Example of Play and After Action Report
Note: The following is from a playtest report from one of our crack playtesters, Steve Crowley. It is not a full replay with the final edition of the game rules. Final game rules and play may be slightly different, due to modifications made throughout the playtest process.
Looking at the starting position, I find it tempting to raise troops with Alex to draw another leader- hopefully Parmenion. If a one leader is drawn, he can take over the home army and Antipater can join Alex. Gives a +4 for Alex +2 for Ant +4 for Elite - even Memnon is in a world of hurt there. Also has the benefit that Alex only needs a few troops to bump him up on the same CRT column as Memnon.
Downside is that it lets Memnon skulk into the interior or take up a better blocking position across the Straits.
Dream start for Alex as he moves across the straits taking the longer route so as to avoid being intercepted in the crossing. The first attempt to close with Memnon fails (M just needs to roll higher than a 2 on 1D6) but battle is joined on the last MP. Treasury is reduced having spent 6 Mps.
No cards can be played on the first round and an average roll from Alex results in a narrow victory despite a good roll from Memnon. Loses are 3M to 4P, but the Elite levels are now 5 and 0, which bodes ill for the Persian cause.
Next APM sees Alex going again and he closes with Memnon to finish him off. The Persians evade once, but the battle-fatigued army has to fight another battle. DRMS here are +9 for Alex (4 for the OC +5 for elite) against the Persian +4 (Memnon's 3 being doubled for a play of a tactical advantage card and -2 for being fatigued).
A disastrous roll for Alex gives the Persians a chance, but their roll is just a couple short of a famous victory and the army becomes Useless with 12sp lost. Alex loses another 3. Memnon survives a possible wounding, but it's looking grim for the army, hence it takes flight and moves 6 spaces nearer to a treasure city in an attempt to recover from the Useless status. However, this costs a further 7sp in the retreat, so Memnon is down to 17sp out of 40. Ouch.
The Persians get a much needed phase and Memnon limps into Damascus hoping for an Admin phase. An Admin phase promptly arrives and Memnon breathes a sigh of relief as the useless marker is removed.
Commentary:The game moves at a good pace although I'm really not yet sure what to do with the Persians apart from acting as a punching bag (which brings its own rewards on the Alex injury and war weariness tracks). Alex current IP is at 2 and weariness is at 2.
From here on, I'll precede each paragraph with a letter code to denote whose phase it is:
P = Persian
M = Macedonian
Admin = Admin Phase
P - Zarathustra smiles and the Persians get another move. They play a drought card against Phrygia in an effort to slow Alexander down and give Memnon more time to recruit. This slows down movement in the province and all adjacent ones. A new army is raised in Babylon with 9 SPs and Bessus joins Memnon to up the leadership in the main field army. Babylon treasury reduced.
The Road to Egypt
M - Alex tries to ferment revolt in Judea with an eye to destroying the small Persian garrison there and hence opening up the coastal road to movement, but with Memnon's army so close the locals decide not to bother. Due to drought, Alexander moves slowly into Sardes and takes the ungarrisoned treasury city.
P - The lull afforded by the drought allows Memnon to play a card to increase the training of the army and recruit another 6SP into Army 3. Spitamenes joins Memnon to bolster the leadership. Damascus treasury reduced.
P - Army 3 is marched to join Memnon at Damascus to provide much needed reinforcements. The Persians are hoping for another phase to reorganize these armies into one.
M - the drought in the surrounding area limits Alexander's movement options, so the army takes a respite and recruits 8SP and Haphaeston. This reduces the newly found wealth at Sardes.
Admin - the drought finally ends, but only the treasury at Pella is replenished in this phase
M - Alexander moves to Issus and overruns a small garrison which was there to help provide a Persian army with a little bit of support in this bottleneck. The long march results in the reduction of the Pella treasury.
M - Alexander closes in on Memnon's army in Damascus.
P - In desperation, Memnon tries to break thru the Macedonian cordon by trying a risky move to Palmyra. The alternative is to base in Egypt, but this would cut the army off from reinforcement and mean certain death. The Macedonians predictably intercept, but a close-fought battle results in 6 Persian losses to 4 Macedonian. Both armies are fatigued, hence the Macedonian pursuit will be delayed.
M - The Macedonians take a breather and recruit 13 more SP into the army, along with Parmenion.
