Thursday, September 14, 2017

Boardgame Battlestations game 01 - Starter Mission 1 - Rebellion


Introduction
Back in February 2016, I backed the Battlestations 2ndedition boardgame Kickstarter.  It arrived last month (August 2017).  Battlestations is one of those minis/boardgame skirmish hybrids that are increasingly popular.  I had never heard of the first edition, but the 2nd edition looked like it would be good to play with my children as they enjoy WarHammer Quest.  Battlestations is about the crew of a spaceship and there are lots of missions to undertake on a square based map of the ships and spaceports.  An interesting feature is that you also move the spaceships of a map so you can have space battles as well.  I have not acquired too many boardgames over the last few years; but the ones I have done I seem not to have got around to playing.  So this time I thought I would try and play six games of Battlestations, with or without my children as part of the 6x6 challenge.  The game comes with Quick Start rules that have 8 missions that introduce new rules with each mission.  That is what I hope to play.  The full game has over 40 missions in a very large rulebook.

On the weekend, I broke out the box and played a game with my 10 year old daughter.  It took about 60 minutes.  She had fun and happy to play again.  So hopefully a few more games by the end of the year.  My 9 year old son was busy but may join in some games.

We play most of our games on the floor, a hangover from playing games with them since they were born.  We find it weird to play games on the table so we don’t!

Note that the miniatures are unpainted.

Starter Mission 01 - Rebellion
The ship is docked at a spacestation and a human gang is attempting to take over your ship.  We need to stop them taking over the ship, undock and escape the area as the spacestation (get 13 hexes away) will try and blast us out of existence.

The 4 enemy humans start at various places in the ship.  We start in the cargo bay next to the ship.  4 spacestation robots start on the far side of the station and will move to attack us if able, else they will go to the spacestation cannon to fire at us.

Our crew and the human crew are made up of four roles – Marine (red base), Scientist (green base), Engineer (blue base), Pilot (yellow base).  We played co-op with us roleplaying one crew member each, moving the other two as we wanted, and I moved the enemy based on what I thought they should do.

Game start (actually after our crew had moved in the first turn)
Game
The Scientist (played by my daughter) moved as fast as she can- she wants to take down the enemy scientist in the science bay.  Our Marine moves and melees with the Enemy Pilot renders him unconscious.  This is good as it means that the enemy cannot pilot the ship away.

Our Marine (red base) knocks down the enemy Pilot (yellow base).  Our Scientist at the right rushing on.

Out own Pilot moved to Helm (actually in the next turn as we, OK me, the Engineer) accidentally blocked up the corridors)

The Scientist continues to rush down the ship (she can move quite fast) to face the enemy Scientist.
Our Marine jetpacks to the enemy marine (jetpacks are cool - you get to move a long way.   Our Marine manages to inflict 5 hits points, not enough to knock him out.  The Enemy Marine fired back with a disintegrator, Our Marine does not manage to dodge it and is vaporised.

Towards to top of the Ship, Our Marine tackles the Enemy Marine.  He did not do enough damage to knock him out, and so the Enemy Marine retaliated with a disintegrator and Our Marine is vapourised.
The Enemy Engineer desperately tries to shut down the engines so we have no power to fly the ship  but failed (this was one of those great rolls by my daughter: she said "what do I need to roll?", and  I replayed "A two or a three is good for us." She rolled a 3 and the Enemy Engineer failed the test).
Our Pilot starts up the ship navigation and undocks from the spacestation.

The ship is undocked! (I used a painted firestorm Armada ship I had on hand)
The Enemy Scientist have moved to try and intercept us but Our Scientist (my daughter) got to the Science Bay and attacked in close combat first, landing some great moves with her vibroblade and knocks the enemy out (she actually rolled very bad and did some rerolls to get a good high damage score)

Our Scientist managed to use her vibroblade to good effect on the Enemy Scientist.
I, as Our Engineer, moves up to the Enemy Marine and finishes him off.

Our Engineer knocks out the Enemy Marine.
The ship moved 1, managed to increase speed to 2 until the Enemy Engineer successfully stops the engines producing more thrust (reduces power output to 0).  The ship will continue to move at current speed (2 hex per tun) but cannot accelerate.
The ship is 3 hexes away from the Spacestation. The Enemy Marine Bot is at the Spacestation cannon and fires at the ships and misses (with a 3! - my daughter rolling great, for our side).

Enemy Bot at the spacestation cannon, and it managed to hit us!
Our ship is Now 5 hexes away from the Spacestation.  Our Scientist, my daughter, moves to Enemy Engineer and knocks him out.
The Enemy cannon fires at ship and hits!  The ship damage system is very interesting and does not take long, I like it. Two damage is inflicted on the engine room with Our Scientist and Our Scientist takes 5 hit points.  The engine room escapes any severe damage.  I, as Our Engineer, am rushing down the the engine room to give some power to the Helm.

Enemy Engineer is down, thanks to my daughter as Our Scientist (green base).  Our Engineer has arrived but still needs to get to a blue star to increase power.  The damage maker is just to show the engine room is hit, it actually does not have any damage. 
Ship is 7 hexes away; the enemy canon fires and misses (it gets harder the further away we are).  Next turn is is 9 away and I (Our Engineer) an in the Engine room and increase the power output of the engines to 1. Our Pilot fails to increase the speed of the ship :-(
Not that is matters to mush as at the beginning of the next turn we are 11 away from the spacestation

Our ship is 11 hexes away and has been moving as fast as it can to the other side - nearly at the 13 hexes required to escape!
The enemy cannon still manages to miss hitting our ship and we get to 13 hexes away and success!

An overview of the spacestation and ship at the end of the game.
A great introductory scenario.  Need to get the Pilot out of the way really fast, and if the enemy engineer had got the power output to zero in the first turn it would have got very ugly.  We did lose Our Marine with the first shot fired by the enemy.

