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Team Roma and Team Judea reunited at The Source on a cold, fall Friday to continue our epic SoJ game (1st session here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/866243 ) ...Assault Period 2.
Since last time, we step'd things up a notch and built walls (balsa wood) for the game. I had numbered each piece so that we could set up quickly. Problem was, we couldn't read my writing or make sense of the code. So, we spent about 20 minutes trying to piece the walls together (sort of a jig saw puzzle, with four old men trying to make sense of thing). We used double sided tape to attach to the plastic; worked very well. Also kitted out with other items: tall Red cubes (from an old Diplomacy game) for towers, tall Black cubes for armored towers, tall Blue cubes for the ramp, small black cubes for breaches, miniatures for leaders and artillery.
Dana M's overhead shot of the action
Since last session, Team Roma had exchanged a number of emails trying to work out a coherent battle plan for Assault period 2...and develop a winning longer range plan. In prep, we read again some articles (the one from Wargamer magazine 1990 is VERY good), reviewed some other SoJ AARs and reread the rules; now that we had a session under our belts. All four of us had played SoJ previously - once - about two decades ago. And, I don't think any of us ever got past the first Assault period. SoJ takes quite a commitment; we're guessing probably maybe 8 sessions (8 hours each). But, as with all the great monster wargames in our hobby, well worth it; the depth and richness of the experience is worth the investment.
We decided to hit Tyropean City at Damascus Gate and Z33, CC30. That task was assigned to Legions XII and V. Legion X would begin the LONG SLOG on the Temple (following up on whatever success we had building a ramp there and mining the walls) our thought is that taking the Temple would require 2 assault periods, since, it is the key to the game, an incredible bastion and Team Judea know that (and was evidenced by their artillery deployment).
We also decided to hold Legion V off map for 1 turn and have it hit the City of David on Turn 2: believing it would prevent Team Judea from concentrating too early on our attack and give us a chance at another portion of the city if the attack on Tyropean City went horribly wrong.
By the end of Assault Period 2, the roman team is required to hold 20% of the city (we already hold 10% - the the New City, which we took in Assault Period 1). Either Tyropean or David City would give us the other 10% we would need in order to survive to Assault Period 3. We thought long and hard, since, we essentially devoted 50% of our forces to the longer range plan (taking the Temple and David City), but, in the end, decide to "go long". And, with that, we moved on to the interesting Assault Period Interphase (one of the many great features of the game).
First item in the Interphase is deciding how long to wait (longer, more good stuff, but, at a big VP cost). We settled on 5 weeks (leaving 20 weeks for 3 future interphases to complete on time and taste victory). Team Judea received 21 out of 24 units back (losses from Assault Period 1 - which ended after 4 turns)...Romans received 4 out of 14 units back.
Titus then ordered our engineers to get cracking. The results of that hard work:
1. One mine shaft, but it spread to 5 hexes centered at QQ34 (outer temple walls)...and, we got a breach at QQ34.
2. Ramp built...centered at QQ39...3 hexes...whether we would use the ramp, was another question. Whatever brave lads go up the thing are going to subjected to a blizzard of arrows...with minimal protection. At least placing the dang thing will draw off Team Judea forces (having to protect against a sudden rush up it).
3. One glorious Armored Tower (much rejoicing)
We collectively decided it was time for lunch (a need to recharge the brain after the puzzle of putting together the walls was cracked, mining, building ramps and constructing armored towers)...more BBQ would be required...off to Dave's BBQ....warnings issued to Team Judea about what they should eat again went unheeded...the dice gods took notice.
Turn 1: To the walls!
Damascus Gate Attack
So, XII & V legions initiated their assault on the Damascus Gate. Things got off to a good start in the sector with some devastating Roman artillery attacks and two rams hitting the wall.
Da Temple MUST be taken!
In the attack on the outer Temple walls, X Legion got very lucky and routed a zealot defender at Bastion QQ 32; it was Team Judea's first rally attempt of the day....prior to the roll, we noted only a "6" would cause a disaster...dice is rolled...and Team Roma shouts with glee the result: SIX. Rout.
Early morale failure at QQ32
Team Roma was happy with the initial start; no debacles...yet. X Legion experienced good luck in its missile attacks, while Team Judea's Mr.Frick experienced the first of a long series of unproductive dice rolls.
Turn 2: Fall of Damascus Gate, A Nasty Rein of Missiles and a red horde appears outside of the City of David
City of David prep attack
Progress continued for Team Roma on turn 2:
XV/V Legion takes Damascus Gate and initiates a brutal assault on the nearby bastions.
X Legion's missile attacks on the outer Temple walls begin to pay dividends. Additionally, some light infantry run into the breach that our engineers had made with their sneaky mine shafts.
XV legion, held off map turn 1, now enters the action - directly vs the City of David. One rules question we had was "Does one just set the units up on the edge of the map (when they enter from offboard), or do you pay the movement cost for the first space enters? It makes a big difference (a turn of movement), given the nasty terrain in the area. We decided that Team Roma should pay the piper, especially given their lucky break on regarding the routing zealot, and pay the full movement cost.
Upon hearing this, Titus was not pleased.
Displeasure etched in stone
Big Man noted that it be turn 5 before the siege engines would reach the walls at David City. He quickly issued orders to prepare the ladders (meaning, a fair number of roman boys would be meeting their maker sooner than later).
Turn 3: Toss the bums back.
