Spotlight on Games > War Games > Variants
Empires of the Ancient World
Tue Aug 12 13:58:32 PDT 2003

Guide to Scenarios
All scenarios are designed to accept up to five players. When there are fewer than five, it is recommended that the sides to be omitted be the ones listed later in the Set-up. The scenarios called Triumverate are naturals for 3 players.

When playing these scenarios, only conduct game turns 2 through 4, skipping turn 1, i.e. the non-scoring turn.

If unsure which scenario to begin with, try Hannibal's Revenge, 219 BC, Second Triumverate, 38 BC or Re-Conquest, AD 533 as there are no neutrals to worry about. Second Triumverate is particularly interesting because one group has control of the sea, but little else. Can he be beaten? Another one that's interesting because of the unevenness of the powers is Rise of the Greek City States, 500 BC. The Greeks have a leader and are good at sea, Carthage has merchant ability and the Etruscans have an Engineer. Which approach will prevail?

The Scenarios:

  1. Rise of the Greek City States, 500 BC
    The Persians attempt to swallow the Greeks. Carthage helps while dealing with other problems in the West.
  2. To the Strongest, 311 BC
    A good four player situation for Alexander's would be successors.
  3. Hannibal's Revenge, 219 BC
    Interesting five-player situation with a mostly open map.
  4. First Triumverate, 55 BC
    One of the best scenarios for just three players. One of the better known historical situations as well.
  5. Second Triumverate, 38 BC
    Very interesting to see how well a power very specialized for the sea can do. Also a good situation for one-on-one play.
  6. Demise of Diocletian's Dream, AD 306
    One of the few true five-sided situations in all of history to feature more or less equal forces.
  7. Barbarian Onslaught, AD 429
    Barbarians nibble at the edges of the neutral empire. A race type of situation with less direct player combat.
  8. Attila the Hun, AD 451
    Similar, but with special powers for the Huns and Vandals that also works well for three. Who is up to trying to win with the challenging position of the Franks?
  9. The East Stands Alone, AD 486
    Similar to the previous two, but with larger starting holdings and more room for mishap.
  10. Re-Conquest, AD 533
    Starting to depart from ancient times, Justinian insists on attacking the nascent Ostrogothic kingdom, despite its many civilizing features. Especially suited for either two or five with no special rules to worry about.
  11. Belisarius' Revolt, AD 540
    A "what if" scenario of two larger powers and three smaller ones best for either two or five.
  12. Age of Invaders, AD 799
    Truly escaping ancient times, a very different, assymmetric situation featuring two off-board raiders trying to establish footholds against three empires. Also works well for three.
Bibliography and Links
I. Rise of the Greek City States, 500 BC
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
It is thought to be around 814 BC that Elissa (Dido), sister of the Phoenician King of Tyre, sailed to Africa to found Carthage (which means new settlement). Further east, the first written mention of the Kingdom of the Medes dates from about the same time. About a century later the Achaemenid Dynasty began ruling in Persia, under Medean overlords. Their ruler Cyrus II (559-529) was to go on to conquer the Medean kingdom and one of his successors, Darius I (521-486) created an enormous empire stretching from the Indus to Egypt and to Asia Minor, where many Greek colonies flourished. Greek colonies spread in other directions too, to Cyrenaica, to Sicily and even to what is now the city of Marseilles, France (ancient Massilia). Feeling hemmed in, Carthage also expanded across the African continent, to the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, southern Hispania and western Sicily. In 539 their mother city of Tyre had been conquered by Cyrus so now they felt cast adrift to follow their own fortune. In 535 they made alliance with a race of builders, the Etruscans, to destroy the Greek colony at Corsica and close off the island to the Greeks. Meanwhile, the powerful Greek colony at Syracuse attempted to evict the Carthaginians from their bases on the island. In 500, Miletus, a leading Greek center in Asia Minor attempted to throw off Persian rule. This was all the excuse the Persians needed to, they hoped, add yet another territory to their enormous empire. They began construction of an enormous fleet. To help the effort, they ordered the city leaders of Tyre to instruct Carthage to attack the Greek settlements on Sicily.
Set-up
Greek City States: Provinces: Achaea, Macedonia, Sicilia, Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean
Fortresses: Achaea
Army code: B
Cards: 7-Galley, Military Leader, Merchant
Persian Empire: Provinces: Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Galatia, Lycia & Cilicia, Cappadocia, Armenia, Medea, Syria, Judea, Mesopotamia, Aegyptus
Fortresses: Medea
Army code: D
Cards: none
Carthage: Provinces: Africa, Mauretania Tingitana, Mauretania Caesariensis, Central Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean
Fortresses: Africa
Army code: E
Card: Merchant
Celts: Provinces: Pannonia, Cisalpina Gallia, Lugudenensis Gallia, Narbonensis
Fortresses: none
Army code: A
Cards: none
Etruscans: Provinces: Italia
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: C
Cards: Engineer

