Play-by-Play Replay of The Syrian War, one of the Scenarios of The Conquerors
By Brad Fallon, Malton, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – Posted July 28, 1999
Played by Brad Fallon, Randy King and Terry Kipps, July 17 – July 25, 1999
I don't know if anyone is interested in this game anymore as it was printed
in 1977, but I happened to get together 2 other friends and have started
playing the Syrian War (192-189 B.C.) campaign. I have played it before
with 3 players, but that was back in the early 80's, so I was quite excited
to start the game.
Brad - Seleucid Syrians
Randy - Romans
Terry - Macedonians
The campaign opens up late in the year of 192. In fact, there are only two
turns before the Winter Planning segment so I assumed not too much would
happen until everyone had a chance to build up their forces a bit.
As the Syrians only get Victory Points for cities on the western map, I
immediately began moving my main force, consisting of about 50 SPs of mostly
barbarian and cavalry units from Antioch, along the old Persian Highway,
towards Ephesus. My smaller force in Greece comfortably entrenched in
Demetrias, fuddled around for a month and then made for Naupactus. Being so
mountainous, and with only one naval base in central Greece that would have
allowed me a secure supply line, I knew that Naupactus was an important
target for me. Unfortunately, the Romans under Randy quickly figured out
what I was after and sent the I, III and V Legions with a smallish fleet,
out to Naupactus as well. Realising that his 3 legions would have wiped out
my small army of 28 SP with odds of about 3-1. A retreat before combat was
my only option. I sort of got lucky here. The Roman Legions failed to take
Naupactus and the small Roman fleet, rushed across to Same on Cephallenia
figuring to take an easy Class "D" city. Well the Roman Legate failed there
too. As this was the final turn before the Winter turn, the Roman Legions
suffered a 25% loss by attrition, and the Roman fleet about 50%. I figured
that it was a good omen and looked forward to the coming campaign season.
On the diplomatic front, my first goal was to get Terry, the Macedonia,
on my side. Throughout the first season, he picked up a few "C" & "D"
cities like Tricca and Pydna, but not enough to raise the ire of either
Rome or myself. I knew he was simply biding his time. He begins the game
with wholly inadequate forces, due to the serious thrashing that the Romans
inflicted upon him during the Second Macedonian War 5 years earlier (this is
another campaign scenario in The Conquerors game). We spoke of friendship,
as I am sure, he and the Roman did as well. He was completely unwilling to
commit to me, and I assume to Randy Roman as well. As far as the minor
allies go, stupidly the Romans picked up the Thracians first. That same
turn, I wiped them out completely in Byzantium. I in turn, picked up the
Galatians, who dutifully conquered the small towns of Ipsus and Celaenae,
and thus opening up the Royal Persian Highway for my main force coming west
The Winter Planning Segment
We Syrians picked up some mega-tax talents this season. The
Macedonians did quite well also but the Romans rolled a "1", giving them a
mere 9 talents. They were able to replace their Legion losses from
Naupactus, but that was all. The Macedonians doubled their army. Oh yeah,
and the year's Augury saw Carthage pay Rome a large portion of the tribute
that they owed them from the Punic Wars.
The year started out with some rabid diplomacy. Rome got the
Pergamenes on side as a full ally, but I was able to scoop up the Rhodians,
for a high price I might add.
I had been able to increase my force in Demetrias by transporting two
small detachments from Lysimachae and Abydus across the Aegean. Flushed
with success thus far, I decided to intercept the Roman Legions if they
moved north from Naupactus. Sure enough, it took two tries, but the
stubborn citizens of Naupactus finally surrendered to the might of Randy,
and he moved his Legions north. I intercept him at the tiny little town of
Battle of Gomphi, March, 191 B.C.
I had never used the Conquerors Tactical Battle Display, and was
excited to finally put all those big numbers at the bottom of each counter
into use. Rome set up first, putting the I Legion and V Legion on the
flanks and allowing the III Legion to take the centre. I had a hodgepodge
of forces, but put my well-trained Syrian Phalanx units in the centre. To
my surprise, the two forces were fairly equal in numbers although those damn
Principes and Hastati really frightened me. Randy had 66SPs to my 58. We
each had 14 command points but my Morale Break point was 21, whereas the
Roman one was 33.
Surprisingly, on the first tactical turn, my Phalanx units did great work.
They easily pushed through the dispersed Velites and Triarii and got lucky
with some of the Principes. Also, by using my few Thysian Archers, I
disabled some of his stronger units so that I could smash them in melee. To
quote, it was a near run thing. When the Roman army broke, I was only 2
away from breaking myself. After the third tactical turn, I realised that I
was close and simply retreated all of my weaker barbarian and hoplite units.
The V Legion got the worst of it but all three Legions led by a humbled
Consul P. Scipio retreated to Apollonia.
There was of course rejoicing everywhere and I had the privilege of
entertaining an ambassador from Macedon only a few nights later. This
battle was crucial for me, for I realised that Terry (Philip V) of Macedon
would wait to decide on an ally when he could spot a weakness among Rome or
myself. I now have a strong ally in Macedon, strategic control of most of
Greece and another large army that has just arrived in Sardes, and another
just preparing to leave Antioch. Rome has only 6 legions, two of which are
badly mauled and one is inoperable. And it is only the first month in the
year. I also have two huge naval fleets, which will give me control of the
Mare Internum. What is that, my advisors are whispering to me - Go To
After the Battle of Gomphi in March, I felt that I would have some breathing room. March ended with me concluding an alliance with Macedonia. In return for Philip's friendship, I gave him the small town of Byzantium. It is only a "D" class city but it has a naval base and I figured it would turn Macedonia's interests towards Asia Minor, rather than in Greece.
In April, the tides turned very quickly for Syria. The Romans bolstered their army with the inclusion of the VI Legion and immediately moved to attack me in lower Epirus. The battle took place outside the tiny little village of Ambracia. Figuring that I was rolling so well, and Randy was not, I decided to see the battle through, although outnumbered 51-40. My Syrian Phalanx units were still in good shape, so I put them front and centre again, along with the elephant unit, and put the cavalry on the flank. The green but full strength VI Legion was in the central position. The Romans attacked both flanks first and did very little damage. I looked in Randy's eyes and could see the frustration there so I pushed hard in the centre. The phalanxes fell apart. Within 2 turns, he had cleared the centre away and I was left with nothing. I was able to retreat in good order with 0 morale points left (allowing me to take only 1d6 damage for fleeing rather than 2x1d6). Still and all, Consul P. Scipio's honour, along with the honour of the I, III, and V Legion's was saved. I did manage to kill Titus, one of the tribunes of the VI Legion, but I was left with nothing more than a rag-tag crew of cavalry units in all of Greece. I retreated back to Demetrius to wait for the two reinforcement armies that were coming. The Battle of Ambracia was a disappointing loss for Antiochus of Syria, but I did take some small satisfaction in the fact that this incredibly costly victory for Rome would still cost Scipio's his Consulship at the end of the year.
May saw a change in the Roman strategy. Suffering from a low treasury and decimated Legions, Randy started to sack all of the towns and villages along the west coast of Greece. These of course were my victory points been taken away from me permanently so I decided that I had to knock Rome out of Greece once and for all. The beginning of June saw a successful end to my siege of the city of Pergamum, where Rome's newest ally, Eumenes and his hoplites were defending. I put Eumenes and his troops to the sword, although I left the walls and city intact, and the Second army and the siege train headed north to Sestus. My idea was to get a siege train, and another army working in Greece, thus making Rome's job impossible. At Sestus, the Second army was to rendezvous with the Second Fleet (consisting of mostly Rhodians), with the intention of landing them in Demetrias in July. Meanwhile, the Macedonians were just finishing up their conquest of the Paphalgonian / Bithynian region when Athenagorus force marched his army back west and surprised my army at Sestus. So much for our treaty!! Macedonia, figuring that with all my troops in Greece, would soon no longer need their help, decided to turn the tables on me before I did it to Terry.
June 191 – The Battle of Sestus (The Battle of the Short Alliance)
When I saw the troops Terry had, I was not too worried. Besides, both of us only had 1 leader each. He with Athenagorus and me with the lowly Xeno, who was only really meant to escort the troops through friendly territory where more competent generals would then take over. Terry only had 43 SSP's to my 58, and he had only half of the Phalanx units that I had. Besides, I had my wonderful Elephants, similar to the ones that reeked havoc among the Roman Legions not 3 months earlier. I put the elephants front and centre, surrounded by phalanxes. The Macedonians put their phalanx in the centre as well, but kept their weaker troops to the back and in reserve. My flanking troops were 2 boxes away from his. This was going to be a problem. Terry attacked first, and wiped out all four Elephant units in the first tactical turn. DAMN ELEPHANTS!!!!! My flanking cavalry couldn't engage his flanks and my centre had disappeared. As I swept in with my cavalry against his centre, his right flank engaged the cavalry and flattened them. The battle was over in a scale time of about 45 minutes. I then rolled a 6 for flight, meaning I lost a further 12 SSP's along with my only siege train. The battle was a disaster for me and certainly a very bright victory for the Macedonians. Terry is now left with the option of attacking my main concentrations in Greece, or walking through the entire length of Asia Minor with nothing but a disrupted and ravaged army held up in Sardes to hold him back. I have to admit, it was a good move on Terry's part, especially considering he had never played a wargame before.
