Nitty Gritty Details – Simple Ancients Rules

By request, here are my thoughts on some of the unique unit/weapon types in the ancient world.  I will provide a rational and how they would apply to the simple ancients game I wrote about in a previous post.

Hoplites generally are well armored close order infantry.  There strength is the well ordered wall of spears and shields they will present to the enemy.  If armed with long spears, the will get the first attack on an enemy formation with shorter weapons.  This rule is ignored after they’ve lost there first stand.  FV 6

Pike Phalangites are well armored against missile and melee attack.  Like Hoplites, they gain the first attack on any formation with shorter weapons.  These troops have the longest reach in the game.  However, they use a shield for missile defense.  There melee defense mainly comes from the extreme reach of their pike.  When the first stand is lost, the Pike Phalanx FV immediatly drops by 1 as holes open up in the ranks.  Against missile fire the fight value is not modified.  FV6 (or 5 in melee after the first stand is lost.)

Both formations above may make 1 turn in any direction at the cost of the entire movement for that turn.

Legionaires carry a pilum and a short sword.  For game purposes the pilum is thrown immediately before melee contact.  2 dice are rolled with all targets having a FV of 5 vs pila.  Each hit negates 1 enemy stand in the upcoming melee.  The pilum is assumed to be expended when the Legionnaire formation loses its first stand.  As an option, you can keep track of ammunition of each unit.  In this case, each Legionnaire unit gets 2 shots.

All units above melee in difficult terrain with just 1 die.

Auxilia (Thureophoroi, Peltasts and such) can throw javelins just like skirmishers.  They are assumed to be out of ammunition after the first stand is lost.  If you wish to track ammunition, each Auxilia gets 4 shots per game.  They are unaffected by terrain. FV5

Warbands are unaffected by difficult terrain.  They gain a charge bonus of +1 to the attack die roll if they charge an enemy close order infantry unit.  The +1 remains in effect if they win the melee round.  FV5

Light Infantry are unaffected in difficult terrain.  They always get 1 melee die, even against other skirmishers.  They may move and make 1 free turn.  Other turns cost a half move.  Javelins 8″ Bows 16″  FV4

Light Cavalry are like light infantry but faster.  They may split move and fire.  That is, they may move a portion of their move, shoot and then finish there move.  FV4

Light troops may evade in lieu of shooting that turn.  An evade move is a half move + 1D6.  This is the ancient world.  These are not highly drilled troops so no shooting and scooting!

Heavy cavalry are close order armored troopers with a strong melee capability.  They get a +1 charge bonus when they charge.  FV5

Catafracts are the heavier and slower cousin of the heavy cavalry.  +1 to charge -2″ move FV6

All heavy cavalry spend 1/2 move to turn.

Elephants hit all troops on a 5 or more.  They are represented by just 1 stand.  When an elephant is hit the elephant rampages.  Roll a die.  1,2 move away from the enemy back and 45 degrees to the left.  3,4 move straight back from the enemy. 5,6 move to the right and back 45 degrees from the enemy.  If any troops (friendly or enemy) lie in the path, they immediately get attacked by the stampede.  The FV of all troops being hit by the stampede attack is FV4.  Elephants spend a half move to turn.  8″ move.

Scythed Chariots move at 10″ and cause damage to all formed troops as if the target had a FV4.  After 1 round of melee, the chariot wrecks and is removed from the game.  The chariot is represented by 1 stand and is removed after one hit including missile hits.  FV5.

A final note: Normal 4 stand units are lost after the third stand is destroyed.  Rarely did a unit fight to the last man.

I think that covers most of the situations for the classical period.  If I left anything out, please feel free to let me know.  Any situation not covered can probably be handled with a little common sense.

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2 Responses to Nitty Gritty Details – Simple Ancients Rules

  1. John,

    You are getting dangerously close to treating Pikes and Hoplites very much the same. I like it.

    The specific unit details all seem reasonable. Al that is left is you need to try them out 🙂

  2. Running Man says:

    Macedonian Phalanx WAS their answer to the hoplite – it was the only way for Philip II to migrate his army form Auxilia, to a force able to go toe to to with the hoplite. Hoplites required highly developed urbanised structures with expensive trade routes to develop. They were very expensive to equip and maintain, being closer to a cross between a Master-at-Arms and a Samurai, but still capable of very disciplined maneuvers, due to a life to constant training. Macedonia was a poorer state, so they needed simpler solutions to compete.

    What made the Macedonians win was their vastly superior cavalry. Try two games against an Athenian army. One has Macedonians with LI/Aux and Shock HC, and the other has Hoplites and Shock HC. Then you’ll see there should simply be no difference between the phalangites at the level we are simulating. Both can be easily modelled as HI.

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