$30.00
Recommend
37 
 Thumb up
 Hide
17 Posts

Raphia» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First thoughts on Raphia. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Raphia advertises itself as being an SCS game, but what stand out to me are the elements of a DBA narrative approach as the various elements of the army fight and interact with each other.

The unit types are phalanxes, medium infantry (the sprite is a hoplite), missile troops, cavalry, elephants and panicked elephants. To cover the 36 possible permutations are 10 different combat styles. You do not pick what you do when you fight, you use the format listed on a banging matrix. The styles are:

Push: this is the exclusive pike versus pike style where as each side inflicts pressure the other tests to see if this results in losses. This combat is very slow, and we speeded it up. Push occurs after movement

Retreat: this causes the defender to move away (1-3 hexes) usually without loss (sometimes with a loss or panic possibility) – an evade move. Typical examples would be pikes attacking peltasts or elephants attacking elephants. The last of these is interesting as (subject to running off the map) elephant battles are just a mass of movement. This “combat” occurs during movement

Ranged Combat: This is the province of the mediums and the missiles, their factors are cleverly fixed so that archers can fire 3 hexes (with reducing effectiveness the greater the range), javelin troops 2 hexes, and the spear/javelin armed levies one hex. This combat occurs after movement and inflicts step losses or panics elephants (not always a wise move).

Not Allowed: no more medium infantry attacking rampaging elephants, or “controlled” elephants impaling themselves on pikes.

Remove: Panicked elephants attacking panicked elephants (their rampaging movement is a form of attack) just vaporise each other. This occurs during movement.

Panic: Panicked elephants attacking controlled elephants will spread the panic. This occurs during movement.

Phalanx versus Elephant: Although controlled elephants will not attack pikes panicked elephants may in flight, it is fatal for them and removes a step of pikes. There is nothing worse than rampaging elephants in your pike line. This occurs during movement.

No Effect: Cavalry against panicked elephants for example, is this different from Not Allowed? We decided it was and allowed you to move adjacent.

Melee: This is a movement driven form of combat used by mediums and cavalry against each other and their own kind. The attacker causes a morale check against the defender and suffers one in return. Failure takes a loss and retreats a full move. This gives a very odd effect as units sweep back and forward clashing in essentially a large brawl. The retreat is excessive, but is important as one side falls back for Command & Colors lack of depth purposes.

Trample: this is another movement based form of combat. Cavalry (for example) just ride down peltasts who run away (sometimes taking losses). Elephants do a lot of this but suffer Panic.

The effect of all this is (as with DBA and the systems I discussed long ago re Field of Battle) a much stronger narrative and a different use of units. Pikes clash, lock and push. Their flanks need protecting from lesser breeds slinging missiles at them. Spear/javelin forces push back and forth in a mobile battle. Cavalry sweep aside skirmisher lines, avoid Pikes and spar with mediums. Cavalry also have an extra movement phase to allow them to exploit gaps.

The downsides to me (after one play and with usual cautions about my rule-reading):

1) The elephants came over as complete drama queens careering around at high speed knocking things over. This does not fit how I have seen them. As Mike noted they are often more use if in Panic.
2) There are a large number of counters (1,000 men/counter with about 70,000 a side plus elephants). The result was shed load of fighting. I reckon we could have halved the numbers (perhaps kept the cavalry the same), learned as much and been finished quicker. But SCSers may be of the munching kind, much as I see a monster game and my heart sinks, others see it and salivate at the smorgasbord before them.
3) The pike battles would go on for ever but Mike Siggins ruled in favour of retaining (and enhancing) established pressure until you lost a step. This gave an excellent feel for the battle as my Ptolemaic pikes finally battered their way through the Seleucids.
4) No rear or flanks, I can understand why in such a short rule set, but it did feel odd.
28 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco Arnaudo
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"My spoon is too big!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
thanks for the review! Fun game, isn't it? I personally like the idea of phalanxes losing their pressure bonus from turn to turn. It makes it harder to break enemy phalanxes but far from impossible, and it increases the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH feel when that finally happens. Also I kind of like the back and forth feel: now I push and you defend, you receive pressure and resist, then my men lose some of their momentum and your men start pushing back so now I am defending, then I regain control and I am back to push you etc. It would seem strange to me that both sides could be accumulating pressure markers at the same time: shouldn't the side receiving the marker be unable to produce pressure while suffering pressure?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco Arnaudo
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"My spoon is too big!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
p.s.
elephants = drama queens? Totally agree!!!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
marnaudo wrote:
thanks for the review! Fun game, isn't it? I personally like the idea of phalanxes losing their pressure bonus from turn to turn. It makes it harder to break enemy phalanxes but far from impossible, and it increases the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH feel when that finally happens. Also I kind of like the back and forth feel: now I push and you defend, you receive pressure and resist, then my men lose some of their momentum and your men start pushing back so now I am defending, then I regain control and I am back to push you etc. It would seem strange to me that both sides could be accumulating pressure markers at the same time: shouldn't the side receiving the marker be unable to produce pressure while suffering pressure?


