null  null
Solitaire & < 4-Player Rules...........................11
Comprehensive Example of Play....................17
Card Personalities...........................................30
18.0 Strategy Guide.................................................35
19.0 Designer Notes................................................38
20.0 Bibliography....................................................43
Pericles Playbook
14.1 Thucydides Scenarios
14.0 Scenarios
(All Dates are BC)
(All Dates are BC)
14.01 First Time Player Training
Before playing one of the main scenarios I suggest that you play
several short scenarios that are in 14.1, Thucydides Scenarios.
I would play the following vignettes in the following order:
A.14.1.01, Turn 1B: The Ostracism of Thucydides (Political
only mini-scenario, 10 minutes)
B.14.1.06, Turn 6B: Sparta Declares War (Political only miniscenario, 10 minutes)
C.14.1.01, Turn 1A: The Battle for Central Greece (Theater
War only mini-scenario, 20 minutes)
D.14.1.09, Turn 9A: War in the Aegean (Theater War only mini
scenario, 30 minutes)
E.14.1.08, Turn 8A: War in a Time of Peace (One Turn
F. 14.1.06, Turn 6A: The Archidamian War (Two Turn Scenario)
G.At this point you are ready to play any of the longer scenarios
and the campaign game.
Play Note: If you have four people, play A and B simultaneously, the rest play with four.
Phormio Play Note: Phormio works for any one or more turn
scenarios. If you have less than four humans for the shorter
training scenarios, just have the missing Sides played by one
of the players.
14.02 Scenario Inventory
• Scenario 14.1 is the Thucydides scenario that covers the
entire period of the war in short episodes lasting from a part
of a game turn, one game turn, or two game turns.
• Scenario 14.2 is a three- to five-turn scenario covering the
1st Peloponnesian War.
• Scenario 14.3 is a three- to five-turn scenario covering the
2nd Peloponnesian War.
• Scenario 14.4 is the 7-10 turn Campaign scenario, called ‘The
Suicide of Greece’, covering the period from 460 to 401.
14.03 Plague in Scenarios
All scenarios that begin after game turn 6 are under the PostPlague condition (5.13), which are Turns 7,8,9, and 10. If playing a scenario that begins in game turns 1 to 6 the condition is
always Pre-Plague until the Plague occurs normally through an
Aristophanes card (Acharnians A, B, C) event.
14.04 Quick Solitaire
If you want to play a quick filler game of Pericles, play 14.1.09
Turn 9 A, The War in the Aegean.
Design Note: During the creation of Pericles I heard from
many members of our tribe that they were intrigued by the
period, but did not know much about it. I have found that historical gaming is enhanced by some knowledge of the events
being portrayed in the narrative. This led me to conclude that
the design’s entertainment value would be enhanced with more
historical context and the inclusion of this series of scenarios.
This scenario is an experiment in historical story telling, teaching the game, and offering player experiences that take 1 hour
or less to play. I have attempted to create interesting vignettes
and one- to two-turn scenarios that are focused on interesting
periods of the historical narrative. The shorter scenarios are not
always meant to be competitively balanced yet should still offer
interesting decisions and insights into how to develop your own
strategy in the main scenarios. The Battle vignettes in particular
are illustrative examples meant to tell part of the historical narrative and not meant for competitive play. On the other hand,
the single- and two-turn scenarios are competitively balanced
where how you perform will determine the winner. Hopefully
you will enjoy my little experiment with interactive history.
Historical Preamble
In 499 the Ionian Greeks revolted against their Persian overlords.
Many of these City-States were of the same ethnic origin as
Athens. Athens supported the revolt and in 498 ravaged Sardis,
the regional Persian capital. In 494 a resurgent Persia went on
the offensive and the revolt was extinguished under reasonable
terms in 493. However, the Persians now wanted to settle their
score with Athens and in 490 sent an amphibious expedition
across the Aegean Sea. This military expedition led to one of
the most famous battles in Western history, Marathon. In this
pitched land battle the Athenian hoplites smashed the invasion
force and Persian aspirations in Greece for a decade.
Due to a Persian succession crisis precipitated by King Darius’
death the return match between Persia and Athens had to wait a
decade. After killing many relatives and stabilizing the empire
the newly minted King Xerxes in 480 led a major invasion of
Greece to deal with the ‘Greek problem’. This campaign saw
a massive Persian army bridge the Hellespont, march through
Northern Greece and encounter a joint Greek land-naval force
at Thermopylae-Artemisium. The death of the Spartan King
Leonidas and his Greek detachment known as the ‘300’ forced
the retreat of the Greek naval units and opened up Central Greece
to the Persian forces. Xerxes burned down Athens in revenge for
Sardis, but then lost a decisive naval battle at Salamis. In 479
a Spartan-led coalition defeated the Persian occupying army,
leading to a series of campaigns that ejected Persian forces
from Europe.
At this point Sparta’s arrogant generals and political reluctance
to pursue the war into Asia caused a Greek leadership vacuum.
At the behest of the Ionian Greeks, that position now fell to the
Athenians. This leadership change created the Delian League, so
named because it was ratified at a meeting on the island of Delos.
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Pericles Playbook
Athens continued to lead the war against the Persians, but over
time its aggressive policies toward its allies caused revolts and
the evolution of the Delian League into the Athenian Empire.
The Athenian Empire was a thalassocracy (literally ‘rule of
the sea’), so named because its strength revolved around its
dominant naval power.
As time advanced a series of political crises saw the bonds
between Sparta and Athens fray. In 460 Megara felt abandoned
during a dispute with Corinth (Isthmus of Corinth) and left the
Spartan alliance known as the Peloponnesian League to enter
into an alliance with Athens. This culminating event led to the
1st Peloponnesian War chronicled in Thucydides’ Pentecontaetia section and where my design Pericles: The Peloponnesian
Wars begins.
A#xL/N/B = Athens # of Land/Naval/Base units
D#xL/N/B = Delian League # of Land/Naval/Base units
S#xL/N/B = Spartan # of Land/Naval/Base units
P#xL/N/B = Peloponnesian League # of Land/Naval/Base units
Argos: #L = Argos land units
14.1.01 Turn 1: 460, 459, 458, 457, 456, 455
War penalties per the normal rules, see 13.2. The side with the
most Honor wins.
B. The Ostracism of Thucydides
Political Training Vignette
Game Length: This is a training scenario that commemorates
an important political fight that saw Pericles (Aristocrats) consolidate power by exiling his political opponent Thucydides
(Demagogues; not the historian Thucydides). This is played
out as a single hand, where the Aristophanes card Frog C puts
Ostracism on Thucydides’ 1 space.
Historical Note: 1st Peloponnesian War and Campaign Scenario Start, 14.2, 14.4.
Aristocrats: Card 10 and Card 16, deal 7 random cards.
A. Battle for Central Greece
Victory Conditions
Theater Training Scenario
Game Length: Begin this scenario with the Theater phase.
All previous phases are ignored for this scenario. Athens and
Sparta are at War.
The player with the highest Oratory Honor and has won the
Ostracism issue wins. A player must meet both conditions to
win; otherwise it is a draw.
Demagogues: Card 1 and Card 13, deal 7 random cards.
C. Isthmus of Corinth
This scenario only uses the Isthmus of Corinth (5), Sparta (6), Athens (7), Boeotia (8), S. Sporades (19) and Eastern Mediterranean
(20) Theaters. Use the Master Setup chart’s Turn 1 Setup. Issues
can only be placed in these Theaters; ignore the rest of the map.
Game Length: This scenario is one turn in length. Use the
normal sequence of play.
Honor order is Aristocrats, Agiad, Demagogues, and Eurypontids.
This scenario uses the entire map.
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, have 8 Strategos tokens, 2
Military, 1 Diplomatic issues plus 1 Rumor marker.
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, Black
Meeple (Alcibiades), 1 Black Strategos Token (Athenian State
Demagogues have 10 Strategos tokens, 2 Military, 1 League,
and 1 Oracle Issue plus 1 Rumor marker.
Controlling Faction: Agiad, have 8 Strategos tokens, 1 Military,
1 Diplomatic, 1 League issues plus 1 Rumor marker.
Eurypontid have 8 Strategos tokens, 2 Military, and 1 Oracle
Issue plus 1 Rumor marker.
Scenario Special Rules
Follow a normal Theater phase (see sequence of play) and then
determine the winner based on the final Honor score. All players start with 10 Honor. The Athenian Aristocrats suffer Persian
Use the Master Scenario Setup for Turn 1.
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
Athens and Sparta are at War; all players begin with 10 Honor.
Persian War is active, see 13.2.
Victory Conditions
Do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography or Economic
bonuses. The City-State with the most Honor wins the scenario
and the Faction of the winning side with the most Honor wins
the game.
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Pericles Playbook
14.1.02 Turn 2: 454, 453, 452, 451, 450, 449
14.1.03 Turn 3: 448, 447, 446, 445, 444, 443
A. Peace of Callias
Game Length: This scenario is one turn in length. Use the
normal sequence of play.
Use the Master Scenario Setup for Turn 2.
This scenario uses the entire map.
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, Black
Meeple (Alcibiades), 1 Black Strategos Token (Athenian State
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
Athens and Sparta are at War; all players begin with 10 Honor.
A. End of the 1st Peloponnesian War
Persian War is active, see 13.2.
Game Length: This scenario is one turn in length.
Victory Conditions
Use the normal sequence of play. Use the Master Scenario
Setup for Turn 3.
If Athens has not met the conditions for the Peace of Callias
(end of Persian War), the Athenian Controlling Faction loses 10
Honor. Beyond this potential penalty, do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography or Economic bonuses. The City-State
with the most Honor wins the scenario and the Faction of the
winning side with the most Honor wins the game.
This scenario uses the entire map.
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, Black
Meeple (Alcibiades), 1 Black Strategos Token (Athenian State
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
Athens and Sparta are at War; all players begin with 10 Honor.
Persian War is concluded, see 13.2.
Victory Conditions
Do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography or Economic
bonuses. The City-State with the most Honor wins the scenario
and the Faction of the winning side with the most Honor wins
the game.
Scenario Special Rule
If Peace is declared during the Political Phase, play the entire
turn under Peace.
14.1.04 Turn 4: 442, 441, 440, 439, 438, 437
A. Periclean Peace
Game Length: This scenario is two turns in length, see 14.1.05.
Use the normal sequence of play.
Use the Master Scenario Setup for Turn 4.
This scenario uses the entire map.
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, Black
Meeple (Alcibiades), 1 Black Strategos Token (Athenian State
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Pericles Playbook
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, Black Meeple
(Alcibiades), 1 Black Strategos Token (Athenian State Ship)
Athens and Sparta are at Peace; all players begin with 10 Honor.
Persian War is concluded, see 13.2.
Controlling Faction: Eurypontid, Assembly Neutral
B. Samos Revolt
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training and historical illustration purposes.
Samos Theater (16)
Athens and Sparta are at Peace; all players begin with 10 Honor.
Persian War is concluded, see 13.2.
The card draw phase is modified as follows:
Eurypontids: Card 37, deal 8 random cards.
Agiads: Card 34, deal 8 random cards.
A4xN, A1xL, 9 Strategos
Both Athenian Factions are dealt 9 random cards.
This scenario uses the entire map.
P2xL, P1xB, 4 Strategos
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of first a naval and
then a land Battle wins the scenario, else draw.
14.1.05 Turn 5: 436, 435, 434, 433, 432, 431
Second turn of Turn 4 Scenario Periclean Peace, 14.1.04 A.
Victory Conditions
Do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography or Economic
bonuses. The City-State with the most Honor wins the scenario
and the Faction of the winning side with the most Honor wins
the game.
B. Sparta Declares War
Political Training Scenario
Game Length: This is a training scenario that commemorates
the Spartan debate to go to war. Archidamus (Eurypontid, Controlling Faction) argued for time to prepare, while the Ephor
Sthenelaidas (Agiad) pushed for an immediate declaration of
war. This is played out as a single hand, where the Aristophanes
card Clouds A puts War/Peace on the Agiad 1 space. Each player
discards 2 cards from their Entourage leaving:
Eurypontids: Card 37, deal 8 random cards.
Agiads: Card 34, deal 8 random cards.
Victory Conditions
The Eurypontid player wins if he has the highest Oratory Honor
and the War/Peace issue is in the Assembly zero space. The
Agiad player wins if he has the highest Oratory Honor and the
War/Peace issue has been won by either side declaring War. A
player must meet both conditions to win; otherwise it is a draw.
14.1.07 Turn 7: 424, 423, 422, 421, 420, 419
Second turn of Turn 6 Scenario the Archidamian War, 14.1.06 A.
Victory Conditions
Do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography or Economic
bonuses. The City-State with the most Honor wins the scenario
and the Faction of the winning side with the most Honor wins
the game.
14.1.06 Turn 6: 430, 429, 428, 427, 426, 425
Historical Note: 2nd Peloponnesian War Scenario Start, see 14.3.
A. The Archidamian War
Game Length: This scenario is two turns in length, see 14.1.07.
Use the normal sequence of play, but the Aristophanes card
“Clouds A” is used for the first turn of the scenario.
B. Death of Brasidas and Cleon
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training and historical illustration purposes.
Amphipolis Theater (12)
A2xL, D1xL, D1xB, 6 Strategos
Use the same setup as the 2nd Peloponnesian War scenario: see
Master Setup Turn 6.
This scenario uses the entire map.
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of the land Battle
wins the scenario, else draw.
P4xL, 9 Strategos
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Pericles Playbook
14.1.08 Turn 8: 418, 417, 416, 415, 414, 413
14.1.09 Turn 9: 412, 411, 410, 409, 408, 407
A. War in a Time of Peace
A: War in the Aegean
Game Length: This scenario is one turn in length.
Theater Training Scenario
Game Length: Begin this scenario with the Theater phase. All
previous phases are ignored for this scenario.
Use the normal sequence of play.
Use the Master Scenario Setup for Turn 8.
This scenario uses the entire map.
Controlling Faction: Demagogues, Assembly Neutral, Black
Meeple (Alcibiades), 1 Black Strategos Token (Athenian State
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
This scenario only uses Sparta (6) and Athens (7), plus Theaters
numbered 13-19 (Hellespont, Ionia, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Cyclades, S. Sporades). Persia has the Alcibiades Meeple in that
location with 2 Persian Bases. Use the Master Setup Chart’s
Turn 9 setup. Issues can only be placed in these Theaters; ignore
the rest of the map.
Honor order is Aristocrats, Agiad, Demagogues, and Eurypontids.
Persian War is concluded, see 13.2.
Aristocrats and the Agiads are the Controlling Factions. Alcibiades is not in Athens, he’s in Persia. Each Faction begins with
10 Honor.
Victory Conditions
Do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography or Economic
bonuses. The City-State with the most Honor wins the scenario
and the Faction of the winning side with the most Honor wins
the game.
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, have 12 Strategos tokens, 3
Military, 1 League issue plus 1 Rumor marker.
Demagogues have 12 Strategos tokens, 2 Military, 1 League,
and 1 Diplomatic Issue plus 1 Rumor marker.
B. Battle of Mantinea
Athens and Sparta are at Peace; all players begin with 10 Honor.
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training and historical illustration purposes.
Controlling Faction: Agiad, have 12 Strategos tokens, 3 Military, 1 League Issues plus 1 Rumor marker.
Spartan Theater (6)
Eurypontid have 12 Strategos tokens, 2 Military and 2 Diplomatic Issues plus 1 Rumor marker.
Special Instructions
Argos: 4xL, A1xL, D3xL, D1xB, 4 Strategos
Follow a normal Theater phase and then determine the winner
based on the final Honor score. Place all Honor track markers
on 10. The side with the most Honor wins.
S6xL, S2xB, 8 Strategos
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of the land Battle
wins the scenario, else draw.
C. Sicilian Expedition
B. The Battle of Cyzicus
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training purposes.
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training purposes.
Hellespont Theater (13)
Sicily Theater (1)
A3xN, 8 Strategos, Athenian Ship of State Strategos
A3xN, A2xL, D1xL, D1xB, 4 Strategos
P4xN, 2 Strategos
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of the naval Battle
wins the scenario, else draw.
P4xN, P3xL, P2xB, 8 Strategos
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of first the land and
then a naval Battle wins the scenario, else draw.
C. Turning of the Tide
Game Length: This scenario is one turn in length. Use the
normal sequence of play.
Use the Master Scenario Setup for Turn 9.
This scenario uses the entire map.
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Pericles Playbook
Victory Conditions
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, 1 Black
Strategos Token (Athenian State Ship)
If Sparta controls the Hellespont Theater at the end of the scenario, they win and the Spartan Faction with the most Honor
wins, in case of a tie the Controlling Faction wins. If this is not
the case, then do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography
or Economic bonuses. The City-State with the most Honor wins
the scenario and the Faction of the winning side with the most
Honor wins the game.
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
Athens and Sparta are at War; all players begin with 10 Honor.
Peace of Callias, see 13.2. Black Meeple (Alcibiades in Persia)
Victory Conditions
B. The Battle of Arginusae
Do not score any Controlling Faction, Geography or Economic
bonuses. The City-State with the most Honor wins the scenario
and the Faction of the winning side with the most Honor wins
the game.
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training purposes.
14.1.10 Turn 10: 406, 405, 404, 403, 402, 401
A3xN, 8 Strategos, Athenian Ship of State Strategos
A. Fall of the Athenian Empire
Game Length: This scenario is one turn in length. Use the
normal sequence of play.
Lesbos Theater (15)
P6xN, 8 Strategos
Aristophanes card is automatically Frogs B.
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of the naval Battle
wins the scenario, else draw.
Use the Master Scenario Setup for Turn 10.
C. The Battle of Notium
This scenario uses the entire map.
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training purposes.
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, 1 Black
Strategos Token (Athenian State Ship)
Chios Theater (16)
A3xN, 2 Strategos, Athenian Ship of State Strategos
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
Athens and Sparta are at War; all players begin with 10 Honor.
P4xN, 9 Strategos
Alcibiades is in Persia.
Persian War is concluded, see 13.2.
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of the naval Battle
wins the scenario, else draw.
Scenario Special Rules
D. The Battle of Aegospotami
1. The Athenians and the Spartans may not build any City-State
bases or units during this scenario. Both sides may build and
deploy League bases and units.
Game Length: This is a one-Theater Battle vignette. It is meant
for training purposes.
2. Remove 8 Strategos tokens from both sides’ stock.
3. If Peace occurs, the scenario continues, but under the normal
restrictions for Peace.
Play Note: It is usually not to Sparta’s advantage to declare
Peace as you may need the Spartan fleet in Ionia to seal the
deal in the Hellespont.
Design Note: This scenario is quite interesting as it gives you
a perspective on how the war ended. Lysander’s victory at the
Battle of Aegospotami destroyed the Athenian navy. This allowed Sparta to cut Athens’ grain supply and initiate a siege
that resulted in Athens’ surrender. The inability for the main
protagonists to build forces is an application of rule 14.43,
the Ravages of War.
Hellespont Theater (13)
A3xN, 2 Strategos, Athenian Ship of State Strategos
P4xN, 8 Strategos
Flip a Battle card for both sides; the winner of the naval Battle
wins the scenario, else draw.
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Pericles Playbook
14.1.11 Thucydides Master Scenario Setup Charts
The Master Scenario Setup Charts are used for all one-GameTurn or longer scenarios. Each scenario designates a setup game
turn. Each side cross indexes the Turn column with a Theater
and place the indicated pieces on the map at that location.
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Pericles Playbook
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Pericles Playbook
14.2 Pentecontaetia; 1st Peloponnesian War
Game Length: Game Starts on game turn 1 and lasts from 3
to 5 turns (see 14.24).
14.21 Display Setup
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly Neutral, Black
Meeple (Alcibiades), 1 Black Strategos Token (Athenian State
14.34 Ending the Scenario
The scenario ends on Turn 8, 9, or 10 immediately during the
Political Issues Segment if Peace is declared, an automatic victory has occurred, or it is the end phase of Turn 10.
14.4 The Suicide of Greece: 460 – 400 BC
Campaign Scenario
Game Length: Game Starts on game turn 1 and lasts for up to
8 - 10 turns (see 14.44).
14.41 City Display and Piece Setup
Controlling Faction: Agiad, Assembly Neutral
Use 1st Peloponnesian War Setup, see 14.2.
Athens and Sparta are at Peace; all players begin with 10 Honor
14.42 Piece Setup
Use the game Turn 1 setup from the Master Scenario Setup
Chart, 14.1.11.
Persian War is active, see 13.2.
14.22 Piece Setup
Use the setup for game turn 1 from the Master Scenario Setup
Chart, 14.1.11.
14.23 Scenario Rules
Persian War: See Persia, 13.0.
Optional: See 14.43.
