Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Callinicum Warrior Kings forces

Having given Armati two replays, it is time to focus on my second favourite ancient rules - Warrior Kings.  Let's work through getting a suitable force list and deployment.
As a first cut, I will start with the same deployment for Armati  which is aligned with the SOA Battle Day 2009 pack for Callinicum.  Persians will move first.  Armies will be 25cm apart (same as the Armati setup).
I'll be using centimetres rather than inches due to the small board and one stand = one unit.  I've played 10 games recently and centimetres seem to work just fine.  I recommend this for any 2' deep boards.
War Rating
A side's war rating define the number of activations per turn and is determined at the start of a battle. By default Sassanid Persian war rating will be 2 a third of the time, and a 3 two-thirds of a time; Byzantines will be a 3 a third of the time and a 4 two-thirds of a time.  Why?  War ratings is determined by a die roll: a roll of 1 or less is a rating of 2, a roll of 2 to 5 is a rating of 3 and a roll of 6 or more is a rating of 4.  Sassanids get -1 to the roll and Byzantines +1.  A war rating of 3 is fairly standard for a 400 point army on a 4'x3' board.  I'm using a 2'x2' and likely less than 400 points - I think it will be closer to 250-300.  So an average war rating of 2 seems to be about right.  With the units setup the way they are, a War rating of 2 for each side will advantage the Persians as they start with less bodies and so can activate more stands.  This fits with the scenario description of the Byzantine's command and control being less than optimal. An alternative would be to create less units on the Byzantine side (maybe linking all the cavalry and linking the LI and the Ghassanids) and giving the Byzantines a war rating on 1.  I will use the former approach of war rating of 2 each.
6 Persian Line cavalry - Mounted Melee, Dual Armed, CV4, AC4, 3 figures
2 Elite Persian Cavalry - Mounted Melee, dual Armed, CV5, AC4, 3 figures
3 Lakhmid Light cavalry - Mounted Skirmish, CV4, AC2, 2 figures
Elite training gives +1 in combat while increasing the Combat Value (CV) increases the chances of passing reaction tests.  Much better to make the elite cavalry more resilient by increasing CV than +1 in combat.  If I increased the armor class of the elite Cavalry (which would reduce the number of hits), this would make them move at a slower rate to the rest of the line cavalry (move rate of 8 for AC6, move rate of  12  for AC4).  AC6 for all the cavalry is probably not justified as AC6 should be reserved for Heavy Cataphracts.
3 Skutatoi - Foot Melee, Dual armed, CV4, AC4, 4 figures
4 Line Cavalry - Mounted Melee, Dual Armed, CV4, AC4, 3 figures
2 Elite Line Cavalry - Mounted Melee, Dual Armed, CV5, AC4, 3 figures
1 Isaurian Light Infantry - Foot Melee, Dual armed, CV4, AC2, 3 figures
3 Ghassanid Light Cavalry - Mounted Skirmish, CV3, AC2, 2 figures
The discussion about how to best represent the Elite Persian heavy cavalry applies equally to the Byzantine Heavy Cavalry.  There are a number of ways to represent the Skutatoi.  They shouldn't be Missile units as this would make them too brittle.  They could be 2 Melee stand and 1 Missile stand but that does not seem how they operated.  They could be figures = 4 rather than 3 but I think they were not that brittle (they did make a last stand in the actual battle).  Lastly, they could be AC2 rather than 4 but I think infantry for this Byzantine period and with the amount of armour and how they performed gives justification for AC4.  The Isaurian light infantry need to be able to stand up to Melee units so I did not make them Skirmish.  They are Dual Armed to account for the javelins.  The Ghassanid Light Cavalry were the easiest to do - one less CV than the Lakhmids.  Of course, I could have gone the other way and make the Lakhmids CV5 and then the Ghassanids would be CV4.  The choices, the choices.  We shall see how my first cut of the forces goes in the forthcoming battle.
Rule changes
Besides using centimetres rather than inches, I am also ignoring the "desperate struggle' rule (if you roll a 6 in melee, your enemy gets -1 to the following reaction test).  Why?  It is finicky and the game has a fair amount of luck already.
One other rule I've used in our other games and will use here is that the rules state that a body rolls once for reaction test and all stands check against that roll.  One bad roll and the whole body has gone.  On a 2'x2' board, there are not that many bodies to go around.  So, for my house rule, a body rolls for the reaction test.  If you like the roll, that check each unit against it; if you do not like the roll, check the first unit (right to left, as per turn sequence) against the roll and then roll reaction dice and test for EACH other stand in the body, one at a time, right to left. At least that way one bad roll will not wipe out a body, you have a chance a few stands might survive as you roll for each stand.

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