Monday, January 15, 2018

Match Report: Blood Bowl- Exhbition Re-match: Reeverz v. Nobles

My daughter and I pulled out the Blood Bowl board and played another exhibition match between the Orks and Humans from the Boxset.  This time, we gave each team two re-rolls and decided to use the Ork side of the board.  Last time, she bested me by a TD.  I took the Nobles again and she took the Orks.  We also have a Khemri, Skaven, and Chaos team for out games, but decide to go with the box again.  Sadly, I didn’t document this game as closely as the last one, but I have enough of the flavor below.   

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Lord Summervale: Now, our CabalVision VI coverage of Blood Bowl post-NAF takes us to the Deep North League- Southern Regional Conference match-up.  This was exhibition play between the Skulsmash Reverz and the Nottingham Nobles.  This time, the action took place at the beloved Freeboota Field, home of the Skulsmash Reeverz. 


The Nottingham Nobles started with the ball, but deep penetration by Skullsmash Reeverz Blitzer Ruck-Ruck forced the Nobles to scramble deep in their own territory.  However, the first line Thrower Rick Priestley managed to dump it off to their catcher Gav Thorpe to push out of Nobles territory. 

Mad Johan: It was a pretty gutsy move by Priestley to dump the ball to a catcher on his side of the field, but it relieved the pressure and potential quick score by the Reeverz.


Lord Summervale: However, things devolved quickly as the Ork defense smashed the Nobles line and kept the ball around mid-field through the first half.  The Reeverz line play was punishing as multiple Nobles players were knocked out of the game.  At one point, in the first half they had more men in the Dug-out than on the field! 


Mad Johan: The Nobles kicked it to the Reeverz to start the second half, and things did not get much better for the Nobles.  They started without a full team on the field. 

Lord Summervale: The orks just kept up the relentless pounding, and soon the Nobles were down to only 5 players on the pitch.  Despite some desperate plays and passes, the Nobles just could not get any offense going.

Mad Johan: They did manage to shell out some payback, but not nearly enough against those heavily armored Ork lineman. 

Lord Summervale: The Skulsmash Reever offense just wore downt he Nobles to so few players that the back-up Thrower Runthugga was able to walk the ball into the end zone late in the second half.


Lord Summervale: In the last two meetings of these teams, the Reeverz have managed to come away victorious in their last two exhibition matches.  The Orks look like they might have a decent team in the conference.  I am sure the other teams in the League are watching this exhibition matches very carefully before this year’s season kicks-off for real. 


Now, let’s go take a closer looker at the Deep North League’s Northern Conference, there we see…..    

Monday, January 8, 2018

Random: Rules Writing Goals- What You Might Expect


In my 2018 Of Resolutions and New Year’s Thread, I referred to a few goals around Review Writing.  They were pretty simple goals.  I wanted to complete 2 new Rules Sets for the Blog.  As part of that, I wanted to share which Rules I am working on for 2018.  Technically, I wanted to added two more Work-in-Progress games to the Blog; not even finished works.  So, if I complete or polish off the two Work-In-Progress games it won’t really count towards the goal. 

The astute of you will see that my two Work-In-Progress games are RedLine and Rampant Galaxies.  For RedLine I am adding some factions, tweaking the weapon lists, and developing the campaign side of the game.  However, right now it is perfectly usable as a game and I encourage you to test it out.

Rampant Galaxies is more “complete” as a game but is also in need of some play-testing to make sure it actually works as intended and provides a different feel and gameplay than RampantStars.  The scale and scope of the games are supposed to be very different and I want to make sure that feel comes out.


So, if those do not count towards the goal what else could I be talking about?  Well, I have a few games in the “pipeline”. 

The first I want to talk about is Mageloque.  This game is a Magic and Muskets style game.  However, in the world of Mageloque the musket is a magical weapon built on a massed produced scale.  It is apply fantasy genre wargame tropes to horse and musket and twisting it all up.  Perhaps not an original idea, but one I have wanted to play around with for some time.  Plus, I want it to be scale and miniature line agnostic.


I have two versions in the works.  One is for “Big Battles” where units are Companies, Battalions, and Regiments.  The other version is a scaled down Skirmish version similar in scale and scope to Chosen Men.  I have been working on both on and off again for about 2 years and both are still about the same distance away from being finished.  I am unsure which direction I really want to do more with, so I have been slowly tinkering on both scales. 

