In a game like Pride and Glory, that tries to simulate historical warfare, something as seemingly dull and straight-forward as scale can become a huge dilemma – something that the game designer has to spend hours poring and obsessing over until they either nail it, or give up and move on to an easier project (a Chutes and Ladders knockoff maybe, or flicking a marble against a wall, or slap fights). If the game is to be a true simulation then the space that units take up, the distance soldiers and cavalry are able to travel, and the speed at which they are able to travel there, all have to be accurate to the historical reality, and to the reality of the game. All this has to be accomplished while still making the game fun, engaging, and re-playable. And to compound the issue, Pride and Glory in particular utilizes two sets of maps – a Campaign Map and Battlefield Maps – that each have to achieve these goals while utilizing the same unit stats between the two. That Chutes and Ladders knockoff is looking better and better...
Pride and Glory does this by dividing areas of terrain into hexagons, each representing a segment of land or sea that units, cities, and buildings occupy. The Campaign Map and the Battlefield Maps obviously work on a different scale – as the Battlefields are “zoomed-in” sections of the Campaign Map – but each work by the same basic principle.
On the Campaign Map it works like this: the map is 36x23 hexes, while the area it represents is approximately 660x420km (yes, we work in kilometers not miles, because Canada). Therefore, each hex is about 18.26km from one side to the other, and takes up about 333.5km2. The smaller islands on the Campaign Map are an exception to this rule as they had to be blown up to make them playable. But for the most part, it works.
With this scale in mind, we can do some “reality checks” by testing different areas and distances against the real world. For example, the actual distance between Athens and Sparta – the two main foes in the game – is 213km. In the game, the distance is 11 hexes. So, using the calculations above, we can figure the distance to be 200.86km (11x18.26). Pretty good so far.
In real life (#IRL) the distance between Athens and Thebes is 89.8km. In the game, it is 5 hexes, so 91.3km (11x18.26). Better! #IRL the distance between Athens and Naupactus is 215.8km. In the game, it is 6 hexes, so 219.2km (6x18.26). Awesome!
We can use this same principle to calculate and compare the areas that different cities controlled. For example, Ancient Attica, the region controlled by Athens, occupied about 2,500km2. In the game, Attica takes up 7.5 hexes, so 2,501km2 (7.5x333.5). Lacedaemonia, the region controlled by Sparta, occupied about 4,000km2. In the game, Lacedaemonia takes up 15 hexes, so 5,002km2 (15x333.5). Sweet.
Now, when we get down to the Battlefield Maps, we work on pretty much the same principle, but now we need far more detail. After all, now we’re working with not just distances between two points, but with the space that individual soldiers occupy, with their speed across the field, and with their speed relative to one another. Complicated stuff! So let’s start with the basics: it was decided early on that the hexes on Battlefield Maps would represent 50 yards across (yes, now we’re working in yards, just to make things confusing), and while that can’t be true for everything, like city gates (which need to be at least one hex wide for the purposes of the game, but certainly wouldn’t have been 50 yards wide in reality), it works for the most part. Therefore, our Battlefield maps, which are 14x26 hexes, are 700x1,300 yards (or 0.64x1.2km).
Now, a single unit of hoplites in the game represents about 250 soldiers. The “phalanx” formation in which these men fought was typically 8 men deep, so a unit of 250 soldiers would be 32 men wide. Also, when these men were in the phalanx formation while engaging in combat, the distance between each man was somewhere between 180cm and 45cm. This means that our single unit of hoplites would between 60 yards and 20 yards wide (so averaging at 50 yards, and close enough to a single hex for our purposes). Units of cavalry, archers, and peltasts, while only consisting of about 100-150 soldiers, take up the same area as they would be much more loosely spaced.
