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Team Judea and Team Roma met up Friday, Nov 2 at The Source to resume their 1,944th Anniversary Reunion of the epic game Siege of Jerusalem.

Review of Situation

When we last left this story...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/875810

New City: Fell the first Assault Phase, with a combined assault from all four legions. Proconsul Lee delivered the coup de grace with an brilliant outlank movement on the extreme northwest portion of the walls. Team Roma then invested 5 (out of the possible 25) weeks in between assault periods conducting mining, building ramps, etc.

Tyropean City: Target of Proconsul's Lee's effort in Assault period 2. Breaches achieved...desperate fighting to remain on the walls and in possession of Damascus Gate (from which to launch the main assault). XII Legion leading the way, and taking a beating in the western portion of Tyr City, and V Legion taking up position in the northeast.

Temple Quarter: X Legion leading a spoiling attack, but a preparatory pounding (for latter assault periods). Breaches achieved....all Judea's defenders cleared out of the Temple Quarter courtyard and off the outer walls except Susa and Ophel gates.

City of David: XV Legion probing the City of David...in control of bastions at QQ49 & 52...no breaches (took too long to get ram in to position).

About a 50/50 that Team Roma (mr.dr & mr.lee)



....would be able to take either Tyr or David City from Team Judea (mr.frick & mr.alsen)...



...and thus continue its siege of jerusalem.

Prep'ing for 2nd part of Assault Period 2

Prior to resuming our assault, Team Roma held a conference of war: How to take either Tyropean City or City of David? Team Judea had given us a tough go during part one of 2nd assault period. Little chance the temple was going to fall...and City of David was really only designed as probe/feint. Zealot Alsen had stymied Legion V & XII around Damascus Gate. Tough decisions...

To kick-off the conference of war, our staff had wisely arranged for some interesting entertainment to distract us from the task at hand:



After an ample supply of wine was consumed, and a healthy dose of what not, we got down to brass tacks and developed our plans:


Grab some additional bastions in City of David and then flood the southern part of the zone


Try to force an attack on inner Temple walls, but, use it to prevent reinforcements to City of David


...and in Tyropean City, slog thru and expect HIGH losses.

Resumption of Hostilities: Assault Period 2: Turn 6 & 7

X Legion and XV Legion attempted to rally a few forces...three straight "6"s to open the day and three routing units. Evidently, we had somehow made the gods angry. Not a good way to begin the day. Roman forces in Tyropean City didn't suffer similar morale failures, but they did endure wicked Team Judea missile fire by the Zealot Alsen's forces.





XII Legion began its bums rush thru Damascus Gate and the nearby breaches into the clear (aka killing fields) terrain in Tyropean City. It would suffer the loss of about 4 cohorts in the next two turns. Zealot's Alsen led an outstanding defense by not placing any real forces on the wall, but rather occupying the built-up spaces with swarms of archers and successfully forcing the Romans out of testudo formation. Once forced out of formation, Team Judea subsequently butchered the brave men in red in the clear terrain.

Farther south at the Temple, X Legion moved an armored tower into the breach (turn 6) and then a tower (turn 7), preparing to assault the bastion at OO36. Susa Gate would eventually be taken.

On the City of David front, XV legion, under the spirited leadership of Phrygius, managed to take the key space of OO55 within the city, with its valiant VII cohort providing the glory. Again, this was a breach-free wall assault (ladders only) given a logistical snafu that kept our towers out of the action until the matter was decided. I should point that the towers did serve a great purpose; they allowed swarms of romans to cross over the walls on decisive turns 7 & 8, but, by then the bastions had been taken.

The bastions in the sector fell due to being lightly guarded; most of the good troops were attempting to secure the Temple a little to the North. Essentially, after isolating bastions at QQ49 and QQ52 (by attacking the bastions flanking each - and placing a swarm of light infantry and artillery to pick off Team Judea reinforcements attempting to stem the tide), Team Roma was able to attack from the staircases (with some light infantry covering fire) and build a small beachhead.

