Monday, October 19, 2020

Review: Clash of Spears- Fighting Hedgehog


Clash of Spears is a Skirmish game for Ancients.  Many Ancients rule set focus on the "Big Battles" like Plateae, Cannae, Zama, etc.  However, these take a very different approach since instead they are looking at the smaller scale skirmishes between soldiers.  I can understand why the gaming world would focus on these larger scale battles as that is where most of the sources are, and where the scholarship is!  There is very little actual historical detail about skirmish combat, even though we can be confident that small scale engagements between individual and small units must have occurred. 

This level of gaming has always appealed to me for a simple reason.  I can not typically see myself or imaging myself as one of the "Great Men of History" to use an out-of-favor term.  I can see myself as a poor, confused, scared, grunt on the front lines trying desperately not to get killed!  Therefore, smaller scale model-vs-model and small unit-vs-small unit type skirmishing appeals.

Thankfully, Clash of Spears begins with a high level overview of the designers intent.  The idea is to have short, violent bouts of violent action.  Then both sides need to withdraw and regain their strength and courage.  The game is also intended on how leaders of such smaller units must maintain focus on keeping their units battle ready, even when faced with fatigue.  This can be mental and physical fatigue.  Finally, the game is intended to keep both players engaged through out the battle.  

That all sounds dandy to me, but can the rules actually pull off what it says on the tin?  Time to form ranks and march in to find out.

What I Liked

At the end of each section of rules, they had a nice little summary.  This made finding relevant rules very easy!  Boxed out examples were also helpful.  

Measuring is done from the closest model to the closest model.  This is an easy and sensible way to approach distance between units.  You can also not remove casualties in a way that would increase distance, so casualties come from the back of the unit. 

The biggest "innovation" in the rules is that units acquire "fatigue points" that hinder their ability to carry out actions.  These rules interact with actions, armor and terrain to indicate that units trying to push through difficult terrain while fighting will have a big disadvantage.  All fatigue applies AFTER the action is performed. These Fatigue Points impact your combat and morale tests.  Too much Fatigue and your units just run away.  You can remove Fatigue points by resting your troops.  This forces you to think through how and when you  need to time "the big push" for victory.  On the downside, a QRS and Tokens are needed to apply these appropriately in the heat of the game.  

You can use Command Points to influence Initiative rolls!  This makes it a bit of a bidding system. After that, it is alternating activation with a reaction phase.  Perhaps the reactions are over-engineering in an alternate activation game, but it does require both players to stay focused on what is happening in the game.   

The rules have a nice "Putting It All Together" Chapter that walks through a sample turn.  This was very helpful for me to understand the flow of the game and how all the components laid out in the rules went together.  This was very helpful and helped illustrate all the decision points in the game, and really highlights the importance of fatigue.  Decision points are good.   

Deployment involves using counters so you can set-up using "blinds".  Counters can continue to move onto the table until they are "detected".  Then they halt movement.  No counter can be moved in more than 6 times, or up to 24 inches without being halted.  This allows for a more varied deployment methods and some uncertainty.  Once all are deployed, you can reveal the units and they acquire starting Fatigue based on their deployment, terrain, and type of troops.  If you want to just throw down and play, you may find this approach tedious.  I like it since you have to start making decisions early.  

The book had great shots of models on the table, some of them full page shots!  They also have nice art.  They also had diagrams and images to help illustrate the rules of the game.  This is a plus in my book. 

What I Did Not Like

This rarely comes up for me, but I am not sold on the lay-out of the rules.  For example, it talks about fatigue tests and how it impacts the game, before I am even sure how the game turn is structured.  Therefore, I am left a bit confused on how the Turn Sequence and the Fatigue rules interact.  There were some other head scratchers of lay-out where I was unsure how it would play as key aspects of the interactions were not clear based on the structure of the rules themselves.  That is probably why the "Putting It All Together" section was needed.    

For maximum effect, the game seems to use Character Models and the Command Points and Command Range they provide to give you maximum tactical flexibility.  The commanders themselves are not better fighters necessarily than the rest of the troops, but allow them to execute more actions.  This makes sense to me, but the downside is that "Character" models become essential to how much you can do tactically, therefore your officer must roam the battlefield and tell your guys what to do.  I am no longer of fan of this model, with a few exceptions based on genres. 

I feel that individual units will have their own leaders  and the soldiers themselves probably know the business of soldiering.  They don't need Artorious The Named to tell them to move forward, throw their Javelins, and then fall back!  Sure, this is a skirmish, but it still feels a bit weak sauce for the level of game we are playing, but it is not the only "skirmish" style system to do something similar. Look at games like Land of the Free, Chosen Men, and Sharpe's Practice as examples.  

The game is not as streamlined as I would like as armor, terrain, actions, combat results, etc all interact to generate Fatigue Points.  In addition, each unit will have a a Fatigue Token, Activation Tokens, and Casualty removal to determine their state.  This seems a bit heavy on the tracking for each unit.  In addition, there feels like a lot of dice rolling to generate somewhat ordinary results.  

Meh and Other Uncertainties

The game allows pre-measuring.  The idea here is that troops know their engagement ranges very well, and there are plenty of other places to make a tactical mistake.  Judging distance is not one of the mistakes to be made.  

To activate a unit requires 1 CP from a Character, and 2 if the unit is out of range.  If the unit has Fatigue they will also need an additional Activation Test!  For those who complained about Lion Rampant, this is not the activation process for you!  You can see how this game is very tactical in its design where the position and state of troops really matters.  I will also emphasize that Command Point respawn is 1 less than the Character's Profile, so there is also an attrition/resource management component to the use of Command Points and a limit to the number of characters you will probably have access to in a battle.      

Units once Activated, can try to chain their activations.  However, in between chained Activations the opponent can try to react and interrupt the chain.  Reactions always require an activation test and a Command Point usage.  Finally, due to the way Fatigue accumulates sometime sit is just better to wait and remove fatigue instead of pushing all out.    

Units can activate up to three different times in a Phase. This includes reactions as well.  So theoretically, a turn could have a force with 5 units, take 15 activations.  This is unlikely to occur due to mounting fatigue.  

The board set-up has a pretty comprehensive set of rules, but they seem a bit dice heavy to create a "randomization" effect.  The idea it to limit one person or player dominating the terrain placement too heavily to provide and advantage.  There also rules for gaining re-rolls before a battle by consulting the Omens or giving a rousing speech, these are flavorful additions.  There are five basic scenarios in the rules.  

Finally, the last section has some rules for warbands for the game.  These mostly come from the Rise of Rome period, so it has Republican Romans, Gauls, Carthaginians, Greek Colonies, Numidians, Pyrrhus, Iberians, Samnites, and the Italic tribes to start you off with.  That should cover most people's ancient army lists for a good start.  The authors even acknowledge the limitations of any points system, but one is provided for players to argue over.  This should be enough to get you started with your Ancient Skirmishing.          