July started off well for Rome. The Roman fleet had been bottled up for over 6 months on the coast of Epirus at Corcyra due to a very large fleet under Hannibal that was guarding the sea passages into the Peloponnesas and the Aegean. Although the Pergamene army had been destroyed, the fleet still lay at the port of Erythrae, but did not have the strength to make it through the Syrian naval defenses alone. The Legate Livius, finally pushed south where he was intercepted by Hannibal. Even though the odds were 2-1 in Hannibal's favour, Livius outmanoeuvred him and sunk enough Syrian ships to slip by Hannibal and push south, where Livius then assaulted and took the city of Pylus. It was at Pylus, that the Pergamene fleet rendezvoused with the Romans. Interestingly, the historic Hannibal also lost a major sea battle at about the same time.
On the diplomatic front, July also saw Nabis and his loyal Spartans throw-in with the Romans once he was convinced that the Aetolians had finally sided whole-heartedly with the Syrians (traditional enemies). The appearance of the belligerent Aetolians forced the Roman legions back to Oricus, where they all grouped together under Scipio, and began to march south again. Although Nabis' army was not large, those Spartan hoplites were as deadly as any Syrian phalanx so I knew that under no circumstances, could I let Nabis join up with the Legions. Without a siege train, Nabis couldn't cross to Thessaly as it was necessary to hold Corinth, therefore, to join together they had to do it via the sea. The only other way was to win the Achaean League to the cause and get free passage through Corinth. I knew that there would be a diplomatic squabble for the Achaeans.
August began with a flurry of ambassadors from both sides going to the Achaeans. Everyone was very short on talents but with a good ambassador and a little graft, they ended up being +2 in my favour. Things were getting very tense in Thessaly. The five mangled Roman Legions were moving south along the west coast. As I moved inland with my large army, the Macedonians began moving south down the east coast. I was being cut-off from Demetrias and was being sandwiched. My concern about the Spartans had apparently blinded me to the real danger of the combined forces of Rome and Macedonia attacking me. With this in mind, I promptly attacked the Macedonians. This was the largest battle to date.
August 191 – The Battle of Pherae
The ground was rocky but I managed to deploy the small Syrian phalanx unit in the centre, flanked by the Galatians and the Aetolians, then flanked with the cavalry and elephants. Of course, the Macedonian centre was made up of Phalanx units, many of which were half strength from their last battle at Sestus. The odds were completely in my favour, with my 105 SSP's facing off against the mere 55 of Macedonia. I could see Terry mulling over whether he should fight or run. He chose to stand and the battle began. The Syrians have some good troops, but in general, I have to use mass attacks in order to win battles. This does not always play out well on the Tactical Battle Display so I kept some 14 units of Syrian barbarians back in the reserve, just to protect my morale breaking point. Terry's phalanxes ripped through my troops and killed every last Galatian, including the valiant Manganorix. The Aetolians faired much better against the Greek Triarii. I faced my elephants off against the Macedonian's cavalry. It was only near the end when I was able to catch up to some of the cavalry and ripped them apart. Essentially, my two wings pushed the Macedonians back to their reserve area. I kept retreating my now weakened centre so as not to engage the Macedonians. Finally, they broke and fled the field with my cavalry in close pursuit. The Macedonians lost 62% of their entire force, I lost only 25% and gained both the Macedonian siege train, along with mine that I had originally lost at Sestus. Revenge is sweet. Unfortunately, many of my loses were my few good troops though so there will probably be no more campaigning this year for me, and definitely not for the Macedonians. Things should now be fairly quiet until next year. Northern Greece and Thessaly is decimated though, with half of the towns sacked. Every turn seems to leave less and less potential victory points for the Syrians.
