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The Siege of Jerusalem (Third Edition)» Forums » Rules

Subject: To escape or not to escape? rss

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Peter Veenstra
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Hi Guys,

In my seventh game, the Romans are finally successful. I will post the whole story as soon as the last Judean unit surrenders.
In the first assault phase the Romans took the New and Upper city, in the second assault the City of David. After that it all went downhill for the Judeans (played by me).
We’re now in the third assault phase and I’m down to 20% of the city (Tyropean, AF and HP). After the fall of the Lower City, I retreated fromThe temple, hoping that the Romans would take it so I could trigger an escape.

At that specific moment we realized we were unsure about the rules in question...

I thought I was entitled to start my escape as soon as the Romans had taken the temple and owned more that 75% of the city. I would then use my movement phase to start my escape and because of that the Romans could not end the assault phase.

Marten Jan, my Roman opponent, objected, stating that he would only own the temple after the end of the Judean turn (see the rules about control of a city area). Since my turn would have ended then, and I could not have started an escape, he could then end the assault phase.

I can still start my escape of course, but now only in assault phase 4. Clearly, this is not what I want! The element of surprise is gone then and in the new phase the Roman can reposition his troops and my chances to get out are zero. Yuk, this sucks! soblue

But then again, the rules seems so specific about the escape (the starting moment, and the blocking of the possibility for the Romans to unilaterally end the phase).. It really ooks like an instrument to win the game after all..
But.. what use is the escape if it always has to happen at the start of the next assault phase? (Well, except if you’re in assault phase 5).

Opinions anyone?

Regards,
Peter
 
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Alan Lipka
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In My Humble Opinion ... cool

IF ...

The Roman has 10 units (not necessarily FHI) in a City Area at the end of the Judaean Melee Phase ... [18.11]

AND ...

the Judaean concedes control of that City Area ... [18.11]

THEN ...

the Roman Controls that City Area. [Last sentence of 18.11]

At the instant the Judaean replacement rate reaches 25% or less, an Escape may be declared. [18.92]

Instant.

So ... at the end of the Judaean Melee Phase, upon the instant of Roman control, and the declaration of Escape, the Roman cannot unilaterally declare the Assault Period over [18.921] ...

IF ... (of course) ...

Ben Yair is outside of the City Walls or off Board. [18.921]

This means that the next Turn starts as normal with Cavalry and Foederatti exempt from Command Control. The Roman does indeed have his own turn to respond to the Judaean Escape, but he cannot declare unilaterally the Assault Period over as long as ben Yair (HQ) is outside of the City or off Board. [18.921]

Not that Aaron or I have ever been faced with this situation ... ... but it does seem that an Escape must be planned just as carefully as a Roman assault. No easy points ! Timing, position, bluff ... it's all a part of getting the boys to Masada. Good luck, my friend !

Quote:
In the first assault phase the Romans took the New and Upper city, in the second assault the City of David. After that it all went downhill for the Judeans (played by me).


Oh my, oh my ... Peter ... this should never have happened. I suspect that you are playing the Judaeans much too conservatively. It is inconceivable that the Roman should take two City Areas in Phase I and the City of David in any assault.

A tip of my hat to Marten. He is taking advantage of you and I cannot fault him for it. On the other hand, I think that your experience can help others to see how to play the Judaeans more aggressively. More to come on this ...

Until then, my very best -

Alan






 
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Peter Veenstra
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Yes, that seems the proper interpretation of the rules. Thanks!

Unfortunately I don't think I can move out Ben Yair or any other leader through a gate. They're too far away.. I had counted on their abililty to jump the walls, but in my movement phase I'm not entitled to jump yet..
This means I cannot trigger an escape and that the Roman has won.. soblue

I will post this dismal story in a thread.

And yes.. point taken, I let down my Judean friends. In hindsight I should have stormed forward, but I felt so spread out at the moment that I rather retreated..
Do you really think it's impossible to take two city areas as the Romans in the first assault? I still think Marten Jan did a good job. Lots of mining, spreading my forces thin..

