Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fall of Rome (1973) boardgame replay - Scenario 3

Introduction
I am playing through the six scenarios in the SPI boardgame Fall of Rome  (1973 version).  I have already written up Scenarios 1 and 2 in a previous post.

Scenario 3
I thought ccenario 2 may be a bit tough, Scenario 3 looks even worse! It starts in 260, the year after scenario 2 ended. There is less chance of a revolt and less chance of barbarians (after turn 6 - turns 1-6 are just as bad as Scenario 2).  So why so bad? You start with only 19 legions, rather than around 34. Syria rebelled and formed an independent state, conquering Mesopotamia. Gallia rebelled and formed an independent state and has conquered Britannia (these two states tie up 7 legions each that will become available once they are eliminated).
There are German and Scythian barbarians in the Empire. Africa is revolting.  Treasury is at 0.  To win is 75 points, meaning Gallia at least will need to be taken.  Persia and Syria will hopefully fight it out.  The first few turns will be interesting.

Setup - White counters are reminders of independent state controlled, orange are ones Rome controls that i may forget that they do. Green counters indicate provinces lost once so will need garrisoning if retaken (I know I am not getting Illyria under control in turn 1).
Turn 1 260AD
Egypt revolts, Germans in Italy, Syria goes to Cyprus, Gallia heading to Hispania; Persians in Mesopotamia.German 25SP and Scythian 15SP appears. Egypt rebels and forms an independent state (1 in 6 chance of not marching on Rome - come on!).  None of my combats successful. I am drowning already.  I did end up with +7 to the Treasury - I thought I would be negative!


End of turn 1 - lots of Barbarians Egypt legions rebel and form an independent state.
Turn 2 261AD
Syria and Persian fight it out in Mesopotamia, Egypt invades Greece, Germany invades Illyria, Scythians invade Asia, Gallia invades Sicily.  I end up with 10 legions to move. I only control Hispania and Africa outright.

End of turn 2 - Rome only controls Spain and Africa outright. 
Turn 3 262AD
Germans cleared out of Italy. There are two more stacks on their way though. I had 6 legions to move this turn.  Lost two and gained two.  Turn 4 has a lost of reinforcements available.

End of turn 3 - lost more provinces. Down to 6 legions.
Turn 4 263AD
Germans stacks combine in Illyria.  I don't bring the legion reinforcements as the only place they can go is Roma, the the 40SP German stack will wipe them out next turn. I think I will have to lest the Germans take Italy and then they can fight the Gallia militia.  And then maybe I can whittle them down.

End of turn 4 - 4 legions on the map
Turn 5 264AD
Revolt in Hispania that is put down. Germans control Italy (40SP!). If I bring the legions back, the German will destroy them.  So still only have 4 legions on the map.

End of turn 5 - sill 4 legions but Treasury going up slowly. Germans control Italy outright
Turn 6 265AD
Last turn of 50% chance of revolts and rolling twice on the barbarian creation table.  Hooray! Germans move into Gallia and defeat militia there.  I buy 12 legions and put in Italy to counteract the 20 Germans there.  Will see how it goes.

End of turn 6 - lots of legion rebuilt to fight the Germans.
Turn 7 266AD
None of the Germans manage to move (all failed their movement roll). Dacians barbarians turn up.  I have spread my legions into Gallia, Italy and Thrace to use barbarian attrition to my advantage (if barbarians do not control a province, the army is halved; controlling a province requires have three times more strength points than the legions). Can't afford to by more legions.

End of turn 8 - slowly moving the legions out to regain some of the empire. Treasury down low again after rebuilding and then maintaining.

Turn 8 267AD
Managed to claw back Gallia and Thrace.  Treasury still going backwards since i bought all those legions in turn 6.  Persians and Syrian state still fighting it out in Mesopotamia.

End of turn 8 - Gaul and Thrace come back into the fold! Treasury still going backwards  - not having Italy really hurts.
Turn 9 268AD
Great turn - Gallia cleared and Italia only one German SP left. Dacians got to Asia and were eliminated by the Scythians who themselves were reduced, and then I put in some legions and further reduced by attrition. Mesopotamia belongs the Syrian independent state, but they only have 1 Strength Point left. I bought all the legions that were available. I feel I am getting on top of things, unlike back in earlier turns where I had almost no Empire and no legions!

End of turn 9 - more legions, Syrian independent State loses all but 1 strength point fighting the Scythians in Asia.
Turn 10 269AD
Scythians out of Asia, Germans out of Italy.  The only real downer is Germans in Gaul but that is containable, as is a 4SP Dacian raiding party that appeared.  I am feeling overconfident  - if I get a lot of Legions back at the end of turn 11 I may be able to expand and take back some provinces form the independent states.  Maybe.

End of turn 10 - recapture Asia and close to getting Gaul!  feeling confident.
Turn 11 270AD
Got back Greece, Gaul nearly mine again.  Lots of Legions reinforcements deployed, ready for turn 12!

End of turn 11 - Take Greece back, very close to victory in Gaul.
Turn 12 271AD
I have to get 75 victory points on turn 15 - I need to take Africa (easy) and Britannia (bit harder) or Egypt (very hard with 10 militia).  Moved into Africa while the Independent state forces move towards regaining Greece.  Gaul nearly mine.  Last Syrian Independent State strength point eliminated in Asia this turn.  Dacian raiding party turned up and I bribed it as don't want the hassle.

End of turn 12 - after crunching the numbers, Rome needs some solid provinces recaptured to be able to win.
Turn 13 272AD
More Dacians turn up (that I bribe). Going for Syria as I don't think Britannia will pan out. Greece is still contested.
3 African Legions rebel.  I wanted to cheat and not make them rebel as i am likely going to now lose but maybe it won't heart too much.  They actually start marching on Rome (the first time rebellious Romans have done this in three scenarios!).

End of turn 13 - African legions rebel and march on Rome. I decide to try and take Syria (i can get a lot of legions there - Egypt is just too far)
Turn 14 273AD
Moved 11 legions into Syria to combat the 10 militia.  Got an exchange so 1 legion left.  I had to not garrison a lot of provinces to get the legions there but the Treasury is now healthy enough it can take not getting much income..  The Rebellious legions in Italy became the largest stack of legions at the game turn end so reduced Treasury by 33 and they are loyal again.

End of turn 14 - Take Syria! Heavy losses but I don't care. Rebellious legions arrive at Rome and they are paid (a lot) to be loyal again. 
Turn 15 274AD
Britannia Militia got the better of me and destroyed a few legions so I would not have enough to attack them so left the island.  Got back Greece and Africa and spread out the legions.  I needed 75 province points to win and ended up with 80!  It was very close.

Last turn - got Africa back and scraped in a victory.  
Verdict
A nail biter of a game.  I nearly gave up on turn 3 after revolutions, Egypt going independent, barbarian invasions, no treasury and getting down to only 4 legions.  But I clawed my way back up after turn 6  with a reductions in the chances of  adverse results.  It was a really great scenario and I just wanted to keep on playing every time I finished a turn!  Hopefully scenario 4 will not be so chaotic.