Monday, December 27, 2010

The Gathering Resumes

It has been more than 6 months now since the last unit of 25mm Ancients left the painting table. For most of this time, there have been 10 1/2 painted 20mm Phyrgians sitting at the back of my table. For some reason, I'm not sure why, I just couldn't get a feel for them. I haven't been painting much anyway and so I let them slide when I did find the time and energy.

Just before Christmas, I got a sudden urge to convert the whole project to Sassinid vs Romans. Several days of  day dreaming and considering possibilities passed before I remembered that I was going to drain off any Roman impulse into the Prince Valiant 40mm project and began to dig about on the net for info on the Babylonians and Assyrians as a distraction. Worked like a charm, by Boxing Day evening I was relaxed, had time of my choosing and within minutes of starting to apply stripes, it was all good and so the first 1/2 unit of Phyrgians "light" infantry has emerged.

Those for an eye & a memory for such things may note that the single figure rebellion appears to have been quelled. I had a few bad moments when I was tempted to emulate the excellent 4 man 40mm sq bases that my 25mm ECW Scots have adopted but in the nick of time sanity reigned and I remembered how useful it can be to have something approaching "hobby standard"  for 25mm Ancients and how annoying it can be to have inconvenient non-standard arrangements. So it had to be single figures or 60mm elements.  My 40mm Prince Valiant figures give me "ancient" singles so its back to elements for the little guys. (Whew, glad I only rebased troops who needed it for other reasons!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ambush played

A battle report on the Ambush of Queen Demiramis has been posted on my Battlegames blog. Some thoughts on rules to follow shortly along with the tweaked version.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Escort Duties

I've been trying to focus on my 19thC interests but every time I turn my back I can hear the rythamic clash spear against shield. In order to quiet them, I have decided to dig out an old Table Top Teaser.

"..You are to select positions for your force to ambush a convoy proceeding from the west. This convoy consists of Princess Zenobii of Kali and her considerable dowry escorted by soldiers of the future husband, the Emperor Osbosis of Dubris. You are to intercept and seize both Princess and dowry before They cross the bridge to the south and safety.".  for the original refight thanks to Steve the Wargamer

Tempting to use this as an excuse to paint up some Clibinari and set the game farther east but I'm sure the hills of Anatolia will provide a suitable site for an ambush.

Red Force (Ambush Party)             
1 unit of light archers  
1 unit of light slingers
1 unit of light/medium javelins
1 unit of light cavalry   

Blue Force (Road Party)
1 unit of light cavalry 
2 units of medium infantry
1 unit of light archers
1 small unit of super heavy cavalry
1 litter with bearers
1 wagon of treasure
1 unit of heavy cavalry 

hmm, I don't see any mention of a Priestess riding a Tiger, must be a misprint.

Now which side is which?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Old Soldiers

For those of you are fans of Charles Grant's book The Ancient Wargame as well as various magazine articles about historical battles re-fought, hie thee to the Garrison website for a treat. Rob has acquired some of Charles' old figures and has begun posting colour pictures.

In solidarity with and in homage to the herd of veteran Airfix elephants, I present Ellie. My own Airfix elephant, converted probably 1974/75 though the original Roman charioteer crew was replaced at some point in the 80's by RAFM figures. The original mahout still serves, but with a RAFM head. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Test 2, The Persian Victory at Platea

The 2nd play through , slightly modified is now posted on the Battlegame blog. Honours of the day go to the Phyrgian spearmen. Who says fancy clothes don't help win battles?.

I'm still very happy with the rules but discovered a few more minor lapses and discrepencies. For example, the current draft doesn't actually say that you can't come back from being wiped out totally.

I'm working on those plus some examples of play.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Test Game Debriefing

The refight of the Grant version of Platea has now been fought. I will be posting the actual battle report this evening on the Battlegames blog but will report on the rules here.

In short, having followed the battle plans of both sides as closely as possible, there were tense moments for the Greeks but the results ended up startlingly similar to the original refight which was done using WRG 3rd edition.  Perhaps this proves nothing other than that my rules make it just as hard for light troops to run over a hoplite phalanx as the old rules did but that in itself is reassuring!

On to rule mechanics. I did discover some ommisions, for example, almost all references to flank attacks had been accidently lost during one bit of editing which caused me some grief as I tried to remember   what had been intended, and there some other minor things such as causes of tests mentioned in one section but not another. But as far as how the rules worked I was very, VERY, happy.

Its been a while since I used unassigned cards, a decade or more possibly and I had forgotten some wrinkles when allowing passes and an unlimited number of cards but this has been dealt with now by making sure the deck is an appropriate size before starting.