14.24 Ending the Scenario
The scenario ends on Turn 3, 4, or 5 immediately during the
Political Issues Segment if Peace is declared, an automatic victory has occurred, or it is the end phase of Turn 5.
14.3 Second Peloponnesian War
Game Length: Game Starts on game turn 6 and lasts from 3
to 5 turns (see 14.34).
14.31 City Displays
Controlling Faction: Aristocrats, Assembly: Aristocrats, Black
Meeple (Alcibiades), Black Strategos Token (Athenian State
Controlling Faction: Eurypontid, Assembly Neutral
Athens and Sparta are at Peace; all players begin with 10 Honor.
Peace of Callias: Persian War has ended, see 13.2.
The card draw phase is modified as follows:
Eurypontids: Card 37, deal 8 random cards.
Agiads: Card 34, deal 8 random cards.
14.43 Scenario Rules
Ravages of War
A.Plague: Any units lost due to Plague (both sides) are
permanently removed from play.
B.Military Disaster: In any Land Battle for every set of
2 friendly land units eliminated (round down), one is
permanently removed from play; Enemy choice. In any
Naval Battle for every set of 2 friendly naval units eliminated
(round down), one is permanently removed from play; Enemy
C.Bottom of the Barrel: Athens and Sparta cannot have their
force pool reduced to below 2 land and 2 naval units. Delian
and Peloponnesian League cannot have their force pools
reduced below 8 land and 4 naval units.
D.Leadership Loss: At the end of each game turn that War has
been declared, both sides remove from the game 1 Strategos
token from their stock.
Design Note: The 2nd Peloponnesian War had a profound
impact on population. As the war entered its third decade the
main protagonists had seen their military age males reduced
by more than 65%. For the Athenians their losses from the
Sicilian Expedition were mostly Athenian citizens which had a
profound effect on their Hoplite and Rower assets. With player
agreement this rule can be used in the shorter scenarios. I did
not make it part of the shorter scenarios as it usually does not
have a significant impact due to the shorter length of play.
14.44 Ending the Scenario
The scenario ends on Turn 7, 8, 9 or 10 immediately during the
Political Issues Segment if Peace is declared, an automatic victory has occurred, or it is the end phase of Turn 10.
Both Athenian Factions are dealt 9 random cards.
14.32 Piece Setup
Use the game turn 6 setup in the Master Scenario Setup Chart,
see 14.1.11.
14.33 Scenario Rules
Optional: Use 14.43.
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Pericles Playbook
the other player nominating a War/Peace issue to create the
conditions for Peace.
2. A player faction may not nominate Ostracism if his faction
is the Controlling faction.
B. Both players each pick a faction from one of the City States
(Athens or Sparta) and Phormio with or without Brasidas (15.9)
plays both factions on the other side.
1. The human players should debate their sides’ issues before
debating the non-human, Phormio faction side’s issues.
2. There are two ways to play in this situation. Either use
two Phormio factions for the non-human side or use the
abbreviated Brasidas solitaire faction rules, see 15.9.
15.0 Solitaire & < 4-Player Rules
Pericles can be played with less than four humans using the following rules. The non-human decision processes are known as
Phormio. In a given session you may be playing with one, two,
or three parallel Phormio faction sets of decisions depending on
the number of humans present. The rules should cover all situations that I can conceive of, but I have learned that this is not
likely to be the case, so when you come to a fork in the decision
pathway, take one by rolling a die to pick between two options.
Design Note: This is not a computer program with thousands
of lines of code. If you want that type of solo experience, play
a computer game. Pericles is a multi-player manual board
game with interesting solitaire rules for when you are short
handed. If you are looking for a tense competitive experience
with Pericles, play with humans. If you want to explore and
experience an interesting game narrative, Phormio with his
strategy and decision flow charts should fill the bill.
15.1 Human-Phormio Combinations
15.11 Solitaire
You pick one of the four factions and Phormio will play the
other three sides. Do note that you can play with no humans,
but I make no guarantees on what may happen.
Play Note: Phormio mimics to the degree possible the mechanics that a human would go through to play the game. If
you are playing solitaire and do not want to play out all of the
game’s procedures and just want to fight a short war, I suggest
you examine the War in the Aegean mini-scenario, see 14.1.09
A or use the abbreviated solitaire rules called Brasidas, 15.9.
15.12 Two Players
A. Each player takes one faction from each City State and the
humans play out the game leveraging their position on each
side to try and achieve an individual victory. Phormio is not
used in this variant.
1. When playing this variant, a player may not voluntarily
nominate the War/Peace issue with both of the factions he
or she controls. In this circumstance the player can declare
war on their own, but it would take an Aristophanes card or
Play Note: Using 15.12 A is the shortest as the use of the
Phormio charts does take some time to execute. You will find
that if using the 15.12 B variant that having both players take
one side and then using Brasidas (15.9) is faster than if you
implement the full Phormio system for the non-human players.
15.13 Three Players
Two humans take factions in one City State and the other human
takes a faction in the opposing City State and uses Phormio as
his compatriot faction.
15.14 Phormio Honor Handicap
A. Solitaire: On the all non-human side, each Phormio faction starts any scenario with a +20 honor bonus at the start of
any scenario. The Phormio faction on the human side does not
receive this bonus.
B. Two Players against Phormio: Each Phormio faction starts
any scenario with a +20 honor bonus.
C. Three Players: Each faction on the all human team side
receives a +5 Honor bonus at the start of any scenario.
Play Note: In a three-player game it is advisable that one of
the opposing players implements the Phormio faction’s decision for the human-Phormio team.
Design Note: I have set the handicap for the Phormio at the
high end as a single major defeat can close a 20 point gap. If
you find that you are never winning against Phormio, suspend
the bonus and add some back until you find your balance point.
If you find that you are not being sufficiently challenged double
the bonus until you lose, then slowly reduce this number until
you feel it is balanced for your level of skill.
15.15 Phormio Glossary of Concepts
A. PS (Prime Strategy): PS is used in the Phormio flowcharts
as an abbreviation. A Prime strategy is based on a City-State’s
chosen Theater Strategy, see 15.3.
B. PS (Prime Strategy) Theater: Based on the Strategy matrix
choice, a Primary Strategy (PS) Theater is chosen. All PS issues are placed in the PS Theater in the order indicated by the
Primary Strategy matrix.
C. PS (Prime Strategy) Issue: This is an issue associated with
Phormio’s prime strategy (PS). When a flowchart indicates
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Pericles Playbook
whether a PS issue is available, to be placed, or on the display,
the condition is fulfilled if the issue is on its City State faction
track or in the zero space, whether Phormio chose it or not. The
goal is to get at least one set of the necessary issues onto the
Faction track, then won in debate, and then placed in the PS
Theater in the order indicated so Phormio can play intelligently
to achieve its chosen strategy.
Play Note: As a mnemonic I like to use the faction colored
markers to remind myself of the types and order of the issues
that I need to acquire for Phormio.
D. Feasible: Phormio is trying not to make a poor card play.
Phormio is trying to make card plays that move issues onto its
Faction track. The card feasibility formula is trying to calculate
whether a particular card play has a reasonable probability of
achieving this objective. The formula for whether a card play
is ‘feasible’ or not is whether a card value plus issue attribute
minus 2 is sufficient to move a designated issue from its current
location onto Phormio’s track. If nothing meets this criterion,
then make the card play that moves an issue the closest to the
Phormio track to lower the opponents’ oration honor total. This
is often how Phormio chooses an unusual unpredictable path.
It’s not a problem, it’s a feature.
E. Random Choice: There are two situations. If Phormio is
trying to randomly choose a Theater, roll the 1d20 to determine
the Theater. If the result is the primary strategy theater or the
Eastern Mediterranean after the Peace of Callias, roll until another Theater is chosen. In other circumstances Phormio is trying
to randomly choose amongst possible options. Assign choices
matched to a 1d6 and use the die roll to make the final choice.
F. Assembly Path: Phormio during military expeditions will
move its units on the map. Phormio will move its units one at
a time and take a path that allows the unit to arrive unimpeded
at its Theater destination. If this is not possible, Phormio will
choose a path that stops the least number of units to allow one
or more units to arrive at the Theater destination. If this is also
not possible, Phormio will choose the path that will equalize the
moving force type in as many Theaters on a path to the Theater
destination as possible, but will stop once numerical equality is
achieved. If a unit move would put that unit into a Theater that
it cannot exit due to a lack of a base, the unit will not attempt
the move. Once all possible combinations have been exhausted,
Phormio will fight a battle. If you have difficulty sorting out the
best option, randomize amongst the options.
G. Sudden Death Avoidance: If a Phormio faction were put in
a situation where following the flowchart logic would result in
an automatic victory for the other side, then override the logic
and avoid letting this happen on purpose. For example if Athens
begins the turn without a base in a granary theater and for some
reason the won Athenian issues would be placed to ensure an
automatic defeat or not preserving sufficient Strategos tokens
prevents a League base from being built in a granary Theater,
don’t let this happen. Place the issues where they can potentially
prevent the automatic loss or do not spend the Strategos tokens,
regardless of what the flowcharts indicate. If there are multiple
ways to solve this issue, use judgment or randomize amongst
the options.
H. Legal: Phormio is an honest ‘Bot. No matter how you
interpret an instruction, Phormio will not violate the rules of
the game.
I. Endless Loop: If you are in one of the flowcharts and your
answers or your perception of the answer to the decision boxes
has you moving literally in logic circles, change the answer from
yes to no and get to a resolution.
Play Note: The team has extensively tested the Phormio charts
and they are as good as I can make them, but I know in my
heart that there are some edge cases that I have not experienced
or foreseen. When I have failed you, use your common sense
or roll a die to keep the game moving.
15.2 Aristophanes Segment
This segment is played per the normal rules without modification.
15.3 Phormio Primary Strategy
Before the Boule segment you need to first determine what each
Phormio faction is going to use as its primary strategy. There is
a City State Strategy Table for each side. Take the appropriate
Strategy table and starting at the top find the highest priority
strategy that applies to the situation on the map. Roll a six-sided
die, if the die roll is 1-5 that becomes Phormio’s primary strategy. If you roll a six, skip down to the next applicable strategy
and roll the die again. If you come to the last strategy, that is
automatically Phormio’s primary strategy.
Play Note: If a Strategy that would prevent Phormio from
losing the game is the highest priority strategy, do not roll
the die and potentially skip the strategy, just use the strategy.
For example a Phormio Athens has a high priority strategy
to avoid losing the game due to a lack of a base in a granary
theater. If this issue becomes an option do not roll the die and
risk losing the game, just use this strategy.
When Phormio represents both factions on a side, the Controlling
faction takes the highest priority strategy that applies and then
the Opposition faction bypasses the Controlling faction’s choice
and continues down the chart to the next applicable strategy as
its primary strategy choice.
Play Note: Each Phormio faction on the same side will always choose a different primary strategy unless it is the last
choice in which case they will pick different Theaters. In the
highly unlikely case that each Phormio faction gets to the last
possible choice then and only then will they use the identical
primary strategy.
15.31 Strategy Table Descriptions and Implementation
A. Each City State has its own unique Strategy Table. The first
two columns of each table broadly describe the Conditions and
the Strategy title.
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Pericles Playbook
Example: On the Athens Phormio Strategy Matrix the first strategy priority is the condition on whether or not the Athens space
is contested. If there are Spartan units in the Athens space then
this strategy is the highest priority. If Athens controls the Athens
Theater (no Spartan units) this this strategy is skipped and you
move down to the Granary Strategy and see if it does or does not
apply and so on until you find one whose conditions do apply.
Once you find a strategy condition that does apply, remember to
roll a 1d6 to determine if you use this strategy (die roll of 1-5) or
skip and move to the next one that apply (die roll of 6).
B. The issues column is written in priority order from top to
bottom. The Strategy table usually designates two to three issues for a given strategy. Phormio wants to win these issues in
order to implement its primary strategy. Phormio will choose
these issues, before making choices based on the political cards
that faction is dealt. The intent and goal is for Phormio to try
and win these issues during the Assembly debate and will not
turn to other choices until the indicated issues are on its faction
track. During the Boule segment it is entirely possible that by
happenstance the Aristophanes card has placed one of the necessary issues onto Phormio’s faction track; in this case Phormio
considers this issue won for the time being and proceeds to the
next priority issue on the list or randomly based on its cards.
Example: Once again on the Athens Strategy Matrix, if due to
an Aristophanes card the “Will of Assembly: Build or Convert a
base” was the event and this strategy is chosen, then Phormio is
tasked to win in priority order a military, league, and oracle issue.
If the Aristophanes card had put the league issue on Phormio’s
faction track, then the priority order for choosing issues would
be military then oracle.
C. Theater: Based on the strategy chosen there may be multiple
Theaters that meet the strategy’s conditions. In these cases the
Theaters are arrayed from highest to lowest priority. Choose
the highest priority Theater that meets the conditions of the
prime strategy.
Example: On the Athens’ strategy matrix the Control of Naval
Chokepoints strategy is chosen if Naupactus, Hellespont, or
Corcyra Theaters are contested. If Naupactus and Corcyra are
both contested, then Naupactus is the prime strategy Theater
since the list is in priority order.
D. The Theater, Issue order, and Issue Implementation Notes all
apply to the Theater segment and are described in those sections
below. As a general concept, the priority order for choosing the
issues is reversed when you place them during the Theater segment as the game is using a Last in-First out (LIFO) queue, so the
highest priority issue needs to be placed last so it is resolved first.
E. Usually the PS issues are placed in the Primary Strategy
theater , but note that there are times where a military issue
is placed in Phormio’s City State Theater, usually to build
additional forces that could be used in support of the Primary
Strategy Theater.
Important Note: In all cases the strategy matrix takes precedence over the decision charts when they disagree.
15.4 Card Draw and Boule Segment
Play Note: You can substitute this section and 15.5 with the
Brasidas procedure, 15.9.
15.41 Phormio Boule Segment Flowchart
Use this flowchart for Phormio’s issue choices. The normal
Boule segment rules are used; the chart is just making the faction
choices. You always begin by choosing the Primary Strategy
that indicates which issues are PS issues (see 15.15 C). If this
is done, then go to the Start decision diamond.
A. “Is there a PS issue available?” means is there an undesignated issue of the required type that is not yet on the City
State’s faction track. It can be on either factions track or in the
issues space.
B. Another decision diamond asks “Are all PS issues on the faction track?” Regardless of who chose the issue, if all of the PS
issues are on the faction track in the Issues space—or on either
faction’s side of the track—the answer is yes; otherwise it is no.
C. “Are all Boule issues chosen?” is based on whether that side
has chosen the requisite number of issues per the rules, Controlling faction would have chosen 4 in total and the Opposition
faction would have chosen 3 in total.
15.42 Phormio Nine-Card Hand
The Phormio factions do not play with an Entourage, but always
play from a nine-card hand with the three unused cards automatically discarded next turn. Each Phormio faction is dealt a nine
Political card hand each turn.
15.43 Phormio Has Hostages
If Phormio has hostages available he does one of the following
in priority order:
A. If the Aristophanes card has put the War/Peace issue onto
the opponents’ track, Phormio does not use Hostages and holds
onto them.
B. If Peace, Phormio does not use Hostages and holds onto them.
C. If War and Phormio’s city state is losing or tied, Phormio will
use his hostages to put the War/Peace issue into play.
D. If War and Phormio’s city state is winning or tied, Phormio
will not use Hostages and holds onto them.
15.5 Assembly Debate Procedure
Play Note: You can substitute this section and 15.4 with the
Brasidas procedure, 15.9.
15.51 Use the Phormio Assembly Segment Flowchart
A. Each time an issue debate occurs, begin in the Start decision diamond. If this is not Phormio’s issue choice the answer
is no. If this is Phormio’s turn to designate the debate issue the
answer is yes.
B. Are all PS issues required for the strategy on Phormio’s
track means that the number and type of PS issues Phormio
is tasked to win are all on Phormio’s faction track on a one or
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Pericles Playbook
better box. Once Phormio is winning the necessary number
and type of issues, the answer is yes; if not, the answer is no. It
is possible that this answer will change over the course of the
debates as an issue that was for a time on Phormio’s assembly
track may have moved off and subsequently Phormio will have
to reengage on that issue to reacquire it. Example: Phormio is
tasked to win a military, league, and oracle issue. Once Phormio
has one military and league issue on its assembly track the fact
that there are additional military and league issues available to
debate does not deter Phormio from going after the Oracle issue.
C. Once all of Phormio’s PS issues are on its track it will check
to see if the other faction is trying to win the Ostracism issue
and the circumstances of the War/Peace issue. The answers of
yes and no are based on these potential circumstances.
D. Usually by the third round of debates Phormio will either run
out of PS issues that it requires or it will determine that debating
those issues are no longer feasible. Once this occurs Phormio
is going to try and play its strongest card whether it is or is not
aligned to an issue (issue bonus applies) that it can potentially
move onto its faction track. If no issue meets this criterion then
Phormio is going to try to move the lowest value issue closest
to it to reduce its compatriot’s oration value.
Play Note: The notion of what is feasible will in some cases
be tedious to determine. My advice is to save yourself the
time and mental pain and just randomize amongst reasonable
choices or better yet, just pick what you would have picked.
I have given you a simple formula that offers quantitative
guidance. However, this is where all of the rules questions are
likely to occur, as folks want to know is this the most feasible
card/ issue combination or a host of complicated situations
that the design creates on purpose. Remember, the rule in all
cases where you are not sure between two or three options is
to randomize the choice. On occasion this is going to create
some less than perfect decisions, but often these are more
interesting decisions.
15.52 Faction Leader Card
Per the flow chart Phormio will use its Faction leader card if
Ostracism or War/Peace (under certain circumstances) is being
debated and this is its strongest card versus that issue. If the
indicated circumstances do not occur, the Phormio faction will
not use its Faction leader card, but will save it for the Strategy
Board segment. Phormio will never use the Brain Trust option,
unless you override his actions.
15.53 Phormio’s Strategy tokens
Per the normal rules, Phormio accumulates Strategos tokens
through the play of Political cards aligned to the issue it is
debating and from the card played during the Strategy Board
segment, which is usually the faction leader card. Phormio is
usually attempting to align its strongest card with the issue being debated. When there is a choice between two cards of equal
strength the card that yields the most Strategos tokens wins ties.
Consequently, Phormio over the course of the debate should
receive its fair share of available Strategos.
15.6 Theater Phase
15.61 Theater Issue Placement
Use the Phormio Theater Issue Placement Flowchart. Be mindful
of 15.15 G, Sudden Death avoidance.
Important Note: In all cases the strategy matrix takes precedence over the decision charts when they disagree.
A. Each time it is Phormio’s turn to place one of its issues, first
examine the strategy matrix to see if it has an instruction else
begin in the Start space on the decision matrix. If all of Phormio’s issues have been placed the answer is yes and he passes.
If Phormio has one or more issues/rumor markers to place the
answer is no.
B. If Phormio has one or more Rumor markers available he will
place them every third chance he has to place an issue. If there
is a Theater queue that has an Enemy issue on top he places
his Rumor marker on that queue. In the likely event that there
is more than one Theater that meets this condition, randomize
where it is placed. If there are no Theaters that meet this condition, then choose the Theater randomly (1d20).
C. The main focus of Phormio is to get the PS issues into the
location and order specified on its Strategy matrix. Not all PS
issues are placed in the PS Theater, but in many cases are placed
where they can be used to build forces that will culminate in
a military expedition into the PS Theater. Read and follow the
instructions on the Strategy matrix. In the event that Phormio
did not secure all of the necessary issues, follow the instructions
for which issues to forgo in the placement. When in doubt place
the available issues in the PS Theater in the order specified.
D. Phormio at times will win an extra League issue or two that
are not called for by the PS strategy. In these cases the decision
flowchart is trying to place the League issue where it can build
forces to protect an uncovered base, else it is trying to build a
League base in a controlled theater that contains only friendly
military units. If none of these situations apply, then place where
it can remove a Treachery marker. Each Theater on the map
(Persia is not a Theater) is numbered from 1 to 20. When you
need to randomize a Theater, roll a 1d20 and place the issue in
the theater whose number matches the die roll.
Play Note: Phormio will often do interesting things and
sometimes will do things that cannot be accomplished with
its remaining issues. This is why Phormio gets an honor bonus
at the beginning of the scenario as compensation. If you are
playing solitaire feel free to pick the secondary Theater or
leave it to fate (1d20).
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Pericles Playbook
15.62 Issue Resolution
Issues are revealed according to Honor order. When it is a
Phormio faction’s turn to choose it uses the Phormio Theater
Issue Decision chart to see which issues it will choose. The
flowchart is just following the rules with no particular priority
beyond playing legally. Once an issue is revealed that Phormio
is the issue owner of, follow the flowchart that applies to the
indicated issue.
