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Subject: 431 Campaign: Sparta win on second turn? rss

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Łukasz
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We - friend of mine and myself - played a game of Hellenes yesterday (this is truly wonderful game, I have to say, but more on this I will write later, in another thread) and our first game ended up in - hear hear - in 430 BC. I was playing Athens, Rafal lead Sparta. I tried hard to move wisely but all in all it all boiled down to quenching fires in revolting cities in which I did not succeed and eastern coast of Aegean Sea revolted, yielding him ~15 prestige points, ending the game. He played 4 or 5 revolts, of which I manage to quell just one. He also had lucky recruit draw and picked that funny fleet with green background from Aeolian Islands, as far as I recall - another three or four points.

Sounds feasible or I just failed miserably?

The other game we played that evening I was leading Sparta and had TWO revolts during four or five years. Speaking of bad luck...
 
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Carlos S. Olivares Pérez
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You beat my record as Athens: in Year 429, Sparta made a Peace Offer and won.
 
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So this is feasible *sigh*
 
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Reinhard Mueller
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grouchysmurf wrote:
So this is feasible *sigh*


First priority for Athens is to spread their fleet in the Aegaen sea and occupy the most valuable cities preventivly. The Spartan player will then have a hard time to use the revolts other than giving Athens opportunities to make prestige points by successful siege assaults. Demeter of course is a must for Athens as well as keeping a 3 action card for winter to support the besieging fleets.


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etagimbo wrote:

other than giving Athens opportunities to make prestige points by successful siege assaults.


But a succesful siege assault doesn't seem an easy task for the Athenian fleets, don't you think?

Given the fact that Athens needs 2 hits in a single combat round to eliminate the defending Spartan garrison and that such garrison has a 33,3% chance of routing one Athenian fleet each round, I would dare to say that Athens needs a minimum of three 4-step fleets and one 1-step fleet (for a total of 13-14 naval steps) to attempt a siege assault with a reasonable probability of success.

It seems as a huge investement by the Athenian side. Especially at the start of the 431 scenario, when Athens itself is quite vulnerable to a massive siege assault by Spartan land units.
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harzal wrote:
etagimbo wrote:

other than giving Athens opportunities to make prestige points by successful siege assaults.


But a succesful siege assault doesn't seem an easy task for the Athenian fleets, don't you think?


sorry, I meant siege attrition.
 
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Again, siege attrition is not easy. The best you can get is a 50% chance in Winter turns (and only by paying the high maintenance cost of the besieging fleets) and a rather poor 16,6% the rest of the seasons.

If the Spartan ges lucky with the Revolt cards in the first 2-3 turns and the Athenians just get average dice rolls, you can easily find yourself with two or three succesful rebellions in critical locations such as Byzantium, Amphipolis, Chios, Ephesus or Samos and an 8-10 Prestige advantage for Sparta.
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Carlos S. Olivares Pérez
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4 blocks to assault is for me an impressive army. I prefer to use 2 blocks and take the risk. Anyway, the problem is that there are five 3-points-rebellious-cities (Chalcis, Amphipolis, Byzantium, Ephesus, Samos) to defend. Two good hands in two consecutive years for Sparta are almost impossible to defend (at least very difficult). As I said in other thread:

I think this 431 campaign is 70% of the times for Sparta, for one reason: Sparta can recover after a mistake, while a mistake of Athens involves an almost certain defeat.

I also have to say that the learning curve for Athens is steeper. Much steeper.
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harzal wrote:
Again, siege attrition is not easy. The best you can get is a 50% chance in Winter turns (and only by paying the high maintenance cost of the besieging fleets) and a rather poor 16,6% the rest of the seasons.


16% per season, and these rolls are free. Plus there is Demeter. Sparta can only revolt 4 cities in the first year. And they will probably lose 2-3 of them soon again if the Athens player is not too unlucky. As to the high maintenance of besieging fleets: Paying 2 actions (50% chance) for 1 point of prestige (siege attrition) is a good deal for the Athens, plus there is Demeter. Furthermore if Sparta only plays revolt events, it has no actions for recruiting. So in the end for the Spartans revolts will have very little return on invest. Athens on the other hand has enough actions to counter the revolts AND put pressure on Sparta elsewhere.
As I said, the absolute first thing to do for Athens (i.e. the first action in Spring) is to occupy the most valuable cities.
From the games I played so far I came to the conclusion that there is no value in revolting cities for the Spartans, if they do not have forces near to actually defend them (apart from the garrison).
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proyecto_mgj wrote:
I prefer to use 2 blocks and take the risk.


It seems to me as a quite significant risk that can turn into a loss of Prestige by Athens pretty easily.

Quote:
Anyway, the problem is that there are five 3-points-rebellious-cities (Chalcis, Amphipolis, Byzantium, Ephesus, Samos) to defend. Two good hands in two consecutive years for Sparta are almost impossible to defend (at least very difficult).


Exactly. That's my view too.
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harzal wrote:
etagimbo wrote:

other than giving Athens opportunities to make prestige points by successful siege assaults.


But a succesful siege assault doesn't seem an easy task for the Athenian fleets, don't you think?

Given the fact that Athens needs 2 hits in a single combat round to eliminate the defending Spartan garrison and that such garrison has a 33,3% chance of routing one Athenian fleet each round, I would dare to say that Athens needs a minimum of three 4-step fleets and one 1-step fleet (for a total of 13-14 naval steps) to attempt a siege assault with a reasonable probability of success.

It seems as a huge investement by the Athenian side. Especially at the start of the 431 scenario, when Athens itself is quite vulnerable to a massive siege assault by Spartan land units.


I must be missing something. I thought those "half-hits" carried over from combat round to combat round. What you seem to be saying is: if, after all the attackers have rolled, there are any defenders with half-hits, those defenders go back to full strength for the next round. I thought they carried over from round to round. I'll have to go rules-hunting on this one.

Chris
 
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My strategy as Athens has been to have "Strike Forces" placed in the Aegean consisting of two fleets and two hoplites. In the 431 Campaign, I overwhelm Potidea immediately by moving two more fleets and two more land unites up there. Once Potidea is defeated, I then divide the remaining forces into two groups of two fleet and two land units each and try to base them equidistant from all potential revolts.

When Sparta launches a revolt, I plant a "Strike Force" there immediately, and assault at the next available opportunity. I don't focus so much on keeping the fleets in locations to prevent revolts as I do on getting the revolt as fast as possible.

Sparta, on the other had, would do well many times to spend those 3-value Revolt cards on recruiting and building for an invasion of Athens. If Athens brings the fleets back, start revolts again, once the fleets are gone, build again. Sparta should also pillage on a regular basis.

Finally, one Spartan strategy that seemed to work really well in a game I played as Athens was to go for those two land-locked island cities to the West and North of Lacedaemon. Since they aren't ports, Sparta can siege them without a fleet being exposed. They should be able to capture both of them without too much trouble, and it puts them up by 2 prestige a turn.

I am very surprised about the 15 prestige in two turns? Can you provide more details on how this happened? I nary think that you might have played a rule or two wrong. Though I suppose it's possible, this outcome should be very, very, rare.

Cheers.

Chris
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Quote:
16% per season, and these rolls are free. Plus there is Demeter. Sparta can only revolt 4 cities in the first year. And they will probably lose 2-3 of them soon again if the Athens player is not too unlucky.


I'm afraid that the laws of probabilities would prove you wrong.

A wise Spartan player will only use 1-2 revolt cards per turn, usually in the High Summer and Fall seasons in order to minimize the number of siege attrition die rolls throughout the year.

Thus, if Sparta usually gets 1-2 revolt cards per turn, Athens will likely have to roll for winter siege attrition at least 6-7 times in three or four different cities by the end of turn 3. And you don't have Demeter in turn 1.

Assuming that Athens throws decent winter rolls and reaches a rate of success of 50-60%, Sparta will still have an average of two succesful revolts (plus Potidea) that will add up to a net Prestige gain of 3-5 Prestige points (after discounting the 3-4 successful winter sieges).

Quote:
As I said, the absolute first thing to do for Athens (i.e. the first action in Spring) is to occupy the most valuable cities.


The, you will be pretty strechted out and Sparta will be able to throw a massive land attack in turn 2 or 3, siege assault Athens itself and win the game.
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cmontgo2 wrote:

I must be missing something. I thought those "half-hits" carried over from combat round to combat round. What you seem to be saying is: if, after all the attackers have rolled, there are any defenders with half-hits, those defenders go back to full strength for the next round. I thought they carried over from round to round. I'll have to go rules-hunting on this one.


8.11 Double Defense

In Siege Assaults, City defenders only lose
one cv for every 2 Hits received. Once a block
is assigned a Hit (i.e., a half-step loss) it must
take the next Hit for a full step loss. However,
half-step losses left over at the end of a Combat
Round are lost
.
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harzal wrote:
Quote:
16% per season, and these rolls are free. Plus there is Demeter. Sparta can only revolt 4 cities in the first year. And they will probably lose 2-3 of them soon again if the Athens player is not too unlucky.


I'm afraid that the laws of probabilities would prove you wrong.

A wise Spartan player will only use 1-2 revolt cards per turn, usually in the High Summer and Fall seasons in order to minimize the number of siege attrition die rolls throughout the year.

Thus, if Sparta usually gets 1-2 revolt cards per turn, Athens will likely have to roll for winter siege attrition at least 6-7 times in three or four different cities by the end of turn 3. And you don't have Demeter in turn 1.

Assuming that Athens throws decent winter rolls and reaches a rate of success of 50-60%, Sparta will still have an average of two succesful revolts (plus Potidea) that will add up to a net Prestige gain of 3-5 Prestige points (after discounting the 3-4 successful winter sieges).

Quote:
As I said, the absolute first thing to do for Athens (i.e. the first action in Spring) is to occupy the most valuable cities.


The, you will be pretty strechted out and Sparta will be able to throw a massive land attack by turn 2-3 in order to siege assault Athens itself and win the game.


You make it sound like Athens can't win the game or something.

Having played quite a bit (and, admittedly, not being a probabilities guy), you simply adjust and act and react to your opponent to counter his moves throughout. The above strategies do work. And the fleets are not so far away that they can't return to Athens.

In the 431 Campaign, at least, I have never seen Athens fall. It is a balancing act, but Athens can reasonably have 4 fleets and 4 land units cruising around the Aegean Sea without too much fear of a Spartan assault or siege. Athens does need to keep building units, though, and keep reinforcing them. Athens will probably not be able to protect the Aegean AND prohibit a Pillage action or two.

My $0.02, anyway.

Cheers.

Chris

PS--Here's some geekgold for doing the rules look-up for me. Thanks! I and my opponent had been playing it wrong, I think.
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harzal wrote:
And you don't have Demeter in turn 1.


Pardon, why not? There is sacrifice at the start of the first year.
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harzal wrote:

Quote:
As I said, the absolute first thing to do for Athens (i.e. the first action in Spring) is to occupy the most valuable cities.


The, you will be pretty strechted out and Sparta will be able to throw a massive land attack in turn 2 or 3, siege assault Athens itself and win the game.


Athens has more than enough troops to defend Athens without the fleet.
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cmontgo2 wrote:
My strategy as Athens has been to have "Strike Forces" placed in the Aegean consisting of two fleets and two hoplites. In the 431 Campaign, I overwhelm Potidea immediately by moving two more fleets and two more land unites up there. Once Potidea is defeated, I then divide the remaining forces into two groups of two fleet and two land units each and try to base them equidistant from all potential revolts.

When Sparta launches a revolt, I plant a "Strike Force" there immediately, and assault at the next available opportunity. I don't focus so much on keeping the fleets in locations to prevent revolts as I do on getting the revolt as fast as possible.


I also use this practice, 4 blocks vs a garrison has a good chance, and the Prestige gain offsets the Prestige losses elsewhere. Lesbos is an excellent base.
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Minedog3 wrote:
cmontgo2 wrote:
My strategy as Athens has been to have "Strike Forces" placed in the Aegean consisting of two fleets and two hoplites. In the 431 Campaign, I overwhelm Potidea immediately by moving two more fleets and two more land unites up there. Once Potidea is defeated, I then divide the remaining forces into two groups of two fleet and two land units each and try to base them equidistant from all potential revolts.

When Sparta launches a revolt, I plant a "Strike Force" there immediately, and assault at the next available opportunity. I don't focus so much on keeping the fleets in locations to prevent revolts as I do on getting the revolt as fast as possible.


I also use this practice, 4 blocks vs a garrison has a good chance, and the Prestige gain offsets the Prestige losses elsewhere. Lesbos is an excellent base.


And more often than not, a wise Spartan player will capitulate rather than run the risk of losing 2 Prestige.
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cmontgo2 wrote:
You make it sound like Athens can't win the game or something.


Not at all.

I'm just saying that a wise use of revolts throughout the first few turns of the 431 scenario can provide Sparta with a significant advantage in Prestige points.

Quote:
In the 431 Campaign, at least, I have never seen Athens fall. It is a balancing act, but Athens can reasonably have 4 fleets and 4 land units cruising around the Aegean Sea without too much fear of a Spartan assault or siege. Athens does need to keep building units, though, and keep reinforcing them. Athens will probably not be able to protect the Aegean AND prohibit a Pillage action or two.


If you use a turtle strategy in Athens I agree that Sparta will have a hard time assaulting the city.

But that means that Athens will have to leave at least 15 steps of land units inside the city, something that will limit a lot his actions in the rest of the board during the first turns of the 431 scenario.

Somebody else has been working up the numbers in CSW and his conclusions seem consistent with my view of this scenario.

In any case, I'm totally new to the game and not an expert at all. I'm just sharing my POV and expressing my doubts about the theory that says revolts are not good for Sparta in this scenario.
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etagimbo wrote:
harzal wrote:
And you don't have Demeter in turn 1.


Pardon, why not? There is sacrifice at the start of the first year.


Sorry, my mistake.blush

I've edited my previous message accordingly.
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harzal wrote:
In any case, I'm totally new to the game and not an expert at all. I'm just sharing my POV and expressing my doubts about the theory that says revolts are not good for Sparta in this scenario.


Me, too.

I think Athens is easily defensible against a Spartan ASSAULT in 431, even with four fleets and four land units roaming the Aegean. They are also relatively easily protected from siege as long as couple Athenian naval units hang back. They are not that protected against repeated and constant pillaging. And, as I have said above, they do need to continue to build new units and reinforce existing ones throughout the game, pretty much right from the start.

Cheers. I hope you are enjoying the game as much as I am. It is a gem.

Chris
 
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cmontgo2 wrote:
I think Athens is easily defensible against a Spartan ASSAULT in 431, even with four fleets and four land units roaming the Aegean.


If you mean "four fleets and four land units" including the besieging fleets and units in Potidea, I tend to agree. But this will mean that until Potidea falls (something not likely to happen in the first turn) Athens will not be able to siege assault more than one revolted city per turn against a competent Spartan player, and the result of such assault will be dicey at best.

If you mean those "four fleets and four land units" will be patrolling the Aegean in addition to the besieging units in Potidea, I think the city of Athens will be doomed when confronting a Spartan High Summer/Fall "double move" in 431-430.

Besides, even with a turtling strategy (i.e. a garrison of 20+ setps in Athens during the first couple of years), the Athenian side might be in big trouble if Sparta manages to play a Civil War event against the city and launch a massive land attack against the city of Athens.

Quote:

Cheers. I hope you are enjoying the game as much as I am. It is a gem.


Yes I am. As I've done for years with all the other gems designed by Mr. Besinque.
 
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Until now, my results for this 431 are:

Athens 1 - Sparta 4

But like you, we are still learning. And enjoying a lot.
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I also never felt about the spartan revolts as a huge problem. out of the 5 games I played til now, there were 5 athenian victories.

@potidea: I see it as a must, to take potidea in first round, yet alone to get the troups availible. send support from athens, at least four more blocks, then after one or two times attrition, you can assault in summer/ high summer. normally, you should succeed. if not, e.g. because the defenders were lucky with routs, a second assault in the next season will seal the deal. i played always with that task force in the agaean, combined with massive recruiting in athens and the corcyran fleet trying to get some points in leucas, pylos, etc. if athens gets under immediate threat, you still can move your task force and/or the corcyrans into athens. (with sparta playing civil war, you have another season warning time) yet without civil war, it is nearly impossible for sparta, to successfully assault athens when there are som 8-10 units in there with a2 rating and double defense.

but i think i will try the fleet spreading tactics next time, it sounds nice. if i use 8 cv1 fleets instead of a equally strong task force (with higher cvs) and place them at the 8 most valuable "colonies", the spartan player has not many options left for revolts (u additionally can play the "athens raises taxes" -card(s) without considerable risk) and a cv1 fleet is enough to siege a single garrison and roll attrition. sounds likely working out, have to try that.
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