Sunday, December 29, 2013

WW2 20mm West Front Goodwood mini-Campaign Game 1

Introduction
I have 1/2 a table tennis setup and have played two 20mm games already.  I have also tweaked the battalion level rules I wrote for the second game.  I had simplified my own rules for a game with a 9 year old and they were so much fun, easier on the brain and I could focus even more on tactics rather than the rules.  So I spend a little time adding extra mechanisms rather than extending the rules and looked around for a few games to test them with, preferably a few linked games.  After looking around a few scenario books I have, I remembered that Kampfgruppe Normandy (out of print and supeceded by Battlegroup Overlord) had a mini-campaign in it.  So I dug it out and sure enough, there is a 7 game mini-campaign set over 2 days at the opening of Operation Goodwood.  7 games and I have 7 days left in the holidays but not that much time really.  A few of the early games look like they will go quite quick.

Not many pictures - it was a quick game and quite static.

Scenario 1 - Screening Cagny
2nd Squadron Grenadier Guards Vs a battery of Luftwaffe 88s on the edge of Cagny.  Germans are defending while the Guard tanks advance over what is mostly open ground. If any Germans survive the game after 6 turns,  they get to be reused later in the campaign.

The table setup
Troops
Germans
4 88mm guns
1 Grenadier squad
1 MMG

Who has four 88s? I have 2, and that is one more than I have ever used in the same game!

British
2 Squadrons
    2 Shermans
    1 Firefly
1 Humber armoured car with FAO
2 unallocated artillery support (this equates to the 2 low priority requests in the scenario)  

The Humber was supposed to be a Humber scout car but I do not have any.

I did up a quick diagram for the mini-campaign; arrows indicate where surviving forces may end up later
Scenario changes
My rules use card based activation with a joker ending the turn, 6 turns equates to about 8 turns in this scenario.  It is not double as their are extra cards added to reflect command and control etc, there are only a small number of units in this games  and so there is a good chance most units will activate each turn.

I also split the four 88s into two units so they require activation on different cards.  This reduces the chance of a turn ending with no card to use for the 88s at all. 

Deployment
88s right back in a line at the Chateau and the hedges

The 88s in a row.  Crew count as in hard cover due to the gun shields.
Squad and MMG in the woods and orchard.

The squad in the corner of the woods; they played no part in the battle.

Shermans spread out in a line with the Fireflies slightly back.

The Shermans deploy with the Humber in the centre on the road.

Game
Well, to start off, I initially thought the British would get thrashed due to the long range and powerful penetration of the 88s.  But then I started playing.  Firstly, there is a hedge between the 88s and the Shermans, so the 88s would have to roll a 4+ to see the moving Shermans (they all rolled this straight off).  And then to hit the Shermans in the first turn requires a 6 (4+, -1 for the intervening hedge, -1 for > 1/2 range (30") is half range).  So maybe no so bad.  It did get worse for the British as they got closer.

Shermans advance and the 88s fire for no result.  The Shermans spot some of the 88s and fire some HE. Need a 3+ to land some shells.  All rolled a 1 or a 2.  The 88s respond - need a 4 or more.  Three are hit and two Shermans are brewed and one pinned.

Halfway through the game and 5 (of 6) Shermans are gone for one one 88 destroyed.

Next few turns see another Sherman gone but one 88 is finally hit and the crew is destroyed over two turns (Direct HE is 3+ to hit, then roll 2d6 and a 6 is a casualty; MMGs (4 dice) cannot do any damage at this range - need to get to within 18" to have a chance).

Two more Shermans gone (the pinned one is brewed up) but in the last turn (turn 8), the Humber manages to call in some artillery (required a 6) and the 105mm shells mange to destroy the crew of another 88.

The Humber Forward Artillery Observer. On the last turn they managed to actually call the artillery down on an 88 and destroy it.  I got this model (already painted) quite a few years ago and this is (finally) the first time it is on the table.
Also in the last turn, the last remaining Sherman caused 1 crew casualty to another 88.  The resulting morale test sees the remaining crew to rout (only a roll of a 1 would do this and they rolled it).  The Sherman units passed all the morale checks they needed to to stay in the game.

So, at the end of the game, one 88 is left to appear in a later scenario (number 4), and 1 Sherman and the Humber survives.  The German squad and MMG were not called on to do anything.  The 88s took care of any tanks in range.

Verdict
A very quick scenario.  The 88s did male short work of the Shermans with a few lucky dice rolls but even average rolling would have seen a lot of the Shermans go anyway.  I should have kept the Shermans back in the long range of the 88s (for a 6 to hit) while thee 75mm direct HE would have had the same chance to hit as they did being where they were a lot closer.  I like my rules, they worked exactly how I wanted them to with spotting, HE and chance to hit working well for battalion level rules.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

WW2 20mm 1944 West Front with 9 year old

Introduction
So, I had played a 20mm solo game recently (see this blog post) and had the table still set up when a few friends and their children came over.  The adults are gamers and they were from the recent cruise and gaming I did.  The guy that I play Armati occasionally has a nine year old son, L--- who, when he saw the table set up, said "Cool.  Can I play?".
Me: "Sure, why not, school holidays are coming up soon".
Him: "Great.  Tanks.  I like tanks."

