Sunday, September 6, 2015

GMT's Hoplite

How can you tell it's a three-day weekend? Because I have the energy to do a blog post!

I finally managed to punch and set up a game of GMT's Hoplite, the latest in the Great Battles of History series. Here are some pictures from my first attempt at this system...

Battle of Delium in 424 BCE. Red units are the Boetians and the purple are the Athenians.

Athenian hoplite phalanxes with their leader, Hippocrates

Boetian left: skirmishers and light cavalry

The advancing Boetian left is met by the Athenian light cavalry. The skirmishers draw first blood with reaction fire but are not going to fare well against horsemen.

While the Athenian cavalry has cleared out most of the Boetian skirmishers on the Athenian right, they are handled roughly by the Boetian cavalry who are fresh. Meanwhile, the Athenian left is under pressure from more Boetian light troops. The Boetian hoplites, having taken some time to rest and recover cohesion from their advance up the hill in the center of the field are now beginning their advance back down toward the Athenian center.

A lone Athenian skirmisher tries to hold up the advance of the Boetian right.

An interesting mechanic in the game is the procedure for the initial hoplite advance. Once moving they can not stop until in contact, and when you start them moving each unit (except elites) must roll to determine the speed of their advance. Here you can see some phalanxes advancing at the walk while others are trotting. This means your line will never all contact the enemy at the same time. Very interesting from a command & control perspective.

With a crash of spears on shields, the Athenian hoplites spring forward and meet the advancing Boetians! Initial contact is particularly hard on the Boetian center, with a pair of Boetian phalanxes already near breaking. The numbered markers represent "cohesion hits" which are compared to troop quality - the number in the center of the counter. When cohesion hits equal of exceed the troop quality number, the unit routs.

Note that the Boetian light troops have managed to tie down one of the Athenian phalanxes, stopping the Athenians from having a heavy unit in position to flank the Boetian hoplites.

The Athenians have torn a hole in the Boetian center, and it doesn't look good for them. Amazingly one of the Boetian phalanxes that routed rallied and is headed back into the fight.

Despite the damage to the Boetian line, the Athenian hoplites are nearing exhaustion. Their cohesion hit numbers are high and there is no opportunity to stop and rest to regain cohesion.

The center of the Athenian line routs!

Three Athenian phalanxes routing is enough to reach the Athenian army break point - just barely before the Boetians reach theirs. With the Boetian general wounded, this is technically a Boetian victory in turn 5, but I would count it a draw.

The GBOH series has really engaged me. After playing a bit of Hoplite I've picked up severl more titles in the series and look forward to playing them.