soccover.jpg (13590 bytes)The Siege of Constantinople, 1453 A.D. (SPI - 1978) S&T #66 mag/game

One 22" x 34" map, one 12-page rule book, 200 counters.

Game covers the 1453 Ottoman siege of the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, in 27 game turns. Each turn represents two days and the Ottomans can choose to either bombard the walls or launch an assault. An assault lasts up to ten impulses. The Ottomans win by placing 25 attack strength points inside the city at any time during a turn before the end of the game. Otherwise, the Byzantines win.

Note: The naval expansion module was not used, and Ottoman tunneling was omitted.

Game turns 1 - 4: Bombardment
Game turn 5: First Ottoman assault
Game turns 6, 7: Bombardment
Game turn 8: Second Ottoman assault
Game turns 9, 10: Bombardment
Game turn 11: Third Ottoman assault
Game turns 12, 13: Bombardment
Game turn 14: Fourth Ottoman assault
Game turns 15 - 17: Bombardment
Game turn 18: Fifth Ottoman assault
Game turns 19, 20: Bombardment
Game turn 21: Sixth Ottoman assault
Game turns 22, 23: Bombardment
Game turn 24: Seventh Ottoman assault
Game turns 25, 26: Bombardment
Game turn 27: Final Ottoman assault

Game Turn 1 - April 12/13, 1453
The Ottomans move all artillery except the Pera gun to the Blachernae assault area. The cannon and Urban's Bombard that began the game in the Blachernae begin bombardment against Constantinople's outer wall.

Game Turn 2 - April 14/15, 1453
Ottoman bombardment continues in the Blachernae assault area.

Game Turn 3 - April 16/17, 1453
Ottoman bombardment in the Blachernae increases as the eight guns moved from other areas arrive. The Byzantines notice the intensification of artillery fire and begin to shift troops to the Blachernae, including Giovanni Giustiniani and his Genoese contingent.

Game Turn 4 - April 18/19, 1453
Ottoman bombardment continues to intensify as the last cannon arrives. All Ottoman artillery except the Pera gun are now concentrated in the Blachernae assault area. Urban's Bombard explodes, but three outer wall sections are breached. The Byzantines react by shifting more troops into the area.

Game Turn 5 - April 20/21, 1453
The Ottomans launch their first assault on Constantinople's walls while Urban's Bombard is temporarily out of commission. The Bashi-bazouks and the Sultan Mohammed's Janissaries rush the breached walls in the Blachernae assault area, while Ishak Pasha's Anatolians go in the adjacent Exo-Philopation assault area. The Ottomans do not close to melee, but rather move only the Bashi-bazouks into fire combat range, firing through the breached wall sections. The Janissaries are positioned just behind the Bashi-bazouks in case the Byzantines try to pull back from the wall out of firing range. The Anatolians in the Exo-Philopation remain just out of firing range, waiting to see if the Byzantines weaken their defenses there. They don't. The duration of the first assault consists of fire combat only. When the smoke clears afterward, casualties are heavier than expected. The Ottomans lost eleven steps of Bashi-bazouks including five units completely destroyed. The Byzantines lost seven steps - two Greek units and one Genoese eliminated, and one step from another Greek unit. The Ottoman's purpose in not closing to melee was to prevent activation of the Byzantine reserves, while gambling on higher than average fire combat casualties. The strategy paid off.

Game Turn 6 - April 22/23, 1453
Bombardment resumes in the Blachernae without Urban's Bombard.

Game Turn 7 - April 24/25, 1453
Bombardment continues and Urban's Bombard returns. While the great gun was gone, the Byzantines were able to reduce the number of breached wall sections to just one, with two other sections only damaged. With the return of Urban's Bombard, the number of wall sections breached again reaches three.

Game Turn 8 - April 26/27, 1453
The Ottomans launch their second assault on the Blachernae with three wall sections down there. The Ottomans repeat their tactics of the first assault, engaging in fire combat only and not closing to melee, to prevent activation of Byzantine reserves. The Janissaries again stand by to force the Byzantines to stay at the wall and have a shootout with the Bashi-bazouk fodder. When the smoke clears afterward this time, the Bashi-bazouks have lost only two steps - one unit eliminated. The Byzantines lose four steps, also lower than expected. The depleted Greek unit is eliminated along with a Genoese unit, while another Genoese unit is reduced. The Ottoman plan didn't pay off so well this time.

