Having much more time due to the forced lockdown, it is also a chance for all of us to fulfill those boargames ideas we had no time to tackle earlier. I was always tempted by Pericles solitaire system but with many face to face opponents I really had no need to familiarize with it. We played a lot of live session – usually very intriguing (some of them in the list below) but today with social distancing I finally had motivation to grab the rulebook and meet Phormio (Pericles Bot). Below I will present my struggle against three bots in epic Suicide of Greece scenario.

Introducing Pericles – Vignettes
Pericles – First Peloponnesian War
Pericles – Second Peloponnesian War
Pericles – playing over Vassal
Review - Pericles

I managed to play 7 turns of that game, using Brasidias shortened version for the full-bot side. I was wondering, how should I present such a long game and not bore the readers? I think photo session report with some summaries as far as VPs are concerned is good approach. There will be also a whole struggle summary in tabular form at the end fro all willing to see only overview – make sure you will not miss it!


The initial disposition of forces – most of the Greece open for expansion! I am playing Sparta, Eurypontid King.

Under each year I will present the war score summary as well as standing of each faction. The set-up assumes that each Phormio I play against has 20 VPs advantage which in sum gives the initial 40 VPs lead to Athens. Well, will have to do something to narrow it down and catch up with the score!

  • Initial war Score: Sparta 20 – Athens 60 (difference -40)
  • Initial factions Score:
    • Phormio Demagogue 30
    • Phormio Aristocrats 30
    • Michal 10
    • Phormio Agaid 10

First Turn (460-455 BC)

Negotiating with Phormio was always challenging – he had 9 cards while I only 6! Still, most of time I managed to win the debate – above Turn 1 final situation on political table.
Main action of Turn 1 – protecting of key allies in Corinth – results in Delian League presence eradication. My Phormio did a good job while opponents were occupied elsewhere.
Situation at the end of TURN 1. Peace of Callis signed, Sicily occupied by Athenians, Ioania taken via Diplomacy by me and Alcibiades in Persia with one base already built there. So many events in one turn! (click to enlarge)
  • War Score: Sparta 30 – Athens 58 (difference -28)
  • Factions Score:
    • Phormio Demagogue 29
    • Phormio Aristocrats 29
    • Michal 19
    • Phormio Agaid 11

Second Turn (454-449 BC)

Key military development of Turn 2 was battle of Naupactus, decisively lost by Spartan (actually Peloponesian) side 😦
Situation at the end of TURN 2. Will of Assembly (control or contest) fulfilled by both City States, Naupactus battle lost by Sparta plus further Peloponnesian League bases creation  in Ionia and Corinth (click to enlarge)
  • War Score: Sparta 46 – Athens 79 (difference -33)
  • Factions Score:
    • Phormio Demagogue 43
    • Phormio Aristocrats 36
    • Michal 30
    • Phormio Agaid 16

Third Turn (448-443 BC)

Here it comes – plague hits Athens and some losses occur. I played with ravages of war, which result in permanent removal of some units due to battles, plagues and war weariness (strategos). I like this mechanic very much as it shows gradual deterioration of the whole Greek economy and manpower.
There was huge focus on Boeotia (again, protecting key allies by Sparta) which finally ended any Delian/Athenian presence there.
Athens decided to develop in the direction of Aetolia. I was not able to be everywhere, my Phormio was not so much concentrated on this theater and… we lost two bases and a Peloponnesian unit resulting in first Major Defeat in our game!
Situation at the end of TURN 3. Major defeat of Peloponnesian forces in Aetolia, Athens developing in Thessaly, my two raids on enemy forces for VPs. (click to enlarge)
  • War Score: Sparta 57 – Athens 87 (difference -30)
  • Factions Score:
    • Phormio Demagogue 47
    • Michal 42
    • Phormio Aristocrats 40
    • Phormio Agaid 15

Fourth Turn (442-437 BC)

This is how I organized issues and strategos before placing them on maps. Pretty useful set-up.
We continue the land battles. Athens strike again but this time we have a draw. Really, Athens on land beating our forces? It has to change!
Key battle of the turn – I decided to focus on Naupactus in order to break this point once and for all. It did not work fully – the bases survived but first hostages of the game were taken. Yes, Sparta beating Athens on sea…
Situation at the end of TURN 4. Chalcidice taken over by Athens, Naupactus still holds but another Oracle+Diplomacy set gives Sparta Lesbos (click to enlarge)
  • War Score: Sparta 63 – Athens 87 (difference -24)
  • Factions Score:
    • Michal 45
    • Phormio Demagogue 44
    • Phormio Aristocrats 43
    • Phormio Agaid 18

