Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Pericles: The Peloponnesian Wars» Forums » Rules

Subject: Phormio play concerns rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Paul Norell
New Zealand
AUCKLAND
flag msg tools
mbmb
I love this game, as I may have stated elsewhere, particularly the Phormio martrix, as I play a lot solitaire.

I have a particular concern regarding the Spartan strategy to establish a presence in Sicily in some of the scenarios when it is virtually impossible for them to do so.

One solution is to imagine I roll a '6' and move on to another startegy. A second option is to adopt an alternative stratetgy that would take Sparta nearer to the Sicily objective, by, for example, targeting Naupactus and then Corcyra.

What are the thoughts of others on this question?
1 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Ladson
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Sicily strategy is important because even though you may not get there, it should put good pressure on Naupactus and will often cause an Athenian Phormio (and even a human player for that matter) to got into "control naval chokepoints" mode.

Remember Sparta has the benefit of having its granary in its home city-state, making it a tough nut to crack. By contrast, Athens' granary is in the more tenuous Hellespont, so Athens really wants that second granary in Sicily as a foil against getting checkmated. Sparta wants pressure on the West part of the map to split Athens' attention and the Sicily strategy does that.
2 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
BrentS
Australia
Sydney
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It took me a few plays and some commentary from Mark to understand that often Phormio is not necessarily trying to achieve the goal of his PS in one go, but that in some cases the partial effort to do so will advance his city state's agenda in that entire region of the map, perhaps set up the circumstances to achieve that PS at a future time, and open up possibilities in new theatres.

The most obvious examples of this are the Ravage Attica / Sparta strategies (which are also the most convoluted and difficult to understand and implement from the charts). If the enemy city state is uncontested, Phormio cannot actually Ravage (read Raid) the enemy city state first time......the matrix instructions actually set this up for future turns.

With the Spartan Granary strategy, Sparta is unlikely to get to Sicily first try in most scenarios, but the initial effort will get Sparta a presence in Naupactus and then, most importantly, Corcyra. Not only does that divert Athenian resources to the high priority Naval Chokepoint PS on the Athenian matrix, as Scott has pointed out, but contesting Corcyra is the first step to building a Peloponnesian League base there, which is necessary for Sparta's ultimate goal of getting formidable Spartan hoplites to Sicily.

The Granary strategy can be skipped but I think it bypasses this important, if non-obvious function of the matrix. I tend to cut Phormio some common sense slack, particularly when he's running my enemy city state factions, to avoid suicidal ventures or wasteful expenditure of resources, but never when it comes to PS issues.......those are the issues mandated by his assembly and making Phormio pursue them by the letter of the matrix is important to the narrative but also creates interesting situations and opportunities that I may not have anticipated.

Brent.
4 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Norell
New Zealand
AUCKLAND
flag msg tools
mbmb
Thanks for the feedback. I think your reasoning is sound and agree that the step-by-step process does achieve the objective.

While speaking about solitaire play, I sometimes count the strategos tokens that all factions will need to implement their strategies and then, any remaining tokens I sometimes allow to be played by the non-active faction in combat situations.

Anyone tried this out? It's one area which is not dealt with in the Phormio system. I am trying to create a surprise element by building in a randomising element which would allow the 'defender' to maybe put in tokens to upset the active player's strategy.

Again, any thoughts?
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
BrentS
Australia
Sydney
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Of course, it's entirely flexible and you can do whatever you want solo. I think that's perfectly legitimate......although personally I'm strict about following the decision chart by the letter if Phormio has unresolved PS issues....I like determinism leavened with a bit of chaos .

The decision chart does direct Phormio to commit up to 4 Strategos as non-Commanding general (either on the attack or defense) if he has no remaining Military, League or Diplomatic issues to resolve. I like the challenge of manipulating this is in solo play, either pushing to resolve my compatriot's issues early so that he's free to commit to my Expedition Assemblies or conversely to resolve my most important Expedition Assemblies as early as possible so that the enemy city state Phormios won't commit. Although this doesn't simulate true multiplayer play, where enemy commitment is unpredictable, it gets part way there, as live opponents are less likely to expend precious Strategos early if they need to save them for their own agendas (at the very least it imposes difficult decisions on them). It does add an extra layer of strategic planning to solo play that I quite enjoy.

Again, having said that, I do tend to give enemy city state Phormios a common sense break here when it comes to unresolved non-PS issues, particularly if these issues have been placed somewhere random and unimportant (an Athenian Military in the South Sporades springs to mind). In those circumstances I'll bypass the decision chart to let them play intelligently and commit in defense....but never when they have PS issues yet to resolve (even if I think they have them to spare) and never for my own Phormio compatriot (he's my handicap and overcoming his unpredictable and occasionally self-defeating or pointless plays is part of my burden to bear and challenge to overcome).

Brent.
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Norell
New Zealand
AUCKLAND
flag msg tools
mbmb
Thanks for your feedback, Brent. I agree. I like to be flexible with rules when it adds uncertainty, particularly in solitaire play.

I don't know about you but, in over twenty solitaire games, I was increasing the non-player honour bonus to +60 and still winning, because the player can always manipulate the system.

On the other hand, I also like playing all factions with Phormio just to see what happens.

Perhaps I need more real opponents!
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
BrentS
Australia
Sydney
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think it depends on the scenario. Obviously in shorter scenarios you don't have the time necessary to overhaul the Phormio handicap. I'm more inclined to increase the handicap in longer scenarios.

Even then, you can be surprised. I just won a Suicide campaign as the Aristocrats by the skin of my teeth, with the Spartans given just the standard +20 honour handicap. All three Acharnians flipped, meaning three Plagues and my navy absolutely wiped out by Ravages of War (I think I ended with only three blue naval in play!). I had to force the peace with Hostages on turn 9 to eke out a narrow win.....if I'd let it play out for the last two turns the Spartans would have annihilated us.

Brent.
1 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Herman
United States
New York
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks to the OP for initiating a great question and to everyone who responded with some excellent posts. Geek gold all around. I liked it so much that it inspired me to write a short piece that you can find here.

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/27783266#27783266

Thanks
Mark
1 
 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.