The second game I have been working on is Conquest! Rome in Italy.  This game is another Ancients ruleset that focuses on Rome conquest of the Italian Peninsula.  It is a look at fighting before Rome became a world power.  This spans the time from Rome’s founding around 753 BCE to the end of the Pyrrhic Wars in 275 BCE.  That is a huge expanse of time and the military model of Rome and her rivals changed a lot during that period.
 

As I dig into the history, there is surprisingly little written about the Kingdom of Rome and the Early Roman Republics military.  During this time frame, the Roman military probably went through three distinct phases and trying to represent them all is a challenge.  The military structures used get even sketchier when you move to local rivals such as the Italic Tribes, Oscans, Gauls, Latins, Capuans, etc.  We have a bit more to work with for Etruscans, Samnites, and Magna Graecia but not much.  Therefore, it is as much an exercise in learning and research as it is in rules writing. 

Much of this work will be based on the Men of Bronze/Heirs to Empire style of game engine with local variations and tweaks.  However, if you managed to get your hands on those games while they were in Work-in-Progress then you will have an idea how this one will play.

The final work I am seriously working on at this time is Green Army Men: Plastic Men.  Steel Resolve.    This will be a wargames lite dexterity combat game similar to Total CARnage but between plastic soldiers instead of cars.  My daughter challenged me to make this game after playing a lot of Total CARnage over the Holidays.  I was not able to complete it by Christmas but maybe by next Christmas.

The mechanics will hold some things in common with Z-man Games Flick’em Up!  Basic Shooting and Close Combat is all figured out, but I am working on how I want Movement and Morale to work.  I envision this game using no dice, no templates, and no tape measure.  I want it to use 1:1 scale models and terrain with WYSIWYG resolutions. 

Finally, for those that have been lurking on my plog or old posts on various message boards you may recall Skies of Fire- A Game of High Flying Fantasy.  The concept with this one has been around longer than Mageloque, but I don’t expect to get it done.  My enthusiasm for it was lost when Attack Wing and other Flight Path system games became popular.
 
The game was pretty simple.  It was going to be a fantasy dogfight game between dragons, Pegasi, Griffons, and their fantasy riders.  Unlike a game like X-wing, it was going to be more squadron based with small flights of models taking part.  Games would be between 2-15 models per side and be closer to 10-15mm in scale.  One of the key mechanics would involve altitude changes and grappling combat.  Individual heroes/upgrades and such would be less important than traditional Flight Path systems. 

I am sure when it was done; it would look a lot like Aeronautica Imperialis but with dragons.  I am not sure that is what I want to do right now, but who knows if inspiration strikes I might crank it out one day.  That is why it stays on the Work-in-Progress list but I do not think it will ever really see the light of day. 

That is what I have on my radar at the moment. However, who knows what crazy idea might strike me next.  I have had a few random ideas dancing around for the following genres as well:

1.       Land Ironclads Game- Big land battleships beating the heck out of each other with big broadsides and thunderous gun barrages.
2.       Rampant Moon- Bringing the Rampant Stars engine to 1:1 Skirmish games between individuals ala Rogue Stars.
3.       Into the Void- Spaceship battle game with variable facings and heights to get far, far away from World War II Naval in SPACE!

These last three are just glimmers in my mind’s eye at the moment, where the others in the group have actually had some work done in the form of rule writing.  However, who knows when inspiration strikes!  I was able to complete a few of my previous rules sets in remarkably short timeframes so who knows.  It all depends on what Real Life brings this year.

So, keep your eyes on the right hand side of the blog.  There is a section called Work In Progress Games and that will be where any new games end up… at least at first.  Once there, I will open a thread in the Message Board for any feedback you want to provide on the game.  After that, I will make tweaks and decide the games’ ultimate fate. 


Here’s to completing some of 2018’s goals!   

Monday, January 1, 2018

Random: 2018- Of New Year's and New Resolutions

As most of you know, I like to begin the year with a list of hobby goals to try and accomplish in 2018.  It isn't binding in any way.  Like many of these lists, by March it will all ready be out of date as new priorities and realities make themselves known.  However, over the last few years they have served me well to help prioritize my time and hobby attention.  When you only get a few hours a month, you need a list to keep you focused on what is what.  

Purchases:
These are things I will be using my hard earned money to accomplish.



