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Pericles: The Peloponnesian Wars» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Go West Young Spartan! rss

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Mark Herman
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This is a follow on article to: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1813242/phormio-goes-si... that covers how Phormio thinks about Sicily. What I wanted to discuss today is how I think about Spartan western strategy as a human player.

One of the podcasts that I regularly follow is Rally in the Valley where two young men discuss a variety of interesting topics such as drink-game pairings although the core of their conversation is about the wargames they have recently played. From a personal perspective they remind me of my lifetime gaming buddy Gonz and I when we were that age (40 years ago). By the way guys, Gonz held the bartending portfolio, just ask Ted Raicer and Chris Perillo (a story I'll save for the future).

In their most recent episode they reviewed Pericles. While it was an interesting and rambling discussion I came away by thinking that they liked it and wanted to play it more to get better at it. Buried in the back and forth banter they came away making three points that I agree with. First Pericles is not mechanically complex, but there are several to keep track of. Second, some of the perception of complexity is due to the new and unfamiliar design and that a comparable hex and counter wargame would not be considered hard to pick up. Last, that the complexity really resides in not knowing what to do in your early plays. I look forward to hearing if they continue to develop their Periclean skills.

To continue to shine a light on how to improve at Pericles here is another article inspired by some questions recently posted on how does Phormio get to Sicily. At the core of all of my strategy articles is my understanding on what happened and how I have translated it into this design, so if you get a chance I would offer that reading up on the history will help you play this game better. Now to the article.

I am playing the Eurypontids against Phormio, but I am not using Brasidas. I am playing out both sides as I wanted to really get familiar with Judd Vance’s excellent Pericles Vassal module.

I play Pericles more or less continuously (solo) in parallel with my EotS Erasmus testing. Today I will use this short piece to build on my earlier piece regarding my use of Sicily to force Phormio to create pressure on Athens in the west.

But before I get into strategy I want to talk a little bit about the Corcyran Civil War. In 460, Corcyra is a former Corinthian colony and is neutral. Corcyra has a small colony called Epidamnus. At this point in the story all is quiet in the west. If you fast forward to 435-431 you will find that it is a Corcyran Civil War that has expanded into a direct confrontation with Corinth (a Spartan Ally). Corcyra in fear of being defeated turns to and convinces Athens to intervene. This intervention leads to direct Athenian-Corinthian combat and is one of four major tensions that brings on the 2nd Peloponnesian War.

In 460 BC Sparta begins the campaign game watching Athens displacing them as the leading power in Greece. I create this tension by how I present the situation, see: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1828288/alcibiades-teac... where I dissect the scenarios. What is important is the Isthmus of Corinth and by extension Sparta begin under a naval blockade (Athens and Naupactus), but remember Sparta is a land power, so is there a land solution to the naval blockade?

If you read Thucydides and understand what the Peloponnesian League was trying to accomplish you will have the answer to this question: Aetolia. Aetolia creates an alternate path to Sicily via Corcyra. In the screen capture from the Vassal module you will see that Corcyra is under Spartan control with a base and naval forces poised to easily move to Sicily in turn 2.


Campaign Game Turn 2: Aristophanes phase has just concluded

This end state was accomplished with a league-military combo in Corcyra (first issue in sequence is first into the queue) supported by a military issue in Aetolia. I intend to follow up in turn 2 with a League issue in Aetolia and a league-military issue in Sicily. This two turn set of combos is set up by winning two military and one League issue in the Assembly phase, which is not that difficult to accomplish in most situations.

Now if you are playing the 2nd Peloponnesian War scenario (turn 6), then Corcyra is firmly in the Delian League with Sicily (Syracuse) aligned with the Peloponnesian League. In this circumstance the same opening with land forces moving through Aetolia works in a similar manner. By moving via land into Corcyra and building a base Sparta opens up opportunities to shift naval forces into Corcyra during the turn 1 redeployment and then shifting ground forces into Sicily in turn 2.

This is one of my main openings for the Spartans. My goal is to block Athens out of Sicily early in the campaign and then attack overland into the Hellespont later in the scenario as supported from Ionia. Hopefully this short sequence will give you some ideas on Periclean strategy for your future games.

Enjoy!
Mark
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Tiggo Morrison
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Quote:
I look forward to hearing if they continue to develop their Periclean skills.


GG for the unusual use of the adjective there...
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Quote:
I am playing the Eurypontids against Phormio, but I am not using Brasidas. I am playing out both sides as I wanted to really get familiar with Judd Vance’s excellent Pericles Vassal module


What's you overall experience of this? It seems to me Phormio would gridlocklock much worse than human players.
 
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Mark Herman
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Scottgun wrote:
Quote:
I am playing the Eurypontids against Phormio, but I am not using Brasidas. I am playing out both sides as I wanted to really get familiar with Judd Vance’s excellent Pericles Vassal module


What's you overall experience of this? It seems to me Phormio would gridlocklock much worse than human players.


Define gridlock? Do you mean in the Assembly Phase?
 
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MarkHerman wrote:
Scottgun wrote:
Quote:
I am playing the Eurypontids against Phormio, but I am not using Brasidas. I am playing out both sides as I wanted to really get familiar with Judd Vance’s excellent Pericles Vassal module


What's you overall experience of this? It seems to me Phormio would gridlocklock much worse than human players.


Define gridlock? Do you mean in the Assembly Phase?


Yes. Because Phormio is always playing his strongest-aligned card and doesn't play dogs it seems they would be often running into 5-average gridlock.
 
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Mark Herman
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Scottgun wrote:
MarkHerman wrote:
Scottgun wrote:
Quote:
I am playing the Eurypontids against Phormio, but I am not using Brasidas. I am playing out both sides as I wanted to really get familiar with Judd Vance’s excellent Pericles Vassal module


What's you overall experience of this? It seems to me Phormio would gridlocklock much worse than human players.


Define gridlock? Do you mean in the Assembly Phase?


Yes. Because Phormio is always playing his strongest-aligned card and doesn't play dogs it seems they would be often running into 5-average gridlock.


It can happen, but that assumes that there is an even distribution of cards and issues. Usually this is not the case. But if it happens it happens, part of the narrative.

Mark
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