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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Thandros

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Pontus Strikes Back-An AJE Great Mithridatic War AAR

(Play Dramatic Music)

Rome is under siege. While Sulla's death has led to the Restoration of the Republic threats remain. To the West in Hispania a group of Hispanic rebels have linked up with the Populares' rebel Sertorius and his men and between them they have secured much of Central Hispania from the Romans and look to expand there position to cover the rest of Hispania. To counter this threat the Romans have sent there best General, The Famed Pompey soon to be known as the Great, with sizable forces to crush this revolt before it can spread too far. However Sertorius is not the only threat to face Rome in this dark hour. Cilician Pirates based on the Southern Coast of Asia minor and with a web of bases across the Mediterranean are threatening Roman shipping and allied Bandits have been pushing against the Roman frontier in Anatolia. There is even unrest in Italy. Despite two previous Servile wars in Sciliy the Romans have failed to restrict unrest among the numerous slave populations of Italy. It will only take a single Spark to form an uprising that will tear Italy apart in a spree of ravaging and looting. However the Greatest threat to Rome is not an internal rebellion or a loose organisation of Pirates and Bandits. But a powerful and organised Kingdom. Mithridates VI having licked his wounds from the First and Second Mithridatic wars is even now planning a new attack on the Romans in Asia. With an alliance with his son in Law Tigranes the Great of Armenia who rules a vast Kingdom in the East. Mithridates has also been cultivating a number of Alliances with various tribes in the Balkans as well as the Steppe north of Pontic holding in Taurica. The Stage now seems set for Rome to crumble but will it Play out that way.

Ok now that the Dramatic prelude is over time for what I'm actually doing. I'm going to be playing as Pontus under Mithridates VI. Now Pontus starts at peace in this scenario and it's army apart from newly built units is locked until war is declared. Now I can declare war at any second as long as I have at least 5 EP. But if I do so before Rome inherits Bithynia then I'll take hits to both Morale and Victory points. In the mean time I'm going to be building troops and strengthing my army while hoping Rome doesn't finish off Sertorius and his Hispanic rebels. If they do there is little chance of me being able to defeat Rome. However Sertorius has a Strong army is one of the Best Generals in the game. It seems unlikely he'll lose any time soon. First Peace Update will be Up soon.​
 

Thandros

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Chapter One: Preparations Begin.

In Pontus everything is fairly peaceful. For now at least. But Mithridates is preparing for war against the Romans and he needs more men to do it. He currently has 6 armies of varying power spread across his lands. Plus an Extra unit holding one of the towns. He also has three fleets of varying strength. This is a great force but more men will be needed to crush Rome.

AJE_1.jpg


However troop recruitment is limited. Phalanxes are expensive and ineffective next to Roman legions but are good for adding mass to an army to take blows that would destroy other formations. Cavalry Units and Scythed Chariots are expensive, vulnerable and largely ineffective but have been shown to disrupt entrenchment of enemy forces before as well as being useful scouts against the enemy. Pedites and Sagittarii are Cheap, effective for there cost and Sagittarii in particular add a lot of fire power to a formation but are in comparison to other units weak and vulnerable to damage. Ships are all fairly effective with transports, raider ships and battle ships as such all being available for construction. Though Admirals may have to be removed to provide enough command points for the army.

AJE_2.jpg


To start with the building up of the Pontic position all three Sagittarii, three Pedites and three Phalanxes are built in Amisus to supplement my starting forces. I also impose requisitions in five different cities. As since all my towns are totally loyal to Pontus unless I do this there is no chance of being able to deploy merchants in Pontic territory so I can take advantage of the Useful free cash from a Trade outpost being set up. Since requisitions lower loyalty after one or if necessary two I can use merchants there to bring in extra cash added by trade outposts.

AJE_3.jpg


Though this move loses me 5 EP and Pontus right now only gets One every turn so it means I have a choice to make. Which set of Mercenaries do I want to hire for my Army. The Armenian Archers or the Sarmatian Cataphracts. I end up choosing the Armenians since If I'm lucky and Armenia gets involoved on my side or unlucky if I'm push back enough for that to become a possibility then I'll be able to have the Armenians properly commanded since I'll have a number of Armenian generals who can command them. The Sarmatians will never have a general who can command them by comparison.