Game Turn 9 - April 28/29, 1453
Ottoman Bombardment resumes in the Blachernae.

Game Turn 10 - April 30/May 1, 1453
Ottoman bombardment continues in the Blachernae. The Pera bridge is completed and the Pera gun is moved to the Blachernae. Urban's Bombard brings down a fourth wall section, but the Byzantines succeed in repairing the breach, leaving only three other walls down.

Game Turn 11 - May 2/3, 1453
The third Ottoman assault on the Blachernae, with three wall sections breached there. Again the Bashi-bazouks go in first with the Janissaries behind them, while Ishak Pasha's Anatolians go forward in the adjacent Exo-Philopation assault area. Zaganos Pasha's Pera division goes in the Mesoteicheon assault area. The Ottoman forces in the Exo-Philopation and Mesoteichion assault areas do not close for melee, but spend the entire assault filling in all foss hexes in these two areas. The Bashi-bazouks in the Blachernae again stand back from melee and exchange fire with the Byzantines on the walls. This time the Byzantines pull back from the walls one hex in the ninth pulse, saving themselves from any casualties in the tenth pulse, while also not exposing enough city hexes for the Ottomans to win the game. The Ottomans lose five steps in the assault - two Bashi-bazouk units eliminated and one more reduced, while the Byzantines lose only three steps. Once again no melee occurs, and the Byzantine reserves can't activate.

Game Turn 12 - May 4/5, 1453
Bombardment resumes in the Blachernae assault area. The Ottomans again succeed in getting four wall sections down there, but the Byzantines repair one of the breaches, prompting another bombardment next turn. The Ottomans want at least four breaches in the outer wall before launching another assault.

Game Turn 13 - May 6/7, 1453
Bombardment continues in the Blachernae. This round ends with four wall sections down as the Byzantines fail to close any of the breaches.

Game Turn 14 - May 8/9, 1453
The fourth Ottoman assault. Karadja Pasha's European division goes in the Blachernae assault area. Zaganos Pasha's Pera division and Ishak Pasha's Anatolians go in the Exo-Philopation, while what's left of the Bashi-bazouks go in the Mesoteichion. For the first time, the Ottomans mount the walls to cross swords with the Byzantines. The Ottoman plan of refusing melee in each previous assault to avoid triggering Byzantine reserve activation now pays off as Pera division units and the Bashi-bazouk remnants advance easily into the Parateichion against thin resistance and destroy all the Byzantine catapults there. With the melee, Byzantine reserve activation rolls begin, and Orhan's Turks are the first to move. The monks are next to activate, but not until the eighth impulse. Megadux Notaras' Greeks and Jacobo Contarini's Venetians activate on the ninth impulse. The sailors activate on the tenth impulse. The assault ends with 12 strength points of Europeans inside the city in the Blachernae, less than half of the victory requirement of 25. Byzantine losses are extremely heavy with eleven steps killed, and the Bocchiardi brothers leader unit wounded for six turns. The Ottomans lose only six steps - one of Bashi-bazouks, one step from the Pera division, one step of Anatolians, and three steps of Europeans.

Game Turn 15 - May 10/11, 1453
Ottoman bombardment resumes in the Blachernae. The Byzantines activate Nicephorus Palaeologus and his Greek reserves.

Game Turn 16 - May 12/13, 1453
Ottoman bombardment continues, but without achieving enough breaches to try another assault yet.

Game Turn 17 - May 14/15, 1453
Ottoman bombardment still continues as Johannes Grant's Byzantine engineers repair a breach in the outer wall of the New Imperial Palace. The Byzantines activate Cardinal Isadore's Papal reserve unit.

Game Turn 18 - May 16/17, 1453
Four wall sections are breached in the Blachernae assault area and the Ottomans launch their fifth assault. The European division again goes in the Blachernae, while Ishak Pasha's Anatolians and the Bashi-bazouk remnants go in the Exo-Philopation assault area. The Byzantine leader Theophilus Palaeologus is wounded fighting in the Parateichion and is out for six turns. The Ottomans again inflict heavy losses on the Byzantines - 11 steps killed. Only four steps of Ottomans are lost - two of Europeans and two of Anatolians. The Byzantines are battered but not broken and the siege continues.

Game Turn 19 - May 18/19, 1453
Ottoman bombardment resumes in the Blachernae. The last Byzantine reserves are activated - Pere Julia's Catalans.

