Replay AEL: Summerian Empire – King level

Warming up exercise this Saturday morning: I decide to give a go at a quick Ancient Empire Lux, playing the Sumerian at King level, and choosing the hardest party called Umma (x5 score multiplier).

A bit of background

What’s the situation at the beginning of the game?

  • Umma is the most central city, and thus probably the most vulnerable to attacks from all sides.
  • Umma brings a bonus of 2 points, less than counterparts Lagash (4 points) and Ur (3 points) which already enjoy sizeable armies and controlled land surface.
  • Vast expanses of terrain are owned by the remote mountain city of Susa (White color). They are easy preys and ways to win bonus cards, and they will be bitterly disputed by all players.

Bonus map

Situation at start

So what’s the best strategy here? My proposed short term plan is:

  • Quick wins of land 360 degrees, although favouring the less armoured North, along the Zagros mountains
  • Secure the northern-eastern lands thanks to the locking cities of Sipar and Lagash
  • Lagash is definitely a priority target, with 4 points bonus (Sipar and Susa only have 1)

If I manage to do that, I’ll be in a good shape to then regroup and launch an assault to the rich Southlands. Of course, I need to be ready to change my plans based on the random level of aggressiveness of the various opponents.

Turn 2

At the end of Turn #2, I understand that my Western neighbours of Sippar and Kish are relatively peaceful, whereas RED from Ur and YELLOW from Lagash are ruled by imperialistic monarchs. I decide to launch and adventurous scavenger raid behind YELLOW in the Zagros mountains. After a couple of turns it pays off, and I seize the capital city of Susa, enraging YELLOW who counterattacks repeatedly over the next few turns.

Turn 4By Turn #4, a counter-clockwise momentum has built and only my armies find themselves going in the opposite direction and clashing against YELLOW. This is too much attrition for him, and while I keep his troops busy on the frontline, RED cracks into Laggash, his armies marching in triumph in the key city of the Summerian Empire. A fratricide war of attrition begins in the far South, and I decide to hold ground while initiating a campaign in the North towards Sippar.

While the Western nations keep peacefully expanding, after GREEN failing to capture Ur, YELLOW goes into guerrilla wars in the wetlands along the Tigris. His troops reach my capital city of Umma and briefly occupy it. Fortunately, unexpected but timely reinforcement cards allow me to group a large contingent and launch a crucial counterattack to regain the heart of the kingdom on Turn #6.

Turn 6

My plans regarding Sippar have only been delayed, and even if my urban centres are still weakly defended, I decide to take a chance to seize the northern bottleneck city. While still containing recurring assults from YELLOW in the South, I march towards the ORANGE capital to conquer and make History.

Turn 8

Sippar falls like a fruit too mature, to my surprise, and I fail to anticipate the counter attack organised by ORANGE on turn 9, resulting in the fall once again of capital city Umma. Shame on me. My balance sheet could be better: Apart from disappearing GREEN, I’m the weakest nation, at war with 2 others (YELLOW and ORANGE) with limited revenue. In the South, a RED dragon is stirring, successful in his plan to lockup to sectors with 3 cities.

Turn 9

I do not manage to accrue troops fast enough to catchup with the loss I have on 3 different front lines.  Time for a step back and an actualisation of the grand strategy. Determined to regain and never loose again Umma, I also opt for the consolidation of my position, leaving the other Parties to exhaust their wrath on each others. Umma taken back on turn #11, I then spend 3 consecutive turns simply spreading reinforcements and carrying out skirmish operations at my borders. At the end of turn #15, I have secured my 3 blue fortresses with armies of 12 firepower. But a red tide seems to come from the South, and I wonder if ORANGE and YELLOW will be sufficient air bags to absorb the shock.

Turn 15

The good surprise comes from YELLOW who launches a blitz offensive westward through Laggash, Ur and ending up in far away Kish, operation Sharp Sickle. RED is completely taken aback and can only launch a counter strike on Ur to cut the YELLOW snake in two parts. I have the sudden feeling opportunity rings again. My next target is still Laggash and I regroup in the south-east plains for another stab in the back of YELLOW.

Turn 16

The coup pays off, but war rages and reaches another level, with dozen of points gone into smoke at each clash. RED is busy freeing up the banks of the Euphrates, while I fight block by block in the streets of Laggash. Best news for today is that there will be no cooperation between YELLOW and RED, and I’m free to launch operation “clean-sweep” out of Susa to send un-supplied remnants of RED and YELLOW armies routing in the swamps. By turn 18, phase 1 of my initial plan is finally complete!

Turn 17

By early turn 19, YELLOW is a mere memory and a lame mention in school manuals for the free people of the South. But the RED tyranny in Ur still mobilises masses, and logically a strong contingent is sent to kick out the autocratic RED regime from the antique city. The northerners leave a peaceful life, behind the inexpugnable walls of the Tigris citadels (30 firepower each). BLUE as just become the new super-power. But Armageddon is in the making in the outskirts of Kish, where RED shows all his madness and lack of strategic acumen.