-Purchase all new Osprey Wargaming Series Books- I find this series a great way to introduce me to new gaming ideas, rules concepts, and genres.  I also think they are a great boon to our hobby and want to support those efforts with my dollars.  I have everyone published to date, and plan to keep supporting them as they come out

-Pick-up 6mm Successor Armies from Baccus- I have wanted to give there 6mm ranges a try for some time, and I think Successor Armies for Heirs of Empire is a great way to go.  I want a couple to play Heirs of Empire and for photos so this seems like a great place to give them a shot.

  
-New Professional Terrain- I have been using my old, homemade, cheap and easy terrain for a long time.  It certainly lacks polish, but makes up for it in low cost and ease of storage.  However, I think it might be time to invest in a few basic items such as grass/field matt, a river, a ford, some woods, hedges, etc. to make a nice looking, basic table.  If you have some good suggestions for good items, please let me know. 

-Purchase Blucher- I need to just bite the bullet and buy Blucher.  Last year, I had it in a series of potential buys but over the course of the year narrowed it down to this one.  For one thing, I want to try Nappies for a long time.  What wargamer doesn't?  Second, I like the fact it can be played with paper templates instead of minis.  Third, I typically like Sam Mustafa's designs.  Fourth, I have heard good things about the system and campaign rules.  Therefore, I need to just bite the bullet and get this game. 

Painting and Modelling
This are things that I am feebly try to get painted and modelled this year.  This category is the one that trips me up the most as I am not very good and like it the least.  Therefore, my goals here will be limited for 2018 as I just don;t think I will have much time or energy for it.   

-Paint Mobile Artillery for All Quiet on the Martian Front- Back on the list again this year!  I got them mostly assembled last year, but now I need to paint them.  I left off the Mk IV Tank, because I just don't think I will get to it.  I look forward to the Mobile Infantry joining my Minnesota Militia in the Minnesota RiverValley campaign.



-Paint DA Thompson from PulpAlleyI picked up the Red Queen and DA Thompson for Turf War when I purchased PulpAlley to review.  I painted up the Red Queen, but now need to paint her accomplice.  That isn't enough to start a gang, but I don’t think I will be getting anymore gangsters this year so I will need to settle on just getting this guy done. 


Playing
This section is for what I want to accomplish playing wise for 2018. 

-Play 8th Edition 40K- I have been playing 40K on and off since Rogue Trader days.  I don't really want to give up on it, but I haven't played since the tail end of 4th edition.  However, I have heard good things about the new edition and figured I have the models to try it out so why not?  I really don't want to buy anything new and will just be using my old stuff and loaned items from my gaming buddies.  However, I am curious and when my gaming group brought it up I figured no time like 2018 to try it again.  

-Finish the Balkan UprisingCampaignThe Ottoman League forces have the advantage, but the Balkan League has been coming on strong witht eh arrival of the Greek Armored Cruiser as reinforcements.  I really just need to play the last few games of Castles in the Sky to finish the campaign off and determine the winner. 



-Play One Game I have not Played Before- I have a large stack of games I have not had the chance to play plus the games my friends have that we have not played yet.  Therefore, I want to try to play at least 1 game I have not played before.  I would like to try Ronin/EnGarde or Gaslands from my Osprey collection.  I would also really like to try Super Systems 4th Edition.  However, we will see what happens.  

Rules Writing
This section details my goals for writing and creating games to play.  This area has been some of my most productive goals in the last few years, and an aspect of the hobby I have been enjoying a great deal lately.  It is probably because I can do it in short snippets here and there.  All I need is my brainpower and something to write with/on. 

-Complete 2 New Rulesets for the Blog- Now, that doesn't mean they will be completely finished an plished works.  However, it does mean they will be playable with the core mechanics and ready to post into the Work-in-Progress section of the blog. 



-Get Photos for Men of Bronze Completed- Well in order for Men in Bronze to be published to deadline I need 30 hig-res photos of Greek Hoplite Miniatures on the table.  For that I need the models painted, based, and a decent table.  Then I need a photograph ready to help me.  



Miscellany
This section is for random stuff that is Blood and Spectacles related but doesn't fall cleanly into the other categories.       

-Blog Once every 2-Week- This last year, I was posting twice a week.  However, much of that content was older material from my gaming career that I had documented.  Going forward, it is going to need to be new stuff! I can't keep up twice a week, but I will shoot for weekly and probably hit bi-weekly.  Hence the goal! 

-Clean-up a game for Wargames Vault- I don't know which one, or how but I would like to get another game on Wargames Vault this year for download.  Maybe it will be an updated work or maybe it will be brand new.  I don't know.  