Game Turn 20 - May 20/21, 1453
Ottoman bombardment continues in the Blachernae, and again achieve four breaches in Constantinople's outer wall.

Game Turn 21 - May 22/23, 1453
The sixth Ottoman assault with four wall sections in the Blachernae breached. The Pera division, the Janissaries, and Mahmud Pasha's Anatolians go in the Blachernae assault area. Ishak Pasha's Anatolians go in the Exo-Philopation assault area, and the Bashi-bazouk remnants go in the Mesoteichion. Two Byzantine leaders are wounded in the battle - Caristo for six turns, and Fillipo Contarini for two turns. The leader of the Ottoman Pera division, Zaganos Pasha, is killed. Constantinople nearly falls as the Ottomans take five hexes inside the city but run out of time before the Janissaries can be brought in to finish it. One more pulse would have given the Ottomans victory. The Byzantines barely survive and take extremely heavy losses - 14 steps killed. The Ottomans suffer 10 steps lost - eight steps of Anatolians and two steps from the Pera division.

Game Turn 22 - May 24/25, 1453
Ottoman bombardment resumes again in the Blachernae. Three wall sections are breached, but the Ottomans want at least four down before assaulting again.

Game Turn 23 - May 26/27, 1453
Ottoman bombardment continues in the Blachernae, ending with four wall sections breached. Another assault is prepared.

Game Turn 24 - May 28/29, 1453
The seventh Ottoman assault. The Janissaries, Mahmud Pasha's Anatolians, and the European division go in the Blachernae. Ishak Pasha's Anatolians go in the adjacent Exo-Philopation assault area, and the Bashi-bazouk tatters go in the Mesoteichion. This assault ends as the last one did, with the Ottomans in control of five city hexes, but one impulse short of moving in enough strength points for victory. The Ottomans lose nine steps - seven of Anatolians, one of Europeans, and one Bashi-bazouk. The Byzantines are nearly bled white losing 12 steps and 4 leaders. Minotto is killed. Cattaneo, Pere Julia, and the Emperor Constantine XI are all wounded more turns than remain in the game.

Game Turn 25 - May 30/31, 1453
Ottoman bombardment resumes in the Blachernae assault area, but Byzantine engineers plug enough holes to put off another assault.

Game Turn 26 - June 1/2, 1453
Ottoman bombardment again brings down four wall sections in the Blachernae, presaging a final all-out assault.

Game Turn 27 - June 3/4, 1453
The eighth Ottoman assault with the Janissaries and the remaining Europeans going in the Blachernae, while the remnants of both Anatolian divisions go in the Exo-Philopation assault area. The Byzantines have only seven full-strength units remaining, although nearly all are among the strongest that began the siege, having been held back to face the Janissaries. One other half-strength Venetian unit also remains in the Parateichion two hexes west of the New Imperial Palace to slow down any move by the Ottomans to enter the city from that direction. All of the full-strength Byzantine units are in the Blachernae, defending in depth.

Assault impulses 1 and 2 - The Ottomans rush toward Constantinople's walls.

Assault impulse 3 - The first Ottoman onrushers reach the walls. The Byzantine defenders open up with a hail of unanswered fire as the Ottomans, on the move, are unable to fire themselves. One Janissary unit is hit twice and eliminated. In the melee that follows, Orhan, leading the last Turk unit, and Diedo leading the Chios/Rhodes, combine in an attack that disrupts a unit of Europeans personally led by Karadja Pasha. Jacobo and Fillipo Contarini, leading Greeks and Catalans, together attack the Janissaries at the walls but don't make a dent. Trevisano, leading the Venetian remnant in the Parateichion, repels the first Anatolians to reach the walls. The Janissaries at the Blachernae walls fail to force their way into the city on the first rush.

Assault impulse 4 - Another Janissary unit moves to the walls to replace the one cut down by Byzantine fire last impulse. Ishak Pasha's Anatolians cross an undefended wall section into the Parateichion and assail Trevisano's Venetian remnants. Other Anatolians led by Mahmud Pasha also gain the Parateichion unopposed. Now the Ottoman horde seething at the walls unleash a deadly hail of fire, annihilating the Turks, and inflicting a step loss on every Byzantine unit on the Blachernae wall. The Byzantine answering fire is feeble, only disrupting Ishak Pasha's own Anatolians. There is no Byzantine melee as every unit in contact with Ottomans was also disrupted in the fire combat. The Ottomans are free to try to force the Byzantines off the walls. The Chios/Rhodes holds off an assault by Janissaries and Anatolians. The Greeks also hold off the Janissaries, but the last Catalans defending the New Imperial Palace are killed. The Janissaries break into the New Imperial Palace. The Venetian remnant, alone in the Parateichion, continues to hold off all the Anatolians.