Special Rules Because the Celts (Gauls) were not an advanced empire during this period, they have some restrictions on their activities. In particular, they are not permitted to recruit the following types of card:
II. To the Strongest, 310 BC
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
The Persian Wars were a great victory for the Greeks as they defeated an enormous Persian fleet at Salamis in 480 BC. In the same year (some sources say the same day), Carthage also experienced a military defeat in Sicily as her fleet was cut off by superior Athenian forces at Himera. Revolution overthrew the Mago dynasty and established a Court of 104 Magistrates in the beginning of the republic. Greek power eventually resulted in the Athenian empire of Pericles, which was much resented by other principals, notably Sparta. It was Greek fractiousness that eventually permitted a Macedonian, Philip II, to conquer them. Upon his death, the young, talented and ambitious Alexander III began a campaign of conquest the like of which the world had never before seen. Conquering the entire Persian empire and traveling as far as the Indus, it was an amazing achievement purely from the perspective of distance traveled, not to mention that his forces also conquered everything in sight. But it all came to an end before Alexander could try out his ideas for trying to administrate such a far-flung and many-tongued empire. At age 32 he contracted a lingering fever and died.

As he lay dying, long before he or anyone else had expected, Alexander made a prediction: all of his companions, i.e. generals, would hold a great funeral contest over his empire. When asked to whom the empire would eventually fall, he would answer only "to the strongest". That was in 323. Over the next eleven years his successors had already fought three wars, the first to reject the original settlement, the second to re-apportion power after the death of the regent and the third because Antigonos in Asia Minor was attempting to become first among equals. Peace was restored by 311 more out of exhaustion and internal problems than because differences had been resolved. In the same year, hostilities were resumed as Seleukos with a small force had departed Egypt and conquered Babylonia from Antigonos, picking up troops along the way. From there he successfully invaded Persia and Medea.
Set-up
Ptolemaios:

Provinces: Aegyptus, Cyrenaica, Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus
Fortresses: Aegyptus, Cyprus
Army code: E
Cards: 6-Galley
Antigonos: Provinces: Asia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Lycia & Cilicia, Syria, Judea
Fortresses: Asia Minor
Army code: C
Card: Engineer, Siege Tower
Seleukos: Provinces: Medea, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: Mesopotamia
Army code: D
Card: Military Leader
Lysimachos: Provinces: Pontus & Bithynia, Thrace
Fortresses: Thrace
Army code: A
Cards: Military Leader, Diplomat
Kassandros: Provinces: Macedonia
Fortresses: Macedonia
Army code: B
Cards: Diplomat

Special Rules Because the successors were most directly concerned with the territories of the former empire, all areas having numbers west of the central board divide (except for Macedonia and Achaea), are only worth half the printed value (rounded down).
III. Hannibal's Revenge, 219 BC
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
Although both Antigonos and his son Demetrios led expeditions against Seleukos, neither were successful. When Ptolemaios heard this news, in 310, he raided Cilicia; around the same time, Antigonos suffered a serious revolt, the leaders of which aligned themselves with Kassandros. Antigonos was now fighting a war on two fronts, but was able to use diplomacy to neutralize Kassandros. He also attempted to instigate revolts in Cyprus and Cyrenaica. Building up a huge fleet and his famous siege engines, Demetrios "the Besieger" tried to re-take Cyprus in 306. He was successful in the early land battles, but then had to settle in to a siege of Salamis. His weapon in this was the celebrated helepolis, or city-taker. This well-defended device had nine floors and was equipped with all manner of artillery. It rested on four enormous wheels and was slowly rolled towards the city walls. This and other massive siege engines would probably have taken the city were it not for a daring night counterattack in which many of them were set afire. Thus enough time was gained so that Ptolemaios was able to arrive with reinforcements, but to no avail as he was decisively defeated in a harbor battle at Salamis. Antigonos and Demetrios decided to follow up by invading Egypt itself. However they were stopped at the Nile and forced to withdraw. Demetrios next turned his attention to Kassandros, conducting a brilliant campaign throughout Greece, cornering Kassandros and figuring to quickly finish him off. But he had not reckoned with Kassandros' diplomatic skill. He had in fact managed to cement an alliance with Ptolemaios, Lysimachos (who had only recently managed to consolidate Thrace) and Seleukos with the aim of completely destroying Antigonos. Kassandros planned to distract Demetrios in Greece while some of his forces went with Lysimachos to invade western Asia Minor. Seleukos and Ptolemaios would invade over their respective frontiers. Antigonos decided to confront Lysimachos, but was stymied by fortifications and delaying tactics, permitting Seleukos to take Cappadocia and Ptolemaios Judea and Syria. Antigonos used propaganda to turn back Ptolemaios, but knew this would not work against Seleukos. So instead he sent a fast force which took his capital in Mesopotamia, but Seleukos refused to be deterred. In Greece, Kassandros and Demetrios, seeing that the main issue was mostly at a stalemate, declared a truce so that both could reinforce their sides in Asia Minor. In the following year Demetrios, Antigonos, Lysimachus and Seleukos all met in a huge battle at Ipsos. Antigonos, over eighty years old, fell in the fighting and his army was routed. Seleukos and Antigonos divided the empire between them. Demetrios gathered the remnants and fled to Greece.

