You can find the earlier parts of this replay here plus a great video by Volko about the historical setting of the game, enjoy!

Finishing Turn 2 – Florentine Treachery

Christophe here again. We left our replay and rules explanation of Levy & Campaign Series Volume III, Inferno, in Part 1 nearing the end of Turn 2. Antoine’s Ghibellines had just obtained the Surrender of Montepuliciano—a Value 2 Town that awarded his side two Treachery cards for use in a future turn.

But Turn 2 is not quite over! Recall that my Guelphs received a Treachery card for Firenze from an Event (GENOVA) at the beginning of Turn 2. So I already had the opportunity to add a Treachery card to my Plan stack of Command cards for this turn.

Treachery cards when revealed during the Campaign can be used as shown on this reference list from the game’s “Revolt & Treachery” aid sheet. Once added to a Campaign Plan—whether or not that Lord ends up using it for a Revolt or Bribe attempt, and successful or not, used or not—the card will not be available until you obtain it again by some sort of victory or Event.

Here, Firenze’s army has Marched south to Bypass the rebel town of Poggio Bonizio. My Guelphs now want to use the Firenze Treachery card to provoke a Revolt at Siena’s border Castle of Monteriggioni. This Ghibelline Castle is eligible for Revolt because it is a Stronghold and because no Ghibelline Lords are nearby.

For the Revolt, the Active Lord can commit up to 4 Coin, done by Firenze, which has more than enough on his mat.

Firenze chooses to commit just 3 Coin. Since Monteriggioni is a Castle (Value “1”), I roll just one die and need to get a “3” or lower (unlike Siege Surrender rolls, Ravaged markers do not help here).

I roll a “4”. The Treachery Revolt is a failure, so there is no effect. The committed Coin stays on Firenze’s mat, and the Monteriggionesi stay loyal to the Ghibellines. Perhaps I should have spared that 4th Coin!

We reach the end of the turn’s Campaign phase. At the end of each Spring, each side gets to reduce the number of the enemy’s Ravaged markers in its territory to 1/2 of what it is currently.

There are 2 Ghibelline (gold) Ravaged markers, so I remove one (Guelph player’s choice). There is only 1 Guelph (purple) Ravaged marker, so none are removed. (The rule is to reduce to half the number on the map, rounded up.)

Campaign Strategy for Turn 3

My Guelphs during Turn 3’s Event draw step have drawn the GROSSETO Hold Event, which allows for a Treachery at that Town to succeed automatically for 0 Coin. So, my goal is eventually to use that card at Grosseto (bottom left of the map).

But for that, my Guelphs first somehow need to get a Treachery card. For that, they will depart Poggio Bonizio to Besiege a Castle Casole, midway south to Grosseto. (As we have seen for the Ghibellines at Montepulciano, success of Siege grants Treachery cards.)

Antoine’s Ghibellines, thanks to the Surrender of Montepulciano, gained two Treachery cards. He will use those to try to bring the important Town of Colle to the Ghibelline side with a Treachery roll.

But, during the Campaign, before Siena has Marched in range of Colle, Firenze has Besieged Casole, where the nearby presence of that Guelph army ruins Siena’s plan to incite Revolt in Colle. (See “Elligible for Revolt” here.)

Antoine’s Siena Treachery card flips regardless. Since he cannot go for Colle, he will instead try San Gimignano, just north of Siena’s army, committing 4 Coins for the maximum chance. He will need to roll “4” or less on each of two dice (for San Gimignano’s Town Value of “2”).

Another failure for now, but things are going to change – quick.

After that failure, Siena and Provenzano March south to relieve the Siege of Casole—to chase off Firenze’s army before its Siege there can succeed.

When an Enemy Lord Approaches one of your Lords, your Lords have three choices:

  1. If the Locale is a Friendly Stronghold (not Ruins), you can Withdraw inside it with a number of Lords up to its Size (the same as its Value).
  2. You can stay and Battle.
  3. You can Avoid Battle if there is an adjacent Locale free of Enemy Lords

I don’t think that Firenze can win that Battle, so I choose to Avoid to an adjacent Locale, the Castle of Monticiano. Since Monticiano is an Enemy Stronghold, Firenze must Bypass it.