Verdict
My daughter picked here card based on the picture and so chose a Scientist Cheetah.  I picked an Engineer for myself and them just Randomly selected a Marine and a Pilot.  I had read the rules a few weeks ago and the only thing I really had trouble with was the symbols on the cards – there are quite a few and remembering which one was which was hard but by the end of the game I was fine with them.  Another thing is the rerolls – each character gets a certain number of rerolls, commonly around 6.  I am not a huge fan of them – I don’t mind them but it is just one more thing to track.  The only person that I did rerolls for was my daughter.  Otherwise nobody, even me, didn’t.  I may play that only the crew played by actual people rerolls.  

My daughter roiled nearly all the dice and all she wanted to know was if she needed to roll high (for us) or low (when the enemy wanted to do something).  She rolled some good dice during the game!  

The game is a RPG on a minis board with the game controlled by square movement on some really nice boards that you lay down to create the game. Not a nedw concept for us and have played a few games like this before. The characters has about 10 characteristics all up (strength, combat, movement, health, pilot, science, engineering etc).  It does not take a long time and that I really do like.  I like it enough to play the game again, as does my daughter.  So hopefully a least five more games by the end of the year.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Fall of Rome (1973) boardgame replay - Scenario 4

Introduction
I am playing through the six scenarios in the SPI boardgame Fall of Rome  (1973 version).  I have already written up Scenarios 1 and 2 in a previous post and Scenario 3 in this post.

Scenario 4

So, scenario 3 was very bad with lots of barbarian invasions, revolution and unhappy legions.  Scenario 4 does have barbarian invasions and starts with a bad one – 25 Germanic strength points heading for Rome.  It took quite a few turns to get rid of the German barbarian invasion of this size when they randomly appeared in scenario 3.  The legions are happy and won’t rebel the moment they get together, random barbarian invasions chances are moderate and there is a one-third chance of internal revolutions happening each year.

The big difference between Scenario 4 and the previous 3 is that the militia for some roman provinces are active.  This mean that when a non-Roman force invades one of these provinces militia strength point will appear to help defend.  Militia was not active for Roman provinces in the previous scenarios and even in scenario 4, they are active only to ½ the strength they should be for the province.  And it is only some provinces – Britannia, Gallia, Illyria, Thracia, Syria and Aegyptus. This works two ways – it is good they will be there to assist with invasions, but bad because if there is a chance of revolution and militia are on the map, they will automatically revolt :-(  And worse, in scenarios 1, 2 and 3, there were about 34 legions to move around the board.  Scenario 4 has 12.  Not a lot. I am assuming this low legion count and province militia is to represent the field army concept of the later Roman Empire.

Luckily I do not need to hold all the provinces I start with to win, and can lose about 30 points of provinces and still claim victory.  So it will an interesting scenario – trying to hold on to what I can, and likely making a decision on what provinces to abandon.

Setup.  White markers are to remind me the provinces with active militia.

Turn 1 - 332 AD
Revolt in Africa (1SP) but put it down.  Germans moved in Illyria.  Reading the rules they will not control the province if there is Militia,of which the Romans have some now!  So I put the Militia in a different area and the Germans are attritioned at the end of the turn.  And then I bribe them to stay in Illyria and not move to Rome.  a plan to deal with the German invasions!
The Scythian stack entered Dacia and then I remembered Dacians have active militia - they turn up and defeat the Scythians!  I should have been doing this for the last fee scenarios as well.
Persians take Armenia.
End of turn 1 - Persians control Armenia, Germans still in Illyria

Turn 2 – 333 AD
Persians in Syria eliminate the defending militia and legions, but now down to 8SP.  I move in 3 legions to dispute control.  Taurican raiding party arrive in Thrace. 15SP appear in Scythia.
End of turn 2 - Persians in Syria, some Germans still in Illyria.

Turn 3 – 334 AD
Scythians fail to move, Persians in Syria eliminate the 3 legions I moved there, at a loss of 3 themselves.  I move 2 more legions in to continue to dispute control.  Persians have only 5SP and so do not control Syria yet.  I am running out of legions though!  Taurican raiders are routed.
End of turn 3 - Germans in Illyria (not many now) and Persians still in Syria.

Turn 4 – 335 AD
Scythians still do not move.  Persians fail to dislodge the legions in Syria (due to the 1/2DE combat result is treated as No Effect for legions). A 8SP Scythian raiding party is created (rolled same result twice!).  Germans is Illyria finally dissipate due to attrition.
End of turn 4 - Germans finally cleared from Illyria.

Turn 5 – 336 AD
Scythians don't move. Taurican and Dacian raiding parties appear. Hopefully some militia will help stop them reaching the high victory provinces  Managed to eliminate the Persians in Syria at the cost of losing 3 Legions.   So I keep Persia and Persian reinforcements will only trickle in over a number of turns so the militia may be able to take them out.
End of Turn 5 - Persians kicked out of Syria, Empire free of revolts and barbarians. 

Turn 6 – 337 AD
None of the four barbarian stacks moved (all failed the movement die).  Pictish 2SP appeared but hopefully Britannia's 3SP militia will see them off.  2SP of Persians come back to the board, as well as five legions.  I am now back to full strength for legions - 12.
End of turn 6 - The growing stacks of barbarians continue to fail to move (there is a one-third of a chance they will not moved each time they want to move)

Turn 7 – 338 AD
Well, it had to happen - revolts in Britannia, Hispania, Illyria, Cyprus, Aegyptus.  Lucky no militia were out in those places or the revolt would be harder to put out.  I put down all the revolts except Aegyptus, Britannia and Illyria, and also survived a possible legion rebellion with the 4 legion I put into Illyria. Bribed the Scythian barbarian horde; but not the Scythian raiders that go via Taurica and get caught up in battle there.  Persians and Roman legions stand off (i.e. combat was no result) in Syria.
End of turn 7 - Revolts occur across the Empire and put down some of them.  Persians come back to Syria.  I am now bribing some of the barbarians not to move.

Turn 8 – 339 AD
Amazingly all the non-Roman combat Vs the legions had no effect, all but one was a 1/2DE (which is no effect on legions)! German 25SP appears.  I bribe that instead of the Scythians.  Persia and Legions eliminate each other in Syria.
End of turn 8 - Syria cleared of the Persians.  Scythians are coming as bribing the Germans not to move instead. Illyrian revolt still going one year on. 