Regards,
Peter

(off to Barcelona for the weekend. Back on monday..)
 
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Steve Hope
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I think if you're going to have an escape possibility, you want to keep your commander and a bunch of units near that gate in the SE, or whichever other exit point may be convenient. Then you can run out when necessary. In the one long campaign I came close to winning as the Romans I had to give up when Ben Yair shepherded about 40 units out through that gate while I was trying to conquer the Lower City from the other city areas. My thin screen of cavalry was never going to keep them under control.

I think it's POSSIBLE to conquer two city areas (including the Upper and New) in the first AP, but I would never want to try it.
 
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Alan Lipka
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Quote:
Do you really think it's impossible to take two city areas as the Romans in the first assault?


Yes.

Here is why:

Roman Mines are capable of breaching Walls and opening significant avenues into City areas. It is generally accepted that the Roman needs a 2 hex Breach to even think about penetrating an area. So, given a two hex Breach, what does the Judaean do ?

Here is the defensive formation that Aaron and I typically use:



We call this the "double line". Any time the Judaean can front up with two lines of Zealots/Regulars against Romans attacking from a Breach, it is going to require very good luck for the Roman to get meaningful results. The permutations are too numerous to go through, but it might be instructive to start with this position and (as the Roman) try to break it. Given stacking limits, Breach attack reductions, Indirect Fire limitations and even with no Judaean reinforcements, it will take at least two turns to break this line. Roman losses will be ... significant. Play it through yourself and you will see what I mean.

What about a 3 hex Breach ? The same defensive formation applies.



A 4 hex Breach ? Again …



The concept is to make a line of Zealots (in the middle) and Regulars (on the flanks) adjacent to the Breach hexes, with double- stacked Regulars two hexes behind them. The best Roman melee is against the best Judaean defenders. The Roman cannot roll the flanks because of the 3-hex stacks. Advance after combat will never reach the second line to engage it, but once the melee breaks down there are enough Regulars to in normal range to eliminate and/or disrupt at least 4-6 Romans. Then comes the Judaean melee and following Missile Fire Phase … where it gets really ugly for the Roman !

If the Judaean uses this tactic to defend City areas, there is no conceivable way that the Roman can take two areas in one Phase. It simply takes too long to make the Breaches, exploit them, move up to the second City area’s Walls, Escalade them, move into the second City area in force and do it all in the face of a Judaean making suicidal attacks along the way.

But you must (as the Judaean) understand that a defense of this nature will probably cost you every unit you have on the Board. It will cost the Roman crippling casualties. It will NEVER (and this is essential to the Judaean mindset), cost an area taken on the fly.

Defensive posture and the units to form them are the first priority of a Judaean defender. Plugging the gaps is more important than defending the Walls. If you consider the number of turns it takes the Roman to approach an interior Wall, climb it, get into that City area with 10 FHI, and control 15 Built-ups, you will see that such a process must begin (at the latest !) on Turn 5 of any Phase.

No, my friend, I must agree with Steve. It may be possible to take two City areas in the first assault Phase, but I would not want to try it. A Judaean that understands how to delay the Roman exploitation and has the guts to leave the defense of a second City area to Reserves will prevail.

Perhaps some tactical principles, based on this perspective, should be stated:

* Judaeans always front a Breach with a line of their best units.
* Judaeans always hold the shoulders of their line with 3-hex stacks to prevent the Roman from rolling the line.
* Any Roman attempt to exploit a breakthrough is always met by a Judaean force of at least 6 Regulars.

Breaches, Bastions and Built-ups will throw some spice into this brew, but I believe that holding such a line and planning ahead so that there are enough units to do so is the focal point of Judaean tactics. It takes a brave heart to stand up and do this. Be a brave heart !

Please pass along my best to Marten Jan for his Roman successes ! He has done what no one else has … and I give him due credit !

