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Team Judea and Team Roma met up Friday, Nov 9 at The Source to resume their 1,944th Anniversary Reunion of the epic game Siege of Jerusalem.



We last left the story here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/879078

Review of the situation

Things had gone well for Team Roma so far:

1. Two portions of the city held: The New City and City of David

2. VPs at about 300 (Team Judea needs 1,200)

3. Losses light to moderate (about a legion over the first two periods)

4. Some prep breaches on the Temple outer walls - and a ramp built there

Assault Interphase

We studied our options and developed the following plan:



Essentially, two legions would try again on Tyropean City and two legions would hit the Upper City. Depending upon how those attacks went, we might be able to pivot and hit the Temple again. If the attacks succeeded on Tyropean and Upper, we would have the Temple isolated from the rest of the city and would overwhelm it in Assault period IV. Well, at least that was the plan.

We decided to take seven weeks mining the city. Our first roll of the day resulted in a lousy "1": 1 damm shaft. Bad break. Decisions. We decided to put a shaft into the south side of the Upper City (since we would be hitting it also from east). Lucky for us, we rolled two breaches. We also managed to gain another armored tower (one sent to Tyropean theatre). And with that, we deployed XV and X legion for the attack on Upper City and V and XII legion drew the Tyropean City assignment again (a chance for redemption).


Romans set up and then Team Judea


...and Team Judea suited up for action!


Turn 1: To the ramparts!


Ready to rock.

Turn 1 for the assault on the Upper City involved the siege engines from the City of David hitting the east wall. In the south, the siege engines begin there slog to the existing breaches (it would take 3 turns to reach given the slope terrain in that part of the city). Losses were relatively light for both sides.

Up north in Tyropean City, V and XII legions positioned and began their assault on the walls. V Legion begin to take moderate losses (trying to renew their assault thru the Damascus gate and breaches nearby. A strong Team Judea defense seemed to parry any roman tactic quite well.

We decided to take a break for lunch. For the first time in the game, Team Judea decided to forgo their usual pork feast, for some reason. Instead, they each had a "bottomless cauldron" of soup at Eddingtons. One remarked, "No reason to tempt the dice gods today with a slab of pig". Smart guys.

Turn 2: The Hero Known as Lepidus

On the Tyropoean front, Team Roma's two legions continued to not gain any traction. Losses mounted...about 4 cohorts (and, Legion V was already weak from previous losses). Legions V & XII tried a wide variety of tactics - even rushing in cav to catch arrows. Nothing seemed to work.

Regarding the attack on Upper City, commander of the X Legion, Lepidus, decided caution would be thrown to the wind; perhaps we could take the Upper City quickly and then overwhelm light defenders in the Lower City. Again, Team Roma needed to take 25% of the city this Assault phase.

So, Lepidus suited up, grabbed a few cohorts and hit the fortress at KK50.



After prep artillery fire, a melee and success! Lepidus then ordered a quick advance directly into the Upper City...


Proud Lepidus ponders his next move...

Lepidus was faced with a difficult choice: a "vegas" and a rush to the built up area or, play it safe - hold the fortress, conduct some prep fire and then assault on turn 3. Lepidus decided it was "vegas" time. In he dashed with one cohort. Lepidus did managed to clean out some of the rabble, but, eventually ended his brazen attack in a built up area with 2 squads.

After a BIG dice roll for reserve troop, Team Judea responded with a fanatical counterattack. Zealots and regulars (and their damm bows) flooded the zone. Lepidus held his boys steady. When it was time to melee (Team Judea phase), Lepidus's 21 factors were faced with 141 enemy factors (damm surround-a-sound-flank attack). BOOM! His two squads were vap'd. Lepidus alone in the Upper City.

Against ALL odds, Lepidus singlehandedly managed to hold off the zealot hordes. His comrades could see his valiant fight from the walls. Just as all hope seemed to be lost, a successful roman ram attack shockingly created a breach directly behind dear Lepidus. When the dust cleared, X Legion could see their valiant commander thru the pile of rubble still standing like the Colossus of Rhodes.

A cry went out at The Source...

Turn 3: ALL SAVE LEPIDUS!


