Saturday, 6 April 2019

Siege of Rhodes ~ Game #1

After a lot of work over the past few months I finally got to debut my game at my club; Nunawading Wargames Association (NWA) in Melbourne. With three volunteers: Tom and I playing the stout Rhodians defenders v's Andrew and Piotr as the Macedonian invaders.

This was the game's first outing and it was easy to transport with the set up taking about an hour. It looked better on a full 6'x4' table (my board is an inch or two short in both directions). I got a lot of nice comments as well as questions throughout the day. So, thanks for the support, gentlemen.

The rules played well but the naval aspect does need to be tweaked. I think the d6 instead of d10 is a bit confusing because most of the time, those playing will be playing for the first time. So simple is better and it will be d10's all round from now on.

The Battle
Andrew played the part of Demetrius Poliorketes (The Besieger) and took control of the land based attack with me opposing him. Piotr commanded the Antigonid fleet against Tom's aggressive defence of the harbour.
Note: The Dice Gods were on Tom's side this day.

First off the mark was Demetrius and his attacking forces. Landward, they laid down a heavy barrage with their torsion artillery and almost battered down the landward gate in the first turn. The fleet moved into range shooting here and there, but they still needed to move the big siege ships into range to begin the assault on the walls.

Rhodes retaliated with the landward forces doing little but scoring a couple of hits here and there. In the harbour Tom (Admiral Damophilos) put in some effective fire and inflicted serious damage on some of the Antigonid ships.

Assessing the Moral Clock it was Rhodes that won the first turn so the Antigonid morale was reduced by 1 pip.

And so it went... After two turns of me directing, the other guys got the gist of the rules and we settled into two separate battles.

Piotr continued to advance in the harbour. Tom retaliated: Ships were shot, rammed & boarded, The Siege Ships got into range and pummeled the walls, bringing down one section and smashing down the gatehouse. Piotr's marines landed with scaling ladders and assaulted the walls. Things were looking grim but Tom/Damophilos sallied forth with his own marines and threw the Antigonids back.

Landward, the siege engines rolled forward. Archers and bolt throwers rained death all around with one of the siege towers catching fire and forcing the troops inside to flee. Assault ladders were raised and men scaled them. Some failed and died for their efforts but some succeeded and gained the walls only to be thrown back by counter attacks from the Rhodian defence.

Andrew/Demetrius used his sappers & managed to undermine one wall section and pushed through a unit of hyspaspists. They defeated a force of javelinmen defending the wall but got into a prolonged fight with a unit of hoplite reinforcements sent by Cassander (the new Macedonian King) who re-took the wall. Demetrius himself, lead an attack by scaling a ladder and leading his men to victory against the Rhodian militia who put up a pretty good fight.

As the ram was about to touch the gate a shot by a heavy stone thrower brought the gatehouse crashing down (which automatically reduced the Rhodian Moral Clock). Fierce Thracian peltasts poured through the gap & into the fight. I looked for my reserve ~ Ptolemy's veteran reinforcements ~ only to find that Tom had already committed 2/3 of them to the harbour defence. Oh well, the one remaining unit would have to do.

At the north-western corner where the siege tower continued to burn, the invaders used ladders to scale the walls. The archery was much more effective in this area and most of the Rhodian defenders were driven away leaving the walls almost unmanned. Luckily one unit of javelinmen remained and put up a decent fight, giving those driven off the walls the time to form a defence with some of the hoplite reinforcements sent by Lysimachus.

And so it went... With the moral clocks running down we called the game at this point due to the time. Demetrius was in the city but the defence was dogged. At different points, both at the harbour and landward, it looked like the Rhodians' would be overrun. But the balanced tipped. It happened over and over with one side on the ropes only for them to comeback swinging.

The Rules
Age of Hannibal~ They're simple but effective. It's not always easy to inflict Demoralized markers on your opponent but sometimes they just seem to add up. Then the Rally rules make it possible to regain your footing and hit back.

It made for a good game with the action thick and fast. After all the effort put into it, I'm glad the game worked so well and was completely balanced (even though the numbers equate to about 40,000 for Demetrius and about 20,000 for Rhodes).

Here's a bunch of pics. I forgot to take them during the first couple of turns but you can see how action packed it was with troops moving up with their assault ladders, storming the walls, and getting bunched up and disorganized.

Thank you to Tom, Andrew and Piotr for joining in and making my efforts worthwhile.


Edit: A bunch of extra pics from NWA member, Rusty Charles. (better pics than mine)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Preparing for the Siege pt10 - 1st Test

I set up the Siege of Rhodes today and played through a few turns to come to grips with the rules.