P - Memnon limps back to Babylon in an attempt to rest and recruit.
P - Persian agents try to start a rebellion in Lydia - Alexander's crucial treasure city which supports his operations. The attempt narrowly fails. Meanwhile Memnon takes advantage of his lucky escape and recruits a further 16sp.
M - An attempt is made to encourage Satrap insubordination, which is successful, but order is soon restored by Bagoas - who promptly dies as a result of his exertions. An Admin phase is called to allow the Macedonian army to recover from fatigue.
P - Mazeus is recruited to leads the ill fated third army while the bulk of the recruits go to Memnon.
Admin - The stringencies of war bring out the best in the beaurocrats, and all treasuries with the exception of Babylon are replenished
P - In a flurry of activity, Mazeus abandons the empty treasure city of Babylon and moves to Pelusius in Egypt. There he links up with the fleet in an effort to threaten Alex's flanks from the sea.
P - Memnon recruits a further 15SP while Barsaentes joins the main army under Darius. Memnon now has a massive army of 55sp, but the Persian manpower reserves seem largely untouched, as another 130SP are available. It remains to be seen whether Memnon and Darius can coordinate their armies and crush the Macedonian upstart.
M - Expecting little resistance in the near future, Alex allows a portion of the army to take a honeymoon, so reducing the war weariness index. He then moves on to Damascus and demands the surrender of the small garrison there. They promptly open the gates and Alexander gets the use of a treasure city which is considerably closer than that of Sardes in Lydia.
With his LOC now relatively secure, Alexander marches straight to Tyre and demands that they too surrender. The inhabitants of Tyre are made of sterner stuff than the softies in Damascus, and promptly bar the gates. Alexander settles down for what looks to be a long siege.
M - Alexander abandons the siege of Tyre until a fleet can be brought in and decides to open an alternative route to Egypt thru Gaza. A demand for the surrender of the city is made and the inhabitants gleefully open the gates.
Wasting no time, the Macedonians march on Mazeus' army based in Egypt. Despite overwhelming odds, Mazeus keeps his army together, only retreating a short distance. Both armies lose 1sp in what proves to be a bit of skirmishing, but Mazeus is put under siege in Memphis.
P - The Naval balance swings further way from Alex as the Greek fleet joins the Persians. Memnon takes advantage of Alexander's absence to make a move towards Damascus. This threatens the Macedonian LOC to the only treasury city in close proximity.
M - Memnon's aggressive move has shown that the Macedonian invasion of Egypt was made too early, so Alexander abandons the siege of Memphis and moves in support of Damascus.
M - Another long march results in Alexander catching up with Memnon in Mesopotamia, but Memnon neatly evades this and refuses battle. For now. ...
Chasing and Battling the Persians
M - A chase begins as Alexander realizes that a move on Egypt is out of the question while Memnon can threaten his LOC. Alexander finally catches up with Memnon in Babylonia, but Memnon has chosen his battle site well and plays a card to give him tactical advantage. Alex swings a surprise of his own and the battle mods are Alex +13 Memnon +7. The huge size of the Persian army ensures it is they who have the last reserves and they finally manage to beat Alexander in a close- fought battle. Alex takes 3sp loss while the Persian takes 6.
P - The Persians decline to follow up their narrow victory since there are few aces up their sleeves. Darius finally makes a move to Babylonia in support of Memnon. Alexander now faces 2 very large armies. It will be interesting to see whether they can be defeated in detail.
P - Memnon recruits bringing his army up to 57sp.
P - Darius recruits to 52sp.
M - Alex recruits a mere 5sp as word gets around of the 2 large Persian armies.
P - Ahura Mazda smiles as the Persians recover a tactical advantage card from the discard pile. This convinces Memnon to pursue Alex, who retreats to Cilica.
M - Alex continues to recruit and continues to find few soldiers willing to join him.
M - Calls an admin phase to bring the honeymooners back into the army and replenish the treasuries. Disastrous rolls means that only Babylon is replenished for the Persians.
P - Memnon goes on the offensive with 57sp and a modifier of +5. Alex has 43sp and a modifier of +10, but it is obvious the Persians have the tactical advantage card, which brings their mod to +8. With the size differential this means it is an even battle - not good for the Macedonians. So they continue to retreat, hoping to use the treasury at Pella to recruit more troops.
P - Memnon is now at the end of his LOC and so Darius moves in support as far as Commagene.