AUGUST-OCTOBER, 191 BC
It is as I thought. Everyone has been so drained from the last battles, that nobody can afford to continue their offensives. The Macedonians retreated into Pella and were not seen again. The Roman's pulled their forces back to Brundisium and Apollonia and just waited. They did manage to pick those pesky Spartans under Nabis up though in Gytheum, and took them north with them to Apollonia. That is something that I know I will regret in 190 BC. Needing money, I took one final offensive. There was a small outpost of Macedonian hoplites in the Carian town of Miletus. I easily knocked them off and sold them into slavery (optional rule in the errata that is posted on www.grognards.com). This meant that those troops would no longer be available for recruitment and made there way back into the 'flatpack' for good. For the fun of it, and for the money, I sacked Halicarnassus and Myndus, also in Caria. I needed Miletus for a victory point. I also besieged and took the city of Chalcis (B-city). I entertained the thought of sacking it for the much-needed money but opted for future victory points instead. In October, I also spent every last talent I had and got the Achaeans to ally themselves with me. I am certain that they will come in handy at some point. But if nothing else, it gives me Corinth, so now I am free to enter the Peloponesus and ultimately to take Athens. Other than that, we all just sat back and waited for winter to set in.
WINTER 191-190 BC
Everyone was comfortably put to bed in their towns so that there was no Winter Attrition. So the first step was for Randy to roll on the Augury Table. Well, of all the luck, he is given the option of re-appointing his Field-Consul, which damned P. Scipio with a 5-command rating. Well, I was a little disappointed with that. Had I been sitting on the Senatus Romanus, I would most certainly have demanded his resignation after such a resounding defeat at Gomphi and his Pyhrric Victory at Ambracia. I made this quite clear to Randy who seemed to have ended up laughing at me - Bastard!!!
Well, now that Scipio was well entrenched in Epirus, it was time to roll for the taxes. All three of us got 5's or 6's so we all could do some military spending. We did all of this privately but I could tell that the Macedonians did not pay maintenance on some their Heavy Naval Squadrons (6-fleets) thus allowing them to decay. He really had no use for them for anything but transportation. I was in a quandary myself. If I paid maintenance on all my fleets, I would have nothing to buy troops with. I discreetly got rid of two Heavys and saved the 6 talents. Rome recruited a brand new Legion (VII) and brought the other ones up to full strength. He also picked up some elephants and archers. The Macedonians seemed to have picked up every available phalanx unit there was. I of course did the same, leaving the barbarians unrecruited. They did nothing for me last year. In the end, the treasuries looked like this:
Syria 4 talents
Rome 5 talents
Macedon 8 talents
None of us were going to do a lot of campaigning with this money – so I knew there was going to be some sacking going on. Maybe I should have sacked Chalcis.
MARCH, 190 BC
The new campaign year started out as was expected. I had made several offerings of alliance to Terry of the Macedonians, but he was not interested. According to him, my performance in battle had not been very admirable and that I had no future in Greece. I reminded him of the debacle at Pherae last August. He seemed more interested in my last defeat against Rome at Ambracia. We stopped talking. Rome was a little difficult to figure out. If he is to get any victory points at all, he has to get into Asia. He moved the I, II & IV Legions along with the Spartans to Corcyra on the Adriatic Coast. The green VII Legion was left to defend Rome, and the III, V & VI Legions, began making their way into Thessaly from Apollonia. It is unclear yet what his goals are. I didn't have a single commander in Antioch (poor planning), so my fleet is taking a few commanders and will pick the new recruits up in Antioch and get them to either the Ionic Coast or to Greece. The Army II in Sardes moved in and sacked Erythrae, thus giving me one more talent so that I built a Naval Base in Corinth. Army I, then left Chalcis and has laid siege to Athens. I wasn't sure what to expect from Macedonia. He of course did what I feared, he moved his 1 huge army south and has laid siege to the now empty Demetrius. I must now decide whether to stop the siege of Athens to defend Demetrius, or to lay my fate before the Gods and hope that I can take Athens fast enough to also hit Macedon. The next Roman turn will hopefully give me the answer.
APRIL, 190 BC
Well, if you are a Seleucid fan, (come on, I know there are a few of you out there) then I have some good news, and some bad news. Athens easily fell to the Seleucid troops this month – it really is not the city it used to be!!!! The bad news, Philip V of Macedonia led his troops and took my base city of Demetrius. I really cannot afford to get in a battle with him at this time but something has to be done.
It was quite a surprise when I woke the next morning in Athens, to see a huge Roman merchant fleet anchored off the island of Aegina, right across the straits from Athens. I believe that he is making a dash for Asia Minor, which really gets my goat. If I had had good planning, I would have had a commander in Antioch to pick-up my reinforcements. Instead, I stupidly used my entire fleet instead of just a small part leaving the Aegean totally open. I could have engaged him with my fleet and done some serious damage to his 3 legions. His other three legions, as was expected, took Naupactus back again (we have each held it twice now). As one of the few naval bases in Greece, it is crucial. Rome is already down to 4 talents, meaning he can no longer build a naval base until he sacks some cities. I am at 0 talents so I am very limited. I can not go any farther than 10 movement points from my supply bases. I must start sacking cities. I took Thebes and Megara and have moved my army back to Chalcis, in order to defend the Peloponesus. The way things stand now, I will be lucking if I can hold onto Athens and the Peloponesus. The rest of Thessaly seems to be an impossibility to me now with the Romans and Macedonians working so closely.