Hoplites would have to march rather slowly into battle in order to maintain their formation (Thucydides describes the Spartans in particular as marching to the pace of a flute player to keep order). We can estimate their marching speed at about 120 steps per minute (a military “Quick March”), so approximately 100 yards per minute. As hoplites move at a speed of 4 hexes per round of combat, we can approximate the duration of each round as being 2 minutes, and the hoplite’s speed as being 5.5km per hour (the pace of an average human in real life).
Skirmisher units like archers and peltasts are able to move much faster, due to their lighter equipment as well as their looser formations. Therefore they are able to move at the faster pace of 5 hexes, or 250 yards per round (or 125 yards per minute; 6.9km per hour, or the pace of a light jog). Cavalry move at the much faster pace of 6 hexes, or 300 yards per round (150 yards per minute; 8.2km per hour). This would be a fairly slow trot for modern horses, but we have to remember that the horses of the ancient Greeks were quite small compared to ours – perhaps somewhere between a modern horse and a modern pony – and their riders did not use saddles or stirrups. This combined with the fact that riders would be trying to maintain formation over the rocky Greek terrain accounts for the somewhat slower pace.
With all this in mind we have a reasonable idea of the scale of battles. Soldiers move about 50 yards per hex, so between 5.5km/hr to 8.2km/hr, depending on their type. Each round lasts about 2 minutes, so battles can last up to 36 minutes (if they go the full 18 rounds that the rules allow). This aligns with scholarly estimates that actual close-combat between hoplites could last about 15 minutes before the soldiers became exhausted (most close-combats between hoplites in the game result in one unit retreating after 6-7 rounds, or 12-14 minutes, not counting the time it takes to march into combat).
So there you go: a bunch of math that we’ve been tearing our hair out over while designing the game- math that most players will probably never think about, but that we hope you appreciate while having fun playing the game. Now to design that Chutes and Ladders knockoff...
When last we met, Athens and Sparta had bloodied themselves into an uncomfortable stalemate after both of their leading generals had been killed in a battle near the city of Amphipolis. So, like two heavy-weight boxers they heard the bell ring and went to their corners to rest and gather their thoughts. Only Athens had a gruff, wizened trainer in its corner shouting “get up ya bum!” and “eat thunder and crap lightning!” in the form of Alcibiades (in this version, played by Burgess Meredith).
Alcibiades was the second cousin to the renowned Pericles, and after the death of his father, was raised by Pericles as well, so you could say politics was in his blood. But unlike Pericles, who strove for a policy with Sparta along the lines of: “let’s just agree we’re equals and leave each other alone,” Alcibiades couldn’t settle for equality – he had to be the best. Alcibiades refused to accept the peace agreement between the two cities and did everything he could to break it, and make sure Athens came out on top. When Sparta sent envoys to clarify the treaty, Alcibiades tricked them into admitting they had no actual authority to make agreements and publicly humiliated them. When a treaty between the city of Argos and Sparta expired, Alcibiades arranged and alliance with Argos and instigated the defection of numerous Spartan allies.
This last jab resulted in the major battle of Mantinea, the largest land battle during the entire war even though it technically took place during peace time, in which Sparta finally moved to crush this rising coalition of former friends and enemies. Sparta won the battle, mostly because Alcibiades failed to fully commit to the plan he himself had arranged, and restored its hold over the Peloponnesus. But the political damage was done and Athens was now firmly back in Sparta’s bad books.
Alcibiades then seized on another opportunity to bring himself and Athens (but mostly himself) glory when the obscure Sicilian city of Segesta appealed to Athens for help against the equally obscure city of Selinus. Alcibiades convinced the Athenians to not only send aid to the Segestans, but to see this as an opportunity to bring all of Sicily into their sphere of influence – even the great city of Syracuse.
The more cautious Athenian general Nicias strongly advised against this plan, but couldn't turn the Athenians away from the more popular and charismatic Alcibiades. So Nicias switched strategies: if he couldn’t convince the people with straight logic, he would pull the ol’ switcheroo. He told the Athenians: sure, go to Sicily; but be prepared that an invasion of this size will require dozens of not hundreds of ships, thousands of men, and money from every source we have (that oughta scare them away from the idea, he thought).