Eventually, three of Alexander's successors founded stable dynasties. The possibility of a fourth in Asia Minor did not happen mostly because of the incursions of the Celts. Eventually a number of smaller kingdoms arose there. Elsewhere, empires arose in Macedon, the Seleucid Empire founded by Seleukos and Ptolemaic Egypt. But the focus had shifted west where upstart Romans had defeated Phoenicians in Carthage in a war over Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Much like the interval between world wars I and II, Carthage waited some twenty years before renewing hostilities. Deprived of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and her war fleet, it was not easy going. First they needed to expand their holdings around New Carthage, which the Romans called Hispania. Then came Hannibal's famous elephant march over the Alps and into Rome.
Set-up
Carthage:

Provinces: Africa, Baetica, Mauretania Tingitana, Mauretania Caesariensis
Fortresses: Africa
Army code: D
Card: Military Leader
Rome: Provinces: Cisalpina Gallia, Italia, Sicilia, Western Mediterranean, Central Mediterranean
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: B
Card: Galley-7, Galley-6
Seleucid Empire: Provinces: Syria, Medea, Lycia & Cilicia, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: Syria
Army code: F
Card: none
Egypt: Provinces: Aegyptus, Cyrenaica, Judea
Fortresses: Aegyptus
Army code: E
Cards: none
Macedon: Provinces: Macedonia, Achaea
Fortresses: Macedonia
Army code: C
Cards: none

Special Rules As an exception to the usual scenario rules, in this case do play the first (non-scoring) game turn 1 as well.
IV. First Triumverate, 55 BC
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
The success of the Roman Republic in war brought many changes to its long-standing economic, political and military systems. As a result of conquest came an empire and with it, the need for standing armies. This drew very ambitious men who commanded tremendous personal followings. At first, this trend was resisted by stoic conservatives such as Cato the Elder who accused Scipio Africanus, hero of the Second Punic War, of treason and his brother of embezzlement. Africanus was to die in self-imposed exile. But this was the exception that proved the rule for the trend was irresistible. In the middle of the last century BC, the most important of these men were Marcus Crassus, a sharp financier, Pompey, wunderkind son of a famous general and Caesar, a brilliant up and comer. None were able to sufficiently dominate the others, so a truce was agreed to, at least for a while. Pompey was given Hispania and its revolts to clear up. Crassus took the east where he already had many financial interests. Nobody wanted any part of the irksome Gauls and their cold climate so they were given to Caesar. Each hoped to cover himself in sufficient victories, riches and glory to eclipse his rivals and prove himself the first man in Rome, even if, like Sulla before them, he had to march on Rome itself to do it.
Set-up
Gaius Julius Caesar: Provinces: Narbonensis, Cisalpina Gallia, Dalmatia
Fortresses: Cisalpina Gallia
Army code: B
Card: Military Leader
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus: Provinces: Tarraconensis, Lusitania, Baetica
Fortresses: Tarraconensis
Army code: C
Card: none
Marcus Licinius Crassus: Provinces: Syria, Cyprus, Judea
Fortresses: Syria
Army code: D
Cards: 2 Merchants
Parthia: Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: none
Army code: F
Card: Military Leader
Gauls: Provinces: Belgica, Germania, Aquitania
Fortresses: Aquitania
Army code: A
Card: none

Special Rules In this scenario, the Roman Republic acts as a neutral power. Use coins or borrow tokens from another game to mark its territories. It does not attack, but uses its deck to defend when it is attacked. Its forces are controlled by another player whose province nearest to the point of battle is furthest away from it. (Resolve any ties randomly.)

Roman Republic:

Provinces: Achaea, Africa, Pontus & Bithynia, Lycia & Cilicia, Creta, Cyrenaica, Italia, Macedonia, Sicilia, Western Mediterranean, Central Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: E
Card: none

V. Second Triumverate, 38 BC
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
As it turned out, once Caesar arrived the Gauls didn't know what hit them and he rapidly exerted Roman dominance everywhere, even as his enemies plotted for his eventual return to Rome. Further east, Crassus was perhaps too confident against the Parthians whose light horse and arrows inflicted at Carrhae perhaps the worst Roman defeat since Cannae. Crassus lost his life in the aftermath. After finally clearing up Spain Pompey had retired to Rome to be put in charge of various tasks like the grain supply and clearing the Mediterranean of pirates. He also created Rome's first permanent theater, the previous ones all being wooden constructions erected specifically for festivals.

The Senate had come to fear Caesar's dual following, the first being his popularity with the masses and the second his loyal, battle-hardened legions. Just as Cato had centuries before, they prepared to prosecute him upon the end of his second five-year term to ensure that he did not become too powerful. When Caesar decided that the best way to prevent this was to march across the Rubicon (the exact location of this river is today unclear) and thus break the rule about entering Roman home territor with an army, Pompey and the Senate formed an uneasy alliance to stop him. Despite their apparently greater resources, nothing it seemed could withstand Caesar's genius. Eventually Pompey was defeated in the Greek peninsula and tracked to Egypt, where it was found that its perfidious leader had ordered him decapitated. There Caesar made acquaintance with Cleopatra and set in process that Egypt would eventually join the Empire. After more conquests he eventually did return to Rome, refused the title of king, but in effect had become Dictator for Life. We will never know how he would have fared against the Parthians, a campaign he was planning when with the last spark of the old spirit of the Republic, Marcus Brutus, Cassius and other Senators assassinated him on the Ides of March in 44 BC.

