Sparta vs. Athens

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Strategy & Tactics issue no. 286
Game Title: Sparta vs. Athens
Date of Publication: MAY – JUN 2014
Strategy & Tactics Press, PO Box 21598, Bakersfield, CA 93390
Decision Games hereby grants permission for its customers to download and/or print copies of this file for their personal use. Discussion folders for this game are located on the S&T Press discussion board.



















Design: Ted Garland

Development & Final Rules Editing: Eric R. Harvey

Playtesters: Eric R. Harvey, Ty Bomba, Ken Tee, Dave Moseley

Game Map: Joseph Youst

Counters: Brandon Pennington

Production: Callie Cummins and Lisé Patterson
© 2014 Decision Games

Bakersfield, CA.

Made & Printed in the USA.
NOTE: To remove the rules from this magazine, carefully and slowly peel them from the subscription card they are attached to by peeling from the top and then the bottom meeting in the middle. The card is not intended to be removed.
These rules use the following color system: Red for critical points such as errata and exceptions, Blue for examples of play. Check for E-rules updates to this game @

1.1 Description

Sparta versus Athens is a two player strategic level game simulating epochs of the Peloponnesian War. Each inch equals ~18 miles. One naval strength point represents about 5 galleys of the era (Triremes). Land units can represent anything from 300 to 3,000 men, but the combat strength of the units in the game do not represent any specific number of men (though they may), but stronger land units typically represent heavy infantry, such as Hoplites, or cavalry, and weaker land units typically represent light infantry.
2.1 The Game Map

The game-map represents the geographic area where the wars were waged, and uses a point-to-point movement system, which means that units move between locales via the movement “paths” printed on the map.

Note: Italy and Sicily have been rotated approximately 90 degrees at the heel of Italy so that they will fit on the game-map. Because there is no grid numbering system on the map, leaving players to hunt for cities that they may need to find, the last few pages of these rules includes an alphabetical listing of each city on the map, with an approximation of its position on the map.
2.2 Playing Pieces (Counters)

The die-cut cardboard playing pieces are referred to as counters. There are five types of counters: combat units, leaders, force counters, forts and informational markers.

Note: The game is provided with a couple dozen “coin” counters, which are intended to represent denominations of ten talents each. These are included to give player’s a tactile experience in the way money was traded in antiquity. You may prefer to keep a written record instead.
2.3 Combat Units

The combat forces in the game are represented by game pieces with a soldier depiction (land strength points), representing infantry and cavalry, a ship depiction (naval strength points), representing warships and transports, as well as map-printed numbers within city locales (a black-circled number or a black-squared number), representing garrisons.

Land Strength Points (LSPs): Land strength points (LSP) represent the mobile armies of the period. Each game piece features a distinct amount of LSP, representing the size and/or the skill of that unit. The front of each game piece represents that force’s full-strength of LSP, and the back of that game piece represents that force’s weaker-strength “wavering” side, representing that unit’s imminent fleeing from battle before it is eliminated.
Garrison Strength Points (GSPs): Garrison strength points (GSP) represent the garrisons of cities. Each city located on the map features a number (either in a black circle or a black square—the latter if a walled city). GSP represent the strength of that city if attacked, and therefore never move, but are otherwise treated exactly like LSP when calculating combat odds.
In effect, a city’s garrison is to be treated as one individual land unit with a strength equal to the printed GSP therein (for example, Sparta’s is assumed to have a garrison unit of “7” strength points).
Garrisons never move, but are added to any combat calculation if that city locale is attacked. However, if any enemy’s combat result requires the elimination of half or all of the defending units that control that city, it only applies to the LSP (never the garrison GSP). Essentially, a garrison can only be eliminated (resulting in the capture of the city) if it is subsequently attacked after all defending units’ LSP had already been eliminated or vacated (or if there were no defending LSP there in the first place when that city was attacked).
If the garrison is a walled city, the GSP is only applicable when calculating sieges (see 9.0).
Garrisons are not counted when considering stacking.
Naval Strength Points (NSPs): Naval strength points (NSP) represent the fleets of galleys common for the era. Each game piece features a distinct amount of NSP, representing the size and/or the type of that fleet. The front of each game piece represents that fleet’s full-strength of NSP, and the back of that game piece represents that fleet’s weaker-strength “wavering” side, representing that fleet’s imminent fleeing from battle before it is eliminated.
2.4 Leader Chits

Leaders are represented individually by individual chits. The leaders allow any otherwise-inert combat units (as well as non-commanding leaders) to conduct campaign activity. They also grant shift bonuses when combat occurs.

