Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hydaspes replay number 1 - Rally Round the King

This is the first game of four replaying the Battle of Hydaspes with different rulesets.  Go to this post for background, troop descriptions, deployment and comparison to the other 3 rules.

The battle report is a bit more detailed than I would do normally do just for a report, but I needed the detail as to who did what as it helped to write the rules comparison.  I did take out about two-thirds of the detail I originally had!  It may be easier just to read the picture captions :-)
The Game
I have given Alexander a war rating of 3, Indians only 2.  Alexander is with the Companions, Porus is in a lead elephant (could be dangerous as elephants are fragile).
Bit of fire, retiring and charging between the horse archers and the Indian mounted left flank.  Very little achieved.

Indian left flank


On the Indian right flank, the Indian chariot and Elephant advance on the peltasts but nothing happens. 
The Indian archer line advanced and then halted as in range of the enemy skirmishers, but the the elephants (advancing with the same single group activation) individually continued to advance.

Porus and his elephant causes two enemy skirmishers to fire and rout, but takes a hit; continues to advance (which is converted into a charge) into phalanx line.  Note elephants are treated as foot units,not mounted, so do not automatically retire from charging a phalanx (which is what mounted have to do).  In melee the phalanx causes 2 hits; Porus causes 2 hits as well. Involved in melee test has the phalanx giving ground and Porus passing (unlucky roll for phalanx, lucky roll for Porus!).

Porus undamaged, not like the opposing pikes

Another elephant advances on the skirmishers whom fire and retire (which is a rout as they bounce into the phalanx line - skirmishers do not interpenetrate friends if retiring - they rout instead), inflicting three hits on the elephant that retires.

Elephant retires into archers
On the Macedonian left flank the horse archer fires at chariot that retires (woo-hoo - first hit scored on the Heavy chariot after all the two'ing and fro'ing).
A few hits are taken by both sides on the Indian left flank

The pike line advances.  The Hypaspists are charging an elephant (another pike stays with it in support) but the Hypaspists decide not to (pass one dice).
Another two pikes manage to charge the middle elephant that routs and goes on the rampage.  The Elephants melees the friendly unit behind it, caused some damage but they both carry on.

Rampaging elephant attacks their own sides archers

Hoplites charge the opposing elephant, no damage on either side and melee carries on into next turn.

Elephant locked in melee with hoplites

The right flank Indian chariot charges the peltasts who inflict a hit with missile fire.  Melee sees one hit taken for each side; the subsequent involved in melee test has the Peltast with the hit rout, the other stays and the chariot retires.  The remaining peltast does not pursue. 

The remaining peltast facing an heavy chariot and elephant

The Porus melee  - one hit each. Phalanx routs but so does Porus who rampages directly back.
The other rampaging elephant in melee with own side inflicts another hit and then the elephant routs permanently. 

Hypaspists finally charge the Elephant, who stands. In melee the Hypaspists inflict two hits; Elephants inflict 1 hit, melee is carried on to next turn.

Elephant ad Hypaspists locked in melee

A few Pikes charge some archers (including the one with all the hits inflicted from the rampaging elephant).  The archers manage to stand and fire back to inflict 4 hits! Pikes retire.

Pikes retiring from the archer missile fire

Hoplites Vs elephant (from last turn); elephants routs and rampages directly back into an archer, who stands and fires, inflicts a hit on the elephants that then routs again and so is removed. 
Porus and the rampaging elephant is fired at by is own side and routs again and is removed.
A pike unit routs when being fired at.
Hypaspists cause an elephant to routs  and rampage back towards an archer who fires and causes the elephant to rout again. Hypaspists pursue.
Indian cavalry charge the horse archers that fire and retire.

Near game end looking from the Indian side.  Indians still have an intact archer battleline.

The archers clean up another pike unit and a Hoplite.  They are slowly succumbing to missile fire.

The end game setup
Indian archers and the chariot charges the horse archers, one horse archer routs; the Indian cavalry routs itself while attempting to charge.
Excellent - now for the Heavy Cavalry to charge in and save the day (or that is the plan).  Horse archer moves out the way.  Thessalian cavalry and Companions (with Alex) charge the Heavy Chariot, which retires into the Heavy Cavalry coming up behind (oops).  Companions charge again, Chariot again retires but cannot and then Companion pursues into the chariot that then automatically rout (pursuing units recontacting retiring units rout them).

The Companions looking down the archer battleline from one flank.  They then roll the line.

