After a long hiatus we finally got around for a new game. We also finally had the opportunity to try out the new rules for periplous, which turned out to be a blast!
We played the second scenario in my developing concept of a microcampaign set in the Samian war. The conflict saw Athens facing its former ally Samos, where an oligarchich coup brought to power an anti-Athenian faction which sought help from Persian empire. The first scenario was my take on a naval battle between Athens and Samos, and you can find the report here.
This second scenario is an hipotetical, might-have-happened battle. After the first naval clash in the war, the Persians decided to raise a fleet to support the Samians. Having received intelligence about it, Pericles rowed east towards Caria with most of the Athenian fleet, to engage this new enemy as far as possible from Samos where the Athenians were laying siege to the city. We don’t really know why or how, but the Persian fleet failed to materialize and Pericles just returned to Samos after a while. I decided to play this battle instead, and raised a mixed fleet of Phoenicians, Cypriot and Ionian Greek ships led by Artafafrate, a fictional cousin of the satrap Pissutne. Given that the king of Cypros was an unruly subject to the Great King, I gave the Cypriot squadrons a malus for any movement to engage the enemy.
We played this as a face to face, head-on battle on the open sea (well, open for triereis – just off the coast of Caria really, offshore from mount Cragus). Curiously, both navarcoi decided to make a strong right wing and engage the enemy with it, while refusing a weak left wing. So both lines of battle were strained beyond breaking point.
The centers engaged first: a Ionian squadron led by Themistocle (no, not that Themistocles!) was forced to melee two Athenian squadrons.
The Athenian right wing was much more successfull in reaching the enemy, while the Persian right was still quite far from its target.
The only elite Persian squadron, led by the Phoenician admiral Barekbaal (Favourite by Baal), finally managed to engage its counterpart Callicratidas and tried to periplous him. I had drafted some rules for periplous and it was the first time we tried it and it was really cool. Both squadron took off at high speed towards offshore, as none managed to overcome the other. Soon they were both beyond the horizon!
Meanwhile the fight in the center was getting ugly. Themistocles’ squadron was getting mauled but refused to let go!
They finally received some support from Focione, making it a fairer fight – but no less brutal.
On the extreme Athenian right, Pericles himself performed a perfect periplous – this time it worked as intended – forcing the hapless enemy to melee in highly disadvantageous conditions. This melee was soon over…
Overall we were quite satisfied by the periplous rules. We just reinforced a bit the advantage enjoyed by a squadron which performa it successfully and solved a small issue I did not think about – what happens when two squadrons run out of the table while trying to periplous each other?
With most Persian squadrons either routed or hanging there by a thred, Atafafrate called the day. This was a clear victory for Pericles, who erected a trophy on mount Cragus and then turned his prow back to Samos. Who knows what might have been happening at the siege there…