2.5 Forces

A force consists of a stack of one or more leaders and one or more combat units that are conducting campaign activity as a single entity. A force of units may be moved together and fight together as if a single unit.

2.6 Force Counters & Force Holding Boxes

The force chits represent the forces deployed on the game map. The correspondingly numbered force holding boxes printed on the game map holds the counters contained in each force. A force chit and the units in the same-numbered Force Holding Box are the same entity for all rules’ purposes.

2.7 Fort Counters

Fort counters represent the small fortified positions that existed and were built during the war. Forts possess their own LSP strength whenever a locale where a fort exists is attacked per 8.0. Additionally, forts allow friendly units to retreat into that fort and thus be immune to normal enemy attacks, requiring enemy siege attempts to be eliminated. See 7.8.

Fort counters are distinctly unique from walled cities inasmuch as their LSP strength applies to normal combat (8.0) and during siege calculations (9.0).
2.8 Informational Markers

Informational marker are used to keep track of game information, such as the current year (set-up on the turn track in the starting year indicated by the scenario being played), season (set-up on The Year disc, in the green Spring quarter), prestige level (set-up on the Prestige Track, per the starting prestige indicated by the scenario being played), talents x 1 counters (set-up on the Revenue Track, per the starting talents indicated by the scenario being played; see 2.17).

2.9 Nationalities

There are two primary opposing alliances in Sparta versus Athens and their potential allies, depending on events during the course of the game.

Athens: The term Athens or Athenian, is used to refer to Athens and its current allies and their locales.

Athens (red units)

The Delos Confederation (orange units)

Athenian Allies (yellow units). See 15.1, 15.2

All of these units and locales are friendly to each other if allied.

Sparta: The term Sparta or Spartan, is used to refer to Sparta and its allies and their current locales.

Sparta (blue units)

The Peloponnesian Coalition (purple units). See 15.10.

Spartan Allies (green units). See 15.3, 15.4, 15.5

Persia (beige units). See 15.13

Chalcidice (green units). See 15.6

All of these units and locales are friendly to each other if allied.

2.10 Neutrals

Argos is nominally neutral, but may potentially join either side depending on random events and circumstances (see 15.8, 15.9, 15.10).

If Argos is captured by either side, it is knocked out of the war; adjust the prestige track one level in that (capturing) side’s favor.
2.11 Prestige Track

The Prestige Track on the map is used to keep track of the current prestige level of the opposing sides. The prestige counter is moved up and down the track to reflect the current prestige of one nationality or the other. Pro-Athens prestige levels are indicated by having the pro-Athens side of the prestige counter facing upward, while pro-Sparta prestige is indicated by having the pro-Sparta side of the prestige counter facing upward. If the current prestige level is zero, place the marker (either side up, it doesn’t matter) in the “0” box.

2.12 Prestige Optional Rule

Ignore the city names below the prestige track; they have no bearing on play, but are included for a future on-line optional rule.

2.13 The Athenian Revenue Table, the Spartan Revenue Table

Each of these two tables are used to determine the amount of revenue (talents) provided to each side during the Revenue Phase of each year. Only Athens and Sparta receives revenue. Other cultures are either neutral or are allies, and only provide revenue in the form of tribute or by way of random events (see 2.16 and 15.0)

Errata: The Athenian Revenue Table [second paragraph] refers to tribute value as “the number in a black circle,” but in fact should be stated as “the number in the red box, next to the blue box, adjacent to each city of the Delos Confederation.”
Each scenario will indicate an amount of starting talents and revenue for Athens and Sparta, as well as other relevant considerations. The Athens Revenue Table and Spartan Revenue Table tabulate all of the other circumstances that add to or minus from each side’s respective revenue.
Place the “Property Tax,” “Reserve Fund,” “Black Sea Toll,” and the other “Reserve Fund” markers on the Athenian Revenue Table, each in the specific row referencing each such marker. When the listed government eventually comes into power (#2, #7, #8, #9), the Athenian player then collects the marker associated with the new government and adds it to his revenue (to indicate that he now receives the additional talents listed for that marker on the Athenian Revenue Table).
2.14 The Year Track

The Year Track is printed on the map and is used to identify the current year. Different scenarios begin during different years (place the year marker in the current year box). As each year is completed, move the year marker along the Year Track from a higher year (such as 431) to each successive lower year (such as 430).