BRAVE Lepidus

The question now was whether dear Lepidus would survive artillery fire long enough for II & III Cohorts of X Legion to bust through the breach and rescue him. Miraculously, somehow he survived the first rain of arrows. Team Judea cursed their luck. They cried out, "BUT WE DID NOT PARTAKE OF THE BBQ PORK TODAY!".

In charged the legionnaires. Savage fighting; although Lepidus and his attack had cut down 10 Team Judea defenders, jewish reserves had flooded to the area. One small Roman squad managed to hack its way to within a few inches of Lepidus....close enough to see the blood streaming from Lepidus's many wounds. And, then, cruelly, and quite sadly, a blizzard of Team Judea arrows finally found their mark. Lepidus fell.


Lepidus slain


Member of Team Roma and Lepidus in happier times.

To the south, Titus and the vaunted XV Legion soon heard the news of valiant Lepidus. XV Legion went berserk and flooded into The Upper City from the south (taking bastions and running through the breaches (slow siege engines be dammed!).

Further north, in Tyropean City, the Roman debacle continued. A group of true zealots melee'd out of the city and threatened Roman siege engines. Both V and XII were now fully stymied....and Team Roma's hope began to dim after 30+ hours of play. Perhaps a rabbit could be pulled from the hat.

Turn 4: Pine on Skull.

News from Tyropean went from bad to worse for Team Roma. One last desperate assault to try to gain some decent toeholds in the built up areas and nothing to show for it.

In the Upper City, X and XV Legion continued to exact vengeance for their brave comrade, Lepidus. By the end of the turn, 35 dead roman units (primarily V Legion) and 35 dead Team Judea units. Team Roma reassessed their chances. It was clear the Upper City had fallen, but, would there be enough time to then rush the Lower City (without siege engines or breaches)? Was there any chance to pivot on the Temple with one legion from Tyropean City attack and X legion from City of David/Upper City? Doubtful in both cases...

We had suffered that moment which James Carville called this week a "Pine on Skull" moment: when dem HARD facts hit you over the head like a "2 by 4": Titus was defeated. All hail Team Judea.


Success in the Upper City...


...but stalemate in Tyropean City

A parlay with Team Judea was then conducted. First Minnesota wargames were starting up, now that it was about 7 PM...


A game of Strike of the Eagle begins

It was agreed that the time had come for the Romans to withdraw from Jerusalem...temporarily...perhaps we would return in the spring. We would be allowed to retain our eagles and fine hand built balsa walls.

Our legions exited the city. We marched silently, but proudly, as we carried the body of one brave lad known as Lepidus...



Aftermath...

Fantastic gaming experience; big hats off to Dan, John and Tom. Will probably post some thoughts later regarding the game later. A few quick ones:

1. Romans have a TOUGH go; I think the issue is threefold:

* Team Judea arrows may be a little tooo powerful in the clear spaces; it felt like they had gatling guns

* Team Judea reserves maybe too plentiful: we'd kill 10 units in a turn, and sometimes Team Judea regenerated the whole lot and basically placed back on the front line.

* There should be some "jewish national morale track" that takes a hit for this or that...and what about the historic food supply issue - zealots destroyed the food supply at start of the siege so that their boys would fight harder zombie

2. If you like big games, with MANY tactical puzzles to solve - all within a decent strategic context - this is your game. Give it go. Rules really aren't that difficult. Some really good stuff on BGG...article floating around...etc.

3. This game has one quality that Nels T. says a game needs: ability to produce GREAT narrative.

4. Would love to see someone do a decent, BIG strategic game on the Jewish Revolt: one great story.

5. Best siege game I have ever played.

6. Would also be great to see someone update this game. Why not a reprint (and tighten up the rules - and give us bigger counters!...and some game pimp)? Also, would be cool to take basically the same siege system and have a smaller scenario for Gamala (might make a good magazine game). One of "problems" with wargaming is that great old systems like this one don't get new life puffed into them.


Siege of Gamala

Playing at The Source was a great idea. Met a lot of wargamers in the area who heard about our session (thank you BGG/Consimworld) and wandered by. Best part was, hopefully, roping in a few new wargamers. On Friday, one group of Young Guard stopped by and asked, "WHAT is this?". We gave them the overview. One younger lad then remarked, "Boys, these are the games we should be playing". arrrh

Next up for the holidays: Empires in Arms.



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John McKendrick
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And so the Romans retired?

NEVVVEERRRR!!!