And I had just, after many many years of wanting, bought some railway grass mats to use on large table that I wanted to use so that was another plus.

So it was arranged and this blog post is the result.  His Dad had to work so I am not sure if my friend was jealous or not - he has wanted to play a WW2 game for about 10 years, so possibly :-)

Leading up to the game
Rules
So I was only told the day of the game two days in advance.  Firstly, what rules?  I scoured my rules collection and found a few mechanisms I thought would work, but no rules as a whole that I was comfortable using to introduce a 9 year old to gaming for the first time.  Some of the rules I considered, and would be good maybe after a few other intro games, were Pz8 WW2 rules, Irregular Miniatures Mechanised Warfare Rules, Tigers and Stalins, Battlegroup Series, Armies in Crisis, Take Cover!!/Rapid Fire, Fields of Honor: WW2, Look Sarge, No Charts! WW2, Flames of War,   Combat:WW2.  I was looking for something with some command and control, easy infantry rules (e.g. 1 die per rifleman, 4 dice for an MMG, hit on a 4+) and something that differentiates armour values a bit as he did want tanks.

So, what did I end up with...ff you want to see the rules I played with they fit on two pages (and I wrote a 1 page QRS).  Go to this Google docs link to read them.

Otherwise here is a summary:

Command and control:
Card activation similar to TSATF - red and black cards for each side, draw your colour and you get to activate a unit of choice.  Units can activate once per turn and move, fire, move/fire, rally.  There is a joker that end the turn and reshuffle.  This worked well, but it was a stretch for L--- to remember what units had activated or not. I was going to put the cards behind the units as they were activated as a reminder, but forgot on the day.

To hit:
Simple to hit rules rules: 1d6 per soldier/tank: 4+ to hit, -1 > 1/2 range, -1 target in soft cover, -2 in hard cover, -1 if firer moved. Rifles fire out to 18", MMGs 36".  Infantry that are hit are destroyed; tanks that are hit use a simple gun value minus armour value for destruction or pinned. MMGs roll 4 dice.  This worked well too.  The one thing was when he hit a tank, he wanted to roll multiple dice to destroy.  I was tempted to use something like the IABSM armour penetration (rolling d6s equal to armour and penetration values, count all the 5s and 6s and compare).  I have used something before years ago, I may drag change it to this type of armour rules next time.

Morale:
If an infantry unit takes a  casualty, roll for morale.  This is very similar to the Battlegroup morale  table; basically a 4+ to pass, otherwise pinned, retreat or rout depending on circumstances.  This worked VERY well, better than I thought it would.

Spotting:
Although I had rules for spotting, I did not use them except in woods.

Period
Late 1944. He wanted tanks so let's have some Panthers. I did Western Front as the terrain will be less open and there is fun in finding the fire lanes as you play.

Troops
German (L--- the 9 year old)
3 Panthers
3 Panzer IVJ
1 HQ
    1 truck
    1 staff car
    5 rifles
3 infantry units each:
    10 rifles
    1 Panzerschreck
    1 halftrack
1 Mortar Support
    1 81mm mortar + truck
1 MMG support
    2 MMG + 1 half track

British (me)
2 tank squadrons:
    2 Sherman
    1 Sherman Firefly
1 HQ
    2 rifles
    1 50mm mortar
    1 PIAT
3 infantry units each:
    10 rifles
1 Carrier Support
    4 Carriers
    1 LMG
    1  50mm mortar
    1 PIAT

You may note that I have underpowered the British a little bit - no halftracks and not really equality in tanks.  But I thought that would be a fair balance as I have played lots of WW2 and L--- none. As you will see, I should not have bothered; L--- proved that golden rule that children get all the luck


Table setup
River down the centre, bridge and ford but can cross by spending one turn. a village, a few outlying buildings with generous wheat fields (can see all the way into a wheatfield but not through unless vehicle to vehicle), hedges and walls.
 
Table overview (1/2 a table tennis table), Germans enter from left, British from right.
Germans come in on the village side, Brits on the other.

Overview of how the units entered and moved during the game
The primary objective is to hold the bridge, secondary objective is the crossroads next to the ford.


The objectives from the view of the whole table.
And a view of the objectives (left and right in the centre) from the British side.
At this point I should mention that my 5 year old like to get into terrain setup and pushing stuff around using "his rules" (His rules are roll the die and regardless what it say move something somewhere - take alternative turns doing this.  That's it.  He will tell you who wins any combat!).  When I left the table half-setup he got busy putting on hills, dragons teeth, more buildings, troops etc.  It would have taken him 40mins-60mins to do.  Very scenic:

How a five year old builds up terrain.  The hill in the river may be a bit much

I especially like the fact that he surrounded the church with undergrowth:

The church is a little surrounded by bushes. And hills. And dragons teeth. And walls on hill.  And rocks.

I am not wedded to the terrain or troops - I do not mind him doing this when I am around, and when it is out.  He knows not to touch anything while I am at work!

The Game
So I decide to focus on the crossroads and the ford, and then work over to the village/bridge.
L--- focuses on the village/bridge but brings on all 3 Panthers to cover the crossroads.

The Panthers arrive.  They stayed here for half the game, L--- was nervous I may get a shot in with a Firefly.  At least they were pinned for quite a while.
On the first turn he goes "can I shoot with my Panther at your Firefly?"  It does have line of sight.