In Conclusion

Now, just because something is not on the list does not mean that it won't happen this year.  For example, I am pretty sure I will be playing some Aeronautica Imperialis this year, but it isn't necessarily one of my 2018 Goals.  That's just fun!  Same for purchases as I wouldn't be shocked if some Lobotons for All Quiet on the Martian Frontgangsters for Turf Waror Aeronef for Castles in the Sky show up in my cart.  I wouldn’t by shocked if Battlegroup, Chain of Command, or some other wargame ended up on my shelf either.  However, the purpose of my list is to keep me focused on my priorities of 2018.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Battle Report: Total CARnage- Slaying Song Tonight!

As you may recall, for Thanksgiving my family had a lot of fun playing Total Carnage!  The Christmas Season appears to be no exception.  As soon as I walked int he door, the youngsters were asking to play the "Car Game" again.  I was obliging and we pulled out the cars and blocks and got set-up to play again. 


We used some of the same car names as last time.  Above you can see Barbie Basher scoot past the wreckage of Speedline and sneak up on Black Shadow. 


This game was a Kill'em All scenario.  The top three cars are Barbie Basher, Titan, and Money maker.  The bottom three are Black Shadow, 9-1-1, and Speedline.  We had a smaller table to play on so we only used three cars per player instead of five.


We also played a few Capture the Macguffin scenarios using the top hatted Little People as the objective.  If you ran into him, you picked him up. 


In this one, Black Shadow crashed into the red block, and a yellow pole fell from the top of it and landed on him.  He was destoyed.  That was pretty par for the course as we smashed into terrain and each other like crazy. 

For Christmas, I gave them all a copy of the rules that I had printed out.  They were pretty excited.  Another happy Christmas memory as we sang a "Slaying Song Tonight"!     

Friday, December 22, 2017

Random: 2017 in Review

Another year bites the dust!  It feels like only yesterday when I started this blog and started adding content. Lo and behold it has been over a year!  This seems like a good time to review the 2017 Goals and see how it all turned out. 

Typically, I make these goal lists to help guide me through what I want to accomplish in a year.  They are not hard and fast rules, but more of a guideline.  Some years I do better at completing them than others, but I shoot for a 50% completion rate.   In addition, I break them into categories to help me organize my thought sand efforts. 

Purchases:

1.       Buy all new Osprey Wargaming Series- 100% Succes
I am on track with this goal!  The last one released in 2017 was Gaslands.  I even managed to review it.  Next year, there are at least two new ones to be published on their site, and I expect I will be picking those up too.  I really enjoy the Wargaming Series as it is a low cost way to be exposed to a lot of different rules, genres, periods, and wargaming ideas.  I like spending money to support their efforts at diversity.  I also bought Mad Dogs with Guns and some Frostgrave supplements this year, but they are not technically part of this goal. 



2.       Pick-up Blood Bowl- 100% Complete
I grabbed the box set and the Death Zone season 1 book.  I have even played a few games!  For a long time, this was the only game I managed to play and keep me in the hobby.  However, I never had my own turf or templates.  I have now remedied that situation.  I am set to play for ages to come.  The scale change has made me interested in getting some of the new teams, but it is low on my priority list at the moment and I can still use some of my old teams.



3.       Pick-up one of the following: Blucher, Chain of Command, Martian Empires, or This is Not a Test- 0% complete
There was zero progress here.  I found a local distributor that had Martian Empires for a decent price, but never got around to ordering it.  I think I decided to pick-up Blucher next for my Non-Osprey rules purchase.  The fact that I can play with cards instead of minis appeals to me, plus I always wanted a Napoleonic game to play and Blucher seems pretty cool.  However, “Real Life” has gotten in the way of making more purchases than I have so far. 

4.       Buy Enough Gangsters for Turf War- 10% Complete
I picked up a couple models when I ordered Pulp Alley that I liked the look of.  So far, my gangs consist of 1 Femme Fatale and 1 Enforcer with Tommy Gun.  I looked at a boxed set at my FLGS, but was not impressed with the sculpts.  I also thought about picking up some of the Blue Moon 15mm to save costs, but I am not sure if I can do 15-18mm scale gangsters justice for a skirmish game. 


5.       Pick-up Classic Greek for Men of Bronze- 100% Complete
I managed to buy a lot of Victrix Limited Greeks.  I should have enough for a Spartan, Corinthian, and Macedonian army with some left overs.  I am super excited for these guys and sent them to my painter right away.  I didn’t even open the package for them.  I need them for some photos for when Osprey publishes Men of Bronze. But I am also excited to play the game with actual miniatures and not just paper templates. 