Final Thoughts   

This game is heavy on the friction and decision making in how to resolve said friction, and I like it in theory.  Running out of Command Points is really bad! Having too much fatigue is even worse!  However, there is a bit more book keeping and charting to the process then I would like.  In practice, a unit would have up to 3 action tokens and up to 6 fatigue tokens, which is at least 2 markers per unit, with casualty removal a third way to show the state of the unit.  In addition, there are a number of actions a unit can take that apply different situations and modifiers for a unit. Perhaps a side board is needed to help track it all?    

I am sure in practice, the modifiers and details will fall away pretty quick, but just at first blush a QRS will be needed to recall what Modifiers apply when, and how many dice you roll in certain situations.  Thankfully, the game does come with a QRS you can copy, and a card version too!  

I can't shake the feeling that this started life as a Mod to Warhammer Ancient Battles, and tacked things on instead of peeling elements off.  The way base-to-base works, the casualty removal, the focus on individual armaments and gear, the dice approach, initiative in combat, it just feels like the level of "Crunch" vs. "Abstraction" that the old GW game had.  I had the same feeling about Osprey's Chosen Men, too.  I am probably wrong in this case because there is a lot of divergence from that model.  In fact, at one point the designers say, "We have tried to use simple, standard mechanics for combat and shooting to leverage the experience that many players have had with previous games".  This maybe the source of this thought, since the focus on Fatigue is VERY different than many other games systems.     

Overall, I think the games emphasis on Friction and Fatigue is a great idea.  To me that is the heart of ancient battle.  The delivery I am not as sold on.  I feel more thinking on the process could have led to a more streamlined approach to achieve the same desired results.  There is some places where they choose to abstract such as measuring, formations, flanking, etc; and others where they choose to get detailed such as weapon initiative, defensive postures, how actions impact location and formation, etc.  I know these are skirmish rules, so a certain level of "detail" is needed; however I can't shake the feeling that the level of abstraction is still too granular.  There is no doubt a good scope for decision making.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the methods used, and I am sure they give a fine game.  There are some points I think they abstract better than others in the rules.  



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Monday, October 12, 2020

Review: Rogue Planet- Bombshell Games/Brent Spivey


I have been meaning to pick up these rules for about two years now.  I finally got around to it when they went on sale at the Wargame Vault as part of the Summer Offensive.  The price was hard to pass up and I ordered the PDF and a soft cover of the book.  Today, I will be looking at the E-book.  I also received a Desolation Planet edition which is full of really awesome artwork, but I am using the E-book for the rules.

Rogue Planet starts with a nice couple of paragraphs about what it is.  It is Sci-Fantasy.  What is that?  The book spends a lot of time telling you.  I think my favorite description was Sword-and-Planet instead of Sword-and-Sorcery.  The book points out examples of the genre such as Star Wars, Final Fantasy, and Heavy Metal.  I think we can all think of one or two others as well. 

From there, Brent Spivey then spends some time explaining a bit of the flavor and his design philosophy for the game.  I am always a sucker for such designer notes.  Rogue Planet lands squarely in the camp of cinematic action.    To paraphrase the author: "If you find yourself wondering why a mechanic operates in a certain way, chances are the answer is one of the following reasons:
  • It is cool
  • because it is Sci-Fantasy
  • You are on Rogue Planet
  • It leads to interesting tactical decisions"
Well, what isn't to like about that philosophy?  So, now that we are marooned on Rogue Planet, let's see what we discover.....

Things I Liked
I always am a sucker for a Scale and Model agnostic game.  Yeah!

The game starts each turn with a choice.  You can roll a dice to generate 1d6 action points, or you can play it safe and get 3 guaranteed.  The player with the most action points can choose to go first or second.  Now, everyone knows I am not a fan of action points BUT this initial choice is intriguing to me.  It forces a player to make an early decision that will impact the tactical play for the rest of the turn, and may impact initiative.  The player who had fewer action points last turn can roll 2d6 and choose the highest dice, a simple balancing mechanic.  All of this in the first actions of a turn.   

The game uses a simple 2d6 skill check roll.  I like 2d6 as it gives a nice curve of results.  7+ is a partial success, with 10+ being a complete success.  Interesting, if you fail a skill check your opponent gains two free move activation immediately.  A success of 7-9 also allows a single opponent activation for movement.  That means every time you pick up a dice, you are risking allowing your opponent to act.     

Some units or equipment can access and use something called a "Rogue Die"  It is rolled at the same time as the skill check.  If the Rogue Die matches one of the other dice, it could trigger additional benefits.  This is separate from Crits and the like.  

Movement in this game is entirely free-flowing and promotes terrain placement.  Why?  When moving a unit can move as far as they want in a straight line until they interact with terrain or are halted by the opponent making a Counteract action and using Action Points, which are a limited pool.  Therefore, if you pick up the dice and fail, your opponent can potentially really exploit the situation.  In addition, there are no ranges, only engaged in melee or available to shoot at.  There is no measuring in this game.     

In addition to having a random Action Point pool generated at the beginning of the game, players also have a pool of energy.  This can be used to help save models based on their armor.  However, it is a limited pool and once it is out, it is out.  Choose how you use it wisely.   The pool size is based on your forces construction.   



Things I Did Not Like
As we have mentioned, players get 1d6 (or 3) action points a turn to activate and use any of their models anyway they wish.  All actions cost 1 action point.  There are some rules about no more than 2 consecutive actions (Heroes get 3), but it would have been much easier to just give everyone 1 action.  I suppose this forces you to decide who and how you want to use each model, but it could also just lead to your champion getting the bulk of the actions while the others cheer them on. 

Modifiers are capped at +3 and -3.  The caps are a bit confusing as why maneuver for maximum effect?  It is capped anyway.  However, the difference between two opposing units ability scores will also be a modifier.  Ability scores range from 2-7 so if a combat ability of 4 went up against a combat ability of 7, the difference would by +3.  However, the bonus only applies to the active units.  This game has a lot of modifier calculations to apply to that initial 2d6 roll.   

Doubles rolled on the 2d6 can trigger a critical.  Criticals make using energy expenditure to save the target much more expensive or impossible. 

Since the game uses no actual measurements, there are some events or effects that DO need a standardized measure.  The game uses the width of three fingers.  This is a method I have used myself in various dexterity games, but those are different types of games than this wargame.   


Meh and Other Uncertainties
The game also allows the non-initiative player to spend action points to counter-act to things.  You know dodge, counter-charge, return fire, that kind of stuff.  However, the active player can not counter-counter act. 

Of course, as a model and scale agnostic game that means it must have a way to create and stat up models.  There are several pages on creating stat lines, armor values, weaponry, skills, Hero abilities etc.  It is pretty straight forward and easy to use.  