Fifth Turn (436-431 BC)

Turning point of the game – first battle of Naupactus (hostages taken)…
…and second battle of Naupactus, bases destroyed.
Situation at the end of TURN 5.  From VP perspective Athens hold pretty nicely but the situation on the map becomes very difficult. It will all collapse next turn… as economy of Sparta and its allies will allow a full-blown offensive in many places of the map (click to enlarge)
  • War Score: Sparta 82 – Athens 103 (difference -21)
  • Factions Score:
    • Michal 66
    • Phormio Aristocrats 53
    • Phormio Demagogue 50
    • Phormio Agaid 16

Sixth Turn (430-425 BC)

A brutal and crushing turn for Athens which decided the whole war result in the favor of Sparta. Multiple hostages taken and naval battles won by the Lacedaemonians.

Athens play Citizenship for their base in Sparta. All prepared for raiding the enemy!
But enemy strikes back – a complete disaster for Athenians, Major Defeat and hostages taken!
At the same time I am leading the Samos expedition. Here too Athenian presence will be severely limited with another hostages taken.
Last but not least – Will of Asembly to control Corinth – a grand battle lost by Athens and 3rd hostages taken by Sparta this turn. Truly, a disastrous turn of events.
Sparta follows-up with land battle in Corinth and another 10 VPs advantage is gained!
Situation at the end of TURN 6. A complete collapse of Athenian empire. Three battles (and hostages) lost to Sparta. The situation will only worsen next turn (click to enlarge)
  • War Score: Sparta 127 – Athens 108 difference +19)
  • Factions Score:
    • Michal 82
    • Phormio Aristocrats 61
    • Phormio Demagogue 47
    • Phormio Agaid 45

Seventh Turn (424-419 BC)

Athens tries again to raid the Sparta but I am ready for this and immediately start military expedition. Another victory for Lacedaemonians!
Samos finally in Peloponnesian hands – after Diplomacy play. A follow-up with naval battle to get some more points.
But Athens counter-attacks in Sparta and indeed wins naval battle without losses!
And then to top up the turn, a large Samos naval battle ensues which results in destruction of Peloponnesian fleet. The land battle is lost by invaders. Uff…
Ravages of war had a great impact on the number of soldiers – all lost units at the end of Turn 7.
Situation at the end of TURN 7.  Sparta on the rise, and crumbling naval Athenian empire. The decision was made to stop here as the outcome could be only one of this war now (click to enlarge)
  • War Score (including geography bonuses): Sparta 207 – Athens 161 (difference +46)
  • Factions Score (including geography bonuses):
    • Michal 112
    • Phormio Agaid 95
    • Phormio Demagogue 81
    • Phormio Aristocrats 80


Yes, the game against bots brought a lot of fun! It was very hard to trick Phormio – I like the way it plays – it has strategy and fulfills it. Maybe not very nuanced, maybe pretty straightforward but very efficient. Of course, human player would immediately react to my play in Ionia in first turn, but as results show the points were to be gained in many theaters and my Sparta lost couple of Major Defeats against Phormio meticulously following its strategies. You simply cannot be everywhere and you need to accept it.

Let us have a summary look how the game developed:

# Sparta Athens Difference
Set-up 20 40 -40
After turn 1 30 58 -28
After turn 2 46 79 -33
After turn 3 57 87 -30
After turn 4 63 87 -24
After turn 5 82 103 -21
After turn 6 127 108 +19
After turn 7 147 103 +44
Geography bonus 60 58 n/a
TOTAL SCORE 207 161 +46

Clearly, the power of Sparta was growing gradually – mainly build up of bases and forces which erupted in gigantic offensive in Turn 6, completely surprising the Athenians. Turn 7 was only confirmation of that supremacy after which Athens surrendered (which I decided, seeing no point in continuing uneven struggle).

A really nice play and one of my long-time boardgames plans – play Pericles solitaire – fulfilled! What next, we shall see…