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Info taken from FAQs in file area and various forum threads, consolidated into a Wiki page so that people can more easily find all the info in one place and update it.
Table of Contents
GMT's official Hellenes page includes updated rules, an updated play example, and Errata & Clarifications (incorporated into this wiki FAQ).
Craig Besinque (the designer of Hellenes) uploaded a Hellenes Quick Start document:
The game's title is pronounced HELL-leans /ˈhɛlinz/ (with 2 syllables) in English:
Or as Έλληνες, /ˈelines/ (with 3 syllables) in the original Greek:
The designer has suggested play balance modifications for particular scenarios:
A "friendly" city is a city that is currently occupied by friendly blocks, regardless of the city's original loyalty. See the page 10 sidebar for more details.
The Player Turn
Note that one player does their Action Phase and Combat Phase, then the second player does their Action Phase and Combat Phase. (It is not like many block games where combat occurs after both players' movement/action phases.) Exception: Winter turns!
Combat Phase (6.0)
The text here somewhat misleadingly says "(order chosen by the acting player)", but note that according to the combat rules section (6.0) "The Acting Player should resolve smaller combats before larger ones".
1.0 THE MAP
The colors of Corinth (orange) and Sparta (red) are similar, but they are not the same Nationality.
The colors of Attica/Athens (dark blue) and Athenian Subject Cities (light blue) are similar, but they are not the same Nationality.
Cythera is part of Lacedaemon for initial Spartan deployment and all other purposes.
2.0 THE BLOCKS
There are extra blocks of various colors. So you can avoid using ones that have recognizable distinguishing features. And you can use extras to mark current Tribute levels, cover neutral areas in a scenario, etc.
Due to a printing error, the Odrysian block 37 does not have the white box indicated in the rule book.
A garrison is a strange immobile block that's not quite a unit and only exists in cities. A vacant city is considered to implicitly have a garrison block of the nation (Athens or Sparta) it's loyal to. For practical reasons, the garrisons are not physically placed unless needed and relevant (when an enemy is present). (See sidebar "City Garrisons" on page 9.) So if an enemy unit enters, it does not simply capture the city. Rather, a siege will be established. (And then in the following season, Siege Combat can take place against the garrison.) And if the enemy leaves, then the garrison block is removed. You never have garrison blocks in loyal cities you control with no enemies present. But you can build a garrison in a controlled city that's loyal to your opponent, in order to keep it under your control even if you move all your units away. See also 7.3 City Garrisons.
A garrison cannot stop enemy units from moving THROUGH a land area. Similarly, a garrison cannot stop enemy units from landing on a coastal area. A garrison only appears when a city is sieged.
3.0 THE CARDS
"Spring-Fall" means Spring, Summer, High Summer, and Fall. (Not just Spring and Fall.)
The "Helot Uprising" cards forget to mention that they cannot be played in the New Year. (Rule 10.4 is correct.)
"Plague Strikes" can be played more than once against Athens. You are not required to play "Plague Returns" for a second plague in Athens.
Note that (unlike "Plague Strikes") Athens does not need to be Besieged to play this event. (It just needs to have already suffered from "Plague Strikes".)
A single round of Siege Assault combat occurs at a besieged city of the player's choice. Siege Attrition does not occur at the Treachery city; however, per the event card rules, Siege Attrition may be activated at other besieged cities.
The besieged defender may immediately capitulate in response to a declared Treachery attack.
You can play this on your own leader or on the enemy leader. (But note a special restriction on the leader card of Pericles.)
A Port must already be besieged and blockaded (as usual) to do Siege Attrition against it with "Hunger".
You're not restricted to playing your own leaders. You can bring an enemy leader into play (if they don't have one already).
The leaders are printed with a darker green, but that seems to have no significance other than distinguishing them as leaders.
Craig Besinque clarified in the forum:
My intention was that bonus Tax Revolts (from Athens Raises Taxes cards in play) should qualify as Revolt locations as per the Revolt card played.
IE, if the card allows Spreading Revolts (the option to have the Revolt occur in any REGION already containing a Spartan controlled Subject City, as an alternative to a city in the Region specified on the card), then the Tax Revolt can be a Spreading Revolt.