Terry, took his one army, left a small garrison and started to march towards Asia Minor. He get three times the victory points for cities there, so I am not surprised that he is on his way there now.
MAY, 190 BC
The month opened up with a Syrian ambassador making some gains with the Egyptians and the Roman ambassador being well received by the Cappadocians. Then Rome made its move. The I, II & IV Legions landed outside of the city of Miletus, in Caria. Miletus was easily taken and my small garrison there was lost. The Legions then moved north to where my small 1st Army was encamped outside of Ephesus. Ephesus is a major strategic point being at the end of the Royal Persian Highway, being a port as well as a Naval Base. It served to keep my forces in supply along the Western part of the Persian Highway. As much as I wanted to fight for it though, I couldn't. It is only a "C" class city so only 24 SSP's can garrison it. I was forced to retreat and entered the walls of Pergamum.
The other three Legions in the meantime sacked the Aetolian's city of Thermum and started to make their way towards the Boeotian cities. A Roman merchant fleet also arrived in Naupactus with a lot of elephants, Aegean Archers and those damnable Baeleric Slingers. My army in Greece, settled down for the siege of Oreus (B-Class) figuring I might get lucky like I was with Athens. Hannibal made it to Antioch, and is now leading a huge force of Syrians towards the Ionic Coast and the I, II, & IV Legions. Philip V of Macedonia decided to make my life more unpleasant, by laying siege to Lysimachia (B-Class) on the Hellespont, another one of my victory point cities.
JUNE, 190 BC
Both my siege of Oreus, and Macedonia's siege of Lysimachia, failed this turn. The Romans began their ceaseless march into Asia Minor. They attempted to assault the city of Sardes, which is of key strategic importance, Sardes held on until the 3 assault, when the city was carried. My Army II in Pergamum left the safety of the city and marched north. I figured that I should get the Terry's attention so I took both Cyzicus and Dascylium in Paphlagonia which he currently had conquered 2 years ago, and burnt them to the ground. Unfortunately, Philip V maintained his siege over Lysimachia. I was unsure of what to do with my army in Greece, when the Roman Legions continued their mach into the Boeotian area. It was obvious that their plan was to sack every possible town in the area, as they didn't get any victory points for settlements in Greece. I could not permit this. I had already given up Thessaly and the Aetolian League areas. If I was to allow them through Boeotia, and then into Corinth and Athens, I would never have a chance of winning this war. I intercepted the III, V, & VI Legions at Thebes. We were going to have to meet at sometime and I preferred to be on the attacking end of things. Coincidentally, this battle was to take place within 20 miles of both the Battle of Thermopylae, the Battle of Leuctra and the Battle of Marathon.
JUNE, 190 BC – THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE
As I intercepted the Roman Legions, I am deemed the attacker. The III, V & VI Legions set-up first. With 3 Legions, Randy had 68SSP's while I had 84; 33SSP's of which were my Achaean and Aetolian League troops. My real advantage was in the command points. I had 22 as opposed to the Romans 12. This allowed me the ability to move almost my entire force each turn. The tactical map is really quite difficult to manoeuvre on so I opted for a mass attack of my entire front line. On the first turn, I was able to kill 2 tribunes, Antius from the VI and Castor from the III. All in all, the attack was successful. Within 2 turns, it was obvious to Randy that his morale was going to break so he retreated in good order with a mere 2 morale points left. At that point I still had 11 left. The Battle of Thermopylae was a Syrian victory.
THE TACTICAL MAP
We have now fought 5 battles on the Tactical Display and a certain trend is beginning to emerge. The attacker in this game has a superior advantage, regardless of what kind of troops he has. It would appear that every unit other than the Roman Principes and Hastati, has a lower or equal defensive number than attacking number. In 4 out of 5 battles, the victor has always been the attacker, rather than the defender. There is also very little room to actually manoeuvre on the tactical map as well. Combat is very bloody, and movement is very slow. Although, I would agree to a certain extent that this is historical, it is a little bit too stiff for my liking. Still, it is better than rolling the dice 40 or 50 times in order to fight the battles in the strategic manner. The battles only seem to take us about 45 minutes now anyway.