Nope. Nicias’ cunning plan backfired and the Athenians proceeded to outfit every ship they had and fill every soldier’s head with dreams of conquest, booty, and glory. What might have been limited to just a small expedition against Selinus blew up into a massive invasion force led by none other than Alcibiades (with Nicias and another general, Lamachus, reluctantly in tow).
However, just before the force set out from Athens a scandal erupted. All throughout the city the stone hermai – statues of the god Hermes placed for good luck – were desecrated. This was an ominous sign right on the eve of a massive undertaking, but what made it worse was the rumour that this outrage had been conducted by none other than a drunken Alcibiades and his rowdy frat-boy friends! And what’s more (gasp!) is that this was allegedly all part of a conspiracy of his to overthrow the government and place himself in power as a dictator! Ridiculous or not, these rumours were enough to throw the entire city into chaos. Calmer heads eventually prevailed and the expedition was sent out to Sicily; it was agreed that investigations into the profanities would be conducted later.
Unfortunately for Alcibiades, “later” meant immediately after he and all his supporters (AKA most of the military) had left the city. Alcibiades was quickly convicted in the court of public opinion and a ship was sent to retrieve him and bring him back for trial.
Meanwhile, in Sicily, rumours began to spread of a massive Athenian invasion force. Ridiculous of course – the Athenians were democrats, and so was Syracuse, so why would they attack? – so probably nothing to worry about. Except... stories kept spreading every day of Athenian ships making their way around the Peloponnesus, up to Corcyra, across the Adriatic sea to Italy... hmmm... maybe we should worry?
When the Athenians finally did arrive and the rumours were proved true all of Sicily was pretty terrified – including the allies who had invited Athens in the first place. They thought Athens might send a general to advise them, maybe some ships to blockade the enemy’s ports, maybe a few hoplites to help turn the tide, but three generals? One hundred ships? Five thousand hoplites? That’s a bit overkill, right?
Athens’ allies in Sicily refused to help, seeing the force for what it was: an invasion intended for the conquest of the whole island. Nicias and Alcibiades, still in disagreement about the goals of the expedition, wasted the element of surprise by moving around from one city to the next trying to find either willing allies or weak enemies. Finally, the ship from Athens sent to retrieve Alcibiades arrived. Alcibiades agreed to return, but in his own ship, which he (of course) used to sneak away, eventually making his way to Sparta where he vowed to put just as much effort into destroying Athens as he had once put into destroying them. Sparta cautiously agreed.
Back in Sicily, Nicias and Lamachus finally decided to just go for it and attack Syracuse. They managed to secure a beachhead, defeated several counterattacks and started to build a wall around the city to cut it off from outside assistance, but the damage of all their delays had been done. Syracuse had prepared for this and had secured allies of its own inside Sicily, and even requested help from Sparta and their original founders, Corinth (yeah, Corinth founded a lot of cities). Sparta sent a general named Gylippus, who managed to break through the Athenian lines and get into the city where he trained their forces and greatly improved morale.
Nicias, seeing the invasion falling apart, once again tried to bluff the Athenians into pulling out. He wrote a letter advising them of the situation and telling that they would either have to recall the expedition or send just as many troops and ships as the first time. Athens, never one to learn from their mistakes, sent out another massive force, this time under the general Demosthenes. The force arrived, was defeated in a desperate night attack on one of Syracuse’s fortresses, and the Athenian army was right back in the same bleak situation.
Nicias and Demosthenes attempted to escape with the army by sea, but was defeated on two occasions by the now superior and more numerous Syracusan navy. The army was forced to retreat by land, hoping to make it to friendly territory in western Sicily where they could arrange transportation back home, but were harassed by cavalry from Syracuse the entire way. The army split into two parts, hoping this would also divide the Syracusans (and hopefully at least one part would escape), but both parts were worn down and slaughtered. Nicias and Demosthenes were both killed, and the remnants of their army were enslaved.
