Sunday, September 8, 2013

Field Commander Alexander at Tyre

Today I'm going to record my playthrough of the Tyre scenario for Field Commander Alexander (review), which takes place after Alexander conquered his way through Asia Minor.  This one is a bit unorthodox, as it contains a host of special rules concerning the extended siege of Tyre.  It's a welcome change of pace from the usual scenarios Field Commander Alexander has to offer.  To make things interesting, I've decided to play with the Raiders rule, which adds one warship to Tyre for the entire game.  I've also decided to play with Gaza's Defenses which subtracts one from my Siege Engine strength in Gaza.  I start with Antipater, who allows me to purchase different types of resupply options.  I also had the option of 2 Advisors, so I picked my favorites.  Parmenion, who reduces the Battle Plans of the enemy by 3, and Hephaestion, who gives Alexander +1 to his strength.  The game is set up, so lets play!

This scenario presents some unique challenges.  I've previously done quite well focusing on keeping Tyre's warships suppressed, while slowly building up my own siege ships.  I usually manage to assault Tyre before the Mole is finished.  However it's usually in my best interest to stick around and finish it because it's worth 15 extra points at the end of the game!  However, I'm anticipating more trouble than usual on account of the Raiders rule.  But step one is going to be moving down to Old Tyre from Sidon.

On turn 1, Gaza remains inactive.  I also get to skip Tyre's warship attacks for the first turn.  I move down to Old Tyre, rolling a 2 and having to pay 2 Gold.  I decide to end my turn here, and begin wearing down Tyre.  I gain 7 Gold, 1 just because, and 6 more for the 2 Transports I have.  I'm sitting on quite the warchest, with 20 Gold to play with!  I decide to spend 9 Gold taking out 2 Warships.  Then I spend 10 more Gold getting 2 more Transports.  Lastly I spend 1 Gold building the Mole because I'm limited to one Mole per turn, and it's best to get started.

For turn 2, I must now weather the assault of the Warships. First Gaza gains an extra Glory if I conquer it.  Then Tyre destroys the Mole.  Tyre also inflicts 2 hits on my forces, since I rolled for them to destroy Siege Ships or raid 2 Gold from me, and I could do neither.  Twice.  I decided to allocate the hits to my Infantry.  But on the bright side, all my transports are in tact!  That's going to be some major money for me this turn.

With my 13 Gold, I decide to once again wear down the Warships.  This time it's a bit more expensive, costing me 10 Gold.  I also decide to repurchase the Infantry that got destroyed by Tyres assault.  With my last Gold, I rebuild the Mole again.  And so ends turn 2.

Things get easier on turn 3.  The Warships now have -1 on their attack rolls.  At least I think that makes things easier.  On the bright side they only roll twice now.  Gaza gained reinforcements, and Tyre destroyed the Mole again, and dealt my fresh infantry a hit.

Once again I have 13 gold to work with.  It's not enough to effect their Warships.  But it's time to start building my own.  I max out my Siege Ships at 3, costing me 6 gold.  I also build a Mole again, and this time I have 6 Gold to spare.  I might be able to mitigate some of Tyre's attacks now, plus if I have any left over I can reduce their Warship fleet to almost nothing!  So lets see what happens at turn 4.

Gaza once again remains relatively inactive, gaining 2 Gold for me to loot if I manage to Intimidate them.  The Warships try to destroy my Mole, but I manage to pay them off with 3 Gold.  Sadly, they also destroy one of my Transports, effecting my income.  There is no paying my way out of that one.  But now my Siege Ships get to go!  I manage to weaken 2 of the Southern walls, but do not break through.  I'm beginning to see why Alexander was so frustrated with Tyre that he was exceptionally cruel on conquering it.

I only get 10 Gold as income this turn.  That gives me 13 total, not enough to reduce the Warships.  But I can build my Mole some more, and rebuild my Transport.  I decide on a few more troops as well, adding an Archer to my group.  My Mole extends to the 2nd building space for the first time, and I have enough cash on hand to deflect one hit towards it.

Turn 5.  Gaza does nothing, and Tyre takes a shot at my Siege Ships.  I decide to take this one, since I want to save my money for defending my Mole.  It was a good decision, since the second roll for Tyre attacks it!  I pay them off, and maintain my progress towards Tyre.  Any moment now I plan on bursting through the walls.  I'm beginning to wish I'd saved money earlier on to deflect these attacks on the Mole.  I've lost a lot of valuable time.  My Siege Ships manages to score two more hits, but they are too dispersed to crack Tyre's defenses.  This time they hit the Northern and Western wall segments.

But thankfully I'm back to gaining 13 Gold.  I repurchase my Siege Ship, purchase another Mole segment, and move onto the next turn, with a sizable war chest of 7 Gold.

Turn 6 is eventful!  As I advance the turn counter, I realize I'm rapidly running out of time!  Gaza gains more reinforcements, and Tyre takes a swipe at my Transports and the Mole again.  I pay off the Mole attack, but am sadly down 1 Transport yet again.  I barely got my money's worth out of it last time.

On the bright side, my Siege Engines finally punch through the walls in the South!  My Scouting roll isn't bad, so I pay a paltry 2 Gold to move into Tyre, and decide to accept it's Prophecy.  It says I need to Govern a new area within 4 turns.  Well I think I'm about to do just that!

It's time to raze Tyre to the ground, or die trying.  Tyre gets no Battle Plans thanks to my Advisor.  I choose Rally, Lead, Sacrifice and Regroup.  Alexander is boosted to an attack strength of 5, so I'm really hoping he will deal some serious damage.  The rest of my army is rather weak.

