After very successful session with Pericles Vignettes, the time comes for a full, large-scale Pericles scenario. We decided to start with the First Peloponnese War – it will take us from 3 to 5 turns which should be just exactly what we need for a full evening.
We draw factions and final split looked like this:
- Konrad – Sparta, Eurypondit
- Jacek – Sparta, Agaid
- Michal – Athens, Demagogue
- Marcin – Athens, Aristocratis
Initial set-up is pretty balanced – Athens and their allies (Delian League) in Asia Minor, Sparta and their allies (Peloponnese League) on mainland Greece:
The question was how to play with Athens to avoid bitter defeats which this City State suffered in our Vignette Scenarios. One of idea might be that in large scenarios we have special, end-game victory points – for controlled theaters, for bases, etc. Maybe that will be the path for Athens victory? Let us see…
First Turn (460-455 BC)
- Aristophanes does not brings anything significant – we just have some fewer military units / strategos.
- 1 – during the political phase the governments changes – in Athens from Marcin to Michal, and in Sparta from Jacek to Konrad. War is also declared.
- 2 – Athens can do nothing to prevent Sparta “clean-up” activities in Boetia and Corinth – all units / bases are eradicated.
- 3 – as Athens, me and Marcin are focusing on strengthening key provinces – Hellespont and Ionia; also, to prevent Persian gold from giving too much leverage to Sparta).
- 4 – we also finish the War with Persia. Kind of lost moves you may say, but it has long-term consequences if not addressed early.
- 5 – most surprising, brilliant and clever play of first turn – Konrad designed an attack on Naupactus. We as Athens were very, very close close from defeat…
- War Score: Sparta 42 – Athens 16 – it was hard turn for Athens; so many places to address and so few actions / resources
- Factions Score: Konrad 26, Jacek 16, Michał 12, Marcin 4
Second Turn (454-449 BC)
- Aristophanes – limits our military forces again, but nothing substantial.
- 1 – the governments switches in both City States again! What is also important, to gain 10 points each, Konrad (Sparta) and Marcin (Athens) signs a peace. Me and Jacek call it “cowards piece” – how can they finish war so quickly!
- 2 – having peace, we build a lot. Sparta heavily invests in units.
- 3 – while we have peace, also a hot political campaign is held in Asia Minor – a lot of treachery markers arrive there. Me and Marcin have a lot of problems with preventing base conversion but in the end we manage… uff!
- 4 – Athens start gradual expansion – Corcyra is captured and colonized.
- War Score: Sparta 50 – Athens 38 (we catch up a little 🙂 )
- Factions Score: Konrad 33, Marcin 23, Jacek 17, Michał 15
Third Turn (448-443 BC)
- Aristophanes – this time he really strikes. The Will of Assembly at Corinth – target for both sides. The one who controls it, takes a lot of points – a possible 20 points switch in a war score.
- 1 – In Political phase Jacek stays as controlling faction in Sparta but I take the lead in Athens from Marcin.
- 2 – Athens continues with colonization – this time Sicily.
- 3 – On the other hand, Sparta builds military facilities in Aetolia.
- 4 – fight for Corinth is crazy and to the last drop of blood. The whole Spartan fleet is decimated, the Athenian part stays on. You may ask – peace, how is that possible? Well, peace between Athens and Sparta, but not their allies 🙂 In the end, Corinth stays as contested.
- War Score: Sparta 71 – Athens 36 – Sparta takes decisive lead, increasing the victory points difference
- Factions Score: Konrad 41, Jacek 30, Marcin 19, Michał 17
Fourth Turn (442-437 BC)
- Aristophanes – again, we have a theater to control – this time Beotia
- 1 – the governments holds firmly, me in Athens, Jacek in Sparta. No changes.
- 2 – we observe large expansion of Sparta northwards – they take over Thessaly and Macedon.
- 3 – as Athens, we are doing unexpected attack in Aetolia and, surprising everybody, we win, destroying Spartan base!
- 4 – at the same time, Athens colonize Cyclades
- 5 – struggle over Boetia is not so bloody this turn (Sparta does not have ships). We just sail them and keep status quo, denying points to both sides (Aristophanes).
- War Score: Sparta 84 – Athens 47 (the Spartan lead is maintained, but situation on map starts to change)
- Factions Score: Konrad 41, Jacek 33, Michał 25, Marcin 22
Fifth Turn (436-431 BC)
- Aristophanes stirs the situation again – Athens have to control Sicily (which is immediately fulfilled) and Sparta – Amphipolis (which will be much more difficult).
- 1 – Jacek keeps the government in his hand, and I lose with Marcin by 1 point. It will have long term repercussions on final score…
- 2 – as Athens, we continue strategy of constant colonization – base is built in Sporades
- 3 – now a situation which results in long and heated discussion – we attack lonely Spartan base with minimal forces; boardgamegeek as always is helpful and clarifies that we played correctly.
- 4 – Sparta puts forces to Athens to prevent movement of Athenian land units; however three bases in Naupactus have enough capacity to produce units equaling that move.
- 5 – in the end, both sides fulfills Aristophanes card.
- Now we have final scoring – number of bases and controlled theaters allows Athens to win by a hair’s breadth. And Marcin, being controlling faction, gets from me enough points to win the whole game!
- War Score: Sparta 143 – Athens1 49
- Factions Score: Marcin 78, Jacek 75, Michał 71, Konrad 68
That game is addictive. Enormously. It has pretty new, interesting mechanic, tightly linked to historical theme, well balanced but pretty distinctive sides, different paths to victory and strategies to achieve it. Also, we have clear explanations why some of the design decisions were made that and not the other way – Designer Notes are very informative here. And last but not least, it has tons of scenarios, with varied complexity and length. Great game for many sessions!