When the news of the disaster reached Athens (allegedly from a traveler getting his hair cut who’s response to the barber was essentially, “oh, you mean you haven’t heard?”) they refused to believe it. Eventually though, they couldn’t deny it any longer and terror spread. The Spartans, believing the war to be formally back on, moved into Athenian territory and built a fortification (based on Alcibiades' advice), which caused massive numbers of Athenian slaves to flee for refuge (although most were just sold again to nearby Thebes). Many of Athens’ vassals in the Aegean also revolted and, lacking their powerful navy, Athens could do nothing about it.
But Athens recovered surprisingly quickly, springing to action and building more ships and training more rowers to man them. They set out to sea and managed to recover some of their territory, but the damage was done. The Spartans had managed to put together a sizable fleet of their own (under the helpful guidance of Alcibiades) and were getting funds to pay for it from Persia of all places. Athens’ one advantage was still in their long experience at sea. They managed to defeat the Spartans in several sea battles, forcing them to rebuild most of their navy.
The real trouble, however, lay at home. With the majority of the city’s lower strata of society away at war, a wealthy elite group of 400 men seized power in Athens and reached out to Sparta for peace. The fleet, now stationed on the island of Samos, refused to accept any peace and certainly refused to accept the new government. Alcibiades, who had lost a bit of his influence in Sparta after allegedly sleeping with their king Agis’ wife, now offered himself back to the Athenian navy if they would have him. They accepted him as their leader and managed to reinstate something of a democracy in Athens.
Shortly thereafter though, the Athenians were defeated at sea by a young rising star in the Spartan military: a man named Lysander. The twice disgraced Alcibiades went back into exile and fled to Thrace. Athens managed to recover from this defeat and achieved another victory at sea at the battle of Arginusae, but when the generals failed to retrieve the dead and wounded from the water after the battle they were all executed by a now furious and irrational populace. Lacking any competent generals the Athenian navy didn’t stand a chance against Lysander, who managed to trick the Athenians into leaving their ships beached and undefended near Aegospotami and simply dragged them away.
The victorious Lysander sailed to a now defenseless Athens and demanded that the city surrender. Facing starvation and destruction, Athens negotiated with Sparta’s leaders and managed to save themselves from complete destruction (Corinth wanted Athens to receive the same treatment as some of her daughter cities – execution of all males, enslavement of all women and children). Athens would be reduced to a subject of Sparta, her walls would be destroyed, and her ships burned (all to the music of “flute girls” according to the historian Xenophon).
And so ended the greatest war the world had ever seen (at least as far as the ancient Greeks were concerned). Now you can show off your knowledge when playing Pride and Glory: The Peloponnesian War and prove that you’re a smarter politician than Pericles, or a wiser general than Brasidas. Remember, you can follow us on Twitter at @ponchogamesco, “like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/ponchogamesco, watch our videos on Youtube (including this one where I invade Sicily as Athens and it actually works out pretty good!), and check in here often for more updates!
Will Athens reclaim its lost territories and glory? Will the Thirty Year Peace between Athens and Sparta hold? Who put the “bop” in the “bop shoo bop shoo bop”? These are the questions I left you dangling with last time, if you read blogs while listening to doo-wop albums like I do.
Picking up where we left off, the Spartans and the Athenians lived in relative, albeit tense peace for about fourteen of the treaty’s thirty years, until an island in the far north-west of Greece got itself into hot water. The island of Corcyra was originally founded by colonists from the city of Corinth, but had since grown into a significant naval power in its own right. They even established a colony of their own on the mainland called Epidamnus. Then one day, Epidamnus exiled some of the more volatile members of their community, who then promptly allied with the local barbarian tribes and came back to capture the city for themselves. Epidamnus sent to Corcyra for help, but they decided they had better things to do.