The game outlines 4 different "power levels" to play the game at.  This sets some limits on what can or can not be taken and gives players a way to scale their games and units to be of roughly equal power.  In addition, there are 6 scenarios.  Lastly, there is discussion about multi-player games too.   

There are some extra fun combat actions besides just moving and shooting.  These include throwing objects, destroying terrain, colliding, staggering a foe, etc.  One of these is that when a enemy unit is in Treacherous Terrain, your opponent can choose to spend an Action Point to have the Treacherous Terrain "attack" that unit.  Nice additions to add flavor and chrome.    

The Desolation Planet version of the book has some amazing artwork!  Love it!  Some example models linked to game rules/profiles could be helpful though.  Afterall, the FAQ specifically calls out that these rules could be used to play out a grim, war-torn, gothic future!    


Final Thoughts
Who doesn't love a good scale and model agnostic game for sci-fantasy games!  This will allow you to bring whatever you have to the table and play an interesting and tactically challenging game.  For a 24 page rulebook, this game covers a lot of ground and allows for a wide variety of situations, models, and stuff.  

This game has a lot of interesting and good ideas.  However, I can't help but think that as a whole the game is a bit over-engineered.  In that respect, it reminds me a bit of Pulp Alley where there are a lot of great mechanics and ideas, but perhaps too many in one game system.  I can't shake the feeling that it is trying a bit too hard, and is therefore a bit challenging with all the minutia of when to do what when.  A good quick reference guide seems like it is a must have for this game.  Thankfully, one is provided when you buy the PDF!  

That being said, if I compare it to other scale and model agnostic games in this genre it has a lot of positive things going for it.  Customization and unit creation is pretty simple.  The power scales also allow you to do some sort of "escalating" campaign.  I think the rules give you enough lee-way to do some fun stuff, and the FX and Rogue Dice allow for some "cinematic" moments to be created as well.          
I just need to figure out how I want to use this game for myself so I can get it on the table.  The game feels geared to a hero model and a couple pawns, with a group or two per side.  That fits small scale skirmish, but I could also see it being usable Mode vs. Model too.  Now I am rambling as I think about how to use it myself.....

Anyway, this looks like a solid set of low model count rules that you will want a good FAQ to play the first couple times.  I will probably play it a few times.      


Monday, October 5, 2020

Wargame Design: Deployment is a Choice


As I continue to think about Wargames, I realize that the pre-game has a number of opportunities to drive choices for the player.  Choices and decision making are important to make a game "fun: and replayable.  We have looked at Movement can be Cool and we have also discussed Terrain Placement as commonly overlooked segments of the rules that can help create more Tactical Game Play in your games.  A related, but often overlooked piece of the puzzle is how a game allows you to set-up your initial pieces.   

For a long time, I was blinded by a "Line 'em Up and Shoot" mentality in my wargames.  I like to think it was because that is what I initially was raised on.  However, as I go back to those early games, I have come to realize that it was more of a self imposed sanction.  Many of the games I was playing had other ways to deploy than that.  I was just choosing not to look at them as I barely had a grasp of the basics of wargaming at the time.  Therefore, the nuances of deploying tactically were beyond me.

As my skills advanced, my interest and desire for alternative deployments grew.  I was looking for new ways to shake up games and keep them interesting.  I was also interested in recreating actions I read about in history, saw in other games, or to just tell a interesting story on the tabletop.  Deployment of my forces changed the tactics available to me and how my own units interacted with each other.  This became much more interesting to me than the actual resolution mechanics themselves.

For some reason, when I made the jump to designing game myself, the nuances and interest in deployment did not follow suit.  Perhaps because games themselves had gotten better at integrating alternate deployments into their rules and scenarios.  Skirmish games especially seemed to excel at these alternate deployment models.  Larger scale battle games seemed slower to adopt these alternative ideas.  Either way, my early games designs focused more on the mechanics to resolve actions and less on how armies were arrayed for battle.

After being exposed to a number of games and systems, I am now realizing that deployment options and what you provide is an interesting way to help Create Balance and differentiate Historical Scenarios.  

Deployment can be broken down into two broad categories:

1. Where you can put troops
2. When you can put them there

Both of these key considerations have a big impact to how the game flows.  Think of Chess for a moment.  Imagine if the pawns were not placed in the front rank, but were on the flanks?  What if instead of setting up both sides across from each other at the same time, you could place them anywhere you wanted in the two rows by alternating placement?  I think you can all ready imagine how such simple changes to the rules of Chess would completely change how the game is played.

Your wargame design is no different! Simple changes in these types of mechanics change the entire flow of the game.  Remember, the simple maxim; the more choices the more decision points.  The more decision points the more replayable.  All of these lead to more fun in your design.

So, let's talk a bit about how it is done.  As always, be sure to go out and research a bunch of games so you can build your own tool box of ideas for your own designs.


Where to Put the Troops
In this case, we are mostly talking about deployment zones.  This is where your troops set-up to start the game, and where your opponent can deploy troops to start the game.  There are a variety of ways to go about it, but here is a selection of some of the most common, the pros and cons, and a game example that I can think of.

Long Edge to Long Edge
One player has one long side of the table, and the other has the opposite table edge.  This is the most common example you see.  There maybe some fiddlying around about how close you can get to the side edges, but overall you are looking across the table at the opponent with room to maneuver on the flanks. 

Pros: Long edge to long edge is very common, as the dynamics of the table are well known and allow you to get into the action early.  If your average move rate is 6 inches and shooting is 24, you know you will have one round of maneuver followed by a decent firefight in the center area.

Cons: Games with long ranges or poor move to shoot ratio can be compromised in a long edge to long edge scenario.     

Game Example: Warhammer Fantasy Battle/Warhammer 40K for many editions, Bolt Action.

Short Edge to Short Edge
Both players are set-up on opposite sides of a long table.  They are on the shorter board edges with a longer distance between the two sides.   

Pros: This disrupts the normal "flow" of a Long Edge to Long Edge battle.  However, there is more time to close the distance, but less actual maneuver space.  This works better for games with fast moving units or where you need to see attacks develop in advance. 

Cons: As mentioned, there is actually less maneuver space than the traditional Long to Long lay-out.

Game Example: Aeronautica Imperialis  

Square Side to Side
Very similar to Long Edge to Long edge except the table itself is a square surface.  Both players take opposite sides of the table and can deploy either along it or up to X space inwards.  Since the board is square, all distance between points on the board is the same.

Pros: Quick and easy to set-up.  Everything is about the same distance away.

Cons: A very traditional set-up that can get a bit repetitive and samey after a while.

Game Exampls: Most skirmish games use this as a default

Corner to Corner
Instead of deploying along a board edge, you deploy in the corner of the board.  Typically, you can go so far in up the corner edges and then across from those two imaginary points.