Important Note: In all cases you use the decision charts to
drive the decisions, but at times the Strategy matrix will give
specific instructions that will contradict the decision flow
charts. In all cases the Strategy matrix specific instructions
take precedence and priority over the flow charts.
A. If a Diplomatic issue is being resolved by Phormio, use the
Diplomatic Issue flow chart. Examine the Strategy matrix to see
if it has instructions that override the flow chart.
Play Note: Phormio is trying to determine whether it needs to
save Strategos tokens for a yet to be resolved military issue.
Otherwise, depending on the Theater conditions, Phormio
will either attempt to convert an Enemy base or build a base
in a neutral Theater.
B. If an Oracle issue is being resolved by Phormio, use the
Oracle Issue flow chart.
Play Note: Without Strategy matrix guidance, Phormio usually opts to take the Honor bonus.
C. If a League issue is being resolved by Phormio, use the
League Issue flow chart.
Play Note: When Phormio is not directed by the Strategy
matrix with a specific instruction, he is usually attempting to
build up forces for an upcoming military expedition, else he
is trying to do something useful like build a base or remove
Treachery. The humans need to be mindful of how many Strategos tokens are available for future requirements associated
with the primary strategy and not let the instructions cause
Phormio to run short.
D. If a Military issue is being resolved by Phormio, use the
Military Issue flow chart. If the current condition is Peace, do
not execute any moves that are illegal. Specifically use League
units to substitute for City State units that cannot legally enter
a Theater. Be mindful of 15.15 G, Sudden Death avoidance;
specifically reserve Strategos tokens to build a critical base in
lieu of additional commitment for a military expedition.
Play Note: Phormio is often trying to conduct a series of
supporting issues to set up a military expedition in its prime
strategy Theater. If this is going to generate a battle, Phormio
will send in a maximum effort. If the resolution of the military
issue is not going to result in a battle, be mindful of how many
Strategos tokens are available if there is an as yet unresolved
league or military issue that will require resources. I have
done the best I can to create logic for the main situations you
will run into, but there will be other times that you need to
make a decision on the best use of this limited resource, so
again when in doubt, randomize amongst the two best choices.
E. When Phormio is the commanding general leading a Military
Expedition, he uses the Phormio Commanding General Military
Expedition flow chart to resolve the issue.
F. If Phormio is the commanding general and the Athenian
controlling faction, he will commit the State Ship Strategos at
the earliest opportunity.
Play Note: Phormio is trying to win the battle, therefore he
is going to go all out to assemble the strongest force possible
and hit as hard as he can. Sometimes he is going to get into
a battle that he cannot win. Welcome to the Peloponnesian
War where not everything works out as planned; just ask the
Spartans about Pylos.
Design Note: This is why in a three-player game; the human
team is given an Honor bonus as compensation.
15.63 Strategos Honor
At the conclusion of the Theater phase a Phormio faction will
trade in surplus tokens (sets of four) for Honor.
Design Note: I want to set expectations, I have done my best to
cover the basic situations that you will tactically encounter to
resolve a Phormio-controlled issue. I cannot write instructions
for the millions of possible combinations of board position, issue, Enemy forces and overall game situation that will optimize
the ‘Bots performance. Do what the Strategy table is asking
you to do and do not try to over-think the simple instructions.
When for some reason nothing makes sense to you, roll a die
to resolve any reasonable choices. Remember this is a manual
game and if you are playing solitaire the goal of these instructions is to give you a framework to have some fun exploring
the design when no one is around.
Important Note: When assembling units from Theaters that
have a Theater queue, maintain at least one unit per base
aligned to the Theate type (land or naval). When given the
choice to violate this restriction or assemble less units than
allowed, assemble less units.
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Pericles Playbook
15.64 Battle
15.92 Ostracism
A. If Phormio loses, take losses, and then if possible eliminate
the maximum number, versus strength, of Enemy units possible.
15.93 Oration Honor
At this point all available forces are present in the battle. Use
all normal Battle resolution rules and procedures.
B. If Phormio wins eliminate Athenian or Spartan units as a
priority to gain Hostages and once that is accomplished, eliminate the maximum number—not strength—of Enemy units with
the remainder.
C. If Phormio wins and has an equal or greater amount of combined strength in the optional follow-on battle (naval in a land
Theater or land in a naval Theater) then conduct that battle. If
this is not the case, no further battles are fought and the military
issue is resolved. If it’s a close call, especially near the end of
the game when victory or defeat is on the line, let a random die
roll decide.
15.7 Maintenance and Redeployment
If the Ostracism issue was placed on the Assembly by the Aristophanes card, that faction has won the Ostracism issue. Follow the
normal rules for the Favor of the Assembly and Honor awards.
Assuming that there was no Ostracism issue in play, roll 1d6
for each Phormio faction and compare the results: add the differential to the Honor of the faction with the higher die roll and
subtract this value from the other Phormio faction. If the die
roll is a tie, do not alter the Honor, but see 15.96, Unique Issues.
If the differential was 5, an Ostracism issue has automatically
occurred: implement rule 15.92.
15.94 Determining Controlling Faction
If there was no Ostracism issue awarded, the side that gained the
higher Oration Honor die roll in 15.93 becomes the Controlling
faction, gains the Favor of the Assembly, and moves the marker
toward their faction.
15.95 War/Peace
Conduct per the normal rules. If possible, Phormio will redeploy at least one unit aligned to the Theater type (land unit to
land theater, naval unit to naval theater). If there are choices on
where to redeploy units, determine Delian and Peloponnesian
League moves randomly and leave (when possible) one unit in
a Theater to give Control or Contest that location.
15.8 Phormio Dead End
The War/Peace issue can only occur if called for by the Aristophanes card. In situations when this occurs the War/Peace
issue is won by the faction whose track the War/Peace issue
is initially placed upon and is considered a won issue that can
individually cause Peace to change to War, or if a War/Peace
issue is simultaneously won by the opposing side, War changes
to Peace with the normal Honor award.
15.96 Unique Issues
If you follow the Phormio flow chart logic and you find yourself
without a path forward, then you need to establish two choices
that come the closest to fulfilling the instructions and randomly
choose one of the options. Overall, Phormio will use maximum
effort if a lesser one is not indicated by his instructions or this
rule. Also, be mindful of 15.15 G, and avoid an obvious defeat
when possible.
15.9 Brasidas Abbreviated Solitaire Variant
Design Note: In situations where you are playing solitaire or
both humans are playing against two Phormio factions you
can speed things up by substituting the Brasidas procedure
for rules 15.4 and 15.5.
If the Oration honor die roll resulted in a tie, one of that side’s
unique issues will occur if one is available. If there is only one
unique issue that issue is awarded to the Controlling faction. If
there are two unique issues available, randomly choose one of
them; that issue is awarded to the Opposition faction.
15.97 Strategos Tokens
Give each faction 10 Strategos tokens or half of those available
in the Stock and the Strategy Board, whichever is larger (the
odd token goes to the Controlling faction). If there are Strategos
tokens remaining in the stock, then roll a 1d6 and give each
faction Strategos tokens equal to half the value of the die roll,
round down or half of those remaining, which ever is less. For
example a die roll of 1 yields no additional Strategos tokens.
15.91 Issue Award
In this variant take the Primary Strategy Issues called for in the
Strategy Matrix (see 15.3) and award them as won issues to the
Phormio faction. If the Aristophanes card placed any issues on
the Assembly display, that faction automatically wins that issue
in addition to those awarded by the Strategy matrix. If the total
number of issues awarded to either faction is less than 3, reveal
the top card of the Political deck and give that Phormio faction
the issue that aligns to the issue bonus for that Phormio’s faction. If the card chosen is for an issue that is not available, then
continue drawing cards until the requisite number of issues has
been chosen. Do this until Phormio has 3 issues.
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Pericles Playbook
Diagram: The Aristophanes card has
several elements. At the top is a quote
from the Clouds play. Next comes an
instruction to place the War/Peace issue
on each opposition faction’s one space,
so the War/Peace issue is placed on the
Athenian Demagogue and Spartan
Agiad 1 space. The last portion of the
card is an event titled Peace Party so
each side has its Strategos Stock reduced from 21 to 15 for this turn.
16.0 Comprehensive Example of Play
Design Note: I first started doing these with my Pacific War
design back in 1985. I believe they are very important to help
players integrate the rules and lower the barrier to entry. For
this edition of my over 3 decade tradition I am going to try
and have these reflect elements of the training regime (14.1)
by using the Archidamian War scenario (14.1.06 A), while also
integrating the solitaire rules. The chances that there will be
zero mistakes even after many people have looked these over
are slim to none, but be of good cheer and remember, “time
heals all errata.”
16.1 Setup
This example of play uses the Turn 6 Setup that begins the
Archidamian War 14.1.06 A and 14.3 Second Peloponnesian
War (See Diagram).
If you look at the Sequence of play, each turn begins with an
Aristophanes Phase. Due to the special rules for this scenario
the first Aristophanes card is Clouds A.
Diagram: This is the Master Chart Turn 6 Setup, which portrays
the situation at the beginning of the 2nd Peloponnesian War
and the Archidamian War scenario that will be covered in this
comprehensive example of play. Note that the human is playing
the Spartan Eurypontid faction; Phormio is playing the Agiad
faction. The Athenians are also being played by the Phormio
Since this Aristophanes card does not have a Will of Assembly
event nor a Plague event, we now go to the Draw Political Card
It so happens that the mini-scenario 14.1.06 B Sparta Declares
War uses the same start as the Archidamian War, so this next
portion is the comprehensive example of play covers this training scenario also.
The special scenario rules indicate that each Spartan faction
begins this scenario with their Faction Leader card (as always)
rules, but I will use the Brasidas solo rules to handle the political
element to speed up play. Since this is how the scenario is being
played, both Athenian factions get a +20 honor handicap, but
the Agiad faction that is on the human’s side gets no handicap, so
both Spartan factions begin with 10 honor points per the normal
scenario instructions.
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Pericles Playbook
plus a specified card (Eurypontid card 37 and Agiad card 34).
Note that each card has been turned so it reads right side up for
the owner of the card. In addition each player receives eight
random cards.
It should be noted that in a four player all-human game these
activities would be performed by each faction simultaneously.
Since the Agiad faction is being run by Phormio, the sequence
of play is interrupted while Phormio chooses his strategy for
the turn. This is done by examining the Spartan Strategy Matrix
and determining Phormio’s strategy. What is going to happen
is we are going to choose the first strategy whose conditions
are applicable.
The first applicable strategy is Protect Key Allies; in particular
Boeotia theater. This Spartan decision was arrived at by determining that the Defense of Sparta and the two Will of Assembly
strategies were not applicable. We roll the die and it is not a six,
so this strategy is chosen as Phormio’s Primary Strategy (hereafter PS). If the die roll had been a six, we would have skipped
this strategy and gone to the next applicable one available.
Diagram: Per the Archidamian War scenario scenariuo instructions (14.1.06 A) both Spartan factions start with these cards plus
8 additional random cards.
We now examine what Phormio will attempt to accomplish. First
off, Phormio has to attempt and win specific issues in a specific
order known as his PS Strategy issues. For the Protect Key Allies
strategy Phormio will focus on winning in the specific order of
a military, then a league, and last another military issue. There
are more instructions that we will reexamine during the Theater
phase, but briefly, these three issues will be placed in Boeotia
and Sparta based on the order of placement, from first to last that
correspond to the issue implementation notes column. (More on
these details later in this narrative.)
We are now ready to execute the Boule segment. Since this is
the first turn of the scenario there are no hostages available,
so the Controlling faction, which is the human player, decides
to choose a Diplomatic issue that is placed on the Eurypontid
track on the 2 space. Now the Opposition faction chooses an
issue and based on the required PS strategy issues, Phormio
chooses a military issue and places it on the Agiad 1 space.
Now the human Eurypontid faction chooses 3 issues and based
on the cards chooses to pick one military, one league, and one
oracle issue that are all placed in the large issues space on the
assembly display.
Diagram: Opening Spartan hands; since the Eurypontid faction
is the human, that player needs to establish an Entourage by
placing three cards face down. The human decides to place card
37 (Gerousia 5), card 46 (Gerousia 14), and card 58 (Gerousia
26) into his entourage. On the other hand, Phormio does not use
an entourage and has access to all nine of his cards during the
remainder of the Boule segment and Assembly Phase.
Now the Phormio opposition faction looks at the situation
through the decision charts. The first question is: are all of the
PS issues required to execute its strategy on the display? The
answer is yes since there are two military and one league issue
on the City States faction track on the Issues zero space, or on
either faction’s side of the track. This means that we pick the
two issues based on the two strongest cards as aligned to an
issue. Note that the faction leader card is never used for this
determination. In this case card 35 (Gerousia 3) is an 8 value for
military and card 34 (Gerousia 2) is equal in strength, but since
there is only one War/Peace issue and it is already on the display,
we pick a military issue. For the second choice card 34 is still
the remaining strongest card, but for the same reason as before
this is moot, so the second strongest card is a tie between cards
36 (Gerousia 4) and 39 (Gerousia 7) that both have a strength
of 7 when aligned to their issue. Since we have two choices
we randomize using the 1d6 and it is determined that card 36
prevails and the second issue chosen is the league issue that is
placed on the central issues space.
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Pericles Playbook
able, the human chooses to play a weaker card so the issue gets
played to the mutual benefit of Sparta. Now the human could
just play card 59 (Gerousia 27) that has a 1 value if not played
on the games issue, but that might give the Opposition too strong
a move when one considers oration honor; yet it turns out that
given other considerations that is what is played. The result is
Phormio’s 7 versus the human’s 1 value places the league issue on the Agiad six space with Phormio receiving 3 Strategos
tokens. Since the human’s card was not aligned to the issue he
receives no Strategos tokens.
Diagram: Spartan display at the end of the Boule segment.
Now in a four player game the Athenian display would look
similar at this time, but since Athens is being played by two
additional Phormio ‘Bots, we will pick them up after we have
concluded the Spartan Political Phase to preserve some mystery
to the solo experience.
Since Sparta and Athens are at peace we use the white pawn
to designate the issues that are being debated during each of
the six rounds to follow. If we were at war we would use the
black pawn as a mnemonic. The human Eurypontid faction
designates the first issue. Any issue on the display whether in
the middle of the issues (zero space) or on either player’s track
can be chosen. With the reduced number of Strategos tokens
available, the human chooses to designate a Military issue on
the issues space by placing the white pawn on the issue. Now
each player, if human, would pick a card and hold it face down,
then simultaneously reveal and see how the issue is moved.
Since we are playing against Phormio, the human chooses card
33 (Gerousia 1) that is an 8 strength military card if played on
a military issue and if played this way will yield 4 Strategos
tokens to the Eurypontid player. Now we examine the Assembly debate decision chart and since Phormio is not choosing an
issue he plays his strongest card aligned to the issue if he has
one, which he does and he plays card 35 (Gerousia 3) with an 8
value. Since the differential between the two cards is zero, the
issue does not move. The Eurypontid faction gains 4 Strategos
tokens with the Agiad faction gaining 3 Strategos tokens. Place
these behind each faction’s shield.
Now it’s the Agiad Opposition faction’s turn to designate an issue, so returning to the Assembly decision chart, we determine
that Phormio is choosing the issue and then we are confronted
with the question of whether all PS issues are on Phormio’s
track. Since Phormio needs a military, a league, and another
military in that order, we need to designate a league issue since
one military issue is already on Phormio’s track. Hence with
a No answer we need to choose the league issue and choose
Phormio’s strongest league issue card. As it so happens card 36
(Gerousia 4) has a strength of 7 when used on a league issue and
it is played. The human only has card 55 aligned to the league
issue. The human does not have to play a card aligned to the
issue, but if he does so he will gain 1 Strategos token whether
he wins or not. However, since there are two league issues avail-
Now the human designates the league issue that is on the center
space and plays card 59 (Gerousia 27) with a value of 5 and 1
Strategos token. Phormio does not have a card aligned to the
league issue, so plays its strongest card, which turns out to be
card 34 (Gerousia 2) that is also a 5 card. This results in the
issue remaining in place with the Eurypontid faction gaining
another Strategos token.
The choice now moves back to Phormio who now has a military
and a league issue on its track, so it chooses another military
issue in the center. Phormio chooses card 39 (Gerousia 7) with
a value of 7 on the military issue. The human now determines
that Phormio has won three issues and is likely to gain control
of the government, so chooses to limit his losses by playing card
44 (Gerousia 12) with a value of 6. Phormio wins the issue by
one and moves the military issue onto its 1 space. Now between
the two sides 5 Strategos tokens could be awarded, but there are
only four left. Starting with the Controlling faction (Eurypontid) the two sides alternate taking one Strategos until all have
been expended. In this case each side gains two, expending the
remaining Strategos in the stock. Hereafter no further Strategos
will be awarded until the Strategy Board segment.
Now the human is positive that the control of the government
will shift, so he chooses the military issue on the center space
as opposed to going after one on Phormio’s track, which would
actually hurt the Spartan cause in the ensuing Theater phase.
Since the human wants to win the issue, he decides to use his
faction leader, whose value against any issue except War/Peace
is 7 and 1 Strategos, but with none remaining this bonus is moot.
Phormio will only use its faction leader if Ostracism or War/
Peace are being debated, so since this is not the case he plays
his strongest card, which is a 4, so the human places the military
issue on its 3 space.
For the sixth and final round Phormio determines that all of
its required PS issues (two military and one league) are on its
track, so now it plays its strongest card to bring an issue onto
its track. In this case the strongest is card 54 (Gerousia 22) with
a value of 6 when played on the Diplomatic issue. But since
the diplomatic issue is on the Eurypontid track we have to test
for feasibility, which is the issue aligned value of the card of 6,
minus 2 which would yield sufficient movement to get the issue
onto the Agiad track, so the Diplomatic issue is designated and
this card is played. It so happens that the human has card 38
(Gerousia 6) with a value of 7 on a diplomatic issue, so the issue
moves up one more space from the Eurypontid 2 to the 3 space.
© 2016 GMT Games, LLC
Pericles Playbook
This ends the Assembly phase, so now we begin the Political
segment. Again if this were a four human game both sides
would have to finish their Assembly phase before the Political
phase could begin.
Diagram: This is how the Spartan display looks at the end of
the Assembly phase.
The first thing determined is oration honor. The Eurypontid
Oration total is 6 (two issues on the three space) versus the
Agiad 9 (one issue on 6, and three issues on 1 spaces). This is a
differential of 3, so the Eurypontid honor is reduced from 10 to
7 and the Agiad honor is increased from 10 to 13. Remember,
you can never gain or lose more than 3 Honor due to Oration.
Next there is a determination on which faction controls the government until the next political phase. The faction that wins the
most issues controls the government. In this situation the Agiad
faction won four issues (value does not impact this unless there
is a tie) versus two won by the controlling Eurypontid faction.
Therefore the Agiad faction is now the controlling faction; the
Assembly marker is moved to the Agiad space on the Assembly
track, and the control marker is shifted to the Agiad side of the
faction track.
At this time all non-military, league, diplomatic, and oracle
issues are resolved in a specific order (see Sequence of Play).
The only issue in this category is the War/Peace issue. When at
peace, which is how the scenario begins if either or both sides
have a faction that wins the War/Peace issue, War is declared
(substitute the black for the white pawn to denote this change
in status).
During the Strategy Board segment each side, starting with
the Controlling faction (currently the Agiad faction) reveal
their 7th card in their hand. All cards except the faction leader
award one Strategos token. As it so happens Phormio still has
his faction leader card available and since the scenario begins
in a Pre-Plague condition, the Agiad faction gains 2 Strategos
tokens from the five available. The human player used his faction leader during the Assembly Phase, so his last card is not a
faction leader card and gains one Strategos token.
The last portion of the Political Phase is the Theater Award issue where each faction substitutes one of their faction Theater
issue markers on a one for one basis with the type of issues
that they won during the Assembly Phase plus add their two
rumor markers.
Diagram: Here we see the won issues being replaced with the
faction Theater issue markers that will be placed secretly on
the map plus two rumor markers. Note that the War/Peace issue
does not have a Theater issue marker as it was resolved during
the Political Phase, Sparta is now at war with Athens. Also note
that the Oracle and League issue in the issue center space were
not won by either side and are removed.
If this were a game with four humans the Athenians would
identically execute the process that the Spartans just concluded.
However, in this comprehensive example of play I want to show
how you can use a combination of the Phormio Primary Strategy
determination with the Brasidas abbreviated solitaire procedure
for speeding up the normal Phormio process. Now it is perfectly
permissible for the human to play out two Athenian Phormio
processes, but for this example we will use the Brasidas process.