After the assassination, Caesar's will indicated not one but three heirs: a co-worker, a family member and a friend. His lieutenant was Marcus Antonius; his grandnephew and adopted son was Gaius Octavius and his friend and successor as Pontifex Maximus was Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Although rivals for power, they joined forces to ensure the defeat of Brutus and Cassius, forming the second important triumverate in Roman history. Six years later, the mission accomplished apart from defeating youngest son of Pompey, they divided the empire, Antonius receiving the lion's share: the riches of the East, including alliance with Cleopatra's Egypt. Octavius, now renamed as Gaius Julius Caesar, retained the West including the city of Rome while Lepidus was fobbed off with Africa.
Set-up
Octavius:

Provinces: Aquitania, Baetica, Cisalpina Gallia, Germania, Dalmatia, Italia, Lugudenensis Gallia, Lusitania, Narbonensis, Tarraconensis
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: B
Card: none
Antonius: Provinces: Achaea, Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Cyprus, Cyrenaica, Galatia, Macedonia, Syria, Aegyptus, Lycia & Cilicia
Fortresses: Syria
Army code: D
Card: Merchant
Sextus Pompeius: Provinces: Creta, Sicilia, Western Mediterranean, Central Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean
Fortresses: Sicilia
Army code: C
Cards: Galley-7, Artillery
Parthia: Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: none
Army code: F
Card: none
Lepidus: Provinces: Mauretania Caesariensis, Africa
Fortresses: Africa
Army code: E
Cards: none

Special Rules None
VI. Demise of Diocletian's Dream, AD 306
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
It often seems that after the fall of Nero, Roman history is submerged in oblivion, not to re-surface before Constantine at the earliest. And at that point it almost seems like a new story, becoming concerned more with Christianity and the founding of Constantinople. But in fact there was plenty of interest in the intervening two centuries. There were Five Good Emperors. There were the new conquests of Trajan and the reforms of Hadrian. There were plenty of lurid tales as well.

One of the truths of the later empire is that for one reason or another it became weaker and its enemies more intractable. Historians argue over the reasons why. Perhaps it was simply a matter of the decay of the concept, the myth, of Rome itself. In any case, Romans found that more and more it was not sufficient to to rule from their capital in Italia and hope that all would be well at the frontiers. Instead, as the edges were threatened, it was necessary to create several large armies at decisive points throughout the very large empire. But this came with its own dangers as an army was a tool for an ambitious general to overthrow the emperor, usually triggering a devastating civil war in the process. But in fact, this had become an all-too-common way for emperors to succeed one another.

It took two centuries before Emperor Diocletian (284-305) came up with an innovative solution to that one. Since every general wanted a title, he decided to create more of them. From henceforth there would be not one ruler, but four. He called it the Tetrarchy. At the top were two leaders each called an Augustus, one for the east and one for the west. Then, to help them, each of these would choose a junior called a Caesar. Every two decades, both of the Augusti would retire and their juniors take their positions, appointing new Caesari to replace them. Obviously the system depended on the leaders selecting their successors wisely and for a while it worked quite well. Diocletian and his fellow emperor Maximinian were close friends who shared a common background as Illyrian military men. As colleagues they chose two more with the same background and values: Galerius Maximinianus and Julius Constantius respectively.

An impressive reformer, Diocletian also realized that hampering the empire were too many petty provinces and jurisdiction disputes. He ended this by creating groups of provinces into twelve large dioceses, each to be governed by a vicar. Military responsibilities were taken from the governors and the armies were now able to cut across provincial boundaries. At the same time, Italia lost its special tax-free status and for the first time was sub-divided into provinces like the rest of the empire. The Senate which had been in decline for a long time, lost further powers by being constrained to governing only two provinces. But Rome, too far from the frontiers which had been the constant concern of the emperors for a some time, had been in decline for just as long. Instead, new capitals developed wherever the rulers made their headquarters: in Milan (Cisalpina Gallia), Trier (Germania), Thessalonica (Macedonia) and Nicomedia (Pontus & Bithynia).

In 304, after 20 years, Diocletian was in ill health. He decided it was time to retire and persuaded Maximian, the other senior emperor, to retire at the same time, both abdicating on May 1, 305. Constantius and Galerius took up their roles, appointing Severus and Maximinus Daia, respectively, as their successors. The system seemed to be working well. Diocletian was content to grow spectacular cabbages at his splendid palace at Salonae (Split), but even before he was to die in 308, he was to see his dream fray and eventually split utterly.

It began already with the announcement of the successors. Galerius seems to have had a strong influence on the choices. Severus was his old friend while Maximinus was his son-in-law. These choices did not sit well with the sons of Maximian and Constantius, Maxentius and Constantinus (Constantine), who even though the new system was supposed to ignore heredity, were nevertheless both very ambitious men. Constantius was not only at loggerheads with Galerius, he was also in poor health, perhaps from leukemia. If he died he faced the prospect of being succeeded by someone he now considered an enemy. Sensing this, his army took matters into their own hands. When Constantius died at York on July 25, 306, they spontaneously proclaimed Constantine senior emperor in the west, ignoring Severus' rights. Constantine also claimed to have been appointed Augustus on Constantius' death bed. Of course this was in contravention of the rules, so when word finally got to Galerius, he refused to recognize it, although he was willing to compromise by allowing Constantine the position of Caesar in the west.