The LOS for the first shot of the game.
"Sure, but you will need a 6 - you moved and it is over 1/2 range."  Rolls a 6.  "OK, now roll to see if you destroy it - a 6 will do it".  Rolls a 6.  One firefly gone with the first two rolls of the game.

And the result.  A "6" to hit followed by a "6" for penetration.  Only children can do this.
However, the Panthers did not move further as the other Firefly had a clear shot if they moved up the road.  In fact L--- played quite defensively for the first half of the game and did not move anything to where I might get a shot at him.

These troops were the subject to indecision and were loaded and unloaded into the halftrack and went from the wood on one side of the road to the other

The movement of the unit during the game.  It did not help them, this was one of the few units I managed to destroy.

I slowly and steadily moved up the table.  I did race the Carriers up to take some houses but the mortar and Tank MMGs should them whittled down and eventually rout.

I did move the tanks into line of sight of the Panzer IVs but their return fire always saw a Sherman brew up.   No second chances here!

The Panzer IVs and some infantry in the village before the bridge.


Eventually he moved the infantry and Panzer IVs from the village to circle and take the bridge.

They move out of the village and sweep around the flank of the village to help control the bridge.  A good tactic.

I finally managed to destroy a Panzer IV and cause one infantry unit to get to 50% and retreat.  But I could not dislodge his forces from around the bridge and my infantry unit their was pushed away and then routed.


A Panzer IV braved the bridge.  The Brits (me) fired a few times at it but never managed to hit it.  L--- managed to KO the tanks that fired on the Panzer IV while the Panzer IV was busy machine gunning some of my troops near the bridge.

Proof that the Germans made it to the other side of the bridge.  That is a brewed up Sherman in the foreground.

On the cross roads side, L--- did move two Panthers around the back to support the village.  I got in a flank shot for no effect :-(.  The remaining Panther stayed behind.

L--- did mention that he should get an extra -1 to the die to hit the Panthers as their camo (compared to the British tanks) would make them harder to hit.

  I tried to attack it with infantry assaults but no luck.  It then mowed them down with MMGs.

I close assault the Panther at the edge of the woods.  With no luck, and the Panther then used the MMG to good effect.  He also wanted to run me down.

But.. on the wooded flank  I had some success, close combat with an opposing infantry unit saw me very victorious...until the Panther came over and wiped me out with MMGs.

I close assault a unit in the woods.  My only run of 6s in the game and I win the combat.

I only had two functioning units on the table, and they were badly depleted.  I rolled a higher morale and got a 1.  It was time to pullback and so L-- is the winner!

End of game.  German remaining unit circled in grey, Brits in Blue.  Destroyed British tanks in red.

Verdict
The rules worked really well.  And L--- really had a great time.  Although most of the time I was telling him what to roll, near the end he was getting some of the modifiers correct.  He had a fairly good grasp of tactics too.  I did not pull my tactics as I was starting with a some minor disadvantages (less powerful troops and further to go to the bridge). He wants to play again which is a good sign.  He asked about getting his own tanks but when I said you will have to paint them or pay more to buy them painted, his response was an incredulous "You had to paint all of them?" (Actually, I did paint the British about 30 years ago as a teenager, and the Panthers.  The rest of the Germans I acquired painted). And he wants to help set up the terrain next time too - I enjoy doing that too!  He did see my ancient figures and wants to have a go with them as well. It is slightly weird introducing a child to the hobby as I have not done so before.  It may have been weird but it was most satisfying.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

WW2 20mm East Front 1942 game using Take Cover!!

Introduction
So I am itching to use my 20mm WW2 collection and I have also acquired some rivers and road terrain features that I want to put on the table.  I thought about using Platoon Forward to generate a scenario, then considered using a scenario from a collection I have built up.  Finally I remembered I got Charles Grant's Scenarios for Wargamers earlier this year.  Looking through it, the first scenario with a river is number 4 Holding Action (2).  I will go with that.
 
I have not got enough of the Eastern Front yet and will choose late 1942 and infantry divisions.  Russians can be the defender.
 
Troops
Most of the scenarios give forces in terms of "Horse and Musket" infantry, cavalry and guns. At least one scenario also gives equivalents in 20th century terms.  Therefore the Blue (Russian defender) should have about a company plus support and the German's 2 companies.  I will increase the forces just to make it a bit more interesting.
 
Russians

Not much - two reduced companies, 2 AT guns, 2 T70s and 2 Mortars
 Battalion HQ
    2 Rifle bases
Company 1 (reduced)
    6 Rifle bases
    1 MMG (attached)
Company 2 (reduced)
    6 Rifle bases
    1 MMG (attached)
Support company
    2 82mm Mortars (one battery)
    2 45mm AT guns
ATR Platoon
    3 ATR bases
Armoured support
    2 T-70
 
I will count the Russians as Regular.
 
Germans

2 full companies with a support company and Marders
Battalion HQ
    3 Rifle bases
Company 1
    10 Rifle bases
    1 MMG + truck (attached)
Company 2
    10 Rifle bases
    1 MMG + truck (attached)
Support Company
    1 MMG + 1 trucks
    3 81mm mortars + 3 trucks
    1 50mm AT gun + truck
Armoured support
    3 Marder III
Recon
    2 Motorcycles
Artillery
    1 105mm battery of 4 guns for pre-bombardment
 
Germans will be Veterans.
 
