Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trying it on

After much fiddling about yesterday, I have spent some time writing up the new Gathering of Hosts which is now available again at the left, under links.
Gratuitous shot of the Greco-Bactrian left and center. 

As any who also follow Battle Game of the Month may know, I have been pondering command control mechanisms. Partly because I find rolling for each group tedious in bigger games, partly because it it too easy to forget. My thought is that to be a successful game mechanic, there has to be a carrot as well as a stick so that players will want to make the roll. I tried a DBA type PIP system which rewards players by letting them do something, a modified order check with a bonus d6" on a 6 and various other ideas.  At long last I decided that the initiative system, which allows occasional double moves, is enough friction for me.
The armies advance.
I had to tame missile fire a bit, decided to restrict the movement of close order troops a bit more, re classified the unit types closer to the original list and did plenty of other tweaking then tried them out.
The Persian battle-line tries to maneuver around a wood. Can they complete the move and reorder before the Greeks get past the skirmish screen? 

The armies were once again Greco-Bactrian vs Iranian-Bactrian aka Proto-Sassinid, but a little larger, 20 units a side instead of 12 (deep pike units counting as 2).  I ran out of time to finish but apart from finding it tedious to track hits  on 40 units, it felt like what I was aiming for. There seem to be several possible ways to get around tracking so many hits: use fewer but bigger units to keep the figure count up, get more markers and some sticky stuff to make it easier, use single figures on sabots, reduce the number if hits and the number of dice rolled, or something else. Since I like the option to have a small number of units or a larger number, twice this many for a full battle, and like the way units can stand up to a slow trickle of casualties but can disappear quickly in melee, especially if caught by pursuit, for now, I'm going to leave it as is. I'll get some sticky stuff to hold the dice on the stands as they move and making sure I have enough markers. 

 Second choice, make piecemeal attacks maybe the elephants can break the phalanx. yes?, not quite! STAND CLEAR! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A New Power Arises

Barely two months after seeing off the Chinese Incursion, (ok so it was actually his general Alexander the Minifig that saw them off but as King you get to claim credit for what your generals do) word has come to King Antirossus of Alexandria the Forgotten of a new power rising from the turmoil that was the fall of the Seleucid Empire and the rise of the Parthians. In Samarkand to the north,  King Dahryross, claiming descent back through the years to Darius, has seized the throne and is building a formidable army.   

Alexander the Minifig has been sent north with a small force to seek word of this new threat. At the crossroads by the ancient town of Binheerbefohr, the "armies" clash for the first time. 
 The Greeks deploy in traditional fashion, a 6 stand phalanx in the center flanked by peltasts and cavalry. The  Persians deploy a line of skirmishers and horse archers backed by infantry on the left, spearmen, archers and an elephant, armoured cavalry on the left. The light cavalry on both sides dashed and wheels about the field but the main bodies plod straight forward.

 The newcomers seem to shoot well, but the Greeks press on, eager to settle this hand to hand. (Hmm that horse armour's pretty tough stuff. )
 With the skirmishers out of the way, the phalanx crashes forward, forcing the elephants back and destroying the archers but somehow the native spearmen hold. Good thing there are cavalry and peltasts to guard the flank. (Ahhhh guys?  Helloo anyone there? Who's got the intitiative this turn anyway?)
Oh damn. Ummh.....Greeks for hire!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Postcard Version of new Gathering of Hosts (corrected)(and updated)

corrected and then modified as played 19 Jun)

Troops: Skirmishers, Peltasts, Archers, Infantry, Phalanx, Light Cavalry, Cavalry, Elephants. Infantry in substantial armour and armoured cavalry on armoured horses count as armoured. 

All stands take 6 hits. 

Sequence of play: Throw each turn for choice to go 1st or 2nd. Ties repeat.

Control Check. A player must throw 2 or better to move a unit or battleline (aka group). A general can reroll once per turn. 

Moves: Infantry, Phalanx: 8"  Skirm, Peltasts, Armoured Heavy Cavalry 12 " Cavalry 16", Light Cavalry: 20"
Only skirmishers and light infantry in woods etc. Skirmishers, light infantry, and light cavalry can shoot then move or move then shoot. Others may do 1 or the other. Skirmishers and cavalry can go any direction unless charging. Others move 1/2 if not going straight forward. (abstraction)

Shooting: Skirmishers and Cavalry/Chariots get 1 die, Archers, Medium Cavalry and Elephants get 2 dice. 4,5,6 hits. -1 vs cover, -1 vs phalanx or armoured or elephant.
Range Archers, Elephants and Cavalry with Bows 12"  All others 4"   

Melee: (Includes close range shooting) Dice per stand: Skirmishers & horse archers get 1 die, peltasts and other light cavalry get 2, cavalry and phalanx 3, lancers and Infantry 4 All other cavalry, elephants  and infantry 3 dice. +1 die if lancers or swordsmen or elephants or scythed chariots etc charging or pursuing. 
-1 vs cover or obstacle
-1 vs elephant, phalanx or armoured.
+1 Elite, -1 Levy

Adjacent units in the same battle line add 1 die if not engaged themselves. Phalanx can form 2 units deep, casualties go on the rear unit and it adds 1 die to the combat .
Units contacted in flank or rear fight with 1 die.