Painting and Modeling:

1.       Paint my Inquisitor 28mm Warband- 0% Complete
There has been no progress on this despite the fact that I wanted to use these guys to play some Pulp Alley or even a modified Strange Aeons this year.  Instead, they have sat on my shelf looking forlorn at me.  I didn’t even base coat them!   

2.       Complete my All Quiet on the Martian Front Mobile Artillery and Mark IV tank- 20% Complete
Some progress.  I did manage to put the mobile artillery together and put them on the painting desk.  I was looking forward to having these guys join my armored column for the Minnesota Militia forces, but I just haven’t been able to build up the stamina to base and paint them. 


3.       Assemble the Destroids for Robotech RPG Tactics-0% Complete
I really can’t bring myself to put more work into this game than Palladium can.  I wanted to use the Destroids in Jugs or Rampant Stars but I have had little time to paint and would rather put that time towards games I might actually play. 

4.       Paint my Warlord airship for AeronauticaImperialis- 100% Complete
I managed to get this done, and the last of my Varingyr aircraft.  I haven’t played all year, but Aeronautica Imperialis is one of those games I keep going back to.  Sure Forgeworld and Games Workshop have long ago abandoned it, but I haven’t.  Thankfully, I do not think unsupported games are dead games.  Plus, there are many “Not Epic” manufacturers making compatible aircraft for it now. 



5.       Paint up enough gangsters of Turf War- 5% Complete
It is hard to paint them if I never bought them!  However, I did get my version of the Pulp Alley Red Queen painted up.  It is a simple but effective model.  I also created a couple of gang rosters to build/paint to.  That is some slow progress.

Rules Writing:

6.       Complete the rules for Turf War- 100% Complete
I went into the year needing to write some scenarios.  I was facing severe creative block on the subject.  So, I did what you do when you have a creative block and stopped avoiding it and just started writing stuff.  It did the trick and soon I had the scenarios I needed done.  The rules are ready to go.



7.       Complete Men of Bronze and publish on Wargames Vault- 100% Complete
Well, technically they are not going to go up on the Wargames Vault.  Instead, they will be published by Osprey in late 2019.  I think that is an upgrade!  That is a different route all together.  The only thing they need to be published now is 30 digital images of Greek Hoplite miniatures, choosing some artwork, and final edits.  Then, it is off to the Wargames Series for them!



8.       Edit and Clean-up the Rules for The Games:Blood and Spectacle for the Wargame’s Vault- 100% Complete
This is complete and the rules are up for purchase.  As of this writing, they have been available since April.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction and interest in the game.  Naturally, I am a fan and looking forward to playing it more.  I want to make a few play aids for it and add them to the rulebooks.

Playing:

1.       Blood Bowl- 100% Complete
In addition to the exhibition game I posted about, I have played a few other times with my gaming buddies and family. 


2.       All Quiet on the Martian Front- 100% Complete
Another one completed.  I managed to continue the Minnesota River Valley Campaign


3.       One of my Osprey Games- 100% Complete
I have played Horizon Wars and Poseidon’s Warriors x2.


4.       One other TBD System- 100% Complete
I have managed to play all sorts of games this year.  2017 was a good year for actually playing games!  Way better than the last few years.  I hope I can keep up that pace for 2018!
Aquanautica Imperialis
Necromunda

Castles in the Sky

Total CARnage

Men of Bronze

Force-on-Force

Rampant Stars

American Civil Paw

Rampant Stars
The Games: Blood and Spectacle

Rampant Stars

Horizon Wars

Random
5.       Keep on Blogging- 100% Complete
I managed to keep up a steady pace despite some setbacks.  The Great Photobucket Debacle gave me pause, but I pressed on.  Not everything has been restored, but enough has been updated to keep me going.  However, in 2018, I think the content will slow down as I do not have 3 years of backlogged games to re-post about.

6.       Set-up a Message Board- 100% Complete
I have set one up for Blood and Spectacles Publishing, but no one uses it.  I suppose for 2018 I will need to get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  An old man like me can not keep up with all of this Social Media. 


Overall, 2017 was a pretty good wargaming year!  I completed 14 out of 19 goals, and made progress at least on 3 others.  Plus, there were a few projects I completed that were not on my goal lists.  I have had much worse years.  Plus, my list of actually played games is relatively impressive this year.  Once again, it was Painting and Modelling that held me back.  Hopefully I can keep up the moment in 2018 as I continue to push myself to accomplish hobby goals despite Real Life challenges getting in my way.      