The one thing that did worry me mid-game was how tough the elite hoplite units were and how easily they recovered their casualties. Since casualties are largely moral I eventually decided not to worry about it with the surprising but historical result that the winner's final losses ended up being much lighter than the loser's despite some hard fights.  That said, the Athenians  found themselves in trouble against the Thebans, pushed back and only a few figures above 1/2 strength. Luckily they passed morale and next turn, the first card that came up was a Greek one and they rallied well and came back to eventually drive the Thebans from the field. If the Theban card had come up first, it might well have changed the fortunes of the day. The rule worked well for the Spartan detachment as well, as they were able to rally off shooting hits almost as fast as they took them, as long as they locked shields and hunkered down. Even so the massed Persian infantry scored enough hits one turn to force a morale check. The odds of failure were small but worrying.

I have fixed the few discrepencies and uploaded the next draft. Hopefully a final draft once some diagrams and examples are added  but there will be more test games. I'm trying to decide whether to  reset the table, rearranging the Athenians and Spartans to be closer to where they should be and allowing the Persians a free hand as to how to attack or whether to swap out the armies. or perhaps do both, there is a whole weekend ahead of me!

Tested version of Gathering of Hosts available here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Preparing for Platea - A Puzzling Question

The rules have been updated and are now available here: (Aug 27 post game)

The Athenians (Benassi) as seen from behind the Phrygian (Garrison) and Theban position. (The poor Thebans were left with the stragglers when I ran short on hoplites. At some point I need to finish refurbishing the last 48 RAFM hoplite types)

As I look at the table laid out for the refight, a puzzling question comes to mind:

The Pseudo-Spartans (mixed RAFM, Ral Partha, Garrison & Minifig)
from behind the (largely Garrison) Persian center.

Why didn't the Persians outflank and surround the Greeks? 

The flanks don't appear to be resting on terrain, there are huge gaps in the middle of the line and lots of cavalry to ride around. The Thessalian cavalry seems to have given a deal of trouble to the Corinthinians and others  marching up from the rear so were presumably ordered to ride past them but surely some of the cavalry could have been spared to attack the Athenians and/or Spartans from the rear?

Now I can see in the Dover refight that the lads were probably "in the spirit" and might not have considered such a move to be "on" but what about in the day?  There are 3 possible answers that occur to me:
a) Heavily armed hoplites are dangerous to light troops and cavalry even if attacked in rear
b) There were command and control issues at work
c) Some of the Greek light armed troops who appear in the OB but not the battle narrative or the Grant scenario, were employed on rear security.
d) In the Grant scenario, Artabazos's troops start the game with the rest of the army  rather than only coming up after the battle was essentially lost. That might substantially affect things.

Well, for the 1st run through, I am going to follow the battle plans in Grant's book as closely as possible so it shouldn't be an issue. I may try alternate versions later.

 The Corinthians in position at the foot of the mountain, a lonnnng way from the action. 

Rospak hoplites obviously painted while my 1st canine buddy, Yoda the Black Lab was still alive and providing inspiration. 

Please click on the pictures to see the full thing if you are only catching the corner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Platea: Teaser

The armies are deployed, Dawn breaks. The Persians are braced to attack. 

Game to follow on Friday. I am just working on a slight change to the card sequence to allow more player control and reward concentration and control. Essentially, instead of pre-assigning cards, I will return to allowing players to choose which unit or formed up group of units to activate. Just checking for wrinkles and once again contemplating variable length moves. Will hopefully post the adjusted rules tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Preparing to play Platea using the new rules

Slings and Arrows of the outrageous fortune sort.

Turns out what I thought was a bit of a cold coming on, appears to be some sort of infection that the doctor  suspects that I may have been incubating since my little hospital 'incident' 6 weeks ago.  Anyway, now under the influence of antibiotics on top of everything else, I am slowly starting to function again but alas, no game this week  A little planning has now resumed though.


The day after listing Platea on the poll as the potential historical battle, I decided to refresh my  memory on the numbers involved,  FORTY THOUSAND HOPLITES! . plus 10,000 more on the Persian side!

 I don't have that many hoplites!

Even at 1 to 200 I don't have that many. Even if I had gotten around to getting one of those Garrison 100 hoplite deals that I had been adding and subtracting from that e-shopping cart and had then painted them up, I still wouldn't have enough to be convincing, although it would start to look better. Oh, and the Spartans got bumped from a previous order and still waiting so, not 1 Lambda in the lot. Luckily, before panic set in, I remmbered that the original idea hadn't been to refight Platea, it had been to replay Charles Grant's refight of Platea in The Ancient Wargame.

Technically, I still needed those extra 100 hoplites  but since his 20mm Garrisons appear to be on the old 10mm wide frontage per hoplite and my troops are on a comfy 20mm wide base, one of my 24 man units should substitute nicely for one of his 42 or 50  strong units, especially on my smaller table. So a quick in-house vote was taken and me, myself and I voted unanimously in favour of using his order of battle but with my standard units sizes and classifications. As he remarks in his description of setting up the Sambre: "This is not an accurate conversion but the plain fact was that this was the total number of figures available, so what else could one do?" Indeed.

I did make a few changes to the details of troop types. Grant makes no mention of  the WRG 3rd ed  morale class used for the hoplites but does rate the Spartans and Heavy and the rest of the Greeks as Medium. Now normally, the Spartans are accepted as superior to other hoplites but the Athenians were at the top of their game. They were the only citystate to have met the Persians in battle and defeated them, indeed, there were probably veterans of Marathon in the ranks. The Spartans even tried to give them the place of honour vs the Immortals .So I figured they should rate the same. On the other hand, I'm not sure the Immortals were sufficiently better than the other contingents to warrant Elite status. Instead, I have invoked a shield barrier rule. Since the Persians were a hand picked force, I haven't rated any as "Levy".

The Persians also have several units of "light" infantry which under the WRG 3rd edition, would be the equivalent of my "Skirmisher"  category. I would have called them "Medium" infantry myself but will compromise and field them as "Light" Infantry under my rules.

Last up, both sides are given 3 generals. That works fairly well for the Persians but is a bit of overkill for the Greeks who will end up with 1 general commanding a single unit of hoplites. After some debate,  I decided to let it stand but ruled that each General only has authority and influence on his own units to reflect the allied and quarrelsome nature of the army.

Without further ado, here are the armies with their deployment based on the game described by Charles Grant in his book The Ancient Wargame. Each general will be assigned a card for activation. The unit names refer to the ones fielded in the book. The exact allocation of units on the Persian side is a bit vague but I have included the Phrygian spearmen in with the Thebans as the over all numbers of Medizing Greeks seemed low and it made sense to lump all the heavy units together.

The intent will be to play once with the battle plans as described in the book. I may, or may not follow that with a 2nd play through either basing the battle plans on Herodotus or going free form.    



  • Pausanius General for the Spartans and their allies only
  • Alpha Battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry on the right wing on Asopus Ridge 
  • Mesenian Javelinmen: 8 Levy skirmishers deployed behind the Alpha Battalion 
  • Beta battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry in march column nearing the rear table edge 
  • Antelope Javelinmen: 8 Levy skirmishers with Beta battalion 

  • Aristeides General for the Athenians and their allies only 
  • Omicron Battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry deployed on the left wing on Asopus Ridge 
  • Sigma Battalion: 24 Elite Heavy Infantry deployed on the left wing on Asopus Ridge 
  • Athenian Archers: 12 skirmishers with bow.deployed with hoplites.  
  • A Corinthian General  (Grant only provides player names for the sub-commanders on each side)
  • Corinthian Battalion.24 Heavy Infantry deployed on 'the island' in the rear of the army. 

(all lined up along the Asopus River, ready to cross)

  • Mardonius Over all commander as well as left wing
  • Green Immortals 24 Medium Infantry Archers with Spara  
  • Black Immoratals 24 Medium Infantry Archers with Spara 
  • Horsetail Light Cavalry: 12 Light Cavalry with bow 
  • Scorpion Cavalry with javelin
  • Artabazos  Sub General
  • Median Javelinmen: 12 Light Infantry with javelin 
  • Crescent Light Cavalry: 12 Light Cavalry with bow & javelin 
  • Cadusii Light Infantry: 18 Light Infantry with spear and bow 
  • Apadan Light Infantry: 18 Light infantry with bow 
  • General over the Greeks (and Phrygians)
  • Phrygians: 24 Heavy Infantry 
  • Boeotian Hoplites: 24 Heavy Infantry 
  • Theban Cavalry: 12 light cavalry with javelin 

With a little luck I should be able to play the 1st game on Wednesday and post a report a day or so later.   

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Gathering of Hosts Wargame Rules

It has been suggested that I call the rules after the blog and after some thought, it seems to make sense to me to link the two directly. The version that I intend to play test is now available on Google docs. (at least I hope I am not going to spend the next 2 days going over and over them again)

A Gathering of Hosts  (27 Aug version)


My new ancient rules have been worked over some more and some small, out of context, tests made. Its time for another real test, a battle. The question is should I just carry on with the campaign even if the next scenario is not a great one for testing rules or devise something to work them out.