But the "multi-Region" Revolt events do NOT allow the Spreading Revolt option, so Tax Revolts are similarly constrained in this case: only in one of the specified Regions.
Unlike many block games, a unit can receive more than one action (e.g. move home and receive steps, be built and then move, receive several steps, etc.) The only restriction is that a unit can only move once per turn.
A new recruit must be placed in one of its Home Cities (i.e. cities with the same color as the center of the unit label). (As per 2.11, any more specific printed city name is for historical interest only; only the color matters.)
Note: The Athenian Subject Cities - which are light blue rather than dark blue - are not Home Cities. Athens/Attica/Platea blocks only have two Home Cities: Athens and Platea.
If some of the 3 randomly drawn blocks are not able to be placed, because (for example)...
...then tough luck. You don't get to draw new ones, but must choose from among the legal remaining blocks. If none are placeable, then maybe it's time to cash in that favor from Apollo... (This general statement seem to be the intent of the more specific sidebar "Disallowed Recruits" on page 6 which talks about special units like rule 2.2.7 but not about all home cities being enemy controlled.)
Barbarian free Moves DO count as that unit's Move for that turn, and Force Marching and engaging are allowed for the free Barbarian move.
Unless a Spartan garrison is built in the city first, if the Spartan Aeolean fleet sails away from its recruitment city, Lesbos/Chios (as a white-bordered city) reverts back to Athenian control as soon as the Spartan fleet leaves. This also means that a Spartan Aeolean fleet entering (or returning to) Chios/Lesbos would have to siege the city to take control of it. The Spartan Rebel fleet does NOT automatically take control of Chios/Lesbos (if empty) just by entering the area; an Athenian garrison would appear to defend the city, etc.
Aeolean rebels can be recruited in Winter. (Unlike Revolt events which cannot be played in winter.)
4.23 Detached Garrisons
The Aeolean Rebel Spartan fleet counts as a "friendly" unit for Sparta, so its presence in an opposing (i.e., white-bordered) city allows a Spartan garrison to be built in that city. This even allows a Spartan garrison to be built in Chios/Lesbos on the same turn (i.e., in the same Action Phase) that the the Spartan Aeolean fleet is built in that city. This is allowed because, per 4.22, building the Spartan Aeolean fleet in Chios/Lesbos "captures" the city.
Garrisons can be built in an opposing town in a Winter turn.
A "Group Move" means you activate all units in one given area to move away from that area. The moving units can all move to the same area, or they can split apart (in any combination) to move to different areas. Any units moving together to the same area are considered to be moving as a group for the purposes of Sea Transport (5.2.1), DeepSea Crossings (5.2.2), and Group Uncoordination (5.4.1). Not all activated units must move, however; one or more units may be left behind in the original area.
A "Muster" means you activate units in various areas that all want to move to a given City which you control and which doesn't have enemy units in the field (since mustering units cannot Engage). Mustering units cannot Force March. Also, since units muster to a City (only), fleets cannot muster to a friendly sea area and land units cannot muster to a friendly land area that does not contain a City.
Note that you actually muster to a "CityState", not a "City", so city capacity limits don't apply. Craig confirms the rules should say "CityState" in this thread:
5.1 Land Movement
Fleets are not water-bound in Hellenes, and can literally move from a sea area onto an adjacent coastal land area. (This is discussed in the "Fleets on Land" sidebar.) Entering a land area in this manner ends the fleet's movement. In so doing, the beached fleet temporarily ceases to be a naval unit and becomes a D-class land unit instead. Once on land, a fleet (temporarily a land unit) can move on a later turn from one coastal land area to another without putting back into the sea - although it may move only a single coastal land space in this manner. When the fleet eventually reenters a sea space from land, it ceases to be a land unit and becomes a naval unit once again.
5.2 Sea Movement
The rule in 5.1 that "fleets may enter coastal land areas only, and must stop upon doing so" only refers to fleets that are in the process of beaching themselves upon land areas. In sea movement, fleets may travel down multiple coastal sea areas without stopping.