Over the next couple days I will start drafting my Resolutions for next year.  Stay tuned.   

Monday, December 11, 2017

Men of Bronze: Battle Report- Marathon



Regarding the Battle of Marathon from Herodotus The Histories in Book 6:

When the presidency came round to him, he arrayed the Athenians for battle, with the polemarch Callimachus commanding the right wing, since it was then the Athenian custom for the polemarch to hold the right wing. He led, and the other tribes were numbered out in succession next to each other.46 The Plataeans were marshalled last, holding the left wing. [2] Ever since that battle, when the Athenians are conducting sacrifices at the festivals every fourth year,47 the Athenian herald prays for good things for the Athenians and Plataeans together. [3] As the Athenians were marshalled at Marathon, it happened that their line of battle was as long as the line of the Medes. The center, where the line was weakest, was only a few ranks deep, but each wing was strong in numbers. 112.

When they had been set in order and the sacrifices were favorable, the Athenians were sent forth and charged the foreigners at a run. The space between the armies was no less than eight stadia. [2] The Persians saw them running to attack and prepared to receive them, thinking the Athenians absolutely crazy, since they saw how few of them there were and that they ran up so fast without either cavalry or archers. [3] So the foreigners imagined, but when the Athenians all together fell upon the foreigners they fought in a way worthy of record. These are the first Hellenes whom we know of to use running against the enemy. They are also the first to endure looking at Median dress and men wearing it, for up until then just hearing the name of the Medes caused the Hellenes to panic. 113.

They fought a long time at Marathon. In the center of the line the foreigners prevailed, where the Persians and Sacae were arrayed. The foreigners prevailed there and broke through in pursuit inland, but on each wing the Athenians and Plataeans prevailed. [2] In victory they let the routed foreigners flee, and brought the wings together to fight those who had broken through the center. The Athenians prevailed, then followed the fleeing Persians and struck them down. When they reached the sea they demanded fire and laid hold of the Persian ships. 114.

In this labor Callimachus the polemarch was slain, a brave man, and of the generals Stesilaus son of Thrasylaus died. Cynegirus48 son of Euphorion fell there, his hand cut off with an ax as he grabbed a ship's figurehead. Many other famous Athenians also fell there. 115.

In this way the Athenians overpowered seven ships. The foreigners pushed off with the rest, picked up the Eretrian slaves from the island where they had left them, and sailed around Sunium hoping to reach the city before the Athenians. There was an accusation at Athens that they devised this by a plan of the Alcmaeonidae, who were said to have arranged to hold up a shield as a signal once the Persians were in their ships. 116.

They sailed around Sunium, but the Athenians marched back to defend the city as fast as their feet could carry them and got there ahead of the foreigners. Coming from the sacred precinct of Heracles in Marathon, they pitched camp in the sacred precinct of Heracles in Cynosarges. The foreigners lay at anchor off Phalerum, the Athenian naval port at that time. After riding anchor there, they sailed their ships back to Asia. 117.

Scenario
In Men of Bronze there will be a section on historical battles.  Of course, the Battle of Marathon must be present.  One of the challenges of creating a wargame is that you want to set-up the battle as it initially happened, but still allow the players to play their own game.  Therefore, the following scenario is an attempt to capture the key participants and objectives of the battle, but allow the players to dictate the deployment and strategy for the game. 

The Persians were attempting to break-out of the plains near the beach and head inland into Attica.  The Athenians were trying to halt this break-out and repel them.  To represent this, the Athenian side of the battlefield will have two passes that lead inland.  The Greek force will be able to deploy anywhere in front of those passes.  The Persians on the other hand have their back to the sea and can deploy anywhere on that side of the table.

The Forces
Again, it is challenging to completely recreate the deployment of the forces and still give the players the ability to change it up.  To be fair, we also know very little about the Persian force except that it had archers and lacked cavalry.  We also know that the Persians outnumbered the Greeks to such an extent that they had to stretch their Phalanx width by reducing the depth, which cost them the fight in the center. 

Greeks
1 Drilled Athenian Hoplites
1 Militia Athenian Hoplites
1 Militia Plataean Hoplites

Persians
3 Archer Units
1 Drilled Infantry Unit
1 Warband Unit

This is equal points in the system and should prove an interesting game. 

Deployment
Unlike the actual battle, the Greeks decide to place their Drilled Hoplites in the center in Phalanx.  In front of both passes is a Greek Militia Phalanx in formation and ready to fight.  It is critical that the Persian units do not get behind them and out of the either of the passes behind the Greek line. 