I know, its the weekend, and a very short poll. Not everyone is going to have time to cast a vote, but to those who do cast a ballot by Tuesday night, I thank you for your opinions.  I have laid out 3 options:

1. A historical refight. This has the advantage of providing a baseline to compare the rules to. That is, does the game resemble in any way, shape or form what happened, or what might have happened?  But its a break in the sequence of things.

2. The Next Campaign game. This might be an interesting game, but given the losses to date, it might be rather lop sided and depending what is drawn, might be an unusual situation. It would be good to know the rules could handle that but wouldn't necessarily say if they could handle normality. It might also be hard to judge if what appears to be a flaw was due to the rules or the situation.

3. A Mede-Lydian pitched battle. The 3rd option is to short circuit the campaign and do a fairly generic pitched battle with the idea of trying out the interaction of units in a standard ancient battle setting (which is to say in the middle of a dusty plain rather than an opposed river crossing, delaying action or a race to get away with stolen temple treasure.)

What do you think folks?

Saturday, July 24, 2010



Rules for simple ancient wargames with toy soldiers by Ross Macfarlane.
inspired by Joe Morschauser and Don Featherstone
25 July 2010

This is a set of simple rules for playing wargames with toy soldiers depicting ancient warriors.  It is not a detailed, simulation of low level ancient tactics nor is it intended to be a clever vehicle for challenging competition style games.  It is, hopefully, a relaxed game where the gamer can focus on his over all plan, not minor tactical details while getting enough flavour to feel right at a high level.  For example, light infantry are mobile but fragile while heavy infantry are ponderous but robust.  Troop variations have been glossed over, this is not to say that I don’t understand that there is a difference between how a maniplur legion and a pike phalanx operated but at a high level, neither seems to have had an overwhelming advantage in a frontal encounter so rather than give them different but balanced capabilities, they are all just heavy infantry.  However, the manipular legion should be fielded as a large number of small units and the phalanx as a small number of large units.  The resulting clash should mirror the real thing reasonably well without further special rules, the more flexible legion can lose the occasional unit without losing the battle.  It can pull back battered units to recover them and can send  triarii marching around the flank. Once a phalanx unit is flanked and breaks, the huge hole will be irreparable.  However,  I believe in the Old School philosophy of adapting rules to suit the user and rather than being comprehensive, the rules are flexible and so players who like them but want more detail and troop differentiation are encouraged to add more complexity if that’s what they enjoy. 

In order to achieve the desired level of simplicity combined with a certain ‘toy soldier’ feel, several compromises were made and key concepts employed.  Some might refer to these as dodges but hopefully an explanation of a few key ones will help to excuse some apparent oddities.
  • “What you see ain’t what you get”.  The game is played as a series of alternate moves of constant duration.  Life doesn’t work like that. As a game mechanic it is useful and the gamer will have to work with it, however, when you move first and bear down on a unit only to see them  skip nimbly out of the way, keep in mind, that the movement on the table represents the intent of the generals crossed with capabilities on the unit commanders on the spot faced with the practical difficulties of carrying out that intent, if they even know it, over a variable period of time, much of which is wasted.  If all goes well, things will end up looking like you planned, if it goes south, well perhaps you weren’t clear or perhaps a clever enemy unit commander reacted faster than your man on the spot and took action which he was unable to encounter.  You are the general not a god.

  • A nice rectangular body of peltasts on the table, is probably sending out small subunits to hurl javelins then fall back but might close up if faced by cavalry.  A block of cavalrymen drops files and rides through a gap, then expands on the other side.  Don’t forget the units on the table are not solid, homogenous blocks, they are composed of unseen sub units them selves made of up of individuals.  They are also probably occupying too deep an area on the table.  When a unit maneuvers, things are going on below the level that we can see.  Don’t worry about the details, if you try to carry out a lot of fancy maneuvers you will probably get into trouble. 

  • It is well accepted these days that ancient armies rarely took very heavy casualties until they broke and ran and therefore it has become fashionable to not remove any figures but just track some form of unit effectiveness measure.  This allows practical and often very attractive multi-figure stands but I think  that actually laying down figures has a more visceral effect on a player, a reminder that there are dead and wounded men before his avatar on the field. I also think it has more of a toy soldier feel which I like.  So I remove or mark casualties.  That doesn’t mean they are all dead and wounded though, it is also the overall effect of fear and fatigue, in effect, its another way, simple though probably not scientifically accurate, of tracking that nebulous quality, a unit’s cohesion or effectiveness.  So when a unit gets a chance to rest and succeeds in recovering some of its casualties, I’m not actually thinking of hoplites with a dramatic bandages wrapped around their heads rejoining the ranks,  its just that the rest and the work of the leaders in exhorting their men is having an effect of raising the units effectiveness.   