Rules
I am going to use my streamlined Take Cover!! rules (similar in scope and play to Rapid Fire).  Here is the page with the rules (second set; the 20mm Take Cover based rules).   I have been working on these on and off for the last 5 years.   I wrote a 2 pager version in early 2013 that was very terse so have expanded it to 4 pages that is much more understandable and includes aircraft and engineering rules.  There is also a 5th page of vehicle stats.  This will be the first outing of the 4-page version.
 
Deployment
This is the table setup based on the scenario.  Russians are setup between the rivers guarding the crossings.  Germans need to cross the river.
 
The setup based on the scenario map and initial deployment zones.  Hidden ford in the top right
Objectives
There is a ford unknown to both sides ("FORD" in the picture).  The Germans recon (motorcycles) discover the ford early on and then the Germans may use it. The scenario recommends the third turn when the German commander is told.  The Russians will only known of the ford's existence when the Germans start using it.  Sounds interesting.

Game
Russian deployment, all unspotted and assumed to be in softcover.  They are defending the two first river crossing, with the tanks in the village as a mobile reserve.

A fairly standard defensive position

The interesting first bit was setting orders for the Germans assuming they had to go via the village.  German 1st infantry company will go up the left hand road, 2nd company up the right, support company deploy in the centre and Marders are an offboard reserve.

Germans enter - Company 1 on the left, Company 2 of the right and Mortars in the centre.

The Germans advance and at the end of turn 3 the motorcycles report the hidden ford.  This actually caught me by surprise and I had to think long and hard on actually what new orders I had to give.  I definitely had not considered the chance of the ford when I gave my initial orders.  Solo playing is interesting that way - I always thought I was OK at focusing on playing one side without consideration of the other side or future hidden information, and this proves it to an extent. Forming the new orders was an interesting exercise. Another big tick for playing scenarios. There are 51 more in this book, and another 52 in another Grant/Asquith book.  I am set for life!

The orders saw the Germans start to move both companies across the fields towards the ford, deploying the MMGs from the trucks to provide any covering fire required. 

Company 1 from the Russian viewpoint.  This company was eventually routed after losing 60% casualties over the game.

Russian MMGs open up on each company and cause some casualties.  The Germans fail to spot them (between 8"-36" a concealed firing MMG requires a 5+ to be spotted).  Russian AT gun in the villages opens fire on the Truck with the MMG that is getting a bit to close but misses.

A shot up the road into the village with the only thing spotted by the Germans being the AT gun.
The Germans successfully spot it but next tun the AT gun toasts the truck and the MMG bails out minus half the crew.

Truck from Company 1 is destroyed.
 The mortars try and speculatively fire at one of the MMGs in the woods but the shells go wide.

The turn sequence is from many other games and is based on the initiative winner choosing the move order.  It gives a good thought on what to do.  Due to the difference in command ability, the Germans can usually choose either for the Russian to move followed by Germans fire, then German move and lastly Russian firing; or vice versa.  In this case, the Germans want to fire as morale is checked before moving and they may not pass morale.  The German 1st company suppress the AT gun in the village but other fire sees the Germans pinned after receiving 2 more casualties.  The German 2nd company manages to destroy the pesky Russian MMG in the woods.

The remains of Company 2 advancing across the road.  They make it to the ford eventually.
The Marder IIIs come on now the AT gun is suppressed (and the AT gun is later taken out by other infantry).  The other AT gun suffers the same fate.  The second (and last) Russian MMG follows the turn after.  The Russian AT guns and MMGs are gone, the only infantry support weapons left are the mortars that keep failing the registration roll - occasionally they managed to score some casualties in the entire game.  Same for the Germans.  Poor rolling all round for indirect fire!

Russian losses.


It is interesting to be in the mindset of the Russians - what the hell are the Germans doing?.  At first it looked like they were going to focus on the centre road, but now I am not so sure.

The Germans advancing across the table towards the ford at the top right.


Germans make it to the ford and start crossing.  The mortars are mounted back into the trucks to get them going too.
 
The mortars are loaded into the trucks and advance towards the ford (top right).
Russians open up on the forces they can see; although there orders do not change for a while so they do not move (5+ is required for the Russians to change orders).  One Marder III is blown up and another few casualties on the first company that causes it to be pinned and then rout - casualties are now 60% of the original company.


Destroyed Marder III


The game is called when all Germans have crossed the ford.

Germans crossing the ford.  They actually did this over several turns but I could not be bothered moving off the first units that crossed, so it looks like a traffic jam only due to my laziness.

The Russians losses were minor.

Only losses were the AT guns and the MMGs.  The only other units that fired were a AT rifle and some infantry in the last turn or two but they were not spotted.

The Germans lost one company, a Marder and a few odds and ends.

The German losses - about 40% of their starting force.

I will declare a minor victory for the Germans - they managed to cross the ford with about 60% of their starting forces, so it is a costly victory.