Pros: On a Rectangular board this really changes up the normal move and range calculations used to break up a game.  On Square boards it is similar to Square side to Side only edges.

Cons: Setting up and explaining the deployment zones can be a bit more complicated.  Pictures really help.

Game Example: Often a variant in Skirmish games

Corner vs. Edge
One player gets to deploy in the traditional "edge" zone, while the other starts in the Corner zone.

Pros: Can be used to set-up specific scenario rules or add flavor to historical scenarios.

Cons: Getting all of the a large warband or army into the edge zone in a compelling way can be a challenge.

Game Examples: Men of Bronze- Scenario Specific

T-Shaped
Instead of a straight box, the deployment zones are inverted T shapes, allowing penetration into the center of the board.  This could be a special rule for some units, or for a specific purpose.

Pros: Good for setting up early confrontation with follow-on forces afterwards.  This could represent a Spearhead or a tripwire defensive installation.

Cons: Typically best when used in a specific scenario.

Game Example:

Center vs. Edge
In this case, one force has a deployment zone in the center of the board.  Then, enemy units are placed on opposite board edges or any board edge.  Allows enemy forces to mass against the center forces weak spot, while the center force must use interior lines of communication to move to the threats. 

Pros: Great for Ambush scenarios and similar situations where escape is the order of the day.

Cons: Scenario specific is the best use as opposed to everyday game play.

Game Example: I can only think of scenario specific examples in various games.

Anywhere Plus X
Units can be deployed anywhere as long as they are X distance away from enemies or objectives.

Pros: Allows free form deployment that gets to the action quick.

Cons: Leads to scattered and piece meal forces.

Game Example: Of Gods and Mortals

Jump off Points
Each player has a "jump off" point where they can deploy units within X distance into the game.  Often this is combined with reserves and other "timing" related deployment rules.

Pros: Used , this can add an element of force management to a game as the player needs to get his troops where they can do the most good in a timely and coordinated way.

Cons: Forces can be piecemeal and deployment can be seen as chaotic.

Game Examples: Chain of Command




When You Put The There
The next key element of a deployment rules is the timing of placing your models.  The order you can or can not put models on the table also drives a great deal of choice and the flow of the game.  A unit not in the battle influences it differently than one on the table.  Knowing a powerful unit is waiting to deploy will change how a player thinks about how to use their own units to prepare for that units arrival.

Here are some common timing related elements of deployment:

All at Once! 
Both players can put all of their models on the table at the same time in any order.  Often, deployment in such a method maybe set to a defined map or historical set-up.

Pros: Quick and easy to explain.

Cons: Player choices are made in the vaccuum of their own army list or model counts.

Game Example: Many Historical rules

Side A, Then Side B
Once side fully deploys, the other side can then deploy based on how Side A deployed.

Pros: Can be useful to give Side B an advantage and works good in attacker/defender type scenarios.

Cons: Side B is seen to have the advantage in deployment.

Game Example: I can not think of one

Alternating
Players take turns placing models.  Player A puts one down, then Player B.  They continue until all models are deployed.

Pros: Players have to make choices about the order they place their models.  Does it make sense to put down the heavy hitter in the center to influence your opponents deployment, or to wait until they can not react to where it goes?

Cons: The longest process for deployment.

Game Example: Most Skirmish games

Restricted Alternating
Like Alternating above, except there is some arbitrary restriction to the order you can place a model down.  For example, Cavalry, Infantry, then Artillery; Or Units with the "Scout" special rule first.  This puts limits on what can deploy when.

Pros: Allows you as the designer to build some advantages for units into the rules as "chrome" or force a certain "deployment" method.  I.e. Destroyers first....

Cons: Takes the longest, similar to Alternating but with an extra layer to explain.

Game Example: Many editions of Warhammer Fantasy/Warhammer 40K

Reserves
Some units can not be deployed until after the game has begun or at a different time in the game.  This can be after a number of game turns, when the player chooses, or by a random dice roll/card flip.

Pros: Allows you to add "Chrome" to some units.  Also, adds an element of force management as the "right" units need to get to the board at the right time to accomplish their mission.

Cons: Again, a complicated approach to explain and balance in the rules.

Game Example: Jovian Chronicles



The Right Tool for the Job
Like most of the decisions a game designer needs to make, you are really looking for the right tool for the job.  What are you trying to create on the battlefield?  What fits your Design Goals?  There is avast array of options to choose from, which fits what you are trying to do?  As the designer, it is our job to make that decision.




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Monday, September 28, 2020

Battle Report: White Star/Red Star- Bomber Interception 2


Image from here:
https://www.scalemates.com/books/the-korean-air-war-robert-f-dorr-warren-thompson--109961

I have been developing a few games pretty closely in the last year, but the one I have been playing the most is my Korean Air War game.  The working title is White Star/Red StarThis pits the United Nations forces against the Communist forces in the skies over Korea from mid-1950 until the the end of the war in 1953.

In late 1950, B-29 strategic raids were still being carried out against North Korean targets.  However, these raids were complicated by the arrival of the Russian Mig-15 on the scene.  They took a heavy toll on the B-29 bombers.  It was soon discovered that the F-80's and F-84s the USAF were using to escort these bombers were ill-equipped to deal with the threat.  The new F-86 Sabre was called into service to help escort the B-29s.   

On the North Korean side, the Russians were frantically training up North Korean and Chinese pilots to lift some of the burden off their own assets.  They could get these new pilots the planes quickly and easily enough, but it took time and combat experience to get them up to skill.  The North Koreans also soon learned that the LA-11 Fang was not up to challenge of the B-29 threat.  They would need the Mig-15s as well to protect the homeland.  

In early 1951, a squadron of B-29s from Japan are attempting to get to North Korea to unload on a factory complex.  However, they will have to cross North Korean air space to do so.  This squadron is being escorted by F-86 fighters.  The North Korean forward observers have detected the attack, and moved to intercept despite their Mig pilots not being fully up to speed.


Forces

USAF
3 B-29 Super Fortress- Experienced Pilots
2 F-86 Sabres- Experienced Pilots

North Korean Air Force
2 Mig-15s- Rookie Pilots
2 Yak-9s- Experienced Pilots
2 La-11 Fangs- Experience Pilots
1 Anti-aircraft Gun
1 Anti-aircraft Cannon

These are roughly equal point forces

Sortie
This is a Bomber Intercept mission.  The B-29s will earn extra Kills by making it to the opposite board edge and off the board.  The North Koreans are trying to stop them.  The USAF is the Attacker in this mission.

Set-up
The game uses Measurement Units instead of a fixed measurement system.  This allows players to match their models and boards.  Today I will be using a 48 x 48 MU board, with an MU being 1 inch.  We rolled for weather and found it to be Sunny with the Sun coming from the Western side of the board.  That will be on the USAF deployment zone's left. 

