Monday, January 30, 2023

Battle Report: Homer's Heroes - Hold the Shrine


Today is a test run of my Work-in-Progress game; Homer's Heroes: Bronze Age Bad Boys. The game is a model vs model skirmish game to represent heroic retinue's fighting against each other in Homeric -inspired combat.  As such, the heroes are the main focus with a retinue of soldiers attracted by their fame.    

The hero Adonis and his faithful friend Butes and their retinue had been travelling near the Bosporus.  Along their journey, they encountered the famous Thracian hero Diomedes and his companion Euryales.  The two squabbled over a sacred spring, before Adonis drove the champion of Athena away.  

After his defeat, Diomedes was eager to repay Adonis and his patron Aphrodite back for their slights.  His troupe shadowed Adonis until his retinue settled in at a local shrine to Aphrodite.  Diomedes prayed to Athena, and decided to strike back at Adonis for his impudence.       


In Homer's Heroes both sides always have 1 Hero, 1 Second, and then 8 soldiers of varying gear.  Some can be traded in for a chariot as well.  Then, each Hero also has a Patron Greek god or goddess that offers them special bonuses.  

Adonis and his retinue have the following composition: 

  • Adonis- Hero
    • Aphrodite
    • Sneaky- The Hero can re-roll a single dice in an Opposed "Hide" test
    • Armor, Shield, Hand Weapon
  • Butes- Second
    • Two-Handed Weapon, Armor
  • 4 Soldiers
    • Spear and Shield
  • 2 Soldiers
    • Javelin, dagger, shield
  • 2 Soldiers
    • Bow, dagger

Diomedes of Thrace and his retinue looks like this: 
  • Diomedes- Hero
    • Athena
    • Glare- The hero can use a "glare" action to freeze an enemy in place with an opposed roll.  The model loses any unused activations.  
    • Spear, Shield, Armor
  • Euryales- Second
    • Spear, armor, shield
  • Chariot
    • Driver- Dagger
    • Soldier- Spear, Shield
  • 4 Soldiers
    • Spear and Shield

Today, Diomedes is looking to settle his old score with Adonis and his patron.  He tracked him to a small shrine to Aphrodite and decided to attack it.  Diomedes intends to destroy the shrine as revenge.  

The shrine will have 8 structure points that Diomedes must remove in order to destroy it before his retinue if forced back or the game ends.  

We also rolled for complications and got the following: 
  • Bad Omens
  • Delayed Troops
  • Glare
That is a lot of complications!  


Today's game will be played on a 36 x 36MU board.  1 MU will be 1 inch.  

The shrine is set up in the center of the board.  We divide the board into 4 sections and determine the following: 
  1. Dangerous terrain
  2. Level 1 hill
  3. Linear difficult terrain
  4. Difficult terrain
This scenario also allows the defender to set-up a special piece of terrain as the shrine per the scenario rules.  It has 8 structure points.    

We then rolled up deployment and got the Scattered result.  In this case, we take turns placing models on the table, as long as they are no more than 8 MU from each other. However, the Delayed Troops complications means some troops may not be available at the start of this battle.  

Adonis has 3 spearmen and an archer delayed.  Diomedes has his second, Euryales and 2 spear armed soldiers delayed. 

When all was said and done, the table looked like this: 

Turn 1: 
Adonis has the most models on the board, so he gains the initiative.  Diomedes' player has 2 passes that they can use.  

Adonis' archer fires at the soldier in the chariot, but he easily swats it away with his shield. 

The rest of Diomedes soldiers rush towards the shrine, but they are met by Butes.  However, the three enemy soldiers are too much for the Second and he is Downed with an Arm Injury!  First blood to Diomedes.  

Diomedes himself moves and attacks a Javelin armed soldier trying to sneak up on the Chariot, and the two are locked in combat.  

As the Chariots rumbles past the grove, one of Adonis' soldiers throw their last Javelin at it.  However, it just sticks harmlessly in the side of the cart.  

Adonis moves to the back of the temple and hides amongst the columns, ready to pounce out at the Chariots when it goes by next turn. 

Butes is downed! 

Turn 2: 
An archer and two soldiers appear on Adonis' board edge, while Euryales and two more soldiers appear on Diomedes board edge.  With his reinforcements, Diomedes can go first, while Adonis has 1 pass.

Diomedes goes first, and eventually slays the soldier he is facing off against.  He then rejoins is troops at the Shrine.  An arrow blasts out of the grove at these troops, but a soldier blocks it with his shield.  

Diomedes soldiers rush the Shrine, and overwhelm the lone soldier standing guard.  He is pushed back from the onslaught and heads for cover.  

The chariot sees one of Adonis' soldiers and tries to ride him down, but the man takes cover behind his shield.  However, Adonis leaps from the shrine and into the chariot, throwing the charioteer to the ground.  He takes over command of the Chariot, and spurs the horses forward!  Adonis' archer runs forward and jumps into the Chariot with his Hero. 

Chariot secured by throwing the driver out!  
Turn 3: 
Adonis' last soldier is still rushing to the sounds of battle.  However, Adonis has 1 more soldier standing and goes first.   

Diomedes troops start despoiling the Shrine, as Euryales and Diomedes join them!  They manage to take off 5 off the shrines 8.  

Adonis' troops rush to stop them, but they are intercepted by Diomedes hoplites, who slay one of the Peltasts.  Adonis' one soldier in the shrine sees the odds are against him and continues to flee out the back of the shrine.  

For his part, Adonis tries to wheel the chariot back to the front of the shrine, but it looks like he will be too far away to stop the interlopers!  With Butes, two soldiers down, and one fleeing, Adonis makes and passes a Runaway test for his retinue.  

Diomedes troops swarm into the shrine to despoil it! 

Turn 4: 
Adonis' last soldier makes it to the battle.  Adonis gets to go first.  No passes.  

A soldier tries to help Butes with First Aid, but fails!  

Diomedes finishes despoiling the temple, knocking over the sacred statue of Aphrodite, swiping the offerings from the altar, and kicking over the sacred fire for offerings.  

Adonis' soldiers try to push back Diomedes troops, but fail.  The one trying to help Butes is swarmed and falls too.  The fleeing soldier from the Shrine also runs off away from the battle.   

Euryales leads a swarm to take down one of Adonis' soldiers

With that, Adonis calls for his men to fall back, the Shrine is lost and desecrated.  

Well, that was a rough day for Adonis and his troops.  Diomedes was able to mass his soldiers together and the piece meal response by Adonis' men was not nearly enough to stop him!  Diomedes basically built a shieldwall early and just plowed his way into the temple.  However, I did get a cinematic moment by commandeering Diomedes' Chariot!

In retrospect, I should have used Adonis and Butes better together to try and break up Diomedes' tactics.  I might have been able to hold him, but at a high cost.  

As it were, no one was permanently lost from either warband and Diomedes got 2 Legends to my 1.  The scattered deployment left me at a disadvantage, and my forces were slower to get on the board.  This left my response unfocused, as I had the shrine splitting them up, and they had a lot of ground to cover to get into combat.  My missile weapons were also profoundly disappointing.  Diomedes' player just got there "the fastest and with the mostest".

Overall, very quick and easy rules to learn.  However, their is enough nuance to make them interesting with what various weapon benefits are, activation order, resolution mechanics, and the out-numbering rules.      

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