Time to play Successors 4th edition from Phalanx even more. I have already brought to the table 2-player scenario as well as did the demonstration of the game for 3 factions. Now, the time has come to have as many as 4 players trying to divide the spoils after Alexander the Great. Me, Jakub, Lukasz and Marcin decided to take on the challenge!
Again, let me provide a short historical background as well as game introduction before I will jump to the session report.
After short but very successful career, Alexander the Great died in pretty young age in 323 BC. As such, he left no clear heir to the immense empire he had conquered. The peace did not last long, and it was soon after his death that the Macedonian generals began to war among themselves – first over who would be either regent or most legitimate defender of Alexander’s empire. But by 305 BC, they had given up on any pretense and began to carve out their own kingdoms.
In my personal opinion, those were one of the most fascinating and interesting times in Ancient history, to great extent overshadowed by the conquests of Alexander the Great. The forces which clashed here were of the superb quality and enormous quantity, utilizing combined arms concepts of Macedonian armies. These were one of the most exciting, close and bloody battles – out of initial Successors only few made it to old age. A perfect material for a game!
The Game, components & rules explanation
I encourage you to familiarize with the game mechanics by above example of play Video.
Successors 4th edition is a 2-5 player card-driven wargame based on the Alexander the Great generals conflicts. Each player controls a faction of two or more leaders and attempts to win the game either by achieving legitimacy with the Macedonian royalty or by conquering and maintaining control of the empire. The new, refreshed 4th edition of the game is simply beautiful. We got mounted map, we can use miniatures – which once painted, looks gorgeous. For the ones of you who prefer less fancy but easier to play tokens – this option is also available.
The rulebook is very detailed so the authors – rightfully – suggest starting with the example of play. In above video I am presenting the base game mechanics as well as couple of turns in a typical 3 player game. Of course the Fourth edition brings the updates to the game. It includes more generals, more scenarios, new Tyche cards, plenty of new components, and a changed map, with Libya and Cyrene being merged. All in all, a great refresh of fantastic title.
Time to present our 4-player session. As always in this game – unless you play a dedicated scenario – you use variable set-up to determine who starts where. This is great mechanics, allowing for great replayability, which we slightly home-ruled not to allow anybody to have both Babylonia and Macedonia. With four players we all got 2 generals each. So now let us see how it worked out!
PS. You can click every picture below to open an enlarged version.
That was very interesting game. The clashes of Lukasz and Jakub will be long remembered. I managed to go a little under radar – only Jakub was pointing to everybody that the growing “Red empire” in the west soon will overshadow the rest. There was a chance to do it – my Egypt (6 VPs) was pretty undefended for couple of turns. The attack of Neutral armies in the north also helped. Rhodes proved again to be extremely hard to get and super valuable once you got it.
Let me now share my initial impressions of the game – mainly looking at 4-players set up as opposed to 2-player game:
- Once again, I have to underline it is a very thematic game – even more with 4 than 2 players; oh, that grand clashes of not so long ago allies and now mortal enemies, Alexander legacy, heirs, etc. As a fan of history I love to have a possibility to replay it and possibly alter.
- With 4 players the fact that the game has great quality components is even more vivid and visible – beautiful Tyche, Provinces, Generals or Faction cards. On top of this General and Heirs miniatures plus of course map – a feast for eyes!
- The game with 4-players is a little bit not-forgiving for my taste. Each of us had 2 generals, and if you lose the battle in first Round of Turn, you effectively lose 50% of your armies and leadership for pretty long time. Having 3 leader (three-player game) or 4 (two-player set-up) is much more balanced. I definitely would like to see some optional rule here for defeat not to be such a crushing affair (not that it was different in reality…)
The game proved to be interesting, with everybody cautiously developing in first turn and then rapidly escalating in full-blown conflict in second part. I think we might have slightly different set-up in the beginning for more balanced game – with me having simply all the fleets and Lukasz whole West. I think some home-rules regarding the set-up will be probably needed and very welcome.