the battle of ketriolos, an aar

I was finally able to organize a game of He Hemetera Talassa at the club, with real people! We played with two "imagipoleis": Fidittipides and Sfiatolos. Since I wanted to try out unbalanced forces, I invented an aggressive tyrant, Paestikolos of Fidippides, invading a small polis, Sfiatolos, which just recently got rid of its oligarchs. These guys took refuge to Paestikolos' court, begging for support. Paestikolos decided to exploit the occasion to gain control of the production of precious seagull guano, Sfiatolos' main export, which had been nationalised by the radical democratic Sfiatolean assembly. The tyrant' invaded. His fleet was much larger than that of the Sfiatoleans', but the smaller force enjoyed a significant qualitative edge.

The Sfiatolean phalanx at Ketriolos, cheering.

I decided to provide the players (well, the Sfiatolean actually) with a bit of an operational choice. Since they were the defenders, they got to choose were to wai for the enemy. The Sfiatoleans chose to engage the invaders in front of a beach where they already had deployed their hoplite phalanx, Ketriolos beach. The fleet deployed perpendicular to it, way out offshore, each squadron in double line ahead. Their plan was to push the enemy to land at Ketriolos and have them cut to pieces by the hoplites.

The Fitippidians deployed almost completely in line abreast, to take advantage of their numerical superiority. Their plan was to envelope the enemy. Since the Sfiatoleans deployment was unbalanced offshore, the Fidittipians decided to periplous the enemy's left flank. Unfortunately the Fitiddipian player has legendary poor luck with dices, which kind of killed the whole purpose of the thing - I swear he rolled 2 on average. The two fleets closed fairly quickly, almost all the squadron in double column. I had ruled however that poor squadrons could not do diekplous, so they are the ones in line.

Initial depoyments, Sfitoleans on the left.

As the left wing of the the Fiddittieans engaged the enemy right away, the right wing started to turn around the shorter enemy line.

However the astute Sfiatoleans countered this by forming kyklos with their leftmost squadron, led by the wily Protomacos!

This proved a very though nut to crack, as several Fippitideans squadrons took turns to engage the kyklos with no luck. Protomaco would not budge!

On the other side of the battle, the Sfiatoleans' quality was also starting to tell. The poor Fididdpinians' left was being bled white turn by turn.

In the end, having completely lost its left wing and with no successes to exploit on its right, Paestikolos decided to cut his losses and saved what remained of his fleet. The Sfiatoleans erected a trophy on Ketriolos and then got mighty drunk with wine mixed with goat milk, a local favourite cocktail. But the war was not over yet...

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