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  The Fate of All Strategikon Book I: Alexander's Campaign Against the Persian Empire, The First Diadochi War, and Other Deeds by Thin R...

The Fate of All by Thin Red Line Games The Fate of All by Thin Red Line Games

The Fate of All by Thin Red Line Games

The Fate of All by Thin Red Line Games

 The Fate of All

Strategikon Book I: Alexander's Campaign Against the Persian Empire, The First Diadochi War, and Other Deeds


Thin Red Line Games

 When I saw that a new Alexander game was coming out my eyes perked up. However, once I saw the part of the title that says 'The First Diadochi War' I started to drool. The Diadochi (Successors) Period is my favorite in all of history. I cannot pass up the chance to say Antigonus "the oldest and greatest of Alexander's Successors" (Plutarch).

 This is an interview with Fabrizio Vianello about him, his company, and the game.

Please tell us how you got into wargaming?

I think I was 14 years old, already reading anything I could find about the Punic Wars and the battles of World War Two, when I stumbled on a magazine article about “War Games”, played with miniatures or paper maps and counters. In a matter of weeks, I was the youngest member of an Italian wargaming club and I had bought AH’s “Panzer Leader”, costing me a fortune. They call it the golden age, but at the time to obtain most of the games in Italy you had to put together a group order and have someone going in the US.

What games did you play the most?

I was (and still am) primarily an SPI fan, so we played a lot of War Between the States, The Next War, Global War, Fulda Gap, Sniper! and so on. Later on, I spent at least a couple of years playing only Squad Leader. I’m also an avid player of role-playing games, with 30 or more years gamemastering Dungeons&Dragons, Traveller and Vampires 

Tell us about your 1985 series of World War III massive games.

The 1985 series started as an air and ground simulation with an abstract naval element, and developed during the years into a full naval, air and ground simulation taking into account strategic and logistical problems on a planetary scale.

The 15 maps cover central Europe from France to Poland, Scandinavia, Iran and the Persian Gulf. Moreover, a Lines Of Communication area map covers the whole globe and allows to organize (and fight for) the supply and reinforcement lines. The three combined modules include 1700 land units at battalion, brigade, regiment and division level, 1000 aircraft units at squadron level, 300 helicopter units at squadron and regiment level, 400 naval units at single ship and task force level, and 90 submarine units. Practically most of NATO, US and Warsaw Pact armed forces are represented, plus a number of other countries like Austria, Sweden, Iran, Iraq, and several Middle East countries.

Given the scope and complexity of the scenario, we tried our best to include every important aspect of a high intensity conflict set in the ‘80s, without an excessive level of micromanagement. In the end, every possible weapon system, problem, and option is on the table, with a particular attention to air warfare – probably the decisive battlefield in a full-scale war between NATO and Warsaw Pact.

So, your newest game takes a right turn and goes to ancient wargaming and Alexander the Great. Why the change from the Cold War to ancients?

Well, I’ve been busy with the Cold War Gone Hot for the last seven years, and I really needed a change, no matter how much I’m interested to the topic! As my other great passion has always been the Classical Period, Alexander the Great looked like an obvious choice. Also, there’s a lot of space for new ideas in one thousand years of history! In any case, Cold War warriors do not have to worry. We still have 2 modules of the C3 series to develop, In a Dark Wood and Bavarian Rhapsody, not to mention the insane 1985: Mutual Assured Destruction project, containing all the three 1985 modules and delivered in a nuclear-resistant box.

I am a big sucker for anything ancients. Please tell us everything you can about the new game.

I’ve also played a lot of ancient games to the consumption, and with a very few exceptions I’ve found that ancient warfare is represented in an excessively simplified way. The main culprits are area movement, making a march from Greece to Babylon a trivial matter, and logistics, usually limited to a single die roll and a generic “winter is bad” rule. The Fate of All tries to give back to ancient warfare its operational, realistic traits and problems.

The first step in this direction was the use of a traditional hex map, opening all the possibilities when planning a move. A march from the Aegean to Cilicia could use dozens of different routes, each one with its own advantages and problems. Having a detailed map (30 km per hex) also allowed to assign a distinct supply value to the different regions, and to have realistic and precise march rates, taking into account the size of the army and its baggage.

The second step was to analyze and reproduce the logistics problems of an ancient army. This has been the research part that surprised me more, as I’ve discovered aspects and tricks that I never suspected; a good example is the number of draft animals needed to carry provisions beyond a certain number of days…you may find all the details in the Designers’ Notes.

When the map and the logistic constraints are put to work together, you find yourself with the same problems faced by the Macedonian and Persian commanders 2400 years ago, and suddenly some previously inexplicable choices made by them start making sense. Even the apparently simple, 20-days march of Alexander from Therme to Abydos requires some planning in order to be completed without incidents and in the same number of days.

Of course, movement and logistic are only the tip of the iceberg. Players must face money problems, difficult sieges requiring a bit of creativity, army morale problems that could be solved or worsened by the military events, revolts of cities and whole regions, treasons, and of course naval and land battles.

Asia Minor in May 334, just after the Battle of the Granicus

The land battles deserve a more detailed explanation, as they can be decided by using a faster “strategic combat” method, or by physically deploying the two armies on the tactical map and using the Tactical Combat rules. Both systems take into account factors like combined arms, morale, leadership, and terrain, but the Tactical Combat is of course the ultimate tool for a decisive battle and offers a detailed but not overwhelming insight of the tactics, advantages and weaknesses of the various troop types.

The Macedonian right flank in the final phase of the Battle of the Granicus

Last but not least, defining the order of battle and the exact characteristics for each unit and troop type was a fascinating research work. Here too, there was a lot of surprises, as it was immediately clear how much uncertainty there is still today about the equipment, the tactics and the numbers of both sides – Much more than I’ve ever thought.

In conclusion, I hope that The Fate of All will help understand how incredible Alexander’s campaign was, and why he really deserves to be called the Great.

The four maps in very low resolution

 Thank you for taking the time to write this up for us. I hope your ancient game will become a series like your '1985' games. I will keep my fingers crossed that it happens, and the games go at least until Antiochus the Great's time.

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