AJE_4.jpg


At this point I hit the End turn button and realize that the Requisition haven't lowered loyalty enough so a second round of them will be needed to lower them further. This means another 5 EP will have to be spent on them but it does mean that I'll have more money to spend. Though I'm hoping there aren't any revolts because of this.​
 

Sathariel

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Good luck in showing the Romans their place :). You will, probably, need it.
 

Stuyvesant

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If I remember correctly from reading my Narwhal, then Pontus has a large army, but a brittle one, that can easily be overpowered by quantitatively inferior Roman units (as long as those units are Legions commanded by the Roman commanders of the demi-god rank). It will be interesting to see how you deal with the Romans' qualitative edge. Perhaps they'll be too occupied in Spain, or perhaps they will have bled too many veterans by the time you declare war. Having the ability to declare war gives you a bit of flexibility to fight on your terms.
 

Thandros

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A First Step.



Vote in the ACAs. Or Else Mithridates and His Pontic Phalanxes will be knocking on your door.
 

Thandros

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Sathariel: Well Hopefully I will not need luck but I probably will need quite a bit of it.

Loki100: Perhaps but there are a few options that may help turn the tide.

Stuyvesant: I wouldn't say Brittle. Power Inefficient is more like it. As for defeating the Romans I have two options really to defeat them. Mass force and huge numerical superiority or using a few options to improve the balance of power. As for Spain Sertorius seems to be beating the Romans around with a stick.

Chapter Two: The Peaceful Interlude

During the Period before the war I have a reasonable chance to build up my forces and shape my position to a point. One of Pontus' more interesting options is one called Mithridates Prodigality. This allows me to trade money for EP at a 10:1 ratio at in packets of 100 money for 10 EP. This allows me to replenish my EP more effectively than what I gain every turn by default. This means I can take more options than my base EP gain allows. This is rather useful at getting some of the More expensive options that are available.

AJE_5.jpg


Another Problems is that my requisitions have encouraged a couple of revolts against Me in two different towns. This isn't a problem. But since my forces are almost entirely locked I have little way to suppress them except using a few almost finished building a few Armenian archers plus some militia based in the towns. I order those Militia plus some other available troops to suppress these revolts. I also use my options to deploy merchants and next turn I deploy trade posts to gain some free money.

AJE_6.jpg


Neither of the revolts are really a threat. I quickly drive them both off. In the retreat both of the revolts are destroyed and they are no longer any threat. With this over I can continue with my preparations.

AJE_7.jpg

AJE_8.jpg


Now I decide to take a little of the more dubious of the options I could take. The Cretan Alliance. It supposedly unlocks a fleet and army in Crete for the Pirates. I've no idea how strong the army is or is on the strength of the fleet. Regardless if this force can harass the Romans and distract them from me. IT may be dubious but in my terms in only costs 200 gold since 10 EP I need for it I got earlier for 100 Gold. No great cost. If the gain is only marginal it'll still probably be worth it in the end.

AJE_9.jpg


During this period I'm continuing to build up my forces. In march after gaining both the yearly Income and trade post income I build another 3 phalanxes and 4 Pedites as well as more transport ships and Raider ships on the North Black sea coast. I also take on of the more tangible options available to me to strengthen my position against the Romans. I make an alliance with the Scythians one of the Steep tribes to aid me against Roman. For 15 EP and 50 Gold I get two fairly average leaders plus three powerful Nomad cavalry. But this is a problem. The cavalry's faction tag is NOM while the leaders is SCY or something like that. This means the leaders I get can't properly command the troops who come with them. Since incorrectly commanded these cavalry cost 4 CP and I've three of them versus two Leaders who give 4 CP each my northern Army loses overall 4 CP. Since it was already at it's CP capacity commanding several other nomad cavalry units there is now a lack of CP up there. It would be worse if I'd hired those Sarmatian cavalry units as there another Tag again so more incorrectly commanded penalties. At the same time more EP was gained using Gold.

AJE_10.jpg


While my build up continues with the Options to bribe the Dardanian tribes which is both cheap and gives over 300 PWR of troops for just 3 EP and 30 Gold as well as the Option to ally with Sertorius against Rome. For this I give him money and ships which is important as Sertorius has a distinct lack of a fleet. But then the crunch point arrives. Rome has inherited Bithynia which opens the way for total war against the Romans. Since this gives me a reason to attack them. In effect it removes the 5NM and 100 VP penalty for attacking them early. This means I'm launching my offensive rather soon.

AJE_11.jpg


Now every Offensive needs a plan. Well I have one of sorts. My main army will split into two forces. One led by Mithridates and the other by Taxiles another Three star general with Mithridates. One will head along the Black sea coast taking the Towns in that Region. The Other will hit the Roman Galatians allies hard and then push through the Middles. Two Smaller forces will crush Cappadonia quickly then more along closer to the Mediterranean moving along the north side of the Pirate territory in the region. Forces from further east and from the North Side of the Black sea will move into assist as possible against the Romans. It must be done quickly to ensure a decisive victory against the Romans meaning I can hold out long term.

AJE_12.jpg


I'll Likely use the Dardanian option when I begin moving towards Macedonia and Greece after taking Asia but until then I need to pray my Advance goes unchecked as much as possible. Supply may turn out to be my Achilles heel as I'm slightly worried about my ability to supply large armies until I reach the Ionian regions of Western Asia minor where there are more big cities to supply my forces.​
 

loki100

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great update .. nice to see you setting out your plans and options as you move towards war.

can you split your columns into an advance guard of lighter troops to speed your dash towards supply or is that too risky in terms of running into some nasty Romans?
 

Powloon

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I was sorry to see the end of your PON AAR it was one of the ones that made me pick up the game again! Fascinating read looking forward to see how this pans out.

I am definately going to give this game a go after I finish up my current PON campaign (hopefully sometime in the next decade:D)
 

Soulstrider

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Be careful how you use your EP and money, I wasted too much of it early and then I didn't have enough later for several Pontic specific events to bring more allies to war.

I was very unlucky in my Pontic campaign since for some reason the AI decided to send the forces they usually have in the Hispanian Theatre to Asia Minor despite this leaving Sertorius free to rampage at his will.
 

Nikephorus16

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Unconventional! I'm looking forward to reading this non-Roman AJE AAR!
 

Stuyvesant

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I like your plan - but then I don't know the situation on the ground, plus I'm a sucker for maps with arrows writhing suggestively all over them. ;)

I don't know how well your plan will work and/or how soon you will encounter serious Roman opposition, but it should be interesting to watch it unfold. I understand that the Romans are extremely powerful versus pretty much anything except other Romans, but how do your forces compare to your non-Roman foes? Can you match (or even beat) those?
 

Thandros

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Loki100: Hmm not really. One the Romans are here in force and secondly only the Pedites in terms of Infantry can actually move faster than my other Infantry types. It also leaves me at risk since there are at least 4 Roman Legions running around the area and the Roman vassal armies as well.

Powloon: Thanks I'll see what I can do.

Soulstrider: Thanks for the tip. It does look like the Romans are sending some men against Sertorius in this game. But there still doing horribly.

Nikephorus16: Well I think Unconventional is good. And anyway since there are three (four if you count Sertorius who has Mostly Hispanic troops with a few Romans thrown in) Non-Roman factions right now it was just a matter of time before one happened.

Stuyvesant: Thanks. As for the Non-Roman Vassals of Rome armies. The Cappadonians are effectively copies of my Pontic troops to a degree I think. The Galatians are more formidable. Some of there Elite troops are more than a Match for mine but there non-Elite forces are almost as good as mine so I can take them with enough men. I've already had some clashes with them as you'll see.

Chapter Three: The First Point to Pontus

Right I hit the Option to declare war and wait a Turn. Hmm didn't work. Well that might not be a bad thing. Better weather plus some more time for some of my men to Finish training might be good. So I hit it again and Bingo it works.

