambhi, allied with Eudamus against Chandragupta, garrisons the city and is arrayed outside its northern gates.

Because Eudamus needs his elephants for war with Eumenes against Antipater, he was loath to commit them to battle – they count their full TQ for withdrawal purposes. Incidentally, according to Sastri, the elephants were ones that Eudamus had seized from Puru.

The OOB for Eudamus’ forces is courtesy of research by Mark Matney.

The Battlefield: The battle takes place in the valley of the Tamra Nala river, bounded by rugged hills overlooking Takshashila from the east. The centerpiece of the terrain is the city itself – the walled city, with four gated entrances, surrounding dense city blocks of congested dwellings. In the center of the city is its temple and palace. The game map is based upon topographical maps drawn by archaeologist J. M. Marshall’s A Guide to Taxila.

Special Features: Players are given two scenarios here, the Set Piece Battle plus a City Assault Battle. With the City Assault, the Mauryan is given an opportunity to use his elephants to pull down the cities’ gates – not as easy a task as with camp gates – and to use the Indian version of the catapult, the jamadagnya.

Next week: The Scenarios -- Gandhara.

Until then, please visit the Chandragupta Forum for the latest news and discussion …