Well, when mom says no, what do you do? Go to grandma of course! So Epidamnus went to Corinth for help instead, and they agreed. Now, Corinth had more reasons to help Epidamnus than just a shared heritage; they also hated Corcyra with a passion and feared their growing navy. So when Corinth showed up to help Epidamnus, Corcyra also showed up with a bone to pick. They demanded that the Corinthians shove off and the Epidamnians re-admit their exiled citizens, while the Corinthians, never ones to back down from a fight, responded by sending even more ships and troops.
A sea battle broke out and the Corcyraeans came out on top, but the Corinthians were not finished yet. Over the next few months they built even more ships, hired even more rowers, and talked even more cities into joining the fight. Corcyra now realized they were in over their heads, and sent to Athens for help. Corinth sent envoys to Athens as well, basically to tell Athens to mind its own business, and that the Thirty Year Peace with Sparta would be broken if Athens allied with a city that was already involved in a war.
Athens, hearing both sides of the argument, decided on an exclusively defensive alliance with Corcyra (they would help only if the land of Corcyra itself was in danger) and sent ten ships to show their support. The Corinthians and their allies sent 150 ships to do battle with the Corcyraeans, and were doing a good enough job of it that the Athenians felt they had to intervene, despite their orders. Even then the Corinthians might still have won the day if another twenty Athenian ships hadn’t arrived just in time and scared the enemy away.
Fearing Corinthian retaliation, Athens sent more troops and ships to one of the cities they controlled in Thrace, Potidaea, which was also originally colonized by Corinth (only Potidaea had a much better relationship with “mom”). If the conflict with Corinth got any worse and Potidaea decided to split from Athens, this would make for big trouble in their Thracian territory, so the Athenians demanded that Potidaea hand over hostages and tear down their wall (preceding Ronald Reagan by about two and a half millennia). The Potidaeans sent representatives to Athens to try to talk some sense into them, but also sent envoys to Sparta to try to get help. Sparta gave the Potidaeans the same response they gave to the Thasians a few decades earlier: if you revolt, we’ll help by invading Athens’ territory (and they no-doubt crossed their fingers that another earthquake wouldn’t intervene).
With this promise of Spartan aid the Potidaeans declared their independence from Athens, who were none too pleased and proceeded to surround the city to starve it into submission. Meanwhile, mother Corinth called for an assembly at Sparta, inviting anyone who had a grievance to air against Athens. Corinth scolded Sparta for being so slow to action against Athens and for letting her get to this level of power in the first place and called for swift punishment of the upstart city.
Some Athenians, who just “happened” to be around at the time of this meeting told the Spartans to mind their own business; if they had a complaint, they should take it to arbitration as the Thirty Year Peace required. They also warned that if it was war the Spartans wanted, they should be prepared for a long and bitter one. Archidamus, one of the two kings of Sparta, couldn’t agree more. He urged the Spartan’s to have cool heads about this and not to rush into a war they would surely leave to their children.
However, one of the other leading Spartan’s, a man named Sthenelaidas, stood up, called Archidamus a pansy and called all red-blooded Spartan’s to defend their allies who were in need. The assembly voted that the Athenians had broken the peace, and that they would go to war. It was fourteen years after the treaty was agreed to, in 432 BC.
After some negotiations between the two cities (with each side making a more ridiculous demand than the other), communication finally broke down and war seemed inevitable. Realizing this, the city of Thebes wanted to make sure they got their fair share of the profits of war and launched a surprise attack on Athens’ nearby ally, Plataea. The Plataeans managed to defeat the attack, but now blood was in the water. Sparta launched an invasion of Attica, the territory of Athens.
The Athenians, following the advice of their most prominent politician, Pericles, refused to come out and fight, but instead launched retaliatory attacks on the Spartans' territory from their ships. Pericles’ plan was to show the Spartans that their strategy of ravaging Athenian land would never work and they would have to agree to peace once they realized this.
