Monday, July 12, 2010


R3Cube and I met to re-fight a chapter out the Peloponnesian War in GMT's Hellenes. I took the noble Spartan alliance, while my opponent took the evil, power drunk, decadent Athenians.

Deciding to skip straight to the final chapters of the Return of the King, on Turn 2 I marched the entire Spartan Army (plus most of their allies) to the gates of Mordor (a.k.a) Athens. The Dark Lord Perikles sallied forth his corrupt legions to meet me outside for a field battle. Cue evil laughter and pithy comments from the Emperor.

The Spartans, being studly B2 units fired first. I had 10 strength points (i.e., ten dice) needing anything but a three or four to score hits or routes. Assuming I decimated the evil army, I was ready with cards in hand to cast back-to-back plagues (a.k.a., cleansing holy light) on Athens, which would cast Perikles down into the fiery pit waiting for him. So... I confidently chucked the fist full of dice into my tower.

Out of ten dice, all but one were misses. Apparently my Spartan Army decided to just prance around the battlefield, showing off their six-pack abs to the Athenian Orc army, then retire for a session wine drinking and rubbing body oil on each other. The Athenians, now awake, struck back, rolling their dice, and killed and/or panicked my entire army.

Unfortunately a careful reading of the rules revealed that the 50% of my army not currently feeding the crows (because they were running scared for their lives) did not have a place to retreat to. Instead, the entire remaining army surrendered, sending the bulk of the red blocks on the map to the graveyard. Sparta!

Luckily, my recent experience sending George Washington on a similar death ride in Washington's War helped me keep composure and not upend the gaming table. I shifted to a guerrilla insurgency campaign and began popping barbarian allies and little revolts everywhere, keeping me slightly ahead on the prestige track.

We had to call the game with about a third of the turns left to play, and it was really too close to call. I was winning based on Prestige, but it was narrow enough that the game could have easily have gone either way on the final turns.

What a great game! Like Washington's War, Hellenes seems to tightly balance the asymmetry of the two sides and maintain delicious tension of a long attritional war, where you need to strike a soon as your opponent leaves an opening.



At 12:19 PM, July 12, 2010, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

(cue C3P0 voice)

If you had a 2/3 chance of hitting on each die, the odds of getting 1 hit or fewer on 10 dice was 2811 to 1. Oh no!

At 8:50 PM, July 12, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

I am convinced my dice tower was built out of wood from a desecrated Native American burial ground.

At 7:33 AM, July 13, 2010, Blogger Rob said...

Yes that was fun. But even when that happened, i wasn't able to take the lead. Cities in this game are hard to capture if you have an average army protecting it. Per the historical notes, war back then was a drawn out event specially sieges; most cities tended to fall due to 'siege attrition' instead of direct confrontation.


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