Below the Year Track is the season disc (titled on the map as “The Year”); place the season marker in the Spring quarter, and move it clockwise into each quarter, completing the Spring, Summer, Winter, and Administration quarters (in that order).
Next to the disc is a table (also titled “The Year”) with the description of the various quarters of the year. These descriptions outline what phases are to be accomplished during each quarter of a yearly turn.
2.15 Force Boxes

The map includes various force boxes for the Spartan side and the Athenian side. These boxes may (but are not required to) be used by their respective sides to hold stacks of units while a corresponding Force marker is placed and moved on the map. Each side is provided with various force markers (Force 1, Force, 2, Force 3, etc.), and each Force Box may contain as many units (of the same side, including allies) as stacking limits permit.

A Force Box may not include NSP, but NSP may transport a force if otherwise legal and adequate to carry the quantity of units in that Force Box.
The opposing player is always entitled to know exactly what units are in any Force Box, even if stacked together.
2.16 Delos Confederation Tribute Value

The Delos Confederation (the yellow area of the map that comprises the coasts surrounding the Aegean Sea) is comprised of nearly 80 city locales that will pay a tribute of talents (during the Revenue Phase of the Administrative quarter) to either Athens or Sparta.

Note: Most games will only see most Delos Confederation cities pay tribute to Athens, as Sparta has no navy and therefore must rely on the Peloponnesian Coalition navy to transport occupation forces into the Aegean and thereabouts.
A Delos Confederation city state will only pay a tribute to the side that currently has an LSP unit present in (occupying) that city (not merely besieging it) when the Revenue Phase of the Administrative quarter occurs; if the occupying LSP is Spartan (even if an ally), the tribute paid is indicated by the number printed within the blue square adjacent to that city state’s location on the map. For example, the city of Ceos (just east of Athens) will pay a tribute of 1 talent to the Spartan side if it is occupied by any Spartan or Spartan allied LSP unit. If the occupying LSP is of the Athenian side (even if an ally), the tribute paid is indicated by the number printed within the red square adjacent to that city state’s location on the map. For example, the city of Ceos (just east of Athens) will pay a tribute of 5 talents to the Athenian side if it is occupied by any Athenian or Athenian allied LSP unit. A city locale's tribute color (blue or red) indicates its affiliation (so long as it is occupied by an LSP of that side), either Sparta (blue) or Athens (red). As such, any occupying Spartan or Athenian LSP and/or NSP is assumed to be a city locale of its own nationality color (and thus does not require maintenance while present there). This does not apply to Allies, however (for example, Peloponnesian Coalition units do require maintenance when abroad, even if an ally of Sparta).
Historical Note: The presence of an LSP unit does not always imply a hostile occupation. Depending on the historical disposition of any particular city state, the presence of an LSP unit may actually represent nothing more than a port of call or friendly bastion sent to safeguard that city, or perhaps just envoys and material aid to elicit support from the population or government there. This is the reason some city states only pay a tribute to one side, indicating their general attitude or affiliation with that side or the other.
If there is no occupying LSP in a city state when the Revenue Phase occurs, that city does not pay tribute.
Note: No city state within the Propontus area of the map may pay tribute to either side if the Propontus is blocked (see 9.3).
Tribute can be tallied by the Athenian player by using the “Tribute” marker and the white numbered counters (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) to form a one, two, or three digit number. For example, a “3” and “4” numbered counter next to the Tribute marker (placed in the first row of the Athenian Revenue Table) would indicate a tribute of 34 talents (then divided, as explained in the second paragraph of the table). The actual net tribute (after being divided) should then be represented by the Revenue Track.
A change to the tribute value of the Delos Confederation can affect the Prestige Track (see 13.0).
2.17 Revenue Track

The Revenue Track is used to openly record the amount of talents each player receives each year. Both players actually keep a stack of their own coin markers, off the map, which they may conceal from their opponent. Each coin represents exactly 10 talents, but any denomination beyond tens (in coin markers) are recorded on the Revenue Track using the “talents x1” marker, placing it in the numbered box to record the exact correct denomination of revenue (use the red-printed talents marker for Athens, and the blue-printed talents marker for Sparta).

Example: When playing The Ionian War scenario, Athens receives 10 talents (one coin, which the Athenian player keeps off the map), and Sparta receives 55 talents (five coins, while placing the blue talents x 1 marker in the “5” box of the Revenue track).
Players are free to keep a written record of their revenue and monetary holdings instead, but both players are always entitled to know the exact revenue and holdings of the other (representing spies).

