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Clash of Cultures: Civilizations» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The Mediterranean Romp rss

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Ezra Strong

Juneau
Alaska
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The world was new, and all was at peace. From three tribes, leaders arose. In the far West, one called Gaius Julius was proclaimed Caesar by his people, to lead them out into the world, to expand beyond their small settlement. Food was plentiful for Caesar and his people, the Romans, and it was aided by this surplus that the Romans sought to build larger projects, feats of engineering of bridges and structures more wondrous still.

In the south, by what we now know as the shores of the inland Sea of Perilous, from the huts of the Greeks, did come one called Pericles. By his guidance did his people turn inward, making much of bits of tree bark and putting symbols upon them, calling it writing. And his people ventured into the dark places, seeking out the land around them, and finding themselves on the shore of the aforementioned sea.

To the far northeast did the tribe called Carthaginians after the manner of their village hold one named Hannibal as leader, and studied the husbandry of animals, prospering in happiness and partaking of the fruits of the land. So it was that the story of our land begins.

The years swept on. The Romans attracted a man of numbers, who showed them the ways of exchanging their goods for little bits of metal. The Greeks turned towards the irrigation of their barren lands and the education of their people, opening their new academy to all. The Carthaginians, ever enamoured of the sea, built a port there and began a navy, taking the fruits of the ocean to home.

The Romans fought little of use in their exploration south, salty ocean and barren wastelands, eventually settling a small community down. On the mountain pass on the other side of the bay, directly south of Caesarea they raised the port city of Thalon. The Greeks settled down in what would be another of their academic centers of Alexandria north of their capital, east of Caesarea. Carthage found plains inhabited by a village of unpleasant and hostile barbarians, as well as a sea full of pirates; undeterred they settled down on the coast of that sea as well.

Time passed, Carthage turned to the mapping of the seas and navigating, coming to an arrangement with the pirates -- soon enough, the pirate ships would be carrying grain to and from Grecian cities. The Romans, however, were falling behind in their advancement, in favor of encouraging expansion and migration. In Greece, their academies were swelling with students, and their irrigated farmlands were producing a surplus of food for their burgeoning civilization, to the point they had to begin to build storehouses to cope with the excess.

Now, though, things began to get interesting. In the flurry of progress and change within the Greek cities, as change will do, it produced the discontent and the brilliant. Some, longing for something more, turned to the speech of an eloquent man, and there emerged a great prophet from their ranks. Others, discontent with what they had, threw off the shackles of civilization and reverted to barbarism, some travelling to the east, to join with the ranks of those on the plains by Carthage. Others moved west, settling on the Roman border, right outside Caesarea. The Carthaginians, having begun training elephants in their southern city, lured the prophet east with their culture, allowing him to establish a temple in Carthage. Somehow provoked by the growing contentment within Carthaginian cities though, the barbarians struck out, only to meet a fearsome regiment of elephants that defended the city. The elephants managed to wipe out one of the two masses of undisciplined wilders, defending the city at the cost of their own lives.
The Romans, driven by the proximity of a barbarian settlement to their own, rapidly began raising infantry and developing tactics for dealing with the menace. Their own cities to the south, though, suffered greatly, citizen quarreling with citizen, threatening outright war among their own people until Caesar stepped in. The Greeks, however, unpressed by such military needs, continued to field but a single troop for their own defense, spending resources instead to begin sending traders north to Carthage.
For now, Greece was the happiest and most cultured civilization in the world.

In the northeast, the Carthaginian markets had attracted horsemen, cavalry riders that joined their swelling ranks of infantry, and even more terrifying -- elephants. With ease did Hannibal lead them against the barbarians, trampling their numbers underfoot and seizing their crude settlement. But then, rather than return to the walls of mighty Carthage, the army moved west, toward the Grecian borders. While they did make some provision for garrisoning their coastal city, soon after they departed, the plague swept through the land, and their infantry succumbed. Rome too began assembling their forces, with the Caesar himself utilizing the well-made Roman roads to make it back just in time to lead the army against the barbarian settlement, crushing it despite the losses inflicted by their skilled warriors, finishing the deed by looting the buildings and burning it to the ground. Rome, for one, would return to its cities in those days, gathering forces to head north to try and settle.there, on the coast.
Time was not on their side. Rome had little of farmable land, possessing in great measure water, barren rocks, and arid wastes. Their ships on the seas could bring them some gold to trade for food when needed, but armies need more than that meager supply. And all too soon, the barbarians arose again, more displaced Greeks coming to leech and harass the Romans. Again their forces rose up, driving the tribes back with their fine new steel weapons.
No longer could the Greeks deny the tides that were coming. While the Carthaginians seemed to hold back, as if waiting for something, there was no assurance that the Greek’s trade partners would not see cities changing hands. Cities of learning began to establish foundations for great fortresses, and in the following you, Pericles the learned fell from favor and another arose to lead: Leonidas. Leonidas was a garrison commander at one time in the north, and he took advantage of the new drafts to call up forces in the north to fortify against possible incursion.
Meanwhile Carthage stood immobile on the north. Their ships, however, sailed out exploring to the south, finding land directly east of the Greeks, and there they settled and recruited troops, a few short leagues from the Greek capital. And for yet a third time, a settlement arose of uncivilized and coarse people outside Caesarea, closer to the borders of Greece. This time though, they were former Roman citizens, fleeing what they saw as an increasing tyranny. Again the legions of Rome, under Gaius Julius, rode out, this time with horsemen from their provinces and their best apothecaries of Caesarea at their back. The ‘barbarians’, fellow countrymen but a short time earlier, fell before the blades of the Romans. Now, Gaius and his men marched straight through, leaving buildings intact and claiming it as a province, setting the troops to recruiting immediately. With their close proximity to the Greeks though, there came also changes; styles and affections of the Greeks began to be seen in Roman culture. At least, until Caesar established his totalitarian regime. The effects continued to linger, though.