The game did not quite go as expected.  Once the Germans had crossed the ford, it was only a few turns and most of the rest of their forces made it across.  This did not give the Russians much time to react.  I was expecting a bit of a contest at this stage.  The game was also a longer one than I thought as the Germans start to attack the village crossing on one side of the board, and then have to move across the board and also to the other table edge as well!  That is a lot of movement. Still fun.

Verdict
The new rules worked well and I did not have to make any changes to the rules, always a good sign.  I have made changes to speed up the original Take Cover!! rules and when some things seemed a little strange (probabilities to hit) I went back and did some calculations with the original rules to find the result was similar. So a big tick there.

I really liked playing the scenario form the book.  I will be trying more of them.  And will try and resist buying the Grant/Asquith Scenario book. 

I  will try and get in a few more 20mm games on the 1/2 a table tennis table over the Christmas break.  Of course, due to other commitments, I may get none in.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Heraclea replay with Axe and Arrow and overview of the rules

Introduction
I am replaying Heraclea with different ancient rulesets on a 2'x2' table looking for a fast play set (under one hour).   This is game 17. Axe and Arrow.  Never heard of it until it showed up on eBay in early 2013.  Being an avid rules collector but also a cheapskate, I bid low and got it.  It looked interesting as the combat system has an unusual mechanism of forcing casualties to be taking form the left flank/right falnk or centre of a unit.  Bases behind a destroyed unit assist to shore up gaps.  See the overview below for more details.  It did seem it was geared for a larger table but I have used rules before that were unit based and for larger tables.  Infantry units are set at 8 bases and cavalry at 4 base, so I should be able to fudge it to get some decent units on the table.
 
This replay is a bit detailed to show how the rule mechanisms work, and if these are rules you may like.

Rules Overview
Axe and Arrow by Brian Harris and published in 1977 by Little soldier games.  24 A5 pages with green thicker cover pages. 1 A3 reference chart that has all the missile, melee and morale tables on it (that are not in the rulebook).  Designed for 15mm figures on a table at least 4'x5', uses centimetres and a d10.

Summary
Bases are formed up into units.  There are no command and control rules, deployment, points or examples of what a historical base may be (it is up to you to figure out).  Bases are the normal troop types - light medium or heavy infantry or cavalry.  Each troop type also has a combat value, morale value and movement rate (varies from 10cm to 20cm; 30cm for cavalry charges).   Missile fire may result in a morale check, failure cause advances or retreats.  Occasionally a base will be removed.  Melee results in possibly one base being removed from each side - the results table states where form in the unit - left flank, right flank or centre.  If there is no unit directly behind in a rear rank to fill the gap, the unit routs.  Units that remain in contact perform another melee. There is a second combat phase where un-moved units may missile fire, and units in contact melee again twice.  There are no game end rules.

Units
Bases are 30mm wide and are formed into units; 8 for infantry, 4 for mounted units.  Infantry and cavalry are classed as light, medium and heavy; chariots and elephants as light or heavy. Each unit has a command base.  Each unit has a morale value between 6 and 9, depending on the unit type (light infantry and cavalry is 6, heavy cavalry and infantry is 9). Notes in the back suggest you could increase or decrease morale by one to show elite or militia values.  Each unit has a combat value from 1 to 6 e.g. heavy infantry 3, heavy cavalry 5).

Sequence of play
  • initiative
  • formation changes
  • missile fire
  • movement
  • combat
  • second combat/missile/move
  • morale test
Initiative
Roll 1d10 each; higher roll is Player A and goes first in all subsequent rounds of the turn.

Formation changes
Units that change formation cannot move. The command base does not move and the rest of the bases move into a different formation.
A valid formation is any formation so long  as all bases are touching and directly in line (to the flank or front to back).  There are a number of special formations, for example:
  • March (single file) for extra movement but penalised for missile attacks.
  • Phalanx (minimum of 3 deep and 2 wide) moves 10cm per turn but each base adds +1 to the combat value.
  • Skirmish (only light infantry, cavalry and chariots) spread out bases 1cm from each other.  May retreat from combat, worse in melee but hard to missile fire at.
  • Wedge (1 base in front, 3 bases behind, any other even further behind) - melees with all four bases.
  • Legion (3 or 4 bases wide with one other rank in the rear) - bases may move laterally to fill gaps from casualties.
Missile fire
Missile is 45 degrees to the front; chariots and elephants all round.  Units may fire over intervening units.  Long ranges are 5cm for javelins and pila, 15 for a mounted archer, 20 for a foot archer.   There is a short range which is quite a lot shorter.  The firing player rolls a 1d10 per unit and add adds some modifiers (e.g. +1 at long range, -1 per base under full strength, +3 Versus skirmishers, -3 Versus flank).  Results are:
  • Target must undertake a morale check
  • Target must make morale check and is now unshielded (this is the pila result)
  • Target must lose one base and take a morale check
The Missile Morale check table is different to the Melee Morale check table.  If you roll less than your current morale value, you are fine.  Roll equal and retreat 5cm; 1 and 2 above is uncontrolled advance while 3 or more is a rout.

Movement
Movement rates are quite generous, e.g. 15cm for Light infantry, 10cm for heavy infantry, 20cm for heavy cavalry.  Movement is reduced for rough terrain and increased for roads. Any unit that moves within 1cm of another unit must move into combat.  No move than 2 units can attack another unit and those two units must be of exactly the same troop type.

