Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Callinicum refight again with Justified Ancients

Why a replay? and some house rules
I set up for the next rules - Fantasy Rules! -  had the troop types nearly worked out but Justified Ancients just kept bugging me at the back of my mind.  Although I suggested some minor changes at the end of my last replay, the one that keeps sticking in me is to make LO mounted also suffer disorder.  This will help a lot get the game moving a bit faster (disordered units are -1 in melee).  currently there is only a 2 in 9 change of 2 equal mounted units ever casing damage (a 1 and a 3 or a 3 and a 1).  But a +1 difference causes a push back but only disorders CO.  So a +1 difference will have an effect between mounted units.  I will also extend the support definition for +0 result to include adjacent stands (adjacent stands cannot be in melee - the order of choosing melee to roll for will be important).  Currently supported is only for stands with stands in support directly behind.  +0 effect is supported stands will push back unsupported stands.

OK now I've just double checked the rules and +0 unsupported push back only happens between foot units.  So now I am thinking that it should be extended to all non-skirmisher, not just foot.  lastly, for +1, pushed back doesn't happen if you outnumber the enemy 2-1.  So I am thinking supported Vs unsupported are not pushed back on a +1 result either (but would suffer all the other results such as disorder)  So the summarise my rambling I am going to use these two house rules:
  • Mounted LO receive disorder just like CO troops.
  • if one or more stands are adjacent (side to side contact or directy behind - not limited to corner-to corner) to a meleeing unit, then the stand is counted as supported for purposes of the +0 result.  Supported is not limited to foot, but is available to all non-skirmish stands.  Note the number of supporting stands doesn't count - a stand is either supported or not (you don't "outsupport" an opposing stand just because you have more stands in support).  A supported stand versus an unspported stand is not pushed back on a +1 result. 

Deployment is the same as last time.  Breakpoint for the armies is 1/3 (rounded up) rather than 50% I used in the first replay.  So breakpoint for Persians is 4, Byzantines is also 4.  A general does not count in working out the breakpoint, but will count as a lost unit if lost (similar to Armati).








Turn 1

Persian Lakhmid move up 5" to block Ghassanids.  Wheeled the elite and reserve cavalry
Byzantine attempted to move up Ghassanids but only one passed orders.  Moved up some heavy cavalry and the Skutatoi.







Turn 2


Persian
Lakhmid charges light infantry with no effect.
Moved up all the heavy cavalry in the middle.

Byzantine
Ghassanids past orders and moved up - one in support of the light infantry.
Moved up Skutatoi and supporting heavy cavalry.
Missile fire pushes back  elite heavy cavalry.
Light infantry pushes back light cavalry.



Turn 3

Persian
Lakhmid charges Ghassanids that fire and evade, one charger continues.
elite heavy cavalry charge and one pushed back. in melee, one flees (and is additionally disordered using my house rules).
Two heavy cavalry on the left charge opposing heavy cavalry.  In melee, one flees (and is additionally disordered using my house rules).
Charging Lakhmid pushed back.

Note: this was a a result of the house rule - the melee result was +0 but the Ghassanid is supported and the Lakhmid is not so it is pushed back.

Lakhmid  routed by light infantry.  Infantry do not pursue.

Note result was +2 but Lakhmid was fatigued so routed rather than fleeing.

Byzantine
Reforms the two heavy cavalry that fleed (and removed disordered - note that this is a 4+ order, without disorder, it could have been a  3+ order to about face).
Some charges that returned fire resulted in pushback.

But in another score for the house rule (but it is because the house rules exists that the move happened anyway) - an elite heavy cavalry moves up to support a disordered heavy cavalry in combat.  The general also moves into support.  The result was +0 but as the Byzantine is in supported and the Persian is not, it results in a push back.

Turn 4
No picture for turn 4 - don't know what happened to it.

Persian
Moved up some heavy cavalry
A Lakhmid charges a Ghassanid, the latter fires and evades.
The one combat resulted in the Byzantine heavy cavalry fleeing.

Byzantine
Successfully reforms fleeing heavy cavalry
Two heavy cavalry charge the elite heavy cavalry with the general. One Byzantine routs but the one with the general gets a pushback.