The first round of combat went very well!  Everyone missed for the most part.  However I decided to Sacrifice my Peltast for a quick hit against Tyre's Infantry, delaying their attack.  I then got especially lucky with Alexander, scoring a critical hit, dealing 2 damage.  I used it to finish off Tyre's Infantry, and then take out their Archers.  That leaves one puny Peltast against my unscathed forces.  Things are quickly ended by my Archers at the beginning of the next round.  I didn't even need to use Rally.

I'm now faced with a difficult decision.  Do I want to Govern or Raze Tyre?  On the one hand, Razing Tyre would provide me with a sizable bounty to begin immediately marching on Gaza.  However, Gaza is rather fortified, with a decent number of defenders.  It could pay off to Govern Tyre, complete the prophecy, and build up a better attack force.  After weighing the options I decide to Govern Tyre.  But before I end my turn, I move back to Old Tyre so that I can complete the Mole, and earn those extra 15 VPs!  This has taken so long, I'm really going to need them.

I manage to do alright income wise, ending up with 20 Gold.  9 from my Transports, 5 from Tyre, 4 from my vanquished foes, 1 just cause, and the 1 I had left over from last turn.  Also now that Tyre is conquered, I only need to contend with a single Warship attack per turn.  Normally it would be over, but I'm playing with the Raiders rule.

So as I promised, I finish the Mole.  It's going to be important to keep enough Gold to defend the Mole from the Raiders, since once I leave Old Tyre, I can't repair it.  I also purchase a Siege Engine, my Companion Cavalry, and some Phalanx.  I'd always started the game with these, and I didn't realize how expensive they can be to get from scratch.  I'm tempted to build a City for the bonus points, but I really can't spare the Gold now that I want to rush on Gaza.

Turn 7, and I'm really feeling the pressure.  Gaza gains more Reinforcements, and the Raiders attack my useless Siege Ships.  They can have them!

I must now begin pressing towards Gaza.  I'm not so sure about this, but we'll give it a shot.  I only have 7 Gold to make the journey, and I'm going to have to be very lucky to stretch that across 3 scouting rolls.  And it's a worst case Scenario.  I get all the way to the gates of Gaza, and burn out rolling a 1 for Scouting.  I only have 2 Gold left.  This means if I attack Gaza, it will be with only 3 troops.  It's a disaster.  I'm going to have to call it quits here, and pray Gaza doesn't build more walls.

I gain another 15 gold for my resupply step, and decide to invest it in lots of power.  2 more Siege Engine, and 2 Light Cavalry to help soak up the hits I'm sure I'll be taking.  I'm going to be counting on Alexander and my Phalanx to be dealing most of the damage.  Along with my Companion Cavalry if I'm lucky.  My army is just large enough, and I have just enough Gold left that even if I roll another 1 for Scouting, I can still move all 10 units into Gaza.  I just really truly hope they don't get another wall.  Anything but another wall.

Turn 8.  One way or another this is going to be the final turn.  Gaza rolls a 6 for their orders!  I seriously lucked out!  Also, upon further examination, unlike every other scenario for Field Commander Alexander, Gaza cannot build walls.  I suppose I was worried for nothing.  That is a little anticlimactic, no?  All the Raiders do is repair a wall in Tyre.  It doesn't make the most sense, in the context of what's happened.  But why not, rules are rules.

Time for some destruction.  My Scouting roll is a modest 3, so I pay 7 to move all my forces into Gaza.  The enemy actually gets 3 Battle Plans this time, drawing Rally, Flank and Confusion.  That Confusion could really mess up my plans, since it removes one of my Battle Plans at random.  I get 5 Battle Plans now, and I choose Rally, Envelop, Sacrifice, Charge and Lead.  I'm really hoping I get to keep Envelop.  The Confusion kicks in and removes my Rally.  Well that's not so bad.  Time to start chucking dice.

The first round of combat was quite devastating...for Gaza!  I rolled 2 hits with my Siege Engines, although the enemy Rally absorbed one.  Archers on both sides missed, as did Gaza's Light Cavalry.  I decided to Sacrifice my Light Cavalry in order to deal 2 more hits, wiping out their wall.  This opened the way for a devastating series of attacks, reducing Gaza's forces to a single wounded Infantry.  Alexander's forces remain unscathed.  At this point I decide to just Envelop the remaining forces and be done with it.  Alexander wins!

To wrap things up, I decide to Govern Gaza, and build a City.  I end up with more money than I know what to do with, but oh well.  Since I managed to complete the scenario by November 332 BC, albeit just barely, Alexander gains another Glorification level!  Now to calculate my score.  I get 15 points for finishing on turn 8.  I get 5 points for having built a city, and 15 more points for having finished the Mote.  I also get 10 points for the Raiders, and 4 points for Gaza's Defenses.  It comes out to 49 points, which I think is respectable?  My Glorification Points come out to 194 thanks to Governing two areas, not spending any Glory, and getting Alexander up to a Glorification level of 6.  I don't have too much of a basis for comparison, but I think that's pretty good.

In the future, I think I really need to pace myself better, and build more cities along the way.  There was no point in rushing my way to Gaza only to burn out.  I probably should have stayed in Old Tyre, built a City, and mustered more troops.  Also, in retrospect, I should have kept more cash on hand to deflect attacks on the Mole.  That would have saved me at least a turn, maybe two, which would have been worth 10 points!  Maybe next time.

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