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Field Commander: Alexander» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 335BC rss

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Justus Pendleton
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I am not a wargamer, not counting possibly having played Risk and/or Axis & Allies as a kid. I also don't generally like solo (board) games; I'd rather just play a computer game. Why did I buy Field Commander: Alexander? It was on sale for $50 (Australian) and it seemed to get decent reviews here so I decided to give it a shot. This morning I played my first game, the Granicus campaign.

(This session is reconstructed from the nifty play summary sheets available from dvg.com.)

(After spending quite a while separate the pieces into their numerous separate piles and setting up the board I was ready to start. Clearly I'm going to need a better solution than throwing everything into a single zip lock bag.)

Perhaps inflamed by the stories of his advisor Callisthenes, Alexander turned his back on Chaeronae, leaving King Philip to warily watch Chares and his Athenians but unable to move against them without Alexander's force of 28,000 foot and 2,000 horse.

In 338BC, Alexander's army foraged their way through Sestus to Ilium where the first of many prophecies about Alexander was revealed to him. The prophecy demanded a large sacrifice of gold, which Alexander immediately offered up despite the poor state of affairs of his accounts; best not to anger the gods with tardy offerings. The army then foraged its way to Granicus where Alexander saw the first action of his career.

30,000 Macedonians drew up against Memnon's 21,000 foot and 4,000 horse of Greek mercenaries. A surprise contingent of 2,000 unanticipated Heavy Cavalry made the odds nearly even with Memnon having a large cavalry advantage. A day of brutal and bloody fighting saw Granicus become the graveyard for over 21,000 Macedonians: besides Alexander's personal honour guard, only 2,000 Heavy Cavalry survived. A final heroic charge from them broke the back of Memnon's army but the forces were too bloodied to prevent Memnon from escaping in the chaos. Alexander worried that he could trouble in the future but was unable to do anything about it with 2/3rds of his army dead. In recognition of their strength and bravery these Heavy Cavalry were forever after known as The Companions.

His father, King Philip, was outraged at the tremendous cost of the battle and demanded Granicus be razed to the ground as punishment. Alexander saw it as a potential base of operations should he need to ever forcibly remove his father and instead opted to govern it peacefully with a promise to build a glittering city there one day.

Even with the new money from the governed territory, Alexander's army was dangerously short on funds thanks to the holy offering. To fill out his Heavy Cavalry, Alexander formed Light Cavalry and Peltasts from his grateful new subjects. He also ordered the construction of a Siege Engine to help deal with the walls at Sardis, Halicarnassus, and Lycia. These would be troops that he would lead to continued victory over the following years: non-Macedonian and expecting success in everything Alexander did.

During the months of rest in Granicus, the people of Sardis constructed an even mightier wall to dissuade Alexader from attacking them. Halicarnassus and Lycia sent small harassing parties but Alexander spent precious coin to bribe these forces in order to give his weary troops a rest.

In late 337BC his army decamped and moved toward Sardis. Unbeknownst to his troops, Alexander spent the last of his gold on foraging during the movement. If they had known his treasury was empty, his troops would likely have been less eager and his enemies more resilient! As it was, after weeks of negotiations and threats -- and promises of gentle rule -- the people of Sardis were convinced to open their gates to Alexander's army. With little hope of feeding an army on the move with empty coffers, Alexander decided to stay put until Spring 335BC.

During the following months in Sardis, Alexander's agents in the south reported that Halicarnassus was organizing a massive army with troops from the Balkans and beyond. Rumors said that over 20,000 foot and nearly 10,000 horse had been pledged by various lesser Kings if only Halicarnassus would take the lead in putting a stop to Alexander's growing influence. Needing to subdue Halicarnassus before this large force could be organized, Alexander once again mobilized in the Spring of 335BC and moved his army through Ephesus to the steps of Halicarnassus. Again, this movement drained his small treasury of the few funds he had been able to accumulate during the brief rest in Sardis but Alexander thought it better than letting a large army form against him.

For over a month, Alexander's army sat outside Halicarnassus as Alexander urged them to follow the example of Sardis, showing that in his magnanimity he had shown its people mercy and kindness following their surrender. His agent warned that the large Halicarnassan League army was beginning to muster behind him. If he didn't act soon he'd be trapped between the walls of the city and an army larger than his own. The city rulers tried to stall him as they readied their forces but Alexander realized this time blood would have to be shed and struck first.

Though Alexander was slow to begin moving and with an army of largely untested and new recruits from Sardis, the garrison of 21,000 foot inside Halicarnassus put up only a feeble defense; they had placed too much hope in the promise of a massive League army and proved unwilling to see their own blood shed to protect the aristocracy. Alexander's siege engines made short work of the walls and a charge of The Companions through the middle of the enemy lines shattered their will to fight. Immediately after victory, Alexander declared he was rebuilding the city to be greater than before to honor their bravery and valor in combat, earning him the respect of his new subjects.

As Spring turned into Summer during 335BC, the letters from Macedon become more frequent and more strident. His mother reported that Philip was threatened by Alexander's successes and was positioning a new heir to take his place, with implications that Alexander had ignored the Chaeronean threat because he was in league with them and, as a half-blood, a traitor to Macedon. Alexander saw that he had to move against this but also couldn't leave Lycia in a position to attack his fledgling empire.

Alexander moved his now seasoned army toward Lycia. When the city leaders saw the standard of The Companions on the horizon they quickly pledged allegiance to Alexander. With his frontier temporarily secured, Alexander began on the greatest overland march of ancient history. True, the cost of buying supplies for his army nearly bankrupted him but he rightly recognized that if he failed in this task he would never be King of Macedon.

Over the next several weeks, in the heat of Balkan summer, Alexander's army of 14,000 foot and 4,000 horse marched from Lycia through Caria, Lydia, Granicus, Ilium, Sestus, and Macedon to arrive in Chaeronea before Fall arrived. While passing through Macedon Alexander was given a "prophecy" that his advisor would betray him. Alexander thought it a ploy by his father to weaken him but couldn't risk going against the gods in front of his men. Callisthenes retired to his country villa to being writing his Histories of the Alexandrian Balkan Campaign of 338-335.

Alexander's men faced off against Chares' larger force of 28,000 foot but Alexander was no longer the untried leader of men he had been 3 years before. Now he was a Man of Prophecy, the man who had defeated Memnon's Greek mercenaries...and Chares was no Memnon. Alexander's army had broken the backs of cities and marched faster and longer than any army had ever marched before. It was clear whose side the gods were on.

After forming up lines, Alexander began withdrawing his troops, having earlier leaked fake news that his father had called him back to Macedon to be tried for treason. Chares greedily advanced his troops, hoping to catch Alexander flat footed. Unfortunately for him the manoeuvre had been a ruse, though not pulled off flawlessly, and the trap destroyed his lines. Once again, a charge by The Companions shattered the enemy lines and Chares escaped in the confusion.

Alexander ordered cities built in Chaeronea and Sardis to mark his great victory. At the beginning of Fall 335BC, Alexander marched his victorious army back to Macedon. Faced with an army that was fanatically loyal to Alexander personally (The Companions) and comprised mostly of Balkan recruits (from the fields of Granicus, Lesbos, and Sardis) King Philip had no leverage against Alexander. He was forced to publicly declare he had been led astray by false prophets, that Alexander was a True Son of Macedon, and that -- in light of his errors in judgement -- Philip would willingly cede the throne to Alexander. He lived out the rest of his life in a country estate with his wives and died at an advanced age.

At the age of 23, with five provinces owing him personal fealty, three cities build with his gold, and two Prophecies fulfilled, Alexander had already built a reputation that would last a century.

It was time to look to Asia, where eternal legends are made....
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Dan Verssen
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Great write-up!

Thank you for taking the time to create and share your adventures!
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Darrell Hanning
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Yep, great write-up.

I think you might realize now the mistake of not going after Chaeronae first - you get 3 extra battle plans, grab some extra money right off, and collect some glory. The tough decision for me is whether to raze or govern - razing getting you the financial impetus to move fast, and governing rewarding you later in the campaign.
 
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Gordon Adams
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Super session report.

Love this game to bits and never get bored with it.
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Justus Pendleton
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DarrellKH wrote:
I think you might realize now the mistake of not going after Chaeronae first


It was an "intentional mistake". I figured since it was the closest thing you are probably "supposed" to attack it first. Especially given the victory condition that Alexander's army is supposed to be in Lycia (which seems a bit silly if you ask me).

I fully expected to get crushed by Memnon since I was going after him first. Actually, I was a tiny bit disappointed that I "won" (and with a good chunk of Immortality) on my first try at the game. Though admittedly I was lucky with scouting and got foraging (i.e. spend gold) every time I moved.

I'm a little dubious about how much replay value there is here but I guess we'll find out eventually when I replay Granicus eventually!
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