Turn 9 – 340 AD
Another 20SP of Germans appear that I will bribe.  Scythian horde bogged down in Dacia.  Persian 3SP into Syria but the Syrian militia knock them down to 1SP.  I lost 4 legions to the Illyrian revolt and 2 revolting militia still in Illyria. Mutual destruction in Aegyptus but the revolt there is put down.  I have three legions on the table, none coming at the end of the turn. 
End of turn 9 - I have three legions in the Empire.  Illyria still in revolt, some Persians arrive in Syria.

Turn 10 – 341 AD
A good turn - one lot of Scythians eliminated by the Dacian militia and attrition,the other raiding party goes to Thrace but eliminated by militia. Persians eliminated by Syrian militia and finally the revolt in Britannia put down.  And 3 legions return. Still bribing the two German stacks.
End of turn 10 - Dacian militia take care of the Scythians; Persians in Syria eliminated but Illyria still in revolt.

Turn 11 – 342 AD
not much to report - German raiding party appear but will bribe it to stay in Germania.  Attempted to put down revolt in Illyria but no luck.  Got back the rest of my legions.  Persian 3SP heading for Syria but not worried as militia in Syria is 5SP.
End of turn 11 - Illyria still in revolt! 

Turn 12 – 343 AD
Last turn. Failed to put down the revolt, failed to get rid of the Persians in Syria.  But other than that, I still control the rest of the Empire I had when the scenario started.  I control 80 victory points and only needed 65 to win!
End of game - never did manage to put down the Illyrian revolt; more Persians arrive in Syria.  Still own the rest of the empire though so a win!

Verdict
Firstly, I was really lucky with revolts - there is a third of a chance and so on average i should have got 4, but only got 2.  It would have been a very different game with a few more revolts, especially the midgame when I had so few legions - I would not have been able to put them down.

Secondly, I stopped worrying about the Treasury for both Persians an Romans after turn 3.  If I did not go crazy bribing barbarians (i.e. at least 50SP a turn!), the treasury was not going to be an issue for the Romans.  The Persians were getting enough they could but all their units back when needed.

Lastly, having some militia available in some of the provinces really helped offset the lack of legions and they saved the day quite a few times during the game.  Of course, this is offset by the fact that they have a random chance to revolt at a larger value than normal.

It is a little like a training game to show how Roman militia work, getting you ready for scenario 5 and 6 where they play a greater part than in this scenario. A bit of a slow moving game with some of the turns having very little of interest happening.  If more had happened though I would have lost!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Imperator Scenario 1 replay plus bonus 8x8 ancient rules and 12 replays

Introduction
I played the first scenario from the strategic level ancient boardgame – Imperator.  I played out the 12 land battles that arose using some new rules of my own making on a 8x8 grid that use the same units from Imperator. These are also the same units in the Bill Banks’ Ancients boardgame.

Sieges, and there were a few!, are resolved using the method in the rules - dice rolling for losses until defenders eliminated or attacker calls off the siege.

This post contains the scenario report and also a brief report of all the battles that took place.

The reading of this is a little dry but skimming the post should give you an idea of how the campaign played out.

Background
Imperator
So there I was happily playing through the scenarios of the boardgame Fall Of Rome after finishing off a 20-years-in-the-making side project (a viable WW2 game on a 3x4 grid).  Caliban commented on the Fall of Rome game blog post that it would make a good campaign generator for miniature battles.  It doesn’t but that triggered off the fact I acquired the boardgame Imperator in 2012 as it is by the same author of the Ancients boardgame – Bill Banks – and it is designed with the option to play out the battles using the Ancients game.  My own rules - Ancient Battlelines Clash - are loosely derived from Ancients  (amongst some others) and so I had acquired Imperator planning to play it and then the battles using my own rules.  But I got side-tracked into other projects.  I had never actually heard of Imperator until 2012, which is surprising as I got the Bill Banks Ancients game back in the early 90’s and I would have jumped at obtaining a campaign version.  There is no review of Imperator but the description at boardgamegeek is a good starting point.

Imperator - ancients operational gaming

Ancient - mass ancient battles
Battle rules used
Instead of using Ancients, or the quick combat resolution in the game, I created some new rules to play on a 8x8 grid.  Now this is another 20 year project in the making.  When I got Bill Banks Ancients, I liked it as a game, but not so much as a “matches my view of history” game.  So I wrote some rules combining Ancients with Armati, that were not great and did a few rewrites over the years, trying to turn the Ancients into a more palatable set of rules.  I had a go in 2011, called Fast Ancient Battles and they were OK but not great (there are soe games with it on this blog somewhere). I continued on with the other ruleset I was also writing at the time – Ancients Battlelines Clash – that are a derivative of Ancients, Rally round the Kink, Justified Ancients and Armati.  These rules are fairly well done as of 2016 and one of the main reasons I have not really played Imperator as I was loathe to create a revised fast play set based on Bill Banks Ancients unit types as I may give up on Ancients Battlelines Clash and move forwards with these rules instead (can you say wargames rules butterfly?).  What I did was keep the Bill Banks Ancients troop type (as they are heavily linked into the operational side of Imperator) and then streamlined the Ancient Battlelines Clash Rules to fit these troop classifications and fit on a 8x8 grid.  Why a grid?  I have some 6mm figures I bought a couple of years ago and have not yet used them – using a, 8x8 grid on a A4 sheet of paper I do not have to base them and can leave them on their metal strips (The plan was always to make the game portable with 6mm figures) Why 8x8?  It just seems right.  Why a grid and not hexes or offset squares?  Playing hexes I feel like it is a boardgame and for some reason I feel that less so when playing with squares. I still do play hex based boardgames, and more recent square based ones.  Offset squares give me the same feeling as hexes.  I may get over this whole hexes/squares/grids Vs open table as I get older.  But the grid seems to work.  The rules survived the 12 battles with very little modification, but then it was not challenged with many of the troop types.

I still need to tidy up the rules but will do so soon-ish and then put them up on the blog.