The Persian deployment is to have the Archers on their left screen the Warband infantry behind them.  Then the center is the Drilled infantry, which is flanked on the right by another Archer unit.  Their forces are unequal to the Phalanxes in close combat, but they outmatch them in ranged firepower.  In addition, the Persians will also have the advantage in Arête Points.


Will we see a repeat of history with the Greeks victorious, or will the Persians manage to force their way ashore?   Let’s find out!

Turn 1:
The Persians bid 2 Arête Points to start the battle, and the Greeks decide to spend none.  The Persians move out first.  The Greeks are content to watch them as they move forward, with the Persian left taking the lead.  The Greeks are not eager to get into Persian arrow range, so hold their position. 

Turn 2:
Persians again Bid 2 Arête Points to go first, while the Greeks bid none.  The Persian archers can not move and shoot, so they decide to continue to advance.  The Persian Drilled Infantry moves so it is forward of the archers to its left and right, but not blocking Line of Sight for them.  On the left, the Warband infantry lurks behind the left most archer unit. 

The Greeks again watched the Persians maneuver and were content to hold back.  Now, they are in a bit of a dilemma.  The Persian archers will have them in range, but probably the less effective long range.  If they move now, they will close the gap and be able to engage sooner but potentially leave the passes unprotected from the numerically superior Persian force.

The Drilled Hoplites could use an Arête Point to slide towards one side or the other, but that would force one of the Militia Hoplite units to hold its own against many more Persians.  The Greeks are on the horns of a Dilemma, and decide to do nothing and let the Persian plan unfold. 


Turn 3:
This time the Persians see a pattern, and decide to only bid 1 Arête point, expecting the Greeks to bid 0.  They bid 0 and the Persians get to move first. 

The left most archer unit forms itself in what it hopes to be just beyond charge range against the militia Athenians.  The Warband Infantry moves to cover their left flank.  In the center, the Drilled Persian Infantry move forward to challenge the Athenian Hoplites.  The Persians wait a moment before going to their next unit to see if the Athenians will try to interrupt and charge the isolated Persian Infantry.  However, the Athenian general judges the distance to be too great and holds. 

The two Persian archers units left open fire on the Militia Hoplites opposite them.  The Athenians throw up their shields and weather the storm.  The Plataeans are less successful, and the first death screams fill the tense air of the battlefield. 

The Greeks can now either stand and wait to get hit again, or begin to move forward.  The Plataeans decide to move forward towards the Persians, and the Drilled Athenians do likewise.  They still judge the distance too great to charge.  The Militia Athenians hold position, not liking the numbers on their side. 

Turn 4:
This could be a big turn.  The Greeks decide to bid 2 Arête Points to try and charge first.  However, the benefits of outnumbering your opponent shows as the Persians bid 3.  That leaves the Greeks with only 1 left! 

Now, it is the Persians time to make a tough decision.  Their open order formation will allow their Drilled Infantry to rush the Militia or Drill Hoplites.  They could also choose to rain more arrows, but that would allow a potential Greek interrupt.  However, the Greeks would then have no Arête Points to launch a true charge.  Now the Persians need to make a tough decision.


The archers on the Persian right decide to fire a barrage of arrows at the Plataeans, but fail to cause any injuries this time.  Feeling like they can fire with impunity and not get a reaction, the other Persian archers open fire at the Athenian Militia Phalanx but fail to scratch them. 

The Drilled Persian Infantry decide to charge the Plataeans, and they use the last Greek Arête point to counter-charge.  The Persians get to count it as a flank attack. The two meet with a loud crash.  The Persian infantry lose 1 Courage in the combat, but pass their Courage test.  The Plataeans push the Persians back 1 Base width.    

The Persian left has the Warband Infantry move forward.  In response to the Persian activity, the Drilled Athenians break into open formation and drop back to protect the pass off the plains.        

Turn 5:
With Arête Points reset, it is time to bid for initiative.  This time the Persians bid 1, and the Greeks 0. 

The Persian Archers on the right rush forward to support their infantry against the Plataeans.  The rest of the Persian force moves forward, with the Left flank trying to extend the line beyond the edges of the Greek troops there.  The Persian archers do not fire their arrows, and march instead.  The Greeks watch it all patiently. 

