Merric Blackman
Australia
Waubra
Victoria
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Happily playing games for many, many years.
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Sarah, Jon and I played through scenario 3 of The God Kings last week; the situation saw us in the Fertile Crescent during the the Bronze Age. I was playing Egypt, with its leader Thutmose III the most feared general of the age. Jon took the part of the Hatti, and Sarah played the poor Mitani, who were trapped in a struggle between our two powers.

I don't have any photos of this game, but here's a look at the basic map:



At the beginning of the game, I control most of the south-west, Sarah controls the centre-east, and Jon controls the north-west. The Kassite nation (to the south-west) is neutral and uncontrolled - we can activate it if we're willing to give up a 3 OPs card from our hand; something that it quite valuable.

The God Kings is a CDG, with its roots most obviously in Hannibal and Successors, although it has its own particular tweaks, particularly in the use of chariots and needing resources to build units and garrisons, and in a more Paths of Glory approach to combat (combat strength and loss numbers). There are five actions for each player every turn, and this particular scenario only lasted two turns - the full campaign game is ten turns (and possibly six hours with the full complement of four players).

The victory conditions for this scenario were simple: I needed to end up controlling the contested provinces of Ugarit, Karkemish and Amurru. Jon needed Kizzuwadna, Ugarit and Mukiss. And Sarah would win if neither Jon nor I won! As you can imagine, control of Ugarit would prove most important for this game.



Sarah and Jon split their initial forces; I kept all of my units in one big stack. (Thankfully, player mats allow the placement of the units so that only the generals have to move around the map). Soon enough, all of us were discovering how important chariots were for this warfare.

The God Kings has pretty high unit strengths, so you can have some very big battles. Having more chariots than your opponent or a better general allow you the option of getting a first strike in with your chariots; inflicting damage before they can attack back. The drawback is that you then must take half of your losses for the entire combat from the chariots even if the charge was unsuccessful, but having a good general and lots of chariots could make for some decisive battles.

My massed forces were able to drive Sarah's army back from Kadesh - Tyre having started under my control - but at this point I still needed to lay siege to the garrison, which consumed my activations for the next part of the game. With only five actions per turn, and with units being recalled to friendly territory thereafter, garrisoned cities proved quite difficult to take, especially as I had no campaign cards that would allow me to activate several generals at the same time.

Meanwhile, Jon was having similar problems in Ugarit; Aleppo withstood several siege rolls, and was still unconquered at the end of the turn. I, at least, had taken Kadesh.

Sarah and I experimented with the use of Barbarians and Neutrals, respectively. Sarah placed a great force of Barbarians adjacent to my borders, but as she needed a 3 OPs card to move them further, that never occurred. Meanwhile, I moved the Kassites up to threaten Sarah's borders, but in the neutral phase that succeeded our action phase, they refused to activate further and went home.

During the break between turns, our armies retired to friendly terrain and our infantry divisions were rebuilt. Collecting tribute and wood from the provinces we controlled, we then built more chariots. I note that we should have first removed all chariots already on the board (we did remove the mercenaries), but for this game my chariot force was quite overwhelming in the second turn!

The bulk of the next set of battles surrounded Aleppo - with Jon finally completing the siege, I attacked, driving him out and taking control of the space. However, Sarah had planned her activations well and disrupted our plans enough that I wasn't able to get into Ugaret: Jon could successfully besiege it, but it wouldn't win him the game. If I attacked Jon and he didn't retreat, I couldn't take it myself. At this point, I controlled two of the three provinces I needed, but with the game situation being as it was, Sarah was able to take the game.

It was a good introduction to the game, and both Jon and Sarah enjoyed it enough that this week we'll attempt the full game; if time runs out beforehand, we'll just cut it short and look at how the VPs fall. We probably have about 4 hours to try to complete it in; I don't think that's impossible.
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Eric Stubbs
United States
Gaithersburg
Maryland
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Thanks for this! The God Kings is yet another game I really want to get to the table, though for me it'll be as a solo endeavor.
 
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