Alan


 
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Peter Veenstra
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Hi Alan,
Thanks for your reply.
I think you’re right that city area defense is all about slowing down the Romans.
Marten Jan and I experimented with types of defensive setups like the one you posted. What we saw however is that the Roman simply blasted them away with missile fire. Those poor Zealots in the middle of the line would be dead before the melee even started..

Of course our style is always evolving.
In our first games the Judean attempted to hold the New city for several turns. In later games the Judean retreated earlier and hid on and behind the Tyropean wall.
In our last game Marten Jan mined extensively and basically walked through the New city and arrived early at the Tyropean walls. He then started ramming quite successfully (also with armoured tower)

Since he also threatened the city of David and the Lower city I had to divide my forces. I miscalculated in sending just too much troops into the Tyropean and lost the Lower city. That was a miscalculation of course.

In hindsight I should maybe have delayed one or two turns longer in the New city, but as always, I was afraid of losing too much units. I always fear the situation in which I lose so much units in defending one piece of wall that the Roman has a walk over in the rest of the city..

So I guess this discussion boils down to the question: Can you take the New City and the Tyropean city in the first assault phase? I already know your answer. I’m still in doubt.

Take two legions on the New city, 1 next to the City of David, 4 mines divided all over Jerusalem,
1 armoured tower, a ramp of 5 hexes and storm forward!

Anyway, we play again on friday. The game is set up at Marten Jan’s place. I’m still not sure if my escape is possible. If so, I still have a chance of winning..arrrh
Regards,
Peter


 
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Alan Lipka
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Quote:
Can you take the New City and the Tyropean city in the first assault phase? I already know your answer. I’m still in doubt.


Hi Peter -

Whenever I find myself so sure of the way I think that all other options are eliminated I go back and think again blush I respect your doubt !

Quote:
Take two legions on the New city, 1 next to the City of David, 4 mines divided all over Jerusalem,
1 armored tower, a ramp of 5 hexes and storm forward!


Oh my, is THAT what you faced ??? Again, I give Marten Jan credit ! I also have a much deeper appreciation for what you had coming at you !

It is folly for me to judge such a situation, since I have never faced it. Almost all of our Games have been played with no Mines at start. It is a puzzle though, and I can clearly see how the Judaeans can be simply overrun by such a Roman assault. (It intrigues me enough to ask if you could set it up and send me the specifics. Or even make up the specifics for that matter. I just want to play out what you have described !)

On the other hand ... in my most humble opinion ... and with the greatest respect ... I might just offer a thought about how I would approach the situation.

First of all, I would make sure the Roman knew I was defeated from the start, had no chance, and was totally taken aback by his Phase I assault that used ALL of his available resources to hit me while I was at my weakest. This is simply gamesmanship ... completely phony ... meant to get him thinking I am done for before even rolling a die. angry

Secondly, I would note that with only two Legions attacking the New City and with up front Breaches, the Roman might be vulnerable to Sorties right from the start. (I would say this under my breath and with something of a doubt in my voice ...) angry

I would then commit ben Gurion, ben Levi and ben Giora to the NC. All Reserves from the NC would support them, of course, and they would soon be available. Two Legions spread out ... just far enough apart to allow the Mines ... let's even say the third Legion was in reserve while the fourth tried for the COD. If the third Legion is elsewhere, all the better. Ben Shimon sets up where necessary to deny the most egregious Roman occupation. (The COD gets a few Militia, no more … ) angry angry angry

Now ... the Roman assault hits the NC with 2-3 Legions against 3 reinforced Factions. shake

In all honesty, I don’t know how I would react. I suspect that by Turn 3 things will look bleak for the Judaeans in the NC. After Turn 5, I think things would be manageable … as long as the Judaean does not retreat en masse. As the Judaean, I would certainly spend Militia. Defend the Breaches, shoot at Romans with Regulars. Retreat. Defend the Built-ups, shoot at Romans with Regulars. Use ZOC to funnel the Roman assault. Use ben Yair to counterattack Roman footholds in Built-ups. Once the Roman is in the NC, front up with Regulars any time they can against Romans in the open. If they are not in Testudine … they are toast. Zealots melee against Roman soft points. arrrh