Campaign Strategy for Turn 4

The Guelph strategy, after the failure to obtain a Treachery card at Casole for later use on Grosseto, will be for Firenze’s army to head back north to Friendly territory, joining with Arezzo. The latter is at its Seat, so Arezzo will Tax so that both armies can then go after the rebel Town of Cortona on a later turn. Meanwhile, the Guelphs Levy Colle to block any Ghibelline Treachery targeting either Colle itself or San Gimignano beyond it.

The Ghibelline strategy will be first to chase off the Guelphs from Grosseto, knowing something is fishy around there, and then to use their second Treachery card (Siena used its card, but Provenzano’s card remains) to advance Ghibelline Allegiance further into Guelph lands up north. The Count of Santa Fiora Musters to make the south safer from targeted Treachery cards and random Revolt table rolls.

The Guelph plan does not go as expected: Firenze, seeing the Ghibellines dangerously threatening the area around Poggio Bonizio, dirverts from its intended cooperation with Arezzo against Cortona to instead protect its home City and territory from the advancing Ghibellines.

The Ghibelline army is able to reach Montesperstoli and from there aim Siena’s Treachery at Empoli, succeeding with 3 Coin committed on a roll of “1”.

Upon a successful Revolt due to a Treachery card or after a roll on the Revolt table, players apply both bullets in this reminder box from the Revolt & Treachery aid sheet. They add or remove Allegiance markers to favor the side benefitting from the Revolt. Then the side that suffered harm from the Revolt receives an Exiles benefit. Exiles enable that player to shift its Lord cylinders (left) or Service markers (right) a total number of Calendar boxes equal to that Stronghold’s Value.

  • Here, we add one 1VP Allegiance marker at Empoli. (Empoli is a Castle, Size “1”.)
  • Then the Guelphs choose and shift Firenze’s Service marker from box “5” to box “6”.

The rest of that turn would go even better for the Ghibellines: with their next card, they do a Siege action at Montespertoli. At 1 Siege marker plus 1 Ravaged marker, the Castle Surrenders on a “2”.

The Siege being a success, we follow the same sequence as we did when Montepulciano fell earlier, but this time only once (for Value “1” Castle instead of “2” Town)—only one roll on the Revolt table, plus the addition of one Treachery card to the successful side’s deck.

Cross-referencing the Ghibelline dice rolls on the Revolt table, we find that they directly target Poggio Bonizio—a Stronghold that is already Friendly to the Ghibellines.

Referring on the aid sheet again to “How to roll”, we now find that the third bullet applies: as the named target is already Friendly to the rolling side, the rolling player can now choose an adjacent Enemy Stronghold of same or equal Value to Revolt instead.

So, Antoine has a choice between Barbarino to the northeast of Poggio Bonizio and Colle just to the west (the Stronghold to the south—Monteriggioni—is already Ghibelline). However, both are ineligible for Revolt because an Enemy Lord is at or adjacent to that Stronghold! Colle’s army ensures that its Town stays loyal. And Firenze’s diversion north to counter the Sienese invasion has already paid off in protecting Castle Barberino.

Campaign Strategy for Turn 5

The Guelphs after their losses in the north will press the offensive against the rebel Cortona in the east. Arezzo Levies WAR ENGINEERS so that its army will be able alone to effectively Besiege Cortona, adding Siege markers there as a lone Lord even though it is a Size “2” Town.

The Ghibellines following their success on the Poggio Bonizio front, will try to push their advantage further west and seek to choke off Colle from its Vassals and resources and Colle’s ally San Gimignano.

This Campaign, the Ghibelline plan again goes smoothly. San Gimignano has no stomach to hold out against a Siege. Rolls following the Surrender do not produce any Revolts, But the Ghibellines are further strengthening their advance. Meanwhile, the Guelphs fail to take Cortona within this turn.

Campaign Strategy for Turn 6

As this Winter turn only has 4 Command cards for actions per side, the turn will be short and see less activity than Spring or Autumn (7 cards each). The Guelphs will continue the siege of Cortona. The Ghibellines will return to the City of Siena to Tax for some money for Treachery and other needs in future Seasons.

Another of Inferno’s differences from Nevsky, first game in the Levy & Campaign Series, is that Podestà Lords (the mayors of Siena and Pisa for the Ghibellines; Firenze, Colle, Arezzo, and Lucca for Guelphs) are able to Muster while being Besieged in their Main Seat (the Cities named on the Podestà mats, shown by a gold or purple pentagon symbol next to the Seat coat of arms. This is one of several Podestà Muster exceptions, summarized on the Sequence of Play sheet, this one known as “Emergency Army”.