Assault impulse 5 - Karadja Pasha and his Europeans begin to work their way around the outer wall at the Golden Horn by the water's edge. More Janissaries reach the Blachernae walls. The Venetian remnants are now surrounded by Anatolians coming over the outer wall, and by those already in the Parateichion. Another deadly accurate hail of Ottoman fire hits the Byzantines as the Greeks are cut in half and the Chios/Rhodes and Venetian remnants are both disrupted. Byzantine fire this time disrupts two full-strength Janissary units at the Blachernae walls, stopping them from entering the city. Fillipo Contarini's Greeks, Cardinal Isadore's Papal unit, and Giovanni Giustiniani's Genoese together rush and disrupt the Janissaries in the New Imperial Palace, but can't drive them out. Janissaries at the Blachernae wall are repelled by the Chios/Rhodes remnant, but the Greeks are driven back and a unit of Janissaries enters the city. Overwhelming numbers of Anatolians force the Venetians out of the Parateichion and into one of the city towers. Theophilus Palaeologus is killed, leaving only Trevisano in command of the Venetians.

Assault impulse 6 - Another volley of Ottoman fire decimates the Papal contingent and disrupts the Chios/Rhodes remnant. The Byzantines answer with effective fire of their own, disrupting two full-strength Janissary units and cutting the Janissaries in the New Imperial Palace in half. The last Greeks under Fillipo Contarini then melees the disrupted Janissary unit inside the city but can't throw them out. Cardinal Isadore's Papal remnant and Giovanni Giustiniani's Genoese again assault the decimated Janissaries inside the New Imperial Palace but only disrupt them. The Chios/Rhodes remnant at the Blachernae wall holds off an attack by two full-strength Janissary units. Trevisano's Venetian remnant is still holed up in the tower against thousands of Anatolians in the Parateichion.

Assault impulse 7 - Karadja Pasha's Europeans, followed by Janissaries, fill in the last foss hex in the Blachernae, work their way around the shoreline of the Golden Horn, and prepare to come over the seaward (east) wall behind the last Greeks. The Byzantines are now being attacked from three directions. Yet another volley of withering Ottoman fire against the Byzantines in the Blachernae. The last of the Chios/Rhodes and Papals are slaughtered. Byzantine fire decimates and disrupts a Janissary unit inside the city. With such high fire combat casualties, all melee attacks by both sides peter out.

Assault impulse 8 - With only two Byzantine units left to defend the Blachernae, the defenders can't stop the Ottomans from pouring into the city. Four full strength Janissary units are now in, only one short of victory. Karadja Pasha's Europeans continue to move along the seaward wall to an undefended section where they can cross into the city unopposed. Ottoman fire only disrupts the Venetians still in the tower. Byzantine fire reduces a fresh Janissary unit in the New Imperial Palace. Fillipo Contarini's Greeks attack but can do little damage to the thousands of Janissaries now inside the city. Instead, the Greeks are virtually surrounded themselves and are fighting for their lives. Giovanni Giustiniani's Genoese again fail to retake the New Imperial Palace.

Assault impulse 9 - Karadja Pasha's Europeans cross the seaward wall, catching and trapping Giovanni Giustiniani and the Genoese between themselves and the Janissaries. The now surrounded Genoese still try and fail again to retake the New Imperial Palace. Byzantine fire is weak and ineffective. Ottoman fire disrupts the Greeks in the Blachernae. The Greeks are then engulfed in Janissaries and half are killed. The few Venetians in the tower are still holding off thousands of Anatolians.

Assault impulse 10 - Byzantine resistance collapses as Ottomans flood into the city. Janissaries cross the seaward wall, and at the same time the Sultan Mehmet himself enters the New Imperial Palace with a fresh Janissary unit. There are now 28 Ottoman strength points inside the city, exceeding the 25 required for victory. The last defenders dissolve in an Ottoman ocean. Constantinople falls. The game ends in an Ottoman victory.

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