So, the Brasidas process works like this. It begins in the same
manner as Phormio whereby each Athenian faction, starting with
the Controlling faction (Aristocrats) picks its Strategy. As this
is technically taking place simultaneously with the Spartans, we
work all of these decisions under Peace, not war. In this case
the Aristocrats choose the Granary strategy (die roll of 2 not
6). This yields a military and a league issue. The Demagogues
now skip past this issue and end up with an Expansion strategy
targeted on Macedonia, the first theater that meets the neutral
condition specified in the strategy. This also gives a military and
a league issue to the Demagogues. As both factions need to gain
at least three issues we examine the Demagogues; due to the
Aristophanes card the Demagogues have three issues (military,
league, War/Peace) whereas the Aristocrats only have two. So
we draw the top card of the Athenian deck and it is card 29
(Antiochis X) where the Aristocrat aligned issue is the Oracle,
so this is awarded to the Aristocrats. In addition both Athenian
factions are given their two rumor markers.
Next, oration honor is calculated by rolling a 1d6 for each
Athenian faction. The Aristocrats roll a 3 versus the Demagogue
5 producing a differential of 2, so the Demagogues’ honor is
increased from 30 to 32 and the Aristocrats are reduced to 28
from 30. With the Brasidas procedure the Demagogues’ higher
oration honor makes them the new Controlling faction and the
Favor of the Assembly moves from the neutral space to the
Demagogue space.
We now examine the non-Theater issues and we discover that the
Athenians also declared war on Sparta, so war it is. It should be
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Pericles Playbook
noted that during Peace if either or both sides win a War/Peace
issue, war is declared. If at War both sides have to have a faction
that wins the War/Peace issue in order for Peace to be declared.
As there are twenty Strategos tokens remaining after six were
removed by the Aristophanes card, each faction is given 10
Strategos tokens.
We are now ready to begin the all-important Theater phase. The
first act is to begin the Theater Issue Placement Segment by first
determining the Honor order, which is Demagogues, Aristocrats,
Agiad, and Eurypontid. As a mnemonic each faction is issued a
counter to this effect. So here is the situation.
Diagram: Ordinarily in a four-player game the Theater issues
would be behind their faction shield to keep them secret from
the other City State. You are allowed to show them to your City
State’s other faction. Honor order is not a secret and is shown
here. For the remainder of this Theater Phase this is the order
of activity and it does not change due to circumstances that alter
Honor during the action that follows.
We now start placing the Theater issues onto the map. The
Demagogues are going first and use the Phormio Theater issue
placement decision chart. We start at the top and the following
decisions need to be evaluated.
1. Have all issues been placed? No (we just started)
2. Is this the 3rd, 6th, or 9th issue to be placed? No (we just
started, but when this occurs we will be deploying rumor
markers down the road).
3. Is there a friendly base in a granary theater or no base and a
league issue in a granary queue? Yes (the Hellespont meets
this condition)
4. Are any PS (Primary Strategy) issues available for placement?
We now need to place a PS issue. If we examine the Demagogue
Strategy of Expansion in the Macedonia Theater we look in the
Issue Order column and we note that we are supposed to play a
league issue in Macedonia (face down). Now it is important here
to talk briefly about Theater queues. What is going to happen is
all of the Theater issues in the diagram are going to be placed
on the map. Whenever a second issue is placed in a Theater
it is stacked on top in a LIFO queue (Last In, First Out). This
is perhaps the hardest concept to wrap your strategy thoughts
around. Whatever you want to happen first, needs to be the last
thing in a queue (on or near the top). The thing you want to
happen last is the first thing (near the bottom) in the queue. So
to translate this into what the Demagogues are trying to do is
place a league issue into the queue before they place a military
issue. The reason for this is the military issue will be executed
before the league issue. If the Demagogues are successful in
deploying military forces into the neutral Macedonia theater
they will enable a subsequent league issue to build a base. The
reason for the order is you cannot build a base in a theater if
you do not have friendly military forces present. Hence Last in
(military issue yet to be placed), first out and executed.
Now the 2nd in the Honor order places an issue, so the Aristocrats according to the chart, following the same logic as the
Demagogues above, place a league issue in Sicily. Then the
Agiad faction places a military issue, but we note that the first
military issue is placed in Boeotia. The basic plan is depending
on how things during the Theater phase resolve in Boeotia that
league issue will raise local Peloponnesian forces in Boeotia,
hopefully with Spartan forces reinforcing, followed by a military issue in Boeotia resulting in a successful battle to clear the
theater of Enemy forces.
Now it is finally the human’s turn. The human has one piece
of information that was not available to the Phormio ‘Bots;
Sparta is now at war with Athens. The human has a diplomatic
and military issue available. Sparta is under a naval blockade
via Naupactus and Athens that prevents Sparta getting into the
Aegean. So my thinking here is to try and use the Diplomatic
issue to cause a Delian League base in the Aegean to revolt and
convert to Peloponnesian. I will use my military issue to protect
my Peloponnesian allies. It appears that the Spartan Phormio is
handling Boeotia, so I will put a military issue into Chalcidice.
As I would like to have the diplomatic issue resolve before any
Enemy activity I will hold it for as long as possible. Since I want
to win the last battle in Chalcidice this turn I want the military
issue to be the bottom of the queue so my first action is to place
the military issue in Chalcidice.
The action now rolls back to the Demagogues (Honor 1) and
following their instructions the next issue placed is the military
issue in Macedonia. The Aristocrats now follow this by placing
their military issue into Sicily. Then the Agiad faction places
the military issue in Boeotia. Now it’s my choice and my plan
is to place my two rumor markers before committing my diplomatic issue to the Cyclades where I hope to create a revolt.
I would like to slow down the Athenians, so I place my rumor
marker in Sicily.
Now when we look at the decision chart we note that it is now
the 3rd issue placement, which means that Phormio will now
deploy one of its available rumor markers to the map. It is placed
randomly on top of any queue that has a Spartan issue on top.
There are currently three locations that meet this criteria: Sicily,
Boeotia, and Chalcidice. I assign die rolls to the options and roll
a 1d6 that results in the rumor marker being placed in Boeotia.
Then it is the same decision for the Aristocrats where Sicily
and Chalcidice are the targets and where the rumor marker is
placed. The Spartan Phormio also places a rumor marker with
the choices Boeotia and Macedonia with the rumor marker being
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Pericles Playbook
placed in Macedonia. I choose to place the remaining Eurypontid rumor marker in Macedonia so I can potentially control the
timing of how things happen in the north.
As it now turns out, the Demagogues are out of issues and place
their last rumor marker in Sicily from the others available. The
Aristocrat faction now enters a different set of decisions as all
of its PS issues have been placed. So, we now are asked whether
this is a league issue, which it is not, so we now are told to choose
the issue randomly. As there is only the Oracle issue we are told
to do this randomly with a 1d20 (result of 3), resulting in the
Athenian holy men going to Aetolia (theater 3 corresponding
to the die roll). Spartan Phormio still has a PS issue (league),
which per its strategy is placed in Boeotia. I place my last issue
(diplomatic) in the Cyclades.
Now it is the Demagogues turn, but they are out of issues, so
they pass, the Aristocrats place their last marker (rumor) randomly on a queue. Amongst four choices, it randomly goes into
the Cyclades on top of my diplomatic issue. Then the Agiad
faction places their last issue in Sparta. That ends the Theater
issue placement segment.
So, now we have debated strategy, expressed those strategies as
issues placed on a map and now we get to see how it all resolves
in the Theater Resolution Segment.
Continuing with Honor order, the Demagogues must reveal one
Athenian issue that is on top of a queue. Using the logic on the
Theater Issue Choice decision chart, the Phormio ‘Bots will try
to resolve issues in their Primary Strategy Theater, which in this
case is Macedonia, but there is a Spartan issue on top, so the
Demagogue must choose randomly. That ends up being Sicily,
the Aristocrat primary strategy theater.
Next up is the Agiad faction whose primary strategy is Boeotia where there is a Spartan issue on top of the queue that is
revealed as an Agiad league issue. Based on the instruction,
since this is not in an Enemy city state and there is a yet to
be resolved military issue, the Agiad faction is going to build
military units. According to the strategy matrix, since this is a
PS issue we are instructed to build a naval unit, which is contradicted by the league decision chart. In all cases the strategy
matrix takes priority over the decision charts. In this case the
decision chart says to build land units in a land theater, but the
strategy matrix specifies building naval units. Since there is
one Peloponnesian base in Boeotia one Peloponnesian naval
unit is placed in that theater.
It is now my (the human) turn. Since the Chalcidice only has
one issue located there and since I placed it, I know it is a
military issue. I think I can steal a march and get some forces
into that region and potentially win big in the north. I flip over
a Eurypontid (human controlled) military issue. Since I am
human I do not use any charts per se, but I will need to use the
charts to see how the three Phormio factions will respond. If
we examine the abbreviated Military Issue Sequence (9.0) the
first relevant action is point 4 since the Chalcidice is a contested
Theater. I have the choice to either raid or conduct a military
expedition. I choose to launch a military expedition. This starts
with Expedition Assembly and Strategos commitment. As the
sole human and the commanding general (issue owner is always
the commanding general) I commit 4 Strategos tokens (out of
a possible 5 for a commanding general) to the battle. Now if
this were a 4 player human game then each of the other three
factions would now commit from 0-4 Strategos tokens. Each
person would have put the tokens in their hand and then ONLY
the Commanding General and their Compatriot would reveal
how many tokens were committed.
Since we are using Phormio as our opponents you examine the
Military Resolution decision chart. All three of the Phormio
‘Bots will follow the same decision path in this situation as you
will conclude that Phormio is not the commanding general and
as this is early in the Theater Resolution Segment all of the ‘Bots
have outstanding theater issues that have yet to be resolved, so
they will all commit zero Strategos.
Diagram: Sicily Theater queue where the Athenians control the
first issue to be revealed.
Flipping over the top Athenian issue, we find that it is a Demagogue rumor marker, which is removed. The Aristocrats are
focused on Sicily, but now there is a Spartan issue on top, so
the choices are Aetolia and the Cyclades with Aetolia being
chosen. This is an Aristocrat Oracle issue, so we go to the
Oracle decision chart. Since this issue is not associated with the
Aristocrat primary strategy, they resolve the issue by gaining
3 Honor (28 to 31).
Design Note: I have wrestled to have the ‘Bots be a bit more
nuanced in how they commit Strategos by using a random die
roll, etc., but in the end the solo human will find it way to easy
to manipulate this logic and run the ‘Bots out of Strategos and
prevent them from executing their strategies. I have found from
extensive solo playtesting that the ‘Bots do much better if they
follow their own plans. If you want more nuance, randomly
have the ‘Bots commit Strategos, but be aware of what else
the ‘Bot needs to accomplish when you do this.
The commanding general (4 Strategos) and his Phormio ‘Bot
Compatriot (Zero Strategos) in total have committed 4 Strategos.
All of the Strategos for any commitment must come from those
available to that player, so in this case all four come from the previously won Eurypontid 8 Strategos total and these 4 Strategos
are placed in the Chalcidice Theater leaving four for future use.
© 2016 GMT Games, LLC
Pericles Playbook
Play Note: Four is the magic number in many cases, so be
aware when you are committing Strategos that take your available below four. In this case this battle is very important, so
I am betting Spartan strategy on Nike (victory), but I believe
4 is sufficient since I will not be able to get a naval unit into
this Theater that will be explained below.
So now the commanding general conducts movement with up
to 4 military units (either land or naval) total that can attempt
to move to Chalcidice. In a nutshell I want to try and win a land
battle and a naval battle, but to do that the Spartans first have to
win a land battle. We will find that the naval battle is a trireme
too far, but I want to walk you through why that is the case step
by step. Hereafter I will not go into as much detail on movement,
but what follows is the blow by blow of how one simple rule
can create a great deal of nuanced movement.
All Theaters are connected to other Theaters by routes. In order
for any land or naval unit to exit (not Enter) a Theater along a
route they must meet the exit criteria. So let’s try and move a
Spartan land unit from Sparta to Chalcidice. Sparta has two exit
routes, one is a naval only route, and so no land unit can move
along that route. The other route is the deep blue that requires
that for a land unit to exit Sparta, the Spartans must have military forces whose land unit strength is equal to or greater than
Athenian land unit types (remember bases are both land and
naval unit types). The Spartan land strength is 20 (two strength
for each of the 8 Spartan land unit and two Spartan bases) to
zero Athenian, so clearly the Spartan land unit can exit Sparta.
Important Player Note on Battles: Unlike other wargames
you may have played, there is no minimum value of units
required to have a land or naval battle. Strategos tokens and
Treachery markers have a value of one, not to mention the
value of the Battle card. Even when there are no land or naval
units present, you can have a land or naval battle with Strategos
tokens alone supplying the total strength for one side. You can
also have a side with a value of zero in a battle plus the Battle
card value. Obviously if one side has no forces present, they
are not going to take any losses, but they would lose the land
or naval battle, which might allow the optional second battle
to occur or not, based on the wishes of the first battle winner.
If you read the rules literally and do not try to impose the
logic of other wargames on Pericles you should no problems.
Diagram: In the following illustration we see the Spartan unit
exiting Sparta and about to enter the Isthmus of Corinth. This
unit will continue through Boeotia and enter Thessalia where it
will have to stop as the total land strength in Thessalia—once
the Spartan unit enters—will be 2 (Spartan land strength) versus
Athens’ 4 (two one-strength land units and one two-strength base)
preventing it from exiting Thessalia. Its movement is complete
for this military expedition, but not necessarily for the remainder
of the Theater Resolution segment.
Our intrepid Spartan land unit has now arrived in the Isthmus of
Corinth, where Spartan land strength is 6 (two land units with
one strength and two bases of two strength each), so our Spartan
land unit can exit this Theater and continue moving. There are
multiple routes that exit the Isthmus of Corinth. The Spartans
can move into Athens, but then they would be prevented from
exiting Athens, as Athenian land strength is 10 (six land units
with strength 1 and two bases with a strength of 2 each). So,
that route is blocked. The Spartans could try to go to Naupactus,
but then they would again be stopped by the land strength of
3. The last route goes to Boeotia, which is a land route only, so
we continue to march north.
© 2016 GMT Games, LLC
Pericles Playbook
Now that we went through that mental calculation, hereafter we
realize that all paths to Chalcidice must go through Thessalia
(where incidentally Thermopylae is located). As we examine
the path we note that our forces have land and naval strength
equality or greater in the Isthmus of Corinth and Boeotia, but
in Thessalia the Athenians have four land unit strength and two
naval strength (remember bases are both land and naval unit
types). There are currently no forces in Macedonia, so my plan
is based on getting through the ‘hot gates’ in Thessalia.
To thread this needle I do the following. I have to get four land
and two naval strength into Thessalia to allow for any other military forces to arrive in Chalcidice. To accomplish this I first send
one Spartan land unit into Thessalia followed by a second. As
Spartan land units are two land strength each I have now equaled
the land strength in Thessalia, permitting other land forces to
move through that Theater. As you become more familiar with
this simple rule, you will find it faster to move units in groups.
naval unit and one base with a strength of two each) and Athens
16 (six Athenian naval units and two bases with a strength of
two each). The Peloponnesian naval units can enter Sparta, but
then they have the same issue with Athens. The last route out of
the Isthmus is a land only route, so we conclude that these three
naval units are not going to arrive in Chalcidice.
Now we see the advantage of the earlier strategy instruction to
build a naval unit in Boeotia as this puts one naval unit outside
the dual blockade of Naupactus and Athens. Now we examine
Thessalia and since it has a base with a naval strength of 2, our
single naval unit in Boeotia is not going to arrive in Chalcidice.
The point of this last piece was to explain why I now realize
that I cannot get a naval unit into Chalcidice and I am going to
focus my efforts on winning a land battle.
For my last two units I decide to send one Spartan unit from
Sparta to Chalcidice that now with an open route traces its move
into Chalcidice. For my last unit I choose to send a Peloponnesian land unit from the Isthmus of Corinth to Chalcidice;
since there are no Athenian issues present there is no threat in
the Isthmus this turn. I could have taken the Peloponnesian unit
from Aetolia or Boeotia, but based on other considerations I take
it out of the Isthmus.
Now the Spartan special unit is the 300, which is both a Strategos and a land unit. This gives the unit the ability to be self
deploying since it is also a Strategos token. I see no reason not
to send it, so the 300 also march into the Chalcidice.
Diagram: Here we see that two of the 4 Spartan military units
have moved into Thessalia and now equal the strength of the
Athenian forces. Subsequent Spartan land units can now enter
and exit Thessalia on their way into Macedonia then terminating
in Chalcidice where the military issue is being resolved.
So now that I have opened the land route to Chalcidice I make a
calculation as to whether I can do the same for my naval units, as
my objective is to win first a land battle and then a naval battle
to crush the Athenian position in Chalcidice. Sparta has naval
units in three theaters: Sicily, Isthmus of Corinth, and Boeotia.
The naval unit in Sicily has a naval strength of 1 so we quickly
see that we can exit Sicily, but we cannot get this naval unit
through Corcyra that has a naval strength of 4 (two naval units
and one base—only Athenian, not Delian, naval units have a
strength of two). I then examine the Isthmus of Corinth where
there are three Peloponnesian naval units. What we are about
to discover is how Naupactus and Athens (actually the port at
Piraeus) historically blockaded the Peloponnesian (historically
Corinthian) fleet as the strength in Naupactus is 4 (one Athenian
Diagram: Chalcidice on the eve of battle. We see Athens has its
original forces of a Delian league base and an Athenian naval
and land unit. The Spartans have one base, one Spartan land unit,
two Peloponnesian land units, one Spartan Treachery marker, the
Spartan 300 and four Strategos tokens. The Athenians commit
their Ship of State token.
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Pericles Playbook
the Athenian State Ship is flipped to its unavailable side (the
non-embossed side).
Battle Calculation
Battle Location: Chalcidice
Forces in Chalcidice:
1 Delian Base, 1 Athenian land, 1 Athenian naval
1 Peloponnesian base, 2 Peloponnesian land, 2 Spartan land, 1
Treachery marker, 4 Strategos tokens
Each player turns over the top card of their battle deck (cards
not used during the Assembly Phase), the Spartans turn up a 2
(you only use the value of the card, no bonuses) and the Athenians turn up a 3.
Battle Note: The opposing side does not send any forces, only
those already in that theater. If they had wanted to reinforce their
position they would have needed an earlier resolved military
issue of their own to send forces into the Isthmus.
Battle: Chalcidice is a Land Theater so a mandatory land Battle
is conducted.
Spartan land total is 14: 2 Spartan Land for 4 + 2 Peloponnesian Land for 2, 1 Base for 2, 5 Strategos tokens (note one
of them is the 300 Strategos) for 5 + 1 Treachery marker for 1
plus a random Battle deck card of 2 value = 16
Athens land total is 4: 1 Athenian Land for 1, 1 Delian Base
for 2, 0 Strategos tokens for 0, State Ship for 1 plus a random
Battle Deck card of 3 = 7
Land Battle outcome: Land Battle outcome: Sparta 16 – Athens
7 = 9, so the Athenians must lose 9 land value, since there is
only 1 land unit, it is eliminated. We know this because if you
look at the Land Combat Losses: Battle loser table we see that
for each Spartan land unit two Athenian side land cubes of any
type (Athenian, Delian, or Argos) are removed. Since the Delian
League base has a friendly naval unit located in the Theater the
base cannot be eliminated and the remaining potential 8 losses
are forfeited.
Based on the Losing Side’s eliminated units (1 land), we see that
it takes 2 eliminated Athenian land units to eliminate 1 winning
Peloponnesian land unit, so no winner losses are assessed and
the land Battle is concluded. This is found on the Land Combat
Losses: Battle Winner table. We note that we would have to
have lost four land units (any color) in order to eliminate one
Spartan land unit or two land units to eliminate one Peloponnesian land unit.
Based on the results the Spartan commanding general (Eurypontid) receives 2 Honor (twice the number of units eliminated)
moving his score from 7 to 9, the Agiad faction gains 1 Honor
(13 to 14 total Honor) and each of the Athenian factions lose
1 Honor (Aristocrats from 31 to 30 and Demagogues from 32
to 31).
Optional Naval Battle: Sparta now decides that it does not
want to fight the optional naval Battle, so the military issue is
resolved and all Strategos tokens are returned to the stock and
Diagram: Post-battle situation in Chalcidice.
Continuing with Honor order, it is now the Demagogues’ turn
and there are two Theater queues with an Athenian issue showing
(Boeotia and the Cyclades). Randomizing, the Athenian issue
in the Cyclades is revealed to be a Demagogue rumor marker.
Now the Demagogues are faced with only one choice, so the
Boeotia Theater marker is revealed to be the other Demagogue
rumor marker. The Spartan Phormio Agiad ‘Bot now chooses
to follow its primary strategy. Since the Boeotia Theater queue
is a Spartan issue, the Agiad ‘Bot flips up this issue and reveals
an Agiad military issue.
We first look at the Strategy matrix as it takes priority over the
decision chart when it is the ‘Bots primary strategy and we are
instructed to commit 5 Strategos tokens and conduct a military
expedition. This is the same procedure that we followed for the
last military expedition where the ‘Bot will use 5 of its 10 available Strategos tokens that are placed in Boeotia. I (human) need
three Strategos for my future Diplomatic issue in the Cyclades,
but this is going to be an overwhelming attack. I choose to commit zero tokens and save one for later. As both of the Athenian
‘Bots have yet to prosecute their main strategies they respond
just as Athens did when Plataea was put under siege, not much.
So they commit zero Strategos tokens.
We now use the Phormio Commanding General Military Expedition Resolution decision chart (that’s a mouthful). We start
and the first question is: “Have units equal to Strategos commitment been assembled?” Obviously the answer is no and it will
continue to be no until 5 units have moved. The next question
is theater type; Boeotia is a land theater (brown border). “Can
a land unit assemble in Theater without naval support?”—the
answer is yes and will be throughout this assembly. Then “Is
there a land unit available?”, which is yes, so we send the strongest unit and cycle through until we run out of available land
units or move 5 of them.
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Pericles Playbook
Clearly the strongest units available are the Spartan units, but
per the rules you must always try and leave one Spartan land
unit per Spartan base in Sparta, so we have two available. Per
our earlier analysis we have a clear land path from Sparta to
Boeotia via the Isthmus of Corinth, so two Spartan land units
move to Boeotia. I am going to send 5 units, but one of them
is going to be the 300 Spartan unit. Technically the 300 is self
deploying, but Phormio does not make this distinction. So for
the third and fourth units we send the two Spartan units (300
and land unit) in Chalcidice that can still move through Thessalia and they now arrive in Boeotia. For the last land unit we
find that one of the two Peloponnesian land units in Chalcidice
is our fifth unit because you do not take the last land unit from
a land theater if possible.
Diagram: The post-battle situation in Boeotia.
So now it comes back to me (human) and I choose to execute
my Cyclades Theater issue, which I remember to be a Diplomatic issue. I now commit three of my four remaining Strategos
tokens and since the 3 Strategos tokens are greater (not equal)
to the Athenian military strength of 2 (base). This converts the
Delian league base (Athenian and Spartan bases are immune to
this issue) to a Peloponnesian league base with the Eurypontid
gaining 2 Honor (to 13). The Demagogues by virtue of being the
Athenian Controlling faction are reduced by 2 Honor (29 to 27).
Diagram: The pre-battle situation in Boeotia. Clearly this is an
overwhelming attack that very closely approximates what the
historical Plataea experienced in 429 (Thucydides Book 2.73).
First the Spartans have to conduct a mandatory land battle. The
Spartan forces have a military value of 22: 4 Spartan land units
(8), 5 Peloponnesian land units (5), 1 Peloponnesian Base (2),
5 Strategos tokens (5), 300 Strategos token (1), 1 Treachery
marker (1) versus Athens with 3: 1 Delian League land unit, 1
Delian league base (2). Each side flips the top card of their battle
deck, but it won’t change the result, so the Spartan card is a 1
and the Athenian card is a 5 for a final score of Sparta 23 versus
Athens 8 for a differential of 15. There are more than sufficient
numbers of Spartan land units to eliminate the single Delian
land unit, and the Delian base, without any surviving military
units (land or naval), is eliminated with two of the differential
with the remaining 12 forfeited. We should note that we now
calculate how many winner losses are taken. If we look at the
Land Combat Losses: Battle Winner chart, while two Athenian
side units have been eliminated, only one of them is a land unit,
so no Spartan units are eliminated. Also, note that bases never
effect actual losses just military value, so the loss of the base
does not impact this calculation.
This battle outcome yields 4 Honor for the Agiad faction (2 Enemy units eliminated times 2) and the Eurypontid faction gains
2 Honor (2 Enemy units eliminated times 1), which increases
the Agiad to 18 (from 14) and the Eurypontid to 11 (from 9).
Both of the Athenian factions lose 2 Honor each (Demagogues
to 29 and Aristocrats to 28).
We now continue with the Demagogues who must pass, as there
are no exposed Athenian issues and the same for the Aristocrats.
The Agiad ‘Bot still has a primary strategy issue in Sparta but it
is covered and randomly chooses to remove the Spartan issue in
Macedonia which is a Eurypontid rumor marker that is removed.
I then choose to remove the other rumor marker (Agiad) from
the Macedonia theater issue queue.
Now it’s the Demagogues’ turn and their PS issue is available in
Macedonia, which is revealed as a Demagogue military issue.
This is a neutral theater, so only the commanding general commits any Strategos and according to the Strategy matrix instructions the Demagogues are to commit 1 Strategos token to move
a unit into Macedonia. According to the Decision chart this unit
is meant to be the opposite of the theater type, so a naval unit.
There is an open path via Chalcidice to move an Athenian naval
unit from Athens to Macedonia. This resolves the military issue.
Now the Agiad faction goes and randomly chooses to reveal the
Spartan rumor marker in Sparta. Now I (human) go and I choose
the only available Spartan issue removing my (Eurypontid)
rumor marker from Sicily.
As we move toward the conclusion of the segment the Demagogues now have one of their PS issues available in Macedonia that is revealed to be a League issue. The strategy matrix
instructs us to build a Delian league base plus gains 2 Honor
(Demagogues go from 27 to 29).
The Aristocrats now have a PS issue in Sicily that is revealed
to be an Aristocrat military issue. The Strategy instruction is
commit 5 Strategos tokens and move Naval units in excess of
the Enemy naval units present in the Theater. The Demagogues
will commit their last Strategos. This means that two naval units
must attempt to arrive in Sicily with the remainder being 4 land
units. The path from Athens to Sicily for naval units is open via
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Pericles Playbook
Corcyra. I move two naval units; that meets the instruction to
send two naval units (in excess of the one Peloponnesian naval
unit in Sicily) and now the remainder are prescribed to be land
units, so 4 Athenian land units move from Athens to Corcyra,
but to move from Corcyra land units in addition must also have
a friendly base in Corcyra, which is the case. This allows 4 land
units to arrive in Sicily.
Now the Agiad faction has 5 Strategos available and the Eurypontids have 1 that I am going to commit. For the Agiad faction
we look at the decision chart and determine that the Agiads will
commit 4 of their 5 Strategos.
As there are no Spartan issues available both Agiad and Eurypontid factions pass. The Demagogues with all of their PS
issues resolved randomly choose to reveal the Athenian issue
in Sparta that is an Aristocrat rumor marker. This is followed
by the Aristocrats revealing their last PS issue in Sicily that is
a League issue. The Aristocrats commit four of their remaining
five Strategos tokens to build a Delian league base in Sicily and
gain 2 Honor (Aristocrats 35 and the Demagogues 33).
Diagram: Sicily after the Athenian campaign; note that there
are opposing bases in the Theater with room for a third down
the road. Syracuse is feeling the historical heat of a Sicilian
Diagram: Sicily prior to the opening land battle.
Since Sicily is a land theater we open with a land battle. Athens
strength is 10: 4 Athenian land units (4), 6 Strategos tokens (6)
versus Sparta’s 9: 2 Peloponnesian land units (2), 1 Peloponnesian base (2), 5 Strategos (5). Sparta pulls a 3 card from its
Battle deck and the Athenians pull a 4 resulting in final strengths
of Athens 14 versus Sparta 12 yielding a difference of 2. This
eliminates the two Peloponnesian land units and since two
Peloponnesian land units were eliminated, according to the loss
table one Athenian land unit is also eliminated. The Peloponnesian base is not affected as the differential has been used and
because there is a Peloponnesian naval unit still present. The
Aristocrat commanding general gains 4 Honor (2 eliminated
land units times 2) and 2 Honor for the Demagogues (now 32
and 31 respectively). Each of the Spartan factions lose 2 Honor
(Eurypontid to 11 and Demagogue to 16).
Since Athens won the land battle they have the option to now
fight a naval battle. The Demagogues say, heck yes, so now we
calculate a naval battle. Athens has a strength of 10: 2 Athenian
naval units (4), 6 Strategos tokens (6) versus Spartan strength
of 8: 1 Peloponnesian naval unit (1), 1 Peloponnesian base (2),
5 Strategos (5). The Spartans pull a 3 and the Athenians pull a
2. This gives a final result of Athens 12 versus Sparta 11. This
differential is sufficient to eliminate the Peloponnesian naval
unit, but the Peloponnesian base survives. This gives the Demagogue commanding general 2 and their Compatriot Aristocrats
1 Honor (33 Honor each) and reduces each of the Spartan factions by 1 Honor (Eurypontid 10 and Agiad 15). This resolves
the military issue.
The Agiads close out the segment by revealing the last issue in
Sparta that is an Agiad military issue. Since this issue is in the
City State space, the Agiad player builds Spartan units in Sparta.
Each base can build two land units or one naval unit. Since there
are only two land units available Sparta builds two land units
and one naval unit. If any Athenian units were present it might
cause a battle, but since the Theater is Spartan-controlled the
military issue is resolved.
Diagram: This is Sparta after resolving the Agiad military issue.
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Pericles Playbook
Now that all Theater issues have been concluded, each faction
returns their remaining Strategos to the stock. The Agiad and
Demagogue factions each have one; that is insufficient to gain
additional Honor (need at least four) and the other factions have
none remaining. The Theater resolution segment is concluded.
It is now the beginning of the End Phase. Since this is a two turn
scenario according to the scenario instructions it would only
end by an automatic victory. While the current score is Athens
70 versus Sparta 25, the conditions for an automatic victory are
not in effect as the lead is insufficient (see 11.11, 11.12, 11.13).
We now enter the Maintenance segment. First we look at how
many bases each side has on the map. Athens has 15 to Sparta’s
9. Athens can support 60 points of units (4 maintenance points
per base) with each naval unit counting for 2 and each land
unit costing one. Athens has 14 naval and 14 land for a total of
42, so well under the maintenance limit. Sparta can support 36
points of units and has 5 naval and 17 land for a total of 27, so
also well under the limit. If either side had had units in excess of
its maintenance limit, units would have been removed (owners
choice) from the map.
The Redeployment segment allows players to reallocate units
amongst their bases. This is an important element in this chess
game as units are placed, not moved as they are during military
expedition. See 11.3 for the details, but a Theater without a
friendly base can only have one unit (land or naval) remaining
at the end of redeployment and any theater with at least one
Diagram: The situation prior to redeployment.
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Pericles Playbook
base can contain up to 15 friendly units. League units must be
in Theaters with League bases, Sparta in Theaters with Spartan
bases. Athens’ advantage is that they can place their units in
Theaters with Delian league or Athenian bases.
the Isthmus of Corinth and all Spartan land units in Boeotia move
back to Sparta. In Thessalia one of the two Spartan land units
must leave since there is no base, but since the only remaining
unit is a Spartan land unit it is allowed to remain in Thessalia.
According to the rules you attempt to ensure that all bases are
covered, with choices done randomly. Starting with the Delian
League we determine that no units need to move and by choice
there is no redeployment. Athenian forces are now determined
and the Athenian forces randomly determine to shift one Athenian land and naval unit from Sicily to Athens while the remaining forces stay where they are. Then the Peloponnesian League
sends a land unit from Boeotia to Sicily, a naval unit from the
Isthmus of Corinth to the Cyclades, a land unit from Boeotia to
The last item on the turn’s sequence of play would be to now
determine how an Aristophanes card’s Will of Assembly objective had resolved. Since this was not the case in this turn we
now move to the second turn of the game. I would suggest that
if this is your first time you may want to try and play out the
second and last turn of this scenario using your own strategy.
Diagram: Final position at the end of the first of two turns of the Archidamian War scenario.
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Pericles Playbook
17.0 Card Personalities
by Carole Herman
Historical Note: The major source for who’s who during the
5th century BC is Thucydides and Xenophon as supplemented
by Plutarch and Diodorus. The sources do not always agree
and it should be noted that several individuals have the same
or similar names (e.g., Jon, John). In many cases all we know
about some of these individuals is based on a single passage.
That said, we have tried to convey some details on who these
personalities on the cards were and some sense of their impact
and role during this period.
17.1 Faction Leaders
Historical Note: The names of the factions deserve some
conversation. The Spartans were easy as there were two royal
houses, so the faction names coincide with the names of the
royal houses. When it comes to the Athenians there were several
ways to go. During this period Athens had many factions, but
at the broadest level there was a ruling faction and an opposition faction. Thucydides used the term Demagogues to reflect
the opposition party, especially when under the leadership of
Cleon. I leaned toward calling the ruling party conservatives,
but chose in the end to use Plutarch’s term Aristocrats.
The names of the faction leader changed due to death or disgrace over the course of the sixty years in this game. In some
cases the faction that an individual led changed. For example
in the beginning of this game, Pericles was the faction leader of
the Demagogues or in this period the opposition, with Cimon
leading the Aristocrats. After Cimon’s death, Pericles became
more conservative and had morphed into the faction leader of
the Aristocrats with Cleon leading the opposition Demagogues.
As a consequence I use the faction leader cards to represent
the evolving leadership for the opposing factions based on
votes or succession (King).
17.2 Athenian Personalities
I attempted where known to associate a personality with his
Athenian tribe, which is at the top of the Athenian cards. I
would say that there was sufficient historical evidence for only
about half of these associations with the other half more heroic
guesswork than fact.
Aeschylus was a Greek tragedian who fought in the Battle of
Marathon. Sometimes called “The Father of Tragedy”, his plays,
along with Sophocles’ and Euripides’, are amongst the only
works of Classical Greek literature to survive.
Adeimantus, son of Leucolophies was a general who avoided
execution after the victory at Arginusae by not returning to Athens. He also served under Alcibiades in the expedition against
Andros and was present at the climatic Battle of Aegospotami
where he was accused of treachery, taken as a prisoner, and
impeached by Conon.
Alcibiades was the scion of the Alcmaeonidae clan whose tumultuous career literally saw him fight on all sides in the conflict.
He was handsome, rich, and was parodied by Aristophanes
as speaking with a lisp. He was at times a brilliant politician
and military leader who seems to have lacked a moral compass. His father was killed in 447 BC at Corona, Boeotia and
Pericles became his legal guardian. He served with Socrates at
Potidaea and defended him when he was wounded at the Battle
of Delium. He fought for Athens, Sparta, Persia, then Athens
before finally being exiled for the second time. He died from
assassins of unknown origin or avenging brothers of a wronged
woman in 404BC.
Anaxagoras was a philosopher who discovered the true cause
behind eclipses. He was an ardent supporter of Pericles, but
was prosecuted for impiety by asserting, “The sun is an incandescent stone larger than the region of the Peloponnese”.
Pericles managed to have the charges dropped, but Anaxagoras
felt compelled to leave Athens and spend the rest of his days in
self-imposed exile.
Anthemocritus was an envoy who was murdered by the Megarans.
Archestratus led the the Macdonian and Chalcidician campaigns.
Aristocrates was an ambassador and signer of the Peace of
Axiochus hailed from the ancient Alcmaeonidae clan. He was
a politician who spoke on domestic and foreign policy issues.
Callias was a major Athenian diplomat who negotiated the peace
with Persia that bears his name (Peace of Callias). Although the
war with Persia was officially ended, according to Kagan, sporadic hostilities continued in what he calls an ancient ‘Cold War’.
Callias II was a diplomat who was killed during the Battle of
Callimachus was a famous sculptor and architect. He was commissioned by Pericles to build the Temple of Athena Nike on
the Propylaea (gateway) to the Acropolis.
Callixeinus led the effort to execute the victorious generals after
the Battle of Arginusae.
Cimon, son of Miltiades was an Athenian aristocrat, brilliant
general, and political leader who was at the Battle of Marathon
and later ostracized by Pericles.
Cleophon, son of Cleipiddes was considered “the greatest
demagogue at that time” who opposed the oligarchic coup. His
constant sparing with Critias earned him a spot in Aristotle’s
Rhetoric. Like many politicians he was the butt of satirical
attacks by the comic poets who portrayed him with as being
contemptible. Some have considered him a true revolutionary.
He was murdered in 404 BC by a mob.
Cleon was the poster child of an Athenian demagogue. Cleon
was considered a “new politician” as he was without noble ancestry. He had radical ideas that he delivered with an aggressive
oratory style that was both effective and unpolished. His wealth
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Pericles Playbook
was not based on land but on trade and his tannery business.
After the death of Pericles, Cleon became the de facto leader
of Athens. He fought bitter political battles with Nicias. Nicias
backed Cleon into leading the offensive to take the Island of
Sphacteria. Cleon smartly took General Demosthenes as his
second in command, leading to the dramatic success that captured the Spartan force. Unfortunately this success caused him
to go up against the brilliant Spartan general Brasidas that saw
both die in the Battle of Amphipolis (Aristophanes card Knights
B event). The death of Cleon and Brasidas opened negotiations
that led to the Peace of Nicias.
Conon was the Athenian admiral who lost the Battle of Aegospotami and the war.
Critias was an Athenian noted for his tragedies, elegies, and
prose works. Also for tyranny and political murder, right after
the war ends
Democlidas led several Thracian campaigns and was the founder
of the colony of Brea.
Demosthenes, son of Callisthenes, was an important Athenian
general from the 2nd Peloponnesian War until his death in the
Sicilian expedition. In 425 BC he fortified Pylos and along with
Cleon, captured the Spartans on Sphacteria. He was one of the
signers of the Peace of Nicias in 421 BC. After his defeat in
Sicily by the Syracusans, he and Nicias were captured and were
executed despite Gylippus’ orders that they were to be made
prisoners instead.
Diomedon was a late war general who contributed to the victory
at the Battle of Arginusae.
Diotmus commanded part of the Athenian naval forces at the
Battle of Sybota.
Ephialtes was an Athenian demagogue, politician and early
leader of the radical democratic movement in Athens. He began
by diminishing the power of the Areopagus and set forth new
laws that included control of office holders and the judicial handling of state trials, for public officers to receive pay, a reduced
property qualification and a new definition of citizenship. He
unfortunately never got a chance to participate as he was assassinated during an oligarchic coup.
Epilycus, was an Athenian aristocrat, and a member of the Boule
who helped negotiate a treaty with the Persian King Darius in
424- 423 BC.
Eurymedon was a general during the 2nd Peloponnesian War. He
was sent to intercept the Peloponnesian fleet, which was on its
way back to Corcyra. Upon arriving Eurymedon took command
of the combined fleets after Nicostratus with a small squadron
from Naupactus secured the island in the name of Athens. He
was then appointed command of an expedition to Sicily along
with Sophocles. On his way there he stopped by Corcyra in
order to assist the Democratic Party against the oligarchic exiles. When he finally arrived in Sicily he was forced to accept
the pact made by the Syracusan Hemocrates with the erstwhile
Athenian allies. However, the terms were not satisfactory to
the Athenian assembly who blamed his actions on bribery. As
a consequence Eurymedon was forced to pay a huge fine. His
last command as it turned out was to sail with Demosthenes to
aid the Athenians at the Siege of Syracuse, but he was killed in
a skirmish enroute.
Euripides was an Athenian aristocrat and one of the three famous
Greek tragedians who wrote Medea and The Trojan Woman.
Glaucon was Plato’s older brother known for his Socratic
Hagnon was the son of Nicias and father of Theramenes. At
the ripe age of sixty he was elected along with Sophocles as a
Proboulos of Athens. His military career saw him found the colony at Amphipolis. He participated in the Samian and Chalcidice
campaigns and was one of the signers of the Peace of Nicias.
Hyperbolus was a politician who came to prominence after the
death of Cleon. Aristophanes referred to him in the play Peace
as a lamp maker before he was a politician. Hated as much as
Cleon was, he is also associated with the alleged decline in
Athenian political culture that led to Athens’ defeat. In 411 he
was murdered at Samos where he had lived in exile since 416.
Thucydides mused that his death was caused by his “giving
pledge and good faith” to the Athenian oligarchal coup.
Ictinus was one of Athens’ most celebrated architects who designed numerous works, most famously the Parthenon.
Iolcius was an ambassador to the Peace of Nicias.
Lacedaemonius descended from the Philaidae clan who were
land owning aristocrats. His father Cimon so admired the Spartans that as a sign of goodwill named his son after the city of
Lacedaemon. He commanded a squadron of 10 triremes during
the initial Corcyra crisis with Corinth.
Laches was a general who after an early failure in Sicily was
prosecuted by Cleon, but acquited of any wrongdoing. Laches
along with Nicias negotiated the Peace of Nicias, but when the
peace fell apart he once again went into the field. He was killed
in 418 at the Battle of Mantinea.
Lamachus was known for his military skill and courage. Aristophanes commented on him favorably in some of his dialogs.
He was one of the generals placed in command of the ill-fated
Sicilian Expedition, where he was killed in battle.
Lampon was an ambassador of the Peace of Nicias.
Leocrates was a general who led the siege that conquered Athens’ naval rival Aegina.