A few hills are added to the North Korean side of the board as the USAF approach North Korean targets.  These have no effect on the game at this point. 

The Sortie, Weather, and Attacker were all determined via the rules in the White Star/Red Star rules.   

Turn 1:
Detection Phase:
Both sides roll for Detection and the USAF is having some problems all ready.  The Bombers and their escorts are easily detected, but NONE of the North Korean assets are.  That means the USAF will have to deploy their planes on the board now, but the North Koreans won't.

The USAF can be deployed anywhere within 6 inches of their board edge at any height.  Once a plane type is deployed, all their peers must deploy within 12 MU of a plane of a similar type.  The B-29s push out as far as they can across the center of the board in a line abreast.  They are at Combat Altitude.  The F-86s go behind the middle B-29 on the board edge and at High Altitude.

No North Koreans are spotted at this time.

Rookie Phase:
All USAF Aircraft move ahead full.  There is no shooting.

Experienced Phase:
All USAF Aircraft continue to move ahead full.  There is no shooting.


Turn 2: 
Detection Phase:
This time, the USAF is much more successful at spotting.  The outlines of enemy aircraft are spotted.  The Bombardier in the lead B-29 also calls out the location of some North Korean AA swinging into position.

Since the North Koreans were not detected until Turn 2, they can deploy anywhere up to 12 MU in from their board edge.  The rules for aircraft of the same type still applies and is intended to keep them in some type of formation upon deployment.

The North Koreans place their La-11 Fangs first.  They are set-up to take on the lead enemy Bomber Head-to-Head.  They are at Combat Altitude.  The Fangs are followed by the Yak-9s.  They are flanking the La-11 and trying to take on the Bomber's wing man.  The Rookie Mig pilots are set up to sweep in from the Western Sun.  They are at Combat Altitude and turned to come in at the third Bomber at an angle.  The AA Gun and Cannon are last.  They are placed as a back stop and protection from any B-29s escaping the board.  



Rookie Phase:
The North Koreans have the most aircraft, so can choose to start moving first or second.  They choose to go second so they can see where the Americans end up and then use their numbers to converge on a target. 

The B-29 on the left of the USAF formation moves first.  It is quickly greeted by 1 of the Rookie Mig-15's flying towards it and opening fire.  It is a Long Shot, but the Mig manages to hit.  However, the B-29 is made of sterner stuff and weathers the shots.  The Mig still has plenty of ammo. 

The center B-29 lumbers forward.  The lead Mig dashes towards the same B-29 as his wingman, and also takes  long shot, but misses.  He also still has ammo.  

The last B-29 moves straight ahead.  No one is in range of his defensive guns.  The first La-11 Fang trundles towards his target.  The distance is too great for any shooting yet.  

The F-86 leader drops one altitude and moves to clear the way in front of the lead B-29.  The La-Fangs wingman follows his flight leader towards the lead B-29.  Meanwhile, the second F-86 turns to stay with his wingman, but stays at high altitude.  You can either turn or change altitude, so he chose to turn. 

The Yak-9's turn into the USAF's right flank B-29.  The lead Yak takes a long shot.  Despite the extra dice to avoid damage, the Yak's aim is true and the first USAF Bomber goes down!  First blood to the North Koreans!  

Experienced Phase: 
In this Phase, only Experienced Pilots can continue to take actions.  That leaves the two North Korean Mig-15s out of the fight.  However, the North Koreans choose to make the USAF go first.  

The left wing B-29 Super Fortress closes in on the Mig-15s and its defensive guns open up on the lead Mig.  Due to the attack angle, he is not shooting into the Western Sun or as a Deflection shot.  The Experienced B-29 crew manages to snag the Lead Mig, who fails their Maneuver test to avoid damage.  He is shot down!  Scratch 1 Communist! 


The La-11's wingman tries to clear a path to the B-29 and takes on the F-86 in front of him.  He opens fire and gets an impressive set of box cars, but the F-86 jinks out of way and avoids the incoming fire.  The Fang still has ammo left.  

Despite being attacked, the lead Sabre targets the lead Fang and opens fire at combat range.  However, his shots fail to find their marks.  Thankfully, he still has ammo to stay in the fight.  

The lead Fang also keeps the mission in mind, and heads straight for the B-29.  He lines up a shot and opens fire.  It is a Long Shot.  He manages to blast the B-29's wing off, and the plane begins a quick descent as parachutes appear in its wake.  Down to 1 Bomber left!  


The last F-86 drops down on the La-11's wingman.  He is very close and opens fire with his .50 Cals.  He sprays the propeller driven plane with fire.  The North Korea manages to evade for a few moments, before a burst of bullets tears his motor apart and he begins to fall from the sky.  


With their target downed, the remaining Yaks bank in towards the USAF Sabres.  The trailing Yak manages to get a shot off at the zooming jet.  It isn't enough to down the USAF pilot.  

Turn 3:
Detection Phase: 
All Planes have been detected, so no additional action is needed.  

Rookie Phase: 
The North Koreans still have more planes on the board.  However, they see one of the Fangs is still in danger, and decide to go first.  The Fang fighter banks hard and heads into the Western Sun.  

The USAF moves the last B-29, which finds the La-Fang and the Mig-15 in its Defensive fire range.  It opens fire on both.  It misses the La-11, and the Mig-15 evades the incoming shots by jinking.  The Rookie Mig-15 turns away and tries to evade from the B-29's guns.    



The lead Sabre angles towards the La-11 but can't get the angle on the slow moving plane.  The Yak-9s continue to turn in towards the last B-29, but they are out of position.  The last F-86 gains altitude and moves to stay away from the Yaks vectoring in on his position.  

Experienced Phase: 
The North Koreans are still going first.  

The lead Yak continues its pursuit of the last B-29.  The Lead F-86 goes back to High Altitude, as it signals the location of a North Korean AA gun to the B-29.  The Yaks wingman stays on his leaders wing, while the F-86's wingman turns back to his boss, both at High Altitude.

The B-29 climbs to High Altitude to avoid the AA gun's fire. The La-11 Fang's terrible climb rate helps the Communist keep the B-29 in his sights as he slowly ascends to match the Bomber!  Since you move and then shoot, the Bomber's defensive guns would not have a shot once it got to High Altitude compared to the Fang's Combat Altitude, this could cost the USAF the game!  


The La-11 opens fire as it struggles to gain height.  The bright sun does not hinder such a close range shot, but it is a Deflection shot The shots pepper the B-29 with 2 hits.  The Experienced USAF pilots make their Maneuver checks and score 1 success despite the extra dice from Deflection.  The last B-29 is shot down over North Korea!  

That leads us into....

Turn 4- Disengagement Turn
With all the bombers shot down, that leads us into a disengagement turn.  All aircraft will attempt to break-off for the Communists, but a kill for the USAF pilots could allow them to make this a tie game!  