M - The Macedonian army camps under bad weather conditions and busily recruits. The manpower levels are dropping at an alarming rate.
P - Persians play a major campaign card and try to hit Alexander with both Memnon and Darius. The Persians are at the end of their LOC and this, coupled with the bad weather, makes the Macedonians very difficult to pin down.
M - Alex recruits to bring his army to 59sp but there are only 24sp left in the pool.
M - Alex attacks Memnon, who uses the tactical advantage card, making the odds 59sp with a +10 mod to 57sp with a +8 mod. Very close battle which Alex wins, but loses 9sp to the Persian 8. Both armies are fatigued.
P - An assassination attempt is made against Alex, but his bodyguards intervene. Darius now moves to try to attack the fatigued Macedonian army, but doesn't move far after being beset by command indecision.
P - Darius moves again and Alex gives battle with 49sp elite 5 and +9 mod v 52sp elite 1 and +3 mods. Predictably, Darius loses, but keeps his army in good order - losing 13sp to 10. Alex is badly wounded in this battle, with the injury index now at 9.
Commentary - the battle losses are favoring the Persians, who are being helped by very good retreat die rolls (i.e. low ones so they do not add much to the casualty rolls) and by some annoying fatigue results against the Macedonians which seem to stop any momentum they gain by winning battles. All armies are fatigued but the Macedonians are at elite level 5 while the others are at 0. Will Alexander have enough men to pursue this to victory?
P - Darius recruits 15sp to bring his army to 54sp.
M - Alex moves back to Lydia.
P - Memnon recruits 10sp. His army is now 59sp.
M - With the Macedonian coffers being exhausted, an Admin phase is called and results in more money being found for the war effort.
P - Alexander falls ill and the injury index hits 10. Memnon retreats to Cilcia to await Alexander, while Darius plans to move on Damascus and remove the threat of Alexander's eastern-most treasury.
P - A drought descends on the area around the Macedonian army and Darius moves ever closer to Damascus.
M - Another Admin phase is called to build up the coffers for an extended campaign.
M - A major campaign by the Macedonians sees Antipator move his army onto mainland Asia, while the main army advances on Memnon.
P - At the approach of Darius, the Treasury Paymaster of Damascus decides to take an extended vacation in sunnier climes, taking a substantial amount of the treasury to ease the journey. Darius arrives at the gates of Damascus and the sudden appearance of the Great King is enough to open the doors.
P - Darius moves back to Cilcia to support Memnon.
M - Alexander moves against Memnon, who accepts battle. 38sp +11 verses 59sp +4. Memnon loses yet again, but maintains good order, only retreating one hex and losing 3sp. Alex loses 2sp, but also receives a severe wound.
P - Darius moves to attack Alex with 53sp +2 to 36sp +11. Darius loses a close battle, but doesn't maintain the order that Memnon did, and loses 15sp to Alexander's 6. The Macedonians are fatigued, while Darius is rendered useless. Luckily for the Persians, Memnon's army lies between Alexander and Darius.
P - Ahura Mazda smiles and the Persians retrieve a tactical advantage card from the discard pile. Memnon drives the fatigued Macedonian army back to Lycia.
M - Admin called to allow the main army to recover from fatigue.
M - Recruits 12sp to bring the main army back to 42sp but that leaves only 12sp in the manpower pool. This is starting to look ominous for the Macedonians. Another leader is recruited to help Antipater.
P - Satrap Insubordination results in the Macedonian garrison at Sardes being wiped out and the treasury reduced to nothing. The Macedonian LOC now has to extend to Pella. Darius moves to Damascus to recover his army.
Admin - Darius breathes a sigh of relief.
M - Alex moves against Memnon 42sp +11 versus 56sp +7 (Memnon doubled for tactical advantage). A victory of sorts for the Macedonians, as Memnon yet again keeps close control of his troops, with a one hex retreat and 3sp lost. Alex loses 6sp, and both armies are fatigued.
In the second move of the major campaign, Antipater attacks Memnon with 13sp +5 v 53sp +2. A surprise card takes the Macedonians to +7. In a close battle, Antipater pulls off a famous victory, rendering Memnon's army useless and inflicting a further loss of 8sp, while the Macedonians lose nothing. All thoughts of control are swiftly forgotten, as Memnon's army takes flight and loses a further 15sp.
