Recommend
25 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

Hoplite» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Ephesus, Ionia, Asia Minor – 498 BC (solo, pictures) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Merric Blackman
Australia
Waubra
Victoria
flag msg tools
designer
Ramping up my reviewing.
badge
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The latest game in Richard Berg’s and Mark Herman’s Great Battles of History series – the fifteenth title, in fact – is Hoplite, which takes a look at battles in the era of the Greek city-states before the rise of Alexander the Great. As the title says, it was the era of the Hoplites – spear and shield-carrying soldiers, often arranged into great phalanxes, bristling with weaponry. Of course, as most of the soldiers (save the Spartans) were amateurs, this led to some problems staying in formation…

Hoplite arranges the various units into several formations, which are then activated in a random order using a chit-pull system. Momentum chits allow the potential of activating a formation twice in a turn and there is also the potential to Trump an opponent’s activation: preventing it from activating and taking an activation yourself. Trumping can only be done once per turn and requires a good commander to pull it off. In this scenario, a battle between the Ionians (with their Greek allies) and the Persian. Neither side has a good overall commander, so Trumping and Momentum never happened in the game. Instead, it was just the manoeuvring of the units on the board.

The Persians are the blue counters and the Ionians are mostly green, with two purple units for Athenian hoplites. The double-wide counters are Hoplite Phalanxes, which are extremely dangerous in shock combat.



The Persians have quite a few cavalry units – mostly light, with some heavy cavalry – and a few chariot units. Skirmishers and Light Infantry make up the rest of their ranks. The Greeks have a very few skirmishers, and a number of Hoplite Phalanxes. The Persian force had been pursuing the Ionians for some time after the Ionians had raided Sardis, a Persian satrapal capital, so the Ionians were quite exhausted. They set-up in their ranks reluctantly, as the Persian light cavalry moved towards them, armed with composite bows. The Persian chariots likewise came in, and the Ionian Skirmishers moved forward towards them; the cavalry withdrew, keeping just out of javelin range whilst peppering the skirmishers with arrows.

In fact, the Orderly Withdrawal of the cavalry was a lot harder than it has been in earlier GBoH games: just for withdrawing, the cavalry took 1 cohesion hit, plus an additional hit if a Troop Quality (TQ) check failed, so it might have been better to stand their ground and let the skirmishers get into javelin range!



A major rule in this game concerns the movement speed of the phalanxes: they move at either speed 3, 4 or 5 depending on a die roll when they start moving. They then keep moving at that speed until they engage the enemy (when obviously they stop moving) or they take missile fire, when they can potentially speed up. The phalanxes keep moving until they engage, so the commanders tend to have even less influence over what is going on than normal.

By the time the first turn was over, I’d withdrawn more of my cavalry and chariots, and we now had a broken line of phalanxes looking at the Spartan skirmishers. The counters on the Phalanxes show whether they’re moving at a Walk, Trot or Run.



Another difference compared to earlier versions of GBoH is that heavy cavalry just can’t charge and expect to be at peak efficiency. Instead, they need to redeploy into a charging formation for the cost of 4 Movement Points (about half of their factors). I didn’t do this before swinging around to attack the right-most phalanx from the rear, with the effect that my rear attack did not gain a positional advantage, allowing the phalanx to survive the encounter.

It ran forward towards my light cavalry, which had been using H&D tactics (running up, firing missiles, then withdrawing) to discomfort the phalanxes. Composite bow fire is not especially effective against phalanxes, but the Persians had enough of it that the Athenians and Ionians were being worn down. My skirmishers and chariots were also running out of places to withdraw to – the Persian light infantry was now getting in the way – and was begin to engage in Shock combat as the defender; not a particularly good place to be.

However, the skirmishers were able to inflict enough damage to rout one of the phalanxes. It was unable to rally before being destroyed at the end of turn.

With that loss, the Ionians had lost 12 Rout Points (of 40) and the Persians had lost 1 rout point – a solitary skirmisher!



With nowhere to run, the Persian Chariots and Skirmishers fell quickly to the Hoplites, but not before managing to rout four more of the phalanxes. One of the commanders tried to rally one of the phalanxes – particularly unsuccessfully, and it disbanded on the spot.



This was bad for the Ionians – during the rout phase, they’d lose their two routed phalanxes, so they had to hope to get Momentum so they could be rallied. This did not occur, and the Persian Light infantry turned up to make sure they couldn’t recover. The heavy cavalry wasn’t needed – at the end of the third turn, only one phalanx remained on the table, and it was surrounded by Persian light cavalry!



The final score was Persians on 15 Rout Points and the Ionians and Athenians on 69 Rout Points! It had been a slaughter, with the hoplites running to their doom!

Despite that, it didn’t feel like the Persians were in much better shape. Their light infantry was pretty useless, and the cohesion hits the cavalry were taking to withdraw from combat were pretty severe. This game may be clearly identifiable as one of the Great Battles of History series, but it has a few changes to the rules that have a significant effect on how the battles turn out!
21 
 Thumb up
1.07
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Read & Watch at www.bigboardgaming.com
Avatar
Merrick, do you roll or each PH unit as to wether it walk/trot/runs?
I thought it was for the entire formation.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rory Colling
United States
VICTOR
NY
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for posting!
Great to see the game in action!
Instead of game inaction!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Florent Loyer
France
flag msg tools
mb
The roll is for each unit in the formation.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Powers
United States
Marble
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hipshot wrote:
Merrick, do you roll or each PH unit as to wether it walk/trot/runs?
I thought it was for the entire formation.


Each unit. Which is why it's a good thing that command is based on being in range of a leader, and not actually being in line.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mr G
United Kingdom
Hatfield Heath
Essex
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

These CRAZY new rules for GBOH look to have created a hybrid of GBOH and Battleground:Fantasy Warfare. Looks intriguing.

 
 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.