Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Callinicum Armati 2 forces

I'll be playing in 15mm using 40mm frontage for bases.  Here are the force lists I will be using for the first replay:

Sassanian Persian CR: H:4; L:1; BP:6; Init:7
3 Sassanian Cavalry HC 5(1)0 +2 Lance/Bow
6 Sassanian Cavalry HC 4(1)0 +1 Lance/Bow
3 Lakhmid Cavalry LC 2(0)0 +1 Various

Byzantine CR: H:4; L:2; BP:6; Init:6
3 Skutatoi FT 5(1)1 +1 Spears/Bow
4 Heavy cavalry  HC 4(1)0 +1 Swords/Bow
2 Heavy cavalry HC 5(1)0 +1 Lance/Bow
1 Issaurian infantry  LI 4(1)2 +1 Javelin
3 Ghassanid cavalry LC 1(0)0 +1 Various

For interest here is the thinking behind the lists:

The Persian side should be easier to figure out.  With the battlefield being 60cm wide and each base being 4cm, this means end to end I could fit 15 bases.  With the map in the SOA battle pack showing 3 units in front and one in reserve, this means each unit could be 3 or 4 bases in width.  [There are gaps in the Persian a line and also the Byzantine force is wider than the Persian frontage so 5 bases per units fills up the table end to end which is no good.] At 4 bases per unit, this gives a total (including the reserve force) of 16 bases in 4 units.  This size of force is one that would be of sufficient point size to be deployed on a standard into board (32"x20").  So too large - and the idea is to produce a quicker game with Armati by reducing board AND force size.  So we will call it 3 bases per unit.  I will think on divisions and initiative after figuring out the Byzantine force.

The first cut for the Persian force (based on the Armati Sassanid Army List but works just as well with the Warflute Later Sassanid 531AD-622AD):

3 Sassanian Cavalry HC 5(1)0  +2  Lance/Bow
6 Sassanian Cavalry HC 4(1)0  +1 Lance/Bow
3 Lakhmid Cavalry LC 2(0)0  +1 Various

[Oh no - 12 elements - maybe I should rethink not looking at DBA ;-)]

The Byzantine force fills most of the frontage.  Based on the numbers of soldiers in each unit, my first cut -using the Early Byzantine list - is something like:

7,000 infantry: 3 FT 5(1)1 +1 Spears/Bow
4,000 heavy cavalry: 2 HC 4(1)0 +1 Swords/Bow
4,000 heavy cavalry - 3,000 as above and 1,000 well armoured heavy cavalry with spear, bow and sidearms: 2 HC 5(1)0 +1 Lance/Bow
4,000 heavy cavalry: 2 HC 4(1)0 +1 Swords/Bow
2,000 Issaurian light infantry: 1 LI 4(1)2 +1 Javelin
5,000 Ghassanid light cavalry: 3 LC 2(0)0 +1 Various

14 units which fills almost all the frontage.  For a first cut this is not too bad.  But there is an issue: the Ghassanid LC ran away from the more experienced Lakhmid LC.  Currently they are equal in number of units and quality.  While I could make a few of the Lakhmid veteran, a simpler option may be to downgrade the Ghassanid to 1(0)0.  So I'll do that.

For control ratings and initiative the Byzantines were on the poorer side for this battle (see the Battle pack for reasons).  A Sassanian CR of H:4, L:1 fits nicely with deployment and allows for one unit of heavy cavalry to be more maneuverable. An Initiative of 6 allows 3 splits and is the same Initiative rating as the army list from Warflute.  For the Byzantines, a CR of H:4 L:2 allows for a divisional split along unit lines.   A Byzantine initiative of 6 should reflect the poor command and control shown during the battle as what otherwise would be expected (They have an initiative of 8 in the army lists).

All units except the LI I will key.  Breakpoints will be the number of key units divided by 2.  This gives 6 for both sides.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Links to Armati rules reviews

There are a number of reviews that already exist for Armati 2 so rather than write another one, here are some links:

2006 TMP discussion on Armati 2: link
2005 TMP discssion when Armati 2 came out.  Includes a long description of the rule mechanisms: link
Boardgamegeek review: link
Farnborough Wargames Society review: link

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Battle of Callinicum musings

Just some thoughts of the Battle of Callinicum to help shape up the re-fights.  Using the Society of Ancients Battle Day Pack 2009 as a guide the following details give a useful overview of the battle parameters I'm going to use.  The battle was fought in 531 AD between Sassanian Persians and the Byzantines.

Battlefield
There is a river running down the Persian right flank and the Byzantine's left.  About a quarter of opposing  side of the battleground is a gently sloping hill. As I have a 2'x2' flocked piece of hardboard, one table side will represent the river and I'll put down some markers to show where the rising ground starts.

Persians
The Persian forces are in four lots of 5,000 cavalry each:  3 heavy armoured cavalry with lance and bow and 1 Lakhmid Arab light cavalry. Disposition is, from their left to right, the Lakhmids, a 2 units of the heavy cavalry.  The third heavy cavalry is centrally deployed behind this line as a reserve.

Byzantine
The Byzantine force is in one line and from their left to right is:
7,000 infantry with 2,000-3,000 being missiles, the rest spear phalanx
4,000 heavy cavalry with various and bow
4,000 heavy cavalry - 3,000 as above and 1,000 well armoured heavy cavalry with spear, bow and sidearms
4,000 heavy cavalry with various and bow
2,000 Issaurian light infantry with javelin

5,000 Ghassanid light cavalry

I will leave this to how to convert the forces into stands and units when I plan for the first re-fight using Armati 2.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Refight with several ancient rules

With little time to play ancients games and coupled with a fascination with how different rules work, my goal is to refight at least one battle with a number of different rulesets.  As my gaming is concentrated at the moment on those that last under one hour and using a small surface this will limit some potential rules to use. Obviously my preference in what type of rules I want to play has a bearing on this as well.  For the battle, I was considering various options - one with lots of different troop types etc.  I came close to choosing the Battle of Heraclea with Pyrrhus Vs Romans but thought I would go with something a bit easier and so chose Callinicum using the information in the Society of Ancients Battle Day Pack 2009.  When choosing rulesets, I've gone with what I like playing and what I think I would like playing.  I may even do quick reviews of games that do not have reviews and highlight what I think of the rules as they apply to fast and small.

The rules I will definitely plan to use are:

Armati II Intro scale
My favourite rules.  Intro is just about the full rules using smaller bases so games tend to last the same amount of time - about 1.5 hours for my friends and I.  By reducing the board and points, maybe it will become only a 1 hour game.
Warrior Kings
Fast and furious and unpredictable.  Converting from inches to centimetres allows the game to be played on a 2'x2' surface.  Played this a few times and games are always less than a hour.
Justified Ancients
Have a soft spot for these rules - used them a few times and I like them (though none of my friends do!)
Fantasy Rules!
Not the FR!2 Ancients set but FR: TCE.  Haven't played them but they seem as though they would be fast playing and, without the fantasy elements, would seem to give a reasonable historical based game.

Rules I would like to fit in in a fairly loose priority order of preference (I may comment on these in later posts):

  • Irregular Miniatures Ancient Rules
  • Mighty Armies
  • Age of Might and Steel
  • Fast Play Ancient Warfare
  • Basic Impetus
  • DBM100
  • Might of Arms
Rules I won't be considering (not keen on die roll for command or lots of dice - note I know this also applies to Mighty Armies and Basic Impetus):

  • DBA
  • ABC
  • Ancients D6

If I ever do get to playing with even half this number of rules, I will be content.