Serious? Lee
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Coppell
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Recent forum talk about Polis reminded my friend Mike and I of it's long absence from our gaming table so we decided to remedy that. Mike chose to play Athens, leaving me to play Sparta. Our 4+ hour affair included 30 minutes for round 3, slightly more than an hour each for rounds 4 & 5A and almost an hour and a half for round 5B. As always, it proved singularly satisfying despite several surprises and challenges.

We encountered new event cards which amazed us. Failed sieges frustrated plans more than once. The phrase "I didn't see that coming" accompanied an unexpected play or two. Momentum shifted back and forth; not like a pendulum with wide swings but more like the incremental movement between two colliding tectonic plates pushing against one another. Ultimately I managed to rise above and win, but I'll admit the final event card played heavily in my favor.

Welcome back, old friend.


Our game began simply enough. I marched Sparta around the peninsula without causing too much concern for Mike who focused on blocking my access in the seas with Athens. Neither of us made a play for Korinthos in the first round, waiting instead for a better opportunity later. I purchased a project, and during a first turn trade I sailed my sole merchant ship to Aigyptos laden with oil. That would be the last time I'd trade via a sea route the rest of the game thanks to Mike's blockades. Round 4 is when things really started getting interesting.

Mike maneuvered galleys into Ionio Pelagos to take control of that sea zone, and then followed by transporting hoplites to the abundant fields of Sikelia. He later besieged Gela and collected goods after which time I foolishly followed him down there with the majority of my forces, matching his galleys and hoplites with equal strength. With a land and a naval battle looming at the end of my turn, Mike retreated from the land battle while I stubbornly chose to fight at a disadvantage with him in the sea. Ultimately, it cost me most of my fleet, and provided Mike with 6 extra prestige which he picked up during the fight. When he fled the territory to avoid further fights with my hoplites, I utilized my landlocked troops to finally wrestle Gela away from him with a failed attack on the Polis which at least resulted in turning it neutral. Luckily for me, he failed at recapturing it back twice - once at the end of round 4 and again at the beginning of round 5A!

I successfully captured Gela early in 5A, and held onto it for the remainder of the game. My hoplites remained stranded there though due to an ever-present naval blockade. Mike put his extra prestige to use in 5A to knock me out of Messenia and establish control of several nearby Poleis including Gytheion. I made another desperate attempt to fight Mike at sea to break his blockade, "going for broke" as it were with my naval fleet; but once again found my attack unsuccessful. He held onto control of that sea zone and all but one of the others sea zones. It was also during round 5A when Mike took control of Korinthos by means of civil war, putting to good use the massive amounts of silver he was easily collecting by this time.

Meanwhile, I slowly and painstakingly built back up my land forces around the peninsula and continued building projects. Thanks to my efforts to capture Abdera via civil war I was able to trade excess metal with Thraki by land. Mike sent his four merchant ships wherever he desired to make trades for wheat and amassed a small army on land. While I maintained a tenuous hold on most Poleis in the north along with my base in Lakedaimon, I never stepped foot east in Ionia all game.

As round 5B rolled around Mike stood poised to cause trouble for me, but that's when the fateful event card "Free Trade with Persia" required him to quickly vacate sea lanes to Persian or else risk losing prestige at the end of each turn. This set back his plans a few turns, and just that slight delay allowed me to get a couple steps ahead of him. I actually lost an attack on Pylos which he'd overtaken from me previously, but I found success fighting him in his home of Attika to gain much needed prestige while whittling down his troops.

By now he was ready to focus his attention fully on me. Each of us held enough prestige to threaten one another with nuisance movements designed to crowd territories with hoplites in order to force battles. I did so first and gained a few prestige for my troubles without sustaining any losses. While I preferred to continue fighting with advantage on land, I quickly surmised his strategy was to join me in battles to kill enough of my troops that I would no longer have a formidable force with which to attack him or defend myself. Therefore, I found myself retreating from his nuisance battles over and over again as he chased me around the map.

About this time he lost a crucial siege of Poteidaia which he was relying on for additional prestige. Thankfully, that allowed me to claim it with my Proxenos, though at quite a heavy cost as I spent five additional silver to bribe the fleet he placed in my way - silver which I was only able to acquire through trade with Thraki by land. Without the prestige needed to continue further, Mike passed; but not before building a project worth a total of 6 prestige. Knowing the score would be close, I finished the round by sacking two of his Poleis, Chalkis and Gytheion, to gain for myself the easily attained Megalopolis bonuses those Poleis afforded. In the end I scored 26 to his 21 points in combined population and prestige. It was a hard fought win and one in which the event cards fell for me at the right time. A victory which I'll savor nonetheless.

Another lengthy, satisfying play.

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Mike Walker
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Great write up, amigo! Yet another amazing game if Polis. This game never ceases to amaze and never disappoints!

Dying for a rematch!! :-)
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Tiggo Morrison
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Marvellous write up. I wish I'd been there to see your faces as the tension mounted!
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Mike Walker
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cheers, Tiggo! It's the best game I've every played. So much joy and pain on every turn! :-)
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Tiggo Morrison
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I know I scowl a lot when I'm thinking about a move and perhaps even more so when my opponent is making theirs!
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Mike Walker
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Agreed! And great name, btw!
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