‘The Trojan War’ a game by Frederic Bey

Translation by Roger Deal with assistance from L.N. Isabelle Deal ne’ deKolb

 

Translator’s Note: to avoid unnecessary confusion I will not translate the names on the counters into standard English usage. I trust that players will be able to figure out that “Helene” = “Helen, “Ulysse” = Ulysses, etc. (Even if his Greek name is “Odysseus”) I have also incorporated the designer’s clarifications and a few of my own notes where I thought it might help English speakers. Finally, I regret that I cannot produce the accent marks required in some French words.

 

“For my daughter Augustine, as beautiful as Helen of Troy; for all the Cassandras of history…”

 

    ‘The Trojan War’ is a (small) historic game covering the entire confrontation between Greeks and Trojans caused by the infatuation of the beautiful Helen for the Trojan Paris. It is based on the mythical account as found in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and the prologue to Virgil’s Aeneid. It is also inspired by additional information that can be found in the more recently discovered works of Dictys of Crete (Chronicle of the Trojan War) (t.n. original discovered as a fragment of the Oxyrhyncus Papri in 1905-06) and Quintus of Smyrna (The Rest of Homer) (“Posthomerica”).

    Designer’s Note: To those who would say that I was influenced by the lamentable “Troy” out of Hollywood; “Choose your weapons!”

0 – In General

    “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentis!” (I fear the Greeks even when bearing gifts!”) – warning attributed to Laocoon by Virgil, the Aeneid, II)

    The game is designed for two players but can easily be played solitaire. It requires a 10 sided dice (1d10). The 0 is read as ‘zero’ not ‘ten’. The game map is on page 51 of this magazine; we suggest you mount it on stiff cardboard before play.    

0.1The Heroes

    They represent the most important warriors of both sides. They confront each other each turn in personal combat.

0.2 The Personages

    They are not combatants but influence the course of the game through events.

0.3 The Olympian Gods

    They influence the individual combats by favoring certain heroes over others.

0.4 Initial Placement

    The turn marker is placed on Turn 1 on the Turn Record Track. The Trojan Horse is placed on turn 12. The victory point (V.P.) markers are placed at zero. Priam, Helene and Cassandre are placed in the House of Priam (Maison de Priam). The Trojan heroes, except Memnon and Penthesilee, are placed in Troy. The Greek heroes, except Neoptoleme and Philoctete, and CAlahas are placed in the Greek camp. Briseis is placed in Achille’s tent. The two armies are placed in their respective spaces on the map. The 9 gods are placed in an opaque container. All remaining heroes and personages are set aside.         

 

    “Government by the mob is not good; better to have a leader, a king” the Iliad    

 

The game covers the whole of the Trojan War in twelve turns. Turns 1 and 2 cover events before the Iliad, turns 3 through 8 cover the events in the Iliad, turns 9 through 11 cover events after the Iliad (but covered, in addition to the sources mentioned, in Virgil’s Aeneid – t.n.). Turn 12 covers the episode of the Trojan Horse. The first 11 turns follow the same sequence as described below; the 12th has its own sequence.

1,1 Turns 1 -11, the War

A- Events

    The players either implement the required event or roll 1d10 to determine the applicable random event (see “Table of Events”).

B- Challenges Between Heroes

    Each player selects 4 heroes and places them face down one the spaces marked “Heroes 1-4” (may be modified by an event).

C- Intervention of the Gods

    Each player randomly selects one god and places them face up on the appropriate spaces.

D- Hero Combat

    The hero counters are turned face up. The Trojan player on odd numbered turns or the Greek player on even numbered turns selects one challenge to be cancelled (subject to events). The remaining combats are resolved.  

E- Army Combat

    The two armies confront one another in the spaces indicated.

F- Calculation of Victory Points (P.V.)

    These are as noted.

 

1.2    Turn 12, The Trojan Horse

    This game turn is devoted to the final Greek stratagem for the conquest of Troy.

1.3    Reinforcements

    On the indicated turns, the following heroes are placed in either Troy or in the Greek Camp depending on their nationality:

    Memnon and Penthesilee: turn 9

    Neoptoleme on the turn following the death of Achille.

    Philoctete: turn 10

 

2– Combats

    “When the daughter of the morning, rosy fingered dawn Aurora   appeared, around the pyre of Hector, illustrious prince, the people again assembled” – Iliad, XXIV  

2.1 Individual Combat

Each hero counter has three values (top to bottom, t.n.): Power, Special Attribute, Resistance. The combats are conducted as follows:

2.1 Invective (Optional)

    Homeric combat was traditionally preceded by an exchange of insults between the protagonists.  Here is an example attributed to Hector: “Ajax, descended from Zeus and son of Telamon, leader of warriors, do not treat me as if I were a weak child or a woman who cannot fight…” (Iliad VII)

    Each player is hereby invited to insult his opponents with a small exchange of eloquent invective, with the aim of creating a lively atmosphere.