That's not how I read pike battles, both sides are getting tired, both should be at risk of loss. Eventually one will crack, in battles there is very rarely a re-set button if you are locked, I don't think there should be one in the game. Within each unit there will be all manner of different effects, but the key universal is that both sides should be getting more at risk the longer the battle continues. What is missing is a phalanx surrender.

You'll be able to see my theory when Battles publishes THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST in a few issues.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich Trevino
United States
San Antonio
Texas
flag msg tools
designer
mb
Would this system be useable for other pre-Renaissance battles?

Quote:
I reckon we could have halved the numbers (perhaps kept the cavalry the same), learned as much and been finished quicker.


I look forward to trying that. I'm thinking maybe... oh, perhaps 12 units per side? Lose when your army has lost a third of its strength?






1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Richard T wrote:
Would this system be useable for other pre-Renaissance battles?

Quote:
I reckon we could have halved the numbers (perhaps kept the cavalry the same), learned as much and been finished quicker.


I look forward to trying that. I'm thinking maybe... oh, perhaps 12 units per side? Lose when your army has lost a third of its strength?








We could call it DBA!

The Raphia system would work well in a number of battles.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin REEVE
Switzerland
St-Légier
Vaud
flag msg tools
badge
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the review.
What intrigues me is the "SCS" designation, as the game's mechanics is quite different from the SCS series.
But I really appreciate the unit interaction system, which differs from the classical move-combat thing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Robin wrote:
Thanks for the review.
What intrigues me is the "SCS" designation, as the game's mechanics is quite different from the SCS series.
But I really appreciate the unit interaction system, which differs from the classical move-combat thing.


Maybe it is just to encourage the Gamers' fans not to miss the game? I'm not very experienced with the SCS system so would not spot the links.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin REEVE
Switzerland
St-Légier
Vaud
flag msg tools
badge
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SCS is the typical Move-Combat-Exploit of the good ol' 1970-1980 wargames.
I find that Raphia is very innovative about the combat system.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alec Clair
France
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for the review Charles. Interesting as I have the mag and the game on my radar.

Could you please give some input about the game length?

As a former Sumo reader, it's nice to hear abou mike
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Robin wrote:
SCS is the typical Move-Combat-Exploit of the good ol' 1970-1980 wargames.
I find that Raphia is very innovative about the combat system.


The only exploit bit here (and a goodie) is the cavalry second move.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
deltarn wrote:
Thank you for the review Charles. Interesting as I have the mag and the game on my radar.

Could you please give some input about the game length?

As a former Sumo reader, it's nice to hear abou mike


We used the High Pressure rule change and I guess we'd have finished in 80 minutes (adjusting for first play delay). It's not GBoH.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Taylor
United States
Unspecified
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Charles Vasey wrote:
We used the High Pressure rule change and I guess we'd have finished in 80 minutes (adjusting for first play delay). It's not GBoH.

That's good, because if it took as long to play as GBoH, I'd play GBoH instead.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rtaylor wrote:
Charles Vasey wrote:
We used the High Pressure rule change and I guess we'd have finished in 80 minutes (adjusting for first play delay). It's not GBoH.

