The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
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Monday, September 5, 2022

Hoplimania 2b: RULES - "Tearless Hoplite Battles"

"We're ready to share our culture with you today!"
second painting by the obviously talented Karl Kapinsky, from here:

Another battle, another opportunity for Tears! After the very strong narrative and enjoyable time I had with THB last post [CLICK] I played a few more games, made a few tweaks and edits, incorporated Mike T's answers, and felt like I could do another AAR with some interesting happenings.

Again, Corinthians are on the top, Thebans are on the bottom.

Both sides used a Traditional Deployment, so had 2 Veteran, 3 Average and 2 Novice hoplite Units from [their] right to left. Both sides chose [I diced] to shift right to overlap the other, resulting in a large overlap of three Units a side!  I considered redoing this, but wanted to test the full range of possibilities in the rules so stuck with it. Both sides chose to Attack instead of Defend.
The player's card hands are visible to the sides because this is a solo game. I can't cheat since I barely remember what the cards may mean without the rules...
In the pre-battle shooting phase, the Corinthians [top] suffered a Disordered Unit, but inflicted 2 Disorders and a Shaken result on the hapless Thebans [bottom].

Turn 1, Advance Phase. The Corinthians come out with a very decent line - a couple units only one zone [square] out of placed - the Strategos himself is one ahead, and one of the Average Hoplites is back one. One of the Novices didn't hear a command, apparently...has been left two zones behind.
The Thebans have very random rolls, and are spread all over the place - ugh! The Theban Strategos [General] plays a couple of cards to get one Unit a couple zones advanced, and improve the Courage of another. The Corinthians play one card.

Both sides then check the Omens, or Sphagia, sacrificing a goat (poor thing). I may have used cards or rolled, forget which - rolling is my idea. Net result is both sides think the Omens favorable and each  gets one Unit improved one level of courage - The Corinthians take an Uneasy Unit and make it Firm, and the Thebans an Uneasy Unit goes up to Eager.

Both sides now must make a plan for the large overlap they have against each other. The Corinthians keep straight on while the Thebans start Maneuvering one Unit by making a left Turn. In THB, Units can't start maneuvering and leaving their original column on the grid until / unless they don't have an enemy Unit in the column - so they either need to defeat it or have overlapped.

Turn 2. As the two sides come within striking distance, the Thebans develop their outflanking plan while the Corinthians successfully slow their left-most Unit in response - they needed 3+ to succeed which they got. The Theban left-most Unit is already waaaaay behind so no effort spent there, which is good since the limited maneuvering ability is going into the Veteran Units on the right.

Turn 3. The phalanxes clash!  The Corinthians have almost all their Units in a solid line, playing a card to help with this. The Thebans look like they're a mess, but actually they are succeeding in getting into a better position to outflank the Corinthian left. The Corinthians are now Maneuvering their right-most hoplite Unit to cross the board and attack the Thebans at the right time. As the Units are a bit cumbersome maneuvering, one has to plan ahead - I enjoy this "realism".
In the Melee phase, the Thebans have one Unit Pushed Back, Shaken, but Break one Corinthian and Push back another in Disorder.
In Turn 3 Rally Phase, Corinthians re-organize one Unit on a '4', but fail to do so with another, using a Card for a bonus Rally, rolling a '1'. The Thebans fail to reorganize one Unit on the black '3' below.
The Corinthians have only lost one Unit, so easily pass their army break roll.

Turn 4. Chaos descends on the battlefield, as both sides organize their right-most Units for flanking maneuvers, while the neat battle line disappears in a flurry of combat results. Thebans have two Pushed Back Shaken, Corinthians one.

Thebans roll high and Rally off a Shaken, while the Corinthians fail to do so.

Theban long-term planning bears fruit, and we start to see a small battle line developing to the right. Corinthians are not quite so organized. The scrum in the center continues.

Turn 5. Corinthians break two Novice Hoplite Units, and lose one of theirs.
Both sides easily pass their army break point test.

By Turn 7, the Thebans had a neat phalanx of four Units heading left across the table. The Corinthians are not quite as organized. Both - again - overlap the other's left flank. Thebans have one very game Unit that is fighting hard in the center and has Pushed Back the opposition, Shaken and Disorganized. The nearest Thebans can't help as they have enemy approaching down their row so can't stop or Maneuver. Both have lost two Units, and both have five on the battlefield.
The Theban then Rallies off a Disorganized - very disciplined, hard-fighting Unit! 

Turn 8, the overlapping phalanxes clash.
Despite the use of Cards to improve the rolls, the Theban Unit is broken in a dreaded 6 v. 1 roll-off.
But the Thebans manage to break the center Corinthian in a 5-1 roll off!

Both sides now had lost a third Unit, and the Thebans failed their Army Break Test.

I started to execute the rules for withdrawing from the battlefield, but it was late and I was too tired to make headway on them, so called it a Corinthian win.

Overall, the game had plenty of narrative and the small differences in each side's phalanx, combined with the overlap on the right, and each side's plan to exploit it, shaped the game:
- Corinthians faced a Theban left that was lagging way behind, slowing the confrontation and the likely result of losing a couple units.
- Thebans faced a neat Corinthian line and Maneuvered very effectively, also destroying the Corinthian left, but finished the process much better organized.

Ultimately, the results were close enough that the battle was decided by a dice roll, which I am fine with since both sides were at almost 50% losses and should be faced with significant force morale rolls. Had the battle continued, it would largely have depended on the dice results, with whoever lost a Unit first having a 50% chance to break.

Very enjoyable time, but must carefully read the rules for withdrawing from the battle after failing the army break test when more awake!


  1. Another interesting report with these rules.

  2. Thanks Dale. These rules definitely come up with flavorful events and interesting tactical challenges! I haven't had a dull game yet.


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