Heirs of Empire is intended to play the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death. There was a 50 year period of warfare that engulfed the the Near East as the various Diadochi successor's tried to unite the old Hellenistic empire under their banner. Ultimately, they all failed, but three powerful kingdoms were established. These kingdoms were often called the Successor Kingdoms.
The kingdom furthest East was that of Seleucus. He established his capital in Syria and his empire extended all the way to Bactria (Afghanistan) and the edge of India. Often, he would need to turn his eyes Eastward to maintain control of his empire. Seleucus rarely went that direction to expand his empire, only to shore it up.
The reason was simple. To the East was a rising power, the Mauryan Empire in India. There Chandragupta was a rising power. He had conquered a neighboring Indian empire called the Nanda Dynasty. This allowed him to create an empire of his own.
The Indus River Valley had been conquered by Alexander toward the end of his campaign. The former Persian Empire had 4 Satraps established there. Alexander mirrored this approach and maintained these Satrapies. However, the Mauryans asserted their influence and gained control of these 4 Satrapies. This caused Seleucus the re-evaluate his decision and to try to consolidate his Eastern borders.
The Mauryan-Seleucus War took place between 305 and 303 BCE. Appian is the main source, and his account is less than a paragraph of details. The end result was a confirmation of the status quo, a marriage relationship between the two leaders, and a stable border. The Mauryan Empire was able to retain the Indus and gained lands into Bactria. It has also been speculated that the war elephants Seleucus brought to the Battle of Ipsus had been gifted to him from Chandragupta.
The Army of the Mauryan Empire
The Indian sub-continent has access to a vast pool of manpower for the Mauryan's to draw from. In addition, it was rich in minerals and resources to arm and equip such an army. By this date, the Mauryan Army was a professional force that was sponsored and supported by the taxation of the state. This professional status allowed for a combined arms approach to their military structure. This featured war elephants, chariots, cavalry, and infantry.
The tactical structure of an Indian force varied significantly from that of Seleucus' Macedonian style army. The smallest tactical element was called a "Patti". In theory, it was composed of a single elephant, a chariot, 3 horseman, and 5 infantry soldiers. From there, these units were built up into larger forces in multiples of 3.
There were also references to something called a Vyuha. This appears to be a combined arms military unit of about 5,000 troops. The Vyuha has 5 sub-units that each unit had about 45 chariots, 45 elephants, 225 cavalry, 675 infantry men. These Vyuha had various formations that they could adopt based on the tactical need of the army.
The weaponry and equipment of the average soldier had stayed relatively unchanged in the region from Alexander's day. Chariots and War Elephants often had archers or spearmen in their crew. They formed the shock element of a Patti/Vyuha. Infantry were either sword and shield men or archers. There were some instances of heavy infantry that made use of two-handed swords. Cavalry were light lancers or javelin men.
The Indian bow was somewhat unique. It was a large bamboo construct similar to a long bow. It required the user to steady the tip of the bow against the ground and the front foot. This allowed a "full draw" of the weapon. Greek sources claim that the Indian bows were powerful enough to pierce even heavy Greek armor. However, if the bow could not be properly set, it had reduced effectiveness. Compound bows were also available, but also less commonly used. Cavalry did not seem to utilize mounted bows while Chariots and War Elephants did.
For protective equipment, the helmet was not in wide use. Instead, the turbin was the primary headgear of Indian infantry that provides some limited protection. Their shields were typically ox hide spread over wooden and wicker frames. During this period, body armor was not a common feature of Indian forces. After Alexander's invasion, metal and lamellar armor became more important for mounts such as horses and War Elephants.
The Mauryan Empire in Heirs of Empire
The basic building blocks of the Mauryan Empire can be easily translated into the unit types in Heirs of Empire. The game purposely uses abstracted unit types to fill in the various units and troop types found across the Near East. Let's break it down with what units probably existed in a Mauryan Empire force and how do they translate into units in the game.
The Indian Infantry forces are mostly composed of two main styles. Sword and Shield based infantry and Archers. These can be covered easily with Drilled/Warband Infantry and Archers. For the occasional Heavy Infantry you could use Drilled Infantry to represent them.
Cavalry was clearly of the Asphract variety. This would include regular Asphracts or upgrades to Javelins. Chariots could be Asphracts with Bows or if you wanted a bit more kick you could use Epilektoi Cavalry to represent them as a "shock" force.
War elephants are War elephants. No need for special rules or translations here.
The more challenging aspect of making the Mauryan Empire army fit into Heirs of Empire is there unique Vyuha system of organization. Unlike Hellenistic forces who tended to group like units together, the Indian army seems to prefer to spread them out. In this case, It seems to me that a Vyuha will need to be looked at roughly as being equivalent to the Wing of an Army in game. The translation is not a clean 1 to 1, as the Vyuha is not an exact match. Such a compromise is an abstraction. However, it still gives the proper "feel" to the Mauryan Empire army in the game rules.
Mauryan Empire Line of Battle
Use the following lists to build your Mauryan forces for Heirs of the Empire. The Line of Battle help to choose the appropriate Units for your Historical forces. Check the scenarios for starting point cost for a force.
The Line of Battle will have an entry with a number. The number indicates the limit of that Unit you can take in the army. If an entry says 1+ your army must have at least one of these units in it. If it is 0+ any number of that unit may be taken. If a Unit is not on the list, it can not be chosen.
Sample Mauryan Army
Below you can see a Sample Army built from the Lines of Battle provided. They give you an idea of what your force could look like. They are all built to a 54 point force. They range from 5 to 8 Units each.