That's good, because if it took as long to play as GBoH, I'd play GBoH instead.


It's a cleverly pitched product if it proves of interest to you then.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
The retreat is excessive, but is important as one side falls back for Command & Colors lack of depth purposes.


Not quite sure what does the statement mean. Can you elaborate it a bit more, Charles?

Quote:
3) The pike battles would go on for ever but Mike Siggins ruled in favour of retaining (and enhancing) established pressure until you lost a step.


Is it a house rule? What would be the original rule saying about the pike battle?

Quote:
4) No rear or flanks, I can understand why in such a short rule set, but it did feel odd.


Hmm...yes, it would be odd as we were accustomed to the axiom of the ancient battles. Is there a designer note in this regard? A good retreat rule can be combined to produce the same result from envelopment. Otherwise, what is the use of cavalry?

Quote:
Maybe it is just to encourage the Gamers' fans not to miss the game?


SCS is so closely associated with WW2 to MMP loyalists. Maybe ASCS or SCSA is a better abbreviation to distinguish it from the original SCS line.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Vasey
England
Mortlake, London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Lawrence Hung wrote:
Quote:
The retreat is excessive, but is important as one side falls back for Command & Colors lack of depth purposes.


Not quite sure what does the statement mean. Can you elaborate it a bit more, Charles?

Quote:
3) The pike battles would go on for ever but Mike Siggins ruled in favour of retaining (and enhancing) established pressure until you lost a step.


Is it a house rule? What would be the original rule saying about the pike battle?

Quote:
4) No rear or flanks, I can understand why in such a short rule set, but it did feel odd.


Hmm...yes, it would be odd as we were accustomed to the axiom of the ancient battles. Is there a designer note in this regard? A good retreat rule can be combined to produce the same result from envelopment. Otherwise, what is the use of cavalry?

Quote:
Maybe it is just to encourage the Gamers' fans not to miss the game?


SCS is so closely associated with WW2 to MMP loyalists. Maybe ASCS or SCSA is a better abbreviation to distinguish it from the original SCS line.


1) Retreat after Melee in this case is a full move so units zing back and forth (cavalry have a move of 8) which seems excessive to me. These are probably open-order clashes with one side withdrawing much as in the Retreat result in Raphia. However, if a unit's obligatory move would take it off map then it is eliminated. As an army is forced back it will lose depth and more of its units will be lost in melee because of this. The effect is therefore to simulate (without any further work) the collapse of a army as its constituent units begin to see it as in retreat.

2) House rule: in the rules you dice against Pressure inflicted by the other side and (if you fail) lose a step, you then remove the Pressure marker and start again. We left it in position.

3) Flanks & Rears: in order to cover the reaction of units that, in real life, makes flanking harder than in alternate action games the rules would need to be bigger. I can accept that this is a trade-off that makes sense.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco Arnaudo
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"My spoon is too big!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Charles Vasey wrote:
marnaudo wrote:
thanks for the review! Fun game, isn't it? I personally like the idea of phalanxes losing their pressure bonus from turn to turn. It makes it harder to break enemy phalanxes but far from impossible, and it increases the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH feel when that finally happens. Also I kind of like the back and forth feel: now I push and you defend, you receive pressure and resist, then my men lose some of their momentum and your men start pushing back so now I am defending, then I regain control and I am back to push you etc. It would seem strange to me that both sides could be accumulating pressure markers at the same time: shouldn't the side receiving the marker be unable to produce pressure while suffering pressure?


That's not how I read pike battles, both sides are getting tired, both should be at risk of loss. Eventually one will crack, in battles there is very rarely a re-set button if you are locked, I don't think there should be one in the game. Within each unit there will be all manner of different effects, but the key universal is that both sides should be getting more at risk the longer the battle continues. What is missing is a phalanx surrender.

You'll be able to see my theory when Battles publishes THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST in a few issues.


Thank you for the rationale!!
Waiting to see your article for Battles!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.