What Pericles’ didn't foresee was the horrific plague that struck Athens in the second year of this strategy due to the overcrowding in the city’s streets. About one to two thirds of Athens’ population was killed by this unidentified disease, including Pericles. The only benefit, if you can call it that, was that the Spartan’s stayed clear of Athenian territory for fear of catching the sickness as well.
Seizing on the opportunity the plague presented, one of Athens’ subjects, the city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, revolted (and again, failing to learn from their lessons, the Spartans promised to help). Pulling themselves out of their suffering the Athenians sent a fleet to blockade the city and troops to cut it off on land. The Spartans planned to send a fleet of ships as well, but dragged their heels about it and only got around to sending a single ship bearing a single Spartan envoy named Salaethus. After sneaking inside Mytilene, Salaethus’ had a plan: distribute weapons and armour to all the people to launch a surprise attack on the Athenians. There was only one hiccup in the plan: the entire populace turning against the city’s government the second they got their hands on a weapon.
The people demanded that the government distribute the food they had hidden away or they would make surrender terms with Athens that excluded the leaders. Fearing this, the government agreed to surrender to Athens so long as no one would be killed until the Athenian assembly had decided on their case.
This might not have been such a bad idea if the entire Athenian population wasn't kind of peeved at the whole “being at war and their allies revolting all the time” thing. The Athenians voted to kill every male in Mytilene and enslave the women and children, sending a ship back to Lesbos with this message. The next day, feeling a bit bad about their decision, they changed their mind and voted only to kill 1,000 of the most responsible rebels and sent out another ship, which arrived only moments before the first ship’s grisly orders were put into effect.
The Athenians now decided they had had enough of the recently deceased Pericles’ strategy of self-defense, and launched a series of aggressive attacks on Sparta and her allies. Under the general Demosthenes they conducted a devastating campaign in the territory of Aetolia in western Greece, and then fortified a beachhead near the ancient city of Pylos right in Sparta’s home territory. This attack in particular terrified the Spartans as Pylos was very near to where many of their slaves were kept. If another slave revolt were to happen, especially in the middle of a war, Sparta would be destroyed.
A division of Spartans tried to push the Athenians out of Pylos, but ended up getting themselves stuck on a small island just offshore called Sphacteria. The Athenians surrounded the island with ships and, under the general Cleon, landed troops on the island and forced the Spartans there to surrender, taking them prisoner to Athens.
To retaliate, Sparta sent their bravest general Brasidas north with an army of Spartans and liberated slaves. Their target was the resource-rich Athenian territories in Thrace which supplied the city with its timber and silver, both constructing and paying for their many ships. It was now Athens’ turn to be terrified, and they again sent Cleon to handle the situation. Cleon landed his troops near the city of Amphipolis which Brasidas had recently captured, and the two armies clashed killing both generals in the process. Amphipolis remained in Spartan hands, but both sides were bloodied enough that they agreed to another peace treaty in 421 BC, this one guaranteed to last for Fifty Years.
As you might expect, this treaty didn't last long either, but more on that another day. In the meantime, “like” us on facebook at facebook.com/ponchogamesco, follow us on twitter @ponchogamesco, check out our videos on Youtube, and check in here often for more content. ‘Bye for now!
“Never had so many cities been taken and laid desolate, here by the barbarians, here by the parties contending (the old inhabitants being sometimes removed to make room for others); never was there so much banishing and blood-shedding, now on the field of battle, now in the strife of faction. Old stories of occurrences handed down by tradition, but scantily confirmed by experience, suddenly ceased to be incredible; there were earthquakes of unparalleled extent and violence; eclipses of the sun occurred with a frequency unrecorded in previous history; there were great droughts in sundry places and consequent famines, and that most calamitous and awfully fatal visitation, the plague.”
That’s how one of the most famous books in history begins. No, not Yertle the Turtle, though that’s a good one too. I’m talking about Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. Along with being a particularly good read (despite a startling lack of sections on turtle-stacking), it’s also the main source for our upcoming game Pride and Glory. The game is set during this brutal, twenty-seven year long war in ancient Greece between the cities of Athens and Sparta that has come to be known as the Peloponnesian War, after the Peloponnesian peninsula in southern Greece where the Spartans lived.