Lol

-John
 
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David Dockter
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Da.

There comes a point in monster games where you need to make a decision regarding relative chance of winning vs. play value vs. opportunity cost (let's start something new). He hit that point and the calculus didn't work any longer for continuing.

No regrets with EiA on deck (plus games of Alesia .... Carthage: The First Punic War...and Kingdom of Heaven...and Crown of Roses...and maybe a run to the WAM convention in Baltimore...enough gamin to last the winter).

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David Dockter
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Showed the session reports to my youngest, who is a gamer: Their response: "Warning: Major Nerd Alert".
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Grant LaDue
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Any thoughts about taking more time early to prepare better? The thought would be to minimize early Roman losses, which seem to be more painful as time went on.
 
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David Dockter
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Not really (taking more prep time - it gives too many VPs to the jewish side...7 weeks seems to be about the max you can afford...but, I'm NO expert on this game...only second time (20+ years ago) I had played it).

One thing I did that about was maybe not making the bums rush to the built up areas in Tyropean City until the night part of the turn (missile fire has only a range of 1 space then). Trade off is time; only three night turns (8 thru 10), then the assault phase ends. Tyropean City was our Stalingrad. If we had taken that, we would have had the temple isolated for Assault Period IV: could of, would of, should of
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Pete White
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This is really a truly great game. We played it over and over and over, and never had the Romans win. But it's so good, we still kept coming back for more. Oh, the stories of sleepless weekends....

Thanks for writing it all up. Brings back memories!

cheers, Pete
 
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Grant LaDue
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How close do you think you were to the Jewish "win on VP's" line?
 
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David Dockter
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I think fine...I'd guess we would have been at 600 after assault period 3. The reason why I think fine is that assault period 4 would have been on the isolated Temple; with the prep we had made, I don't think losses would have been bad.

We really got chewed up in Tyropean City....1/2 our points. Why? The built up places of the city we hit assault period 2 & 3 were a few clear spaces from the walls with clear fields of jewish fire; meaning we took a beating in the fire phase and then either couldn't take the built up or hold in the clear.

And, Team Judea waged a very fine defense in Tyropean City.
 
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Grant LaDue
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So, I guess that's my question. Should you be running closer to the line of the Jewish vp win in order to have easier attacks?
 
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David Dockter
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Don't know, but, you've got to take 25% in Assault phase 2 - that going be a bloody affair regardless.
 
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Alan Lipka
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An excellent game !

It played out as expected ... Judaean defensive posture kills any and all Roman assaults.

Not that the Judaean played it particularly well. Conceding the NC so early was silly. The whole idea for the Judeaan is to kill Romans. The Judeaen should take at least ... at least ! ... 200VP in Phase I.

The Tyropean City defense was ok, but losing the City of David was an example of poor application of the Rules. Reserves from this Area are able to confound any Roman attack. All it takes is a few Militia to hold back the Romans in the Bastions while sufficient units are generated to block the entry hexes. Even with bad luck ... I mean, really ? ... 15 Built Ups with 10 FHI ??? No way.

Given that, the assault on the TC is stymied and the CG ends.

The Romans need to think about concentration of force. Hitting two or three Areas at once to attain VC is not a good idea. All the Judeaean needs to do is back off into one ... and the Roman assault fails.

Roman play was about as inexperienced as the Judeaan. Proper attention to Temple Wall destruction was lacking, as was the expectation that the Upper City could be taken without a full assault by 3 Legions and at least 2 Breaches by Mining. To think that the Antonia Fortress, Upper City, and Herod's Palace can be taken in one Phase is folly. The AF itself is worth a full Phase to take !

Players ... forgive me for using such harsh words. I do honor your efforts and praise the tactics that you used. Some worked, some did not. The Roman effort is tough to execute. The Judaean defense is easier, as even the loss of the first 2 Phases can be negated by a staunch defense within the Inner Temple. Even if the Roman gets a 3 hex access to the Inner Temple, a Ballista in the Temple Tower, and 6 Zealot stacked with ben Yair and two Leaders in the Temple Ediface to face the Romans is at best a 50/50 proposition to get that first Ediface hex and begin the battle for the real Victory hexes. G-d forbid night should fall before such a Roman assault begins ...