It is customary to include points values in ancient rules to allow opposing armies to be  “balanced” , but I have never met a point system where all troops were equally worth their points so I am not going to bother. Most of my games are either, unbalanced raids, ambushes and advance guard scuffles or else based loosely on historical battles with scaled down forces. If you have trouble agreeing on reasonable forces then try having one player define the forces and let the other player choose sides.  

Last but not least, not every situation will be catered for so be prepared to improvise.  If something doesn’t look or feel right, you may want to over ride a rule temporarily.  If a situation arises and consensus can’t be reached,  opposing players should state their case and dice to see whose opinion will prevail.  Anyone who uses these rules is welcome, encouraged rather,  to send me comments, questions and criticisms but is also welcome to make changes and additions to suit themselves.  I will, however, pass on Joe Morschauser’s exhortation    to let your opponent know of any changes BEFORE a game starts.

1)       ORGANIZATION: This game was designed to be played with individual toy soldiers but if you have multiple figures fixed to a base they can be used as long as you can mark casualties in someway (caps, wound markers etc). Movement trays holding a number of figures may also be used as a convenience.  Soldiers must be organized into units including a leader. A standard unit is 12 cavalry, skirmishers or light infantry or 24 other infantry but larger or smaller units may be used if desired.  (for example a late manipular legion might be fielded as 5 heavy infantry (hastate, princeps and triari) and 2 light infantry units (velites), while an opposing pike phalanx might take the field as 2x36 man units.  Miniatures should look like what they are meant to be but no account is taken of individual weapon variations and officers, standard bearers and musicians are treated the same as the majority of the unit.  All members of the unit must stay together and do the same thing.

2)       GENERALS.  Each  army is commanded by one General.  He may be assisted by subordinate  generals who command a portion of the army which is assigned to them at the start of the game. The over all commander may order or  join any unit but a subordinate can only do so to the units assigned to him.   

3)       UNIT TYPES: Troops are classified in several ways, the main one is by function, how the units are equipped and trained to fight.  This can be modified by their training, enthusiasm and discipline as well by minor differences in armour and weapons.  Troops must be slotted into one of the following categories. If the unit you wish to represent does not fit any of the categories, you must pick the closest or write your own amendments. The term infantry will apply to all figures fighting on foot, cavalry are all figures fighting from chariots, horseback or from camels, special troops include elephants, artillery and various oddities that may crop up.  Skirmishers, light infantry and light cavalry are all light troops.

a)       Skirmishers: Infantry who operate in a loose formation, using bows, slings and javelins to inflict damage from a distance and avoiding hand to hand combat.  In many armies these are not regular soldiers but are youths not ready for the battle line, camp followers or the like but in some cases they are the main fighting strength of mountain tribes or are well paid mercenaries etc.  
b)       Light Infantry: Lightly equipped infantry who are trained and equipped to fight hand to hand as well as using missiles.  Most often they are equipped with javelin, shield and sword or spear but less often they may be archers or a mix of archers and sword or spearmen. 
c)       Medium Infantry: Infantry relying on a combination of missile fire and hand to hand combat but not heavily armoured and are not typically trained to fight in tightly ordered ranks but more as individuals.  They will normally rely on shields for defence but may have some armour  Typical examples would include Persian spear and bow units and Celtic infantry with throwing spears and sword.  Most mixed spear and bow units will fall into this category to reflect their reliance on missile fire.
d)       Heavy Infantry: Infantry trained and equipped to fight hand to hand in close ranks.  Typically the front ranks at least are heavily armoured and carry large shields.  Most are armed with spears and pikes but Roman legionaires will fall into this category as well.
e)       Light Cavalry: Cavalry operating in a loose formation or a swarm of small parties, relying on bow or javelin fire to disrupt and avoiding hand to hand combat unless it is to their advantage.
f)        Medium Cavalry: Massed cavalry, camelry or chariots usually relying on javelins or bows to weaken the enemy but also trained and equipped to charge  if an opening appears.  Usually they will have some armour or carry shields.
g)       Heavy Cavalry: Armoured shock cavalry and heavy chariots whose main tactic is a charge to contact.  Cataphracts are a subset of heavy cavalry, heavily armoured men mounted on armoured horses.  In theory the armour gives them very good protection but makes them slow as does the clumsy formations sometimes adopted for them.  In practice their clumsiness in melee seems to have countered the additional protection and so I am going to lump them in with other heavy shock cavalry.
h)       Elephants: War elephants using a mixture of terror and  missile fire to disrupt the enemy as well as smashing enemy infantry in melee. Elephants  are particularly effective against cavalry but are prone to panic if they or their driver are wounded and are a risk to their own army if they do so.Each elephant is usually a separate unit.
i)         Artillery: is rare in the field but was occasionally lighter engines were used.  It is not very mobile but can wear down and disrupt the enemy at a distance.  Larger engines should be treated as immobile.