The Plataeans and the Persian Drilled Infantry both lose a point of Courage in the melee.  However, this time the Drilled Infantry of the Persians fail their Discipline check and start waivering, along with the supporting Archers.  I thought the Drilled Infantry would put up a bit more of a fight, but they haven’t broken yet!   

Turn 6:
The Arête Points get reset yet again, and the Greeks still have 3 to Persians 5.  The Persians bid 2 to go first, and the Greeks also bid 2.  The Persians choose to up their bid by 1 so they will go first. 

After winning initiative, the Persian Archers on their left across from the Athenian Militia Phalanx declare a charge with an Arête point.  The Athenians elect to counter-charge and meet them half way to try to finish them early.  This uses the last Greek Arête Point.  This locks the Greek flank unit up in combat, and the Persian Warband infantry move to skirt around the battle.        

The final unengaged Persian Archer unit charges into the Drilled Hoplites who can not counter-charge as they do not have any Arête Points remaining.  This will be the decisive turn. 



Unsurprisingly, the Athenian Militia Phalanx easily beats the Persian archers, and reduces them to 1 Courage.  However, they pass their Discipline check and stay in the battle, tying up the Greeks.  In the Center, the Drilled Athenians utterly crush the Persian archers and send them fleeing!   

On the Persian right, the Plataeans are reduced to a single Courage point, while the Persian Infantry and archers they face are routed.  They turn to flee with a Courage of 0.  The two remaining Persian units make their Collapse and Morale tests.

 
Turn 7:
Things look bad for the Persians.  They only have 2 units left, and 1 has a single courage point.  However, they also have a unit in position to get to the board edge.  The Arete Points are distributed 2 for Persia and 3 for the Greeks. 

Persians bid 2, while the Greeks bid 1.  The Persian Warband Infantry make a break for it, but will need 1 more turn to get off the board edge. 

Both unengaged Greek units break into open order and turn to the Persian enemies.  Seeing the Warband infantry making for the pass, the Drilled Hoplites do not bother to reform and instead declare a charge using 1 Arête Point.  They charge forward, but fail to come into contact with the sneaky Persian warband! 

The Athenian Militia chases off the last Persian Archery unit easily.  The Plataeans move towards the middle of the plain to help support where needed.  They stay in open order. 

Turn 8:
The Greeks get 3 Arête points to the Persian 1.  The Greeks bid 2 to ensure they can go first.  The Persians decide to save their’s for a re-roll.

The Drilled Athenians use the last Greek Arete Point to charge into the Persian Warband Infantry.  The other Greeks stay in loose formations and move towards the melee.  The Athenian Hoplites manage to reduce the Wraband infantry 3 Courage, and the Athenians lose 1.

 
Turn 9- Final Turn
The Persians collect their 1 Arête Point, and the Greeks 3.  No one bothers to bid for initiative, and the roll off goes to the Persians.  However, since they are locked in combat it is sort of a moot point. 

The Athenians and Persians continue their struggle.  The Persian Warband infantry reduces the Athenians another Courage point, but are routed in return. 


Athens is saved!

Final Thoughts
This version of the battle did not go down exactly like Herodotus describes it, but the outcome was the same regardless.  In this version, the Greeks may not “thin” their center to make a weaker unit there.  Instead, the big decision the Greeks have to decide is how far are they willing to move away from the passes and where the Drilled Hoplites are going to deploy. 

When I designed the “historical” scenarios I wanted to allow the player to still have decisions to make, and not be a slave to the historical deployment.  However, I want the tactical problems to be similar.  In this case, the Persians greatly outnumber the Greeks and that almost allowed me to win with the Persians by turning theGreek flank.  Ultimately, I wasn’t quite fast enough. 

The Persian Drilled Infantry was disappointing against the Plataeans.  The effectiveness of the Persian archers to soften up the Hoplites in Phalanxes was almost nil.  If the center archer unit could have been supported and held up the Drilled Athenians only one turned, this could easily have been a Persian victory.  Oh well. 

I have also received my shipment of Victrix Greek Hoplites.  They are off to my painter to get cracking on them.  Maybe I can have some painted battles coming up, but until then these paper templates will have to do.  I have added the Persians to the Templates on the Messageboard, so you can have them of a quick run through of Marathon on your own. 

On a side note, this battle took me almost two months to play to completion!  The game itself took about 90 minutes with documentation and verifying the rules.  However, that is how crazy “Real Life” has been for me lately.  Typically, this time of the year I am productive on the hobby front but not this year.  Hopefully my next game for the blog will not take nearly as long to get played, posted, and published.