So yes, this was a good Game. For those wishing to build on a winning Roman strategy, it leaves something to be desired. For those using the Judeaan strategy, it leaves the status quo.

I would be interested in knowing how players from both side see things.

Many thanks to you guys for playing this out for us ! And posting it with such wisdom and wit ! The penultimate question from your efforts still remains, however ...

CAN THE ROMANS WIN ???

All the best -

~Alan
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David Dockter
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No problem on the harsh words; this was our first real play of the game (we had all played like one session a few decades ago). Agree with some of your points; especially Roman play was sub optimal; we spread thin, but, we hated the idea of Team Judea being able to concentrate on one sector and ignore everything else. By the end of the game, I think we had the rules down - but we definitely mucked things up numerous times getting there - which impacted both side's play.

I'll see if I can prod the other players to add their thoughts.

And thanks for posting your comments - really do appreciate it; the only way we can improve our play - insight from others and getting our clock cleaned a few (or many) times.

Also, what are your views on the continuous attack mechanic - and mechanic that allows you to advance an additional space for each "E" result not satisfied? I thought it was a great idea that we did not fully exploit or master; which, the Romans need to.
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Alan Lipka
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Hi David -

Again I give all the credit in the world to the 4 of you for investing the time to play and even more than that, posting your results. IMHO, you exhibit a remarkable command of "blog skills" to post all those pix. Making the game fun by creating Walls of Wood and 3-D visual aids for your counters must have made this a joy to play. Well done, gentlemen, well done ! laugh

I must apologize again for being so harsh in my judgmental comments. After 2 Glenlivets I tend to speak without regard to how my listeners might feel ... and in this case, I believe I overlooked your efforts to play a game decades after your last try for the sake of some personal (and egotistical) observations. My sincere apologies. modest

Because of your posts, I was able to refer back to Comsim and pick up a game of my own with David Nixon. No doubt my excitement to face a worthy opponent (using VASSAL) led to a more spirited approach to everything SoJ. As it stands, David is playing the Judaeans for the first time and I am grinding it out as the Romans. I'll see if I can match your blog skills by figuring out how to share our game.

So from a much more humble (and appreciative) standpoint, I would venture to say ...

1) Much can be learned from this game from the Roman side. Phase I and Phase II VP conditions can be obtained by attacks on the NC, and then the TC. Failure to soften up the Temple prior to Phase III now causes severe problems, as the Judaean has his most powerful defensive posture ... and his greatest number of units. Trying to take 25 Levy Points necessary to move on by hitting the UC, AF, and HT splits the Roman too far. Obviously, a different approach is called for.

2) Tactical considerations for both sides are important to consider. The Judaean can afford to lose everyone in his defense of the NC. With 90% replacements, and 24 new units added from the Reserve Pool, he will have more guys in Phase II than in Phase I ! Based on this, the Judaean should take on a suicidal mentality and seek to bleed the Roman of every VP he possibly can. No concession ... no surrender. Do however, remember to garrison Forts so they can be used for Phase II spoiling attacks !

3) Continuous Combat ... and it's application. Great concept to explore, Dave. It is critical to get it right, and it has to be set up perfectly. Let me think this through and post some examples. The concept is simple. Line up fresh Cohorts against a Judaean line. The stack on one end contains Titus and a stack of 7-8s. You start from the opposite end, fighting what will probably be a series of 1:1 melees, with a +1 drm for Cohort integrity counteracted by a -1 drm for defenders in a Built up. (It may be any of several situations that change the AF/DF or drms, so you will need to experiment here.) Maybe something good happens ... like rolling a 6. The object is to reduce the Judaean defensive factors ... not take the hex. Just roll down the line and try to Disrupt anyone you can. Upon reaching the end with Titus, use the Cohort and the 7-8 Stack Titus is in to get the best odds you can on that end Judaean ! It will be 46 Attack Factors with a +2, and (probably) a -1. So against two 7-7s, it's a 3:1/+1, yields a double result 50% of the time, and Continuous Combat 33% of the time. If it succeeds, you Advance Titus into the Built up with one 7-8 from his stack and the 7-8 from the attacking Cohort and proceed to make the same attack down the line, advancing the same each time. It's a series of 46/+2 attacks against whatever Judaean defenders remain (with appropriate drms). It takes some thought to do it right, so practice, practice, practice. Clearly, the 3 stack hex for the defender is a stopper. Take that into account.