4)       UNIT QUALITY: The average unit is assumed to be composed of men who know how to handle their weapons and how to behave.  The level of training, experience and enthusiasm could vary widely but only 2 exceptions are  made in these rules:
a)       Elite: These are units of picked veteran troops who can be relied on to perform better than average.  They will often have more training or indoctrination (as with barbarian nobles)  but also have experience and mental and physical toughness that will allow them to show a higher standard of courage than other units and the experience to handle unexpected or unfavorable situations without panicking.  Having fancy clothes and political influence or an impetuous assault is not enough to qualify as elite.
b)       Levy: These are unreliable troops, they may be enthusiastic but untrained, or may be  disaffected or poorly led which will lead to a tendency to fall into disorder and robs troops of courage.
5)       HITS: Hits represent fatigue, fear and a general loss of combat ability in addition to actual wounds. Normally each hit causes a figure to be removed.  Artillery, chariots and elephants are removed when all of the human crew are hit.   

6)       SPECIAL UNIT RULES.  The rules only list very generic unit types based primarily on function and variations are assumed to equal out (for example extra armour decreases physically vulnerability but also increases fatigue).  Players are welcome to agree on  new unit types or special rules to add flavour and complexity for specific campaigns.  For example, Celtic medium infantry may be given +1 bonus in  melee until they lose or tie a round but they are not allowed to use the recovery rule.  Well drilled troops will often end up being classified as elite but if you want to portray a heavy infantry unit that you feels is well drilled but not superior in combat or morale then you could allow them to use the elite bonus on disorder tests when doing a maneuver but no where else.
7)       FORMATIONS:  Figures must stay with their units.  Heavy and medium troops should remain base to base, light troops should remain within an inch of each other. Rather than delve deeply into all the formations likely to have been used by all the nations of the ancient world, I leave it up to the player to deploy his troops as historically as pleases him and warn that an attempt to lead them through fancy maneuvers brings a risk of disorder and disaster.
8)       UNIT ASPECT.  The area directly to the front of a unit is its Front.  The area reaching from directly to the right of a unit, around behind it to its left is its flank or rear.  There is no special name for the area which is neither front nor flank or rear.
9)       TERRAIN: Terrain may affect movement and visibility.  Under movement, ratios are applied proportionally so that a unit of infantry might move half their move (3”) in the open then enter a section of broken ground and then move the second ½ of their move at ½ speed  (1.5”).  Some terrain will block line of sight but terrain like woods does not provide cover to units which are visible and in a position to shoot out. (An individual might hide behind a tree between shots but several ranks of archers can’t fire effectively from the middle of a wood )
a)       Broken terrain: This is all terrain which is passable to most troops but not ideal.  It includes  streams, rocky or steep slopes, open woods, cultivated fields, especially if bounded by hedges or walls and the like.  A linear obstacle will count as a minimum of 1” wide.  Terrain which is man high will block the line of sight.  Troops which are on the edge may be seen. Troops back from the edge are assumed to post sentries and thus be aware of what is happening but cannot shoot or be shot at or charged from outside.  If 2 units are in the same area of terrain they may see each other at 1” distance.  
b)       Difficult terrain: This is terrain which is impractical for most troops.  Steep, rocky slopes, forests, marshes and so forth.
c)       Rivers: Minor streams and difficult fords are classed as broken terrain.  Good fords are classed as clear terrain.  Most other rivers are impassible to bodies of troops except for fords and bridges. Specialist river crossing units may usually cross as a difficult obstacle.
d)       Villages, cities and forts: Villages are best represented by a base with a few small buildings and walls placed on it. The whole is treated as an area of broken ground that blocks line of sight.  Larger cities and forts or fortified camps will usually have an exterior wall.  Any buildings within a city wall will represent city blocks and be considered difficult. The inside of a fort would be broken instead.  The wall will provide hard  cover from shooting and in hand to hand combat and can only be attacked by infantry which we will assume have improvised some way to escalade or have been provided with ladders by a general with foresight. The game master may declare high city or fortress walls to be impassible without special equipment.  Gates can always be assaulted.  A city or fort will usually be criss-crossed by roads and contain open squares all of which will count as clear terrain.
e)       Roads: Although roads exist, they are of little concern for troop movements except to mark the best route to follow.  