But with this example before him, Maxentius now decided to make his own move for advancement. Inflaming the already-aggrieved citizens of Italia, he got himself proclaimed emperor in Rome. Not only did Maxentius convince his father to come out of retirement to support him, he bolstered his holdings with plenty of funding from wealthy Rome. By now bursting at all sides, Diocletian's dream had instead paved the way to an even more complicated civil war than was usual.


Set-up
Constantinus:

Provinces: Britannia, Belgica, Germania, Lugudenensis Gallia, Aquitania, Narbonensis
Fortresses: Germania
Army code: A
Card: Military Leader
Galerius: Provinces: Cyrenaica, Aegyptus, Judea, Arabia, Syria, Cyprus, Cappadocia, Lycia & Cilicia, Galatia, Pontus & Bithynia, Asia, Eastern Mediterranean
Fortresses: Cappadocia, Pontus & Bithynia
Army code: E
Card: none
Severus: Provinces: Rhaetia, Noricum, Cisalpina Gallia, Pannonia, Dalmatia, Tarraconensis, Lusitania, Baetica, Western Mediterranean
Fortresses: Cisalpina Gallia
Army code: B
Card: none
Maxentius: Provinces: Italia, Sicilia, Mauretania Tingitana, Mauretania Caesariensis, Africa
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: D
Card: Merchant
Maximinus Daia: Provinces: Thrace, Moesia, Macedonia, Achaea, Central Mediterranean
Fortresses: Macedonia
Army code: C
Card: none

Special Rules In this scenario, the empire of Persia acts as a neutral power. Use coins or borrow tokens from another game to mark its territories. When attacked, it uses these forces to fight and its forces are controlled by the player whose province nearest to Persia is furthest away from it. (Resolve any ties randomly.)

In addition, any player may, instead of taking his own turn, take a turn for Persia. Persia has just three options:

However, no player may take a turn for Persia if the previous player did and no player may take a turn for Persia whose last turn was for Persia.

Persian territories are never affected by Revolt.

Persia:

Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia
Army code: F
Card: none

VII. Barbarian Onslaught, AD 429
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
By giving his sister Fausta in marraige alliance to fellow "next generation" ruler Constantine, Maxentius had established a solid position despite his lack of troops. Coming down from Milan, Severus had intended to nevertheless crush these forces, only to have his army bribed away from him before the walls of Rome. Severus fled to Ravenna where was was caught and forced to abdicate, later to killed.

Determined to do the job right himself, Galerius marched on Rome but suffered the same fate due to bribes and had plenty of trouble retreating safely. But flush with success, now it was Maxentius' turn to falter, mainly due to family problems in the form of his own father, Maximian, who decided it was time to usurp power. When this coup failed, Maximian took refuge with Constantine, his new son-in-law. This chaotic situation seemed to leave everyone powerless and like squabbling children, they beckoned Diocletian out of retirement for a summit at Carnuntum (a site in Austria recently rediscovered via ground radar). The conference settled most of the outstanding issues, appointing Licinius the Augustus in the west and confirming Constantine as Caesar. Maximian agreed to stand down. The only outstanding remaining problem was Maxentius, still independent and in control of Italia and Africa.

Licinius began making minor inroads in the north Italian peninsula while Maxentius was busy putting down a revolt in North Africa. Unfortunately, Maximian who had fled to Constantine decided in 310 to have yet one more fling at power. This coup was crushed by Constantine and Maximian perished in the process. This left Galerius and Maximinus Daia in the east, but the former died of cancer in 311, triggering a contest between the latter and Licinius. They marched their armies toward one another, but prudence won the day as they decided to split the eastern territories, albeit inequitably as Licinius held only the Balkans.

In 312 the ambitious Constantine decided he had had enough of Maxentius -- whose rule had endured mass riots and killings -- and defeated his forces at Turin and Verona. The climactic battle of the Milvian Bridge outside Rome sealed Constantine's control of the west. The next year Constantine made a marriage alliance with Licinius who then turned east and defeated Maximinus near Hadrianopolis. Rome had whittled down its leaders to just two co-rulers, a situation which survived about a decade until Constantine decided he had to have it all for himself, defeated Licinius and established a new dynasty and a new capital at Constantinople.

After the dynasty failed with Julian, the emperor who attempted to restore Rome's pagan religion, it was succeeded by the house of Valentinian, a Pannonian officer of humble origin. His brother Valens was in power in the east in 375 when the German tribe known as the Goths, who had formed a kingdom in the area north of the Black Sea fled west in vast numbers with the arrival of the Huns from across the steppes. A chain reaction among other tribes culminated in heavy attacks on Roman limes along the Rhine. Two large groups of Goths asked/threatened to move across the Danube. Valens, Emperor of the East, had an army only large enough to defeat one of them (most of his forces being entangled with the Persians), but the imperial ideology did not permit such an open acquiescence to threats from "barbarians". So eventually one group was permitted to settle on Imperial lands, only to discover it had all been a trick. One of Valens' lieutenants, the local commander Lupicinus, invited the Goth leaders to a banquet which turned out to be a trap. One of the leaders only escaped with difficulty while others were never heard from again. This prompted large scale revolt among the Goths. When Valens could extricate himself from Persia and return to the theater, he heard a rumor that the Goth force had been split in two. Seeing a chance to defeat them in detail, he joined battle at Hadrianopolis. This time it was the Goths who had played the trick. In fact their entire force was present and the Roman flank turned by those who Valens had supposed were not there. Valens actually lost his life in the ensuing defeat, considered by the Romans one of their worst disasters since Cannae. After another defeat followed by some successful counterattacking from the western empire, his successor Theodosius finally acquiesced in settling the Goths in the Balkans under their own leaders. After a while the Goths actually helped to man the Roman army and turn away other invaders.