For example, Colle City is the Podestà of Colle’s main Seat, as shown by the pentagon above Colle’s Seat symbol. (And below Colle’s Seat, by the way, we can see Vassal Seats of two of Colle’s Vassals, important for Muster or Bribe of those Vassal forces.)

As a result, Colle is able to add to its Forces, Capabilities, and Transport this Levy phase, even though its army is under Siege by the Ghibellines.

The ensuing Winter Campaign once again does not go as expected for my Guelphs!

Arezzo has placed 4 Siege markers and 1 Ravage marker on the Ghibelline rebel Stronghold of Cortona. With a Siege action there now, the Guelphs need only to roll a “5” or less two on each of 2 dice for the Town to Surrender. Unfortunately for my position, I roll a “6” on one of the dice, the Cortona rebels refuse Arrezo’s terms, and the Siege continues. The maximum number of Siege markers that a Stronghold can accumulate is 4. So, the action adds no more Siege markers.

Most decisively for Cortona, the sustained resistance means that the entire Siege will fail, because Arezzo army is at the end of its rope—unable to stay longer in the field. (Upon the next turn’s Levy, Arrezo’s Service marker will be in the same Calendar box as the “Levy” turn marker; with no Coin to pay its army, Arezzo Disbands.)

Campaign Strategy for Turn 7

Antoine’s Ghibellines have gained some victory points on me, but my Guelph cause is far from lost. With the Spring, the Guelphs are gearing up for more action, thanks to the Levy of more Troops, their Campaign will focus on Taxing to support the launch of a prolonged invasion of the Ghibelline part of Tuscany.

The Ghibellines, after their many successes, will try to suppress the rebellion of Volterra to the west, the goal being again to provoke havoc on the Guelph side and create more opportunities for Revolts by Revolt table rolls. The more Allegiance markers you have in Enemy territory, the more Strongholds adjacent to your Lords and Allegiance markers, the more likely your Enemy’s Strongholds are to lose faith on their side’s ability to win the war, and the more of them will eventually change sides.

The Ghibellines during Campaign Planning decide to assign the fast-moving Count Giordano as Lieutenant over the local Count of Santa Fiora, to enable their combined advance on Volterra. This places Giordano’s cylinder on top of Santa Fiora’s, meaning that Santa Fiora cannot activate this Campaign but will accompany Giordano on his Marches. A Lieutenant, like Giordano here, must be assigned at the beginning of the Campaign and must always move with his Lower Lord (Santa Fiora in this case), whether during March, Withdrawal into a Stronghold, Avoiding Battle, Retreat, or Sail. The Ghibelline side will not be allowed to use Santa Fiora’s cards this Campaign, only Giordano’s.

In contrast, the Podestà of Siena—the Ghibellines’ Leading City—is a Commander (same as a “Marshal” in the earlier games). So he can choose to take along or leave behind anyone as he Marches. But as a Podestà, Siena’s Lord is also more expensive to keep in the field—at a cost of 2 Coin per turn instead of the usual 1 Coin. Probably for that reason, Antoine has chosen Giordano instead of Siena to carry the offensive forward.

On the way from the City of Siena to Volterra, the Ghibelline host must first stop at Colle—an Enemy Stronghold where there happens also to be an Enemy Lord.

In this “Approach” situation, with the reacting Lord at a Friendly Stronghold (the Guelph Podestà of Colle outside his own Town), the defender has three choices: Withdraw inside, Avoid Battle to an adjacent Locale, or stand outside to fight a Battle.

This time, I choose for Colle to give Battle, even if his strength is weaker than the Enemy. My feeling that the risk is low. Defenders outside their own walls can rather painlessly Retreat into their Stronghold if the Battle goes badly.

The ensuing Battle will feature all the Lords outside the Stronghold at that Locale: Giordano and Santa Fiora for the Ghibellines, Colle for the Guelphs.

The “Battle & Storm” page of the foldout player aid enables players to smoothly follow the steps, without the need to have their noses in the rulebook. Since this is an open field Battle, we follow the lefthand column. If this were a Storm of a Stronghold (like Arezzo’s assault on Cortona during the first turn), we would follow the righthand column.

We will now go through the whole Battle sequence for this Battle, blow by blow.

