Monday, April 30, 2007

300: A History of Spartan Board Games

Popular not only in literature and myth, the battle at Thermopylae has given rise to a number of board and card games over the last 40 years. Naturally, interest in these games has waxed surrounding the release of the stylized gore-fest known as 300. Here is a list of fourteen of these games.

By the way, games actually played by the Spartans include competitive physical activities, as well as knucklebones, jacks, dice games, and checkers games.

And by the way, Spartanopoly is not about Sparta (it's Michigan State University). Let's move on.

(images are linked to their sources)

Thermopylae (1973)
Designed by Martin E Sliva (or maybe Silva)
An early war game.
Spartan (1975)
Designed by John Young
An early tactical war game, came as one of five games included in "PRESTAGS" by SPI games. SPI was run by Greg Costikyan, I believe.
The Peloponnesian War (1977)
Designed and produced by Stephen Newberg
A two-player strategy war game.
Peloponnesian War (1991)
Designed by Mark Herman
Published by Victory Games. A game with extensive rules for solo play which required you to switch sides whenever you were winning. The rules are apparently on their third edition.
Get Sparta (1994)
Designed by Phil Steele
A 2-player tactical war game.
Thermopylae (1999)
Written by Lloyd Krasner
A simple freely-downloadable tactical card game.
Xenophon: 10,000 Against Persia (2000)
Designed by Joseph Miranda
An insert in issue #203 of Strategy & Tactics. A strategic war game.
300 Spartans (2003)
A 1:72nd scale strategy war game published by a Russian publisher.
Go Tell the Spartans (2003)
Designed by Robert G. Markham and Steve Rawling
An insert in issue #6 of Against the Odds. A solitaire game.
Thermopylae Online (2006)
Designed by Ryan S. Johnson
Published by Guild of Blades. Can be downloaded or played online.
The Epic of the Peloponnesian War (2006)
Designed by Kurt Kuhlmann and Jonathan Iwamasa
Published by Clash of Arms Games. A long strategy war game for 2 to 4 players.
Commands & Colors Ancients: Expansion Pack 1: Greeks and Eastern Kingdoms (2006)
Designed by Richard Borg
The first expansion to the currently highly popular Command & Colors: Ancents light war game includes a few scenarios, including Sparta.
Hellenes: Athens vs. Sparta
Designed by Craig Besinque
Also known as "Hellas". Designed to fit into the Columbia block game system, but was too large a game for their line. Now awaiting publication by GMT games under their P500 pre-order system.
300: The Board Game
Designed by Andrew Parks.
A card and dice driven tactical game based on the movie. Scheduled to be released in May, 2007.
Naturally, the topic is also covered by video games. Frankly, I thought the movie looked like the opening sequence of one of my son's video games.


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