Team Judea launched a wicked counterattack on our toehold, but one small band of VII cohort managed to hold one small footprint (a clear space) within the walls. A key to assault was isolating portions of the walls with feints, moving towers to attack bastions (that have two staircase - which forces Team Judea to defend two spaces) and constantly getting light troops in place to disrupt defenders with missile fire). And, most importantly, to roll a few lucky die rolls on the melee.

On Turn 7, Phrygius expanded the beachhead and held four spaces by the end of the turn.




All hail VII cohort of XV legion!

At the end of Turn 7, with the sun setting (turns 8 > 10 are night turns in an assault phase), it was time for Team Roma to take stock. At that point:

1. It was clear the attack on Tyropean City was NOT going to succeed


Proconsul Lee surveys the carnage at Tyropean City

2. The probe on the Temple would NOT result in clearing the favorite home team nest; despite X Legion gaining a number of footholds and causing great damage to the walls.

3. That capturing the City of David would be Team Roma's only hope of prolonging the siege.

4. Unit losses at this point include 15 Roman units (most of those buried in the clear spaces in Tyropean City) and 25 units from Team Judea (most of those from the City of David defense)

At about this point, we have an observer (had a good flow of those during the day) ask, "How old is this game?" I think I said about 25 years old. Zealot Alsen chimed in "ONLY 25 years old; a relatively young wargame".

Assault Period Climax: Turn 8: City of David or City of the Dead?

In the North, XII and V Legion disengaged from Tyropean City and attempted a hail mary at the main gates (Yapo Gate and vicinity) and fortress R49.


Legions XII and V flee Tyropean City





Proconsul Lee's hail mary

Proconsul Lee had caught Zealot Alsen off-guard and did make good progress with the surprise attack on southwest walls of Tyropean City.

In the temple, the red & blue boys had fought to a stalemate, although, Team Judea was beginning to crack on the inner walls at a key bastion...



Further south, Phrygius addressed the troops of the XV Legion and communicated that the fate of Rome would be shortly determined by their efforts. The attack began with Romans rushing to occupy portions of the built up areas in the City of David.


Flood gates open

Just prior to commencing the melee, Team Judea commander in the area, Zealot Frick, commented "...and the slaughter begins.". Phrygius began his devasting series of attacks, resulting in 20 units of Team Judea becoming martyrs. Phryguis eventually corned Eliezer ben Shimon, one of the faction leaders in the area. Swords were drawn..



...and Eliezer ben Shimon was dispatched. A cheer arose at The Source. The City of David had fallen.




Phrygius gloating like only a Roman can truly do.

Morale break

At that point, Team Judea offered a concession of the City of David. Team Roma surveyed the situation:

Reasons to continue the assault this period...

1. The cruel mirage of Temple victory: The Temple attack was basically a bloody stalemate, however, there was still a remote chance to crack the hard nut open.

2.Free fortress? The hail mary in southwest Tyropean City might result in grabbing a fortress or two

3. Lower City Gambit: The victorious XV Legion in City of David might have a chance to seize the Lower City, before Team Judea could organize an effective defense.

4. Thin Blue Line: Heavy jewish losses (50 units...20+ this turn alone) resulting in a thin wall defense, here and there. Maybe a chance to pick off something.

...and reasons to discontinue the assault

1. Roman losses....at this point, about a legion thru two Assault periods:

XV Legion (City of David heroes): Only 1 unit loss: a light

X Legion (led the Temple attack) : 2 cohorts, +1 heavy, +7 lights, + catapult (don't ask)

V Legion (Tyropean City bloodbath: part 1): 3 cohorts, +1 heavy, +1 light

XII Legion (Tyropean City bloodbath: part 2): 4 cohorts, +2 heavies, +9 lights and even 1 dead cav unit