The Active Lord is the Lord whose Command card is currently in play—that Lord must deploy Front and Center in the Battle Array of up to 3 Lords across. Giordano will be in Front Center, and Santa Fiora at Front Left. The Defenders, Colle alone here, then must, if able, put one Lord in front of each Front Enemy Lord, first in the Center. Colle will face Giordano, and Santa Fiora will Flank Colle.

Next, Attackers then Defenders may play Held Event cards to apply as applicable for the duration of the Battle. (Recall from Part1 that each side has been drawing 2 random Arts of War cards each turn.)

The Ghibellines choose to play SUDDEN CLASH from their hand of Hold cards, playing that Event to enhance Giordano’s Horse. As Giordano’s Ritter (German knights) are up against Colle’s rather numerous and very potent BALESTRIERI crossbowmen covered PALVESARI shieldmen, the German Horse will use a tactical maneuver to sweep around the Guelph foot and strike at them first.

The Guelphs also Hold SUDDEN CLASH and play it on Colle, but for a much lesser effect, since Colle’s Horse is weaker than that of Giordano. Next, A Bloody Red Stream will allow for Colle to stay in the fight longer by rallying some units to fight again.

Either player now may Concede the Field. Conceding enables a side to end the fight and cover its Retreat. Its Hits will be halved, but it will pull off a more organized Retreat out of the Battle Locale. The Conceding side will get away with its Assets (Carts, Provender, and Coin) rather than have the Enemy catch and take them. It also will make much less likely its panicking Troops getting obliterated by the Enemy—which potentially can remove the Retreating Lord himself.

The Ghibellines, thinking they will win, decided to not Concede the Field. The Guelphs, as they are at a Friendly Stronghold into which they can safely Withdraw, likewise decide not to Concede. At worse, a Defeated Colle will be able to Withdraw inside the Town’s walls with its Troops and denying the Ghibellines any Spoils of Battle.

Now we commence with the bulk of the Battle: the Strike phase.

The Defender then the Attacker will carry out Strike steps as follows:

  • Defender Archery
  • Attacker Archery
  • Defending Horse Melee
  • Attacking Horse Melee
  • Defending Foot Melee
  • Attacking Foot Melee

While this is the regular sequence, with SUDDEN CLASH Events played in this Battle, Colle’s Defending Horse and Giordano’s Attacking Horse each Strike before any Archery. This Battle’s Round 1 will follow the sequence:

  • Colle’s Defending Horse Melees (SUDDEN CLASH)
  • Giordano’s Attacking Horse Melees (SUDDEN CLASH)
  • Defender Archery
  • Attacker Archery
  • Santa Fiora’s Attacking Horse Melees
  • Defending Foot Melee
  • Attacking Foot Melee

For Each strike step, we look at the “Forces” chart and apply the Hits to the Enemy units, taking into account the different Capability cards of each Lord.

For example, we see on the Forces chart that Cavalieri units (green wedges) yield 1 Melee Hit each, Berrovieri (tan wedges) ½ Hit each (in Battle), and Light Horse (brown wedges) each ½ Hit also.

So, Colle’s Defending Horse Melee Strike with its 4 Horse units generates 1 + ½ + ½ + ½ = 2½ Hits.(Notice that we did not roll to Hit, we simply added up the units.) We round Hits up—always round up in Levy & Campaign. Thus, Colle’s Horse Melees for 3 Hits.

Now we need to find out which Ghibelline units will absorb the Hits from Colle.

  • If a Lord has no opposing Lord directly in front of him, he Flanks the closest Enemy Lord. In such a Flanking situation, the owner of the Flanking Lord is able to select which Lord will take the Hits from the Flanked Enemy, Hit per Hit. Here, Santa Fiora Flanks Colle, so Antoine gets to pick which of his Lords—Giordano or Santa Fiora—will take Hits from Colle.
  • Typically, a Lord receiving Hits selects which of his units will absorb them. But here, thanks to the Colle’s use of the SUDDEN CLASH Event, the Guelph player (me) gets to select which of the target Lord’s units will take those Hits.

In this way, Flanking Lords lowers the effectiveness of a Selecting Targets, such as through SUDDEN CLASH or PALVESARI, because the Striking player must Hit units belonging to whichever Lord the Flanking opponent designates. The Ghibelline Antoine chooses Giordano to take the Hits, and my Guelphs will select Giordano’s Berrovieri to take the first Hit.

