October 23, 2014
This is my refight of Magnesia. It is the first battle where I used a DBA army list. I thought it would make the game run longer. It seems the game ended in 4 or possibly 5 game turns. I think it was actually 5 but I was interrupted in the middle of the fight and lost count. The whole battle took about 1 hour.
The lines are arrayed. Romans are in black a Seleucids are in red.
The battle opened with a general advance from the Seleucids. The catafracts advanced quickly while the rest of the line stayed together at the pace of the pike phalanx. The skirmishers managed 1 hit on a Roman velite. Rome responded with an ineffective missile barrage of their own. They refrained from contacting the catafracts but did attack the two thureophoroi and drove them steadily. Turn 2 saw both sides rolling a 1 for initiative and the Seleucids took the first move. The Galatian warband charged home on the Legionare but took a hit from the Pila. The melee was indecisive. Three of the phalanx and the elephant also charged home in the center to no real effect either. On the right, one of the Seeucid thureophori broke and ran after the melee and would be caught on turn three by the Pergememnid Thureophoi and dispatched. The cavalry battle swirled back and forth on both flanks. Also on turn 2, the elephants drive back the velites they were fighting, crashed into a Roman legionare who could not throw their pila as it was after melee. Turn 3 saw the elephants get hit and go berserk. The moved off to the right where there was a huge lane for them to run down and off the board. The Galatians lost the melee and fled. They would be caught on turn 4 from behind and dispatched. The remaining Seleucid thureophoroi was also surrounded and destroyed. This left the catafracts on the right.
The situation after turn 3. The phalanx is getting cut to pieces in the center.
On turn 4 the velites in the center would get a lucky hit and destroy the phalanx engaging it. The Roman infantry would make short work of its opponents including the flanked phalanx also in the center. The catafracts on the right would hold on to the end but on the left, they would succumb to a flank charge by the velites.
The end. Note that the Roman cavalry on the left fell just short. This is the end of turn 5 I think. The light infantry and catafracts just hold on. Amazingly, one of the phalanx suffered no casualties.
The battle went similar to the actual account. The Pergamemnid troops managed to push back the Seleucid left (the right side of the board) and the other flank remained in check until the end. The phalanx performed well until the supporting units started to fall apart. I am certain I screwed up the time line but this is roughly how the battle went. 😀
Cavalry on cavalry match-ups seem slow. I think it would be worth adding a die to each side to speed things along. That would give fully armored cavalry 3 dice to 2 dice for the half armored cavalry. As it was, they were rolling 2 dice to 1 die after the initial contact. The combat skills were all average but I suppose giving some units superior would also compensate instead.
Finally, elephants felt a little under powered. My solution is to make them attack at 3D against infantry and 4D against cavalry. For defense, they always count as having more armor than their opponents.
October 22, 2014
After taking in some feedback and changing a few things I was not happy with after a few plays, I have put the new edition online. You can find it here or in th Old School game page above.
- Added combat skill Superior, Average and Inferior
- Changed the way armor works
- Tightened up movement
- Tweaked some of the melee modifiers
- Fixed some of the typos. I’m sure there is more!
October 21, 2014
It has been pointed out to me by Austin that Warbands are completely under-powered. I agree! There are a couple of tweaks that need to be added to address this and a few other short comings.
Warbands add +2 when they charge. If they win a melee, the next melee gives them +1.
Speaking of charging, in one of my games, I found that a unit might slide out of contact with a retreating enemy. This got me to thinking that moving to contact and the maneuver rules in general need a slight tweak.
Units move straight ahead. As a maneuver, they may turn or move up to 45 degrees to the left or right without changing facing. depending on the unit this may or may not cost a half move. They may pivot around the center of the unit for a cost of half a move. They may then finish the rest of their move straight ahead after a turn. They may move in any other direction for the cost of half a move.
The latter may seem redundant but some units can oblique for free. The point here is that a unit can make only one maneuver per turn.