I will revise my strategic strategy now so as to always be the attacker. The Syrian troops kind of suck in the defensive mode. This will involve many retreats I should think.
JUNE, 190 BC (CONTINUED)
The Roman army finished that turn outside of Thebes, deeming it a necessary risk. Although the Syrians could easily be upon him again, Randy obviously didn't want to Disrupt his forces by retreating more than 4 movement points. The Syrian army in the north of Asia Minor continued its burnt earth policy and sacked the city of Byzantium, a major supply and naval base for the Macedonians. Meanwhile, the reinforcements that were recently raised in Antioch, was able to move through the Cilcian Gates (6 movement points!!!) and engage the Roman Legions just outside of Sardes. The Roman's retreated towards Ephesus while the Syrians stopped in order to retake Sardes. Their efforts failed and the city remained in Roman hands. The Syrian Fleet left Rhodes and crossed to Greece via the lower Cyclades. The storms were bad that day as I had to cross 2 all-sea hexes and lost a valuable 4 fleet steps. I can't afford that too often. The Syrian army in Greece left the Roman's alone and enveloped Oreus again. The Macedonians under Terry decided to play fate again and rolled on the siege table again for Lysmachia. The Syrian city valiantly held.
JULY, 190 BC
A Syrian emissary was sent to Egypt and had some success. As everyone is very short of talents, there is really very little graft going on. Besides, the calibre of allies now is quite suspect and hardly worth the effort. The Egyptians do have a few fleets though that could come in quite handy. The III, V & VI Legions in Asia Minor built a naval base beside Pergamum and encamped there so as to protect their siege of Pergamum that I knew would start next month. Legions I, II & IV, moved back to Naupactus so as to incorporate the levy troops into the legions that had come from the Western Mediterranean. The Roman fleet also left its headquarters in Miletus and attempted to assault the city of Samos, on the island of Samos. Five times did they attempt to take the city but were forced to return to Miletus empty-handed. In honour of the Samosian bravery, I promised to respect and defend their sovereignty for all time.
That merchant fleet in Naupactus had been causing me some problems although so far I had been lucky that Randy had not put it to good use. As I had control of Corinth, the only other way to the rich cities of the Peloponesus was via sea, and Rome's one naval fleet was across the Aegean at Miletus. I was able to drive the merchant fleet north to Corcyra and have now blockaded the sea-lanes between Rome and the Peloponesus. Now I just had to do the same on the east coast and the Peloponesus would be very secure.
Foolishly, Randy had left Ephesus ungarrisoned and unsacked when he went north to build a naval base beside Pergamum. I was easily able to retake Ephesus and thus secure my supply line again. I also merged my 2nd and 3rd armies so that I now have a very strong force in Asia Minor.
Terry has spent the last three turns attempting to take the city of Lysmachia. The city again held this month and the Macedonians have remained there for another month.
AUGUST, 190 BC
All together a pretty slow month. The Roman fleet did manage to assault and conquer the island cities of Chios, Lesbos and of course Samos. My heart went out to the inhabitants of Samos and I swore that I would reap revenge on the Roman's for their barbarity. The Romans also invested the city of Pergamum. The Syrians invested the city of Argos and the Macedonians continue with the siege of Lysmachia. The Roman's also managed to diplomatically win the Cappadocians onto their side.
SEPTEMBER, 190 BC
On the diplomatic front, the Syrians used their last ambassador with the Egyptians. An alliance with them is very close, but apparently there are some issues that still must be settled. Terry's Macedonians persevered for months but finally saw the defenders of my city of Lysmachia surrender, and the city fall. I easily managed to take the city of Argos, but of course my Achaean League allies were not terribly impressed and I lost a lot of influence with them. Pergamum has resisted the Roman onslaught so far.
The Romans are sort of stuck in Greece, all the cities around are already sacked, and the Romans are completely out of talents so that they cannot go outside of their supply lines. This leaves 3 legions and numerous levies sitting in Naupactus with nothing to do. It also allowed me to continue my work in the Peloponesus. I have now invested the city of Sparta. It will be a tough choice whether to sack her or not when she falls.
I, on the other hand, am now a little stuck in Asia Minor. After conquering Lysmachia, the Macedonian army calmly took the other cities on the Hellespont i.e. Sestus, Abydus and Lampsacus and then continued south to Pergamum, where they have also encamped outside of the walls of Pergamum in order to assist in defending the Roman Legions against an attack from me. There is very little I can do, as both armies would just slaughter me.
OCTOBER, 190 BC
This is of course the final turn before the winter planning segment. Any force outside of a friendly city at the end of this turn ends up suffering attrition, which can account for up to a 33% loss of all troops. With this in mind, as the Roman player must move first, I had hoped that when he left the siege of Pergamum, which failed again for Rome, I would be able to slip my troops inside the city as well as destroy his naval base. What I didn't know was that he was going to winter in Sardes (I should have taken the city three months ago when I was there), and that the Macedonian player moves after me and his force was a mere 30 miles outside of Pergamum. I would have had two armies attempting to intercept me on the 3 hex column for 4 hexes. I could very well have had to fight a battle against Rome, and then immediately fight one against Macedonia. The risks were far too high so I just sat, and watched another major opportunity drift by. My siege of Sparta failed and I was forced back to Corinth for the winter.
WINTER, 190 BC
As this is the last planning phase, all caution was thrown to the wind. Unfortunately, the dice rolls didn't help us much. Both Rome and Macedonia rolled very low for taxation. I knew that after paying maintenance, Macedonia could raise little more than 20 SSP and that would be risky as they had lost a naval base when I sacked Byzantium. Rome rolled quite low as well. Armed with a fairly strong Pergamene fleet, I suspect that Rome has reduced the size of its naval fleets again, probably taking the chance that I would have little time to use any sea control that I got. Unfortunately for Randy, his Augury roll was not very good. Because of a rebellion in Sicilia, it was going to be necessary for him to garrison a legion there for the next year. I saw that he built 2 more legions, but only one was ever going to serve in the campaign. That damned Consul P. Scipio (5) was again appointed as Field Consul, thus allowing him to maintain control the Roman forces in Greece – I hate that guy!!!! Consul Domitian was elected as the Consul for Rome. Being fairly low on Talents myself, I spent money bringing my army up to full strength but did not recruit any new forces in Antioch except for a small garrisoning force. At the end of the phase, Rome was left with 5 Talents, Macedonia with 10 and Syria with 12. I would again have the advantage when it came to moving units outside of my supply lines.
MARCH, 189 BC
The turn started with the Romans moving the VIII Legion to Sicilia and the VII Legion to Brundisi, where they were able to sneak it across the Adriatic to Apollonia. The IX Legion took the job of defending Rome. The III, V & VI Legions encamped around Naupactus, probably awaiting the arrival of the VII from up north. Meanwhile, the other Legions in Asia Minor reinvested the city of Pergamum, at the same time, I restarted the siege of Sparta. Figuring that the Roman army besieging Pergamum would stay put unless seriously threatened, I moved north in order to take the Macedonians. I met them at Abydus but they retreated to Sestos, I then engaged them again there and they retreated to Lysmachia. At that point, I had run out of movement points and was stuck. The Macedonian player then engaged me, and I retreated my four movement points. Again, the Macedonians started forming up in front of me. If I retreated again, I would become disrupted and would not have a movement phase next turn. Against my better judgement, I stood and prepared to take the defensive near the ancient city of Balya.
BATTLE OF BALYA, MARCH, 189 BC
ALL IS LOST!!!! The Macedonian Phalanx stretched across the entire battlefield, in some places, they were 2 units thick. Although I too had many phalanxes, they were no match for the Macedon units, especially when they were on the attack. My elephants were of no use, as his units kept retreating from them. He had more units than me, our SSP strengths were 110 – 90, but every unit he had was stronger than mine. His morale breaking point turned out to be almost twice mine. I should have retreated before combat but I had hoped to get lucky. I retreated in good order but I feel that Asia Minor has been lost. I retreated towards the Cilician Gates where I can make a last stand. My only hope is that the Macedonians will get to greedy and offend the Romans, then perhaps I can keep Greece in my hands. The chances of this are pretty good because the Macedonians get triple the victory points for cities in Asia Minor.
APRIL, 189 BC
Last month I moved my naval fleets down the Aegean coast and took the island city of Chios – as it is a supply source. The Roman's fleet, which I suspected was considerably weaker now based on his poor tax rolls, was just to the north in Lesbos. As I expected, The Roman fleet made a break for open water, probably so as to get to the Adriatic for there, lay 4 Legions that have been stuck in Naupactus as they have been unable to cross to the Peloponesus. There was only one spot where I was able to intercept the fleet, and it was two hexes away so I needed to roll a 1,2 or 3. Fortunately I rolled a 2 and intercepted the force. I almost doubled him in strength, and the Legate Cato, was of a lower strategic rating than my Minnio. Our fleets crashed into one another and I bested him quite valiantly. He lost a 6-ship and two 4-ships. A great victory for Syria as we saw the Roman fleet limp back to Lesbos. There was no way that fleet would ever best me again and the Peloponnesus was safe again. Rome also managed to finally take Pergamum and began the long march south to Lycia. I continued my siege of Sparta and of course my force near the Cilician Gates was disrupted so it didn't move.
My heart leapt into my mouth when I saw the Macedonian army marching south and then assault the Roman occupied city of Miletus. I thought that finally their alliance was broken. Unfortunately, it was a planned move as he marched north again ignoring the strategically situated cities of Ephesus and Sardes.
MAY, 189 BC
The Roman Legions in Asia Minor got stuck, with no money left in the treasury, they marched onto the coastal city of Side, which is also a supply source. They assaulted the city 4 times, but failed to take it. Now they are stuck until more money is put into the treasury. The last bit of Roman money went into the purchase of a naval base, which they set-up near Megara, which is within a hex of both Athens and Corinth. As the VII Legion, had not quite joined the other three, I felt that this was my last chance to fight the Roman's before they consolidated.
SECOND BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE
As quitting time was fast approaching, and the fact that we wanted to try another system, we decided to use the Strategic Combat Charts for this battle. Basically, both players roll on the chart at their respective odds and takes the hits. You keep rolling until someone retreats or breaks. I had hoped that I would have a better chance of winning this battle using this system. My big worry was that Randy would complain after that the sudden system change had cost him dearly. Well, not only did I lose the battle and fled the field but Antiochus III (the Great) was killed in battle, giving the Roman's a further 5 victory points. Fortunately I was able to retreat into Athens but I figure that I will probably spend the rest of the game in there – I hope the food is good!!!!
JUNE, 189 BC
Not much to tell here. Macedonia had secured the province of Paphlagonia when it took Heraclea. Rome took Side and some other cities in Lycia and also sacked Megara and has laid siege to Corinth. I sat for the month, wondering what to do.
JULY, 189 BC
Rome managed to take the two cities in Phrygia while the Macedonian army made its way across the Hellespont, probably to try and take a couple of more Greek cities before the end of the game. I did manage to sneak out of Athens this month and occupied the Roman naval base that was supplying their siege of Corinth. The siege failed this turn so they are disrupted and could not intercept me. They have sacked a few cities so they have a little money for supply. If they attack me, all the better, I will just retreat back into Athens
AUGUST, 189 BC
The Macedonians have made it back into Thessaly by force-marching. Next turn they will no doubt invest another one of my major Greek cities. I still think that there is a chance of winning if I can just hold on a little longer. Rome was forced to move back to Ephesus as I took the city with my fleet again, thus cutting off his supply. The Legions in Corinth stayed there and decided to pay for supply, rather than lose another turn by attacking me.
SEPTEMBER, 189 BC
It is going to be a close game. The Roman siege of Corinth failed again, and they are almost out of supply. The Legions in Asia Minor have now had to stop because of no supply and no money. The Macedonians have invested the city of Chalcis (B) for a quick couple of victory points. I continue to sit and wait.
OCTOBER, 189 BC
Some real tense moments on the die rolling. Corinth and Chalcis held so I retain them. It is now time to count up the victory points. I felt that the last 6 turns or so have been so predictable and a little boring. Next time I think we will have a random game end so as to add to the suspense.
Macedonia (2 Victories) – 120 points
Syria (3 Victories) -- 137 points
Rome (2 Victories) -- 139 points
All in all it was a great game. And I think that we are all happy with the results. Randy (Rome) did win the game but lets face it, historically, the Roman's did much better. Not only was he unable to knock me out of Greece, he was unable to eliminate my armies in Asia Minor. Contrary to history, although Antiochus III is dead, there is surely a wee Antiochus IV or Seleucus VI who will inherit an empire that is relatively stable and defendable. The Greek city states sure did suffer though. Most of Northern Greece has either been burned to the ground, or is under Macedonian occupation again. Chances are, the Senatus Romanus would send a plenipotentiary to Antioch, in order to work out some sort of settlement for the future.
Well, I thank everyone for reading thus far. I hope it has rekindled some interest in Ancient Strategic games, as well as The Conquerors in particular. We have already decided to play it again sometime in the near future but Randy is over again in a week or so for another game. I hope to do a replay of it too so stay tuned for a replay of Simulation Canada's game "Rockets Red Glare". It is a full campaign game of the War of 1812. I hope to kindle some interest in this period as well.
All the best,
Brad, Randy & Terry
excellent AAR, I remember this game well from the late 70's
Agreed. A truly enjoyable and inspiring AAR. Many thanks for taking the effort to write it out. Much appreciated.