Aristeia: An Overview

Simply put Aristeia is a campaign focused skirmish wargame set within Mythological/Ancient Greece. It is designed around 28mm figures with warbands numbering, between,10 to 20 a side.

The core of such warbands are the Hero and Champions. Your warband has ONE Hero. They are its leader and the focal point of the force. The vast majority of campaign play will focus around their development. The Champions are the Hero's lieutenants and they too act in the campaign phases.

In Aristeia you Hero is of utmost importance. They are dedicated to a single god. At the moment the gods a Hero can be dedicated to are:

  • Zeus
  • Athene
  • Ares
  • Hephaistos
  • Hermes
  • Artemis   
This list is set to expand in the future. Each god gives the Hero (and warband as a whole) bonuses and various abilities to be used throughout a game. These are decided before the game takes place along with deployment areas and some other effects. If throughout your campaign your Hero becomes very powerful or acts in a manner not befitting said god then they generate a stat called HUBRIS. This essentially takes form of a negative to any otherworldly abilities your Hero (and warband) may have. It can also affect some other campaign related abilities but these are not formalised yet. Management of hubris and the relationship with your god is of the utmost importance.

Aristeia uses a few characteristics for each individual. As a writer I am not overly fond of many special rules. I feel that if you are going to include a range of characteristics then making them granular enough with which units can be differentiated from is far better. To this end Aristeia is a D10 based game and said characteristics are ranging from, you guessed it, one and ten (with one being the lowest and ten the highest). It uses a simple roll under mechanic to decide any tests effect (In every instance bar one it is roll under. I dislike having different mechanics for similar things but in this instance it was necessary for coherency of unit characteristics).

Other than the characters (Heroes and Champions) there are various types of figure you may recruit. These (for the moment) are Elite/Sacred Band (High Tier), Citizen (Regular) and Psiloi/Thetes (Levy). Each type can have varying equipment and fulfils various roles.  The figures are grouped into units of between four and ten. A unit’s movement and characteristics are modified by what FORMATION they are in. This is dependent upon unit type and the equipment they carry. Good use of formations is key to winning combats and effectively moving around the field. However the game is designed so that each formation has positives and negatives associated.

This is a very broad overview of the game and gives you a rough idea of what I'm striving for in terms of rules. I think the story telling aspect of wargaming is of great importance (I like tight rulesets as much as anyone but I also enjoy the storytelling aspect hence the campaign based nature, don't worry this isn't some NARRATIVE nonsense). I like having, and giving, the player choice in how to construct their warband. An interesting theme should be a key part of a players force. It helps with the narrative of the warband and with how they act in certain situations. I envisage the game as a mixture of Muskets and Tomahawks/SAGA/Dux Britanorum, all games I adore or greatly admire.

In terms of theme I was looking for a way to blend history and mythology in wargame. Aristeia could be played in a historical manner with the abilities representing tactical abilities or equipment etc. and if a player wishes to do that the rules should support them. In terms of warbands I envisage them as the entourage/ship crew/friends/local populace of the Hero but this in duly up to the player. 

A special note should be for the figures. This game covers various aspects of Greek history and mythology and as such is as suited to figures from the Late Bronze Age to those of Classical or even Hellenistic Greece. This is entirely up to the various players and groups. If one wants to 'refight' the events of the Iliad or Odyssey using late Bronze age figures it has no impact on the game, the rules are designed for these differences of aesthetic. I myself envisage such actions as 'through pottery or sculpture' with said events being done in Late Archaic/Early Classical equipment as I find this more appealing but I know that not everyone has my tastes.

Hopefully this has given you (the reader) an understanding of my game, its development and design philosophy. This page will be updated from time to time and will eventually link to the play-test copy of Aristeia. 

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