Ports are part of land areas, not sea areas. This matters, for instance, when conducting free Quartering moves with fleets at sea. Example: A Spartan garrison has been placed in Potidea, making Potidea friendly to Sparta. At the beginning of Winter, Spartan ships are in the Pelasgian Sea. Since free Quartering moves can only be made into adjacent cities, the Ships in the Pelasgian Sea could not move for free into Potidea (which is two "spaces" away from the Pelasgian Sea: Pelasgian->Therma and Therma->Potidea). Spartan Ships in the Gulf of Therma would be adjacent to Potidea, however, and could make free Quartering moves into Potidea if friendly.
Note that normally a fleet on land is "in the province" anywhere, just like land units, and it can leave to any adjacent sea province. (Including both sides of Corinth - see sidebar "The Diolkos at Corinth: 2 Sea-coasts" on page 7.) The only time a fleet would be in a Port specifically is if it's besieged, and in that case the fleet can only move to the (unique) Offshore Sea of that port.
5.21 Sea Transport
Fleets can carry land units if both units "begin and end the turn in the same area." This means that, in order for a fleet to load (or unload) a land unit, it must currently reside in a land area with the land unit. A fleet may not load or unload a land unit while at sea. (Land areas and sea areas are separate and distinct areas. A land unit in a coastal land area and a fleet in an adjacent sea area do not share an area.)
5.22 DeepSea Crossing
GMT's "Errata & Clarifications" clarifies: "If forced to retreat across a DeepSea border due to losing a battle, resolve the DeepSea Crossing after all battles have been completed."
Your units must stop when entering an area with enemy units, unless those enemies are besieged. (Exceptions = Wintering Movement, Peace of Nicias.)
5.41 Group Uncoordination
Unlike many games, if several groups move separately to engage an enemy in an area, they must each fight separate combats rather than combining into a single attack! (Exception: 5.42 - siege assaulters do combine into one assault.)
"(units Routed in the first battle recover)" means the following: In the case where there are multiple attacking groups, if the defending army survives the battle with the first attacking group (i.e. the first attacking group retreats or is eliminated), then the defending units that were routed in the first battle recover and participate in the battle with the second attacking group.
"The entire besieging Group"
"The entire besieging Group" means that you cannot previously in the turn spend an action to move some of the besieging group elsewhere, and then pillage (e.g.) with only 1 remaining unit on a later action.
Must all pillagers withdraw to same area or not?
Currently the designer and developer have given inconsistent answers about whether the pillagers must all withdraw to the same adjacent area:
"adjacent area containing no enemy blocks"
GMT's "Errata & Clarifications" clarifies: "It is legal to pillage and withdraw into an adjacent enemy-loyal city provided that the destination area does not contain an enemy unit (block). An inherent garrison (1.3) does not hinder this action; only a mobile, enemy unit will hinder this action."
Similarly you can withdraw into an adjacent friendly-loyal city that is enemy controlled and occupied only by a garrison.
In both cases, withdrawing into such a city establishes a Siege against the enemy garrison.
Note that you cannot pillage and withdraw into an adjacent hex with enemy units, even if they are currently besieged by other of your friendly units.
"Pillaging is a type of movement"
Pillaging is a special type of movement, and so units cannot both Move and Pillage in the same turn.
"Can't pillage own cities"
Players can't pillage their own cities (i.e., black-bordered cities for Sparta and white-bordered cities for Athens), even if they have been captured by the enemy. Players can only pillage opposing cities.
The combat system is similar to many block games, with A's shooting before B's, defenders before attackers, hits applied to units with the most steps, etc. But be sure to read 6.33 Routs and 6.34 Panic!
Smallest to largest
Note that battles must be resolved in order from smallest to largest (in terms of the size of your forces).
In case of Uncoordinated Engagers, Craig Besinque clarifies:
6.3 Combat Resolution
Hits are applied sequentially (one at a time). Each hit is applied to the strongest unit at the instant the hit is being applied.