If your first thought was: “That sounds like a cool game setting”, we agree (so does Neville Morley, professor of ancient history at Bristol University). If your first thought was: “Isn’t this war what the last Hobbit movie was about?” then this blog post is for you. While you don’t have to know anything about the historical war to have fun playing Pride and Glory, we wanted to share a really quick and dirty history of the war so you can show off in a new way on game night, instead of the usual way: by lifting the table over your head with one hand, Charles Atlas style.
If you’ve seen any of the 300 movies you have a general idea of how things got started (if you haven’t seen them, do so now, I’ll wait). Basically the Persians invaded Greece in 480 BC, struggled to get past about 7,000 Greeks with 300 elite Spartans at Thermopylae, captured Athens and destroyed everything they could, then got their butts kicked at Salamis and Plataea, went running back to Asia, and everyone lived happily ever after.
Except that’s not how the Greeks saw it. For all they knew the Persians would be back the very next year, with even more troops, even more ships, and even more money to bribe the more weak-willed among them (cough, Thebes, cough). The Greeks had to take action, and fast. With the new naval strength of Athens, and under the military command of Sparta, the Greek allies struck back at Persia, freeing most of the islands in the Aegean and the coast of Ionia (modern-day Turkey) from Persian rule. THEN everyone lived happily ever after.
Except, not quite (you have to stop falling for that). The newly liberated Greek islanders, Ionians, and Hellespontines didn’t exactly appreciate being told what to do by the harsh, militaristic Spartans either, so they reached out to Athens to take command of the continuing war against Persia. The Spartans, who were wondering when they could go back home anyway, were only too happy to oblige. Athens took the allies under their wing and even sealed the deal by dropping iron weights into the sea, everyone swearing that only when the weights rose up again would the alliance be dissolved. This League of Extraordinary GentleGreeks was called the Delian League, after the sacred island of Delos where they stored their collective treasury.
This alliance worked out swimmingly, until some of the smaller islands started to complain about the Athenians too (some people just can’t be pleased by anything). They were getting tired of having to commit ships and sailors to patrolling the seas when it was becoming more and more obvious the Persians were never coming back. The Athenians pointed out the fact that no iron weights had miraculously floated to the surface recently, so no, they couldn’t leave; they could, however, pay a small fee so that the Athenians could hire more sailors and equip more ships to replace those the allies were failing to contribute. This pleased everyone and Athens continued to protect the seas, now earning a little cash while doing it.
One of the larger islands in the Aegean, Thasos, eventually got upset about this arrangement as well and decided to revolt from the Delian League. Well, Athens would have none of that, and promptly set out a force to put down the rebellion. The Thasians soon learned that being an island state and paying someone else to do nothing but train to be better sailors than you was probably a bad idea, and quickly found themselves defeated at sea and besieged. They secretly reached out to the Spartans, who had been silently brewing their anger at this upstart city of Athens, and got them to agree to invade Athens’ territory.
And they would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for the meddling Poseidon, god of earthquakes. A massive ‘quake hit the center of Spartan territory and devastated their city. Now, the thing you need to know about the Spartans is that they lived a highly militarized lifestyle, spending most of their time training to fight. In order to continue this lifestyle they had to have, oh, about 200,000 slaves to do things like farm the land and whatnot. Now, if you’re a slave of a brutal, militarized society that was just destroyed by an earthquake, are you going to hang around and help? Probably not. You’d probably revolt and build a fortress on a mountain just like they did, putting a bit of a delay on the Spartan’s plan to invade Athens.
The Athenians, ignorant of the whole “Thasian invasion” conspiracy, did what any good neighbor would do and offered to help the Spartans out with exterminating those pesky rebels (something Athens was getting particularly good at). The Spartan’s initially accepted, but then sent the Athenians packing back home after they got suspicious they might be doing more harm than good.