Detection Phase:
No action needed as all planes are on the board. 

Rookie Phase: 
The North Koreans decide to go first and try to move any planes that are potentially in danger.  

The La-11 dives back into Combat Altitude, its engine no longer struggling.  The wingman Sabre drops back to combat altitude.  However, the NK AA Cannon fires on the Sabre, but the shells are easily avoided by the nimble craft.  The lead Sabre also drops to Combat Altitude.  

The Rookie Mig-15 breaks hard into the sun to get home.  The two Yaks move to escort their Fang comrade.  

Experienced Phase:
The North Koreans go first and the La-11 Fang drops to Low Altitude and out of reach of the F-86s this phase.  

The lead F-86 banks hard and angles in on the Mig-15 that is trying to break away.  He is not shooting directly into the sun, but the Mig is still at long range and a Deflection Shot.  He takes the shot anyway.  The USAF pilot gains a single success, but thanks to the extra Maneuver from deflection the Rookie manages to avoid getting shot down.  


The Yaks follow the Fang down to low altitude.  However, the Sabre has a special rule to drop two altitude bands, BUT then the last F-86 would not be able to turn in and get the proper attack angle.  The Sabre escorts will have to break off and head for home.  

Conclusion
The North Koreans win with 3 Kills to 2 Kills.  

The numerical superiority of the North Koreans paid off in spades!  The slow speed of the defenders turned out to be a benefit as they could manage to get into and stay in position when taking on the B-29s.  Heck, even the poor ability of the La-11 to gain altitude ended up helping this time!  That is not normal.  That said, if one of the B-29s would have been able to break past the skirmish line, there would be very little way for the North Koreans to have gotten back into position to stop the USAF from getting their Bombers off the board.  

The mechanics of this game are very simple, but I found myself having to make tough choices about when to change altitude vs. when to turn.  When to turn 20, 45, or 90 degrees and lose speed?  Change altitude to avoid contact, but at the cost of speed to my objective?  Was it better to try and maneuver or bulldog through.  Take a low probability shot, but risk running out of ammo now, or try to make an attack stick anyway?  

I can imagine some people disliking how the Rookie, Experienced, Ace phase plays out as an Ace in a Mig could move up to 21 MU while a Rookie in a Yak move 4 MU, or vice versa a Ace in a La-11 Fang could fly 12 MU compared to a Rookie in a Sabre flying 7 MU in a turn.  However, I find this a simple and easy way to differentiate the inbred, killer instincts of a deadly pilot from a conscript that barely knows how to fly.  It seems plausible to me that a Pilot learning how to fight in a Mig-15 could be downed by a B-29's gunners, like what happened in this game.     

Overall, the game worked as intended.  I think the next step for me is to get some of the 1/600 aircraft from Tumbling Dice to paint up.  There are also aircraft from the period available in other sizes from 1/600 to 1/144.  However, the price point and size of the Tumbling Dice models seem like a good fit for what I want my air battles to look like on a 3x3 to 4x4 foot table battle.          




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Monday, September 21, 2020

On The Painting Desk- Finish It!


This year, I had some big painting projects to complete.  First, I wanted to complete my Men of Bronze armies, and second I wanted to finish off my Heirs of Empire 6mm armies.  I managed to complete both of these tasks earlier in the year.  However, that wasn't the end of my "Pile of Shame".  In fact, I still had a handful of Copplestone Casting Gangsters, some Gangster buildings, Fantasy miniatures, and some All Quiet on the Martin Front Scorpion Drones to finish off. 

Thankfully, I am having a pretty productive year on the painting front.  I have painted up to 66 models or bases this year.  Let's take a look at some of the Models I painted to finish off my Pile of Shame....

Here is about where I was with my Gangster models:

Here is about where I was with the buildings: 

And these were some assorted minis in my Pile of Shame to paint:

I managed to paint a lot of gangsters this year!  I look forward to taking a lot of "action shots" of these models to help flesh out the photos in my Turf War rules.  I want the rules updated with new pictures so that I can get it on the Wargame Vault.  I plan on having that done by the end of the year.

Two gangster gals....
A boss, his girl, and a hitman....
Those were the last few gangsters I had left, the rest have shown up previously on the blog in On the Painting Desk posts.  So, you can see I was also working on some buildings in the background, and those turned out like this.....

The start of my town.... Los Mundos
The 4ground models for the Chicago Way come pre-painted and go together really good.  They might be just a tad more detailed and complex than I really needed (or enjoyed) putting together, but they do look the part when done!  All the little posters and leaflets look amazing on the finished models.  

Here is a sample of what some of the pictures in the Turf War  will end up looking like.  This was just a quick test with no lighting set up.


   
So, then I turned my attention to the Scorpion Drones.  I painted these with some remorse.  They are the last models I have to paint for All Quiet on the Martin FrontI do not expect any replacements anytime soon, even though the game was purchased by a new company they are redesigning the line.  It makes me a bit sad as I loved the old Martians and American models.  I am sure you will see more of these guys when I start playtesting my post-Martian Apoc skirmish game. 

Scorpion Drones
I was getting to the end of my "Pile of Shame" and was afraid if I painted them all I would die.  You know the old saying about a gamer who paints all his models, right?  So, I took an evening to make and paint up some Ork Submersibles for Aquanautica Imperialis: Battle for the Depths so next time I play I would not need to use paper templatesThese guys used all paints and materials from Big Box Retailers, so they were ultra cheap to make.


Finally, I had two last miscellaneous Fantasy models to paint.  They were both from Reaper, one was Bones and the other was Dark Haven metals.  The old Bones sucks to paint, but the new Bones Black is much better.  Of course, Reaper's metal is always good!

 
These ladies will probably feature in local D7D campaign (If COVID ever ends), my Frostgrave wizard's warband, or Rampant Swords.  However, these were the last of my unpainted models.... EEK!

Thankfully, some new ones came in the mail!  Plus, I have a whole Early Republican army on the way...


Wow.  That was close.....




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Monday, September 14, 2020

Battle Report: Heirs Of Empire- Perdiccas vs. Persian Rebels II

I finished painting my 6mm Diadochi armies from Baccus Miniatures and I wanted to celebrate with a game of Heirs of Empire.  This was the game I built to use these armies in.  It focuses specifically on the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death.  As an added bonus, I am going to add the rules for Heirs of Empire on the Wargame Vault so you can pick them up for yourself!   

Today, we are going to look at a side show operation after the Conference at Babylon established Perdiccas as the Royal Regent.    

After Perdiccas solidified his position as Regent defending Roxanne and her unborn son, he had a great deal of work formalizing and consolidating Alexander’s gains.  This was no longer a campaign to push the boundaries of the empire, instead it was stabilizing the internal arrangements of the Macedonian Empire.  This included regions bypassed by Alexander for various reasons.  One of his first goals was to re-open the old Persian Royal Road.