If one side loses more than they inflict the main unit retreats 1d6" x 1/2 if infantry or phalanx  a base depth. The winner may pursue if their side is active or if impetuous. If in contact fight again. In case of tie, both stay in contact. A unit that starts in contact can retreat or stay and fight. If 2 units would destroy each other, if one is defeated then it is destroyed and the other remains with 5 hits. If it is a draw, both stand with 5 hits. A unit hit in flank or rear which loses is destroyed.

A side losing more than 1/2 of its units must withdraw.

A New Gathering

Garrison Sassanid slingers and mountaineers, finally getting a chance to skirmish in front of Elephants and Levy Spearmen and feeling good about it.

I had finally managed to drag myself away from the ancients to work on my Horse & Musket stuff when along comes Parum Pugna  and all those lovely once upon a time  ancients, and well, here I am putting figures on the table and working on a new version of Gathering of Hosts and looking forward to my Not Really Historical At All campaign.  I've also been dipping into my brother-in-law's stack of abandoned Neo-Conan books so maybe I'll just slip in those sorcerer and various beastie types from last summer and wrap up all the non-historical and fantasy stuff into one package. Maybe. 

So, the rules. I have enjoyed the games of Basic Impetus that I've played against Ron but as a solo game it doesn;t attract me for some reason. I am committed to maintaining compatibility with Ron's armies for gaming on his Hexon terrain (he now has a copy of C&C to study)  but I don;t have the time and energy to commit to building a hex lay out myself so I am sticking with rules where each stand is a unit, written for a plain surface but easily adaptable to hexes.  

Having come up with a few ideas, I dropped 12 units aside and played a simple encounter. I'm thinking of this as a minimum size of game and as all units being of equal "points" value as each has uses, strengths and weaknesses. With that rough framework in mind, I proceeded to play and ended up with the following. As with most back of a postcard rule sets there are many unstated assumptions, some of which will hopefully be explained when I get the set properly written up. 

I'll put the short version of the rules in a separate post.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

What did the Romans ever do for us?

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to see a small packet  from Garrison after Rob's comment about sample Romans. Thank you Rob!

When I got my Sassinids and Medievals, my first thoughts were a tumble of "I want more/I want to paint them". With the Romans, my thoughts were. Hmmm. Maybe.
LtoR: Garrison S&S, Romans, painted Sassinid. PA Barbarian, Garrison 20mm Phyrgian.

I love the officer and standard bearer.Classic Garrison. The officer probably won't wait for a Roman army and I can see getting more for whatever Romans I end up with..

I like rather than love the legionnaire. He is noticeably taller and sturdier than all my other figures.  Not impossibly so and I don't mind the officer being a little smaller. If he was a Barbarian, I'd have no qualms but some how, I expect the barbarians to be bigger than the Romans, even if the latter are from a Legion recruited from the Gallic fringe. To make matters worse, I was thinking of recruiting some barbarians from my Prince August molds. These go nicely with my few remaining Garrison Saxons which I want more of (we're edging back into fantasy here)   and even better with my few Garrison 20mm figures but  are a definite mismatch with the big Roman. 

The figures actually look better side by side in the photo than in person (maybe angles or the fact that the Sassinid has some basing remnants under his stand) and in any case, in separate units on the table they would probably be ok.  If I had an alternate source of Romans in mind it might be easier but there aren't that many  old 25mm Romans about. What I'd really like is a few dozen of the Minifig AR Range Roman throwing Pila that I once had  but that's not likely to happen and I was never that fond of the PB replacements. I've never seen the Warrior or Tradition 25mm Romans up close so eventually samples may be in order. 25mm can mean a lot of different things to different people.  Looking at the PA barbarian, Garriosn 20mm Romans might work but I really don't want to get started on Romans this year so the matter is not pressing. Time to paint them up and check if the "attacking figure" is the same bulk.

Rob also included some of the 28mm Late Roman cavalry. Keeping my mother's teaching in mind, I'll just show a shot of them next to one of the exquisite Sassinid  Cataphracts that I want more of: