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Subject: The battle that never had happened - Maeander 397 BC (C3i #29) rss

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Ryszard Tokarczuk
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In one of previous issues of C3i magazine there are two battles. Recently, the first one was played over Vassal. We have used variant rules, which are available here on BGG. The variant rules - in short - change the Advance Into Combat procedures and allow for more plsyer control over hoplite units.

The scenario itself represents a situation in which historical counterparts (Spartan' and Persian' overall commanders) decided to fight a battle. According to sources, both were doubtful about their chances and decided to call a truce instead. The scenario gives quite a good impression why both sides had not believed in their chances.



Turn 1

1 Activation Marker - Spartan Hoplites. Variant rules allow to move even towards the enemy without having to expend all MPs. All hoplites are Marching and decide to play an ancient version of "Chicken" game, they advance a little and are awaiting for reaction from Persians.

2 AM - Persian Momentum. Roll for center formation, failed.

3 AM - Spartan right wing, Drakon. Units move up to protect the hoplites.

4 AM - Persian Pharnabazus, Mede Infantry. Does exactly nothing, aka "holds ground".

5 AM - Persian Cavalry. One AM for both wings. Cavalry moves forward in preparation for double envelopment.



6 AM - Spartan Momentum. Unused as only Formation that could be activated... is that of hoplites. The player decided that it is not yet time...

7 AM - Persian Medium Infantry in the centre. They start playing their own game of "chicken", as first line moves away from the second one.

8 AM - Spartan left wing, Athenadus. Persian Trump attempt failed and peltasts with cavalry can keep screening flanks of advancing hoplites.



9 AM - Spartan Momentum. Because conditions are the same, OC leader is too far, the only formation eligible is still that of hoplites... it is better not to use it.

10 AM - Persian Passiphernes' infantry (right wing). Does nothing and awaits what next turn will bring.

2nd Turn
Initiative - won by Persians

1 AM (chosen) Persian Medium Infantry assumes "make ready" formation. First line will soak up the hoplite attack, while the second one will let through routing units and possibly counterattack.



2 AM Spartan Hoplites. Greek player decides that it is the time to sound the trumpet and order general charge. The decision (according to variant rules) results in necessity of checking the Advance Pace for entire formation. Hoplite fickle nature shows - two units in entire line decide to Walk, while others Trot. Interestingly enough, one of the weakest units in the Greek center is one of those Walking. That unit will have further "effect" in coming Turn.

Slain goats offered hopeful signs but combat itself is not stellar. Oh well, it is just a beginning.



3 AM - Spartan Athenadus, tries to keep up the screen for advancing hoplites.

4 AM - Persian Momentum attempt. Failed, so nothing to write home about here...

5 AM - Persian Pharnabazus contingent. As it is within range of advancing hoplite unit, Greek player decides to revert to Trump, for Drakon wing formation. It is successful and Spartan right wing catches up with advancing hoplites.



6 AM - Ironically, it is Spartan Momentum, and Greek player is succesful in activating Drakon' formation. There is some additional shuffling on the wing, slow encroachment toward Persian lines but nothing specific.

7 AM - Persian (right wing) Passiphernes formation. That leader cannot be stopped and he is aggressive. Light infantry attacks Spartan peltasts and cavalry protecting Greek wing. Combat brings dreadful results - cavalry unit was routed after the first bout. Peltasts are holding ground, yet.



8 AM - Spartan, this time quite regular, Drakon formation' activation. Peltasts and cavalry are creeping ever closer, while still trying to protect hoplites in the center.

9 AM - Persian Cavalry. Decisive maneuver that sets up the events in the next Turn. Persian units are now past the wing screens of Spartan army. Greek player starts to frown now.



3rd Turn
Initiative, oimoi, eheu, goes to Persians. Persians go to...

1 AM (chosen) Persian Cavalry. With unstoppable power, Light Cavalry falls down on Spartan wings. Some peltasts will rout trying to face incoming attack, some will rout attacked from a side or behind. Spartan wings exist still, but they are halfway closer to oblivion.



2 AM - Spartan hoplites. Time is precious. Hoplites that were walking... arrive at enemy line. The unit from Ionia, weakened by deserters leaving it before the actual combat (it happened to Spartan center, according to sources) decides not to attack enemy [result of variant rule for "Walking" hoplites - they need to pass TQ test. With TQ of 5 and die roll of 6... argh].

Combat is, again, not a smashing success by any means. What is more, Xenophon risks his later career as a historian by receiving a wound. I never thought that he was right about officers wearing resplendent armor. He lives, though!

3 AM - Persian Passiphernes. Greek player decides to concentrate in center. Trump attempt is successful and hoplites are chewing their way through Persian lines. Nevertheless, some hoplites are routing and all are quite fatigued by now. A special mention to Ionia hoplites. They had to pass the TQ test again to attack their enemies... and they failed again. Deserters.





4 AM - Spartan Momentum, tried and failed.

5 AM - Spartan Drakon formation. Persian player tries to Trump with Medium Infantry in the center... but fails. Peltasts try to counterattack both cavalry endangering the wing and infantry line ahead... still to protect the flanks of hoplites. In this, they are somewhat successful. Price that soldiers pay to protect... the plan of their general.

6 AM - Spartan Athenadus' wing. The only unit still on the field, is a peltast attacked from behind. The only chance is to disengage... and the unit fails to disengage.

7 AM - Persian Momentum destined for Medium Infantry never reached its goal. Failure turns into...

8 AM - Persian Medium Infantry activation. Tissaphernes, so concerned about his soldiers facing Greek hoplites, is happy now to send them into gaps and onto hoplite flanks. Screams, chaos and lots of rout points.



9 AM - Persian Pharnabazus. Even slowed by overstretched peltasts, Persian infantry is able to rout half of them. Things look dire... but a ray of hope shines from the wound (only a wound?!!) of a Persian leader. One of Spartan hoplites kept on fighting against two Greek hoplite mercenary units... and finally, it came to blows around the Persian head.

10 AM - Spartan Momentum. Greek player tries... and fails... and folds and runs. It is 83 RP on the Spartan side to 6 RP for Persians. More units are still running away from the field... but it does not matter.

Xenophon is wounded and Spartan army is defeated.



Some thoughts:
I was playing Spartan side and I wonder if 1st Turn decisions about Trumps and Momentum attempts were right. I think that Spartan side cannot play defensively here... but its' only chance seems to lie with hoplites. Spartans need to Trump and Momentum their way to victory, while slowing the flank attacks of Persia. Not easy because of ratings... and it certainly did not help that in our game Persia won Initiative each turn.

Still, there is an idea of re-trying this scenario with slightly different tactic (while still using variant rules, that allow hoplite units to approach enemies in a relatively free manner). The report from this second attempt will also be published.

To be continued...


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GRS
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I really like how this beautiful, straight lines are slowly turning into total mess Well done.
 
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Brendan Clark
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A very fine AAR. Oh those Persians! When are we playing Plataea? ninja

Vassal module looks good, even if I say so.
 
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Ryszard Tokarczuk
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Straight lines dissolving, that is what I like too... But I also enjoy thinking what can be done with those lines before they will dissolve. Maybe next report will be successful in this regard
 
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