Now come the die rolls. A unit rolls a die for each Hit is takes—equal to or less than its Protection (here, Armor) shown on the Forces table, and it’s fine; greater than that range, it Routs. Antoine has 3 Hits to roll:

  • The first roll is a “2”—his Berrovieri (“Armor 1-2”) absorbs the Hit.
  • The second roll is a “6”, which Routs the unit. He slides it behind the line, into the mat’s “Routed” section.
  • The third roll must be by a different unit, since the Berrovieri Routed. Antoine still chooses Giordano, and I select one of his Militia as the target. A lucky roll of “1” allows even this Unarmored Militia to stand.

Next is Giordano’s SUDDEN CLASH Attacker Horse Melee. (The Berrovieri, being Routed, will not participate for the rest of the Battle.) The sequence for taking Hits is the same, except that the Guelph Defenders have only one Lord and no Flanking, so there is no choice of Lord. Colle will take all the Hits, and, because of the Event, the Attacker will pick which units must roll.

Colle receives 7 hits (6 from the Ritter, ½ rounded up to 1 from Light Horse). Since Colle’s Horse already Struck this Round, Antoine mostly selects and tries to overwhelm the Guelph Foot (green blocks). Happily for me, Colle fields tough PALVESARI Armigeri with Armor 1‑4. My Foot Troops roll well and, in the end, Antoine switches to an easier target and Routs only a single Berrovieri.

Next is Defender Archery. The PALVESARI Capability alongside BALESTRIERI make for a very powerful combination. It not only increases 3 of Colle’s Armigeri Armor from “1-2” to “1-4”, but also enables the BALESTRIERI to select their targets. BALESTRIERI crossbowmen reduce their targets’ Armor by “-2”, which makes Armored units way more likely to Rout.

Antoine the Ghibelline this time chooses Santa Fiora as the Lord who will take the Hits, fearing to put Giordano’s Ritters in front of Colle’s crossbows. Colle Strikes first at Santa Fiora’s Cavalieri (Italian knights). With BALESTRIERI causing -2 to the Armor, Cavalieri stand only on a roll of “1” (instead of “1-3”). By the BALESTRIERI card, up to 3 Armigeri units shoot with a x1 Archery each, for 3 rolls. With very good fortune, only 1 unit from Santa Fiora Routs.

The Battle continues (with help to Colle of the Distringitores Capability at my board edge), until most of Santa Fiora’s troops and finally all of Colle’s units are Routed. At that point, A BLOODY RED STREAM triggers, and ALL of Colle’s units try to recover to fight again. As it happens, only a handful of Guelph units manage to recover, units which won’t survive for much longer against Giordano’s far stronger Forces.

With all Colle’s units once again Routed, the Lord himself Routs. If no one Concedes the Field, the Battle ends when all of one side’s Lords are Routed. We proceed to “Ending Battle/Storm” on the ai sheet. (Left column concerns Battle.)

In the first step, since the Town of Colle is a Friendly Stronghold, Colle’s defeated Podestà is able to Withdraw inside the Town and does so.

All Lords must now roll for Losses, to find out which if any units that are Routed recover to stay with the Lord. For Attackers in Storm or any Lords who Retreated without Conceding, only rolls of “1” will save units. Here, we fought a Battle, not a Storm, and Colle Withdrew rather than Retreated. All units need only roll their unmodified Protection (Armor rating or Unarmored “1”). As well for the rest of the sequence, Colle having Withdrawn to safety will yield no Spoils nor shift its Service.

Inferno adds a new layer to Troop Losses. Some units representing well-to-do knights—Cavalieri and Ritter—if they are removed can go instead to a box for Captured Knights of that side.

Surviving Troops on Colle’s Lord mat after the Battle and roll for Losses. One of its Cavalieri units got Captured and went into the Captured Knights box.

At the end of the turn, some Unbesieged Guelph Lord will need to pay a Coin from his mat to the Ghibellines to liberate that Captured unit back onto a Guelph Lord’s mat. Failure to do so leaves the Cavalieri to Languish in Captivity, resulting in anger from the population that either triggers a Revolt Roll or awards 1 Treachery card to the Enemy (Ghibellines’ choice).

In the next part, we will find out how effectively Giordano will press his expedition against Volterra and whether the Guelphs can bounce back from their reversals as the second half of the game unfolds!