2.1.2 – Combat Procedure

    Combats are resolved between the pairings (of heroes) on the board. Each combat involves several steps. In this process, the players each roll 1d10, adding the result to the Power rating of their hero. The events, influence of the gods and the Special Attributes of the heroes can modify this result. See the Event Table (Table des Evenements), Influence of the Gods Table (Table d’Influence Divine) and the Special Attributes Table (Table des Caracteres). Having obtained the final modified total, the hero with the higher total inflicts one wound on his opponent (which may be noted on a piece of paper). If the final figures are equal, no wounds are inflicted. When one of the two heroes has incurred a number of wounds equal to his Resistance rating, he is declared to have lost and the combat is over.    

    (Translator’s Note regarding attributes: Experience (E) is experience, Force (F) is strength, Habilete (H) is skill, Ruse (R) is craftiness and Vitesse (V) is speed. In using the table, each hero cross-references his own attribute, on the vertical, with that of his opponent on the horizontal to get the adjustment to his die roll. So, for example, if Ulysse is against Hector Ulysse gets +1 while the poor Trojan gets -1.)

    (T.N. regarding the Influence of the gods Table: This is reasonably straight forward with two considerations: (1) the modifiers are cumulative so, for example, if Aphrodite and Apollon are showing, Hector gains a total of +3, Ulysse gets 0 + 0 =0, which, to continue the example from the preceding T.N., results in +1 for Ulysse, +2 for Hector before any events are factored in. The effect of Zeus is to nullify the effect of the other gods. It says he is trying to restore equilibrium; “retabli l’equilibre…”. To which the gods no doubt respond “Tra-la -la, tra-la -la, Si j’etai toi je ne parlerai pas!”- J. Offenbach ‘Orphee aux Enfers’  )    

2.1.3 Combat Results

    The winner: he is considered to be unharmed except for one lost point of resistance.(i.e. regardless of the number of resiatance points lost, he is never more than slightly wounded –t.n.) In that case, the losing side gains one Victory Point and the winning hero is slightly wounded and is not able to take part in challenges in the following game turn. They are placed on the subsequent space on the turn record track to reflect this.

    The loser:  The winner rolls 1d10.

    If the result is between 0 and 2 the losing hero is killed. The winner gains 3 VP.

    If the result is 3 or 4 the hero is seriously wounded and is unable to participate in challenges for two turns. The winner gains 2 VP.

    If the result is between 5 and 8 the hero is slightly wounded and may not participate in challenges the next turn. The winner gains 1 VP.

    If the result is 9, the losing hero is captured and placed in the enemy camp. The winner gains 2 VP.  

    A winning hero may voluntarily choose to spare a potentially killed adversary in order to make them a prisoner. No VP are awarded in this case.  This decision can have an influence on the final victory conditions.

Variant; if you find the game is too bloody for the heroes;

For the loser, a ‘zero’ result means the losing hero is unharmed although the winner still gains one VP as if he had been slightly wounded. Even if this is the result, the winner himself may be slightly wounded.

 

2.2 Clash of Armies

    The two armies are placed in their respective spaces for battle. Each player rolls 1d10 and adds the number of challenges won in the preceding individual combats. The events and influence of the gods may also modify the results. The army that has the higher resulting number wins that battle. If the results are equal there is no effect otherwise the victor receives 2 VP.

 

2.3 Computation of Victory Points

    The VPs are shown on the VP Track by the markers for units (x1) and tens (x10). The markers are inverted to show a negative number. At the end of each turn the two sides calculate the total number of VPs they have gained during that turn (if they didn’t do so during the course of the turn itself! – t.n.) Greek VPs are expressed as negatives and Trojan VPs as positive. After all VP for that turn have been calculated, the markers are adjusted to reflect the new totals.

    Example: at the start of turn 3 the marker is at +2. During that turn a Greek hero wounds a Trojan (-1VP) a Trojan hero seriously wounds a Greek (+2 VP) and finally a Greek hero kills a Trojan (-3 VP). The Greek army wins the battle against the Trojans (-2 VP) This results in -5 for the turn and the marker is reset at -3 for the start of turn 4.

 

3- The Trojan Horse

    “The first to enter the gigantic horse is the son of Achilles. The wise Menelaus is next with Odysseus, Sthelenos and the divine Diomedes. Next comes Philoctetes, Anticlos and Menestheus; then comes the magnanimous Thoas, the blond Polypoetes, Ajax, Eurypiles, Thrasymedes the god-like, finally Merion and Ideomeneus.” – Quintus of Smyrna, The Rest of Homer, XII.

 

    Turn 12 covers the episode of the Trojan Horse.

