Saturday, 25 February 2017

Triumph game - Athenian Vs Achaemenid Persians

Andy and I have played four games of Triumph! so far (only two of these made it to a blog post).  This is game five and Andy is using his Athenians rather than the Parthians he used for the other four.  Once again neither of us read the rules prior to playing.  We did not look up the rulebook very much - going with what we thought was correct base don what we remembered form reading them 4 months ago, and some of the rule lookups we did with our games last month.

Basing and board size
Andy created a board the right side - 64cm x 96cm.  And all his Athenians were based correctly for Triumph!  Mine are DBx based and so a few of them I used two bases one behind the other to represent a deep single unit.


Athenians: 1xElite Foot (General), 9xHeavy Foot, 1xLight Foot, 2xSkirmishers, 2xRabble, 1xJavelin Cavalry
Note that hoplites are classed as Heavy Foot and not Spears, and not quite as good as Spears.  But you can have more of them as they are 3 points, not 4 as for Spears!   

The well painted Athenians hoplites.
Persians: 3xJavelin Cavalry (one with General), 4xArchers, 2xPavisiers, 2xHeavy Foot, 1xBow Levy, 1xHorse Bow

The mostly average painted Persians.
Both sides have similar Invasion and Maneuver ratings (used to determine terrain choices and attacker/defender) and the Persians became the attacker.  Athenians were the defender and so used Arable that has a compulsory village.  Having no village we put down a log house.  No special rules for villages - they are classed as difficult terrain that blocks LOS.

Neither of us wanted much terrain but I rolled the maximum (6 pieces).  All our current terrain is double sided rough or hills so that is what was placed with the village. The village (difficult) and the rough (also classed as difficult) that was deployed at the edges of the centre zone really constricted the useable space.

Deployment showing terrain placement
I took a few minutes on my setup (I had to deploy all my units after the Athenians had deployed only there battleline of a row of heavy foot).  I did consider putting the cavalry on the left flank and race around the rough going.  However they are my best troops against the hoplites (heavy foot) – it would be +3 Vs +3 and my worst result (being doubled) is an evade, while for the hoplites/heavy foot it is destroyed.  So I put the cavalry in the centre. I then looked up an archers and bow levy are not effected by difficult (something I did not know when placing terrain), So I put them on the edge of the battleline to move into the difficult terrain.  Pavisiers (Sparabara) are not great against heavy foot, and so put them to the edge as well.

The Athenian non-battleline units saw the Rabble and cavalry unit on their right flank to protect it against my lone horse bow and anything coming through the difficult terrain in that side, the light foot and skirmishers on their left flank to enter the difficult terrain and protect that flank.

Pictures are almost all from my side as I was sitting down with the back of the chair against the wall - too hard to keep getting up.  Some of the pictures are a little blurry as I was more invested in playing the game than ensuring the shot was perfect!

I rolled low PIPS for the first three turns while Andy rolled high.  The first few turns, at least for Andy, was positioning.  I think all I did was move my battleline and left flank bow levy up.  Bow levy are OK in difficult.

After the first turn.  
I rolled low again and so, wanting to see how it all worked, pushed my three cavalry up against the hoplites.  One hoplite down down.

Moving up the Persian cavalry to attack the hoplites... down (on the left).  Lots to go.
A reserve hoplite on the Athenian right flank moves up to shore up the end of the battleline that is missing due to the just destroyed hoplite. It engages the cavalry and it too was destroyed.

My bow levy was destroyed in the first go of combat (against Light foot).  My plan of them defending that flank for awhile has gone awry.  Lucky I have some archers in reserve.

Persian Bow Levy destroyed centre.  Another hoplite destroyed at the rear (in front of the cavalry).  I did not notice the skirmishers that turned in the rough to be on the flank of the Persian line..
I did not notice the skirmisher turn to face the javelin cavalry and on the next turn the general was flanked and destroyed.   I think that is possibly two, or maybe three times, out of the last five that I have lost my general early on! Losing a general means everything costs an extra command point.

Persian general has gone. note that the Persian cavalry on the left will shortly get attacked from three sides and last for 4-5 rounds of combat.  
Meanwhile, on the Athenian left flank, Andy raced his Athenian javelin cavalry (his only cavalry!) to contact my horse bow (+2 Vs +3).  The Athenian cavalry bounced and there was another go at combat just before the game ended but they faced off for almost the entire time.

Persian horse bows face the Athenian cavalry.  this shot could have been taken just about anytime during the game as this is all they did besides about two goes at combat!
Another javelin cavalry was surrounded on three sides but lasted 5-6 turns due to excellent rolling by me.  In fact, I tended to roll good for combat and poor for command points, while Andy did the opposite.

I kept pushing forwards with my archers into the rough on the Persian left and managed to account for the light foot (from Andy's perspective, the light foot let him down - they are supposed to be great for defending difficult terrain).

Persian archers advance on the left through the rough and destroy a skirmisher.

The Persian archers continue their good luck in the rough and take out a skirmisher.

On the Persian right flank the archers *finally* made it into the village and shot up the rabble. One Rabble was subsequently destroyed by shooting.  Meanwhile, the Athenian battleline is all set and advances into the Persian line.  It is all happening now!

On the left, a Athenian skirmisher is destroyed; in the centre the Athenians attack; on the right a rabble is shot at and destroyed.
With the Athenian skirmisher gone on the Athenian right flank, it is looking a bit open Vs two Persian archers so the Athenian's turn one of their hoplites to defend that flank.  In the centre, the Sparabara (Pavisiers) are destroyed (not unexpected - they are hopeless Vs heavy foot).  The Rabble engage with the archers in the village.

Sparabara destroyed in the centre.
Both armies are now near their breaking point – any one unit lost by either side will win the game for the other.  It is my turn – I shoot at the other rabble and it is destroyed.  Persian win (just).

Rabble destroyed at the right and the Athenians reach their breakpoint 
Another great game and a nail biter.  Very close and it could have gone either way.  The gamble of putting the Persian cavalry in the battleline paid off but was very risky and not sure I would do it again so rashly.  We both agreed  a) we need to play some more games b) we both like the rules, in preference to DBA (due to the additional troop types and the rules seem to flow better)  and  c) we should really reads the rules prior to the next game.


  1. Hi Shaun, nice scenario, initially, I thought the system seemed quite ruthless, due to those early losses and I wondered whether a tipping point would be quickly reached under the rules .... but as the game went on, there seemed to be quite a good balance at keeping both players in the game to a tight finish.

    The unit that was assailed from all sides, but fought bravely on for so long, did that feel right?

    1. Hello Norm,

      I thought I was a goner when I lost the general. The system is as ruthless as DBA, but as per that and most other rules, I was only down a little at the start. But the system is quite good in that I played a little defensively and really picked my opportunity for mismatched that favoured me. It is surprising how close all 5 of our games have been - I think every one has seen both sides one unit from losing before one side lost. In this game I also got really good combat dice..bringing me to your last question. I was -2 on the dice (so an opposed roll of +1 Vs +3 and if I was outscored I lose). I managed to roll to cause an equal or greater score for me. 4 times at least. 4 times is about a 1 in 250 chance. So definitely an outlier result. If felt right in the narrative - the cavalry, hemmed in from all side, desperately fights to protect the battleline flank. It did feel right, and it provided for some very tense and exciting dice rolls!