AJE_13.jpg


Right so now my armies are all unlocked and I can now begin attacking the Romans. Now unlocking of my armies is probably triggered by an event that Fires for me says that I'm at war with Rome. I think the Locked Roman armies in the east are unlocked by a Similar event which fires for the Romans saying that I've attacked them. Also I think I've seen what could be part of the Createn Pirate army. Possibly. A few Pirate infantry units led by a general. But I can't say whether that was there before or not.

AJE_14.jpg


Also firing is an event for Cappadonia. I think it unlocks their army and allows them to begin Moving and fighting me. Next turn a Similar event but with no nice description or picture fires for the Galatians which says there ready to fight. Both armies suffer from command penalties I think. In comparison after reorganisation and a new General arriving I only have one army suffering from a command penalty.

AJE_15.jpg


I begin making my moves. Mithridates' army is split into two fairly equal parts with some of it remaining where it is under Taxlies who will try to resupply then begin advancing along the Black sea coast. Mithridates takes the rest of the Army to an inland town to also try and resupply. My various eastern armies regroup at Trapezus under a single command to prepare for the March west to Victory. Two formations begin advances against Cappadonian cities to begin the reduction of the Roman vassal as swiftly as possible. I also transport my army in on the far side of the Black sea south to support my Armies in Asia.

AJE_16.jpg


The plan goes into action and I launch an assault against the Cappadonian city of Sebastia. While I inflict considerable losses against the garrison I can't finish them off. A Second assault several days later finishes them off with minimal losses. I also notice several Roman formation move into the region as well. Fortunatly they decided to retreat before battle but it's a slightly worrying sign.

AJE_17.jpg


Further west at Mazaca a smaller force assaults both a units of javelin men and the garrison wiping out both in a single attack. While sustaining fairly low losses in the process. Unfortunately it seems I took rather considerable losses to simply marching around during the turn.

AJE_18.jpg


I order My forces onward. Mithridates is ordered to take Ancrya the Capital of the Galatians and the current base of there army. Though there active no so They'll move. Some raider ships are moved across the Black sea to a Pontic colony near the Propontis to prepare to raid Roman shipping. My smaller army at Mazaca says put while the Sebastia force is ordered to take the Cappidonian Capital while the Eastern Force now well led moves to Nikopolis to prepare to assist in the reduction of Cappidonia. In the process of carrying out these orders My Cappidonian Force runs into a Roman army and some Cappadonian cavalry. Fortunatly it wipes out the Cavalry but doesn't engage the Romans. It then promptly stops moving.

AJE_19.jpg


Then Just to annoy me the Galatians begin moving while Mithridates is stopped by some cavalry (who retreated before engagement). They attack my forced at Mazaca and in the resulting engagement they drive them back but both sides suffer about the same casulties. The thing is only 22 combat elements engaged. That's a big chunk of my army and a fairly small one of theirs. Overall I do slightly more damage but loose more men when I'm forced to retreat. Fortunately I don't loose the Town as an Auto-Garrison spawns there preventing them from just taking it.

AJE_20.jpg


The Galatians then move on and attack my Cappadonian force which has stopped in Comana region. My forces promptly bloody the nose of them wining a slight victory over them and forcing more damage on the retreat. Right now my Position has improved slightly two turns in but I'm only making slow progress and have yet to face the might of the legions themselves. When I do it'll be more worrisome.

AJE_21.jpg


My objectives are now clearly to drive off the Galatians and capture the rest of Cappadonia. I also want to begin the Push along the Black Sea coast and prevent the Romans sending more reinforcements by land.​
 

loki100

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interesting set of problems. Looks like this would be a real challenge even if it was just a war between the states in Asia Minor.

hopefully all those Romans will go off to Spain -after all it is sunnier there?
 

Nikephorus16

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Yeah knocking out the Cappadocians and Galatians quickly seems like the best plan of attack. Does the Dardanian alliance give you a lot of extra troops?
 