Turn 5
No picture for turn 5 - don't know what happened to it.

Persian

Lakhmid charge opposing Ghassanid, ,the latter receive and fire as if the evade they will be off the table.  The Ghassanid stand routs.
Elites heavy cavalry charge opposing heavy cavalry who are pushed back.
Heavy cavalry charge depleted heavy cavalry but no damage received anywhere.
The two generals fight it out and the Persian cavalry and general are routed.

With the general routed, I am assuming all order rolls are at -1.


Byzantine
Elite heavy cavalry charges a heavy cavalry that flees.

Turn 6

Persian
Where possible, moved into melee, managed to rout a heavy cavalry.

Byzantines
Managed to rout a heavy cavalry.

Note, the elite heavy cavalry is directly  behind a Persian heavy cavalry that fleed last turn.  But because charging units are fatigued at the end of the turn, the Byzantines can't charge again. It also meant that the Persian had a chance to reform (which it did), which meant it would not be hit in the rear, and also that the disorder is gone.

Regardless,  the Persians have lost 4 stands (3 plus the general) and reached their breakpoint.  The Byzantines have lost 3. End of game.


Verdict
Liked this game a little bit better  - maybe it was because I 'got' the tactics and how the interactions worked better than the first game.  There wasn't really any more damage. The rules cry out for tweaking.  If it was me (and the game would not be JA anymore), I would
  • do away with the turn sequence and go with the flow of newer games and do move, missile and combat per stand - this would make the game VERY dynamic!
  • Also include an order modifier for adjacent stands - maybe +1 for each adjacent (not behind) stand and can order all at once (must move/charge together).  I would increase by one the success number for ALL order types (move/charge/wheel/reform etc).  It would keep stands together. 
  • I would possibly also not do lining up of stands (just a personal thing - never liked it but would keep lining up for a semblance of JA).
  • Allow counter charging (as per John Davis experimental rules)
  • Get rid of push backs - push backs don't do much in this game; in DBx push backs are important as it opens up the the possibility of support for adjacent melees with the bonus -1 to that melee.   Alternatively, give a +1 for one or more adjacent stands and keep push backs.
  • Everyone except Skirmishers and LO foot can be disordered.
  • Support is defined as if one or more stands are adjacent (side to side contact or directly behind - not limited to corner-to corner) to a meleeing unit, then the stand is counted as supported for purposes of the +0 and +1 result. The number of supporting stands doesn't count - a stand is either supported or not (you don't "outsupport" an opposing stand just because you have more stands in support).   Support is applied for ALL stands except skirmishers.
As I said before , the rules would no longer be JA.  Maybe try these changes later on, after I've tried a few more other rules.

3 comments:

  1. Some splendid ideas. JA was always my interpretation of ancient wargaming, but the system is set up for people to tweak and twiddle with. Thought you might like my commentry on your ideas.

    "do away with the turn sequence and go with the flow of newer games and do move, missile and combat per stand - this would make the game VERY dynamic!"

    I always do JA per stand. Its how it is meant to be played. Each unit is one stand basically so you wouldnt be completly changing the game !

    Also include an order modifier for adjacent stands - maybe +1 for each adjacent (not behind) stand and can order all at once (must move/charge together). I would increase by one the success number for ALL order types (move/charge/wheel/reform etc). It would keep stands together.

    Thats not a bad idea. It would make moving quicker. Not certain about +1 for all orders as it would make almost all manouvers except the most trickiest by the most inept muppets almost a certainty?

    "I would possibly also not do lining up of stands (just a personal thing - never liked it but would keep lining up for a semblance of JA)"

    As each stand is a unit, theres no need to line everyone up. It does of course help covering the flanks of a unit to keep things tidy. A lot of my battles are swirling messes after the first 4 turns! Quite historic i suppose :)

    "Allow counter charging (as per John Davis experimental rules)"

    Yeah. Thats a good rule of Johns. I think I've had enough feedback on that to write his rule into the main file. I'll do it now!