When Theodosius died the empire was split between his two sons Arcadius and Honorius, but both were in fact puppets. Generals were the true powers, Stilicho in the West and in the East, first Rufinus and later Eutropius. The most significant development however was that thenceforward the two empires would follow their own courses, the West being headquartered not at Rome, but at swampy and more defensible Ravenna. Meanwhile the advance of the barbarians was inexorable. In 405-6 the Gothic king Radagaisus invaded Italy. Then, on the last day of 406, a whole host of peoples crossed the Rhine, including the Vandals, Alans (an Iranian people), Sueves, Burgundians and Huns. The Rhine frontier collapsed and Gallia and Hispania were settled by German tribes. Inevitably, Rome was sacked, the first time by Alaric and his Goths in 410. Alaric's group broke off from the other Gothic groups and settled in what is now southwest France, becoming known as the Visigoths. Revolts in Britannia caused Rome to renounce the distant province in the same year. Meanwhile the Huns moved up to the edge of Europe and even tried invading Thrace. They were repulsed with the help of a heavy annual tribute. Now instead of the combined might of the empire there stood only local potentates. One of the best of these was Aetius who was headquartered in northern Gallia. This army actually held out under varius commanders until finally defeated by Clovis and the Franks in 486. Effective as they were, unfortunately the commanders were as interested in intriguing and fighting one another as they were the invaders. The long term result was continued debilitation of the empire's ability to resist.

Note: this scenario is also basically the topic of the game Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Set-up
Aetius:

Provinces: Belgica, Germania, Lugudenensis Gallia, Narbonensis
Fortresses: Germania
Army code: A
Card: Military Leader
Huns: Provinces: Pannonia, Moesia, Dacia
Fortresses: none
Army code: F
Card: none
Vandals: Provinces: Baetica, Lusitania, Tarraconensis
Fortresses: Tarraconensis
Army code: D
Cards: none
Persia: Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: none
Army code: C
Card: none
Visigoths: Provinces: Aquitania
Fortresses: Aquitania
Army code: E
Card: Military Leader

Special Rules In this scenario, the two halves of the Roman empire act as a neutral powers. Use coins or borrow tokens from another game to mark their territories. The empires never attack, but do use their shared deck to defend when attacked. Forces are controlled by another player whose province nearest to the point of battle is furthest away from it. (Resolve any ties randomly.)

Western Empire:

Provinces: Africa, Cisalpina Gallia, Dalmatia, Italia, Mauretania Tingitana, Mauretania Caesariensis, Noricum, Rhaetia, Sicilia
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: B
Card: Military Leader
Eastern Empire: Provinces: Achaea, Aegyptus, Arabia, Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Cappadocia, Lycia & Cilicia, Creta, Cyprus, Cyrenaica, Galatia, Judea, Macedonia, Syria, Thrace
Fortresses: Thrace
Army code: B
Card: none

VIII. Attila the Hun, AD 451
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
Having entered the fringes of Europe, the Huns seemed quite content to remain there, that is, until the emergence of their able king Attila (441-453). Like Hermann centuries before him, he had lived at Rome and there learned much, including a good understanding of the precarious geopolitical situation in which the empire existed, and how much it depended on the "divide and conquer" approach. His response was to create a powerful coalition including the neighboring barbarians which constituted a serious threat indeed. As it happened, at around the same time Gaiseric led his Vandals out of Spain to establish a new kingdom in northern Africa. Thus the West came under severe strain and probably things would have gone much worse had not the brilliant general Aetius created a coalition himself, his Romans working with the Franks and Visigoths, to turn back the Huns. This left the way open for the Vandals and their considerable navy, however, and in 455, Aetius having died the year before, they managed to sack Rome itself.
Set-up
Huns: Provinces: Pannonia, Moesia, Dacia
Fortresses: none
Army code: F
Card: Military Leader
Vandals: Provinces: Africa, Central Mediterranean
Fortresses: Africa
Army code: D
Cards: Galley-7, Artillery
Persia: Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: none
Army code: C
Card: none
Visigoths: Provinces: Aquitania
Fortresses: Aquitania
Army code: E
Card: none
Franks: Provinces: Belgica
Fortresses: Belgica
Army code: A
Card: none

Special Rules In this scenario, the two halves of the Roman empire act as a neutral powers. Use coins or borrow tokens from another game to mark their territories. The empires never attack, but do use their shared deck to defend when attacked. Forces are controlled by another player whose province nearest to the point of battle is furthest away from it. (Resolve any ties randomly.)