  1. SEQUENCE OF PLAY: Each turn consists of the following phases which are carried out in this order:
    1. Initiative: At the start of each turn, each commanding general rolls 1 die, If one side is higher, he has the initiative and  may choose to move first or second for that turn.  If it is a tie, repeat the previous turn’s sequence except that on the first turn of the game you must re-roll until someone wins.
    2. 1st Player move: The player going first may move any of his units one at a time, subject to the rules, making any tests required.
    3. 2nd Player move: The player going second may now move any of his units subject to the rules, making any tests required.
    4. Shooting: All units on both sides which are eligible to shoot may do so simultaneously. Any required tests are taken once all shooting has been done.
    5. Melee:  All units on both sides which are eligible, will fight in melee simultaneously. Once all the fighting is done, work out the results and make after combat retreats and tests.  If  two retreating units interfere with each other, players who moved first will decide which unit retreats first, otherwise all after melee retreats are treated as simultaneous.
    6. Pursuit:  Once all melees have been resolved, the player who moved first may conduct pursuits followed by the player who moved second.
    7. End of turn: Both sides do any end of turn activities such as casualty recovery or as called for by the scenario. Once this phase is over, start the next turn.

  1. MOVEMENT:  

a.       Orders: Units are assumed to normally move in accordance with orders from their general whether shouted at them or conveyed by signals or messengers or sometimes in accordance with a display of initiative by their unit commander. If the general is occupied or too far away, a unit may not move when it is desired.  If at the start of a turn, the general issuing the order was more than 12” away or is engaged in melee then roll 1 die when the unit attempts to move and consult the orders chart:
Obey, the unit moves as ordered
Hold position.  no movement.
Fallback 1 move
Die Modifiers
Unit is Elite
Unit is Levy
Enemy to flank or rear within 12”
Unit has suffered 50% losses
b.       Move Distances: Units may move up to the maximum distance as shown below, they do not have to move the full amount but no individual in the unit may move farther than the full amount.
Skirmishers, Light Infantry
No effect
½ speed
Medium and Heavy Infantry
½ speed
Light Cavalry
1/3 speed
Medium and Heavy Cavalry
1/3  speed
As type

Artillery, Wagons

    1. Advance: Any unit may wheel up to 90 degrees and then advance straight forward in good order as long as no individual moves more then their full move including the distance moved during the wheel.
    2. Maneuver: Any unit may make any other movement such as moving to the flank, falling back while maintaining their facing, changing formation and so forth as long as no individual moves more than their full move but the unit must take a disorder test after moving.  If there was an enemy within 12” at any point during the turn then it must apply the modifier for enemy within 12” even if this isn’t true at the time of the test.
    3. Charges:
                                                               i.      A unit may only charge into contact with the enemy by making an advance. 
                                                              ii.      If any part of the charging unit begins or ends its move in front of the unit being charged then it is a frontal charge and once contact is made the attacker will align with the front of the charged unit as closely as possible.  This alignment is a free, extra move.
                                                            iii.      Skirmishers, artillery and baggage may not charge. 
                                                            iv.      A unit which has been charged this turn is pinned and may not move until the melee phase.
    1. Doubling: A heavy or medium infantry move may advance at double its normal rate but may not shoot or charge and must take a disorder test after moving.
    2. Moving through friends: Skirmishers may move through any friendly unit without penalty.  Any unit may move through skirmishers or artillery.  If other units move through each other then both must take a disorder test counting as a maneuver.
    3. Retreating.  A unit forced to retreat must attempt to move as far away as possible from all enemy, if unable to retreat without coming within 1” of enemy then it will surrender. Normally it will head for the nearest board edge as long as this does not take it nearer to enemy.  If it meets friends it will go through them forcing them to take a disorder test except that skirmishers do not force other troops to test.  If a retreating unit reaches the board edge it will halt but if it starts at the board edge then it will leave the table for good.
    4. Generals: Generals may move their full move in any direction and pass through any friendly unit or be passed through without penalty unless he has an escort of more than 1 figure in which case the normal rules apply.  If a general moves to join a unit this must be made obvious and be declared.  He may only move once per turn.
  1. SHOOTING : 
    1. Dice: Roll 1 die per 4 figures ignoring fractions.  Artillery, elephants and chariots roll 1 die each until destroyed but artillery may not fire if it moved this turn.  Count all figures of light units but only ½ of the figures in the first 3 ranks of medium units.  In mixed bow and spear units, both types of figure are included.  For example a unit of 12 spearmen and 12 archers arranged 3 deep will fire 3 dice. Regardless of modifiers, a natural 6 always hits, a natural 1 always misses. Shooting is simultaneous so that figures hit this turn are still included when counting how many dice to roll. Remove all hits once all shooting is finished.
    2. Targets: A unit must attempt to engage the closest enemy unit or, if 2 or more units are equally close, must split its fire and engage as many as possible of the closest units. A general may only be fired at if he is one of the closest targets.  If he has joined a unit and that unit is a target for 2 or more dice then 1 die may be shot at him. 
    3. Line of Fire:  Measure from the center of a unit’s front rank to the closest point of the target.  Some part of the target must be in front of the firing unit except that light cavalry may shoot in any direction.  There must be a clear line of fire not blocked by terrain or troops of either side.
Bow or sling
Heavy infantry, Heavy Cavalry, Elephants, Artillery.
Medium infantry or cavalry
Light troops