..roughly 225 victory points for Team Judea...plus 50 VPs {from our 5 weeks of mining, building a ramp, etc - the time during the assault interpahse between period 1 & 2}. Team Judea wins if it reaches 1,500 - adtl points for killer roman ldrs, occupying fortresses at end of game, survival of Eliezer ben Yair and exiting units (2x melee strength - for their epic hold out at the mountain fortress of Masada



2. Night fright: We're in the nighttime portion of the turn; meaning Team Judea gets a +1 to their melees

3. Friday night lights: We'd been gaming for about 8 hours (actually, really 5....1 1/2 of set up & trash talk & gaming banter...and a 1 1/2 lunch break) and it was only 7 PM at nite (a chance to play another game or engage in fun nite time activities). Also, we wanted to avoid burnout; SoJ is a LONG, fatiguing slog: so many choices and challenges.

Team Roma decided to accept the concession and end the assault phase. A celebration began at The Source...



We scheduled next friday to begin Assault Period 3 (capitalizing on a rare alignment of the planets {and real life} that would allow us to run off a string of fantastic gaming sessions of the beast of game.)

As a final act of the gaming evening, the green dancer was sent home with Phrygius. All hail Phrygius!

Arriving home, I found the book below waiting at the door:



...something to hold me over until our next SoJ session. Started to read it today. It turns out that the author did a previous book "for wargamers; one that provided rules for miniatures. Might have to get a copy of that.
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Charles Hildebrandt
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Great report!
 
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John McKendrick
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FANTASTIC! YAAAAAAASSSSSS!!!

I've only manage two assault phases with this - the greatest of all siege games - I am so looking forward to your next report

-John
 
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David Dockter
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SoJ is an incredible game.

I think I would also agree it is the best model of siege warfare (grand tactical/tactical level) I have encountered. There is such a WIDE variety of tactical questions/challenges that are faced by the attacker and defender.

Best of all, SoJ is set within the context of some nail biting strategic decisions (the assault interphase period - and where/how to attack). Rules aren't that bad (recommend the boot camp training scenario); certainly not complicated. And, I've downloaded the various articles and strategy pieces on the game. Good stuff all.
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Peter Veenstra
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On to the Third phase!

Maybe we finally see the miracle happen? A Roman win.. Could it be true?
 
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David Dockter
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I'd give us a about a 1/3 chance at this point, since we failed on our initial attack on Tyropean City. 3rd assault phase will be a real tough nut. But, I think we might have a plan.... devil
 
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David Dockter
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Reread some stuff that I'm not sure we played correctly today...think we finally have the rules nailed now. Again, this errata file is VERY helpful:

http://files.boardgamegeek.com/file/download/16uwwzprkf/SoJ_...?

...and the things we might have missed:


JOIN IN: Can a Roman unit, on top of a tower, advance onto an unoccupied wall hex at the end of the melee phase if it did not conduct melee?

Yes. Note, the rule does not state it is an advance after combat, although that could happen. The rule simply states that infantry atop a tower may move into a vacant elevated hex at the end of the melee phase.

ADVANCE INTO EMPTY: The Romans see an empty spot on the wall. They have units that can move to the wall and place an Escalade. Other Roman units can climb the Escalade. Even though there are no Judean units to Melee and the Romans have no more movement factors, may the Romans move onto the wall at the end of the Melee Phase?

Yes you can advance into a clear wall hex from the top of an escalade at the end of the combat phase.

1 MULE: Siege engines only need ONE pusher:

One unit is needed as pushers (for siege engines), and two can be used.

PANZERS!: Each extra E – one additional advance space: If the number of "E" results exceeds the number of defending units, …may move [ADVANCE} one additional hex beyond the vacated defender's space [COST OF 1 "E" PER SPACE} - and we believe that you can diverge from retreat path (some ZOC restrictions on how you can advance - see rules)

IMMEDIATE THREAT: Missile/Artillery next to enemy unit may only fire at those adjacent units.

…that will be very helpful for poor Team Roma.