Perdiccas turned his attention to a Persian Satrap that had still been loyal to the old regime.  This rebel still possessed a formidable force and threatened the re-opening of the roadway.  Perdiccas mustered the army and marched to overthrow the Satrap. 

History does not record who this was, but we do know that Perdiccas fought two battles with his Persian foe before defeating his army in central Anatolia.  We fought the first of the two battles, and the Persians barely scraped by with a victory.  The mighty Silver Shields were laid low!  

Now, Perdiccas has sent the Silver Shields off from his Royal Army to escort a caravan of Gold to the royal treasury.  They will not be with the army as they need time to rest and recover after their defeat.  This will give them time to stay out of Perdiccas' hair for a while.  After all, Antigenes and his veterans were spoiled pre-Madonnas.  Historically, at some point the Silver Shields were sent on such a mission and separate from the Royal Army.  We know nothing of the Persian Satraps forces.      

Forces

Perdiccas' Royal Army

Right Wing:
Companion Cavalry

Center:
Bronze Shields
War Elephants
Skirmishers
2 Theuropheroi

Left:
Epilektoi Cavalry

Rebel Persian Satrap

Right Wing:
Epilektoi Cavalry
2 Asphract Cavalry (Javelins)

Center:
White Shields
White Shields
Skirmishers

Left Wing:
2 Skirmishers
2 Archers

Both armies made changes going into this rematch.  Perdiccas ditched the Silver Shields and replaced them with War Elephants and some Skirmishers.  The Persians removed the Theuropheroi and replaced them with another Archer unit and Skirmisher unit.  Both of the removed units were disappoint for their respective armies last game. The Persians also changed up the composition of their Wings. 

Scenario:
We randomly rolled a scenario, and got a Breakthrough instead of a Set Piece Battle.  That means, Perdiccas needs to get 15+ points of troops off the opposite board edge in 8 turns to win.  That could be tough as he is out numbered with a more "elite" force.  However, the re-alignment of the Persian wings may give him a chance to out-maneuver the Persians with his cavalry wings. 

This scenario makes sense with Perdiccas objective of opening the old Persian Royal Road, and taking the rebel Persians main city. 

Set-up: 
We follow the guidelines for set-up found in the Heirs of Empire rules.  Today, the battle will be played on a 48MU x 48MU board.  1 MU is 1 inch. 

We decide to place the Royal Road down the center of the board stretching from edge to edge.  We decided movement on the road would be at +1 MU.  A small cluster of buildings is along the center edge.  It is an old Persian messenger station and its perimeter is difficult terrain.  Along the Macedonian right we placed rugged hills.  On the Persian right are some fields.  They are all difficult ground.  The fields and the hills may hem in and hinder the cavalry operations of both sides.

The Persians have their Cavalry wing cover the gap between the fields and the villas.  The Center confidently moves up the road.  The Persian left is the weakest, as it is covered by the Skirmishers and Archers.  However, the depth of their formation will make it hard to break through there.  Their flank is anchored by the cliffs.  A formidable position.  

Persians Deploy
The Macedonians are the Companion cavalry across from the skirmishers and archers, the center is across the road and approaching the buildings.  The Epilektoi are close to the left wing and ready to move up between the fields and messenger station.    

Turn 1: 
Both sides roll up Commander's Gaze for their armies.  The Persian rebels do not roll very well, and end up with about 5 Gaze.  Meanwhile, Perdiccas gets the best possible roll with 10 Gaze.  He easily bids 6 to the Persian 2.  

Perdiccas' army moves out.  Everyone moves forward.  The Companion Cavalry stays with the battle line.  The Left Wing Epilektoi moves to the edge of the plains and pivots.  However, they seem content to not stray too far ahead.  The Persians do not try to interrupt.  On their turn, they also move out across the line and move towards the center of the board.  The idea is to narrow the field of battle and pin the Macedonians away from the edge of the board. 

   
Turn 2: 
Again Perdicccas' gets a perfect Commander's Gaze roll, while the Persians are lack luster.  This time, the Persians do no bother to bid any Gaze, as they may want to use their limited number.  Perdiccas bid 6, to shut the Persians out of going first.  

The Royal army moves forward again.  This time, the Elephants and Light Infantry make for the left side of the villas, while the Skirmishers cross behind and get ready to enter the compound.  The Macedonians remember how hard it was to dislodge the Persians from the Oasis last time they met.    The Epilektoi Cavalry waits and falls in behind the Elephants.  The Phalanx continues up the road, with the Light Infantry and Companions with Perdiccas covering their flank.  The Persians again do not interrupt.  

The center White Shields boldly move up the road, supported by a unit of skirmishers.  The Skirmishers get to the edge of the Post-Station and toss their javelins and rocks at the Royal Skirmishers, but are just out of range.  On the Persian Left, the skirmishers eagerly rush forward and also throw some Javelins, but are far short.  The Archers stay back and let the Skirmishers screen them. 


On the Persian right, the Javelin armed Asphracts close the gap and pepper the Perdiccan Theurophoroi with Javelins, causing them to lose 3 Courage, but they do not waver.  The Persian Commander holds back with the Heavy Cavalry and waits for a potential enemy break through.  
  
Turn 3: 
This time, the Commander's Gaze rolls are not so lopsided.  Perdiccas gets 6 to the Persians 5.  The Persians have a tough decision, use Gaze to try and go first, or save it for Evades and interrupts?  Perdiccas needs his for charges.  Perdiccas ends up bidding two to the Persians 0.  

On Perdiccas's right, the peppered Thuerephoroi decide to try to charge into the Persian light horse.  The Persians try to Evade, but are just barely caught by the Light Infantry thanks to a Pursue.  Both sides take a beating, but the Asphracts lose 2 Courage compared to the Infantry's 1.  The Asphracts also begin to Waver.  The melee is pushed back towards the Persians 2 MU.  

The unengaged Persian Cavalry goes into Open Order and falls back to act as a buffer for any break throughs.  Then, the Asprachts and Theurophoroi on the left annihilate each other and rout.  The Skirmishers and the Bronze Shields keep fighting in the Villas. 

Meanwhile, Persian Skirmishers on the Persian left charge into the Perdiccan Light Infantry and Companions respectively.  It goes bad for the Persians with the Light Infantry annihilating the Skrimishers, but losing 2 courage, and the Companions doing the same but only losing 1 Courage.  That may have been a bad idea! 

With Persian Momentum spent, the Royalists took over.  With the timely charge of the Perdiccans Skirmishers into the Post Office, the Persian skirmishers were decisively pushed out of hte area, and reduced to 1 Courage and wavering.  Once out of the buildings, a flank charge by the Epilektoi sent the Persians reeling into rout! 


The War Elephants made for the Persian bulwark to break through.  However, the troops with the Elephants started to Waver after seeing their fellow light infantry get routed.  

