Battle of Thermopyles

My apologies for not doing a lot of solo gaming this month, but rest assured, there’s a good reason for it.

When I was doing my Chainmail campaign, I didn’t realize the rules I was using were so archaic that I had trouble understanding it. To remedy this, I took the base of those rules and units and converted them into new, simplified rules so that it can make playing easier.

Basically I took what I did in the first session and expanded it into its own ruleset that I’ll probably publish if the interest is there.

But sadly, this has eaten a chunk of time that I could have spent working on the campaign for SGAM. Thus, I decided to make up for it by doing a Solo Boardgaming Voyage. The game this time? Thermopyles. Historians might be familiar with the word, but for those who don’t, allow me to briefly sum up what this game’s about.

You are Leonidas, leader of three hundred Spartans against a massive horde of invading Persians. The last stand is over at Thermopyles, which is where the game’s name comes in. Thus, game’s objective is fairly simple: beat the Persians. With that in mind, let’s begin.

So after playing a refresher game, I am now able to tell how the game is played. The overall idea is to play cards and match or exceed the number that the Persian cards have. Exceeding by a ton is a good thing. The game is played over seven rounds. Unfortunately, I spent half those rounds running from a threat I couldn’t beat.

This is a game of keeping resources, something I have a hard time doing. I either keep burning Support (which adds a D6 to the number your Spartan has) or the Persians have such strong cards. There was one time where I nearly won, getting the Persians down to their last two cards, but I had such weak Spartans that I couldn’t even beat them.

Thermopyles is one of those games I can’t stop replaying. I blame the fact that I play a lot of Roguelikes and every time I die, I just get a strong resolve to play again just to make sure I win. Eventually I created a strategy where, if I have low cards, I just retreat to a Round where I can get a free Support, so that I might spend my own Support to bolster the numbers.

In the end, however, it boils down to picking a low-number Spartan and hoping my dice land on a 6. However, after many trials and tribulations, I managed to conquer the Persian fleet and felt extreme reward for beating the Persians.

I really like this game. It’s quick, easy to understand, and while hard, it’s not to the point where you can get frustrated. Best of all, you can play the game for free on Board Game Arena, so give it a try if you like the idea of this game.

Well, bon voyage for now. I’ll definitely get to work on that Chainmail Campaign soon.

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