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The Battle of Samarkand: A Newbie’s short adventure

This was our first attempt at playing a Great Battles of History (GBoH) game and we chose to begin with Alexader. The suggested shortest and least difficult scenario of the Battle of Samarkind was given the nod.

I spent the past three days reading the rules, chuckling at the occasional humorous anecdote and got into a frame of mind where I thought I was ready…

The scenario hit the table, was set up and forces were given out, a gigantic 10 chits to 9 chits. Estimated Playing Time was 1 hour with maximum of 20 turns.

Now, GBoH is quite an advanced system, and although I’m well versed in Squad Leader, Third Reich, Gettysberg and numerous other ‘complex’ games, we found the rulebook still quite daunting, and referred to it constantly during the game to ensure we were doing everything right.

The Macedonian’s deployed on the south side of the map, with three Greek Allied HO/HI (Hoplite/Heavy Infantry) in the middle (led by Andomachus). Two LC (Light Cavalry) on the west (led by Caranus) and one Light Cavalry on the east flank (led by Pharnaces).

The Persian’s depoyed 2 Scythian LC to the north led by Spitamenes, 3 Cat HC (Cataphracted Heavy Cavalry) to the west under Arsames and 2 Cat HC to the east under Mithradates.

Turn One:

The East Cat HC advanced towards the Greeks. A successful momentum advance roll allowed them to go into charge formation and plow into Pharnaces’ LC routing it. The Cat HC pursued the LC and eliminated it.

The Greek Ho/HI responded by ‘wheeling’ towards the HC and created a line. The easternmost Ho/HI initiated shock combat with the HC Cat and managed to rout it.

The Persian LC and western HC assumed charge formation, but were still very far away.

The Greek LC stayed to the south/west of the Ho/HI line.

Turn Two:

The HC Cat unit retreated. The surviving HC Cat in the west followed it towards the north to attempt to either ‘regroup’ or to join the Scytian LC. The Persian rally attempt failed.

The Macedonians persued the HC with its LC, hoping for a rear attack, but failed to manage momentum advance to close the distance.

The Persians activated the western HC Cat, succeeded their strategy roll and all three units advanced toward the exposed western rear of the Ho/HI. Then the game breaker came when Arsames succeeded in the momentum roll. Caranus attempted to trump him, but failed, and two of the HC Cat slammed into the exposed rear of two of the Ho/HI units. The shock effect was astounding and both Ho/HI routed from the impact.

Pharnaces choose this time to also flee and both Ho/HI were eliminated in the ensuing Rout Phase.

The Macedonians had already accumulated 31 Rout Points (more than the allowed 23) and the scenario was won by the Persians.

Game Over.

Despite the short length of the engagement, being our first game, it actually took over an hour to play through (as we had to constantly refer to the rule book). We are looking forward to replaying the scenario and will probably begin the Ho/HI in square formation, which should help them avoid getting nailed out of position.
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Will Green
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Nice report! AS you get deeper into the scenario booklet, you'll find that much of the time is in the set up. This site has sheets that help facilitate that endeavor.

http://www.armchairbrigade.org/index?name=gamegboh

Click on any scenario, and it gives you the 'down and dirty' for that scenario, then it gives you a series of sheets, with the unit counters and the corresponding hex number under the unit itself. This is very helpful, when dealing with multiple counters, over several turns.

Have fun with the game!
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Thank you for the heads-up.

I love the feel of the game, and my imagination can see the charges and clashes.

Looking forward to moving to the next scenario. Which would you recommend as the second simplest scenario?
 
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Will Green
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I would recommend either of the Marathon scenarios. The counter density is low, and the play is rather quick.

As with all wargames, you can really visualize what is happening right in front of you.
 
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