Within my boardgame group we continue playing Successors 4th edition – trying all scenarios and all main campaign set-ups. I have already brought to the table a 2-player scenario as well as did the demonstration of the game for 3 factions. We had an epic 4-players session and now come the time to try with 3 players to divide the spoils after Alexander the Great. Me, Jakub G and Jakub J were destined to clash in the Asia as well as Greece and Egypt!
Before session report, some historical background as well as game description.
It all starts in a very familiar way: so after short but very successful career, Alexander the Great died in pretty young age in 323 BC. In that case, he left no clear heir to the great empire he had conquered. Not surprisingly, the peace did not last long, and it was soon after his death that the Macedonian generals began to war among themselves. First, it was 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.
You probably know my opinion well by this time – those were truly incredibly fascinating and interesting times in Ancient history; unfortunately greatly overshadowed by the conquests of Alexander the Great. It is important to note that the forces which fought here were of the superb quality and enormous quantity, utilizing combined arms concepts of Macedonian armies. The battles between Diadochi in the breaths and size were only matched by the era of Punic Wars. Isn’t this 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. It can also be tried solo, but more like playing all the sides rather than against the bot. In this title 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.
In my humble opinion, the new, refreshed 4th edition of the game is simply beautiful. We got mounted map plus beautiful 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. All in all, a great refresh of fantastic title.
Time to present our 3-player session. It was not the first time when Successors hit the table so we knew game pretty well by this time. Version with two players was fine but lacked more multi-dimension interaction; with four – slightly too volatile as loosing one of two generals was a great punishment for lost battle; so we truly expected three belligerents game to be the best set-up.
As always in this title – 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 three players we got 3 generals each. So now let us see how it worked out!
The initial disposition of forces was pretty balanced – no large clusters of one-faction generals, more like a colorful map of owned provinces. Due to largest number of VPs it was my, red faction, who was usurper so other players could attack me without losing legitimacy 😦
Summary: a very balanced turn, despite Ptolemy losing the battle. Dramatic events in Asia Minor where Kuba J tried (unsuccessfully) to capitalize on my defeat in Egypt. It really proved that in 3 player game the punishment for lost battle – and ability to recover – were exactly what one would expect.
Summary: a lot of developments in Babylonia and Mesopotamia, where Kuba G managed to expel Perdiccas (Kuba J)! The latter took Syria and Phoenicia. Peukates appeared on the side of map, attack on Macedonia is in plans. Wow, a lot was happening but strangely I still had the highest number of VPs!
We finished after turn 3. My super-large attack on Macedon, where both sides had similar forces, unfortunately failed. Kuba G finished subjugation of Media and Babylonia, while Kuba J finally displaced Crateros (best general in our game). Do not look at VPs – if we had more time for game, they would probably change.
Let me now share my initial impressions of the game – mainly looking at 3-players set up:
- Once again, I have to underline that this is a very thematic game – that grand clashes of not so long ago allies and now mortal enemies, Alexander legacy, heirs, etc. Attempts to exploit weaknesses of one side (like attack on me in Asia Minor) and then alliances against common enemy. Love it!
- It is independent of number of players, but I have to again underline great quality of components – the game looks gorgeous! Not only miniatures but also Tyche, Provinces, Generals or Faction cards. Plus of course beautiful, mounted map – a feast for eyes!
- The game with 3-players is much more balanced and “forgiving“. Losing 1 out of 3 generals can be compensated, unlike in four players game (you have only two). The dynamics of this set-up are probably the best, comparing all my plays so far.
- Still, with the same or similar strength on both sides, a simple dice roll decides the result. I would love to see something more sophisticated.
That was the best Successors session we had so far. If I may put it this way: definitely most balanced and the best balancing set-up. The lost battle does not mean the partition of your country. Everybody is aware of others movements as there is little free space on map. Definitely, this will be my preferred way to play this game!