3.1 Years

Each scenario will last a designated number of years. Each year is divided up into an administration quarter and three seasonal quarters (spring, summer and winter), which is printed on the map as a year disc (located just below the Year Track, just north of Sicily). Each quarter of the year disc is further divided into sequenced phases (listed next to the year disc).

3.2 Phases of a Year

1) Administration Quarter

a) Calendar Advance Phase: Advance the year counter one year on the Year Track. For example, if the year is 431, move the year counter to 430 in this phase.

Remove any ravage markers that had been placed during the previous year.

b) Annual Prestige Adjustment Phase: The prestige level is adjusted to reflect the effects of various actions during the previous year, such as the loss of a battle, et cetera. Consult the Prestige Adjustment Table printed on the map during this phase to determine if any of the actions listed had occurred (see 13.0).

c) Event Phase: The players conduct any die rolls to trigger random events and implement any random events that occur in the current year. See 15.0.

d) Government & Leader Selection Phase: Except for the first year of the scenario, the Athenian player determines if his government changes this year (see 14.0).
Exception: In the year 428, the Moderate Party government automatically comes into power (regardless of prestige), but the Spartan player no longer automatically chooses to move first or second if the prestige track is not pro-Sparta.
Each Athenian government allows different Athenian leaders to appear in play (see the “Leaders Available” column of the Athens Government Table), in which case first remove all of the Athenian leaders already present on the map (although some may reappear during later governments; set them all aside), and then place the new leaders with any friendly LSP or NSP, within the limitations of the “Allowances” column of the Athens Government Table.

Next, consult the Allowances and Special Rules columns of the Athens Government Table and implement or adhere to the instructions given.

e) Revenue Phase: Each player receives their revenue for the year, and their treasury levels are adjusted appropriately. Refer to the scenario instructions and each side’s respective revenue tables (both of which are printed on the map).

f) 1st Player Determination Phase: Whichever side has the higher prestige allows that side’s player to decide which side moves first during each season of that same year (to be decided anew each season of that year). If neither side has higher prestige, the Spartan player decides which side moves first during each season of that year.
2) Spring Quarter

a) 1st Player Logistics Phase: The first player (the “phasing player”) must first pay talents to maintain any LSP and NSP that is already present on the map (excluding any that will be purchased this season), unless present in a city locale of its own nationality color (for example, Peloponnesian Coalition units, which are purple, need not be maintained when occupying any purple city locale), nor any NSP that is present in any allied port (see 7.16).
Clarification: A city locale that is contributing tribute (see 2.16) is considered to be the same nationality (in other words, the same nationality color) as the side that is receiving its tribute. Any occupying LSP and/or NSP there does not require maintenance while present there).
Note: An NSP in a port does not require maintenance, but any LSP it is transporting do require maintenance, nonetheless.
The cost of maintenance is always one talent per point, whether on land or at sea (so, an LSP with a printed strength of “7” would require the expenditure of seven talents by the owning side).
Exception: Spartan units with a printed strength of “2” or less do not ever require maintenance while in Peloponnesian (purple) city locales (it’s assumed that they are maintained by the Peloponnesians; place a “No Maintenance” marker on any such unit), but do require maintenance normally if they move outside of Peloponnesia (purple city locales) and Sparta (blue city locales).
Allied units also require maintenance when not present in a city locale of their own nationality color.
Exception: Chiosian, Lesbosian (orange) LSPs and NSPs, and Sicilian, Italian (green and yellow), and Persian (brown) LSPs do not ever require maintenance (they are self-sustained allies). Place a “No Maintenance” marker on each such unit.
If any unit cannot be maintained in full (paying the full maintenance cost for each point of that unit), it is flipped over to its reverse side (or eliminated if it is already on its reverse side). A unit that is flipped (but not eliminated) because it was not fully maintained may still campaign normally, however (see 4.0).
Next, the first player (the “phasing player”) may now purchase any LSP and/or NSP units for his own side with talents he has currently available. He may purchase any units of his own side that are not already in play, even if eliminated previously. Each LSP/NSP point printed on that LSP or NSP counter costs exactly 1 talent per point, and must be purchased in total (for example, if a player is buying an LSP with a printed “7,” he must therefore spend seven talents to purchase that unit in its entirety and to place it on the map; a player may not purchase any particular LSP or NSP for fewer points than is printed on the front side of that unit’s counter).

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