A 4-strength unit rolls four hits against a 3-strength unit and two 4-strength units. The first two hits are assigned to the two 4-strength units (one apiece) because they are currently the strongest units. (Technically, in sequence, the first hit is assigned to one of the 4-strength units - as chosen by the player currently under fire - and then the second hit is assigned to the other 4-strength unit. But since both 4-strength units are definitely receiving hits, it’s just as easy to assign both hits at the same time.) The remaining two hits are assigned to any two of the three units (again, by the player under fire), since - after the 4-strength units each take one hit - all three units are now tied at 3 strength. Once all four hits have been assigned, the defender is left with one 3-strength unit and two 2-strength units.
Pursuit that results from Panic is also allowed in sea battles between fleets. The Example of Play (page 12) inadvertently omits this possibility.
Note that since "Aggressors can only Retreat back into the area from where they engaged", it is necessary to keep careful track in case several groups moved into the same combat from different places.
"Units defending a controlled City State can retreat into the City", but remember that a city can only hold as many besieged units as its City Value doubled. Retreating units do not all have to go to the same place, however, so some could fill the city, and some go to an adjacent area.
GMT's "Errata & Clarifications" clarifies: "When a decision is made to retreat, all of a player’s units must retreat. A player may not selectively leave some units to continue the fight while others retreat." So if it's impossible to retreat to any adjacent area, and the only choice is fortifying in the City or Port, but you have too many units, then you cannot retreat but must keep fighting.
Fleets on land attacked by a Sea Landing (6.6) cannot retreat except into the province's controlled Port.
It is possible to retreat into an adjacent area where you are already conducting a siege. But your retreating units would not get to participate in a Siege Assault, if one occurs later this turn.
6.41 Cavalry Harrying
GMT's "Errata & Clarifications" clarifies: "Harrying does not apply to Siege Assaults. It applies to land combat only (including sorties)."
6.6 Sea Landings
Note that "units engaging from sea to land (whether fleets or carried land units) cannot attack in the first Combat Round."
8.0 SIEGE COMBAT
Siege Combat is conducted as either Siege Attrition OR Siege Assault - not both. That is, Siege Attrition does NOT follow an unsuccessful Siege Assault.
8.11 Double Defense
Note that unlike many block games with double defense for besieged units, "half-step losses left over at the end of a Combat Round are lost"!
Note that to do Siege Attrition on a Port, it must have been besieged and blockaded continually since at least the previous turn. "Besieged" and "Blockaded" are two separate concepts, and if either one was interrupted since last turn, then Siege Attrition can't be done now.
Note that an unoccupied Offshore Sea is considered blockaded by Athens "for Siege purposes", which matters for both of these:
8.22 Black Sea Grain
"Hellespont, Sea of Marmara OR Saronic Gulf" means any one of the three.
"Athens" refers to the specific city, not the player or nation.
GMT's "Errata & Clarifications" clarifies: "Sorties are declared prior to any Battle being resolved."
Also see: "In no case in Hellenes can players decide whether to fight after observing other battle outcomes that turn."
9.2 Winter Actions
Winter turns are very important and work very differently from spring, summer, high summer, fall turns. The winter rules seem clear, but there are various surprises, so read them carefully! For example:
Craig Besinque summarized the winter movement options in the forum as follows:
1) If a unit is not in a HOME City, it can make a free Homing move into a friendly (= friendly-controlled) Home city.
2) If a unit is not in a friendly City, it can make a free Quartering Move into any adjacent friendly City. The friendly City can be a City that was originally loyal to your opponent, but is now currently occupied by friendly units.
3) Units can also use a normal Group Move Action to reach a controlled City, even if they can also reach Winter shelter by Quartering or Homing. No Musters or engaging are allowed, but all Forced Marches/Sails automatically succeed.
Any units outside friendly Cities after Movement must be Maintained or they will die (Disband).
Regarding the above, if there are more units in a City than its Capacity, some MUST be considered "outside" the City and thus may qualify for a free Homing or Quartering Move ("Displacement"). Also Maintenance/ Disbanding DOES apply to units over and above City Capacity.
Units besieging an enemy city over Winter must also be Maintained.
Once an enemy city has been taken, the conquering player can winter units in that city up to its full wintering capacity (twice the City Value).
