As far as boardgames are concerned my last week was definitely under the banner of Great Statements series by Mark Herman – first Churchill Tournament Scenario and couple of days later another session of teaching the Pericles to new adepts (my first attempt is described in following article: Introducing Pericles – Vignettes).
So let us now plunge in wonderful world of Ancient Greece, which is gradually unveiled to the new players by well-thought system of vignettes and small scenarios.
Vignette 1 & 2
14.1.01 B “The Ostracism of Thucydides” & 14.1.06 B “Sparta Declares War”
We started with two small scenarios depicting historical events and teaching how to play debate. Marcin as seasoned player of Pericles did demonstration with me (well, by crushing me in the process 🙂 ) and then our two new players – Kuba G and Kuba J – played their vignette under our supervision:
They achieved a draw as per game rules, but what is more in 10 minutes hands-on learned the mechanics of debate.
Vignette 3 & 4
14.1.04 B “Samos Revolt” & 14.1.10 D “The Battle of Aegospotami”
Then we jumped into more direct conflicts. Samos Revolt was chosen to show both land and naval battle, Aegospotami…. well, I wanted to see how it all finished in the Sparta-Athens war.
These are pretty straightforward vignettes, where only cards are drawn:
Again, 10 minutes and all nuances of battle – especially losses by winning and losing side – explained.
14.1.09 A “War in the Aegean”
Now we had much more interesting vignette – with pre-assigned issues, we were playing the full Theater Phase, with victory conditions based on honor value only (no bonuses like after longer scenarios). Also, the play area was limited only to capitals and theaters 13-19. However, the VPs were secondary thought. The most important was to see and familiarize with game mechanics!
(1) Athens with ease destroyed Spartan (Peloponnese) presence in Cyclades
(2) I focused on raids in Sparta…
(3) …while Kuba J used Persian gold…
(4) …to fuel large campaign in Hellespont. That was actually our hot-spot, where 7 issues were played, Athenian base finally destroyed and both sides raided each other.
Sparta 31 [Kuba J (Sparta,Agaid) – 16, Michal (Sparta, Eurypontid) – 15]
Athens 31 [Marcin (Athens, Demagogue) – 16, Kuba G (Athens, Aristocrats) – 15]
Interesting, won’t you say? As per full-game rules, winner was Marcin but we decided it was a complete draw 🙂 That was so unexpected!
One turn scenario
14.1.03 A “End of the 1st Peloponnesian War”
And now in our learning / teaching experience came a time to play full turn. We have decided End of Peloponnesian War as it seemed pretty small scenario (turn 3). We did not changed sides and started from debate segment which was won by Kuba G in Athens and me in Sparta. The Aristophanes card was Knights C which had limited impact on the situation.
So what happened? In essence, the board was cleaned almost entirely from all human presence…
Let us see initial set-up:
And the the final situation with some comments:
(1) The ill-planned Spartan expedition to Athens ends in complete disaster and 4 cubes from each side are being removed, granting Major Victory to Athens
(2) The Boetia is place of the significant struggle (8 issues) which finishes almost in complete annihilation of Athenian forces (Sparta is short two military points in last battle to achieve full success)
(3) On the other hand, Naupactus military expedition cleans all Athenian presence, granting Major Victory to Sparta
(4) Last but not least, prolonged struggle on Corinth is won by Athenians and all bases of the Peloponesian League removed
Sparta 21 [Kuba J (Sparta,Agaid) – 7, Michal (Sparta, Eurypontid) – 14]
Athens 45 [Marcin (Athens, Demagogue) – 20, Kuba G (Athens, Aristocrats) – 25]
The Athenian victory was in large due to my operational mistake with Spartan expedition to Athens – which was perfectly exploited by our opponents. Congrats! All in all, it was bloody, one-turn scenario where everybody to some extent allowed himself for pretty aggressive play. We started the scenario with 38 units on map, and finished with 18…
The goal was achieved – I have now in my boardgames group 6 potential players knowledgeable of Pericles which will make future session much more possible and often! Also, my goal to have all smaller scenarios played is much closer to completion.
And on a side note – having played like 10-15 Pericles games I learnt to really appreciate raids. To my great – positive – surprise my fellow players also very quickly noticed enormous effectiveness of that tactic. Simply can’t wait to tests their new skills in longer scenario. Most probably Second Peloponnese War!