Miniatures
I got some 6mm ancient figures off ebay a few years ago.  All still on strips, some painted, some undercoated, some bare metal.  They are mostly for Alexander the Great battles - Macedonians, Persians, Indians but with a few barbarians thrown in.  At 6mm, the Persians can stand in for Middle Eastern armies. I don't assign specific strips to each force and just use what is available for both sides. I am playing that LI are close order infantry and so use close order infantry for them - anything with more than 4 figures on an strip.  MM are peltsts and so 3- or 4 figures on a strip; LA are skirmishers and use 2 figures to a strips.  Chariots are not light or heavy so will use 4 horse chariots on one side and 2 horse chariots on the othr so I know what side they belong to.  Leaders are single figures or cavalry bases.

Bringing it all together
I found the beginnings of a spreadsheet I had done in 2012 for Imperator to assist with the random events and to keep track of things.  I cleaned it up and added in missing bits.  This really helped in generating events and keeping track of treasuries, ownership, income, victory points and events outcomes.

My map drawers, within which 95% of my gaming occurs, will not fit the Imperator map so I quickly did up a PowerPoint stylised map of each half of the map – each an A4.  The first scenario only needs the eastern side so only 1 A4 required.  There are not a lot of counters required to be on the map anyway so this should work (spoiler: it worked fine, although it did feel a little cramped – if I play another scenario I would blow it up to A3).

The Imperator map - a standard 22"x34" size

My A4 conversion of the left hand part of the map.  I tried to make it align to an underlying map, but that was not going to work on the A4 page.
I also did up a quick reference sheet for Imperator and my new rules.  I printed off an 8x8 grid to use with my 6mm ancient figures.  Some of the figures were pained but some infantry and chariots were not so I spent a few nights painting (not fond of painting) about 20 infantry strips and chariots.

My setup in the map drawer, from left to right - QRS, battle board, map and forces
Last word
And  what I thought would happen has happened and I want to make When Warriors Collide to work on a 2’x2’ table and take the easy way and just use a 12x12 grid with each square being 2", easily fitting DBM 15mm figures with 40mm wide bases. Grids just nake the game fit together so much easier without needing fiddly rules for open movement. I always knew this but it seems as I get older, it becomes less of an issue to use grids, and can focus on the game itself.  I did not have do do much other than change the terrain generation rules and tidy up some of the grammar.  I hope to test out the rules with a few historical battles before the end of the year.  .

Imperator Scenario 1 set up (with changes indicated)
Bill mentions to feel free to change things, so I have.  Scenario 1 s a learning scenario and all the forces are very similar so I have changed the composition of the armies a little and given them a larger force pool and a slightly bigger Treasury makeup.  I have also slightly changed forces for minor countries and rebels slightly. For those that care, here is my modified scenario 1:

Hammurabi  Summer 1700 BC; 4 periods

Major Countries:

1. Babylon
Treasury: 30
Force Pool: 4 traders, 2 biremes, 2 LI, 2 LA
Mesopotamia: 20+1 city, 2-2 monarch,  2 CH, 4 LI, 1 MM, 2 LA
Peace with Mitanni, War with Larsa

2. Hyksos
Treasury: 30
Force Pool: 4 traders, 3 biremes, 1 CH, 2 LI, 2 LA
Egypt: 20+1 city, 2-2 monarch,  2 CH, 3 LI, 1 MM, 1 LA

3. Hittites
Treasury: 55
Force Pool: 4 traders, 2 biremes, 2 LI, 3 LA
Anatolia: 20+1 city, 2-2 monarch,   2 CH, 3 LI, 3 LA

4. Minos
Trasury: 50
Force pool: 4 traders, 2 biremes, 2 CH, 3 LI*, 1 LA
Crete: 20+1 city, 2-2 monarch,  2 CH, 2 LI*,  2 LA
Eastern Med: 2 biremes

5. Indus Valley
Treasury: 45
Force pool:  4 traders, 3 biremes, 2 MM, 1 LI, 1 LA
India: 20+1 city, 2-2 monarch,  1 EL, 2 MM, 2 LI*, 2 LI, 2 LA

Raiders:
1 Libyans, 1 LI(!) Cyrenica
2 Nubians, 2 LI(!) 1 MM Egypt
3 Semites, 1 LI Arabia
4 Kassites, 1 LI Mesopotamia
5-6 Aryans, 2 CH 1 LI 1 LA India

Rebels:
4 LI  1MM 2 LA

Minor Countries:
Larsa: Mesopotamia, 10+0 city, 1CH, 2 LI, 1 LA
Mitanni: Mesopotamia, 10+0 city, 1 CH, 1 LI, 1 LA
Phoenicia: Syria, 2 10+0 cities, 1 CH, 2 LI, 2 LA
Cyprus: Cyprus, 2 LI
Others: 3 LI 2 LA

Note: For minor countries, I assume a raider force equal to militia force is created when invaded.  The WAR event seems to indicate this but I could be interpreting it wrong but it makes for tougher battles so will play my way :-)

Game Setup
Note for events – if the random province for events ends up not being on the eastern side of the map I am going to ignore it.

The game starts with most forces in their respective capitals.  Except Babylonia.  Babylonia is at war with Larsa and they will create a Raider force equal to the militia force and go for Babylon.  So I have placed Babylonia forces in the province so they will intercept them. And it will try out the battle rules, even if a bit one sided.

At start map.
1700BC Summer
Summer Events
Events have nothing much, other than India obtain a 2-3 General.

Non-players move
Larsa creates a raider force of 1CH, 2LI and 1LA and marches to attack the Babylon army.  A battle is on!  I read the Imperator rules fairly carefully and it seems that the Larsa militia (1CH, 2LI, 1LA in the city) will also move to attack any army in the province and so I think both forces move together to attack.  I may have misjudged making the minor countries forces larger.  Babylon is facing a force nearly as large as itself! 

Battle of Mesopotamia Summer 1700BC – Babylonia Vs Larsa
Babylon 20 combat points, Larsa 18.  The battle is at 1:1 odds.  I have a spreadsheet that assists with working out some actions and combat tactics is one of them. At 1:1, Babylonia selects Envelop Flanks, Larsa choose Refuse Flank.  The units are set up on the board.  I used a clear terrain table as I have not though through terrain generation yet and how to apply my system to a 8x8 grid (I did this after the first few battles so terrian does turn up in some of those).