Skirmish units can interpenetrate other units.  any other unit may not voluntarily do so but if a morale results forces them to, the stationary unit is disorganised.

Cavalry and chariots have an longer charge move in a straight line only, mostly 30cm.  Units do not have to charge to get into combat (except Elephants and Chariots must do so), but a charge gives a bonus to melee.  A target unit cannot be subject to both charging units and advancing units in the one turn.  Failed charges (due to evades) see the charger disorganised. Charge melee are done immediately on contact  - it is just like one round of combat (see below) with the chargers getting +3 combat bonus.  Also, after combat resolution, the defender must make a morale check. Chargers may pursue retreating/routing units.

Movement is in straight line with up to 3cm to either side.  A unit may wheel and the wheeled movement is subtracted from the total move.

Elephants have special move and charge rules revolving around morale checks.

Combat
Each side adds up the combat values of the bases that are allowed to participate in melee (those in contact).  The attacker (or person whose turn it is) subtract the defender's total from their own (may be negative). Then the attacker rolls 1d10 and adds or subtracts a number of modifiers (e.g. +1 for shields, +1 for spears, +2 defender disorganised).  Cross reference the modified die roll against the final combat value on the combat table.  This is where it gets interesting.  The result says whether one base goes for the attacker, the defender, or one each - and from where in the unit - right flank edge, left flank or centre. The front base is removed from the relevant place in the unit and the base behind it moves up to fill the gap.  If there is no unit behind, the unit routs (2 moves to the rear and disorganised). Removed unit do not have to be in contact.  So multiple ranks are really really important.  This is the bit that got me wanting to play the game.

For large combat differences, one side will likely retreat, occasionally both. The victor may advance. If both still in contact, a second round of melee occurs exactly as per the above.  And the end of the second round it both units are in contact, a morale check is undertaken by both sides.  For the combat morale check, rolling under the morale value is fine, equal to morale value is an advance and rolling over your morale value is varying worsening retreat options. At this stage, cavalry may optional break off from combat.

The rules also cover if two units are in contact.  A maximum of two units can be in combat with one unit  and a unit of the same troop type may move to the rear of a meleeing unit to provide replacements, but will suffer the same morale effects as the meleeing unit.

A routing unit can check morale to see if it stops and is no longer considered disorganised.

Second combat
Units that have not moved and not in combat may conduct missile fire. Units that have not moved and are not in combat and do not conduct missile fire here may move up to 5cm, possibly into contact.  If they do move into contact, perform melee as above.  Units in contact at the start of the second combat round perform melee again!

A unit may therefore participate in 5 melees in one turn - charge, melee, still in contact melee, then  second combat phase and if still in contact melee, if still in contact after this melee again.

Bits you will not find
There are no rules for deployment, points or terrain setup. There are no examples of a unit type - so you only find out that spears make a difference by looking at the melee modifier table, they are not mentioned anywhere else.  There are no examples of play.

Other bits
There are also rules for war machines and elephant rampages.

End notes
The rules seem more of a framework than actual rules.  This is lucky as the author states this at the end of the book.  With no examples of any sort I had to read and re-read sections to try and determine how the rules were supposed to play.  And the fact some of the important rules were distributed into other sections. 

My changes
I made the light unit only half the unit sizes or the table would not be able to hold them all! There are no defined victory conditions so I will declare victory to the side that causes the other side to lose 50% of their units - 4 units for this game.

Troops
Romans
1 unit of 4 Leves: Light Infantry, javelin
1 unit of 8 Hastati/Principes: Heavy Infantry, pila, shield
1 unit of 8 Triarii: Heavy Infantry, spear, shield,+1 morale
1 unit of 4  Light Infantry: Medium Infantry, javelin, shield
2 units of 4 Heavy Cavalry: Medium Cavalry, spear, shield
1 unit of 2 Light Cavalry: Light cavalry, spear, shield
 
Epirot
1 unit of 8 Hypaspist: Heavy infantry, pikes, shield, +1 morale
1 unit of 8 Pikes/Hoplites: Heavy infantry, pikes, shield
1 unit of 4 Light Infantry: Medium Infantry, javelin, shield
1 unit of 2 Skirmishers: Light Infantry, javelin
1 unit of 4 Heavy Cavalry: Heavy Cavalry, spear, shield, +1 morale
1 unit of 2 Light Cavalry: Light cavalry, spear, shield
1 unit of 4 elephants: elephant
 
Deployment
Similar to other games following my standard deployment but with a lot more bases.

Deployment with a lot more stands than normal.


A word of formations that units will start the game in:
  • Light Cavalry and Light Infantry on both sides are in Skirmish order - this means they can retreat before combat.
  • The Legionaries are in Legion formation - they can move bases laterally to fill the gap.
  • Pikes and Hypaspists are in Phalanx formation - moves only 10cm; each base in melee adds +1 to the die; considered to be flanked when fired on.
Turn 1
Normally roll for initiative but, as for all other replays I will give it to the Romans on the first turn.

Formation changes
None.

Missile
None.

Movement
Romans:
No charges (charges are done first)
Leves advance 15cm and behind them come the Legionaries.  The Triarii wheel (no restriction on wheel angles but only one wheel a move).
Light Infantry and Light cavalry advance a bit.

