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.