Saturday, July 6, 2013

Battle of Sybota

Ryan hosted a Trireme game for us, with Kevin, Dan, Brian, John, Bob, Joe and I attending (Josh had to work, but cheered by phone).
Starting positions

The scenario was the Battle of Sybota, which in this scenario pits fifteen Corinthian triremes against an allied force of eight vessels from Corcyra (Corfu) and ten Athenian biremes. The average quality Corinthians and green quality Corcyraeans have the same type of ships, with a cruising speed 3, maximum speed 5, and two armored marine squads per ship; the Athenians are expert quality but their biremes are smaller and overloaded with two light marine squads, so they only move at speed 2.  Corcyraeans start in line abreast with their left flank at the middle of the south edge; the Athenians are behind their right flank, in three columns at the eastern edge; the Corinthians start in two ragged lines form the northwest. The Athenians are just arriving and cannot have a command conference with their allies, and there are no fleet signals. The scenario as written also has a rule that the Athenians can't attack until either they are attacked or two of their allies' ships are destroyed; we didn't use that rule, although things worked out as if we had.

Athenians try to flank
We the Corinthians divided our fleet into left, center and right squadrons, each squadron having three ships in the first line and two following. Our theory was that the front line ships could ram (or be rammed by) and immobilize an enemy, and the second line could then follow up with another ram. Kevin and John took the center and right, with their 10 ships tasked to engage the 8 lower-quality Corcyraeans; my five ships of the left wing were to hold off the ten Athenians. The Athenians, in turn, counted on their allies to hold firm while they got around my flank.

They just didn't get around my flank far enough away from me. I brought my wing into an echelon line, then wheeled left, driving home rams with four triremes against two biremes and causing others to collide with their suddenly-stopped friends. Meanwhile, Kevin and John were methodically ramming and boarding the Corcyraeans, and generally winning, although there were several tense moments pulled out by Kevin's luck with the dice. The resemblance of the Corinthian ships to bacon was noted.
The Corinthian left wing rams

The Athenians swarmed one of Kevin's ships which drove into the fray, and destroyed one of mine as well, but at a cost; they lost a couple, several more were dead in the water (which is one good ram from being "dead, period") and the rest of the Corinthian fleet was heading their way. We called it at Turn 10.

Just before the end
At the end of the battle. 3 of 15 Corinthians had been destroyed, versus 7 of 8 Corcyraeans and 2 of 10 Athenians. Post-game discussion focused on the Athenians' being heavily laden with consequent slow speed; perhaps the Athenians should be allowed to bring fewer marines and thereby gain some speed? They'd be toast in a boarding battle but the extra maneuverability, and ramming ability, might make it worth it.

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