Epirot:
No charges, although the Agema charge rate is 30cm and would get very close to the Roman Heavy Cavalry.
Agema and Elephants advance about halfway down the flank.
Skirmishers advance slightly to within 5cm of the Leves.  This puts them in short range
Pikes and Hypaspists move to directly behind the Skirmishers. I read the rules and Skirmishers can retreat with no effect through other units, so no problems with being close behind..

Combat
None.

Second Combat
Unmoved units may missile fire or move 5cm; units already in melee do another round of combat.
No moves, fires or continuing combat.


End of first turn with movements.
Turn 2
Romans have initiative (a d10 roll off).

Formation changes
None

Missile
Romans fire first and I hit the first snag.  The d10 roll is modified by +3 for firing as a skirmisher, and +3 for firing at a skirmisher.  As Javelins can only hit of a 5 or less, they will never hit with a +6 modifier. The Epirot return fire will not be much better as foot bows require a 7 so will actually hit on a 1.  I make an off-the-cuff decision to ignore these modifiers for skirmishers Vs skirmishers. It feels right and will ensure that skirmish Vs skirmish missile fire will be as deadly as non-skirmish Vs non-skirmish.

Leves fire at Epirot Skirmishers rolled a 7 +1 long range (1 to 5cm is long range for javelins) =8.  Miss.
Epirots return fire but they are at short range (bow short range is 0-5cm). Missed.

Movement

Roman charges:
One Roman Heavy Cavalry units charge into the Agema  Why?  Units get a bonus if THEY charge, while the receiver will not.   I did charge the Elephants with the other unit and started to resolve it until I saw the bit at the end of the Elephant section stating Cavalry cannot charge elephants.  It was not too late to put things right so I moved the other roman cavalry back.

The Agema (left) charged by the Roman heavy cavalry.

Roman chargers resolve combat now.

Heavy cavalry Vs Agema:
Heavy Cavalry: Each base has a combat value of 5, +3 charging +1 carrying shield = 9 per base
2 bases in contact = unit combat value of 18
Agema: Each base has a combat value of 5, +1 carrying shield = 6 per base
2 bases in contact = unit combat value of 12
Difference is +6.
Heavy cavalry roll a 4 that inflicts a C* result on the Agema translating into lose a base from the centre and the * is Agema retreats 5cm. Romans may followup and do so.  When charged, the defender must check morale regardless at the end of charging combat.  Agema pass. Their morale is normally 9 but I have made them elite, meaning the morale is 10, they will not fail morale except an equalling your morale on the melee table forces you to advance 5cm.  There will be another combat in the Combat phase.

Epirot Charges:
Elephant charges the other Roman Heavy Cavalry unit.

The other unit of Roman heavy cavalry charged by Elephants.

Elephant Vs Heavy Cavalry:
Elephant charging is handled a special way - firstly enemy takes a morale check with a +2 modifier. Roman morale is 8, rolled a 5+2=7. Low is good.   OK.  If passes, the Elephant pass through the unit and loses a base (if they had failed the morale check, cavalry would have lost 2 bases and routed).    The elephants are now out of control and randomly move each turn.

Roman moves:
Now I've read the rules more and no voluntary interpenetration - only skirmishers can retreat through other units without disorganising the other unit.  Ah well, the skirmisher battle is on!

Leves move into javelin short range of the Epirot skirmishers.
Legionaries move as fast as they can (10cm) behind them).
Triarii no longer have to help the left flank so advance.
Roman heavy cavalry (the elephants passed through) advance up the left flank also. They turn near the end of the move (units can turn anytime but only once)


Epirot moves:
None really available

Combat
Roman Heavy Cavalry Vs Agema:
Heavy Cavalry: Each base has a combat value of 5, +1 carrying shield = 6 per base
2 bases in contact = unit combat value of 12
Agema: Each base has a combat value of 5, +1 carrying shield = 6 per base
2 bases in contact = unit combat value of 12
Difference is +0
Heavy cavalry roll a 4 that inflicts a C*/C or both lose a centre base and Roman Heavy Cavalry retreat 5cm.  Agema advance.
A combat round consists of two melee calculations if the units are in contact after the first melee calculation.
Round two:
Heavy Cavalry: Each base has a combat value of 5, +1 carrying shield = 6 per base
2 bases in contact = unit combat value of 12
Agema: Each base has a combat value of 5, +1 carrying shield = 6 per base
2 bases in contact = unit combat value of 12
Difference is +0
Both lose a base from the centre.

What is left of the Agema/Roman cavalry battle.  The next combat sees them both rout.

Both sides now must take a morale check as still in combat. Both pass.

Second Combat
Epirot did not move so may missile fire again and score a morale check on the Leves; they pass it.

No other units move.

Close Combat round (up to 2 melees!) for units in contact.

Roman Heavy Cavalry Vs Agema with +0 combat difference. Both lose a centre base and both have no unit behind it to fill it in so both rout.  Both rout off the table.  And this is where I notice that buried in the Morale section of the rules is the rule that a units morale drops by one for every base lost.  This is important as the Agema, starting morale 10, would have check morale at 8 rather than 10 earlier (they still passed, it just would have been harder).

End of turn 2

Turn 3
Romans have initiative

Formation changes
None.