    "Get rid of push backs - push backs don't do much in this game; in DBx push backs are important as it opens up the the possibility of support for adjacent melees with the bonus -1 to that melee. Alternatively, give a +1 for one or more adjacent stands and keep push backs."
    I like the idea of +1 for adjacent stands.It would definatly make combat more conclusive.
    Pushbacks are handy I find as a couple of pushbacks can open a hole in a line, and with suporting units you will then find local outnumbering comes into play!

    "Everyone except Skirmishers and LO foot can be disordered."
    On Page 15 it says LO troops cant become disordered. This is frankly because I see disorder in JA as a breakdown of cohesion for troops used to operating in formed ranks, more so perhaps than the effect on fighting efficiency. It's certainly worth trying it out and it was interesting to see the new rules in action. I wonder if it will make loose order horse too fragile?

    "Support is defined as if one or more stands are adjacent (side to side contact or directly behind - not limited to corner-to corner) to a meleeing unit, then the stand is counted as supported for purposes of the +0 and +1 result. The number of supporting stands doesn't count - a stand is either supported or not (you don't "outsupport" an opposing stand just because you have more stands in support). Support is applied for ALL stands except skirmishers."

    Excellent idea.In JA the slightest +1 of course will tip a battle so we have to be careful about applying it. This support rule seems to fit the bill nicely. I am going to try it out and probably add it word for word to the main file if thats ok.

    Thanks again for all the feedback. Good fun reading it up.
    Cheers
    Pete

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  2. Pete,

    Thanks for the feedback. Just a few points of clarification of what I was trying to say about rule changes.

    "I would increase by one the success number for ALL order types (move/charge/wheel/reform etc)."

    What I meant was the base roll for move is currently 1+, charge is 2+, reform is 4+ etc, If using the +1 to order for adjacent stands I was proposing, I would change the base roll to move to 2+ , charge to 3+, reform to 5+. On further thought, I am tempted not to actually increase the base roll. Units would be adjacent at the start of the game and would benefit,but in later turns they certainly tend not to be adjacent and so would suffer worse order rolls. I think leave the base roll as is a and a +1 for adjacent stands with maybe up to a maximum of +2 - a unit of 3 stands or more - would be fine.

    "lining up of stands"

    What I meant was stands being in base to base and corner to corner contact - I just say contact is sufficient. Similar to Armati & Impetus. It would not change the game greatly. Except when you have two stands contacting one stand but the rules can take it! (as the rules assume each melee is between only two stands and so you do multiple melees if a stand has an enemy to its front and flank. So you would just do two melees if you had two units contacting a unit. works for me). Of course, I am getting better at disliking corner to corner contact so I probably would not do this in JA refights.

    "Everyone except Skirmishers and LO foot can be disordered."

    I realise LO should not be disordered. Its just I see three types of cavalry - skirmishers, line cavalry (loose order) and close order cavalry such as cataphracts and heavy knights. So in my world view, most of the JA horse that is not skirmisher is loose order. I found in both my replays that the horse battles just kept going. The chances of anything other than a 0 or +1 result was low, a +1 result is just a pushback. So they just kept going. Personally, I do not think LO horse would become more fragile. Again, in my world view, I think it represents them better. I see disorder similar to you and believe it should be applied to LO horse. Happy that it should not be applied to LO foot. They would be fine.
    It also means that I would change the 5-6 result for shooting and CO & LO horse are disordered rather than being pushed back. This does mean that the LO horse will get into melee with infantry it charges and be at -1 for disordered. This would be faster than charging LO horse that is pushed back, fatigued and then has to wait another turn for fatigue to go and try and charge again.

    I really like the whole way JA works - the orders, missile, d3 for melee, fatigue, disordered and two depletions before dispersed. They all just fit together nicely. Thanks for the rules, they are great. I am likely to do another JA replay over the next few months with the ideas outlined.

    p.s If you need a hand to proof-read a second version of JA, I am sure John or I would be willing to donate some of our time ;-)

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  3. Cheers Shaun

    As us gamers do, I'm currently in a WW2 Air phase (Blazing Skies on my website)and so I havnt revisited JA for quite a while. My Parthians are very dusty to my shame!

    When it comes round to a rewrite, I'll certainly copy you in!

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