Had the gang over for a game of Successors on July 15th. Or tried to; Mark was in no shape for driving, so it was down to me, Jason, and Dave. This is one of the four-player games I’m always eager to get to, but less so for most everyone else, and with the problems the group has had, it was our first play since 2015, and the play before that was 2011. Despite some problems, things went well, and I hope we can get back to this in a few months.

At any rate, I got Ptolemy and Antigonus; I like having Egypt, but it comes with the price of being the Usurper, which I would rather have done without. Jason had Antipater and Peithon, giving him the unenviable position of being on the two opposite ends of the world. And Dave had Craterus and Perdiccas, giving him a relatively central position, and control of Alexander’s body. (I had thought to use option 2, and deal out three generals per person, but we got this set up, and the extra three shuffled into the deck before I remembered to pull them out again.)

Turn 1 went poorly for me. Dave concentrated on the west, with Craterus and Perdiccas staring at each other (and not wanting to attack into the other’s province bonus) while Perdiccas secured Syria, and trounced Ptolemy as he went to do the same. I re-built a small army in Memphis, but Dave didn’t go that far, though Unrest developed in Egypt to weaken my hold there. Worse, both Dave and Jason drew new generals. Dave needed his, as he nearly lost Craterus in his battle against me (‘9’ followed by a ‘5’ leader casualty check), and then did lose his new general defeating Peithon out in Media. I had spent early efforts on getting Helespontine, and the Greek shore of Thrace, but had to go stare down Perdiccas, and then Jason used Leonnatus to break that up. Finally, I had also played Olympias to get a small army in Epirus, and started trying to build a base in there, but Jason took exception, and knocked the army out just before I could use Greek Mercenaries to strengthen the army.

I’m Star, Dave is Lion, and Jason is Horse.

Turn 2 was more frustration for me. I had two generals, and was effectively bottled up by Dave’s generals. In one case I could move around and do things, but I’d lose Phrygia trying. In the other case, Dave was camped outside of Egypt with an army just about as good as the returned Ptolemy’s. I was slowly building up a secondary army that I could possibly move into the main army, pick it up, and attack, but it was a very slow process, and I never got far enough along.

The biggest problem is that Dave had both heirs, and the body of Alexander (which he promptly buried in Babylon), and a strong position. In fact, he knocked out the minor army Jason had left in Media and took it over. I had some cards that didn’t seem to do me a lot of good, when I finally realized. I used Diplomacy to take over Sippara, and then started building an army there, with skipped movement, and another minor card. Jason followed suit in Nippur, but only built a mercenary or two. Still, Dave’s hold on Babylonia was slipping, and no one was minding the store. I stripped control of Opis, and the turn ended with no one in control of Babylonia, and my army was besieging Babylon.

The start of Turn 3 granted me Demetrius, who showed up to lead the army in Babylon. Dave got to go before I did, and he had poured reinforcements into the army in Media which immediately hurried home, and defeated me before I could take the city. Worse, Jason had poured reinforcements into Macedonia, marched east, and easily defeated Antigonus, and then continued on to Perdiccas, still guarding the route east. Dave had separated out two Royal Macedonians to hurry back to Babylon. Now he didn’t need them there, and the lack helped make sure Jason had the advantage, and Perdiccas went to the dispersed pool as well. Jason was well over the attrition limit, which is part of why he did this lightning campaign: use the army (and eventually split it up) before it could melt away.

Jason captured Philip IV from Dave, and continued on to Babylonia. I got a new general (I forget which one), for a total of four, and he set about repairing things in Phyrigia. Unrest happened in Media, and Ecbatana went independent. Since there were no armies in Media, and none of the passes had been cleared (there were a number of tribal attrition rolls during the game), all of Media and Persis went neutral at the end of the turn, robbing Dave of more VPs, after Jason had already broken his hold in several territories.

Things got a bit worse for Dave, as Heracles came of age, and he was no longer in a position to win, so he gave up his Legitimacy lead killing him. Dave poured all his reinforcements into the Judean army, and quickly defeated Ptolemy and took Egypt. Meanwhile, I had concentrated on causing problems with Jason. I was tired of watching him get a phalangite each turn, so I took control of Macedonia. With all the losses, I barely had enough for two okay armies with four leaders, so I couldn’t get much more done. Jason and Dave sparred some more, but nothing too earth-shattering.

We called it at the start of turn 5. It was getting a bit late, and Jason and Dave especially were feeling a bit beat up from the events of the last couple turns (frankly, I’d been in despair for most of the game). Jason had Phillip IV, but the combined VP and legitimacy totals were a tie with Dave’s. Jason no longer had Macedonia, and Dave had the highest number of Macedonian CUs. So, Phillip was killed, and the world was set for another round of the soap opera.

I figure most of the action would have been in the first two rounds as armies annihilated each other again. Dave was back on top of VPs, and he had the good units. A number of these were Royal Army units, which he’d had to keep away from Jason; now that Phillip was dead, prestige bonuses made them usable again. So, we voted Dave “Most Likely to Succeed”. Jason definitely had a good shot, depending on how the fighting went. I technically had an outside chance. If Jason and Dave focused enough on each other, I might conceivably put together enough province control to get to the top of the VPs, but it was very unlikely.