I won’t go into the battle too much.  I used a cut down version of my programed opponent.
My simple programmed opponent.  . Each zone (left flank, centre, right flank) has one of the orders across the top. ABC are missile armed units, s = skirmishers, CH = chariot, HA are heavy archers; g is 1 grid square
Larsa is attacking with the right flank

Larsa deployment top, Babylon on the bottom

Babylon on the left, Larsa on the right
The sides advance, the Babylonian chariot with a leader attacks the Larsa chariot with the leader and causes it to be disordered.  First blood for the rules! Ok, I lie a little, i have actually run two games in a spreadsheet to see how they work - the first was a very simple test game, the second added in the programmed opponent for both sides.  Still, it is first blood with miniatures.

 The battle progresses.  The rules seem to be working fine, after 2 player turns :-)

Midgame.  The brown blogs mark disordered units
The Larsa manage to get the chariot in the flank on their left but they roll a 1 - anything else would have put the opposing leader and chariot at a huge disadvantage :-). On the Babylonian right flank, the chariot with the other leader managed to help roll up the flank.  The Larsa force panics and only one chariot manages to leave the field and retreats to Larsa city.  Larsa was very unlucky in this game.  And also note I think Larsa should have been given 2 leaders not one Militia have a 2 command bonus.  Ah well, and I remember to do this for militia armies in the future.

Endgame

Babylon only lost 2 LA, one of which recovers (yes, there are rules in Imperator to recover some of the forces lost during a battle).

Babylon turn
The Babylonians now will siege the city of Larsa.  I have my spreadsheet to help here too.

Siege of Larsa Summer 1700BC
Larsa has 4CP, Babylon 18.
Succesful sortie by Larsa sees Babylon loses 5CP (take it as 1LA and 2LI).
Purchase - won’t buy anything as will need the money to pay for the troops in winter.

Hyskos turn
Hyskos is going to invade Syria. Not random, just decided – Syria is a 15 point province and Hyskos should try and get it while Babylon is down.  And also gets Hyskos close to taking on the other major players if need be..

Unclear on the rules, but will assume that when invaded, war starts and so a raider force is created as well in Syria. Even if I am playing it wrong (and on reflection almost likely), I like this at is makes it harder to knock off the minor countries and gives them more forces and so a more even battle.

Battle of Syria  Summer 1700BC
Hyskos (attacker) 17CP: 2 CH, 3 LI, 1 MM, 1 LA with 2-2 monarch
Phoenicia 10CP: 1 CH, 2 LI, 2 LA and 1-1 raider (the militia of 1 CH, 2 LI, 2 LA and 2-0 defending the cities).

Note in hindsight I should have really combined the raider and militia into one force and any survivors of the battles (there would be a few) would have retreated into the cities.

Phoenicia at top, Hyskos at bottom
Hyskos charges (both flanks and centre will charge)
Phoenicia stands (all zones hold)

Hyskos at left.


Mid game just before Hyskos (left) lost all their LI
Things went bad when the Hyskos lost a LI to a die roll of 6 in the centre. And then another LI to a die roll of 6 in the centre. And then the left flank chariot to a roll of a 6.  Another LI saw them panic.
One more turn left and the Phoenicians rub it in by destroying a CH.

End game.

Post battle: Phoenicia: lost 2 LA; Hyskso: 2CH, 3 LI, 1LA.  Hyskos have 1 LA and 1 MM left and retreat back to Egypt.

Purchases: Hmm...should buy a few troops back...a CH will do (7 talents).

Hittites turn
Thought about invading Syria.  Maybe not after the Hyskos experience.  Will build a trader instead (5 talents)

Minos
I was going to buy traders but Egypt is now wide open with so few troops left. So let's invade!
Move the Monarch and all Minoan forces via the fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean to Egypt.

Battle of Egypt Summer 1700BC
Minos (attacker) 14CP : 2 CH, 2 LI, 2 LA, 1 Monarch 2-2
Hyskos 7CP: 1 CH, I MM, 1 LA, 1 Monarch 2-2

Minos will perform a centre charge; Hyskos is going to withdraw from battle.  Ancients does not have withdrawing troops and i need a chance for troops to survive, so withdrawing troops have a army breakpoint of 25% rather than 50% to indicate they want to get out, but gives the attacking side a chance to inflict some casualties.  So they run away early but pursuit may also gt a few.

Hyskos at top, Minoan at the bottom.

Minos is going to centre charge

All over very quickly - Minoan chariots through the centre LI like a knife through butter.
A quick win for Minos.  Hyskos loses a MM and an LA.  The Monarch and a chariot retreat into the city, ready for the siege.

Siege of Avaris (Hyskos Capital) Summer 1700BC
Hyskos has 4CP, Minos has 14CP, both have monarchs and so no combat bonus.
Oh no! Succesful sortie by Hykos and Minos loses 5 CP (a CH and an LA)

Note: Sieges always happen at the start of the turn, not after movement so this siege should have happened in the next seasonal turn.

Purchase: 1 traders (5 talents)

Indian turn
India will invade Persia – it is a 10 point province and so could be worth it.

India is crossing a mountain range so needs to roll attrition.  Yes, my spreadsheet does this as well.
Bad news - a 1 in 6 chance for each unit to be eliminated and these are lost while crossing the mountain range - but India loses 1EL, 1MM, 1LI*, 1LI.  4 units from 9!  I checked the formulas and all seemed correct and ran the attrition action for 5 more times to see what came up - only one elimination each time.  So it was just bad luck for the Indians.  And I was looking forward to seeing the elephant in action.

Battle of Persia Summer 1700BC
India (attacker) 8 CP: 1 MM, 1 LI*, 1 LI, 2 LA and 2-3 general (left the monarch in the  Indian city)
Persia 16 CP: 6 LI 4 LA and a 2-0 militia

India decides to stand while Persia will do an all out charge
.
India at top with a hill on the flank (got the terrain generation system up and running); Persia below.

Persia all out attacking.

The Persians get close but due to reactions, the India LI advance and keep winning battles (helps to have leaders present)..  The Persians are down 4LA and 1LI, the Indians only 1LA.

Persia just keeps losing the combats.
Indian MM hangs on on right flank.  Persia loses another LI and panics.