On the Persian side, the fleeing Skirmishers caused the lead White Shields to start to waver.  The Archers also decided to Collapse.  This left the Persian Left completely open!  That Skirmisher charge WAS a bad idea!  

Turn 4: 
Well, the tables turned pretty quickly with some ill-conceived offensive on the Persians part!  They were trying to tar pit the enemy units, but they simply obliterated the Skirmishers and caused a collapse of the Persian left flank!  The Persian losses limited their Commander's Gaze to 6 total spread across the two wings, while the Macedonians had 9 spread across three wings.  The Persians bid 2, and the Perdiccans 3.  

With the left flank gone, Perdiccas immediately rode hard to get past the Persian army and into the gates of the city beyond.  The Persians try to seize the initiative, and do so successfully.


The Persian Cavalry re-formed and the Javelin Asphracts attempt to chase down the Companions.  However, without any Commander's Gaze remaining, they can not charge to catch up or attack with their Javelins.  With that, the Perdiccans re-gain the initiative with a Commander's Gaze.

The War Elephants charged into the Persian Satrap and his bodyguards.  The horses were not pleased to be so near such smelly, big animals.  However, the Persian line held, only losing one courage and being pushed back 1 inch.  Now, one of their best chances at stopping the Perdiccans was tied up in combat. 
 

The Light Infantry on the Perdiccan right moved up towards the road and tossed their Javelins at the wavering White Shields, causing them to lose another Courage.  The White Shields used a Commander's Gaze to remove their wavering status.  

The Perdiccan Epilektoi pivoted and made for the enemy city, following the lead of their Commander with his Companion Cavalry.  Finally, the wavering Perdiccan Skirmishers rallied.  

Things look bad for the Persians this time. 
 

Turn 5: 
This time, the Persians rolled up 5 Gaze to the Perdiccan 6.  The Perdiccans bid all 6 to go first, the Persians bid 0.  They opt to hold it for interrupts and re-rolls. 

Perdiccas and his Companion Cavalry successfully ride off the board edge and towards the Persian city gates.  They have Broken through, but it isn't enough to win yet.  The Persians attempt to interrupt, and succeed.  

The Persian light horseman go into Open Order, turn around, and charge into the Perdiccan Epilektoi, using up all of their Commander's Gaze.  It is a flank charge.  The clash dissolves into a swirling melee, but the heavy cavalry clearly have the upper hand over the Javelin wielders.  The Asphracts have 1 Courage left and are wavering, to the Epilekoti's 3 Courage.  


The Persian White Shields charge into a Perdiccan Thuerophoroi with a desperate battle cry.  The fighting on the roadway's edge is fierce, and the White Shields lose 1 Courage and begin to waver.  However, the Light Infantry decides to break and flee, their Courage spent.  

The War Elephants and Epilektoi bodyguards keep hacking at each other, The Elephants keep wavering and are pushed back with the loss of 2 courage.  However, the Persians also lose 1 Courage. 

In the End Phase, the Perdiccan Light Infantry flees.  The Bronze Shields and Skirmishers see it, but do not waver.  All the Macedonian Royalist pass Collapse tests.  

     
Turn 6: 
This time, the Persians have more Commander's gaze with 7 total.  The Perdiccans have 5.  Persians bid 0, while the Perdiccans bid 1.  

The Macedonians start with the Cavalry fight.  This time, it is one sided as the Thessalian Epilektoi annihilate the Asphracts.  The Persians try to seize the initiative and fail.  

The War Elephants push back and manage to surge into the Persian horseman, reducing them 1 Courage.  However, they do not Waver!  However, the effort costs the War Elephants a Courage as well.  

The Perdiccan Skirmishers emerge from behind the Post-Office and toss their Javelins to reduce the White Shields a further Courage.  they fail their Morale test, and since they were all ready Wavering.   They break and flee.  

The Bronze Shields hold position in the buildings.  However, the last White Shields is not content to let them hold Persian ground.  They charge in an try to dig them out.  Thanks to re-rolls both units lose a point of Courage in hard fighting. 

 

In the End Phase, the first White Shields unit flees.  The remaining Persians pass their Collapse tests.  

Turn 7: 
The Persians have the most Gaze, but even going first there is no way to stop the Perdiccan Epilektoi from leaving the board and breaking through.  The Perdiccans bid all of their Gaze with 2, and the Persians bid 3.  

The Persian Satrap and his bodyguards reduce the War Elephants to 1 Courage, but can't break them.  However, they avoid losing any further Courage and do not rout!  

In the center, the Phalanxes keep pushing on each other.  Both sides lose a point of Courage, but do not Waver.  The Skirmishers join in and cause the White Shields to be pushed back from the buildings.  The tide is turning against the Persians there as well.


Finally, the Thessalian Epilektoi of Perdiccas' Royal Army just barely prances off the board towards the Persian satrap's city gates.  

Conclusion
Decisive Perdiccan win!  In the history books, it took Perdiccas two battles to best the rebel Persian Satraps along the Persian Royal Road.  The same happened here as the Persians won the first battle, but Perdiccas returned and decisively beat the Rebels.  The losses were pretty lop-sided in this battle, 2 Macedonian Light Infantry to most of the Persian army.  Ouch! 

It is pretty obvious that I got too aggressive at the end of Turn 3.  The intent was to bog down the heavier and quicker Perdiccan troops into a tarpit of Skirmishers, that would delay the Macedonians long enough to keep them from being able to clear the board edge.  That was a huge mistake as the Skirmishers were quickly blown away and the Archers fled.  It would have been much better to keep them as a force in being and a threat.  Instead, I handed them to the Macedonians on a silver platter.  Woops!  

The War Elephants were tough to crack and just stuck around.  That tied up my reserves.  They were a good addition to the Perdiccan army.  The Skirmishers are also tough to weed out of difficult terrain, as it should be.  Missile fire was again surprisingly effective in weakening enemy units.  Finally, the reduced charge ranges of +3 MU helped make Evade and Pursue useful skills again.  Overall, a fun game despite me blowing it.   

Perdiccas cavalry unit was able to storm the gates of the rebel Satrap's city while his Royal Army mopped up the rest of the Persian army.  To the Persian troops, Perdiccas was merciful and allowed those useful to him to join his own army.  However, he was less than merciful to the Satrap.  His family was ritually tortured, as was the Satrap himself.  The cruel treatment was custom for the region, but Perdiccas' fellow Diadochi marked it out as a sign of Perdiccas' cruelty and "easternization".  It sowed the seeds for the coming break-up of the Diadochi as each decided to try and grab Alexander's Empire for themselves.  

That was in the future.  For now, the Royal Road had been re-opened.  Travel across Asia Minor had been restored.  Perdiccas and the Royal Army had been victorious.  Now, the elaborate funeral procession for Alexander could begin.