9.4 Winter Siege Combat
In Winter, both players move before any combat occurs, so the 2nd player is allowed to move away from a potential Homing battle; this move would NOT constitute a Retreat (no Prestige loss).
The rule "No unit can participate in both Winter combat phases..." should read "No unit can initiate combat in both Winter combat phases..."
Defensive (Sortie/Homing) battles give the besieged player a chance to break the Siege BEFORE Siege Attrition/Assault takes place, but only if the Sortiers/Homing units win the battle and force the besiegers to Retreat. If the besieging units win the Sortie/Homing battle, the victorious besiegers can still declare a Siege Assault or Siege Attrition against the besieged city.
10.0 NEW YEAR
10.4 New Year Events
The "Helot Uprising" cards forget to mention that they cannot be played in the New Year. (Rule 10.4 is correct.)
The only events that have an effect during the New Year are Civil War, Leader cards, Leader Ostracized, Athens Raises Taxes, Peace Faction, War Faction, Atrocity, No Quarter, and Persian Aid. Other combat-related event cards are technically playable in the New Year, but have no effect due to the fact that there is no New Year combat.
A given player can only have one sacrifice on a given Olympian, but it is possible for both players to each have a sacrifice on a given Olympian.
Unused Sacrifices carry over from year to year, so you do not have to use a Sacrifice to an Olympian the same year the Sacrifice is made.
May re-roll the latest and any subsequent unit Attack for the current friendly or enemy Agility class (A/B/C/D, etc) in that Combat Round. For each unit's attack, one by one, you can decide whether to reroll or keep the dice rolled.
Craig Besinque clarified:
An Appeal to Hera results in the immediate re-roll of the [re-rolled] result of another Olympian's Appeal (assuming the original Appealed result was a dieroll).
In the case of Ares, once the Appeal is made, the Appealing player can re-roll the *most recent and any/all subsequent* combat roll by units of the currently firing Agility class (this applies to one side only, not both sides' forces). The rules are misleading on this point so we have issued an errata in the Errata/Clarifications file (available on the GMT/Hellenes page).
For example, Sparta is firing its "B" units and its second unit firing (a 3 CV B2 Hoplite) rolls "5,5,6" for 3 Routs. Athens has a Sacrifice to Ares outstanding and immediately Appeals to Ares. This forces a re-roll of the just-fired 3 CV B2 Hoplite, resulting in a "2,4,6" for one Hit and one Rout, which are applied. Athens can also call for a re-roll (or not) for any/all remaining Spartan "B" units' combat dierolls that round.
If Sparta had Hera in the bank, it could appeal to Hera to re-do the latest and any/all subsequent re-rolls forced by Athens/Ares of its "B" units in the current combat round. But in the case of the "2,4,6" re-roll cited above, that's a decent result for Sparta, so it would probably not Appeal to Hera to re-do THAT dieroll, anyway.
14.11 Winning Battles
An easy way to understand the Prestige gained from winning a battle is this:
The prestige earned from a battle does not depend on the size of the battle or number of losses inflicted. This is by design:
Note that capturing a city by Siege Attrition, while not a battle, still gives +1 Prestige.
The defender gains prestige if the attacker panics or retreats from a failed siege assault.
Some of the setup locations for the blocks are by nations, and some of the set-up locations are by areas/CityStates. If a specific area is named, you must setup the block there. If a nation is named, you can choose an area within that nation in which to setup the block.
15.2 The Sicily Campaign
If the Sicily double cost rule is in effect, then a recruit in Sicily costs double to place. If you have only 1 action, you can't place it and must choose another recruit from the 3.
Sicily special rule #2 states: "In SICILY, Actions cost double..." For the purposes of this rule, both land AND sea areas in the map inset count as "Sicily". This means that Athenian units at sea in Sicily are subject to this special rule.
In the Sicily scenario, there are units on both sides that can arrive as reinforcements but have no fleets with the same home city to transport them. By nationality: 2 of the 16 possible Spartan recruits and 4 of the 17 possible Athenian recruits, respectively, are not transportable in this manner. These units can be placed on the board, but can never be moved to Sicily.
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