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Subject: Marathon (solo) - my first (flawed) game of Lost Battles rss

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Dave Daffin
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Ledbury
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Marathon - 490 BC (solo)

The armies have deployed, and I am all set to play through my first game of Lost Battles. I've read through the rules a few times over the previous months since I got the game, read all the rules queries on BGG and the Yahoo Group, still not sure whether I'll be able to remember all the combat modifiers and morale rules.



I set the board up on my grip mat in the early evening, having sorted the unit counters for this battle last week. However, battle did not commence until after our daughter was tucked up in bed, at about 9.15pm. This was a bit later than I'd hoped. My first run through of new games tend to take a long time as I come to grips with the rules. But I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Time to just go for it.

Early manouevres

The Athenians adopted the 'standard' opening manouevre of sending the forward hoplites out to the flanks to counter the Persian heavy cavalry units. The Persian cavalry units respond accordingly, coming out to meet the hoplites.

The middle game

The two armies' strategies are simple in this battle. Advance to the centre and attack. The battle becomes a simple back and forth
toussle for control. The Athenians are first to cause casualties as a Persian Archer unit is shattered, but the Persians also remove a hoplite unit. Turn 6 is a turning point for the Athenians as three units are shattered. The reduction in commands becomes a critical factor. Both armies are carrying a large number of spent units, and it could go either way.

End game

Turn 8 is the decisive point of the conflict. The Athenians lose two units shattered, one as a result of a flank attack from the Persian Levy Heavy Cavalry who strode through the Athenian hoplites on the right flank. This sets off a chain reaction of Athenian units routing. It's all over for Callimachus of Athens, as his troops disappear from the scene. It's not clear what fate befell poor Callimachus.



Post-battle briefing

I calculated the Victory points to be as follows:
Persians 101
Athenians 41

The handicap for the Persians is +12 (4 starting points difference x 3), so their total VPs are 113.

Victory threshold is (40-4) 36, so the difference of 72 is twice that! More than a Major Game victory for the Persians!
(if I have made any glaring errors here, please let me know!)



How it went for me

The Athenians were routed at about 1:30am, so I had played for around 4 hours (including a couple of comfort breaks). I was expecting a long game as it was my first and I was analysing the rulebook. Turns were playing more smoothly as the game progressed and I began to grasp the modifiers. It slowed again when I was trying to apply the morale rules. However, it became a lot clearer as it went on. As far as game time is concerned, next time I'm expecting it to be a lot shorter!

Rules I got wrong/may have got wrong

Well, the first couple of turns I failed to apply the 'all-out attack' ruling for the Athenian Hoplites, and there were some zero results that would have resulted in hits and spent hoplite units. I got confused with Leaders. I didn't have them attached to one particular unit. I also failed to give the group in a tile the command cost exemption for the leader. I'm sure that all of these oversights may have had a bearing on the overall shape of the battle.

[Edit] I also failed to give the non-levy units the bonus against the levy units. A schoolboy error [slaps own forehead with palm]. I knew I would miss a few important rules - I didn't think it would be something as basic as that . Another consideration for the re-fight.

I have now re-checked the rules for applying hits, and I made further errors in applying double hits on +3 differential instead of +4 differential (though I did apply the double hit for +3 differential when the hoplites were performing all-out attacks).

It will be interesting to see how the rules I missed and got wrong this time affect the next game, as I intend to re-fight this battle again now I have a better knowledge of the rules.

I really enjoyed playing the game. I was very involved in it and even though it went on very late into the night, I wanted to carry on and finish it. I may not be a master commander and may need to play and read a lot more to understand deeper strategies, but Lost Battles is living up to its hype for me so far.
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Andrew Chapman
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Norwood
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Re: Marathon (solo) - my first game of Lost Battles
Interesting, in the few games I've played of Marathon the Persian right flank tends to disintegrate pretty quickly because of the levy hoplites, who attract an extra hit bonus from the Athenians just by virtue of being in the square, plus the Persian levies shatter easily from unavoidable double hits. And once they go, everyone else seems to hoof it shortly thereafter.
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Dave Daffin
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Re: Marathon (solo) - my first game of Lost Battles
Reports from the scene of battle talk of Callimachus's men having imbibed a bit too much wine before the battle, reducing their advantage over the Persian levy units. Oh, how the Athenians will come to rue the day..........
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Andrew, thanks for making me realise that I failed to give the non-levy units the bonus against the levy units. A schoolboy error [slaps own forehead with palm]. I knew I would miss a few important rules - I didn't think it would be something as basic as that shake. Another consideration for the re-fight.

[Edit] I have now re-checked the rules for applying hits, and I made further errors in applying double hits on +3 differential instead of +4 differential (though I did apply the double hit for +3 differential when the hoplites were performing all-out attacks) shake

I think this highlights the need for me to put in a little more homework prior to attempting the battles, to get the right modifiers and special rules sorted out for each unit, maybe on a cheat-sheet of some sort.
 
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Duke Von Duck
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Re: Marathon (solo) - my first game of Lost Battles
My first Marathon game saw the Persian left fight the Athenian right to a slow stalemate while the Persian right managed to slowly beat back the Athenian left. The Persian left cavalry managed to get behind the Athenians and cause a headache.

It wasn't until the 9th and 10 turns that the Athenian right finally managed to crush the spent levy archers and then move in and destroy what was remaining of the Persian key point. All other Persians fled. Athenian victory, but certainly more than 192 casualties.

That being my first game, I definitely didn't correctly manage all of the rules, but IIRC the only rule that would have made a difference is that I didn't force the hoplites to make a mandatory all-out attack when required.

I've always wanted to go back and do Marathon again to see if I can pull off a double envelopment.
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