India managed to eliminate them all as they retreated.

The Persian army panics and the Indians manage to wipe them out as they run.
Persia is now Indian!

Purchases: 1 Elephant, only because I want to see how they go in battle.

The messy view of the forces.  The main thing is that rows 2, 3, and 4 are the units in play.  Not many at all.  Top row is force pool available for purchase.

The current state of the Middle East at end of Summer 1700BC
Fall 1700BC
Fall Events
The Events of note are:

  • Babylon and Hittites acquire LAW (stop corruption and is worth 100 victory points)
  • India now has enemies at court (get this again and a coup - really bad - event happens)

Non-player moves
Larsa has only one chariot.  In the rules, they should move out of the city to attack the much greater Babylon army. They can do more damage by staying in the city, and if they survive to Spring they come back at full strength.  so I create a house rule: an army outnumbered by 3:1 or more will not move out of a city to attack a force outside. So Larsa will not move.  There are no other non-players.

Babylon turn
Siege Larsa (4CP) with the army in Mespotamia (13CP). No assault, no progress in the siege.

Hyskos turn
Hyskos does nothing but purchase some units - LA are the cheapest so 2 of them and an LI (9 talents).  Ready for the Minoan siege!

Hittite turn
Move trader to Syria
Purchase one research and gains Engineering (helps towards victory).

Minoan turn
Siege of Avaris Fall 1700BC 
Continue siege of Avaris, Hyskos has 8CP and Minos only 9CP.
Siege falters! (i..e nothing happens).
Move the trader to the fleet in the Eastern Med.
Purchase a CH and LI to cover losses (12 talents).

Indian turn
Does nothing.

End of Fall 1701BC

Winter 1701BC
Winter is upkeep time.  And some do not have enough in Treasury to pay maintenance on the troops.  I did know this was likely to happen - the next season is income, but the games starts after that.  The Treasuries were not really enough to cover the troops.  So what I did do was any that went negative I have increased to 0.  I also have modified the scenario starting treasuries at the start of this post to reflect this.

Babylon turn
Siege of Larsa Winter 1701BC
Siege Larsa (4CP) with the army in Mespotamia (13CP). Finally!  Starved them out.  Larsa chariot lost and no losses to Baylon.  The forces enter into Larsa.  It is ours!

Hyskos turn
Hyskos has a treasury of 7 credits so buys a chariot to help defeat the Minoan siege.

Hittite turn
Do nothing (treasury is at 0)

Minoan turn
Siege of Avaris Fall 1701BC
Continue siege, which is risky as it is now Hyskos with 12CP and Mnos only 9CP.
Hyskos sorties and the Minoans lose 5 CP (a CH and LA)

Move the recently purchased CH and  LI to Egypt.
Move the trader from the the fleet in the Eastern Med to Syria.

Indian turn
Does nothing.

End of Winter 1701BC

Spring 1701BC
Spring is income time:
Babylon: +33
Hyskos: +24
Hittite: +40
Minoan: +44
India: +40
Traders were removed from the board after giving 15 credits for Hittites and Minos.

Non-player turn
If there were any raiders or militia they would be back to full strength. Or if any minor countries at war.  But there are not. Actually, hang on there are - Phoenicia is at war with Hyskos so creates a raider force equal to militia strength and will head for Egypt!  Hyskos intercepts out of Avaris and a battle in Egypt. 

Battle of Egypt Spring 1701BC
Hyskos 12CP: Envelop Flanks
Phoenicia (attacker) 10 CP: Refuse flank

Phoenicia at top; Hyskos (with a hill on the flank) at the bottom.

Forces facing each other - Hyskos left Vs Phoenicia invaders on the right.

End game.
Hyksos wins but loses a LI; Phoenicia loses all of their units.

Babylon turn
Babylon sieges Mitanni.  The fact the city is there means Babylon only gets 1/5 of the income of Mesopotamia.  Time to change that!

Siege of Mitanni capital Mesopotania Spring  1701BC
Babylon 12CP, Mitanni 14CP (I doubled it assuming that at first invasion a raider party is created).
Sarvation, both sides lose 5 - Babylon a CH and MM, Mitanni a CH and LA.
Next round:
Babylon 7CP, Mitanni 9CP, Babylon loses a CH, Mitanni gets off lightly with a LA lost.
Babylon stops now with only 2 LI left.

Babylon needs to build! 2 CH, 2 LI, 2 LA

Hyskos turn
Hyskos attacks the Minoan army in Egypt.  It will be a fairly even match:

2nd Battle of Egypt Spring 1701BC
Hyskos (attacker) 10CP: 2CH, 2 LA chooses Centre Charge
Minoan 9CP: 1 CH, 2 LI, 1 LA chooses to Stand.

Minoan at top, Hyskos at the bottom.

Hyskos at the left, Minoan on the right 
End game - the chariots managed to rout the Minoan LI and CH.


Hyskos manage to cause the Minoan army to panic by destroying the LI.  The Minoan chariot escapes but has no where to retreat to so is destroyed.

Purchases research and gets Medical.

Hittite turn
Might as well invade Syria while no other major player has a chance.  And there is no raider army as they were defeated this turn while raiding in Egypt.

Battle of Syria Spring 1701BC
Hittite (attacker) 19CP: 3CH, 3LI, 1LA chooses battle tactic Envelop flanks
Phoenicia 10CP:  ICH, 2LI, 2LA chooses battle tactic Withdraw.
Note a force with withdraw will panic at 25% rather than 50%; this means it is more likely some units will survive.

Phoenicia at the top, Hittite at the bottom.

Armies deployment - Hittite on the left, Phoenicia on the right.

End game happened quite fast, mainly due to the 25% before the army panics and the Phoenicians were close to their edge so managed to escape.
That was a quick game - the right flank chariot destroyed a LA, then advanced into melee with a LI that received a Defender Destroyed and the rest of the Phoenician army panicked and fled.  I split the survivors  across the two cities - CH into one, LI and LA into another.

Purchases an LI and 3 LA to help with the sieges next turn.

