I played my second ever game of Hellas today against Mark. In our first game I won after about an hour of play, but we were learning the game as we went along. Today's game was much quicker, lasting about 35 minutes.
The way our games have gone so far is that both armies explore for a while and then there are a few border skirmishes which sort out the vulnerable cities through tit-for-tat attacks and exchanges. This quickly becomes futile as cities just swap hands each turn, and then a further round of exploration occurs and players begin to collect more God cards. A simple attack doesn't work after a while, there is a need to develop a more cunning plan.
This Mark did with great aplomb through clever use of God cards. He attacked, and then played the card which allowed a successful attack to be followed by another attack. He also managed to retain this card for re-use using a second God card, allowing him to attack for a third time! (First attack, play the card allowing a follow on attack, retain that card with a God card, and then play it again for a third attack.) This took him to 9 cities in the space of one turn when we had formerly been equal!
I played Burst of Strength to build up my army in a vulnerable looking city and drew two Ares God cards hoping they would help defend against a further attack. In his next turn Mark therefore explored. If he had a successful voyage he would have won by reaching 10 cities, but luckily for me he couldn't place the tricky tile he drew.
I explord in my turn, managing to gain a new city. Mark responded with a burst of strength and reinforced the forces in three of his cities. He was clearly panning another offensive. I therefore played Burst of Strength again and carfully placed three Greeks in what I calculated were the only vulnerable spots.
In his turn as expected Mark attacked. I made the fatal mistake of missing one possible reinforcing move over the dolphin sea tile, and he successfully captured one of my cities. This made up his tenth, and victory was his.
I like this game - its length seems just right for the weight of the game and there are just enough options each turn to keep things interesting.