4) Forget about advancing those extra E results. It is a trap to suck Roman units into positions where they can be annihilated. I might try it under a few conditions, but any Judaean worth his salt will make such an advance very costly. Be careful, brother, be careful !

5) Roman melee potential is highly over rated. Its full effectiveness depends on one stack defenders or 6:1/7:1 odds that ensure a two unit result. A competent Judaean will never subject himself to such a position. Once the Judaean is softened up however, by either/both multiple melee or missile attacks, valuable results may be had. This takes time. Plan accordingly.

So ... that's the way I see it ! I'm drinking water now, so I hope my thoughts are a lot less abrasive. If I get a good rate on a flight out to your parts this summer, I would sure consider meeting up with you guys for a go at this FTF. What fun that would be !

All the best -

~ Alan

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Alan Lipka
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ladue wrote:
Any thoughts about taking more time early to prepare better? The thought would be to minimize early Roman losses, which seem to be more painful as time went on.


Hi Grant -

IMHO, and with experience to back it, the Roman MUST take time early to prepare for ensuing Phases. That being said, here is how I see it ...

The first thing for the Roman to do is play the game backwards. By this I mean ... the Temple must eventually be taken. Can this be done ? How ?

As the Roman, I want those two Clear hexes adjacent to the Temple Ediface to attack from. I want Titus leading that attack, with Lepidus and Cohort Integrity, during the Day, after some kind of Missile Fire just prior to the Melee. So the best attack the Roman can hope for is against MM38 with a Cohort in the Breach, and two stacks of 7-8s flanking it, Titus on one stack of 7-8s and Lepidus on the other, it adds up to 68 Factors and a +2 drm for CI and Titus.

Now as the Judaean. What is the best Temple defense against the best Roman attack ? The Judaean can put 2 Zealots and ben Yair in the Temple hex MM38 for 20 Factors ... doubled and a drm of -2. So it boils down to a 1:1 Flat.

How it works out: A Back result will surely be resolved as a Disrupt and Retreat. Likewise, the D result. A 6 will kill one Zealot and the attack continues as a 2:1 Flat. Assuming all goes well and the Ediface hex is cleared with ben Yair surviving either Disrupted or in Good Order, the Roman can move Titus and 2 7-8s into the Temple.

So let's go back. In order to continue combat with the CI, we need the Cohort to be in one of the Clear hexes. This reduces the initial attack to 66AF, which does not change things, but certainly reinforces the idea of thinking ahead ! Looks like a Cohort in each of the clear hexes would be even better.

So now we have Titus attacking from within the Temple with a stack of two 7-8s. Outside the Temple we have Lepidus and his Cohort. Defending we have 2 Zealots for sure, with a Leader. So the attack is 49/+3 against at least 17/18 /-1 which is a 2:1 /+2. Since there are 3 units in the stack, another CC must happen in order to keep things rolling. It's a 50/50 chance, as a dr of 4 results in a 6, which is wonderful for the Romans. So if it succeeds, in comes Lepidus and a 7-8/6-8 stack. At this point we have had two Continuous Combats, one with a 17% chance of succeeding, the second at 50% if the first happens ... together ... about 4%. Sure ... it can happen. But after slugging through 2 Phases and getting the right units in place to make this attack, I'm not sure I like the odds of success.

Given 2 or 3 turns of this, the odds get better. Judaean counterattacks against whatever success the Roman has makes it exciting. But the inescapable fact is that the Roman has to get the units described above into said positions ... and that takes PLANNING.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Mine the Temple outer Wall prior to Phase I. (Don't worry about VP accumulation by the Judaeans. If the Roman can't get past the early Phases, it won't matter.)
2) Mine the Inner Temple Wall before assaulting the Temple. (Don't count on Rams to make the initial Breach ... it takes too much time.)
3) Learn how to Melee. (In the above discussion, consider how first an attack by the Cohort without Lepidus against the Ediface defenders which reduces (or even takes !) a flank defender changes things. Set it up and play it out solitaire. It pays to know how to do it before it happens !)