Western Empire:

Provinces: Baetica, Cisalpina Gallia, Dalmatia, Germania, Italia, Lugudenensis Gallia, Lusitania, Narbonensis, Noricum, Rhaetia, Sicilia, Tarraconensis
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: B
Card: Military Leader
Eastern Empire: Provinces: Achaea, Aegyptus, Arabia, Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Cappadocia, Lycia & Cilicia, Creta, Cyprus, Cyrenaica, Galatia, Judea, Macedonia, Syria, Thrace
Fortresses: Thrace
Army code: B
Card: Diplomat

IX. The East Stands Alone, AD 486
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
In 451 Attila and the Huns had attacked Gaul and just four years later, Italia itself, but there were mysteriously deflected by the efforts of Pope Leo. Attila withdrew. But considering that a very large number of the Imperial soldiers in the West were Germans who had little investment in the continued existence of the empire, now what had been a facsimile of Roman rule disintegrated entirely. In 476 the last legitimate emperor, a young puppet named Romulus Austulus was eased out and the soldiers proclaimed the German commander and adventurer Odoacer (Odovacar) as their king.

Meanwhile, the Goth groups remaining in the Balkans came into constant conflict, both with the Romans and with each other. The clumsy efforts of Zeno, eastern emperor, to trick the groups into attacking one another had quite a different ultimate result, creation of a supergroup known as the Ostrogoths ruled by Theoderic the Great, yet another by the way who had learned Roman ways too well, having spent ten years a hostage at Constantinople.

The new kingdom was a powerful rival to the eastern empire and yet could not dominate it. Zeno and Theoderic, former allies, reached a mutually-agreed decision: Theodoric would conquer Italia in the name of the empire and depose Odoacer, whom Roman churchmen called demon-possessed. To accomplish it they could expect help from their fellow Goths, the Visigoths, but not in volume as they themselves were pressed from the north by the growing power of the Franks. Their leader, Clovis, had accepted baptism as a Roman Catholic following the Nicene creed which gave the Franks a popularity edge among the Gallic-Roman population as all of the Goths instead followed the so-called "Arian heresy". Faced with this, the Visigoths were glad of the opportunity of greater land opportunities in Hispania, conquering these areas from the Sueves, Alans and Vandals, the latter continuing on into Africa.
Set-up
Odoacer:

Provinces: Cisalpina Gallia, Italia, Noricum, Sicilia
Fortresses: Italia
Army code: A
Card: none
Visigoths: Provinces: Aquitania, Baetica, Lusitania, Narbonensis, Tarraconensis
Fortresses: Baetica
Army code: E
Card: none
Vandals: Provinces: Africa, Central Mediterranean
Fortresses: Africa
Army code: D
Cards: none
Ostrogoths: Provinces: Moesia, Pannonia
Fortresses: none
Army code: F
Card: Military Leader
Franks: Provinces: Belgica, Germanica
Fortresses: Belgica
Army code: B
Card: none

Special Rules In this scenario, the Eastern Roman empire acts as a neutral power. Use coins or borrow tokens from another game to mark its territories. The empire never attacks, but does use its deck to defend when attacked. Forces are controlled by another player whose province nearest to the point of battle is furthest away from it. (Resolve any ties randomly.)

Eastern Empire:

Provinces: Achaea, Aegyptus, Arabia, Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Cappadocia, Lycia & Cilicia, Creta, Cyprus, Cyrenaica, Dalmatia, Galatia, Judea, Macedonia, Syria, Thrace
Fortresses: Thrace
Army code: C
Card: none

X. Re-Conquest, AD 533
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
The Ostrogoths proved successful in their conquest of the Italian peninsula. Under the wise Theoderic the Great, they were to accomplish even more. By treating the Roman population fairly, for example, setting up parallel Gothic and Roman courts, they gained even the support of the Roman scholarly and senatorial class. Their ambitions were more than most of the tribes; in fact they aimed to re-consititute the entire western empire. They already had the support of their brothers-in-arms, the Visigoths in Hispania. They also commanded the respect of the Vandal kingdom in Africa as well as tribes like the Thuringii in the north. The Franks too were held in check. All of this had the apparent support of the eastern empire who seemed to espouse the idea that the Gothic Empire was their colleague in power. However, this all changed with the accession in the east of the ambitous Justinian I. Ignoring all that had gone before, he sent his his very skilled general Belisarius to see if he could conquer the "barbarian" Vandals, even though they had long since ceased to meet this description. If he succeeded, Belisarius was to continue on to Sicilia, Italia itself and even Hispania.
Set-up
Ostrogothic Empire: Provinces: Cisalpina Gallia, Dalmatia, Italia, Noricum, Pannonia, Sicilia, Narbonensis, Baetica, Lusitania, Tarraconensis, Central Mediterranean
Fortresses: Cisalpina Gallia
Army code: B
Card: none
Eastern Empire: Provinces: Achaea, Aegyptus, Arabia, Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Cappadocia, Lycia & Cilicia, Creta, Cyprus, Cyrenaica, Galatia, Judea, Macedonia, Moesia, Syria, Thrace, Eastern Mediterranean
Fortresses: Thrace
Army code: C
Cards: Galley-6, Military Leader
Persia: Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: none
Army code: F
Card: none
Vandals: Provinces: Africa, Mauretania Caesariensis, Western Mediterranean
Fortresses: Africa
Army code: E
Card: Galley-6
Franks: Provinces: Aquitania, Belgica, Germania
Fortresses: Belgica
Army code: A
Card: none