Leon was a staunch democrat and general during the latter
part of the Peloponnesian War. He and Diomedon took charge
at Samos and attacked the Island of Rhodes when it revolted
against the Delian League.
Lysias had his wealth stolen from him by the 400 Oligarchs.
Lysias was one of the generals executed after the failed mission
to save the drowning sailors at the Battle of Arginusae.
Lysicles was a general killed during an expedition to collect
tribute in Caria.
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Mnesicles was hired by Pericles to be the architect who built
the Propylaea, the Periclean gateway to the Athenian acropolis.
Myrtilus was an ambassador to the Peace of Nicias negotiations.
Myronides led a successful counterattack winning the battle of
Oenophyta during an early Boeotian campaign.
Nicias was an Athenian aristocrat, a general and political leader
who came into power after the death of Pericles. After a decade
of war the conditions for peace were created after the simultaneous deaths of Cleon and Brasidas at the Battle of Amphipolis.
Nicias was the leader of the Athenian peace movement that lead
to the cessation of hostilities later titled the Peace of Nicias. He
reluctantly accepted a joint command of the Sicilian Expedition
that resulted in the turning point of the Peloponnesian Wars.
After he surrendered Athenian forces to Syracuse he was summarily executed over the protestations of Gylippus the Spartan
Pericles the Younger was an Athenian aristocrat and the illegitimate son of Pericles. He was one of the six generals executed
following the Battle of Arginusae for failing to pick up survivors
in a storm.
Pericles, Son of Xanthippus, was an Athenian general and politician from the Acamantis clan who came in to power after he
ostracized his rival Cimon. He is considered one of the greatest
figures in Greek history. He enacted the controversial decisions
that siphoned off Delian League funds to enhance Athens with
a massive building program that included the Parthenon. As
a general he put down the Samian revolt and during the 2nd
Peloponnesian war conducted large raids of the Spartan coast.
He died of the plague in 429 BC.
Phormio was an Athenian aristocrat and was considered by
Thucydides to be an exemplary commander. He led the siege
of Chalcidice and won two extraordinary naval battles over
superior-sized Peloponnesian fleets that led to agreements with
the Acarnanians. He died in 428 BC after being charged with
Phrynichus was an Athenian demagogue and sycophant general
who along with Theramenes, Piesander and Antiphon, overthrew the government during an oligarchic coup. The Sicilian
Expedition along with many other events left the coffers of
Athens in a dismal state. The “Four Hundred” was set up to
revise a better way to handle these finances, but only lasted for
four months. Thucydides stated: “they would have preferred to
establish an oligarchic government and maintain Athenian rule
over the empire.” As the Athenians became suspicious of their
real intentions, they arranged to betray their city in exchange
for their own safety. In 411 Phrynichus was stabbed to death as
he was leaving the council-chamber.
Scironides was an Athenian aristocrat and a general elected in
412 and later charged with dereliction of duty when he voted
to withdraw from Iasus and Amorges.
Socrates, son of Sophroniscus a stone mason and sculptor, was
known as the founder of the Socratic method. He is credited
with saving Alcibiades’ life after he was wounded at the Siege
of Potidaea and was against executing the eight generals during their trial after the Battle of Arginusae. After Athens’ defeat
in 404 saw the short period of the 30 Tyrants followed by the
re-establishment of Democracy. The new Democracy brought
Socrates up on impiety charges that led to his execution in 399.
Sophocles was an Athenian aristocrat and general who fought
with Pericles during the Samian revolt and during the late
Peloponnesian war was reelected to the Strategy board. He was
famous in his own lifetime and is best known as a tragedian who
wrote over 120 plays, including Antigone and Electra.
Design Note: Sophocles is one of my favorite personalities of
this period. He was a Renaissance man long before the term
could have any meaning.
Strombichides was a general and staunch democrat who commanded eight ships sent to the coast of Asia Minor following
the revolt of Chios.
Theramenes was a central figure in four major episodes in
Athenian history. After the Battle of Arginusae he served as a
trierarch, whose job was to rescue the sailors from sunk ships,
but was diverted by a storm. He was one of the leaders in an
oligarchic coup, served as a general and after the Athenians’
defeat at Aegospotami, arranged the terms for which Athens
surrendered to Sparta. He was a member of the Thirty Tyrants,
leading Sparta to impose harsh rules upon Athens. Theramenes
was a controversial figure, whose disagreements with members
of government, and protests against the Thirty Tyrants caused
them to denounce him. When they could not decide how to
punish him, he was thrown to a crowd of angry citizens and
executed without a trial.
Thrasycles was a general who along with Strombichides was
sent to the coast of Asia Minor to quell the Chios revolt.
Thrasybulus, son of Thraso was a general who led democratic
resistance to the Oligarchs. He blamed the disaster at Notium
on Alcibiades, accusing him of conducting the campaign like a
“luxury cruise.” Alcibiades was also accused of “engaging in
debauchery by getting drunk and visiting whores.” It looks like
what was old is new again.
Proteas was a commander at the Battle of Sybota.
Thrasyllus was a leader who played a role in organizing democratic resistance in an Athenian fleet at Samos. He was elected
general by the sailors and soldiers and held that position until
he was executed in 406 after the Battle of Arginusae.
Protomachus was a general who participated in the Athenian
victory at Arginusae. Despite the victory the generals were accused of failing to recover Athenian survivors and the bodies of
the slain. Fearing the anger of the people along with Protomachus
and Aristogenes, he chose not to return to Athens to stand trial
and avoided the fate of the other six generals who were executed.
Thucydides son of Olorus was an aristocrat, an admiral, and historian. His writings are from the point of view of a rich Athenian,
who had oligarchic leanings. He admired Pericles for exerting
a firm control over the undisciplined Athenian democracy. As
an admiral he failed to save Amphipolis from Brasidas and was
exiled until after the surrender of Athens. During this time he
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wrote “The History of the Peloponnesian War”. He returned
to Athens and lived in Thrace, during his retirement, and was
possibly killed during a robbery. His daughter and Xenophon
finished his work.
Lysander whose naval victory brought Athens to surrender after
a lengthy siege.
Thucydides son of Melesias was a prominent politician who
opposed Pericles after the death of Cimon. He believed in the
philosophy of the so called “old oligarch” and strived to bring
back the days of Cimon. His political power reached its peak
in the beginning of the First Peloponnesian War. His strategy
establishing an assembly where all his supporters unite as one
voice allowed him to show the differences between himself
and Pericles. He was however, later ostracized by Pericles and
possibly traveled to Sybaris.
Agesandridas was a Spartan general who commanded Peloponnesian ships that raised Euboea in revolt. He also led several
Peloponnesian fleets to victory in the Eretria campaign.
Agesander was a war party ambassador at the beginning of the
2nd Peloponnesian War.
Aisimides was a Corinthian admiral at the Battle of Sybota.
Alcamenes, son of Sthenelaides was a military governor who
was appointed by Agis II as the commander of the Lesbos revolt.
He sailed with 21 ships to Chios, where he was pursued, attacked
and killed by the Athenian fleet off the Isthmus of Corinth.
Tolmides was experienced general who commanded many
expeditions that encompassed raids on the Peloponnesus, took
Chalcis, and successfully defeated Sicyon. He was a major
political rival of Pericles who died in battle during an underresourced Boeotia campaign.
Alcidas was a vicious Spartan Admiral who during the Ionian
Revolt executed prisoners even while he fled from Athenian
pursuers. Other than several atrocities he accomplished little,
although he forced the Athenians to spend precious resources
to neutralize his voyage.
Xenophon was an Athenian with expressed sympathies for
Sparta. He was a Greek historian, mercenary and philosopher. He
is famous for many important works, such as Anabasis, a military
memoir with vivid and brutal descriptions from his journal. His
Hellenica was a personal memoir supposedly only intended for
his friends who experienced many of the events. His account
starts in 411, after Thucydides breaks off his narrative and ends
in 362, the year of the 2nd Battle of Mantinea. Xenophon was
also a student of Socrates and a foremost authority on his teachings. His work, The Apology of Socrates to the Jury recounts
details of Socrates’ trial. After the 2nd Peloponnesian war, he
left Athens and joined the expedition of the Achaemenian prince
Cyrus the Younger to overthrow his brother King Artaxerxes
II, which resulted in Xenophon’s Anabasis and his exile from
Athens. He was killed in Spartolos in 429 BC.
Antiphus was an ambassador to Peace of Nicias.
17.3 Spartan Personalities
The major ruling body of Sparta was the Gerousia that consisted of 30 individuals who had achieved the rank of Ephor. I
have chosen to title the Spartan cards in this manner. Where it
is known I have associated the various personalities with the
royal house they were associated with, but for the most part the
information on Spartan personalities is tougher to come by since
Thucydides and Xenophon were Athenian and were obviously
more familiar with people that they personally knew.
The main faction leader personalities were the Kings of Sparta.
Sparta had two Kings at any time but due to age differences one
King was often more important with a Regent for a younger
royal. At the very beginning of the period King Pleistoanax
led the invasion of Attica that turned back and he was exiled
on bribery charges. At the beginning of the 2nd Peloponnesian
War, King Archidamus of Archidamian War fame was running
the show, but without any fanfare he disappears from the narrative and is presumed to have died of causes unknown. The
main royal in the latter part of the war was Agis II with an older
Pleistoanax returning to Sparta. The architects of the Spartan
victory are attributed to Agis II with his army in Decelea and
Antisthenes was a naval commander who led a Spartan fleet
from the Peloponnesus to Miletus.
Aristeus, son of Pellichas, was a Corinthian general who led
the Chalcidice revolt.
Astyochus was a navarch ordered to execute Alcibiades who
had defected to Persia.
Brasidas, son of Tellis, was a brilliant Spartan general who
Thucydides referred to as intelligent, competent and brave. He
saved Methone from an Athenian attack and was elected ephor.
He led freed Spartan helots and Peloponnesian mercenaries into
the north, where he re-energized the Chalcidian rebellion against
Athens and captured Amphipolis. He died there fighting Cleon
in the failed Athenian counterattack. His death in the same battle
as Cleon’s demise cleared the way for negotiations that led to
the Peace of Nicias.
Callicratidas was a navarch who fought and died at the Battle
of Arginusae. There are two versions about what happened
to Callicratidas at that battle. Diodorus’s account is bit more
spectacular, stating Callicratidas “went out in a blaze of glory”,
ramming ships to his left and right until he finally met his violent
demise when he hit Pericles’ ship. The other version, written by
Xenophon, paints a somewhat different, if not more somber picture. According to Xenophon in 406 Callicratidas fell overboard
and drowned when his ship was rammed by an enemy trireme
near Mytilene. Apart from the fact he died, there is very little
detail about what exactly happened in that battle.
Calligitus was a Megaran ambassador who advocated aggressive
support for the Ionian revolts.
Chalcidaeus was a general who supported Alcibiades during the
Aegean campaign. In 412 the Athenians killed him near Miletus.
Cheirisophus was a late war Spartan commander who is best
known for leading the ten thousand in the Greco-Persian Wars.
Chionis was an ambassador to the Peace of Nicias.
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Cleandridas was a political advisor to Agiad King Pleistonax.
Clearchus, son of Rampias, was a hated military governor of
Byzantium, a naval commander who lost the city to revolt and
supported Pharnabazus in the Hellespont. His love of warfare
and battle was considered extreme even by Spartan standards.
Clearidas was a Spartiate and sub-commander at the Battle for
Cleobulus was an Ephor who opposed the Peace of Nicias. He
also advised the Boeotians and Corinthians to act together to
form an alliance with Argos in an effort to sabotage the peace.
Cnemus was an admiral at the Battle of Naupactus.
Deiniadas was a Laconian periokios who caused Methymna
on Lesbos to revolt.
Dercylidas was a Spartan admiral known for being crafty and
cunning. King Agis II sent him from Amphipolis to the Hellespont to bring about the revolt of Abydos, which was a Milesian
Diathus was a Lacedaemonian ambassador to the Peace of
Nicias negotiations.
Dmagon was one of the founders of Heraclea, along with Leon
and Alcidas.
Dorcis was an unpopular Spartan commander who took command after the Battle of Mycale.
Eccritus was a Spartan general who led 600 helots and “neodamodeis” as reinforcements during the Sicilian campaign.
Empedius was a Spartan ambassador to the Peace of Nicias.
Endius was an Ephor who supported Alcidas during the Chian
Epicydidas was a Spartan commander who lost a fleet during
a storm.
Epitadas was a Spartan commander who was killed at the Battle
of Sphacteria in 425 BC. Even with 420 hoplites Epitadas could
not stop the Athenians from blockading his forces. The Spartans
were willing to negotiate a peace, but Cleon smelling blood
dismissed the idea and captured this force. Sphacteria was the
first time that a Spartan army had surrendered rather than be
killed on the spot.
Eteonicus was a Spartan commander during the Arginusae and
Aegospotami campaigns.
Eualas was a Spartan commander during the Aegean revolts.
Eubulus was a Spartan naval commander during the Methana
Eurybatus was a Corinthian admiral at the Battle of Sybota.
This battle was perhaps the largest naval battle between Greek
city-states up to that point and is considered one of the catalysts
for the 2nd Peloponnesian War.
Eurylochus was a Spartan commander during the Aegean revolts
who marched a large army from Delphi threatening Naupactus
and laid siege to Amphilochian Argos. In 426 BC he died in
the battle at Olpae.
Evagoras known as a tyrant, served as a Spartan commander
in Cyprus.
Gylippus was a general whose place in Spartan society was
hindered by his mother being a helot. He led the successful relief
of Syracuse but after the Battle of Aegospotami in 405, he stole
money he was carrying to Sparta and like his father before him,
he was condemned to death and fled into exile.
Hateomaridas was a peace party Ephor.
Hegesandridas was a Spartan admiral who led several successful
campaigns, most notably the capture of Euboea.
Hetoemaridas was of noble birth and a very well respected
Spartan citizen. As a peace party Ephor on the eve of the 2nd
Peloponnesian War, he felt Athens should be allowed to keep
her naval hegemony, “since it was not advantageous to Sparta
to dispute over the sea.”
Hippagretas was a Spartan commander at the Battle of Sphacteria.
Ischagoras was a Spartan ambassador to the Peace of Nicias.
Laphilus was a Spartan ambassador to the Peace of Nicias.
Lichas, son of Arcesilaus, was a Spartan diplomat who negotiated a treaty for Persian aid, but objected to turning over Greek
cities to the Great King’s rule.
Lysander was the brilliant Spartan admiral who was very
close to the Eurypontid King, Agis II. He won many victories
including in the Hellespont region where he won the decisive
final battle of Aegospotami. Over the next year his blockade
forced the Athenians to surrender, bringing an end to the 2nd
Peloponnesian War.
Metagenes was a Spartan diplomat at the Peace of Nicias negotiations.
Mindarus was an admiral who took over command of the Spartan fleet at Miletus. He felt that the support that he was receiving
from the Persian satrap Tissaphernes was insufficient and was
enticed to shift his support to another satrap Pharnabazus in the
Hellespont. While in the Hellespont with an expanded fleet he
was brought to battle by Alcibiades and Thrasybulus at Cyzicus.
In a confused set of naval and land engagements, Mindarus was
killed and his fleet was eliminated.
Naucleides was a Plataean traitor whose failed coup was one
of the causes of the 2nd Peloponnesian War. He and the other
wealthy citizens of Plataea despised Athens and wanted to seize
power. He had the backing of one of the most powerful men in
Thebes, Eurymachus, whose father Leontiades betrayed Thebes
to the Persians in 480BC.
Nicomedes, son of Cleombrotus, was a royal agent who under
the authority of King Pleistoanax, son of Pausanisas, aided the
Dorians in Boeotia.
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Pausanias was a Spartan commander and son of Cleombrotus who served as regent after his death. He was the father of
Pleistoanax who later became king. According to Thucydides
and Plutarch, many Hellenic League allies joined the Athenians
because Pausanias was arrogant and misused his power. In 478
he was convicted of conspiring with the Persians. He was betrayed by one of the messengers he used to communicate with
Xerxes with a letter providing evidence of his intentions that
gave the Ephors enough evidence to convict him. His home was
surrounded and he eventually died of starvation.
Peisander was a Spartan commander and the brother of Agesilaus.
Pericledias was a diplomat and signer of the Peace of Nicias.
Philocharidas was a Spartan commander and one of the Ambassadors to the Peace of Nicias negotiations. He was sent as an
envoy to the cities in the Thracian region, to demand the Spartan
commander Clearidas hand over Amphipolis to the Athenians.
Clearidas refused to accept them. The failure to fulfill the main
Athenian objective for peace inevitably set the conditions for
the renewal of conflict.
Phrynis was a Spartan ambassador and perioikoi. He was sent to
Chios to see if they had sufficient forces to gain Sparta’s support
to revolt. When Phrynis stated they had told the truth, the Spartans entered into an alliance with the Chians and Erythraeans,
dispatching 40 ships and initiating operations in the Aegean.
Ramphias was a peace party ambassador at the beginning of
the 2nd Peloponnesian War.
Sthenelaidas was an influential war party Ephor who demanded
that Sparta declare war against Athens: In his powerful speech
he gave to his fellow Spartans, he pleaded for them to: “Vote
therefore, Spartans, for war, as the honor of Sparta demands, and
neither allow the further aggrandizement of Athens, nor betray
our allies to ruin, but with the gods let us advance against the
Tellis was one of the signers of the Peace of Nicias.
Therimenes was an admiral during the latter part of the 2nd
Peloponnesian war.
Xenares, son of Clinias, was a Spartan Ephor who along with
Cleobulus advised the Boeotians and Corinthians to act together
to form an alliance with Argos in an effort to sabotage the Peace
of Nicias.
Zeusidas was a Spartan diplomat and signer of Peace of Nicias.
18.0 Strategy Guide
As with any new design of mine the issue is often not that the
mechanics are complex, but the strategies for success are not
immediately obvious. Here are some basics to improve your
enjoyment in your early matches. In my University classes I
teach a technique that I call ‘right to left thinking’ that is my
way of translating the Zen concept of ‘be the target’ into actions.
The idea is to understand where you are going before you start
the journey.
Pericles is a political-military game, so while you begin with
politics and choose issues to debate, which issues to pick and
why are the important questions that need to be answered. If
you begin by looking at the map, you should ask yourself what
do I want the situation to look like after the turn is concluded.
Once you understand what you want to happen militarily then
you should ask yourself, which issues do I and my Compatriot
need to put into play to make that happen. Then it is a matter
of nominating and successfully debating those issues to enable
your chosen path. What follows are some important tactics, but
while no plan survives impact with the enemy, without a solid
foundation in strategy you will find yourself treading water
instead of advancing toward your goals.
Now here comes the interesting wrinkle to all of this. During
the war it is ‘us versus them’, but in the political dimension it is
‘me versus you’. This means that at times you are fighting a two
front war, especially as a scenario is drawing toward a finish.
That is what I think makes this historical situation so fascinating.
In this period faction loyalty often took precedence over City
State loyalty. Welcome to 5th Century Greece!
Theater Campaigns
The heart of the Pericles system is the Theater phase that drives
the action. During the political portion of the turn players will
win issues. During the Theater phase they place those issues on
the map in one of the twenty Theater spaces plus Persia. The
first issue placed establishes a Last In-First Out (hereafter LIFO)
queue. The counterintuitive part is the first thing you want to
happen in a Theater has to be the last thing you put in the queue.
The last thing you want to happen is the first thing you put in
the queue. In a Theater of war it is this sequence of opposing
issues in the Theater queue that captures the thrust-counterthrust
narrative of the Peloponnesian Wars. Once you have this basic
concept in your mind all else follows.
What is a Theater? There are twenty Theater spaces on the
Pericles map plus Persia. A Theater is either a land or a naval
Theater. What this means is if you decide to initiate a battle in
a land theater you must fight a land battle and the winner can
optionally fight a naval battle. The opposite applies in a naval
Theater. Each side has bases that anchor military forces and
represent economic infrastructure. In the final counting a City
State gains Honor for control of Theaters and their bases.
Why a particular Theater is important to your side will be covered later in this guide, but let’s postulate that Boeotia (Land
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Pericles Playbook
Theater) is important to your strategy. Let’s also postulate that
this is the beginning of the 2nd Peloponnesian War and Boeotia
(Central Greece) is a contested Theater. A contested Theater
has both sides’ forces present. Sparta has a Peloponnesian base
(Thebes) with four land units opposed by a Delian League base
(Plataea) with one land unit. The raw land strength count is
Sparta 6 versus Athens 3 as each land unit counts for one and
bases count for 2. A good place to start this conversation is how
does Athens defend Boeotia and how does Sparta attack Boeotia?
