A new game just hit the market called Antiquity by Damian Pooley. The book is a 70 page document that comes either as a PDF or a POD book both available from LuLu.com. The game itself is a fast play set of Ancient Miniatures rules. Units are grouped in like formations. The army lists show how many stand of units (Min/Max) must be present in the army and how big a unit of that type can be. In formations,stands within a unit must be touching common sides corner to corner.
Each turn is broken down into phases. each player will complete the current phase before play moves on.
- Initiative is when the first player is determined. Instead of a competitive roll, a single die is rolled. If a 5+ is rolled, the defender is the first player. Otherwise, the attacker is the first player.
- Movement is when all of the units of the game are moved. The first player completes his moves followed by the second player.
- Shooting is when missile combat is performed. This is not in initiative order but rather, each turn, the person holding the initiative token decides which missile combat is done first.
- Melee is when all melee combats are resolved. Again, the person holding the initiative token decides which order the melee combats are resolved.
- Morale is when broken units (those that have taken 50% or more casualties) are removed from play. Players also will determine if an army has broken or not.
At the end of the turn, the initiative token is passed to the other player. This will allow him to determine which combats will be resolved first in the coming turn.
In Antiquity, units may move up to their movement allowance. They may turn freely measuring from the center front of the unit. If they make a turn greater than 90 degrees, the unit takes a penalty of -1″. Terrain can slow or block unit movement and retreats. As mentioned already, units must be in a valid formation. A player may not voluntarily leave a unit in an illegal formation. If a unit is disrupted because some of its stands were pushed back during melee, that unit must spend movement to bring those stands back into formation. This is a simple and clever way to enforce the effects of disorder.
Whether it is missile or melee, combat is resolved in the same fashion. Each unit has a defense number. This number can be modified up or down depending on the situation. This is the number that the attacker must obtain with each die to hit that unit. Each successful hit drives the target stand back 1 base depth. If the stand takes a number of hits equal to or greater than the Hit stat, that stand is eliminated. If the stand is not destroyed, the hits are forgiven at the end of the phase. extra hits can be caused if that stand is in contact with an enemy stand to the flank or rear per normal hit inflicted.
Melee is slightly different as both sides compare hits. The difference is the amount of hits inflicted on the loser. The winner can also pursue. For each successful pursuit, one extra hit is inflicted. For instance, if the loser has to retreat twice, the winner can opt to pursue up to two times. He rolls a die per pursuit. each 4+ counts as a success.
Flank attacks make it easier to hit the target unit and increase the number of hits on that unit. There are also rules for supporting ranks and overlapping unit.
Morale is a simple phase. First determine which units rout. These are the ones that have taken 50% or more casualties.
There are all sorts of special abilities to make each type of unit fight differently. Pila makes the enemy unit defend at a penalty if the attacker moves into contact. Pikes (Sarissa) allows up to two extra ranks of troops to support in a combat while the spear allows one rank. Things like that. The special rules do add some character to each unit type.
These rules do not only deal with Heroes but also some special units such as elephants, chariots and extra cavalry abilities. As well, there is rules for weather. All are pretty simple and are what you think they are!
The Heroes themselves are regular unit stands with a Hero attached. They fight as the normal stand but also have another stat called Renown. Renown is used to psyche out other units in regular combat. It can be used to boost yoru own fight ability or to lower the enemy defense. It also can be used in duels.
Duels are the heroic aspect of the game. At any time, you can call out an enemy hero if he is within 1 move of your heroic stand. The duel is fought in three phases. First is the shooting which bother Heroes cast javelins or shoot bows at each other. Then comes the clash which both heroes slash at each other. Finally, if neither hero has been killed, there is the grapple. One side or the other will win on a competitive die roll. This roll can be modified based on the number of wounds taken in the first two segments of the duel. Duels are not mandatory. If one player decides not to duel, his renown goes down by one.
There are 9 scenarios to play with the rules. These are very basic but should provide a quick and enjoyable game within the context of the game. As well, there are special abilities that can be applied to each hero.
I can’t help but conjure up images of Immortal or 300 hen reading through the rules for Heroes (not really a bad thing). the basic combat rules seem straight forward enough and look very solid. The game clearly is a beer and pretzels type of game with a veneer of Ancient combat on top. Sort of WAB meets DBA in a more rigid environment.
There are some problems with typos and grammatical errors but at no point was I unable to determine what the author was trying to say. The author would do well to have the rules proofed by a third party and re-release the game in a more pristine format. But what the heck. $5 for a PDF? Worth the price if you like them simple. There is a lot to love here even if it is a bit of a guilty pleasure.
You can pick up your copy of Antiquity here as a PDF or here as a book, both from LuLu.com.