Firing at enemy flank or rear
Target is skirmishers or
 defending a fort or city wall

    1. A unit in contact with the enemy may not shoot or be shot at.  Melee  resolution includes shooting during a charge and over head firing during a prolonged melee.
    2. Disordered units count ½ the normal number of dice rounding down.
  1. MELEE:  Melee is resolved if opposing units are in contact during the melee phase.
    1. Evades. Cavalry which are in contact with infantry and any light troops in contact with any enemy may about face and retreat a full move instead of fighting.  They must take a disorder test after moving.
    2. Dice:
                                                               i.      Roll 1 die for every 4 infantry or 2 cavalry figures rounding down.  Elephants, chariots, artillery and baggage roll 1 die for each model. 
                                                              ii.      Count all of the figures in the front 3 ranks if fighting only to the front and not in broken or difficult terrain or assaulting a wall in which case only figures in contact are counted.
                                                            iii.      Disordered troops count ½ the normal number of dice as do any units except light infantry or skirmishers  in broken terrain.
                                                            iv.      Fighting is simultaneous so that hits inflicted by the enemy are not removed until after both sides have rolled their dice. 
    1. Generals:  A unit led  by a general adds 1 die. 1 enemy die may be rolled against him. If he is hit he is removed.  If the unit he is leading is defeated that turn, then he is captured for campaign purposes.

(regardless of modifiers a natural 6 always hits, a natural 1 always misses)
Heavy Infantry, Heavy Cavalry, Elephants, Generals
Medium Infantry or Medium Cavalry
Other troops

Die Modifiers
Unit is Elite
Unit is levy, skirmishers, artillery  baggage, or is mounted on camels
Fighting enemy flank or rear  or if pursuing or if light infantry fighting an elephant or heavy chariot
Enemy is uphill or defending an obstacle such as a ditch or wall.

    1. Melee Result. If a unit receives more hits than it inflicts then it will recoil 1” then must take a disorder test.
    2. Pursuit.  If a unit is not disordered and all of a unit’s melee opponents retreat or evade then it may advance a full move during the pursuit phase and may charge.  If it charges into contact then the target is pinned until the melee phase of the next turn.  A unit which pursues must take a disorder test after moving.

  1. DISORDER TEST:  When a disorder test is called for roll 1 die and check the modified result against the chart.  Test if:
    1. Disordered at the start of its move unless in melee.
    2. After a maneuver, double, evade or pursuit
    3. If friends other than skirmishers retreat through
    4. If cavalry moves to within  6” of an elephant or camel  or has one move to within 6” of them.  Check as soon as this happens.
    5. Lost 25% of current strength to shooting in 1 turn or was hit by artillery shooting

Unit is in good order.
Unit halts in disorder. No move this turn.
Unit panics, immediately retreat a double move going through any friends met then remove the unit. Elephants which panic roll 1 die, on a 1,2 they veer 45 degrees left after turning about, on 5,6 they veer 45 degrees right.  They will roll dice as if in melee against any unit of either side that they meet. 
Die Modifiers
Unit is Elite
Unit is levy
General has joined unit
Enemy to flank or rear within 12”

Lost 50% of original strength

  1. RECOVERY: Since hits represent not only physical wounds but also fatigue, fear and other factors which lead to a loss of cohesion.  Given a respite, a unit might be able to recover somewhat.  When a unit suffers hits, place them aside or mark them as temporary.  If a unit does not move or shoot, was not shot at and was not in melee this turn and is not disordered, then during the end of turn phase it may roll on the recovery chart.

½ of casualties are recovered rounding down
No casualties are recovered.
Al casualties are lost permanently
Die Modifiers
Unit is Elite
Unit is levy
General has joined unit
Enemy to flank or rear within 12”

Lost 50% of original strength

  1. REPLACING GENERALS: If a general is wounded by shooting or in melee he is removed.  During the end of turn phase of the next turn roll 1 die.  On a 4,5,6 he is replaced, either he has recovered from a minor wound or stunning blow or someone else has taken charge. If he fails to return roll again during the next end of turn phase until he is replaced.  When he is replaced,   he will be placed with his bodyguard if he had one. If not then he may be placed with any unit of his army but your opponent has the right to insist that you spin the tale of how he came to be there.