P - Memnon's army limps back to Damascus.
M - Admin phase called so that the main army can recover.
M - Alexander moves to Issus.
P - In response, Darius moves to Mesopotamia to ensure the army is not cut off from reinforcement.
M - Alex moves to Aleppo to place himself between Darius and Memnon.
P - Memnon moves to Mesopotamia, helped by a failed interception from Alex and an evasion of a successful one. Both Persian armies are in Thilaios.
P - Darius moves to Babylon.
M - Illness removes Memnon from command of his army and Alex uses this to attack the second Persian army. A series of evasions means that both Persian armies retreat and abandon Babylon to its fate. A demand for its surrender results in the full treasure city falling into Macedonian hands.
P - Sparta revolts, but this is overshadowed by the main events occurring around Babylon. An Admin phase is called to allow Memnon to recover.
Commentary: As long as the Persians keep Memnon alive and the 2 armies working together, I don't think the Macedonians will win this one - they are likely to run out of troops. A couple of big IF's there, though - we shall see.
M - Alexander moves to attack the combined Persian armies at Kish. 35sp +11 versus 68sp +2. The Persians retreat 2 hexes to Nippur and take 20sp loss to Macedonian 3sp. Darius decides to take flight another 5 hexes to Ectabana, losing another 15sp in the process.
At last Alexander has his crushing victory and continues his march to the gates of Susa, which opens its doors and gives up the Royal family to the conqueror of Darius.
P - Admin phase called to remove the useless markers from the Persian armies.
The End Game
M - Crucial chit pull this time - and Alexander begins the campaign to crush the last remnants of the Great King's army. Neither of the Persian armies manages to evade, so battle is joined with 29sp +11 against 38sp +2. Darius pulls off a bold move and scrapes a victory with a roll of 6,6. Alex retreats a hex, taking 2sp loss while the Persians take 8sp. All are fatigued.
M - Admin phase to recover the army.
M - Pursuit of Darius continues, and again neither Persian army manages to evade. 27sp +10 (elite=4) v 30sp +3. The Persians lose 6sp in the 3 hex retreat while Alex loses 4sp, but is also fatigued, which gives the Persians some respite.
P - While the Macedonian army undergoes a mass marriage (weariness now 15), the Persians launch a major campaign. Both armies move to Persopolis for a last ditch stand. 3 more sp are lost to attrition on the long march.
M - Admin phase called to rest the army.
P - Recruit and put Memnon in charge of the second army.
M - A demand for the city of Ectobana to surrender is successful, which leaves the Persians with Persopolis as their only treasure city (empty). Alex moves to Susa to begin the final campaign.
Admin - The Macedonians have access to great wealth while the Persians have only the Royal Treasury left.
M - Memnon, the constant thorn in the Macedonian side, finally succumbs to his illness - which is a major blow to Persian hopes. Alex begins a long march to bring Darius to battle, but both Persian armies evade though the Persian Gates, leaving Persopolis to its fate. The inhabitants duly open the city gates in honor of the new rising star of Asia.
Admin - The Macedonian army mutinies, with Alex losing 2sp.
M - Alexander calls up the last of the manpower reserves recruiting 10 sp to bring the army up to 29sp and 2sp left in the pool.
P - Darius moves on Susa and demands its surrender. A traitor paid with the last remnants of the Royal Treasury opens the gates, and the city falls.
M - Alexander immediately moves to attack Darius and a battle ensues. 29sp +11 v 14sp +2. Darius retreats 5 hexes and loses 4sp to the Macedonian 2sp. the injury index is now at 17 with weariness back up to 11.
Alex follows this up with another attack, this time on the army led by Bessus. 27sp +11 v 17sp +2 results in a retreat through the Persian Gates for Bessus along with the loss of 4sp and Spitamenes. Alex loses 1sp, but receives a major wound so the injury level is now at 19. Alex catches Bessus again and renders his army useless with a further 3sp loss, but again Alexander loses 4sp and is fatigued.
Macedonian concerns are now shifted to Alexander and whether his battered body can survive the campaign.
P - Admin phase called to allow Darius to recover and to force an Alexander wound check
M - Alex pursues Bessus and destroys the army, but loses 4sp and is fatigued.
Admin - Alex survives !
P - Persians call an Admin phase and Alexander dies of his wounds. Long live Great King Darius !!!!!
- Steve Crowley -