Thursday, July 22, 2010

Getting back to business

              MEETING OF HOSTS

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

** COMPLETELY UNTESTED DRAFT**

INTRODUCTION AND DESIGN NOTES
 blah blah + explanations,  disclaimers, Design notes etc
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PREPARING FOR BATTLE

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.  I do not intend to include a points system at this time but if/when one is added it will be for standard, small and large units not by figure.  All figures in a unit must be of the same general type except where noted below.  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 , join or rally any unit but a subordinate can only do sp 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 rarely they may be archers. 
c)       Medium Infantry: Infantry relying on a combination of missile fire and hand to hand combat but not heavily armoured or trained to fight in tightly ordered ranks.  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 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.
i)         Artillery: is rare in the field but was occasionally used.  It is no very mobile but can wear down and disrupt the enemy at a distance.

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)       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 and special rules to add flavour and complexity for specific campaigns.  For example, Celtic infantry may be given +1 bonus in  melee until they lose or tie a round of melee but are not allowed to use the recover rule.
6)       FORMATIONS:  Figures must stay with their units.  Most armies only employed two main formations, some form of march column and a standard battle deployment.  Rather than delve deeply, I leave it up to the player to deploy his troops as historically as possible or attempt to lead them through fancy maneuvers with a risk of disorder and disaster.
7)       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.
8)       TERRAIN:  (add definitions)
9)       Other definitions



PLAYING THE GAME

  1. SEQUENCE OF PLAY: At the start of each turn, each commanding general rolls 1 die, If one side is higher, he 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. Once the first player has finished moving all of his units, the second player may move his. Once all movement is finished, both sides resolve shooting simultaneously then test morale if needed.  Then melees are resolved simultaneously and morale tested if needed.  Then pursuits are conducted.  Do any end of turn activities then 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 commander is close, the order is assumed to be understood and obeyed but the if the general issuing the order is more than 12” away or is engaged in melee then announce what the unit is ordered to do then roll 1 die and consult the orders chart.:
ORDERS CHART
4,5,6
Obey
1,2,3
Hold position. no movement.
0
Fallback 1 move
Die Modifiers
+1
Unit is Elite
-1
-2
Unit is Levy
Unit has lost 50%


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 may move farther than the full amount.
MOVEMENT CHART
UNIT
BASIC
BROKEN GROUND
VERY DIFFICULT GROUND
Skirmishers, Light Infantry
12”
No effect
½ speed
Medium and Heavy Infantry
6”
½ speed 
Impassible
Light Cavalry
24”
1/3 speed
Impassible
Medium and Heavy Cavalry
18”
1/3 speed
Impassible
Generals
As type


Artillery, Wagons
6”
Impassible
Impassible

    1. Advance: Any unit may wheel and then advance straight forward in good order as long as no individual moves more then their full move.
    2. Fallback: Any unit may wheel then fall straight back in good order while maintaining their original facing as long as no individual moves more than 1/2 their maximum but must take a rally test after moving unless they are light troops.   
    3. Maneuvers: Any unit may make any other movement such as moving to the flank, changing formation and so forth as long as no individual moves more than their full move but the unit must end up facing in the direction it moved and must take a rally test after moving.
    4. 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. 
                                                            iii.      Skirmishers, artillery and baggage may not charge. 
                                                            iv.      A unit which has been charged is pinned and may not move until the melee phase.
    1. Marching: A unit no more than 3 figures wide with no units of either side within 3” on either side of it may move double but may not shoot or charge  or cross any sort of broken or difficult terrain.
    2. 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 astis does not take it nearer to enemy.  If it meets friends it will go through them forcing them to take a rally 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.  
  
  1. SHOOTING
    1. Dice: Roll 1 die per 4 figures ignoring fractions.  Count all of the front rank and ½ of the 2nd and 3rd rank of a unit except that infantry on a hill may fire all of the 2nd and 3rd rank.  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 them all of the closest units.  Artillery rolls 1 die per engine as long as there at least 1 crew but may not fire if it was moved this turn..    
    2. 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.
    3.  
SHOOTING CHART
RANGE
WEAPON
24”
Artillery
12”
Bow or sling
6”
Javelin
HIT ON
IF TARGET IS
6
Heavy infantry, Heavy Cavalry, Skirmishers, Troops in hard cover.
5,6
Other target

    1. A unit in contact with the enemy may not shoot or be shot at.  Melee  resolution includes last minute and over head firing.
    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 troopsin contact with any enemy may about face and retreat a full move instead of fighting.  They must take a rally test after moving.
    2. Dice: Roll 1 die for every 4 figures rounding down.  Count those figures in contact including an overlap of 1 on either side.  Count ½ of the figures in the 2nd and 3rd rank except for elephants, chariots, artillery and baggage.  Disordered troops count ½ the normal number of dice as do cavalry in broken terrain.  A unit led  by a general adds 1 die.
    3. Cavalry: Cavalry count both men and horses when figuring how many dice to roll and when removing casualties.  Elephants count as 4.  Round any fractions down.
    4.  
.
MELEE CHART
(regardless of modifiers a natural 6 always hits, a natural 1 always misses)
HIT ON
IF TARGET IS
5,6
Heavy Infantry, Heavy Cavalry, Elephants
 or any unit defending a wall,
4,5,6
Medium Infantry or Medium Cavalry
3,4,5,6
Other troops




Die Modifiers
+1
Unit is Elite
-1
Unit is levy, skirmishers, artillery or baggage
+1
Fighting enemy flank or rear  or if pursuing
-1
Enemy is uphill or defending an obstacle such as a ditch or if an elephant or heavy chariot is fighting light infantry
+1





    1. Melee Result. If a unit receives more hits than it inflicts then it will recoil 1” then must take a rally 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 and may charge.  Any resulting melees are fought out next turn.  A unit which pursues must take a rally test after moving.

  1. RALLY TEST:  When a rally test is called for roll 1 die and check the modified result against the chart. Test if:
    1. Disordered at the start of the turn unless in melee.
    2. After a fallback or maneuver or an evade
    3. If friends other than skirmishers retreat through
    4. Lost 25% of current strength to shooting in 1 turn
    5. Pursued.

RALLY CHART
4,5,6
Unit is in good order.
1,2,3
Unit becomes disordered.  If already disordered, retreat a full move facing away from the enemy.
0
Break and flee off table
Die Modifiers
+1
Unit is Elite
-1
Unit is levy
+1
General has joined unit
-1
Enemy to flank or rear within 12”


-2
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.

RECOVERY CHART
4,5,6
½ of casualties are recovered rounding down
1,2,3
No casualties are recovered.
0
Al casualties are lost permanently
Die Modifiers
+1
Unit is Elite
-1
Unit is levy
+1
General has joined unit
-1
Enemy are visible within 24”


-2
Lost 50% of original strength
           

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