In any case, I think I would ignore the Ramps (BTW, where are they ?) since they only allow units to go up, not down into the City area they are attacking. Reserves can handle any incursion … perhaps with a little help from ben Shimon. The COD gets enough defenders to face up and force Reserve activation. Even if taken, it is a Roman death trap. Remember, all of those nice Built-ups go away in Phase II. Do you really want to be a Roman occupying a leveled out COD in Phase II ? Oh my … arrrh

Perhaps the best perspective I can offer is that the Judaean cannot lose the Game in Phase I as long as the Temple holds. The Roman can obtain better position for assaults in upcoming phases by taking territory, but that territory must provide a realistic base for grabbing more territory. The Judaean OoB will get progressively stronger and the Roman OoB will get progressively weaker. So the Judaean can afford to give up territory, particularly territory that cannot be defended (COD), as long as they MAKE THE ROMAN BLEED ! arrrh

So … as the Judaean against a 4 Breach, Ramp, Armored Tower assault … I defend the NC to the last man and try to take out every Roman unit I can by using up front, in your face tactics. I protect ben Yair. I counterattack ! I use flank defensive positions when in your face tactics become impossible. I use Built-ups for defensive lines. I let the Roman move through the center. I never retreat en masse ! There is no reason to defend the TC when 40 units await as Reserves and it takes at least 3 Turns to hit the Walls, climb them, enter the City Area and control 15 Built-ups. With Redoubts occupied, huge Roman losses, increased manpower, an intact Temple complex, and time running down … I’ll take the Judaeans in Phase II … even if the NC falls, the COD is taken and the TC succumbs. Too much good fortune tempts the Roman into making foolish attacks. There is no way the Roman can take the Temple as long as AF stands, so Phase II is a holding action … not at all conducive to the Roman mindset.

One final comment … if, as the Roman, I can take the above City areas in Phase I, I am going to cream the Judaean for the rest of the Game no matter what comes, hands down, no question.

I think this makes me a sophist …

Peter, my brother, do the kamikaze thing and see how it works. The best Judaean strategy is to fight effectively (killing Romans), efficiently (from the best defensive positions without getting surrounded) and to the last man (but not ben Yair !).

Go forth, do this, and roll 6's.

My very best –

Alan














 
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Jason Johns
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Alan, this analysis for the Judean defense looks great. I guess my only question here is, why wouldn't the Romans just stand back and shoot your open ground Judeans to death? Take an extra round or two, sure, but then these guys are dead. Meanwhile, the other three legions are hitting somewhere else. Just a thought.

So, can you give how you, as the Roman, would respond to this, to include just shooting it out?

Thanks,
Jason


Lipka149 wrote:
Quote:
Do you really think it's impossible to take two city areas as the Romans in the first assault?


Yes.

Here is why:

[SNIP]

Alan
 
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Alan Lipka
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Hi Jason -

Better yet, I think an actual example would work better. Unlike the Judaean, the Roman has a lot more to consider for an effective assault. Timing, stacking limitations, indirect fire and LOF’s play into things so much that an empirical approach is simply unrealistic.

To this end, I will post a Session Report based on Phase II of the QQ25 Assault. I set it up over the weekend and it looks to be a great TC assault. The 2 hex Breach will certainly come into play.

Best –

Alan
 
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Steve Hope
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Great to see ongoing SoJ discussions!

Without playing out the situation, I generally agree with Alan that the Romans run into trouble when they try to bulldoze through a breach. The weak point of the defense-in-depth Alan lays out (and I only mean "weak point" in the sense of "area to be attacked", not any flaw in the defense--I'm sure Alan is aware of what I'm about to say) is the bastions. Take the bastions on either side of a breach, and that makes things far more difficult for the Judaeans. It will of course take the 2 turns that Alan describes, but that's the way to (methodically and with the fewest casualties) break down the defense.