Thucydides describes a war of thrust and counterthrust. This is
an era of small armies and large spaces. Geographic chokepoints
and enemy bases are where the battles were fought because without airplanes, radios, or drones, it was hard to time the arrival of
forces to block enemy activity. The Theater issue queue is how
Pericles captures this chess-like move-countermove dynamic.
Imagine you are Pericles (Aristocrat faction) standing before the
Athenian assembly proposing a military expedition to Boeotia
to punish Thebes for a failed coup against your ally Plataea.
You propose your nephew Alcibiades to lead the attack while
Cleon (Demagogue faction) counter proposes Demosthenes.
Pericles barely wins the debate naming Alcibiades as the commanding general (3 Strategos tokens), but Demosthenes is also
given a command (4 Strategos tokens). Unless there is further
debate on this issue Athens will conduct a military expedition
to Boeotia. How you allocate and deploy your Strategos tokens
amongst your various enterprises and how you respond to Enemy
actions is the heart of the narrative that determines the winner
of the wars.
In a traditional wargame like For the People you have named
generals and everyone knows that Robert E. Lee should be a go
to guy for the South. In this period there were equivalent great
generals, such as the Athenian Demosthenes, who held a similar
distinction until his death. In Pericles how you deploy your
Strategos tokens determines whether you are sending a Demosthenes (great general) or a Diomedon (an average general). As a
rule if you and your teammate were to gain all of the available
Strategos tokens with a full agenda of issues, your team could
send out multiple military expeditions, diplomatic missions,
muster forces, build several League bases and even invoke the
gods (Oracle issue). Likewise the other team is conducting the
same process to generate their response. I will cover political
strategy in more detail later in this guide, but now back to the
main question, how to gain control of Boeotia?
This is a period of militia armies. There are no standing armies
akin to ancient Rome. Even the vaunted Spartan army needed to
be mustered. Historically it took months to prepare and launch
a military force, so unlike later ancient periods with standing
armies you cannot react after an attack has already begun.
Remember, no radios or satellites, just information arriving
once things are in motion. If we do not correctly anticipate
our enemy’s strategy your reinforcements will arrive too late,
so you have to anticipate your opponents actions and get there
first. Failure to correctly counter your opponents’ moves will
let you walk a mile in Admiral Thucydides’ sandals, who was
cashiered for being a day late and a trireme short.
In Pericles the side with superior planning and timing will
prevail. So, how does this translate into Athens defending its
position in Boeotia? Athens has several choices, but let’s say we
simply want to improve our situation in Boeotia. If our issue is
at the top of the Boeotia Theater queue we will have first mover
advantage in Boeotia.
The three major choices are a League, Military, or Diplomatic
issue. Athenians as their first action (last into the queue) in
the Theater could resolve a League issue, build two more land
units (each base can build two land or one naval per base) and
now our forces are just under one to one with the Enemy forces
present. Perhaps the better option might be to build one naval
unit. Now our base has a sea line of communication and while
our small army might get smashed, we will not lose the base
unless Sparta can win first the land and then a naval battle. At
this point Athens naval supremacy and control of the Saronic
Gulf chokepoint (Athens Theater) makes it very unlikely that
Sparta could assemble a fleet and successfully sail it to Boeotia,
so our single naval unit ensures our base’s survival.
Athens could instead have put a diplomatic issue into play. This
activates a conspiracy of opponents within the Peloponnesian
base. As the Peloponnesians have a large army present, I have no
chance of a successful coup at this time, but for the expenditure
of three Strategos tokens, I place three Treachery markers, effectively increasing my local strength by 3 due to conspirators
and other minor City State forces in Boeotia.
Another option is to reveal a Military issue, and assemble several
land and naval units in Boeotia, but resolving Military issues
in Contested Theaters will bring on a battle or a Raid. A Raid
avoids fighting a battle and for the expenditure of three Strategos
tokens you gain three Honor points, while forcing our opponents
to lose from one to five Strategos tokens due to ravaging. Raiding
should be a major component of your military strategy.
One of the truths in war is: “The enemy gets a vote.” While
Raids are subtle we all understand marching to battle. Remember the issues in a queue are secret until revealed. Let’s say
that the Spartans had put a military issue into Boeotia at the
bottom of the queue. If Athens has a military issue higher in
the queue what could occur is the Athenians send in an army
to fight with Thebes, so now Athens has an army in Boeotia. If
another Athenian military issue in another theater is resolved
before the Spartan issue at the bottom of the queue resolves, this
Athenian force could move off. On the other hand if the Spartan
military issue is revealed before the Athenians can move off you
could find yourself rediscovering why the Athenian strategy for
Central Greece collapsed for following this exact strategy. You
have been warned.
Hopefully this gives you an idea on how you need to think about
Theater queues. I would be remiss if I did not relate one other
aspect of Theater queues is how they play out across multiple
theaters. The key rule is that when it is your turn to reveal an
issue and there are one or more of your side available you must
reveal one of them. So, how to control or disrupt your enemies’
issue timing is an important tactical consideration.
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Pericles Playbook
Each faction places two rumor markers each Theater phase. By
getting a rumor marker on top of a queue prevents your opponent
from revealing those issues until the rumor has been resolved.
The collective effect of the eight rumor markers in the various
queues creates true chaos. Have no fear, the rumors all get resolved, but how the issues in various queues reveal themselves
and how this all turns out will give you a front seat on a roller
coaster ride with its inevitable ups and downs that brings up
the next question. How does one think about integrating multitheater issue queues into a coherent military strategy?
Military academies and senior training institutions, such as the
Naval War College where I have taught, have used the Peloponnesian War as a case study for decades. The two main themes of
the case study examine the effects of long periods of conflict on
a Democracy (Athens) and the asymmetrical character of Athenian naval power versus Spartan land power. It is this last point
that is important to how you develop a strategy for your side.
The Athenians are a naval power and if you remember the simple
rule that in a naval theater you always fight a mandatory naval
battle before you fight the optional land battle you have the
basis of your strategy. Fighting land battles is apt to have you
relive history. If you want to understand the Athenian Sicilian
disaster or the loss of Central Greece (Boeotia), just get a large
land force exposed to a Spartan riposte. If this happens to you,
don’t despair, just revel in the fact that you have simulated history without a special rule.
This is not to say that Athens cannot win a land battle, but only
when you time it so you avoid a Spartan response. Historically
after a Spartan raid of Attica (Athens) had returned home, the
Athenian army would raid the Isthmus of Corinth (Megara). So,
it is an important strategy, but you have to time it right.
The main strategy for the Athenians is to follow the Periclean
strategy that is to maintain naval supremacy, protect the empire,
and avoid dangerous adventures. You can and should experiment
with alternate paths, but if you follow this one build bases in
naval theaters. Remember a base in a Theater with a naval unit
cannot be eliminated unless the Spartans can eliminate the naval
unit. Also remember that you can have up to three bases in a
Theater. Remember establishing bases brings honor.
Your offensive options revolve around getting a naval unit into
a Theater to make it a contested Theater and then use military
issues to Raid to gain Honor and reduce the number of available Spartan Strategos. The other important consideration is in
a long scenario’s end-of-game scoring, Sparta and Athens gain
Honor for Control of a Theater. Contested Theaters do not score,
so ensure that most if not all land Theaters on the map have a
friendly base with naval support.
The basis of Spartan power is their Spartan land units. What I
have found is most wargamers intuitively understand Spartan
strategy. Sparta is always looking to score a knock out blow
against an Athenian army. I have found that most Athenians new
to this system will naturally make this mistake. But be careful
that you do not inadvertently spread out your Spartan land units.
I have seen a medium sized Peloponnesian army with a single
Spartan land unit get ambushed late in a Theater phase by an
Athenian military issue that wins the battle and eliminates the
Spartan unit for hostages and lots of Honor. If this happens you
have relived the Spartan defeat at Pylos.
Assuming that Athens plays cautiously what should the Spartans do? The simple answer is raid Athens. The basic tactic that
mirrors the war is to send a strong Spartan army into Athens
where Athens will win the naval battle, no losses are taken or
honor is lost, but now the Spartans are contesting Athens. Then
build a base in Athens (Decelea) and Raid with military issues.
Note that this same strategy works for Athens with naval units
in Sparta ala Pylos and vice versa. If Athens builds the third
base in Athens find a way to do it in some other Theater like
Naupactus. In all cases you need to contest Theaters that you
can reach by land and build up your bases.
Another piece of Spartan strategy is taking advantage of the
spread out nature of the Athenian empire and using diplomatic
issues to convert Delian league bases and then build naval power
outside the geographic chokepoints of Athens and Naupactus. If
you can do this in Ionia or due to a fortuitous Alcibiades event,
build Persian bases and then use Persian gold to develop sufficient naval power to defeat the Athenians in detail. This takes
time and like Athens on land you have to pick your spots, but
the creation of a legitimate naval threat will pay big dividends
if properly applied.
This is the portion of the game that shows its Churchill lineage.
Each team of two factions debates issues. I am not going to
go into this in detail, but the main strategy point is this is the
arena where the two factions cannot change their total Honor
points, but redistribute their City State’s honor based on political performance. So, while you are a team during the war, it is
YOU versus ME as measured by who wins issues with a higher
oratory score (box number on the track where an issue is won).
Political strategy is very important in Pericles. Becoming the
Controlling faction comes with Honor perks and potential penalties. Successfully ostracizing your teammate has a large benefit,
but once this issue is in play it can boomerang on you. As I said,
assuming your side wins the war, how you play in the political
arena will usually decide the winner of the game. Lose the war
and your orations become a footnote.
The downside of excessive infighting is political gridlock. If
your side cannot collectively generate won issues, your side
is going to place fewer issues into play than your opponents.
If your side is generating less activity than your opponents,
your team is going to find it difficult to win the war. This is the
delicate political balance that each side has to consider during
political debate.
An important card design element is issue alignment. Cards all
have a value from one to five and both decks are identical in
this regard. Where the decks differ is in their issue alignment.
Issue alignment is the value bonus and Strategos award a faction
receives when a card is played on its issue.
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Pericles Playbook
There are no weak hands in Pericles, just hands that are weak
against certain issues. If you are weak in an issue you need for
your strategy—pick it first as it starts in your win column barring a poor debate performance. If you look at the cards carefully you will notice that there are no weak cards if you play
the low value cards on their aligned issue. The advantage of the
stronger value cards is they are more flexible and are usually
the strongest cards when played aligned with their issue. This
is important when you receive your cards and consider which
issues to nominate in debate.
I designed into the deck that the average value of an issue aligned
card is approximately five. If both factions play symmetrically
you will get political gridlock. This is intended and can be very
frustrating especially if you remember that you cannot discuss
any aspect of your card play with your opponent. At times you
may have to play a weaker card to ensure that it gets into play
with the obvious downside that you are giving away oration
honor to your Compatriot. How the two factions learn to compete while working for the greater good of the City State is a
key aspect of the Pericles political model.
Your faction leader represents you in the assembly. It is often
best to use your faction leader to gain some portion of the
Strategy board, but if you know you are going to lose control
of the government you might be advantaged to use your faction
leader to capture an important issue in debate. Another resource,
especially late in a scenario, is to use the brain trust.
Unless you are playing one of the longer scenarios, the brain
trust option is usually a once per scenario opportunity. It is a
very powerful way to really gain control of an issue such as
Ostracism or War/Peace when it can decisively alter who is in
the lead on your side. If you think this may happen it is best to
choose three stronger card values to go into your Entourage. This
way if your faction leader is not opposed by your compatriot’s
leader you can turn a 6- or 7-value play into a 10+ value play
for leverage in determining oration honor. If done on the last
turn of the scenario or if causing Peace ends the scenario it can
be a game winning play.
Last, I would like to discuss how the Aristophanes cards impact
strategy. The most notable effect is which issues are put into play.
If this is Ostracism or War/Peace it can break a fragile political
relationship and shake up a City State’s political landscape.
Alternately, the free issue given to one side can cause a change
of government on winning more issues.
Aristophanes events usually alter the size of the Strategos stock
or impose a Will of Assembly mission. Your side needs to pay
attention to these missions as it can lead to a 20 point Honor
swing if one side succeeds and the other fails. The placement
of the Will of Assembly markers is meant to throw the chaos of
the masses onto your desired path. All in all, this creates some
great situations as both sides try to cause the other side to fail
even as they struggle to meet the will of the assembly.
Hopefully this short strategy guide will give you some thoughts
on how to play in your early contests. That said, some of the
strongest lessons come from making mistakes and achieving
unexpected successes. Good luck!
19.0 Designer Notes
19.1 The History behind the Pericles design
One of the key lessons that I learned from Jim Dunnigan and
my time at SPI is that popular views of what constitutes an accurate view of an historical event are sometimes not based on a
deep understanding of the known facts and more importantly a
quantification of those details. Much of this numerical analysis
comes directly out of Hanson’s book, A War Like No Other
(see bibliography), and confirmed by my own research into the
period. My purpose in this section is to convey some context
and texture to the history represented in the design.
At the big picture level 5th Century BC Greece was composed
of ~1500 autonomous City States. There are various formal
city-state definitions, but at its core there were three elements:
a territory that rarely supplied more than a subsistence level
of agricultural products, a central market and administrative
center that supported a citizenry coalesced around a common
origin myth culture.
Land was sacred and central to the soul of a city-state and the
traditional method of resolving disputes or expanding territory
was for an invading army to literally plant itself on the Enemy’s
soil and threaten to ravage their land. This usually caused the
invaded city-state to muster its militia army, composed mostly
of the land owning class, who suited up in their armor panoply
and fought a short decisive engagement that settled the issue
one way or the other. This style of warfare takes it name from
the technologically advanced shield known as a Hoplon from
which the Greek Hoplite derives his name. It should be noted
that ~75% of the time the defending army won the Hoplite battle.
The outlier to this model developed in the late 6th century BC
and became an accepted fact that the Lacedaemonians (Sparta)
were a cut above the rest. Sparta in the 7th century BC conquered
Messenia and enslaved its population, known to the Greeks as
Helots. Spartan citizens were allotted plots of land worked by
Helots and the tithe of food taken supplied the Spartan armies’
mess requirements. This economic system enabled Spartan
citizens to train and muster on a permanent year-round basis.
Through this economic model Sparta created a standing militia
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Pericles Playbook
force that can be argued was the first city-state professional army.
I tend to view it as a very well trained militia army as the main
role of the army was to garrison their territory to maintain Helot
subservience and not campaign, which was a rare event. This is
borne out by the fact that between 431 and 425, the Spartan army
campaigned a total of 3 months during the first 84 months of the
war. The three Spartan commanders Archidamus, Cleomenes,
and Agis (Spartan faction leaders) all failed to launch a second
attack in the same year. So, during the 81 months the Spartan
army was not campaigning during this period it did what it was
designed to do, ensure that the order of magnitude more numerous Helots remained suppressed and growing food.
During the 2nd Peloponnesian War (431) one of the unintended
consequences of the Spartan raiding strategy was it concentrated
the Athenian population in the city with inadequate water and
sewage infrastructure just as a plague hit the city. This was a
significant factor in the war that killed 30% of the Hoplite class
(over 10,000 hoplites) with a commensurate loss amongst the
Thete class. The Thete class supplied the rowers for the fleet
that required from 40-60,000 oarsmen to operate. It is hard to
argue with the then-prevailing view that the plague was an act
of god. The plague was associated with Apollo whose Delphic
oracle was a known Spartan supporter. There were at least two
and likely up to four waves of the plague, though of reduced
severity as the survivors became immune to the disease. The
military effects of the plague were that for many years Athens
was unable to prosecute significant land or siege operations.
My point is that during the Peloponnesian wars the Spartan
army’s reputation, more than its performance, was a strategic
factor in the war. The reason that the minor defeat at Pylos carried strategic weight was it destroyed the myth that Spartans
could not be defeated and would die rather than surrender. The
Spartan response was that it was not a fair fight, but were dismayed that the small Spartiate force on the island of Sphacteria
chose to surrender rather than die heroically.
Despite the impact of Pylos on Spartan morale, at the critical
moment in the war the Spartan phalanx prevailed at Mantinea.
While there were a few other important Phalanx battles such
as the medium-sized battle at Delium, Mantinea was the only
large hoplite battle of the period and the only one that could
have won the war for Athens. The reason that Athens did not
fully support the Argos coalition at Mantinea was that Nicias
neutered Alcibiades’ strategy to the long-term detriment of his
City State. Mantinea confirmed that in a traditional stand up
fight, the Spartan hoplites were still the premier infantrymen of
the period. Sparta would not be tested again in a Hoplite battle
for the duration of the war.
The second and third best Hoplite infantrymen of this period
were the Thebans and the Athenians although Argos could make
a claim for the third position. One of the arguments that the
Athenians were not up to the Hoplite standards of the period
is based on the fact that they would not come out and fight the
Spartans on the few occasions when they showed up in Attica.
This argument falls apart when you consider that the Spartans
and their Peloponnesian allies usually raided Attica with armies
ranging in the 30,000 force range outnumbering the Athenian
hoplite militia by a factor of 2 or more. No army in this period, to
include the Spartans, could prevail in a Hoplite battle with both
of its flanks exposed to envelopment. I wrestled with whether to
make a finer distinction and raise the Thebans up a notch, but
in the end while these were some of the better Hoplites the data
suggests that they weren’t superior enough to warrant a strength
advantage over the other city-state militias in this period.
For context, it would take the emergence of the Theban military
genius Epaminondas to create new tactics that shattered the
Spartan army at Leuctra and made them the preeminent land
force in the early 4th century. Thebes held this preeminent distinction until the Battle of Chaeronea when Philip of Macedon,
supported by his brilliant cavalry commander Alexander, shattered the primacy of Greek city-state military power for all time.
The ineffectiveness of traditional Hoplite warfare to bring the
war to a conclusion saw the rise of new concepts around smallscale irregular warfare, often conducted at night. The new
tactical unit was the peltast, a lightly armored, missile throwing
force of infantry who were at home in difficult terrain and their
specialty the night attack. The historical sources document 43
such types of night operations that led to significant casualties
that dwarf what occurred during the two main Hoplite battles
during the 2nd Peloponnesian War (Delium and Mantinea) and
the smaller clashes at Solygia and Syracuse. Another aspect of
this form of warfare is it targeted civilians and their property
leading to an environment of brigand raids against isolated
Raiding developed during the Peloponnesian Wars as a tactic
of economic warfare in its own right, rather than a catalyst to
pitched battle. One of the major myths around the primacy of the
Hoplite battle is borne out by the fact that during the 27 years of
the 2nd Peloponnesian War there were approximately 5 hours
of traditional Hoplite combat. It was the skirmish battles that
swirled around raids that dominated land combat in this period
and generated the majority of the military and civilian casualties.
One of the grimmer factors in this war is that raiding developed
into a no quarter doctrine where captives swept up in this style
of warfare were almost always executed.
Raids, while they generated a great deal of death and destruction,
were due to logistic considerations usually of short duration. So,
while the Athenians enthusiastically embraced raiding as their
primary strategy, its main purpose was to demonstrate Spartan
impotence in the war for honor and primacy in the minds of
the Greek world. What made the Athenian raiding strategy so
effective was it rested on naval power. The Athenian military
expeditions could arrive out of nowhere from the sea overwhelming the local defenses with 100 triremes (over 10,000
men) while preventing any reaction by minimizing time spent
conducting land operations. Sparta never developed a response
to the Athenian raiding strategy that highlighted the ineffectual
nature of its own military doctrine. Spartan raids during the
Archidamian war ended after Pylos when the threat to execute
the Spartan hostages secured Attica until the Peace of Nicias
repatriated them.
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Pericles Playbook
Another component of raiding was its timing. This is a period of
small armies, large spaces and short campaigns. It was common
during the Archidamian war for a Spartan army to arrive in Attica, destroy some agricultural infrastructure, and go home only
to see the Athenian army then raid the neighboring territories
of Thebes and Megara. The important point is the concept of
intercepting an Enemy army on the march just did not occur during this period, as it was too easy to refuse battle in the absence
of significant cavalry forces. One of the reasons for the Sicilian
disaster is the superior numbers of Syracusan cavalry imposed
logistic pressure on the Athenian land forces.
Raiding was raised to the next level with the advent of the
Epiteichismos (forward fortification) strategy. Epiteichismos
was the brainchild of Demosthenes who manipulated events to
build a fortification at Pylos that through perseverance, Spartan mistakes, and chance resulted in a decisive advantage that
ultimately ended the Archidamian War. The basic notion was to
fortify a location inside the Enemy’s territory as a refuge and a
means to deny the use of farmland on a continuous basis. This
technique was adopted by the Spartan king Agis as preached by
the treacherous Alcibiades while a ‘guest’ in Sparta. This led to
Agis occupying Decelea in Attica for the remainder of the war.