And one last comment ... Roman losses are going to be painful no matter what. The fun part about playing the Judaeans is putting it to the Romans with thoughtful, suicidal abandon. I have yet to see a game where the Roman does not leave himself open to a Sortie of some sort ... and it certainly makes him play differently knowing that the Jews are as fanatical in Game terms as they were in real life. Whereas the Roman must play seriously for every Phase, the Judaean can do little wrong by playing to bleed the attacking Legions dry, and are committed to doing so without regard to their own blood.

All the best -

~ Alan

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Alan Lipka
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ladue wrote:
So, I guess that's my question. Should you be running closer to the line of the Jewish vp win in order to have easier attacks?


Hi again Grant -

I found something from Bruno that answers this in the affirmative. Can't remember the source, but I did print it out some time ago.

"... yes, the Romans can win. Usually, with mining of the new wall and the Outer Court before the 1st AP. Then mining the inner court plus another area before the 2nd AP. I use the entire 25 weeks, but I don't like to go to the 7th week on the prep chart, because it gives the Judean an extra jump of 40 points."

In his own gentlemanly way, he later adds "I hope this doesn't stereotype things, but this is my method. There are others."

He also suggests a way to maximize the mining opportunities, the gist of which is that the Roman needs at least 2 shafts.

I think we can take a couple of things away from this that will help Roman play.

1) Use the time prior to the first AP to prepare the way for future APs.

Comment: The Outer Temple Wall is the most important target, and if the Mining does not create a Breach by itself, a Ram must go in to finish the job. Otherwise, there is no Breach to send a shaft through in the Interphase before Phase II. So ... do we place BOTH shafts against the Outer Wall ? If so, how does the commitment of 2 Leaders and their Artillery affect the assault for AP I ? Does the Roman need the second shaft elsewhere to be successful ?

2) In order to guarantee 2 mine shafts, the Roman should delay and roll for them on Week 8.

Comment: That's a loooong wait. Is there a better way ? Again, Bruno has a more efficient approach. Start on Week 4 and begin rolling. Delay until the 2 shafts appear, the chances being 11% that only one or none will result by Week 6. Given that 8 Weeks is the worst possible outcome, even going past Week 6 seems acceptable. At least it gives the Roman a chance to save a Week or two ... maybe more !

So ... what does it take to sacrifice those 4-8 Weeks of delay, and get no Roman Replacements, and hand the Judaean 30 - 170 VPs ? What is the Roman strategy if only one shaft is generated on Week 4 and it takes until Week 8 to get the second ? All those Judaean Repair drs can negate a good initial Mining result. What then ? And what if the Roman gets 3 ... or 4 !!! ... mine shafts ?

This is where it becomes so much fun to speculate. laugh

What would you guys do ? And why ? Wanna open a new thread and talk it through ?

All the best -

~ Alan


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David Dockter
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Exchanged emails with Brian H, a stalwart at 1st Minnesota last night. Brian and his crew had played SoJ a number of times in the past. Brian and his crew know wargames; a great group. His comment after I told him we'd busted the dust off our SoJ copies:

"OK now I have to ask you about that! I like the game but my experience was that that after the first 2 city sections it became too hard for Rome."
 
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Corey H
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Herr Dr wrote:
Exchanged emails with Brian H, a stalwart at 1st Minnesota last night. Brian and his crew had played SoJ a number of times in the past. Brian and his crew know wargames; a great group. His comment after I told him we'd busted the dust off our SoJ copies:

"OK now I have to ask you about that! I like the game but my experience was that that after the first 2 city sections it became too hard for Rome."


I never tried SOJ with that group, but I have no problem with it being rough on Rome. Part of the challange is finding a way to beat the 3rd assualt period requirements.
 
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Nathan Rule
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I agree an update and revision would be awesome for this game. I actually have a copy of this that i picked up for 1 dollar unpunched. I have never played it and probably never will since i cant seem to get people interested in these old school counter type wargames. So i have it up for sale in the BGG marketplace
 
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Alan Lipka
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Chimes wrote:
Herr Dr wrote:
Exchanged emails with Brian H, a stalwart at 1st Minnesota last night. Brian and his crew had played SoJ a number of times in the past. Brian and his crew know wargames; a great group. His comment after I told him we'd busted the dust off our SoJ copies:

"OK now I have to ask you about that! I like the game but my experience was that that after the first 2 city sections it became too hard for Rome."


I never tried SOJ with that group, but I have no problem with it being rough on Rome. Part of the challange is finding a way to beat the 3rd assualt period requirements.


