Notes from the Designer #24

The Scenarios: Suppression of the Khashas 274 BC

Though he was hailed as “Slayer of Enemies,” Chandragupta’s son Bindusara was friendly with the Hellenic world and was known to have had a taste for Greek figs, wine, and philosophy. Little is known, however, about the military conquests of Bindusara. He is generally thought to have consolidated (if not expanded) his father’s empire, but from the chronicles of Taranatha, we are told that Bindusara “destroyed kings and nobles of about sixteen cities” in the rebellious Khasa rajya, or realm of the Khashas. The Khashas, whose settlements in the former kingdom of Puru extended from Jhelum to the west of Kashmir, were likely independent principalities united by clan or tribal connections who chafed at Mauryan imperial power.

Bindusara was said to have added the Deccan Peninsula to the Mauryan empire, though his son Ashoka is also said to have done the same (the latter is more likely). In Greek Bindusara was given the epithet “Amitochrates,” or Amitragatha, or the “destroyer of enemies.”

Chanakya was certainly older by this time, but probably still active; Bindusara retained him from his father’s court.

The Combatants: The Mauryan army, led by Bindusara, with Ashoka and Chanakya as Wing Commanders, against the Khashan tribal army.

The Battlefield: Tribal strongholds on rugged mountain terrain. The Khashas’ strongholds were West of the Jhelum (“Hydaspes”) River, though the historical locations of these battles are not known. We have opted to “condense” what was probably a series of scattered revolt suppressions into two scenarios. The terrain is based on a topographical map of the area just east of Takshashila, as rendered in Marshall’s A Guide to Takshashila.

Special Features: These scenario features a daytime assault scenario, plus a night scenario that gives the Khashas a chance for a surprise attack against the bivouacked Mauryans. Special rules for the scenario include ambush options for the Khashans, and night combat.

Next time: The Scenarios – Battle of Kalinga .

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