Athens, offended by this rebuff, allied themselves with Sparta’s long-time enemy, Argos, and stole away one of Sparta’s allies, Megara. With their slaves still right at their doorstep the Spartans could do nothing but fume, until finally, after ten long years, they negotiated surrender terms. The slaves would be allowed to leave Spartan territory, but if they ever returned they would be killed on sight. Athens, now intentionally trolling Sparta any way they could, settled these exiled slaves in the coastal city of Naupactus, just across from the Spartan’s home territory in the Peloponnesian peninsula.
The next few years were a “cold war” between Athens and Sparta in which they both did their best to be a pain in the other’s butt without actually fighting (except one time when about 20,000 soldiers happened to bump into each other and had a bit of a kerfuffle). But Athens eventually spread itself too thin, losing about 50,000 men trying to bring Egypt into their growing territory. Just when things were about to fall apart for them, with Megara revolting and some of their closest allies trying to leave the League, Sparta sent an army to Athens' door and the two cities agreed to a Thirty Year Peace, in which any disagreements would be settled by a neutral party.
With this treaty in place, everyone lived happily ever... okay, you’re too smart to fall for that again. We’ll end it here for today, on the cusp of the war itself. Check in often for more updates on Pride and Glory as we get closer to launching our Kickstarter campaign, “like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/ponchogamesco, follow us on Twitter @ponchogamesco, and watch an unboxing of the game on Youtube. ‘Bye for now!
Hey everybody! We’re excited to announce the launch of our website and of our first game: Pride and Glory: The Peloponnesian War. We’re currently gearing up for a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publishing of the game, and we want to make sure you have plenty of Pride and Glory content to get excited about. But first, allow us to introduce ourselves:
Poncho Games is a small team of board game lovers based in the equally small city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada - the city The Simpsons once joked that the Springfield Isotopes were being moved to (we’re still eagerly waiting by the way... Go ‘Topes!). Our love of playing games naturally spread into bitter arguments about ways to improve our favorite games, which naturally spread into brutal fistfights and awkward apologies, which naturally spread into designing games of our own (and more fistfights).
The first product of this evolution is Pride and Glory: The Peloponnesian War. We were growing frustrated with having to mix and match different war games in order to get an experience that combined a “dudes-on-a-map” style campaign game with a tactical hexagon-based battle simulation. Why couldn’t a map-conquering style game unify empire control and battlefield control in a single experience?
With this obstacle in mind we decide to flip the script (and the table... cardboard was everywhere) and just make this game ourselves. After several iterations and going back to the ol’ drawing board, Pride and Glory was born. The game is set during a war in Ancient Greece between the cities of Athens and Sparta. Basically, the two cities were peeved at each other and decided to go to war over it for twenty-seven odd years and wreck most of Greece in the process. You don’t have to know anything about the historical war to have a great time playing the game, but if you’re excited to learn about it we’re going to be posting more here in the future.
In the game each player controls one of the two cities and recruits units, constructs buildings, captures cities, conducts diplomacy, and just generally tries to be a pain in their opponent’s butt. Throughout the game you’ll earn things called Glory Points for doing things like capturing cities, winning battles – even just by proving that your enemy is too much of a chicken to come out and fight you. Whichever player is the first to get to 75 Glory Points wins the game, and becomes the leader of Greece!
You can control your empire as a whole on the Campaign Map board, where you’ll move your armies around the land and sea and build up your strength. Then, when battles occur, the game “zooms-in” to the actual battlefield where you can maneuver your units, crash into your enemy’s line, and show off your tactical skill.
Sound like fun? Believe us, it is, and we’re very excited to share this experience with you in the near future. But here’s the tough part: we’re counting on your excitement and interest in this project to make it happen. If this sounds like the game for you please back our upcoming Kickstarter campaign, share this blog and this website with your friends and family, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and check in here often for updates and more content! Thanks for checking us out. Go ‘Topes!
The Poncho Games team