Moving to contact can involve a maneuver but it must be a forward move and must adhere to the rules outlined above.
Another idea Austin suggested was to give units a combat grade as well. Superior, average and inferior in descending order. If your combat grade is higher than your opponents, you get to roll an extra die. This changes the way armor works simply because my original idea rolled both into the same stat. If you are fighting an opponent who’s armor is better than yours, roll 1 less die. Note that units that have a charge bonus ignore armor differences on any turn they charge. Elephants always ignore armor.
Finally, when a unit is hit from behind, attackers get +2 dice instead of +1 die and they still get a first strike if they charged in.
This should go along way to answer some “power” issues with some units.
October 16, 2014
I’ve decided to post my first draft of the rules. A total of 3 1/2 pages plus a half page of design notes. If you give them a go, let me know how they work.
You can find them here.
October 16, 2014
An interesting tidbit is how many rules sets make a unit degrade. Typically you roll to hit…usually a 4+. Then you roll a save…typically a 5+. That yields a 1/3 chance of hitting. Or, the expected value of 3 hits is 1. Now, many games don’t want to remove a stand straight away. So they make each stand take 2 hits. So now we remove a stand every 6 turns instead. Of course this is pretty broad brush but you get the idea. So, just roll a single roll and be done with it! Ultimately, for me anyway, it’s all statistics. No matter how involved you make the process, it can all be boiled down to a percent chance of succeeding at a task.
A friend of mine has a pet peeve. Some games we play seem to go too far with the rolling of the dice only to arrive at the conclusion that there is no effect. I’ve seen role play game masters do this over and over again. A complete waste of time. Wargame designers are often guilty of this as well. This brings me to the working title and subtitle of the game.
“Throw me a ‘6’!
(What part of ‘I hit’ didn’t you understand?)”
October 15, 2014
A pitched battled between Macedonia and Rome. This took place on flat terrain. The initial disposition is below.
An even fight. Two cavalry, 2 light infantry and 4 heavy infantry per side. Pila vs Pike.
Rome draws first blood hitting the archer with missile shots. Skirmishers roll 2 dice against no armor. They scored one 6 eliminating a base. No retreat required from missile shooting.
On turn 3 the Roman velites get lucky and eliminate the Greek archers by killing two more bases.
Lines clash. The Macedonia cavalry defeat their Roman counterparts while the Macedonian companions make steady progress on the left. In the center the pilum has some initial effects scoring a single 6 with the shot on the first two phalangite units. However on the right the phalangite nearly speaps away their Roman opponent with a first strike of their own. Things are not looking good for Rome.
Unit typically roll 2 dice in combat. These dice can go up based on the difference in armor, a full second rank of pike, Roman soldiers fighting a second or subsequent round and so forth. Typically Rome was rolling 3 dice per unit and sometimes Macedon was after the initial contact. The simple retreat rules in place of traditional morale works pretty well.
The left phalanx collapses while the right Legionare follows suit. Units are required to follow up a half move when an enemy retreats or is routed. Occasionally this will result in the pursuer to hit the rear of the fleeing enemy if the retreat roll is 4 or more. The unit would retreat that many inches facing away from the enemy.
The battle ebbed back and forth for a full 14 turns. Both sides were whittled down to a half strength as Rome took apart 3 phalangite units. The last one surprisingly stayed intact for most of the battle until it was surrounded by Roman units and was destroyed. That ended the game.
October 14, 2014
Encouraged by feedback from TMP, I thought I’d post my initial thoughts on elephants. First, elephants are a single stand unit. They can take 1 hit. Units that melee or shoot at elephants roll just 1 die. Flank bonuses still apply. If hit, roll a die. On a 1 or 2, the elephant dies. On a 3+ it rampages in a random direction, if it hits something it melees at +1D. If there is no chance of it hitting anything the elephant runs off the board and to safety. So it is possible a rampaging elephant can ping-pong around the board. hitting friend and foe alike.
Elephant melee capabilities. Roll 2D against infantry and 3D against cavalry.