Minoan turn
Does nothing but build some units for defence - 1 CH, 2 LI, 2 LA

Indian turn
Moves the forces back to India.
Buys research: Gains TECHNOLOGY.
Founds a new city in India (cities built started looted side up - need to spend some more in another turn and then they start producing income).

End of Spring 1701BC

View of forces - rows 2, 3, and 4 are those in play (top row is force pool available for purchase)
Summer 1701BC
Summer events result in UNREST for the Hittites (get it again and civil war occurs).  And raiders appear in Nubia (twice!)
Non-player turn
Nubian raiders attack Hyskos forces in Egypt.

Battle of Egypt Summer 1701BC
Nubia (attacker)  12CP:  4LI(!), 2 MM chooses envelop
Hyskos 10CP: 2CH, 2LA chooses centre charge
Note: twice as many Nubians as rolled them twice as raiders, so assume 2 raider forces.

Nubian raiders at top, Hyskos at the bottom.

Hyskos chariot charge fails.

End game.  Hyskos loses - this is at the moment of panic just before the Hyskos CH and LA run away.
Hyskos loses and the survivors - a CH and LA - retreat into Avaris.  They lost due to poor choice of battle tactics, but that is the fun of randomising them!

Mitanni sallies out to attack the Babylon forces in Mesopotamia.

Battle of Mesopotamia Summer 1701BC
Mitanni (attacker)  8CP: 1 CH, 2 LI chooses refuse flank
Babylon 18CP: 2CH 4LI 2LA chooses charge

Only one midgame picture of this battle.
Mitani CH is the only survivor and retreats into their city.
Babylon suffered no losses.

Babylon turn
Siege of Mitanni Summer 1701BC
Babylon: 18CP; Mitanni 4CP

Assault!  Mitanni loses the CH and Babylon loses 1 CH and 1 LA.
The Babylonians enter the Mitanni capital.  They now have all of Mesopotamia under their control with 3 cities!

Move the Monarch back to the capital ready for Fall governing.  No purchases as only 9 in treasury.

Hyskos turn
Have 6 in treasury an acquire a MM and 2 LA.  Sits and waits for the Nubian siege next turn.

Hittite turn
Split for forces for two sieges against the two cities.

Siege of Phoenician Sur Summer 1701BC
Hittite: 2CH, 1LI, 3LA
Phoenicians: 1CH

Walls are breached!  Phoenicians lose the CH, Hittites lose a CH and a LA
Hittite victory!

Siege of Phoenician Sydon Summer 1701BC
Hittite: 1CH, 3LI, 1LA
Phoenicians: 1LI 1LA

The Hittites starve the Phoenicians out.  Phoenicians lose all and the Hittites lose an LI
Hittite victory!

Hittites conquer Syria.

Minoan turn
Minoans do nothing.

Indian turn
Indians do nothing.

end of Summer 1701BC


Fall 1701BC
Minos has Enemies at Court.
Armenia (minor country) declares war on India.

Non-players turn
Nubians continue siege of Avaris

Siege of Avaris Fall 1701BC
Nubians: 10CP:  4LI(!), 2 MM
Hyskos: 8CP: 1 CH 1MM 3LA
Nubians are trying to starve out Avaris. Both lose 5 (Nubians 2 LI and a MM; Hyskos 1CH 1LA)

Nubians continue the siege:
Nubians: 5CP:  2LI(!), 1 MM
Hyskos: 3CP: 1MM 2LA
Treachery! Nubians lose 3, Hyskos 1

Nubians keep going:
Nubians: 2CP:  1LI(!)
Hyskos: 2CP: 1MM 1LA
A Hyskos sortie routs the Nubians!

Armenia invades Persia with 3LI and 2LA

Armeneans in Persia
Babylon turn
Babylon does nothing (no money)

Hyskos turn
Hyskos does nothing (no money)

Hittite turn
Hittites splits the army - 5CP to Syria and the rest over into Egypt. Hyskos stays holed up in Avaris so no battle.

Minoan turn
Minoans do nothing

Indian turn
Indians move to Persia and attack the Armenian raiders.

Battle of Persia Fall 1701BC
India (attacker) 13CP : 1EL 2LI 1MM 2LA Refuses flank
Armenia 8CP: 3LI 2 LA withdraws


Armenians top; Indians below

Deployment with Indians on the left

The Armenians successfully withdraw after the first few losses
The Armenian 3 LI withdraw.  They are raiders and so go home.  I might change the rules here that raiders cannot choose withdraw.  Maybe not.

End of Fall 1701BC
Winter 1702BC
Winter will be fun as a number of the major countries have no money, so the troops will not be maintained. Not being maintained means they go back in the force pool.  They can be reformed in Spring (next season) but that means one whole turn at the mercy of events and other players still with troops.


  • Bablyon spends 9 to maintain a CH and LA
  • Hyskos has no treasury and so maintains no troops.
  • Hittites maintains 2CH 3LI ans 2 LA (had to give up 2LI and an LA)
  • Minos can just not maintain what is has and removes an LI (leaves 1 CH, 2LA and 2 ships)
  • India cannot maintain the elephant and an LA (leaving 2LI 1MM 1LA


Non-players turn
None

Babylon turn
Does nothing

Hyskos turn
Does nothing

Hittite turn
Sieges Avaris...that fails (even with no units, there is an intrinsic garrison).

Minoan turn
Does nothing

Indian turn
Does nothing.

Spring 1702BC
Income!
Babylon 55 (3 cities!)
Hyskos 24 (city and 1/5 of Egypt in dispute)
Hittite 64 (3 cities, Anatolia, Syria)
Minos 25 (Crete and a city)
India 40 (India, Persia, city)

Non-players turn
Armenia is at war with India and rebuilds its raider force and invades Persia (minor counties at war do this every Spring).

Battle of Persia Spring 1702BC
India 7CP : 2LI 1MM 1LA Refuses flank
Armenia (attacker) 8CP: 3LI 2 LA centre charge

Armenians at top; Indians below

Deployment - Indians o the left.

End game.  Indians are all disordered but the Armenians are destroyed. 
It was a tough fight but eventually the Armenians had two unlucky tolls that saw 2 LI destroyed.  The Indians did lose an MM.