Turn 19

With Ur taken and RED’s inability to call the fortune cards before the gates of Kish, we see the collapse of a RED clay giant, his armies roaming aimlessly in the central plains, suffocating without re-supplies. Our next stop is Kish, which falls by turn #20, signing off the absolute end of the YELLOW empire. Treasures are accumulating in the King’s halls of Umma and Ur, and money flows to pay countless Blue armies now.

Turn 20

On the morning of turn 21, river birds stop singing and large mammals desert the central grasslands, as we launch operation Typhoon to pacify the area occupied and looted for years by the evil troops of ORANGE. This all happens overnight, leaving only rogue bands of RED to clean up in the far North.

Turn 21


The game is won in 2 more turns, for a total of 24, leading to a score of 12,570. Please let me know if you manage to significantly beat that, I’d be interested to know.

Turn 23




Simulating War, a new milestone book in preorder on Amazon

Simulating War explores the theory and practice of conflict simulation, as applied in the many thousands of wargames published over the past 50 years. It discusses the utility of this form of conflict simulation by setting it in its proper context alongside military and professional wargaming, as well as more academically familiar techniques such as game theory and operational analysis. The book explains in detail the analytical and modelling techniques involved, and provides complete illustrative simulations of three specific historical conflicts, as used in Professor Sabin’s own courses on the wars concerned. It gives readers all the intellectual skills they need to use published wargames and to design their own simulations of conflicts of their choice, whether for interest or as a vehicle for teaching or research.

The hard cover book will be available on Amazon on 05/04/2012, but can be preordered today!

Professor Sabin is currently the course convenor for three BA level courses in the War Studies Department. These are “World War Two in Europe”, “Warfare in the Ancient World” and “Fighting in the Air”. He is also the convenor for one MA level course, “Conflict Simulation”.

Last but not least, Sabin in the author of the “Lost Battles” game system. The game covers battles and campaigns in the Mediterranean and Near East from the Persian defeat at Marathon in 490 BC to Caesar’s victory at Pharsalus in 48 BC. It has been exhaustively tested and refined over the past several years, and is based on Sabin’s decades of research and simulation design on ancient warfare; and it includes an updated copy of his book, with extensive historical and design notes on every scenario. The game can be fought on three levels – the grand tactical, the grand strategic, or a combination of the two.

The iPad Wargamer: Egypt!

How many times shall we have to repeat it: The iPad could be the best companion of the 21st century wargamer! Imagine the pleasure of panning and zooming on the battlefield, and moving your counters across the hexes with a simple touch gesture… this is not a dream, this is now a reality. There are a number of inspiring game titles which can be considered as decent wargames, and I’m going to review them as they pop up within the next few months.

Today, I have spotted “History Egypt HD” for the iPad, with as a subtitle “Engineering an Empire”. The game allows players to build their own empire from its foundations to the height of its power. Acting as the leader of a territory from the Egyptian Empire, players manage all aspects of its rise, from economic growth to political power, the development of armies, and expansion into other regions by war and diplomacy.

Empires are controlled from three main views: the Campaign Map shows the entire game world, including mountains, forests, coastlines, oceans, rivers, cites, and armies. The City Map gives players an overview of the structure and role of a city within the empire, and provides a basis for economic decisions. The Battle Map is to be used when diplomacy has run its course or when a city is being attacked, resulting in turn-based combat.

The game is graphically rich with fast paced addictive gameplay. It is probably ideal for newcomers to the turn based strategy game genre.


  • City development with over 50 buildings to construct
  • Army management with more than 25 unit types to recruit
  • Each nation has its own unique units and buildings
  • 9 historic campaigns with each with different objectives
  • Diplomacy, wars, peace and tributes: use your skills to fight your enemies or make other countries your friends
Publisher: Slitherine, $0.99 for iPad

AEL – War in the Indus Valley – 14040 points

c.2600 BC-c.1900 BC – The once nomadic Dravidian society, now inhabiting the Indus Valley, has blossomed over the ages. Making giant leaps in science, urban planning, and technology, the Indus Valley is now one of the world’s largest and most advanced civilizations. Being highly egalitarian, the Indus Valley has remained peaceful for ages, being referred to by some as a magnificent utopia.

As trade flourishes, more cities begin to emerge as commercial centers and rivalries are developing between them. A rich and powerful merchant class has emerged and the civilization heads down a dark, unknown path towards war.

The largest economic centers, Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and Lothal are vying for total dominance of the region. Meanwhile, the smaller cities have been forced to form alliances in order stand a chance in the upcoming battle. The southern cities, led by the distant outpost of Sutkagen Dor, are spread thin, but are resilient. The northern cities, led by the commanding city of Ganweriwala, are strong and steadfast. Lead your army and once again return the valley to peace and prosperity!