Also saw this for Team Judea:

TIME COST: ….might have mucked this up: you can't move a tower its' four MP s – and then just move on it with a new unit without paying the 4 MP ("time") cost

The subsequent example though: "A Tower is pushed two Clear hexes. A "4" marker is placed on it so that any new unit moving atop that Tower must pay an additional four MF plus the normal cost of entering that hex." implies that the additional movement only applies to units moving atop the Tower. I.e., a heavy infantry unit can move to the destination of a Tower, meeting it there with its 8 MF as the Tower uses its 4th MF. Clarification?

No. Please note, the example states ANY NEW unit - this does not refer to the units already riding atop the tower. This question is best answered by an example: A tower with no units on top is pushed two clear hexes - a 4 marker is placed on the tower. A fresh heavy infantry unit four clear hexes away from the stopped tower is going to move atop the tower. The infantry moves next to the tower (3MP) and then spends 5MP to move into the tower hex (1MP to enter the hex and 4MP additional as indicated by the marker). The intent of this rule is to reflect time constraints for units to man towers that are some distance away at the start of a turn.

Yes. -- the base unit can expend 4 MF in movement, then another 4 MF to raise the escalade. Other units can also expend 4 MF in movement, then another 4 MF to scale the ladder.

CREST HALF: If you attack across the crest hex side, the attack value of the tower is halved as stated in the Terrain Effects Chart. {Note; many places on the walls}

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Alan Lipka
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Wow !

You guys are incredible. Not only are you playing at a very high level, you are cracking me up with the witty comments and visual aids !

I really like the balsa wood walls. Consider whipping out the X-acto saw and making real Breaches ! Now THAT would be cool ... cool

Ever so glad that the City of David fell. Not that I wish the Judaeans any ill will, but this is just too much fun to have it end.

Good luck to both sides. Looking forward to the "Temple Phase" and how each side plays it. Wish I was there to play it with ya !

All the best -

~ Alan

PS Thanks for mentioning our Tactics thread. kiss
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David Dockter
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Much to my chagrin (Team Roma), we discovered that there appears to be ZERO staircases from City of David into the Lower City from the bastions.

Now, if each fort has an intrinsic staircase into all adjacent non wall hexes, then we could go from City of David into Lower City. Anyone know the answer to that one?

I would cut breaches in the wall (that we have produced), except my youngin that I enlisted to help me build the walls would toss a fit.
 
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Alan Lipka
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Hi David -

Don't want to kibitz here, but I do believe you are correct about the staircases out of the Bastions. The gates out of the Forts still work, but only into the hex with the road depiction.

Can't wait to see how Team Roma approaches this ! whistle

~ A
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David Dockter
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"The gates out of the Forts still work, but only into the hex with the road depiction."

Thanks.
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David Dockter
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Session 4 posted....the tale of Lepidus woe...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/10495279
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John McKendrick
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Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

cool



whistle

-John
 
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David Dockter
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Pine is a soft wood; except when it meets skull
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Agung Waspodo
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An absolutely fantastic report. I really need a long holiday to play and post something close to this.

Looking at your picture of the Roman siege tower I am amazed at how determined the Romans were in building an 8-story tower and move it uphill on four wheels, maintaining balance, full of soldiers, and still managed to keep it from rolling downhill smashing all things to hell. This is madness..

I looked into "Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World" book by Simon Anglim, 2002, and I found that Demetrios Poliorketes even bult a "city-taker" (helepolis) of a 9-story siege tower 43meters (that's about 141ft) in height on 8 wheels when he fought Rhodes, 305-304 BC.

So the ancients really are determined and do perfected their siege warfare techniques back then.

Bravo, now your session report makes me open my history book.
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Alan Lipka
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Herr Dr wrote:


CREST HALF: If you attack across the crest hex side, the attack value of the tower is halved as stated in the Terrain Effects Chart. {Note; many places on the walls}



I don't think this is correct, David. Note U refers to units attacking up slope through a Crest hexside against defenders at ground level. Attacks from a Tower are at an Elevated hex, and thus not halved by this Rule.
 
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