Special Rules None
XI. Belisarius' Revolt, AD 540
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
After Belisarius defeated and ended the kingdom of the Vandals, he turned his attentions to the Ostrogothic Empire, which he defeated not by any direct battle, but by strategem and diplomacy. Without strong leaders of their own, Italians and Goths together offered him his own chance to become emperor in the west. Belisarius had not been well-treated by the Emperor Justinian, being provided only meager resources and having to watch as Justinian took credit for all of his victories. (Even today Justinian's name is much better remembered.) Meanwhile Gothic ambassadors had been traveling everywhere, trying to find other enemies of the empire who might relieve the pressure so that the Goths could revolt. They even gave away provinces to the Franks to free up Goths from garrison duty. Although their efforts did not really pan out among the other German tribes, surprisingly they did in far off Persia, which now opened a devastating attack on the empire's rich eastern flank. Immediately Justinian ordered Belisarius to re-deploy to that front, but what if he had not?
Set-up
Belisarius: Provinces: Cisalpina Gallia, Italia, Noricum, Pannonia, Sicilia, Central Mediterranean
Fortresses: Cisalpina Gallia
Army code: B
Card: Military Leader
Justinian: Provinces: Achaea, Aegyptus, Africa, Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Cappadocia, Creta, Cyrenaica, Judea, Arabia, Syria, Cyprus, Lycia & Cilicia, Galatia, Dalmatia, Macedonia, Moesia, Thrace, Eastern Mediterranean
Fortresses: Thrace
Army code: D
Card: none
Persia: Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia
Fortresses: none
Army code: F
Card: none
Franks: Provinces: Aquitania, Belgica, Germania, Lugudenensis Gallia, Rhaetia
Fortresses: Belgica
Army code: A
Card: none
Visigoths: Provinces: Baetica, Lusitania, Tarraconensis, Western Mediterranean
Fortresses: Baetica
Army code: C
Card: none

Special Rules None
XII. Age of Invaders, AD 799
Historical Scenario for 5 players
Background
Christmas Day, 800, the papal coronation of Charlemagne and his reconstituted Roman Empire, one of the easiest to remember dates in history. But despite all the pomp and glory, dark clouds loomed on the horizon. Previously limiting themselves mostly to Celtic areas, the year before Vikings had for the first time pillaged the Frisian coast; it would not be the last. Charlemagne tried to set up a coastal guard to prevent the raids, but the Vikings would range far and wide, especially during the reigns of his successors, even reaching Sicily and Italy. Meanwhile, Islam which had exploded out of Arabia in the seventh century crossed over to the Iberian peninsula on another easy-to-remember date, 711 (the same year the Caliphate also reached the Indus). Crushing the Visigothic kingdom before them, by 732 they reached Tours and Poitiers only to be defeated twice by Charlemagne's grandfather, Charles Martel (the Hammer). An uneasy peace set in along the Pyrenees while the legend of Roland began to grow. In the east the Roman Empire still soldiered on, also in a desperate struggle with the Abassids. But they faced enemies from the west as well, the fast, silent Magyar horsemen (Hungarians) from the East who like the Huns before them raided at will throughout Europe.
Set-up
Frankish Empire: Provinces: Belgica, Germania, Rhaetia, Cisalpina Gallia, Lugudenensis Gallia, Aquitania, Narbonensis
Fortresses: Belgica
Army code: B
Card: Military Leader
Abassid Caliphate: Provinces: Armenia, Medea, Mesopotamia, Syria, Judea, Arabia, Aegyptus, Cyrenaica, Crete, Africa, Sicily, Mauretania Caesariensis, Mauretania Tingitana, Western Mediterranean, Baetica, Lusitania, Tarraconensis
Fortresses: Baetica, Arabia
Army code: F
Card: none
Byzantine Empire: Provinces: Dalmatia, Macedonia, Thrace, Achaea, Asia, Pontus & Bithynia, Galatia, Lycia & Cilicia, Cappadocia, Italy
Fortresses: Asia
Army code: E
Card: none
Vikings: Provinces: None
Fortresses: None
Army code: A
Card: Galley-7
Magyars: Provinces: None
Fortresses: None
Army code: C
Card: Light Horse

Special Rules Vikings: The Vikings do not begin with any territories on the map, but at the start of the game they place a base in the Atlantic Ocean. Although not in play as such, this base is a reminder of the rule that they may launch attacks as if they had a base in this sea. Magyars: The Magyars do not begin with any territories on the map, but at the start of the game they place a base in the off-map area north of Pannonia. Although not in play as such, this base is a reminder of the rule that they may launch attacks as if they had a base in this area. Charlemagne: At the end of each game turn, the Frankish Empire player must roll a die. To the result is added the number of the current game turn. If the sum is more than 4, then this player's Military Leader is removed from the game. Once this happens, it is no longer necessary to roll at the end of subsequent turns.
Also ...
Summary · Analysis · Publisher Page

Sources:


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