Hoplite Wars (ag06)

by Stephen Agar

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The principle differences between this variant and Diplomacy is that I have introduced two types of supply centres (Cities and Towns) and a third unit type (the Garrison). The idea is that Cities are regular supply centres, but Towns can only contribute half the resources needed to build a regular unit. However, a player can choose to build Garrison units instead or regular units at a cost of only a half a regular unit, the disadvantage being that they cannot move from the space in which they are built.

Thus, powers can garrison conquered areas to guard against the very fluid sea movement rules. To overcome the bottle necks that may be created by the density of the geography on the mainland I have adopted full Multiplicity rules to allow for multiple units to be merged and split.

I decided to base this ancient variant around Athens, Sparta, Boeotia, Achea, Argolis, Aetolia and Thessaly, excluding Macedonia which was not a major power until the mid 4th century BC. The problem of minor city states and the colonies was tackled by allowing each player to control one minor state and one colony each. Thus each player starts the game with three units in his Major State, one unit in a Minor State and in the first Autumn he will acquire a Colony in the Aegean.

This game has an element of mixing up the starting positions of the various players and may encourage a lot of deals to be struck between players at the opposite end of the board. Hopefully the use of Garrisons will be balanced by the formation of multiple units to break through any defensive lines, while flexible rules about disbanding Garrisons and converting Armies to Fleets (and vice versa) allow for a speedy change of strategy.

The map is reasonably accurate from a historical viewpoint, though some names for spaces have been used because the name is famous (Eg. Marathon, Pylos) rather than because the place was important in itself.


0. All the usual Diplomacy rules apply.

1. There are seven Major States in this game who each also control one Minor State. The initial set up is not fixed and the players can diplome before the first season which shall announce the starting positions. Note that players may choose to build Garrisons as well as Armies and Fleets and can choose to leave some home centres vacant. Home centres are as follows (with the additional Minor State shown last on each list):

ACHEA: Aegium; Patrae; Pellene; + Chalcis

AETOLIA: Agrinion; Callion; Thermos; + Mantinea

ARGOLIS: Argos; Corinth; Hermione; + Pherea

ATHENS: Athens; Marathon; Thoricus; + Anactorium

BOEOTIA: Aulis; Orchomenos; Thebes; + Elis

SPARTA: Sparta; Prasiae; Zarax; + Elatea

THESSALY: Cierion; Larissa; Pelinna; + Messene

The Major States and the Minor States are always considered to be separate, although each player controls one of each. This variant uses full Multiplicity rules and players may decide to form multiple units within their Major States immediately.

However, no multiple units which comprise troops from a Major Power and a Minor State may be formed at the beginning of the game and each Minor State must start the game with a single unit in it.

Thus Athens could start the game with 2F(Athens), A(Marathon) and A(Anactorium) if they wished, while Sparta may go for 2A(Sparta), G(Prasiae), G(Zarax), A(Elatea).

2. Supply Centres: There are two types of supply centres in this variant, Cities (which are the equivalent of regular supply centres) and Towns (which have half the value of a regular supply centre). Thus a player would need to control two Towns to have the resources to build a single unit which could alternatively be supplied by one City. All Cities start the game occupied (with the exception of Megara) and all Towns start the game neutral.

3. Multiple Units: Full Multiplicity II rules apply – though if you find these too complicated try using the Simple Multiplicity rules instead.

Players are permitted to form multiple units comprising a mix of units from the Major and Minor States under their control.

4. Garrison Units: Rather than build regular units a player may choose to build garrison units which are the same as regular armies in all respects save that they may not move from the Town or City on which they are built and they may only support other units which combine with them to form a multiple unit. They may receive support as normal. A Town or City may have more than one garrison unit stationed there as a multiple garrison. If a garrison unit is forced to retreat it disbands.

A player may decide to voluntarily disband any number of garrison units during winter adjustments which will enable him to use the builds released for new builds.

5. Minor States: All units controlled by one player (Major State, Minor State, colony) count as one power for the purposes of the rule prohibiting self-dislodgment. Major States and their colonies are treated as one power for adjustments, but Minor

States are treated as independent powers.

If a Minor State loses its home City and that City is recaptured by the Minor State’s controlling Major State then the Minor State’s home city is deemed to be returned to the control of the Minor State and not to the control of the controlling Major State. Thus a Minor State may be eliminated, only to resurface if it’s home city is “liberated”.

6. The Colonies: The following Towns will each declare themselves in support of a different Major States (to be determined at random) at the end of the first Autumn move.

Chios; Phocaea; Cos; Rhodes; Lesbos; Samos; Miletos

Thus each Major State will automatically control the Town in question and may use its resources or even build there.

7. The Shrine at Delphi: There are enough resources in the form of sacred offerings to enable a player who chooses to sack Delphi to raise two extra units for the duration of the game. The specific order “SACK Delphi” must be written. The additional units are then built in the next adjustment phase and are not dependent on supply centres and thus can only be removed from the board through annihilation (or the absence of a legitimate retreat order). However, all god-fearing Greeks will forever shun a player who sacks Delphi and thereafter his units (both Major and Minor States) may not receive support from any other player for the duration of the game.

8. Control of Supply Centres: Control of a City only passes after Autumn moves, as in Regular Diplomacy. However, control of Towns passes after every Spring and Autumn move, although the relevant builds can only be made in a Winter season, as usual. Thus if Sparta successfully ordered A(Sparta)-Tegea on the first move and A(Tegea)-Lepreon on the second and Tegea was not taken by any other player on the second move, then Sparta would gain one regular build for controlling both Tegea and Lepreon.

9. Builds: A player may build in any City or Town captured by that player or in a Colony that declares for that player (note that Major and Minor States maintain separate supply centre charts and are treated as separate powers).

Players may also elect to transform any Army unit in a supply centre (City or Town) to a Fleet during adjustments (or vice versa).

10. Signing Units Over: It is specifically forbidden for players to sign units over to each other in any circumstances whatsoever.

11. Miscellaneous: Corinth has only one coast and Fleets may enter from one side and exit by the other.

12. Calendar: Initial builds take place in Winter 451BC, the first Spring move being Spring 450BC.

13. Victory: There are 29 Cities and 23 Towns in this variant, equivalent to some 401/2 supply centres. The special double supply centre at Delphi is not counted for the purposes of assessing victory. The winner is the first player to control more than the equivalent of 20 Cities.

Reprinted from Spring Offensive 6