Babylon turn
Buy 2LI and research: get ENGINEERING.

Hyskos turn
Buy as many troops as they can to garrison Avaris: 2CH and  2LI

Hittite turn
Sieges Avaris

Siege of Avaris Spring 1702BC 
Hittite 11CP
Hyskos 12CP
A Hyskos sortie reduces the besiegers by ICH and 1LA.

Hittites purchases 2CH,3LI and 4LA

Minoan turn
Buys research: gains technology: Minos now a +2 city.

Indian turn
India has to build troops to be able to invade and crush Armenia, else it will invade again next Spring.   In Fall there is a possibility of rolling for peace as an event but unlikely.   There is also an optional rule in the errata where you can try and buy peace but that would be no fun so am not using it.

Buys 3 LI and 3MM.

End of Spring 1702BC
Summer 1702BC
Only events of note are Aryans raiders (2CH 1LI 1LA) appear in India.

Non-players turn
Aryan raider lays siege to the Indian capital but the siege fails with losses to the Aryans. Disappointed, they all go home.

Babylon turn
Does nothing

Hyskos turn
Does nothing

Hittite turn
Moves the purshased 2CH,3LI and 4LA to Egypt, dropping off 2LA in Syria.

Minoan turn
Does nothing

Indian turn
Moves the purchased units to Persia.  A clever mechanism is that groups of units can move as a group but you cannot move combined or split groups in the same movement turn.  So I cannot move the newly purchased group to Persia, combine them with the group in Persia and move them.  I can combine and split as much as I want but cannot move a split or combination.

End of Summer 1702BC
Fall 1702BC
Hittites remove UNREST.

Non-players turn
None.

Babylon turn
Does nothing

Hyskos turn
Does nothing.

Hittite turn
Sieges Avaris

Siege of Avaris Fall 1702BC
Hittites: 23CP
Hyskos: 12CP

Hittites lose 1CH 1LA
Hyskos loses 1CH 1LI

Hittites continue.
Hittites: 19CP
Hyskos: 6CP
Ouch, Hittites only lose an LA, while Hyskos loses all units.

The Hittites enter Avaris victorious  Hyskos is out of the game.

Minoan turn
Minoans do nothing

Indian turn
Indians move into Armenia.

Battle of Armenia Fall 1702BC
India (attacker) 17CP : 5LI 3MM 1LA Charges
Armenia 8CP: 3LI 2 LA refuses flank

Armenians at the top with some rough ground and a hill; Indians at the bottom.

Deployment

End game - the unlucky Armenians lost an LI in the centre to bad die rolls.
The Armenians manage to inflict a lot of disorders, and being on the hill helped.  but the centre LI was destroyed and so were the two skirmishers, leading the army to panic and they were cleaned up while routing.

End of Fall 1702BC

Winter 1703BC
Time to pay for upkeep

  • Babylon manages to keep 1CH 2LI 1LA
  • Hittites keep 2CH 2LI 2LA
  • Minos hangs on to 1CH 1LI 1LA and even has some talents left over.
  • India loses 4LI and keeps 1LI 3MM 1LA

Non-players turn
None.

Babylon turn
Does nothing, no treasury

Hittite turn
Does nothing, no treasury

Minoan turn
Does nothing, very little treasury.
Tempted to invade Anatolia to take the Hittite capital city, but I think the retribution would be too much.

Indian turn
Moves forces in Armenia back to Persia

End of Winter 1702BC
Spring 1703BC (last turn)
Woo-hoo! income:
Babylon: +55
Hittite: +100
Minos: +25
India: +45

This turn will be a scramble to get some victory points so as not to fall to far behind.  I am also going to call this the last seasonal turn, so let us see how far the major countries can get

Non-players turn
None.

Babylon turn
Buys two research but gets nothing :-(

Hittite turn
Buys Religion (costs 100, gives 150 victory points)

Minoan turn
Buys one research and gets MEDICAL.

Indian turn
Founds the city in India as built previously.

End of Spring 1703 and end of game.
End Game
Victory points are treasury, income and things acquired such as Technology, religion etc. and subtract for things like enemies at court.  Final scores:
Babylon: 111
Hyskos: 150
Hittite: 250
Minos: -18
India: 116

Hittite is the winner!
Hyskos came second - even though they were destroyed, they had discovered Law (100) and Medical (50).

Verdict
Where to start?  Summary: underrated, very random, finicky, great for generating battles, loads of fun.

This is quite an underrated game, but it is not for everyone.  It is not too historical but has a historical feel.  It would work just as well using the tables in the rules to play out the battles, rather than using a battlefield.   The later scenarios are a lot more differentiated compared to this one and the major countries (players) are more spread out.

It is quite random in  where raiders can come from, and what can happen when you try and govern. The events can be really good, really bad or nothing much.  i can imagine being a player and a few bad events in a row would make this game no fun at all, and there is not much to balance out poor events other than randomly getting some good ones.  Which brings us to the finicky bit.  You do need to track your units, of which a player will have anywhere from 5-20.  So it is operational with a bit of detail here.  A player needs to keep track of treasury and  discoveries, and work out income and expenses.  There is a player aid chart but it is still stuff to keep track.  My spreadsheet really helped out here. The unit counters are a bit sparse for the players as most are generic e.g. you build a new city - there are no counters for more players cities besides the capital so it needs to be a generic one and then somehow keep track of it.  It would be nice to have tracking counters for each country.

Where it shines is the battles - regardless of what rules you use this is great for generating mismatched battles.  You do need rules for what happens if one side of overwhelmingly outnumbered but other that that, you could use rules of choice and go with what makes sense converting the units.  You could multiply the number of Imperator units by a factor to increase them for a tabletop battle,and divide them again after the battle to convert them back.  This is where I think the game really shines - it is a n operational game but battles play an important part and can easily be done outside of Imperator.  My rules worked really well and I need to tidy them up a little, play a test game on 12x12 grid and then I will then put them up on this blog.

Most importantly, it was loads of fun!  It makes me want to play some more of the scenarios (there are about 14). I had a great time - 12 battles, got to use the 6mm figures, wrote some new rules, completed a project started 20 years ago and the game threw up surprises all the time.  I could not ask for more.