Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Portable Wargame Ancients version: a second tentative draft

As a result of my recent play-test of the first draft of the rules, and in the light of some very useful feedback and ideas from Steven Page, I have now produced a second draft of the PORTABLE WARGAME: ANCIENTS rules.

This latest draft can now be downloaded from here.

This is still very much a work-in-progress, but please feel free to play-test the rules and give any helpful feedback.

10 comments:

  1. As far as I can tell cavalry have no issues being in the woods. Perhaps infantry fighting cavalry in the woods [broken ground?] should increase their die roll by one in Close Combat.

    What about Unarmoured Melee Infantry should have a similar advantage vs. Armoured Melee infantry in the woods. [Not as sure about this-but I like it when a troop type has a fortè, otherwise what's the point of categorizing it differently?]

    In a similar vein-Light Cavalry is the same as Heavy cavalry except for one less strength point and a lesser attack; should it move faster?

    I think missile armed infantry should outrange missile cavalry.

    These aren't meant to be complaints, merely suggestions.
    Now, look at this shiny watch....

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  2. SAROE,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have one or two other thing that I want to concentrate on over the next few days (mainly preparing for a big PORTABLE WARGAME session for the Jockey's Field Irregulars on Sunday) and then I hope to re-visit the Ancients rules. When I do, I will certainly have your suggestions in mind for possible inclusion in the next draft.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Bob, these look like a good start on an ancient PW and seem quite servicable. I will make 2 observations.

    The 1st is that I tend to agree with Saroe that different troop types should have different functions other than just being weaker.

    The second is that while it is not possible to cover all the variations in warfare over a period of thousands of years in a simple set of rules, you appear to be missing a key tactical element of many ancient armies, the skirmisher. They were very vulnerable if caught in melee in the open but were mobile enough to avoid it in most situations. The also lacked the range and hitting power of archers, usually being javelin armed. They were often raised from areas of difficult terrain and thus were used to moving and fighting in such areas.

    Since the rules have no room to be faster than heavy infantry but slower than cavalry it would be best to leave them at infantry speed but perhaps excuse them from the effects of terrain or maybe be even allow them a diagonal move to show their mobility which was highly prized by armies such as the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Persians etc who had plenty of melee infantry (and in the case of Persians missile infantry) . They could be given a mere 2 SP to represent their dispersion and lack of order and given a range of 2 to show their reduced effect as compared to massed archers. To represent their ability to evade perhaps they could just be treated as elite when rolling for the effect of hits so that they would tend to retreat rather than be destroyed.

    A very serviceable game at any rate.






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  4. Glad you are getting into Ancients Bob.The period has given me great joy over the past 40 years ans continues to do so.
    Best Wishes
    Alan

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  5. Ross Mac,

    Thank you for some very useful observations, comments, and suggestions. I am beginning to see why the numerous troop designations that are found in existing sets of Ancient rules are necessary ... something that never quite made sense to me before.

    One thing that is becoming apparent; the grid I use should be square and NOT hexagonal. This would allow the diagonal move that you have suggested for skirmishers and that Steven Page suggested for light cavalry. It also seems to be more in keeping with the linear formations armies seem to have used during the Ancient period.

    I need to concentrate on other things for a day or two, but when I come back to write the next draft of PW:A it will include some new troop types and special rules.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Tradgardmastare,

    Whilst not quite a 'convert' yet, I am beginning to see the appeal of Ancients. My eyes are being opened, so to speak.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. I like the one 'free' diagonal move idea for the lighter troops.

    I did think about skirmishers, but one way of thinking about them is that they are below the level of modeling for this game. i.e. The player is the General, and Generals don't concern themselves with skirmishers-that's the business of lower level commanders.

    So, the skirmishers are out there, fighting the enemy skirmishers. Their effect can be seen in the combat die rolls.

    That unit you don't seem to be able to hit, their skirmish screen is strong and doing its job protecting the unit. All those sixes you rolled? Go skirmishers! Gongs all around.

    Square grids do seem correct for the classic periods of ancients, but once you get to the sloppier eras (Dark Ages, Medieval), a hex grid doesn't feel wrong. But no diagonals. And I suppose anything that has a King and Knights should feel Chess-like.

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  8. SAROE,

    If I use a squared grid, the diagonal move would be a great way to give light units a unique advantage over other units.

    I suspect that your comment about skirmishers will raise a few comments. What you write makes perfect sense to me, but I suspect that there will be others who strongly disagree. My personal feeling is that your suggestion that they are ‘factored in’ as part of the combat system makes sense … but that there are lots of players who will want to actually field units of skirmishers.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. If you produce a hex version of the rules, the difference could be letting the lighter troops move in any direction, but the "heavy" troops could only move to the 3 (or 2 if facing vertices) hexes, otherwise they would have to spend an area to change facing to move in a different direction.

    At the end of the move the unit could change facing for free. This modifies (d) under the current movement rules.

    As for the skirmishers, that was the justification we always used when playing HoTTs (especially since DBA has skirmishers).

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  10. SAROE,

    Thanks yet again for some excellent suggestions.

    I think that I will stick to the square grid for the time being ... but when I move on to developing the rules for a hexed grid I will certainly try to incorporate your ideas.

    All the best,

    Bob

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