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Polis: Fight for the Hegemony» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Sparta's combat advantage rss

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Eric Lafrance
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Hey guys,
We(Rick and Chameau)would like your comments and play test on this serious issue with combats. We all agree that you should initiate combat only at even odds or better, but run this simmulation at home, have 20 combats at even odds. Sparta will win approx 80% of combats because she starts them (try it!!!).

If so the game becomes unidimentional, Sparta razes all Athenians citys, Athens, run around the board 1- moving to a city 2-sieging it ... 1-Sparta then moves and 2-kicks the shit out of Athens eventually killing most of the Athewnians troops.

Broken?
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Scholle
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Are you playing that Sparta attacks in land battles first, then in each subsequent round of that combat the attacker and defender alternate? i.e. Athens will be the attacker in round two of a land battle.
 
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Doug Adams
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By that logic wouldn't Athens win the naval battles and dry up the trade routes?
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Eric Lafrance
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Yes I am, but since Sparta would win *0% of land battle, once you start loosing there is no comming back. I encorage you to do dry run battle (just battle,ù0 you will see Sparta will always win the battle...
 
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Eric Lafrance
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dougadamsau wrote:
By that logic wouldn't Athens win the naval battles and dry up the trade routes?


Yes Athens can choke trade with ships, but for that you need citys to taxe for wood and grain, as Sparta chokes the map, the are few and far between. Also once Sparta has Sicilia and Massenia secured with troop, Athens can not take it away, thus Sparta has a secured grain supply. Sparta just has to make sure to keep a low population and requier few grain for citizen support and creeation of new troops.

As stated before any Athenians troops in the open will be slauther if the fight.

Retreat is also not an option as you are giving away a prestige point to Sparta, thus giving him the point to chase you around the map.

Play a few game and give us a good works around!!!
 
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S. R.
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There it is again, the "b"-word. Really?

Yes, Sparta wins land battles. So? Don't give him too much cannon fodder. Isolate Sparta in the first round, and DONT let him get to Sicily. Use the few ships you already have on board to block his trade routes AND his hoplite movement via sea. Take Gytheion first, then Pylos. Kill his trade, and you have killed Sparta. Because if he does not get to Sicily, does not get food out of the territory of Gyheion (forgot the name), and cannot trade, he will shrivel and die.

The thing is, as long as there are no battles on the board, you have to FORCE Sparta to build ships...

Also, why does Sparta win all fights?
You say that Sparta RAZES the land. That means that he can create more casualties than Athens? Well, I grant you that first attack is a powerful thing, as it has no consequences. However, combat gets more tactical, the longer it runs. And if played wisely, Athens has the chance to inflict as many casualties as Sparta in the long run of a combat. Granted, Sparta can use guerilla warfare - strike first, then withdraw. But that costs PP, which is something that isn't there in unlimited quantities.

On the other hand, if the Spartan player goes around getting as many units as possible, the Athenian proxenos has a field day. Get some silver, and go buy yourself some cities.

Then there is the possibility of blocking just with a few units. The 2-hoplite-control situation is a powerful block, disallowing combat while still having the possibility to take some ressources.


The most important thing for Athens is the first round. The ball is in the court of the Athens player. If he does not create problems for the Spartan from the get-go, then something is wrong on the board...
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Fran Diaz
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I agree 100% with Dumon. Also when he says Athens should create some "problems" to Sparta at the beginning of the game (going/blocking Sicily, getting a Polis of Makedonia, blocking markets...?)

Just one thing more:

Rickmtl29 wrote:
Retreat is also not an option as you are giving away a prestige point to Sparta, thus giving him the point to chase you around the map.


If you are Athens and don't want to be chased more, just pass.
No more "chasing". Only after Sparta passes too, last battles of the round will occur.

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Milton Soong
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I feel that in the "4" round due to the smaller number of cards, the attacker (thus Sparta) have a much bigger edge. In the "5" rounds the Athenians have a better chance to win in a land fight (like I did in a game friday)...
 
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Pete
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Don't forget too that as Athens knowing that Sparta has an advantage on land, you can avoid combats. There are no combats in round 3. You can prevent combats in round 4 by not having 4 cubes where they are easily targetted. As stated above, in the 5 rounds, the combat advantage of the Spartans diminishes significantly.

Pete (actually finds breaking Athenian blockades much more problematic)

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Mike Walker
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for what it's worth in several drawn out games, i've not found this to be the case. if anything, it's been much more balanced in battles than i expected. i was expecting more of an edge for sparta, and it hasn't played out that way so far.
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Steve Hope
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I'd like to see a playthrough between two good players of the game. I am having severe problems in my game along the lines that OP suggests--after a fairly even start, once land battles are possible Sparta secures a significant advantage in cities and materials and rides that to an easy win, whether or not he is able to take Sicily.

It's a shame because this is a really wonderful game mechanically--something new and terrific. But if the game is balanced, it's balanced in a way that's counterintuitive to me and my playing partners. Perhaps a play-by-forum is possible? Certainly there's not much hidden in the game.
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Fran Diaz
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Last of my plays (this morning).
Me as Athens.

Two land battles:
- Sp 5 vs 3 At / I withdrew and flew to Ionia (safe with Sporades blocked).
- Sp 5 vs 4 At / The battle ended with Sp 2 & 2 At (5 casualties during battle)... and this 2nd battle happened the same round in which all three Philosophers appeared as projects whistle

You may try the great Vassal module instead of PBEM:
http://www.vassalengine.org/mediawiki/images/2/28/Polis_2_2a...
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Steve Hope
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Thanks Fran. Maybe we need to do more retreating as Athens.

Here's a rules question for you about one event that troubled us: the one where the Persians demand access to trade. It says that you lose 1 prestige each turn in which you are blocking access to Egypt/Persia. That's easy. But then it says UNLESS you have 10 fleets in Ionio/Thrakiko which seems irrelevant to the main issue...We weren't sure what to make of it.

EDIT: Though now that I think about it, retreating before battle is basically paying Sparta to chase you around (you pay 1 PP to Sparta, they spend it to move to wherever you retreat to). You can of course collect in the meantime (move/collect then retreat on Sparta's turn), but you need to be hiring a lot of philosophers to handle that kind of PP drain!

I don't know...I agree in the abstract that it seems like Athens should have a fighting chance, but in reality it all seems so hard/like they can never do everything they need to do.

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Fran Diaz
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stephenhope wrote:
Thanks Fran. Maybe we need to do more retreating as Athens.

Here's a rules question for you about one event that troubled us: the one where the Persians demand access to trade. It says that you lose 1 prestige each turn in which you are blocking access to Egypt/Persia. That's easy. But then it says UNLESS you have 10 fleets in Ionio/Thrakiko which seems irrelevant to the main issue...We weren't sure what to make of it.


These are the seas placed at the ends of the map, if both are full with 10 units (each) you're not forced to move away from the route to Persia (actually, it's difficult to happen)

stephenhope wrote:
EDIT: Though now that I think about it, retreating before battle is basically paying Sparta to chase you around (you pay 1 PP to Sparta, they spend it to move to wherever you retreat to). You can of course collect in the meantime (move/collect then retreat on Sparta's turn), but you need to be hiring a lot of philosophers to handle that kind of PP drain!

I don't know...I agree in the abstract that it seems like Athens should have a fighting chance, but in reality it all seems so hard/like they can never do everything they need to do.


You may do more things than retrating, you may leave 2 hoplites in some territories to block the movements of the Spartan armies (they don't cause battle), go to Sikelia or Ionia (Turkey) and block the seas to protect your armies, disband them in small groups and create hoplites where you left the small groups and then collect, move the proxeno behind the Spartan armies if they leave some areas free when chasing you...

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Steve Hope
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Thanks very much for the clarification and the strategy advice, Fran! It's a marvelous design and thanks for making and supporting the game!
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David Ekberg
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stephenhope wrote:
I'd like to see a playthrough between two good players of the game. I am having severe problems in my game along the lines that OP suggests--after a fairly even start, once land battles are possible Sparta secures a significant advantage in cities and materials and rides that to an easy win, whether or not he is able to take Sicily.

It's a shame because this is a really wonderful game mechanically--something new and terrific. But if the game is balanced, it's balanced in a way that's counterintuitive to me and my playing partners. Perhaps a play-by-forum is possible? Certainly there's not much hidden in the game.


I would really like to see this as well. Two good players meeting in a game on the forum, so that we all can follow along and learn by it. This has been done on other games here on BGG (Twilight Struggle, War of the Ring for example) and it was very helpful.
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Marius van der Merwe
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Engelbrekt wrote:
stephenhope wrote:
I'd like to see a playthrough between two good players of the game. I am having severe problems in my game along the lines that OP suggests--after a fairly even start, once land battles are possible Sparta secures a significant advantage in cities and materials and rides that to an easy win, whether or not he is able to take Sicily.

It's a shame because this is a really wonderful game mechanically--something new and terrific. But if the game is balanced, it's balanced in a way that's counterintuitive to me and my playing partners. Perhaps a play-by-forum is possible? Certainly there's not much hidden in the game.


I would really like to see this as well. Two good players meeting in a game on the forum, so that we all can follow along and learn by it. This has been done on other games here on BGG (Twilight Struggle, War of the Ring for example) and it was very helpful.


I just got my copy of the game a week ago, have played a handful of times, and am very intrigued with this game right now.

I found it helpful to go to the Board Game Arena website and to watch some of the games in progress. Most active games are not played in real time, but you can still see the past history of moves recorded on the side bar.
 
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Kris Rhodes
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I would like to know whether the OP's contention is true or false, though, regardless of the implications for whether the game is "broken" or not. Is it really true that Sparta will win 80% of land battles? If so it would seem important to know this...
 
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Scholle
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Speusippus wrote:
I would like to know whether the OP's contention is true or false, though, regardless of the implications for whether the game is "broken" or not. Is it really true that Sparta will win 80% of land battles? If so it would seem important to know this...


"Win" is a rather hard to define term here. I'd say that far less than half the time I've seen battles degenerate long enough that the loser is forced to concede due to having fewer than two hoplites. Hoplites are too valuable to throw away when a battle is going south. More than half the battles I see one side or the other withdraws and concedes a Prestige Point to their opponent. It's not such a big deal - battles are a good sources of Prestige Points for both sides.

As Athens I like to avoid all battles in Round "4" (by having a maximum of three) and really tie up Spartan hoplite movement through seas. Then maximise my hoplites to five in an area I want to defend and block movement through during Round "5a" & "5b" - usually MEGARIS or another choke point region. By not attacking the Spartans myself I've invited the cocky Spartans to battle 5/5. Then, if they take the bait, a nice tactical withdrawal once I've got the Spartans down to three hoplites, ideally it stands at 3/3. Then I'm ready on my turn to reinforce back to five hoplites and initiate a battle with a clear advantage at 5/3. The clever Spartan player will usually give me that Prestige Point back rather than battle with only three hoplites. And on it goes. Sometimes it doesn't go that smoothly and other times it works better than expected (usually depending upon the distribution of the Ambush and Mercenary cards). One certainty is that over time battling like this keeps the number of collection gathering hoplites low and makes control of those sea trade routes all the more vital.

An excellent game!
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@Lindsay:

This is a very good example of what to do with Sparta. It might not be easy to hang them out to dry, but it certainly is not impossible.

That said, the learning curve for Sparta is somewhat lower, since playing Sparta to its strengths is more intuitive. But once you know Athens, it is only a manner of using your advantages and the knowledge of the game to the best of your possibilities...
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Miguel Vall
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A Winning Athens is almost impossible against a good player, no matter how much control the sea , normally the Spartan does two armies , one on one side of the continent and others in the south. Honestly this game is not balanced in my opinion, I have been playing more than 100 games and Board Game Arena, and they all say the same ....
 
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