    The ‘Trojan Horse’ marker is placed on the turn record track. The Greek player places all his remaining heroes in the Horse except Agamemnon and Nestor. The Greek player then rolls 1d10 and adds:

    +1 if the current VP total is between -1 and -9;

    +2 if the current VP total is -10 or more;

    +1 if Ulysse has captured Helenos;

    +2 if Achille is in the Horse;

    +1 if Philoctete is in the Horse;

    +1 if Neoptoleme is in the Horse:

    +1 if there are 7 or more Greek heroes in the Horse:

    +1 if the ‘Sinon’ event has occurred;

    -1 if the ‘Sinon’ event has not occurred

    -2 if Hector is alive

    -1 if Paris is alive;

    -1 if the current VP total is a positive number.

    These modifiers are cumulative. If the final, adjusted total is 6 or more the ruse succeeds and the Horse is placed in the city of Troy, prefiguring the fall of the city.

    Wounded Greek heroes can be placed inside the Trojan Horse and be counted toward the total of 7 necessary to gain a bonus point. Essentially, the episode of the Horse occurs after the (end of combat in ) the war and all heroes are considered cured.

 

3.2 Final Victory

    If the stratagem of the Trojan Horse succeeds the Greek player wins.

    If the stratagem fails but the VP total is zero or a negative number the result is a draw. (Except for Menelaus who has lost both his wife and the right to rule Sparta – t.n.)

    If the stratagem fails and the VP total is a positive number the Trojan player wins.

          

   

           

   

Table of Events

 

Mandatory Events

 

Turn 3: Agamemnon confiscates Briseis. Place Briseis in Agamemnon’s tent and Achille in his own tent. Achille cannot take part in challenges until Briseis returns to his tent or Patrocle is killed.

Turn 5; Menelas challenges Paris. Place these two heroes facing each other in the spaces for Hero Combat. If Menelas wins by “killing” Paris, that result becomes a serious wound instead.

Turn 6: Patrocle challenges Hector. Place these two heroes facing each other in the spaces for Hero Combat. This is a fight to the death; the loser is automatically killed.  If Briseis is in Achille’s tent, there is no event.

Turn 8: Achille challenges Hector. Place these two heroes facing each other in the spaces for Hero Combat. This is a fight to the death; the loser is automatically killed. If Beiseis is in Achille’s tent, there is no event.

Turn 9: Paris challenges Achille. Place these two heroes facing each other in the spaces for Hero Combat. This is a fight to the death; the loser is automatically killed. For this combat Paris receives a special bonus of +5 in addition to all other modifiers to reflect his skill at archery enhanced for the occasion by Apollo.

Turn 10: Philoctete challenges Paris. Place these two heroes facing each other in the spaces for Hero Combat. This is a fight to the death; the loser is automatically killed.

 

Note: If one of the two heroes involved in a mandatory challenge is dead the event is cancelled. If one or both of the heroes are wounded, the event takes place on the first turn both are available for challenges.

 

Random Events

 

A player rolls 1d10. If there is an event, the counter of the personage involved is placed on the turn record track. (The appropriate Personage is placed in the space marked “Evenement” as a reminder. t.n.)

 

0 and 9: There is no random event.

1: Cassandre. Cassandre becomes apprehensive. The Trojans do not believe her and take risks in spite of the bad omens. The Greek player can exchange two of their three heroes already assigned for combats. 

2: Calches. The soothsayer permits the Greek player to see one of the Trojan heroes selected for combats before placing his own. The resulting combat cannot be cancelled.

3: Thersite. This Greek “hero”, according to the Iliad, was the ugliest, the most cowardly and the most talkative of all those besieging Troy.  The Trojan player selects one combat of their choice not involving Achille or Ajax, son of Telamon which they win automatically. They gain 1VP but the loser only flees and is not wounded.

4: Sinon. A person of post-Homeric legend  know chiefly from Book II of the Aeneid , as a symbol of craftiness. He presented himself to the Trojans as a Greek deserter and persuaded them to accept the wooden horse in order to insure the protection of Athena. Once the horse was in the town, Sinon helped the Greeks inside to get out.

The Greek player can re-do two die-rolls in the next two turns. Note: the event will not happen if there is only one turn to be played. Place Sinon under the Trojan Horse counter after it is played. If this event is rolled a second time it is treated as no event.  

 5: Briseis. If Briseis is in Agamemnon’s tent she is restored to Achille and returns to his tent. If she is in Achille’s tent, she remains there.

6: Helenos. The soothsayer allows the Trojan player to turn one of the Greek heroes selected for combat face up before selecting which of his own will confront them. This combat cannot be cancelled. If Helenos is a prisoner of the Greeks it is the Greek player who can benefit from his talents the same as with Calchas.

7: Priam. Priam, always wise and eloquent, calms the spirits (of the combatants). Two hero combats are cancelled instead of one. (Each player chooses one.)  

8: Helene. Helene appears on the ramparts; the heroes redouble their efforts. Those wounded are seriously wounded and those seriously wounded are killed.