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  414 BC Siege of Syracuse by Worthington Publishing  The man named Alcibiades looms over the Siege of Syracuse in 414 BC even though he was...

414 BC Siege of Syracuse by Worthington Publishing 414 BC Siege of Syracuse by Worthington Publishing

414 BC Siege of Syracuse by Worthington Publishing

414 BC Siege of Syracuse by Worthington Publishing

 414 BC Siege of Syracuse


Worthington Publishing

 The man named Alcibiades looms over the Siege of Syracuse in 414 BC even though he was not even present. In point of fact, Alcibiades and his actions are the main points in the last war between Athens and Sparta to rule the Greek world. 

Alcibiades: a Roman copy of an earlier Greek work. With the head tilt and the face, it looks like it could be Alexander.

  The different wars for the control of Greece between Sparta and Athens are coming to a conclusion. One of the two is going to be the hegemon of Greece (although do not tell Thebes that). Alcibiades and his supporters came up with the brilliant idea of conquering Syracuse in Sicily. They claimed that the Syracuse was a major ally and impediment in their war against Sparta. Nicias was a conservative politician who spoke against the attack on Syracuse. Athenian democracy being what it was, Alcibiades and his group were able to get enough votes in the assembly to make the excursion a reality. The invasion force was voted to have three generals in charge, Alcibiades, Nicias (who wanted nothing to do with it), and Lamachus (a general with little political clout). The stage was set for the greatest overseas undertaking by a Greek city. 

 Athens had a number of Hermai, statues of Hermes, all over the city for good luck. On the night before the expedition was supposed to set sail, many of the statues were either destroyed or defaced, depending upon the source. Alcibiades and his friends were accused of the act. He demanded to be put on trial, but this was not done, and he sailed with the expedition. After the expedition left, enemies of Alcibiades had charges brought up against him and because of his, and his friends' absence it was passed. A fast-sailing vessel was sent to catch up to the expedition and bring him back for trial. Alcibiades somehow caught wind of this and fled to Sparta. So, the expedition was now headed by Nicias who wanted nothing better than to go home to Athens. However, the size and expectations of what the expedition could accomplish would have meant his immediate arrest and trial if he ordered it to go home. This sets the stage for the Athenian siege of Syracuse. Alcibiades helps the Spartans and their Syracusan Allies by giving them information and some great ideas. Meanwhile, the Athenian expedition is led by a man who has no heart in it and becomes increasingly unwell during the siege.

 This is what Worthington Publishing has to say about the series and this game itself:

"Syracuse 414 BC - The Athenian army lays siege to the great city of Syracuse.

Malta 1565 - The Turks versus the Knights of Malta in the last battle of the Crusades at the dawn of gunpowder.

Quebec 1759 - The siege that won North America for the English.

The Great Sieges game series highlights command decisions for players against a solitaire game engine opponent. They have been designed for easy set up and quick game play. Game unit placement is shown on the game board and units are wooden markers representing troop and ship formations. 

Each game was developed for solitaire play. In 414BC Siege of Syracuse and 1759 Siege of Quebec there is also a two-player version of the game.  Both sides require you to make great decisions based on good strategy, keep your wits about you when orders do not turn out well, and press on to victory.

The Game Map

All three games use a common set of rules for game play, but each game has its own set of unique rules related to specifics of those individual sieges.

Play Solitaire as Athenians and 2 player version too!

Unique to 414 Siege of Syracuse:

New rules for constructing walls and counter walls.

Solitaire Cards are divided into 2 decks to represent 2 Epochs of the lengthy siege.

Aggressive Commander Orders have been replaced by Leader cards that allow high risk/high rewards decisions by players.

As the Athenian side you win the game in two ways:  

Complete your siege walls around the city AND have a ship in a blockade space.

Or reduce the morale of Syracuse to zero.

As the Syracusan side, victory is achieved by: 

Holding out until the siege ends (all cards have been played).

Or the Athenian morale is reduced to zero.