Yup. Wanna play ?

VASSAL is really easy. I think I can beat the AP III Assault Period requirements. whistle ... modest
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Alan Lipka
United States
Wilmington
North Carolina
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Herr Dr wrote:
Exchanged emails with Brian H, a stalwart at 1st Minnesota last night. Brian and his crew had played SoJ a number of times in the past. Brian and his crew know wargames; a great group. His comment after I told him we'd busted the dust off our SoJ copies:

"OK now I have to ask you about that! I like the game but my experience was that that after the first 2 city sections it became too hard for Rome."


Agree completely ... almost. The Romans have so many toys ... and special Rules ... so there has to be some kind of approach that enables them to have a chance. There are always "tricks to the game" ... maybe we just have not found them yet !
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Alan Lipka
United States
Wilmington
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Herr Dr wrote:
Exchanged emails with Brian H, a stalwart at 1st Minnesota last night. Brian and his crew had played SoJ a number of times in the past. Brian and his crew know wargames; a great group. His comment after I told him we'd busted the dust off our SoJ copies:

"OK now I have to ask you about that! I like the game but my experience was that that after the first 2 city sections it became too hard for Rome."


Agree completely ... almost. The Romans have so many toys ... and special Rules ... so there has to be some kind of approach that enables them to have a chance. There are always "tricks to the game" ... maybe we just have not found them yet !
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Pete White
Scotland
Edinburgh
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While the Romans never won for us, we played it a lot - probably half a dozen times through. Each time though the Romans got further. For the first game, getting into the New City was a battle, and I have seen the Romans fail. By the last game, we were getting into the temple (and took it precisely once).

I think the problem is that a Judean opportunistic strategy works fine, while for the Romans you have to know exactly what you are doing and have a firm plan for multiple assault periods ahead. I suspect that with really good and experienced play on both sides, the game is fairly balanced.

I need to get my own copy... or at least get the VASSAL module fired up. Not a game for solo or PBEM though, and I have no time to play live.
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Alan Lipka
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plwhite wrote:
While the Romans never won for us, we played it a lot - probably half a dozen times through. Each time though the Romans got further. For the first game, getting into the New City was a battle, and I have seen the Romans fail. By the last game, we were getting into the temple (and took it precisely once).

I think the problem is that a Judean opportunistic strategy works fine, while for the Romans you have to know exactly what you are doing and have a firm plan for multiple assault periods ahead. I suspect that with really good and experienced play on both sides, the game is fairly balanced.

I need to get my own copy... or at least get the VASSAL module fired up. Not a game for solo or PBEM though, and I have no time to play live.


You have hit the nail on the head, Pete.

To add to that, I think the game captures the spirit of both sides from an historical perspective. The Roman must take a truly bloodthirsty approach. Plan ahead, yes. But kick the Judaean when he is down and never let up. Ken Hole wrote a great article about Judaean strategy, and pointed out how important it was for the Judaean to be in that moment in time. It's a long drawn out affair. All they have to do is hold on until other events draw the Roman away.

Would encourage you to fire up SoJ on VASSAL ! Disagree with you about solo or PBeM however. Once you open up that VASSAL map and lay out the units ... ahhh ...

VASSAL makes it very easy to play PBeM, and you can do it as time permits. The game itself lends itself to easy PBeM, as the SOP is structured to eliminate a lot of back and forth which takes up time. Players can shoot, move, melee, Rally the other guy (since all rallies are mandatory except Artillery) and then shoot again. With a little good will, i.e., implementing the best result for your opponent, the game moves along quite quickly. VASSAL itself is a snap to learn and use.

Yes, it does take a commitment to start something like this. But then again, it's not just the "game", is it ? It's enjoying something very unique with some one else who enjoys the same thing.

Playing PBeM right now and having a blast with Steven Nixon. Would love to pick up another game or two ... willing to take either side and teach/learn as we go. I guarantee that if you have enjoyed this game in the past, PBeM via VASSAL will get you hooked again. laugh

All the best -

~ Alan

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John McKendrick
United Kingdom
Glasgow
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Hmm I'd be interested in a VASSAL game Alan?

I'm not a total newb I've played two full assault sessions live ftf - so I think I have some idea of the game mechanics

GM me if interested?

-John
 
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