Richard Partin
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April 17-- Played through the 1st Olympiad. Highlights as follows: Athens failed in its siege at Potidea, as disease affected the Athenians rather than the Potideans, who eventually in Turn 6 sallied out to eliminate the last enemy Hoplites. Sparta attacked the Chalcians at Delium, but was thoroughly turned back. However, its ally, Thebes, successfully drove remaining hoplites out of Chalcis itself; but Athenian troops marched on Chalcis, in turn driving away the Thebens. Athens was successful in attacking enemy triremes, eliminating trireme units at Troezen, Gytheum, and Argos--which joined Sparta in Turn 5. Athenian ally Corcyra attacked naval units at Leucas but suffered casualties and retreated. In Turn 6 Pleuron Peltasts attacked and eliminated their counterparts at Naupactus, but didn't have enough troops to occupy Naupactus, which retained its triremes. Meanwhile, Athenian allies Chios and Mytilene, in Turn 4, sent triremes to aid of their leaders. Chios took part in the successful attack against Gytheum in Turn 6. So, at the end of the First Olympiad, Athens and Sparta retain their starting 19 Build Points apiece, and Sparta adds 2 BPs thanks to Argos coming in on their side (via random card draw). Miscellaneous note: Even though I shuffled the heck out of the cards and even separated them face-down on the floor before redrawing them one-by-one, Sparta won every single card draw!

April 20-- Played thru Olympiad 84 (2nd one). Athenian allies got into the action, helping Athens take out enemy triremes on the east coast of Peloponnesus and successfully capture the Sicilian island of Leucas. Allied forces have also moved into Amphipolis in what may become an expedition to retake Potidea. Athens itself is armed to the teeth, and it has built up its own and allied naval forces for probably continuing action against the east coast of Peloponnesus. Sparta has marched its forces into Megara, in hopes of drawing the Athenians out into battle. Spartan confederates, spearheaded by Corinthian naval forces defeated allied triremes at Naupactus and took that city, which is now garrisoned by hoplites from Elis as well as Corinthian naval units. The Spartan confederacy is completely solid throughout Peloponnesus. The one Spartan setback was not eliminating the last land unit from Stratus, which continues to hold out despite no walls for defense and no relief: Stratus remains surrounded on 3 sides by enemy forces, and Athens and its allies must move first in the next Olympiad in order to relieve it. In the next Olympiad the Spartan side needs to score some successes against Athenian allies in order to make them waver in their support for their leader city-state, while Athens must try to make a dent in the solid 'red' block of the Spartan Confederacy. Currently Sparta leads 21-19 in Build (Victory) Points.

April 21, 2009-- Played Olympiad 3 (424 B.C.). By Turn 4, Sparta had gained 1 BP to go up 22-18, but on Turn 5 Athens took Cythera and on Turn 6, Potidea finally fell on its second siege. This left the score tied 20-20 after three Olympiads. This Olympiad was notable for Athens managing to get onto the offensive, forcing Sparta to accept numerous sieges. At Amp, Sparta underwent a siege beginning in Turn 3; by the end of Turn 6, conditions had turned horrific, with one 1-step Spartan unit left and two 1-step Athenian allies units. Athens sent 3 trireme units to Cythera, which accepted siege but fell by force on Turn 5. On Turn 6, Sparta attacked Chalcis, but due to the narrowness of attacking across two straits could only get 3 blocks into action, with one Spartan hoplite block having to stop in Marathon. The Spartans got the worst of it and took 2 additional hits in retreating (from Allied Peltasts and Cavalry). Then, on Athens' turn, 3 allied units attacked the sole Spartan block in Marathon and eliminated it while losing 1 step each on two Hoplite units. So, Athens got the better of things in Olympiad 3, and in the next Olympiad (420 B.C.), Sparta needs to have some successes in order to convince Athenian allies they should drop out of the alliance.

April 22, 2009-- Played Olympiad 86 (#4, 420-417 B.C.). At the end, Build Points remain 20-20. Sparta and its allies did not march on either Athens or Chalcis, nor did Athens come out of its city to face the Spartans. In Turn 1 Athens attacked Troezen, but the Troezens accepted a siege--one which would last until what was left of Athenian allied forces retreated in Turn 6; the problem for them was that Sparta and its allies could send relief forces, in particular from Argos. Athenian allies also attacked to the west at Elis, but again, a siege ensued and Spartan allies rushed to its defense, so again Athenian allies failed to take their objective and ultimately retreated. Also, Athenian allies marched southwest from Potidea toward Peloponnesus; the Spartans aren't sure what their intent is, but have reinforced their forces at Naupactus, in case their enemy tries to retake the former Athenian ally's city. Athenian fleets and its allies are solidly entrenched at Cythera, south of Peloponnesus.

April 23, 2009-- The tide turned towards Sparta in Olympiad 87 (416-413 B.C.). In Turn 1, storms prevented any ships from moving, but Sparta attacked Chalcis, nearly taking the city (only two 1-step blocks left for the defenders). Sparta and her confederates took Chalcis on the next turn by maintaining the initiative and bringing in many fresh troops from Megara. This caused a 4-point swing in Build Points, from a 20-20 tie to a 22-18 Spartan advantage. In Turn 3, Sparta stayed on the attack, invading Corcyra, which lost its navy, but held out. Meanwhile, Athens continued to move forces south and west, to Cythera and Zacynthus. In Turn 5 an earthquake suspended operations by both sides, but in Turn 6, Athens made its big move--an invasion of Syracuse. However, Athens loaded up on triremes, which did minimal damage to the Syracusan fleet, which, along with ground forces, accepted siege. Athens pressed the siege on land with inferior forces and was wiped out. The four-block navy of Athens rowed back to Cythera and Zacynthus. With Syracuse in the Spartan confederacy, Sparta now has 26 Build Points and is completely re-loaded in all of its locations. Athens, if it renews its assault on Syracuse, risks opening eastern areas to possible naval attack, as well as areas in the NW section of the Peloponnesus which could be vulnerable.

April 24, 2009-- Sparta won, 30-15 at end of Olympiad 89. I played Olympiads 88 and 89 consecutively. In #88 the Athenians continued their blockade at Syracuse. In Turn 1, however, the Spartans successfully fomented a revolt that took Aybdos, thus putting Athens in a situation in which it was cut off from its grain supply (and would start losing one block at the end of each turn). However, with the bulk of its fleet at Syracuse and Spartan triremes poised on the east side of the The tide turned towards Sparta in Olympiad 87 (416-413 B.C.). In Turn 1, storms prevented any ships from moving, but Sparta attacked Chalcis, nearly taking the city (only two 1-step blocks left for the defenders). Sparta and her confederates took Chalcis on the next turn by maintaining the initiative and bringing in many fresh troops from Megara. This caused a 4-point swing in Build Points, from a 20-20 tie to a 22-18 Spartan advantage. In Turn 3, Sparta stayed on the attack, invading Corcyra, which lost its navy, but held out. Meanwhile, Athens continued to move forces south and west, to Cythera and Zacynthus. In Turn 5 an earthquake suspended operations by both sides, but in Turn 6, Athens made its big move--an invasion of Syracuse. However, Athens loaded up on triremes, which did minimal damage to the Syracusan fleet, which, along with ground forces, accepted siege. Athens pressed the siege on land with inferior forces and was wiped out. The four-block navy of Athens rowed back to Cythera and Zacynthus. With Syracuse in the Spartan confederacy, Sparta now has 26 Build Points and is completely re-loaded in all of its locations. Athens, if it renews its assault on Syracuse, risks opening eastern areas to possible naval attack, as well as areas in the NW section of the Peloponnesus which could be vulnerable. Athenian allies could not risk moving forces toward Aybdos and thus risk being conquered themselves. On Turn 3 storms preventing any sea movement, further hurting Athens. By Turn 5, Sparta and its confederates were sending reinforcements to Abydos, even as Athens felt the sting of its dwindling food supply back home. On the same turn, the Athenian fleet off Syracuse took 5 hits, reducing all 5 of its trireme blocks to 2 steps apiece. On Turn 6 an earthquake suspended all operations. In Olympiad 89, Sparta continued to reinforce the crucial city-state of Abydos, and took Lesbos (Mytilene), adding one Build Point and making the score 29-15 (within 1 point of potentially winning the game). On Turn 2 storms prevented Athens from moving any ships--although Pella joined Athens, giving it 1 Build Point. Block losses at the end of each Athenian turn continued (via Sparta holding Abydos). On Turn 3 Sparta attacked and took Lemnos, thus reaching 30 points, to Athen's 1, and send even more reinforcements to Abydos. Meanwhile, the Athenian blockade of Syracuse was having little effect. At the same time (Turn 4), Sparta reinforced Lemnos, as the only hope of relief would have to come from forces moving north from the land containing Athenian allies, from Rhodes in the south, to Melitus, Samos and Chios, among others. In Turn 5, Athens tried to regain one crucial Build Point by attacking Mytilene, but its inadequate forces were overwhelmed and eliminated. Meanwhile, ultimate disaster struck at Syracuse, when, after scoring one hit in the attack portion of the blockade, all 5 Athenian trireme blocks were eliminated. Finally, on Turn 6, Athens attacked Gytheum from across the sea from Cythera, but this last-ditch effort, both by attack and subsequent siege, had no effect either way. With the disaster at Syracuse combined with the fatal revolt at Abydos, and with its forces at Athens gradually being reduced toward nothing, Athens was forced to sue for peace, and Sparta and its confederate city-states declared themselves the victors.

Note: What I did in this replay was to take note of the actual history, and even try to time the invasion of Syracuse as close as I could to 415 B.C. (had to wait closer to 413 B.C., because of card draws). And, rather than abandon the blockade of Syracuse--especially following the loss, by revolt, of Abydos and the gradual strangulation of Athens itself--I continued to prosecute that move to the awful end. With most Athenian naval forces tied up off Syracuse, Sparta had sufficient triremes free to potentially invade any allied city-state to the east that tried to send relief forces to Abydos. Sparta also kept up the strength of its forces in the Peloponnesus so that Athens and its allies would have not have been able to mount enough force to overcome what surely what would have become sieges or half-sieges (the effects of siege in this game are understandably brutal, unless the attacker gets a whole bunch of repeatedly favorable dice rolls). Now if I was playing head-to-head and not to emulate history, then yes, I think Sparta would have a tough time winning. Given that it was Athens that lost the war, I would have thought the Victory Conditions at the end of Olympiad 89 would award the verdict to Sparta at the end rather than Athens, if neither side had reached 30 Build Points. But otherwise, as a simulation I have a newfound respect for the design of this game--especially now that I've played it enough times to pretty much have the rules down.

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Jonas Jacobsson
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Upplands Vasby
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Great session report!

But it would have been even greater with some illustrating pictures.
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Jon
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Superb report. Thank you.

This is one of those games that is sitting on the shelf unplayed, which is a pity given my interest in the period. Some day.....

I have heard that it is very difficult to Sparta to reach 30 points and some consider 27-28 to be sufficient for a victory.

I really must try this game! Arrghhh!!
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Richard Partin
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Re: Photo of end of game in which Sparta was the victor
Here's the photo showing the end situation in which Sparta won:

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