Getting ready for the Ionian Revolt campaign, we decided to break out Poseidon's Warriors from Osprey to re-familiarize ourselves with the rules. It has been a few years since I had played them, but they are relatively quick and easy to get to grips with.
A Persian fleet of cataphract Triremes was trying to move through the Hellespont in an attempt to hem in the Ionian rebels and support their operations in the region. However, the Ionians were also on the move, attempting to recruit aid from the Greeks along the shores of the Black Sea. A sea battle was imminent, but the question was who would make the first move!
1 Slow Trireme unit with admiral and elite troops
4 Slow Trireme units
1 Fast Trireme with Admiral and
1 Fast Trireme
3 Slow Triremes
The table is 6 foot by 4 foot, with the long edges having the coasts of the channel. The narrowest channel part of the channel is only about 30 inches wide.
On the west side is the Persian fleet in line a stern by squadron, led by their flag. On the opposite corner of the board is the Ionian Fleet led by their fast units. They are also in line a stern by squadron.
|Persians on the left with red bows, Ionians on the right with blue and turquoise|
The two fleets want to inflict casualties on their foes, while forcing their way through the channels to continue on their respective missions.
This scenario can be found in the main rulebook.
Both sides choose their aggression, but stay in formation. The Persians win initiative and decide to activate second. They have to maneuver to get into the channel, and keep from grounding.
Again, both sides keep their aggression in check, and proceed on their routes. The Ionians win, and decide to go second. Both sides stay on course, but the Persian van is beginning to bunch up due to maneuvering around a peninsula.
Despite the Persians bidding max aggression, the fleets stay on course along the coasts. No one is moving to engage yet. Persians win and go first this time.
The Ionians are low balling their aggression in order to spread out across the board as far as they can, while the Persians are maxing their aggression. Still not enough to trigger the engagement yet. Persians activate first again.
The lack of an engagement puts the vans of both fleets out of position as they move to stay near the coasts. The lead ships are turned away from the enemy. In addition, the Persians are starting to get bunched up, while the Ionians are starting to straggle with their mix of ship speeds.
The Ionians again use low aggression to hold of the fight everyone knows is coming! The lead Ionian ships seem especially far out of position.
To speed up these maneuver turns, we have been using simultaneous movement. Once the game gets "real" we will switch to alternate activation as intended.
The Ionians can not hold of the inevitable any longer as both fleets are eager to get stuck in! The Persians win initiative and elect to go first!
The Persian 3rd squadron breaks formation and heads towards the Ionians. In response the third Ionian also breaks off. The Persian admiral begins a slow turn to get into position. The Ionian 4th breaks off and heads towards the Persians 3rd, and barrages them with javelins, arrows, and sling stones. The last Persian ship loses its marines. First blood to the Ionians!
The Persian 4th breaks off and fires their missiles at the Ionian 3rd. Their fire is effective, and three Ionian ships lose their marines. The Ionian 5th moves up to support the attack in a second wave. Meanwhile, the Persian 2nd stay still, but turn 180 degrees to face back into the fray.
The Ionian command squadron moves ahead, content to avoid the fight. The last Persian squadron moves up to support as a second wave. The final Ionian fast trireme squadron turns in place to cover the other Ionians flank.
The Ionians win initiative, and decide to go first.
The Ionian 4th squadron surges forward, but comes up short against the Persian 3rd! They barrage the Persians with arrows and slings, but they fail to cause significant disruption.
The Persian Admiral rotates his squadron ready to support the flank. Meanwhile, the Corinthian 5th turns and makes for the Persian 2nd, who are showing their flanks. The Persian 3rd squadron sees the oncoming Ionians, both squadrons lose a ship as the Ionians manage to make 1 save! However, the Persians manage to grapple and boar the last ship, killing the Greek crew.
The Ionian 3rd squadron moves across the Persian 4th, and peppers them with arrows and missiles. Several rowers are killed on the Persian port oar banks, causing them to lose an oar bank on 3 ships. This reduces their speed in half! The Persians try to split the Greek line, and return fire, killing the archers on 2 of the Ionian vessels.
The 2nd Fast Trireme squadron goes full speed up the flank of the injured Ionian 3rd squadron. The Persian admiral flanks the Ionian 5th squadron and let's fly with his archers. They kill enough rowers to disable an oar bank on two ships.
The Ionian admiral starts making a break for the Black Sea. The Persian 5th squadron closes on the Ionian 3rd, and their missile fire kills enough rowers to immobilize two Ionian ships!
Persians win, and decide to go first.
The Persian 5th squadron manages to ram the Ionian 3rd, and destroy two ships at the cost of 1 of their own. The few that fail to ram, fire their arrows, and destroy an oar bank on the only mobile ship left. The Ionian 5th manages to head for the Persian admiral, and sink one of his escorts with a ram. However, the loss of archers limits their ability to fire as they close.
The Persian 4th plows into the immobilized Ionian 3rd and sink two more ships. That leaves one ship with half speed and no marines for the Greeks. The 2nd Fast trireme squadron skirts the edge of the battle, and fires on the Persian 5th, causing 1 ship to lose its archers. The remains of the battered Ionian 3rd barely manages to stay on their flank, their arrow fire completely ineffective.
The Persian 3rd Squadron manages to hit the Ionian 4th, and sink another ship, reducing it to 1 left. The Persian Admiral also skirts away from the Ionian 5th, with his ships exchanging rams, both losing 1 ship.
After taking a severe beating, the Ionians decide that discretion is the better part of valor and flee.
|Final view of the battle before the Ionians flee|
The Ionian manage to get their ambassador tot he Black Sea, but lose two squadrons of ships and several marines, archers, and rowers in the battle. However, they still have a fleet in being. The casualties were mostly amongst their slow cataphract triremes.
The Persians only lost 5 ships, and took much fewer casualties. They can also continue with their primary mission of supporting the land invasions along the Ionian coast. Looks like a clear Persian victory.
The rules are very easy to learn and use. In previous games, there was a lot of ram and counter-ram. This one seemed like tactical maneuver played a bigger part as we tried to get to the flanks, instead of settling for bow-on-bow collisions for maximum carnage. Missile weapons played a much bigger role than in past games.
That being said, I will need to find a better way to keep track of damage from missile weapons going forward. I had a hard time remember if a squadron had 3 ships with out marines, or 2 without archers, and 3 missing an oar bank. Next time I will document it better for easier reference.
Overall, fun was had and I look forward to playing more. Set-up was quick, the game went fast, and tear down was quick too. Easily less than two hours. Writing this report took as long as the game itself!
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