The permanent presence of a Spartan army in Attica ultimately
bankrupted the Athenian aristocracy whose civic duty was to
directly support the Athenian navy as Trierarchs (build and
maintain a Trireme), besides denying access to the important
Laurium silver mines. In spite of all of this, Athens continued
to survive and at times prosper because its navy maintained its
overseas supply lines and kept their Allies in check. This would
all change once Sparta contested and won naval superiority in
the later part of the war.
The core of Periclean military strategy was a radical doctrine
centered on the convergence of two technologies. The long
walls that connected the city of Athens to its port Piraeus made
the city invulnerable to siege as long as its navy maintained
control of the seas. There were 101 documented assaults against
fortifications during this period of which 50% were successful.
The Athenians were superior to the Spartans in siege warfare as
their ability to isolate a port, especially one on an island, enabled
them to starve an Enemy into submission or benefit from the
timely intervention of collaborators on the inside opening a gate
(14 instances from 431 to 406). Although the Greeks understood
all of the traditional methods of building ramps, battering rams,
and escalades these techniques took time to build and implement
and were antithetical to the logistic constraints that limited the
duration a Hoplite force could remain in the field. In the end
fortifications, even modest ones, could usually buy the besieged
sufficient time to out wait the besiegers.
One of the interesting questions is why it took so long for the
Spartans and their Allies to focus on destroying the source of
Athenian power, its navy. Having rowed in college I can appreciate that Athenian naval superiority rested on the physical
and nautical talents of its trireme crews and the infrastructure
that supported the fleet. It took years to train a trireme crew
and one of the elements of the Athenian raiding strategy was
to deny Sparta and her Allies the ability to train. Without this
training Peloponnesian fleets, even when they outnumbered the
Athenians by 4 to 1 odds, could not prevail against the quality of
Athenian admirals, tactics and their experienced trireme crews.
The other component was the skilled artisans and elaborate
infrastructure resident in the Piraeus (Athens’ port) that maintained the numerous yet fragile Triremes. A Trireme is a wooden
vessel whose motive power is based on a crew of 200 of which
170 were the rowers. Athenian naval doctrine had overturned
the use of triremes locked together enabling a land battle on
floating platforms. Athenian tactics emphasized maneuver and
the primacy of the ram. A Trireme’s speed and maneuverability
were its main strengths and its wooden construction its vulnerability. A Trireme could not spend long periods in the water or
it became waterlogged reducing the speed required for the new
tactics. Too long out of the water it dried out and leaked. On
average it took a month to ready a Trireme for campaign and
due to the cost of operating the fleet most of the 300 Athenian
triremes sat in sheds in the Piraeus with only a few operational
until a campaign was planned. Most military operations were
of small size (~25 Triremes) used for most offensive operations,
with major raids comprising 100+ Triremes composed of over
20,000 men.
It would take the Sicilian disaster of 413 to create a level of naval
parity. Yet, while the Greek world saw Sicily as the beginning
of the end for Athens they were sadly mistaken. From 411 till
the end of the war the Athenians continued to win most of the
naval battles, but the constant naval war in the Aegean wore
down the Athenian fleet. This eventually opened the door to
Persian money, Delian league revolts, and rising Peloponnesian
naval quality that finally annihilated the last Athenian fleet at
Aegospotami, leading to a negotiated surrender. To put the Ionian war in perspective, from 411 to 405 BC the Athenians lost
270 Triremes and over 50,000 sailors whereas in total the two
sides lost ~500 Triremes and 100,000 sailors. It turns out that
this final stage of the conflict was the bloodiest.
Closing Thoughts
What is fascinating to me about this period is how the traditional
Greek concept of battle epitomized by the Hoplite battle line was
found to be ineffective in settling the disputes that brought on a
sixty year period of conflict. What evolved were new concepts
such as the Athenian strategic concept of an inviolate city state
supported by naval superiority that saw the raid and small scale
operations overthrow tradition. That said, it was Athens’ inability
to defeat the Spartan hoplite army that kept the war from reaching a conclusion in their favor. Time and a misguided Athenian
strategy gave the Spartans an opening that enabled them over a
decade of naval conflict to finally achieve victory.
19.2 My Periclean Journey
My first exposure to Thucydides was when I was in High School.
I found a copy in the library and was exposed to one of the
greatest history books ever written. While Admiral Thucydides
is clearly using the work to settle old grudges and put his spin
on things, it remains an epic account of the death match between
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Pericles Playbook
Athens and Sparta in the latter half of the 5th Century BC. For a
book written over two millennia ago it has a surprisingly readable style that is unusual for literary works from this period.
Back to the Future
Thucydides re-entered my life in the early 90’s when I taught
Military Strategy and Policy for the Naval War College in the
Washington DC area. Simultaneously my friend and mentor Jim
Dunnigan asked me to design a game for S&T magazine during
his second short stint as its editor. For this design I decided to
do a solitaire game on the Peloponnesian War. As it so happened the Naval War College experience also gave me access
to a large catalog of taped lectures on the various case studies
in the class I was teaching.
My favorite lectures were those on the Peloponnesian war given
by a major ancient scholar, Al Bernstein, who studied under
Professor Kagan, considered the leading expert on this conflict.
Then fate stepped in and I met and befriended Al when he taught
at the National War College in Washington, DC.
Early in our association I asked Al if he would take a look at my
nascent design. As a serious scholar he was skeptical that any
game could represent this war. I remember the first question he
asked me when I showed him the map, “How do you account
for the Athenian raiding strategy?” I then showed him how it
worked and he really warmed up to what he was seeing. I spent
many hours over the remainder of that game’s development
discussing details of the conflict with him. I really wish Al were
still around as a sounding board for Pericles, as many of our
conversations were about Athenian politics and how strategy
was developed to prosecute the war. In fact it was my inability
back in the 90’s to show the political dimension of the Peloponnesian War that led me to revisit this topic now that I am armed
with my Churchill debate mechanic. I am dedicating this game
in memory of Al and I hope he would approve of what I have
done with the topics of our long-ago conversations.
The results of these conversations and study led to the publication in 1994 of my last Victory Games design, The Peloponnesian War. This earlier effort was primarily a solitaire game,
but it had two-player and multiplayer variants that found a
small but dedicated following at early WBC tournaments. It is
a design that I still play on occasion, primarily because my late
twentieth century solo system, that are now called ‘Bots, still
has a winning record against me.
More relevant to this design, I used to lecture on the Peloponnesian War for another great American, Admiral Stansfield
Turner. I gave Admiral Turner a copy of my VG design and
he asked me if I could modify it for his National War College
class. This resulted in the game being computerized and used
for a time in the University’s seminar program. The gist of this
modified VG Peloponnesian War effort was that the class was
broken into three teams, Athens, Sparta, and Persia. Within each
team there were factions that had to cooperate to develop strategy to win the war, yet only the faction in power when victory
occurred was declared the winner of the exercise. Basically I
have playtested the basic concept for Pericles across a diverse
audience of military and civilian students for over a decade.
RAM vs Faction Model
The acronym RAM is a political science term that stands for
rational actor model. The concept is used as a simplified way to
model a nation’s behavior. The major assumption of this model
is that a nation’s international behavior can be understood as a
coherent singular set of policies. In his classic work, “Essence
of Decision”, Graham Allison examined the Cuban Missile crisis
through this and other models and concluded that the RAM was
inadequate to model a polity’s action.
What I find interesting is most strategic wargames have traditionally used the RAM focused on the player acting as the
omnipotent representation of a combatant. Pericles eschews
the RAM and looks at the opposing City States’ policies and
strategies as the output of an internal struggle for power. In the
5th century BC there were times that faction loyalty dominated
City State affiliations. This was an important consideration in
how I constructed the Pericles model and how I tried to more
strongly align this design with history.
One of the things that working on Pericles has done is it has
caused me to re-read the plays of Aristophanes. Aristophanes
was one of the original creators of Western satirical comedy and
his plays were performed while the Peloponnesian Wars were
being fought. This makes the plays a rich source of information as Aristophanes parodied many of the leading politicians
and generals of his day. He particularly disliked Cleon and any
reference to a tanner, Paphlagonian, or leather merchant was
code for the leading Demagogue of his day. I used Aristophanes
as a vehicle to bring some random context and events into each
game turn. In Aristophanes’ play Clouds, he satirizes Socrates
and his philosophy. What I find fascinating about these plays
is Aristophanes knew and saw some of these legendary figures
on a daily basis in the Athenian agora. He spoke to them, had
all the gossip on them, and then he made fun of them in front
of the entire city. Sometimes the only clue we have of an event
not mentioned in the Thucydides text is Aristophanes where it
appears in a humorous dialog.
A secondary effect of this research is it caused me for personal
reasons to do some extra research on Socrates. The précis version
is, “a life unexamined is not worth living.” So here it goes, my
nature and desire is to always push the game design envelope.
This has many unintended consequences. First, if you have
played one of my games, you have played one of my games.
Even my CDG designs are quite dissimilar from each other as
is Pericles from its point of origin, Churchill. This means that
I have been a total failure in developing a consistent series that
people can use as the basis for learning my next design, although
Great Battles comes close, but more due to Richard Berg than
myself. Second, it has gained me a reputation for designing
complex strategy games for which I am guilty as charged. This
means that I am unlikely to ever design a game that becomes a
worldwide phenomenon even though my mechanics have fueled
the efforts of others.
My design philosophy has always been to design deep strategy
games with bespoke mechanics that can stand the test of time.
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Pericles Playbook
This means that I am unlikely to have a marketing hit with one
of my historical designs. In essence I am at my core an historical game designer, not one who takes a themed mechanic and
dresses it up with meeples in ancient clothing and calls it history.
Others will have to judge whether I have been successful in this
regard, but the heirs to We The People are still being played
over two decades and counting. As the guy who jumped off the
Empire State Building said as he passed the 80th floor, “so far,
so good.” That’s enough introspection, so now back to Pericles.
Simplicity on the other side of Complexity
I think when you know a topic intimately you have a chance at
achieving mechanical simplicity that translates the complexity
of the topic into a useable format. This was my intent, although
as usual it is likely more than the general gaming audience can
tolerate. I believe that that Aristophanes would have recognized
these inadequacies and satirized me for it.
An example of what I am talking about is the all-important
sieges that were attempted and successful about fifty percent
of the time. How do I know this? My research for Pericles
found a paper published 1997 after I did my VG design by
Scott Rusch, titled, Poliorcetic Assault in the Peloponnesian
War. It is a 969 page doctoral dissertation that covers sieges
in a highly detailed and well documented manner. I was able
to purchase an electronic copy of this work whose facsimile is
a typewritten manuscript. My guess is Dr. Rusch used a lot of
white out in its creation. The conclusion of the study was in the
first sentence, but you will have to believe me or read the paper
to confirm that in his words, “We discover, in fact, that 101
assault incidents occurred in the Peloponnesian War, of which
one-half ended in successes for the attackers.” By the way, this
was my conclusion from my earlier research for my VG design.
I can also count, but no PhD.
While I am sure there is a small group of gamers who would
like to have a rule for each historical siege and analytic metric
cited in the paper, I chose to boil it all down to one rule in about
a dozen words. So, when I say that I am an historical game
designer and I researched sieges in detail, this is what I mean.
Based on that research I accounted for sieges accurately and
hopefully elegantly within the Pericles construct. By the way
Poliorcetic is Greek for (approximately) ‘the taker of cities.’
This hopefully illustrates how I strive to find simplicity on the
other side of complexity.
‘gymnasium’ where you can ease into the design, I hope you
take advantage of this offered path into the game.
The Persians
This was perhaps the greatest design challenge I faced. When I
taught this topic in graduate school—to see if my students had
actually read the material—I would ask, “Who won the Peloponnesian War?” A reasonable answer is Sparta; in my mind the
more correct answer is Persia. As Pericles covers the period from
460 BC to 400 BC it should be noted that the Persian War of
Salamis fame was still active during the first decade of this game.
The reason that I state that it was the Persians who won the Peloponnesian war is based on the treaty that ended the Persian war.
That treaty between the Greeks and the Persians stated that the
Persian navy could not enter the Aegean Sea and that all coastal
colonies in Ionia could not be approached any closer than a 3
day march by Persian land forces. In return the Greeks promised
to stop attacking the Persians. At the end of the Peloponnesian
war essentially both of these major conditions collapsed as an
exhausted Sparta succumbed during the Corinthian war that
followed in the 4th century BC.
Having seen 30 military officers in three teams fight the Peloponnesian war, you find that the Persian role—while significant—was one of finance and political manipulation. Perhaps I
will do an expansion to Pericles some day, but the increase in
complexity to introduce an aggressive third side was outside the
historical narrative and would take the focus of the design off of
where I thought it belongs. As it stands, the Persian rule allows
Sparta to gain Persian finance by building nearly untouchable
bases that support a larger military, which at its core was the
tangible Persian contribution to this conflict. I feel that this is
the best balance of history and complexity for this design.
I could write a great deal more about the design, but luckily I
have Rodger MacGowan’s c3i magazine for future discussions on
one of my favorite historical topics. I hope you enjoy the game.
That said, one of my lessons learned from Fire in the Lake is
that Volko’s superior play aids are a great way to make a game
more accessible and control the design’s complexity budget. I
designed most of the game based on what I could summarize
in one play aid. So, once you have gone over the rules, you
should never have to look at them again if you use the play aid.
Of course that will not work for everyone, but the rules safety
net should solve any remaining questions. While the rules are
not shorter than the play aid, they are by my standards fairly
straightforward using simple mechanics, so hope springs eternal
that it will be a low barrier to entry design. Toward that end I
have spent considerable time developing my version of a training
© 2016 GMT Games, LLC
Pericles Playbook
Durant, Will, The Life of Greece, Simon and Shuster 1939
One of my goals before I die is to finish his eleven volume opus
on civilization. For this design I finally read volume 2. It is quite
good and the title of the campaign scenario comes from the
chapter about this conflict, ‘The Suicide of Greece’.
Green, Peter, Armada from Athens, Doubleday, 1970.
An old favorite whose main thesis is: the Sicilian expedition
arose out of Athens’ desire to control a rich grain location. This
is based on a single line in Thucydides that has been eroded by
recent research and commentary. Since almost all commentary
on this period is a combination of scholarly work and conjecture, decide for yourself. I found that my read of Feeding the
Democracy (see below) with its more statistically based analysis
somewhat supported this older perspective.
Herman, Mark, The Peloponnesian War, Victory Games, 1991.
I used much of my original research for this design. I have yet
to find a comparable summary of the naval battles and statistics
published in the playbook.
20.0 Bibliography
Following is a list of the key sources that I have read and studied
on this period and used to design Pericles and my earlier The
Peloponnesian War. I have consulted or read at least another
50 works since college included in the various bibliographies
of these books.
Aristophanes, The Complete Plays, various English translations
and editions.
One of the important and interesting commentaries on the
Peloponnesian War is the political satire of this great playwright
(Aristophanes). In some cases he is the only source for possible
Peace missions that are not mentioned by Thucydides. There
are only 11 existing complete plays; the first Acharnians was
performed in 425 BC. No one is quite sure how many plays he
actually wrote, but there were 1st and 2nd editions of the plays
we have and another 30 or so that are referenced for which no
copies exist. I will mention that several of Aristophanes’ plays
cover adult material with extremely adult words, so parental
discretion is advised.
Bagnall, Nigel, The Peloponnesian War, Pimlico, 2004.
A good standard work on the period, but given the other choices
I would suggest you start with Lendon or Kagan.
Bernstein, Al, Audio tapes Naval War College lectures, unpublished.
I first became acquainted with this fellow New Yorker and former
Kagan student from his Peloponnesian War lecture tapes that
the Naval War College made available to its professors. I then
met and became close friends with Al, who was my consultant
on my earlier Peloponnesian War design. I dedicate this work
in memory of my old friend.
Hanson, Victor Davis, A War Like No Other, Random House,
This is a must read once you have read Thucydides. This book
analyzes the key dimensions of the 2nd Peloponnesian War
and has some great insights; such as there were only 4-5 hours
of traditional Hoplite battles during the entire 27 year conflict.
Highly recommended.
Kagan, Donald, The Peloponnesian War (multiple works),
Viking, 2003.
For brevity I have listed the one volume version of his fourvolume opus that I discovered back in the 1990s when I designed
The Peloponnesian War (VG, 1991). If you want to get serious
about this topic you need to check out the four-volume set consisting of The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, The Archidamian War, The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition, and
The Fall of the Athenian Empire. I accessed these four volumes
for my original Peloponnesian War design via inter-library loan,
and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I also used for this
and my earlier design the two works, Pericles of Athens and the
Birth of Democracy and Thucydides, by this author.
Lendon, T. E., The Song of Wrath, Basic Books, 2010.
This is one of the most exciting and well-written books that I
have ever read on this topic. While it purports to only cover the
first 10 years of the conflict known as the Archidamian War, it
actually does an amazing job of covering the 1st Peloponnesian
War and the Persian War that preceded this conflict. The entire
concept of Honor and how the victory conditions operate in
this game were inspired by this work. Besides being a talented
scholar, Ted Lendon is also an ancients wargame collector and
a very cool guy.
© 2016 GMT Games, LLC
Pericles Playbook
Moreno, Alfonso, Feeding the Democracy, Oxford University
Press, 2007.
One of the big questions that I wanted to understand for this
design was how vulnerable Athens was to having its grain supplies cut off. The answer is that Athens had many sources of
grain available on the market, but the Hellespont represented
the most reliable on a regular basis. This work has answered
this question to my satisfaction.
Rusch, Scott M., Poliorcetic Assault in the Peloponnesian War,
U of Penn., 1997
A doctoral dissertation that covers every assault on a fortified
work during the entire period covered by this game. This nearly
1000 page paper confirmed my earlier rule in my VG design that
this type of attack worked fifty percent of the time.
Rusch, Scott M., Sparta at War 550-362, Frontline Books, 2011.
A very detailed historical account of Spartan culture and strategy before, during, and after the war by the same author as the
Assault paper.
Siculus, Diordorus, The Persian Wars to the Fall of Athens Books
11-14.34 (480-401 BCE), University of Texas, 2010.
This translation is by Peter Green (see above) and covers the
entire period of this design. In the preface it quotes a commentator who says, “…the historian (Diordorus) whose work every
modern historian of ancient Greece must use, while fervently
wishing this could be avoided.” He survives, as he is the only
voice that connects the entire 5th century into a complete narrative. Use with caution, especially when you consider his epic
work was written several centuries after the events he describes
based on sources we no longer possess.
Thucydides, Son of Olorus, The Peloponnesian War, various
English translations and editions.
This is my favorite book, so I have read it many times and is
our main source for this period. Over my lifetime I have read
most of the available English translations. The one I would
suggest is the Landmark Thucydides (Strassler translation)
that has extensive maps with excellent summary notes in the
margins. The Crawley translation is considered the truest to the
original text and then there are the Finley, Warner, and Hammond translations. The great news is many translations of this
legendary history are available at your local library (remember
when this is how we obtained books) with several free or very
inexpensive e-versions ($0.99).
Xenophon, Hellenika, various English translations and editions
If you read Thucydides you will realize that his history ends in
411 BC, almost in mid-sentence. So how, you ask, do we know
how the war ended and who won? The answer is Xenophon’s history picks up where Thucydides left off and continues the story
till its end. Clearly they were working together at some point.
So, you need to read at a minimum the first third of Xenophon’s
history if you want to see how the movie ends.
Game Design: Mark Herman
Research: Carole Herman
Game Development: Francisco Colmenares
Art Director & Package Design: Rodger B. MacGowan
Rules Editing: Steven Mitchell
Rules, Playbook and Player Aid Cards: Charles Kibler
Map, Counters and Card Decks: Francisco Colmenares
and Knut Grunitz
Proofreading: Jonathan Squibb
Graphic Design: Peter Cluen and David Dockter
Developmental Support: Steven Mitchell, Franciso Colmenares, JR Tracy, Jonathan Haber and David Dockter
Producers: Gene Billingsley, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis,
Rodger MacGowan, and Mark Simonitch
Production Coordination: Tony Curtis
Playtesting: Carole Herman, Grant Herman, Dan Schriebstein, Jonathan Haber, Tom Stein, Ken Stein, James Diener,
JR Tracy, William Terdoslavch, Steven Matthews, Scott
Muldoon, Andy Lewis, Charles Finch, Gordon Pueschner,
David Dockter, Chris Greenfield, Steven Mitchell, Drew
Gilbert, Rory (Hawkeye) Aylward, Greg Schmittgens, Jim
Lacey, Jimmy O., Wendell, Mark Mimh, Peter Perla, Richard
Phares, Gary Gonzalez, and the 1st Minnesota
Special Thanks to Francisco Colmenares (card design and
all around graphic support), David Dockter (playtest map
redesign), and Jonathan Haber with Cluen for his perspective and support for this design.
GMT Games, LLC • P. O. Box 1308, Hanford, CA 93232-1308 • www. GMTGames. com
© 2016 GMT Games, LLC
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