Stuyvesant

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Slow 'n' steady could win the race: I'll be optimistic and say it gives the warring Romans more time to kill each other. :)
 

Thandros

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Loki100: Well I think even if they did it might not make much difference over there. Sertorius has boxed the Romans up in the North eastern corner where it's probably not that warm and also. In the east Lies an excessive amount of wealth just waiting for an eagle eye looter to steal. 70,000 Romans and Roman allies at least prefer the east to the West.

Nikephorus16: Well it gives around 300 pwr Worth of troops but not only that it's not a large number of men. It's also not unnecessary to do it to get them to raid the Romans. I got them without paying. About the Roman Allies. Well knocking out there cities is a good step but there army is a slightly different matter.

Stuyvesant: Well it may. But Since after Sertorius breaks out of Hispania there is nothing worth Defending apart from Massilia until you reach Northern Italy they may just risk it that the walls of Massilia hold long enough to crush me before running back west.

Chapter Four: Success and Setbacks.

Well My position looks fairly good right now. The counter attack of the Roman Allies is rather worrying. Since I don't think there any stronger I send my second Force attacking Cappadonia against them at the Cappadonian Capital. I also order Mithridates against the Galatian capital. Neither is to assault since Mithridates is inactive and I'm not certain I can beat the Galatians. I also order some other moves My other southern Force retreat to reestablish military control taken by pirates and the Small force that retreated from Mazaca is order back to it to ensure it stay mine. I order my Taurica force forward and Taxiles supply wagons to the next province over to try and speed up resupply.

AJE_22.jpg


However before Mithridates can really get moving he engages a force of Roman Allied cavalry. While he inflicts greater losses upon them he can't wipe them out. This also stops his movement. Really useful as there seems to be some form of dust cloud on the Horizon head straight towards him.

AJE_23.jpg


Annoyingly this force is a massive force of Romans and Roman Allies. With massive numerical supremacy I'm surprised that in the first battle I not only hold my own I also do quite a lot of Damage back to them. I blame the Terrain for this good luck. Frontage must be working against him ensuring lower Quality Phalanxes and Celtic infantry is engaging rather than the Legions. However two more battles promptly follow both see more favorable losses to me. However After the Third Skirmish ,since losses were so low I consider it an extended series of Skirmishes, I'm forced to retreat taking heavy losses.

AJE_24.jpg

AJE_25.jpg

AJE_26.jpg


The next turn movement is very limited. My Taurica army shifts west to avoid stripping Mithridates of much needed supplies. I also order the Assault against the Capadonian Capital. I also notice that the Dardanians have activated by themselves giving me a new front with which to harass the Romans from. I immeaditly order them to assault the nearest Roman controlled city in the area.

AJE_27.jpg


The Assault on Eusebeia goes fairly well. While it takes three assaults most of the damage is done in the first one. The other two see little damage done and at the same time little damage taken but ultimately I manage to take the City for Pontus.

AJE_28.jpg


However the Galatians rather than take the city they drove Mithridates from they shift south and attack my Mazaca force. Since I'm outnumbered around three to one since some of the men make up the Garrison militia who don't fight. I'm presantly surprised to have inflicted so much damage against the force including destroying one of the Elite Galatian infantry elements. The Mazaca force retreats to recently captured Eusebeia while the Galatians assault Mazaca. I also lost one national Morale in the main battle.

AJE_29.jpg

AJE_30.jpg


However despite this setback I'm able to end on a high since the Dardainians take Lissus wiping out the Local garrison in just one assault. This sort of makes up for the Setbacks in the East since Now Roman reinforcements from Italy either have to fight the Dardainians or go by sea. I'm also rather usefully reducing Roman sea merchant shipping using a considerable fleet of raider ships in the Aegean. So far three Roman merchant vessels have been sunk giving me three needed EP for the act.

AJE_31.jpg


The plan now is simple rebuild forces and Wipe out that army as much as possible. 4 Legions plus allies is a huge threat to my forces possibly.​
 

Stuyvesant

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When an ambitious plan is described as 'simple', I always feel that things will start going wrong very soon thereafter. :p

Seems you have some nice tools to harass the Romans away from your main front - I hope it's enough to distract them so that those four legions in Asia Minor don't come and steamroll right over you.