Team Judea plotting their counterattack, with Team Roma XII and V Legion Proconsul Lee looking on
Turn 3 witnessed an effective Team Judea counterattack. Along the walls, Team Judea had been keeping their powder dry with a very effective defensive deployment. They choose now to make their counterattacks in the Temple and Damascus Gate sectors. From the cries of Team Roma's proconsul leading the assault on Tyropean City, we could tell that Legion XII and V had hit a nasty roadblock.
XII Legion suffered heavy losses (10 units, almost 2 full cohorts of heavy infantry). Other legion losses were light (5 units among all other legions). Team Judea had lost about 10 units+catapult and an onager (X Legion trophies). XII Legion was pushed off the walls, although it managed to hold onto Damascus Gate...thankfully. Legion V continued its support of the attack and began working on a 2nd breach.
Farther south, in the City of David, Team Judea's forces were either shot off the walls or fled to the security of the built up areas with the exception of two important Bastions. The gallant lads of V Legion prepared for a ladder assault (the horror!).
In the Temple sector, Team Judea mounted a spirited defense and managed to hold X Legion to taking only Bastion at QQ32 during the turn....Team Roma was beginning to hear the growing sound of a ticking clock.
Turn 4: Stalemate at Tyropean City; Progress at Temple and City of David
XII Legion managed to open up a 2nd breach near Damascus Gate, but, progress was slow. Whereas, Team Judea had poor luck in the Temple and City of David sector, they had HOT dice in Tyropean City vs the ICE cold (errant artillery attacks anyone?) Roman dice in that sector.
In the temple sector, X legion opened and took a second breach in some brutal melee combats. When we looked at the loss pile, there were now 25 Jewish causalities - most coming from the temple area. Total Roman losses to date where 18 units; with 2 of those being archers that were on top of the wall when their fellow Romans open a breach in the section (the band of archers were subsequently buried under a few tons of rubble).
XV Legion managed to take the bastion at QQ49 with a wicked ladder/missile attack.
Turn 5: The Legend of cohort VIII, X Legion.
In Tyropean City, XV legion managed to regain some traction and capture a bastion (to support its tenacious hold on Damascus Gate.
On the City of David front, XV Legion was able to seize a 2nd bastion (QQ52), now that the siege engines FINALLY reached the walls.
Lepidus and co prepare the assault on the courtyard
In the Temple Sector, Lepidus took personal control of the situation and order cohorts VIII and IX into the breaches at QQ33 and QQ34; time to clean out the Temple Quarter. The TQ was defended by a significant band of zealots. Melees were ordered. In a series of continuous attacks, Lepidus and the two cohorts cleaned out the entire TQ. As a result, VIII cohort was left exposed to highly effective arrow fire; 2 units were sent to the causality pile.
With the end of turn 5, we decided to call it a day. We had spent probably an 1.5 hour setting up and conducting the Assault Interphase....and probably about 7.5 hours on the five turns. Writing down positions and taking a few pics didn't take long...kit put away...and we immediately scheduled a resumption of the game for next friday at The Source.
We're having a fantastic time. WHAT a great game SoJ is; planning and executing attacks is very difficult (this is good). The mix between strategy (where to attack, when to attack, with how much?) vs tactics is outstanding. The Romans REALLY need to utilize a WIDE variety of tactics, depending upon the local situation. And, the clock is ticking. Always. Team Judea really needs to pick their fights, but, can have some real fun totally disrupting the roman attack (many ways to do that).
Break in the action...
The three sectors at the end of turn 5 pictured below. I'd give us, Team Roma, a 50/50 that will be either to take City of David or Tyropean City in time...and, I notice, it's getting dark (Turn 8 begins nighttime)....and that favors Team Judea in this unfriendly city. Yes, going to be a damm tough slog for us.
Temple Quarter swept bare (except for those damm walls)...and last of Cohort VIII inside
Tyropean City...end of turn 5
City of David...end of turn 5
As a bonus, this was waiting at my home after the marathon gaming session...
...a timely book to be consumed before next Friday....and just ordered this:
Finally, a great crew at The Source as always...
...And, a very good turnout for 1st Minnesota (30?...even boys from the days, two decades ago, when we played at "the hospital")....
a game of Andean Abyss (two weeks in a row), M44, The Spanish Civil War (GMT), a number of euro games, and, of course, the usual train games. Plus, a number of veterans stopping by ("I heard you nutcases were playing this") and potential wargamers ("Wow, I love history....what kind of game is that?"). Great fun.
- Last edited Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:52 pm (Total Number of Edits: 25)
- Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:19 pm
Great content. The stuff of legend. Thanks for posting, David.
what wargaming is all about
edge of the seat stuff!
Being new here at BGG, I didn't know that this wargame exists, thank you for sharing your wargaming session, it's fantastic.
Now, I may be able to relate closely to the history of this period. I have an old copy of the book Josephus The Jewish War published by Pinguin Books.
I was in the Twin-Cities area back in late 2000. Now, setting up my own wargaming monthly or so meetings with friends in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Winner of the C. Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence
I've posted a couple times in the wargame forum that my love of games that create an interesting narrative is why I play wargames. This is a perfect example of my whole wargaming philosophy - you've got an exciting, interesting and compelling historical narrative going here, and are experiencing it, and sharing it with, friends over the gaming table.
Looking forward to the next session!
Look Up! Stay Alive!
Your reports make my fingers itch to get SOJ2 out and on the table again.
- Last edited Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:21 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:21 am
Your reports make my fingers itch to get SOJ2 out and on the table again.
What is SoJ2 as oppsed to just SoJ?
I believe SoJ2 is the avalon hill version:
...vs the original:
Nov 2...friday confirmed for next session. Gonna be a tough go; Team Judea is tenacious.
- Last edited Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:34 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:33 pm
3rd session report: