Miguel
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As I explained here, I was having some trouble starting to play this expansion (the one I had expected the most), but a few months ago I finally started! I'm playing them chronologically with my brother through VASSAL, and we are at 16/26. These are my first thoughts:

1) I like the Spartan hoplites, the 5 blocks give them a very characteristic feeling, and killing them is really hard!

2) I'm not sure I like the new Hoplite rule. We found that, specially in battles with a command of 6, the player that gets Mounted Charge is the winner. The card is too powerful, 6 units that roll 5 dice, even in the bonus CC! And in many of those battles there are lines of at least 6 MH, very easy to use (and very hard to avoid).

3) This Hoplite rule would have felt right in Marathon, surprisingly one Exp#1 scenario that has not been retrofitted. It could be adapted as a house rule, since it should apply there to all hoplites (medium and heavy), but in that case it would need to be compensated by reducing the Greek hand to 5, maybe...

4) The Thermopylae Grand Overview confirmed our expectations, a scenario that you should skip. We didn't because we have fixed ourselves the objective of playing all the scenarios, but it was really dull. The impassable mountains take much more room than needed, the main Persian force has not 1 single hex to maneuver (the only possibility is CC with light bow units!), the Greeks defending the path are almost as strong as the Persians going through (they can almost attack them!), the other Greeks have only one choice (attack before the bows can evade)... I still wonder how that scenario made the cut and there is no Cunaxa.

And that's all by now, we will play even River Centrites and Tegyra, though I don't feel like... The good news is that this expansion battles feel a bit different from the previous ones, but for the moment I have mixed feelings. I'm curious about other players first impressions?
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Great first impressions, franchi.

I've only played a handful of the scenarios from the this expansion myself and have not formed a firm opinion of it—other than I am very glad to have it.

I will keep in mind what you have said about the Mounted Charge card for this expansion.
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killy9999
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franchi wrote:
2) I'm not sure I like the new Hoplite rule. We found that, specially in battles with a command of 6, the player that gets Mounted Charge is the winner. The card is too powerful, 6 units that roll 5 dice, even in the bonus CC! And in many of those battles there are lines of at least 6 MH, very easy to use (and very hard to avoid).
This has been my impression as well. Battle with hoplites simply turn into a dice fest and it's simply a matter of who attacks first. That's why I moderately enjoy this expansion.
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Mark McG
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franchi wrote:

1) I like the Spartan hoplites, the 5 blocks give them a very characteristic feeling, and killing them is really hard!


but Blue? I'd have preferred Red 5 strength. Partly this has a gaming reason in that there are very few Heavy Infantry in Hoplite scenarios.

franchi wrote:

2) I'm not sure I like the new Hoplite rule. We found that, specially in battles with a command of 6, the player that gets Mounted Charge is the winner. The card is too powerful, 6 units that roll 5 dice, even in the bonus CC! And in many of those battles there are lines of at least 6 MH, very easy to use (and very hard to avoid).

There is a manoeuvre consideration here, and I think you either move considering you opponent has Mounted Charge, and possibly echelon your line to limit the contact. That being said, Mounted Charge is very powerful, and move Red Troops is often very weak. Maybe the Charge should be limited to one section only.
franchi wrote:

3) This Hoplite rule would have felt right in Marathon, surprisingly one Exp#1 scenario that has not been retrofitted. It could be adapted as a house rule, since it should apply there to all hoplites (medium and heavy), but in that case it would need to be compensated by reducing the Greek hand to 5, maybe...


Marathon is a surprisingly tough battle to simulate, bringing the Greek flanks around the Persian centre is a long march, especially in EPIC!!

franchi wrote:

4) The Thermopylae Grand Overview confirmed our expectations, a scenario that you should skip. ... I still wonder how that scenario made the cut and there is no Cunaxa.

check and agreed. Should be an EPIC Cunaxa, and the victory banners are only scored for Cyrus and Ataxerxes. First to 1 wins. Retreat off the board counts as a banner lost.
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Miguel
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Minedog3 wrote:
franchi wrote:
1) I like the Spartan hoplites, the 5 blocks give them a very characteristic feeling, and killing them is really hard!
but Blue? I'd have preferred Red 5 strength. Partly this has a gaming reason in that there are very few Heavy Infantry in Hoplite scenarios.

Well, I still prefer my scenarios with the heavy Spartans!

Minedog3 wrote:
franchi wrote:
2) I'm not sure I like the new Hoplite rule. We found that, specially in battles with a command of 6, the player that gets Mounted Charge is the winner. The card is too powerful, 6 units that roll 5 dice, even in the bonus CC! And in many of those battles there are lines of at least 6 MH, very easy to use (and very hard to avoid).
There is a manoeuvre consideration here, and I think you either move considering you opponent has Mounted Charge, and possibly echelon your line to limit the contact. That being said, Mounted Charge is very powerful, and move Red Troops is often very weak. Maybe the Charge should be limited to one section only.

Of course, when it happened once or twice we tried to prepare against it, but in some scenarios is impossible. Take Anapus River, Phyle or Munychia, the "upper" army has a command of 6, has a line of at least 6 MH, at only 1 or 2 hexes from the enemy, and moves first. It turns out I won those three battles as the upper army, too easily, but I didn't feel I had won. I anticipate a similar problem at Coronea.

Another problem I anticipate is the balance between MH and HI at Coronea and Chaeronea. The HI in those scenarios takes into account the superior troop quality and training of those units, and that is what I intended to convey in the original ones. However, with this new Hoplite rule, if the MH side has Mounted Charge it will reverse the balance: they will be more mobile (mediums are) and will attack once or twice with 5 dice. We'll see...

BTW, a side effect of this Hoplite rule appeared quite clearly at 1st Mantinea, where the Argive 1000 became a problem for the Argive, instead of their leading unit! I was the Argive, and I had Line Command, Order Mediums and Mounted Charge, and my elite unit was an obstacle for the attack line this new rule makes you follow. In my scenario the Argive 1000 were a special MEDIUM unit, and therefore you could use them more easily together with the rest of the line.
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BrentS
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While I've enjoyed most of the scenarios from the expansion, I do share some of your concerns, Miguel. I don't think this expansion is as polished as the others but like Brady, I am happy to have and play it.

I think the biggest problem for me originally was a number of conceptual issues in the way hoplites were handled.....that they weren't red block heavy infantry and particularly the use of the Mounted cards. I get it from a design for effect standpoint, but it still jars a little. I would love to have thematically appropriate dual purpose alternative cards to substitute into the deck for these scenarios (e.g. a card titled "Mounted Charge/Othismos"....."If your army contains hoplites, you may use this card to order them, etc.)).....changes nothing mechanically but would be more satisfying thematically for me.

As to how it functions in game play, your observations are very valid. Perhaps I haven't played this expansion as extensively as some of the others, but I feel there may be a shift in tactical approach attainable on repeat play (I'm always wary of dismissing that possibility for this clever game). Although infantry line clashes do look like the most random and uninspiring part of the game, I think there are subtle tactical choices available, based on leader positioning, hand management and second rank reserves (not something you would generally consider in this game as much as C&C:N but a real consideration for reestablishing broken lines and catching evading leaders).....I've been thinking of a strategy article/discussion for this if I can get coherent thoughts together.....and time .

The hoplite rules would magnify these tactical considerations and possibly introduce new ones.....perhaps Mark's suggestion of echelon formation to narrow the front and limit damage to a defending phalanx (a posture appropriate to the army with hand disadvantage).....very thematically appropriate as the Epaminondas/Alexandrian flank denial strategy. I would have to playtest this more to see if it's viable in practice.

I agree with your thoughts on the Thermopylae Grand Overview scenario....I've played it once, it was as uninspiring as it looked on paper, and I don't need to play it again. Not sure why it's there. On the other hand, Thermopylae (Middle Gate) is now one of my favourite of all C&C:A scenarios, a real gem of almost perfect asymmetry, poised tension and swinging momentum.....worth the price of admission alone for this expansion.

Brent.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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goshublue wrote:
I would love to have thematically appropriate dual purpose alternative cards to substitute into the deck for these scenarios (e.g. a card titled "Mounted Charge/Othismos"...


Two ways to get around this.

1. Order another deck from GMT, remove the cavalry cards and add "Order Medium Troops" cards

2. Out on Arts Cows there is a custom C&C:A deck where you can select the cards you want... printed in an awesome theme. (I recommend sleeving these cards as they are a tad soft/thin)
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BrentS
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StevenE wrote:
goshublue wrote:
I would love to have thematically appropriate dual purpose alternative cards to substitute into the deck for these scenarios (e.g. a card titled "Mounted Charge/Othismos"...


Two ways to get around this.

1. Order another deck from GMT, remove the cavalry cards and add "Order Medium Troops" cards



Ah....but both Order Mounted Troops and Mounted Charge have distinct effects for hoplites which Order Medium Troops doesn't have (the ability to order/detach a leader and +1 die in close combat respectively), and there are some scenarios where armies have both cavalry and hoplites, so the Mounted cards need to be distinguishable from Order Medium Troops. The Artscow idea is good but sounds like it would need a whole deck made so the cards match and I expect the cost for ordering from Australia might be prohibitive.....not sure that I'm that desperate. It might just have to stay in the wishful thinking basket .

Brent.
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