Missile
Roman Leves at Epirot Skirmishers. Morale check that the Epirots pass.
Epirot at the Leves cause the Leves to lose a base an morale check that they fail by 5 that is a "rout 3 moves" result".  The lost base also caused them to rout as they are in one line and have no replacement.  As they are routing 3 moves and that will take them off the board, I will simply remove them.

Movement
Roman charges:
Only mounted units can charge so Roman cavalry charge the Epirot Skirmishers.  Skirmishers cannot retreat from a charge, only an advance (i.e. infantry).

Resolving melee:
One base each in contact: Cavalry is 5 +1 shielded +3 charge =9; Skirmisher is 1. Difference is +8.  Both lose a base, both retreat 5cm.  Skirmishers rout as have no second line base to replace the loss.  Skirmishers also need to take a morale check  That they lose by 3 (morale level is 6; rolled 8 +1 for one lost base = +3) and so rout for two moves.  Will remove them too as this will take them off the table.

The battleline face-off with the skirmishers cleared out of the way.

Epirot charges:
None


Roman moves:
Advance into contact with the Hypaspists, and a lone base on the pikes.  Note that if two units are in melee against one unit, they must be of the same type (in this case, both the pike unit and Hypaspists are heavy infantry).
Triarii wheel and advance.

Epirot moves:
Elephant charge in a random direction that happens to be forwards right and off the table.

Combat

Roman Legionaries Vs Hypaspists and Pikes

The battlelines clash.

Romans throw pila and have a +3 modifier as pikes count unshielded against missiles and also are 3 ranks deep (+1 per extra rank).  Result is pikes count as unshielded in combat (the only pila result). Note that I counted both Pike and Hypaspists as unshielded when it should have only been one unit -the Hypaspists. 
Romans: one base combat value is 3 +1 shields =4 with 4 bases is 16.
Epirot:  one base combat value is 3 +1 pikes and no modifier for shields =4 with 4 bases is 16.
Difference is 0.  both lose a centre base (for the Epirot, the unit with the most bases in combat loses the base, in this case the Hypaspists) and the Romans retreat.  Both Epirots advance (if they did not, they would not be in combat and the roman Heavy cavalry could then charge the pikes).

Second melee calculation.
Difference is +0,  result is both lose a centre base.
Locked in combat, both take a morale check (Hypaspists and Romans at -2 due to losing two bases).  Both pass.

Battlelines after one combat round - white rectangles are the bases removed during the combat

Second Combat
Legionaries Vs Pikes and Hypaspists:
Difference of +0; both lose a centre base and Epirot retreats; Romans can move over one base laterally to fill gap.  Hypaspists cannot and have no base behind them so rout.   Pikes retreat.  Romans do not pursue (the Cavalry can get them next turn!)

End of turn 3.

Turn 4
Romans have the initiative,  as they have had each turn this game.

Formation changes
Roman Legionaries reorganise into a unit with only three bases wide and 2 bases in the second rank. Legion formation bonus of laterally filling in bases is only available if 3 or 4 bases wide.

Missile
None

Movement
Roman Charge:
Roman Heavy Cavalry charge the Pikes.

Roman Cavalry combat value for one base is 5 +3 charging +1 shielded = 9 with 2 bases is 18.
Pikes are 3 +1 phalanx +1 shielded = 5 for 2 bases is 10.
Difference is +8. Result is lose a centre base each.
Pikes pass morale check.

No other moves.

Combat
Roman Cavalry combat value for one base is 5 +1 shielded = 6 with 2 bases is 12.
Pikes are 3 +1 phalanx +1 shielded = 5 for 2 bases is 10.
Difference is +2. result is lose a centre base each and Cavalry retreats.
Pikes advance.

The sorry lot that passes for a battleline of each side

Note that legionaries are not in the combat even though in contact as only one type of unit may be in combat with another unit.

2nd melee calculation:
Roman Cavalry combat value for one base is 5 +1 shielded = 6 with 2 bases is 12.
Pikes are 3 +1 shielded (no longer phalanx as not at least 2 deep; this should have applied earlier to Hypaspists too) = 4 for 2 bases is 8.
Difference is +4. Result is  Pikes lose a left flank base and Romans lose a right flank base (luckily the only second rank base is on the right flank).  No retreats so both do a morale check at -2 for lost bases. Epirot pass, Romans fail by 3 so rout 2 moves that will be off the table .


Second Combat
Pikes and Legionaries:
Romans throw pila and pikes are unsheilded.
Romans are combat value 3 +1 shielded = 4.  Only one base in contact.
Pikes are combat value 3.
Difference of +1; result is both lose a centre.  Pikes have no second rank so rout.

Epirot have lost 5 units and so I call the game for the Romans.

End of the game - not may of the Epirot left.
Verdict

The rules are definitely more of a framework than a complete set of rules.  The removing bases from left, right or centre did not pan out as exciting or as different as I thought it may be.  Especially as the most common result is a centre loss.   I did not mind the rules overall and it has some interesting tactical subtleties (such as the difference between charge and advance).  I think there are better and clearer unit games with base removal for small games (Mighty Armies comes to mind).  I would play them again as they are okay and do produce an interesting game.  Especially now that I have read some sections of the rules at least ten times to figure out the meaning :-)