As the leader of the very isolated Southern Cities, in this King Level, our priority is to secure a safe backyard, by conquering the Southern Plains.

First we pacify the Kutch peninsula …

Then we colonise Northern Mahi, done!

In the meantime, Yellow and Red imperialism strikes our walls. And we have to secure some strongholds to contain the barbarian waves.

To weaken Red, we decide to storm over Mohenjo-Daro, by far the largest economic and cultural centre of the Indus Valley.

With little resistance opposed, we continue northward to capture Gamwerwala, and even Rheman Dheri. In the South, Surkotada is freed!

Opportunistically, Yellow launches a massive offensive along the Indus river. We let it go and stall by itself, while sacking their capital Harappa in a contournment manoeuvre.

Time to fight back, we secure our empire with a 3-lock points operation on the key Indus cities.

After Yellow’s last stand, we pacify the Red Hindu Kush valley in a breeze. Victory!

AEL – Egyptian Kingdom – 11316 points



11316 points is my new high score on the Egyptian Kingdom, at King’s level and playing the hardest position in About Simbel. Here is a breakdown of the strategy deployed.

Initial situation in Abou Simbel is very unstable, with 4 fronts open with Green and Orange. Choices have to be taken and decisions made, and I believe that protecting our backdoor should be the priority => Hence the campaign to secure the Southern plains, starting with a solid assault on Soleb in the south-west, with a view to cross the Nile to Semna. At the same time, we try to cut reinforcements from the East.

A good job! Now we regroup forces on the northern frontiers. Green is a pacifist and I choose to strike a nasty blow to weaken Red, with a bypassing manoeuvre inside the remote western deserts. As Green scouts our homeland near About Simbel, I build up an assault on Thebes in the East to divert him, and with a view to easily control the Red Sea corridor.

The conquest of the Western lands has been a real blitz and I can almost see the walls of Memphis in the far North! But I opt for a pause, in order to secure the rear lines by besieging Mayr, and cleaning the banks of the Nile from both Red and Green once for all.

Remnants of the Red forces are lingering down the walls of Mayr, but this battle is over, and I now feel fully confident to launch a river assault on the Nile Delta. First stop is Memphis which is swiftly sacked  and the surroundings secured.

Red surrender the next turn, and pacifying Yellow lands in the far East is a matter of 1 or 2 turns. Victory in a total of 12 turns, bringing 11316 points!



AEL – Sumerian Empire – 12840 pts

New high score on Ancient Empire Lux, playing UMMA at KING level: 12840 points. That’s a tough one!

Blue in UMMA is extremely isolated in the beginning. Primary goal would be to acquire northern provinces and Sippar at the North-West. Consolidate both cities with 10, 12 or even 15 armies. Then run to the South-East towards Susa. Once this secured, securing the eastern provinces and besieging Lagash should be rather easy. The nasty one in this game is RED.

In this particular game, victory was acquired in 18 turns. A cautious one I’d say, maybe one can make it in 15?

Get Ancient Empires Lux at Sillysoft, for Mac, Windows and Linux!

Lux series – Wargame initiation on Mac and iPhone

Lux Delux is a game of strategy and domination inspired by the board game Risk. Control your armies to conquer and hold strategic countries on the map. The object of the game is simple: Take over the entire world!

Hundreds of Maps: Lux comes with over 800 different maps. Play on historical, geometric, geographic, and fantasy settings. New maps get added all the time.

Challenging Artificial Intelligence: Play versus 11 different computer AI personalities. They start at easy and go all the way to hard (with a capital HARD). Lux provides a strong matchup even for experienced Risk game players.

Easy Network Play: Joining an online multiplayer game is as easy as 2 clicks – no need to muck about with IP addresses. Hosting an internet-wide game is just as simple. Now is the perfect time to start climbing the world wide rankings.

Strong User Base: Lux has an active user community. The regulars can be found hanging around in the forums and playing multiplayer games online. Come and join the party.

Hackable: Use the built-in Map Editor to create your own maps. Send it in and we’ll add it to the Plugin Manager. Programmers can create AIs and random map generators with the Lux SDK provided by Sillysoft.

IPhone version

Variants & Sequels:

  • Ancient Empires Lux takes you through all the great early civilizations of mankind. Ancient Egypt, India, China, Greece, Rome, and more are yours for the taking. The game has a total of 58 ancient nations for you to control. You can play as just the strongest, or work cleverly to achieve victory from the humblest of starts. Hours and hours of fun are yours to be had in Ancient Empires Lux.
  • American History Lux is a campaign through the wars that have shaped American history. Beautiful hand crafted maps take you on a timeline starting with the colonization of North America up till the Iraq War, with everything in between. The game includes scene setting music and links to detailed history on each of the wars. The 4 varied difficulty levels are meant for new prospects and experienced Luxers alike. Without delay, American History is yours to replay!
  • Castle Vox is a next generation computer strategy board game. Capture all the enemy Castles to win!