This may not work when time is of the utmost essence (i.e. attempting to take multiple city areas in one AP), but for me that would be a reason NOT to try to take multiple areas rather than a reason to be more aggressive.
 
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Jason Johns
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So what is the "slow and methodical" method of taking a bastion or assaulting the walls? I figured that many Romans' problem would be that they feel that they have to rush. How do you punish the guys on the wall or BFF (bastion/fort/fortress) without taking it in the shorts in the process?

On the one practice solo game that I ran (this decade!!!), I moved no one adjacent to the wall, but just stacked two spaces out and shot him down. (I used 2 archers/missiles stacked with one HI to give a -1 modifier.) I also had some Testudos around to draw heat. I'm not sure if it worked or not. It was ok. Any thoughts?

Jason

stephenhope wrote:
Great to see ongoing SoJ discussions!

Without playing out the situation, I generally agree with Alan that the Romans run into trouble when they try to bulldoze through a breach. The weak point of the defense-in-depth Alan lays out (and I only mean "weak point" in the sense of "area to be attacked", not any flaw in the defense--I'm sure Alan is aware of what I'm about to say) is the bastions. Take the bastions on either side of a breach, and that makes things far more difficult for the Judaeans. It will of course take the 2 turns that Alan describes, but that's the way to (methodically and with the fewest casualties) break down the defense.

This may not work when time is of the utmost essence (i.e. attempting to take multiple city areas in one AP), but for me that would be a reason NOT to try to take multiple areas rather than a reason to be more aggressive.
 
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Steve Hope
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It's not uncommon to go: 2 towers facing each bastion along a stretch of wall, potentially (optional) with a velitae escalade and foederatti on the wall spaces between the bastions. Then mass your firepower (sometimes including artillery, sometimes not depending on whether or not you've got a leader on top of one of the towers) and pound the bastions in the missile phases. Ideally you're trying to get control of one or more bastions, which then give you a wonderful field of fire onto the clear hexes below and create the room to send heavy infantry flooding through into the city.

This is of course primarily applicable in the New City and the Upper and Lower Cities, where there is space between the clumps of built-up hexes and it's easier to clear areas of Judaeans.

Breaches can actually make this more complicated, since it creates sallying risk, but it also allows for lots of surrounding and/or continuing attacks. For example, in the example that Alan shows, you can put a cohort in a breach and a foederatti on the wall on the other side of the bastion and have a good attack against the bastion, then a 1-1 with a +1 to force the regular to retreat at the base of the stairs, then do a continuing attack with the 2x for surrounding the Judaeans which, if successful, allows the 5-8 at the bottom of the stairs to move up into the bastion and avoid the worst exposure to missile fire.
 
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Alan Lipka
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Great insight Steve -

What you are about to see is an assault on the TC with no Mine damage. This means that 4 Rams and one AT have to create the necessary entry points to get the job done. As well, they will need to shift in a timely manner to Rubble certain hexes that must be taken down to justify the immediacy of their attack.

Rams will knock down Wall hexes. Towers will take Bastions. The idea is to make a 7 hex "Breach" composed of 3 Bastions and 4 Rubbled Walls along the north of the TC.

This will complicate the Judaean defense as the Romans come through the "Breach". but simplify their defense in the Built-ups. In effect, it will take away the need to stuff the Roman attack at the Breach, since it is going to succeed in any case. The Judaean will make his stand, to be sure, but the real defensive line will be the Built-ups. Watch how the Judaean does this.

And watch how the Roman defeats it. The Tactics exhibited in this Phase will be a precursor to the Tactics used to do the job in Phase III.

Stephen has it right ... a methodical approach that minimizes casualties ... leading to an overwhelming assault that succeeds in its effect.

The Roman will take the TC and create a fatal weakness in the TQ which can be exploited in Phase III. As well, the Roman preparation in the LC will have established an alternative that the Judaean cannot deny.

I can't wait for you to read the TC Session Report ! It is not what you might expect ... it is nothing that I might have anticipated ! It will certainly lend itself to conversation.

Best for now -

Alan




 
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