They work well. Although I am going to make some tweaks - Mainly concerning light artillery and some of my naval rules need some adjustment to make them work in line with Age of Hannibal.

Most of the turns I played involved a lot of shooting but I landed some marines, did a couple of assaults on the walls as well as a couple of naval boarding actions. From what I've worked out: assault ladders are fickle and it's easy to lose dramatically. Battering the walls down with stone throwers looks like a more attractive alternative. I got one siege tower in place and it worked very well, driving the enemy off the walls and gaining a toehold.

The siege ships are dangerous even after they drew a lot of enemy fire they still managed to batter away at the walls pretty effectively.

One thing that really became noticeable is the Moral Clock mechanism in AoH. It really makes you coordinate & concentrate your efforts. You can't do everything at once. To be successful it will be a matter of the Antigonid player/s breaking down their maneuvers and conducting them one or two at a time.

I didn't keep track of things turn by turn. The object of this little game was to test the rules.

The Antigonid assault fleet.
 The Rhodian fleet under blockade.

 Demetrius' left flank.

 The Acropolis of Rhodes
 The gods look down.
 Defenders on the land gate.
 Demetrius's center.

 The first failed assault on the wall.
 More success on the right ~ Thracian peltasts clear the wall.
 The Antigonid fleet batter the harbour defences.
 The ram is almost at the gate.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Preparing for the Siege pt9

Almost there.

I've finished both armies. After longer that I expected, due to real life getting in the way, I've got both the armies of Demetrius's and Rhodes fully painted, based and ready. There's just one item I need to create: The Helepolis.

The Taker of Cities. The massive siege tower that was gigantic even by the gigantic standards of the Diodochi.
I've been prevaricating as to weather I should include it or not, but I think that the game demands it. After all it's one of the things that makes this siege stand out against the rest.

Anyway, I finished the troops.

The Antigonids:

The army of Demetrius consists of heavy infantry, peltasts, marines, skirmishing archers & formed archers - 39 bases in all. It also includes 4 heavy sone throwers, 9 scaling ladders, two normal siege towers and 3 rams (only one pictured - but I'm unsure how many I'll need).
Each base represents about 500 men, so all up it comes to about 20,000 for the assault. And if you were to include the navy... around 40,000.
 Heavy infantry with Argyraspides (Silver Shields) to the front.
 Archers: Asiatic/Persian (left) - Cretans (right) - Skirmishers (rear)
 Peltasts with mining penthouses at the back.

This is a much smaller army which includes quite a few light troops. It includes Rhodian slingers, light infantry, militia and marines. As allies we have 1500 veterans sent by Ptolemy as well as heavy infantry and javelins from Cassander and Lysimachus.

I decided not to include any archers for these guys because in the rules each tower counts as housing a missile armed garrison. So that's where their archers are located.
 Marines (left), Ptolemy's veterans (center), Cassander and Lysimachus infantry (right
 Native Rhodian troops.
 Marines in the center with the militia on the left.


Now that I've finished these and set them out I'm thinking that I might rebase the Cretan archers to make them skirmisher bases. That will enable me to make up an extra base too, for a nice even 40. A short half-hour job.

Edit: I did it. I now have three bases of Cretan Archers in skirmish formation. Making an even 40 bases for Demetrius.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Preparing for the Siege pt8

I've been busy with real life for the past few weeks so I haven't had time to post anything new. But I have been painting troops, albeit slowly.

So I've been painting and the armies have been growing but I really had no idea how many troops I had and how many more I might need. Today I had some time and I decided to set the city up and lay out the troops to get my bearings. I also needed to see if I have enough buildings.

All is looking good but I need more troops. On the Macedonian side I need a bit more of everything as well as half a dozen units of marines for the seaward side of the table. I also need to get the larger siege engines built. For Rhodes I need more hoplites, light infantry and marines.

If you're wondering what the marines look like, they are just hoplite armed infantry. I guess I'll have to paint their shields blue or something.

It was also good to set the city up again in order to work out some sort of set up plan. I couldn't really remember how I set it up last time but trial and error and I eventually got it. Sort of. As it is I just gave the different pieces a letter (A - H), took a photo and annotated it.

Another thing I need to do is make the acropolis. I got some small resin buildings from Brigade Models. A temple and theater. They are smaller in scale than the card buildings but the acropolis will be a standalone terrain piece. So a bit of forced perspective will be the order of the day.

Anyway, here's a few photo's of the troops as they stand at the present.