One of the peculiarities of that Greek culture, though, was their method of choosing leaders. They called it voting. Many others called it insanity. As suddenly as Leonidas rose, he fell, and one called Alexander came up to take his place, standing on the wall overlooking the Carthaginian forces. And so it began.
Hannibal and the forces of Carthage started the first assault on a civilized city, letting the infantry lead the way, martyrs for the forces to come, obliterating a full troop of Greeks, and destroying their tactical plan. Soon after, the city fell, Alexander was killed -- in battle, glorious or pointless, as history may judge -- and Carthage marched on. To the south, much the same happened. Caesar and his legions marched on the pristine academies of the Greeks, their archers clearing a path as their siege engines battered the fortress. Another province for Rome, more soldiers for their war machine.

Then Greece, bastion of culture for so long, turned their eyes to war and their own defense. With but one city remaining under their control, they rapidly constructed around it a Great Wall, visible for leagues, and fortified by all the men they could muster. And from there, their arts and sculptures, their culture, spread east to the lonely Carthaginian city.
With the moon waning overhead, fire lit the sky. In the far east, above that first port city of Carthage, that had endured the plague and barbarian hordes, a new threat came. As the ground shook, one could see even from distant Greece the gouts that descended from the mountain towards the city. Interspersed with the groans of the earth was the strange sounds of chunks of rock rending the air. Before the night was over, the walls would be shattered and overthrown; buildings buried beneath the still warm pulsing flows.
And so our tale nears its end. Carthage, still secure in their might, began to take inspiration from their plunder, plunging ahead in developments, erecting new buildings, and finally, in secure, defended Carthage, erecting wondrous great gardens. Those gardens proved too much temptation for Gaius though, and he ordered his men on a forced march along the mythical Roman roads, arriving at Carthage just in time before the end of the campaigning season. But both Carthage and Rome had spent too heavily. Their tactics were known, their forces depleted, and their creativity exhausted. In the end it was just two armies, slicing madly away at one another. Rome’s calvary acquitted itself well, but in the end, the Carthaginian familiarity with their elephants and the sheer size of them provided too much cover for their troops. The elephants stopped the momentum of the opening cavalry charge, and the subsequent battle became the essence of war: nasty, brutish, and long. At the end, the last Carthaginian, bleeding and dying, struck down the last Roman invader. At the end, there was only blood and silence among the corpses.

Perhaps at least their culture, their legacy, can live on.



Final scores:
31 All the Greeks
27.5 Caesar of Rome
49 Hannibal of Carthage



The last round was really the dealbreaker. Greece fortified up pretty well, but both Rome and Carthage had used most of their action cards attacking Greece. Rome got a pretty good sneaky jab in at the end (especially after Carthage trashed their own size 4 undefended city with a volcano for a nice safe bunch of points, but it turns out one of their only two cards left, the one they were betting on, didn't work on city assaults. Readfail. Both sides were out of cards to play, and it came down to straight dice. And, well, they managed to block getting wiped out for a round, and MAD ensued the next round. Between the five points for the city, five points for the wonder, and two points from their last (and final, Carthage got all objectives) objective card (and it looks like winning the battle would have given Rome one), the twelve point swing would have been enough to change places dramatically. Such that makes it a great game I think Carthage had 10.5 'bonus' points from event cards and murdering leaders, which is pretty admirable.
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Edu Avalon
Guatemala
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What a thematic game!!!!meeple
 
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Mark Papenfuss
United States
Star
Idaho
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"Your results are back: it's negative"......um, is that a bad thing?
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Great write up.
 
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Daniel Scott
Sweden
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Ok, I havent read many session reports...
But THIS was BRILLIANT! So much flavor, and it captures the very essence of this game. Start small, grow, explore, advance.



By far, the best writeup I have read.

 
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