Highlights of 414 BC Siege of Syracuse:

The Athenian player must keep up attacks and deal with Syracusan reinforcements that come into play.  They must also construct siege walls to choke off the city and fend off counter attacks by the city army.   As Syracuse builds counter walls the Athenian must destroy them if he expects to encircle the city.

The Syracusan side is playing for time.  It must defend the city against attacks by land and sea.  Its forces must sally out of the city to drive the morale of the Athenian side down.  Further, as the progress of siege walls is advanced by the Athenian side, Syracuse has the ability to build counter walls to slow down the progress."

 This is what comes with the games in the series:

Each game includes:


Hard Mounted Game Board

2 sets of troop markers (one set per army)

2 sets of solitaire cards (one set per army) *Only 1 set of solitaire cards in 414BC Syracuse

Command Decision Cards

2 Field Order Books (one per army)

Rule Book

Custom plastic storage tray


Complexity: 3 of 10

Solitaire Suitability: 10 of 10

Playing Time: 30 to 60 minutes

Players: 1-2

Two cards

 The components are as follows. The map is not a hex or area movement one. There are places where you can put your walls, troops, and ships. Worthington has released a few of these games. They include the other Great Sieges games and Freman's Farm etc. The map is stylized because of just having the placement areas. However, the map is colorful and incredibly easy to read all of the different things on it. It is also mounted, which seems to be a feature of all of Worthington Publishing's games. You get pieces that represent either troops, ships, or walls. These are just rectangles etc. that are color coded for each side. The Rulebook is full color and is only 12 pages long. The solitaire rules take up the first nine pages and then there is about two pages of the two-player rules followed by Historical Notes. The Rulebook is easy to read and very simple to understand. The Field Order Books are made of card stock and fold out to be 11"x17" in size. These are also in full color and are easy to read. They also come with a small version of the map in the center. The different card decks are the real artwork that comes with the game. Most of the cards come with a nice piece of artwork dealing with ancient battles. The information on them for play is very easy to read. As you can see, the components pass muster easily.

 The sequence of play is very easy for the single player game. It follows the Worthington Publishing KISS thoughts on game rules. It is as follows:

Select one order to play.

Reveal the solitaire counter order card.

Resolve the action portion of the solitaire counter order card first.

Apply the results of your order using the solitaire counter order card portion.

Repeat the above.

Two more cards

 The game might seem a bit strange to some people because it does not have the usual siege tactics we are used to. There are no rams or other siege engines at play. One has to remember that this is 414 BC. The only siege techniques that are known are to surround a city and starve them out. This is why it is crucial to the Athenian player to complete his walls around Syracuse. This is also why it is imperative for the Syracusans to build their counter walls. The Athenian must also have a ship unit blockading Syracuse. There is no real turn length to the game. If the solitaire cards run out so has the Athenian time to win. These are the victory conditions:

The Athenian player wins if:

You complete all eight segments of your wall and have a ship in a blockade space. 

You reduce the Syracusan morale to zero.

The Athenian player loses if:

You run out of cards in the solitaire deck.

You also lose if your morale reaches zero.

 I did not have the ability to play the two-player version, but the solitaire game is a blast. Because of the rules, it plays quickly and easily from one phase to the next. Worthington Publishing has the game length as 30 to 60 minutes and that seems right on the money. The way the game is structured some things have to be simple and a real ancient nut like yours truly, might want more meat on its bones. However, there is enough history and plausibility built into the game to keep even me really happy when playing. Thank you, Worthington Publishing, for allowing me to review this very well thought out game on one of my favorite parts of history. With this game and 1565 Siege of Malta, (my review is linked below), my siege gaming appetite is definitely assuaged for now. 


414 BC Siege of Syracuse:

414BC Siege of Syracuse — Worthington Publishing

1565 Siege of Malta review:

The Siege of Malta 1565 by Worthington Publishing - A Wargamers Needful Things

Worthington Publishing:

Worthington Publishing