Rolling up the line:
Next turn the Companions charge the flank of the rightmost archer unit, who rout.  Companions pursue, which is converted into a charge against the next archer unit in the line.  The archers fail the charged test, and rout.  Companions pursue and charge into the next archer unit  that pass the test but cannot fire back.  Straight to melee: both inflict a hit on each other, archers fail melee test and rout.  Companions pursue into the next archer unit...anyway, you can see where this is going - 3 archers down already.  7 to go.  Even if they do not rout others, there is the Thessalian cavalry, and the Indians are down to war rating 1 so movement is not great, and the 2 heavy cavalry units will run rings around the archers.

Play time (excluding note taking) was about 2 hours. There is only around 300 points each but the archers/Hoplites interaction really slowed it down (lots of pass 1 die for the Hoplites which resulted in them not getting into melee), and also the wings did quite a bit before I decided to involve the battlelines.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hydaspes replay and comparison with 4 fast play rules

I replayed the Battle of Hydaspes on a 2'x2' board using four different rulesets and compared how they went.  The rulesets used:
  • Rally Round the King
  • Justified Ancients
  • Fast Ancient Battles - my miniatures version of Bill Bank's Ancients board game
  • "Ancient Warrior Battles" - my homebrew solo friendly ruleset based on concepts in the above three.
WARNING: This post is the Hydaspes troop definition and deployment plus the rules discussion and DOES NOT contain battle reports.  It is longish - half is troop types, deployment and strategy and the other half comparing the mechanisms of the rules in the context of the replays.  I am writing up the battles and will post links to them here when done.

As part of Solo appreciation month - November 2011 - I thought I would quickly run through a historical replay with a few of my current favourite fast play ancient rules on a 2'x2' board. The first historical battle I ever played (non-solo) was the Battle of Hydaspes in 1995 using DBM and the Peter Sides scenario booklet as a guide. It was extremely fun.  In 1997 or so, I played Hydaspes with Bill Banks Ancients (BBA) (there is an overview, and battle report with BBA here), and it was also great fun. I then played it with DBA, and it was not so much fun. And then with Intro Armati (one of my favourite rules) on a 2'x2' board - fun but not fast.  This started me down the path of trying to write a set of fast play miniature rules that played on a 2'x2' table and was loosely based on BBA.  I have only recently got to a stage where I am happy with the current draft of the rules I have written.  In the meantime, a few years ago, I started searching for a set of fast play ancients rules for playing on a 2'x2' table.  My current favourites from the range of published rules are Rally Round the King and Justified Ancients (the latter with some of my house rules). It has been 16 years since I've played Hydaspes; as it got me started on the journey of small table play, why not replay it with the current crop of rules in the toolkit?  So I have.  But rather than just using the two mentioned, I will also play with my current draft of Fast Ancient Battles rules (FAB) - it is similar enough to BBA that if you know BBA you will get how FAB works.
Three is never enough so there is a fourth I am using. All except RRtK are not designed for solo play and I really like the elegance of some mechanisms in JA and FAB. So I took my Fast Ancient Battles, added in from Justified Ancients the order concept and close combat results, and then integrated it with the concept of reaction tables for firing, charging and proximity from RRtK (although the reactions results are different as they align to FAB and JA).  While it may sound like Frankenstein's monster, it is not really a collection of mechanisms from different rules bolted together, but really an integrated ruleset built from the ground up using concepts from the three other rules, rather than simply knocking it all together.  The working title is Ancient Warrior Battles.  I've played a few games with it already and am still tinkering but it is close to finishing.  I will use these four rules and compare them to each other in the post.  I bit like what I did here after the Callinicum replays.
The Battle of Hydaspes was fought when Alexander the Great reached the Indian subcontinent and brought to battle King Porus.  It was a long and close fight.  The Wikipedia entry has a decent write up of the battle.  I am going to be guided by the Peter Sides Hydaspes scenario for deployment.  Troop types will be influenced by the scenario description and also the army lists for the rules.
Rules Used
Rally Round the King (RRtK)
Fantastic ruleset, great for solo play.  Read a great review here.  Buy it here.  Most popular replay I've ever posted here.  I tend to play with the original Warrior King rules (read my review and also a replay) that are mostly similar, but I replace the Warrior Kings reaction tables with those from RRtK.  For a 2'x2' table, I reduce the distances and move rates by about a third.
Justified Ancients (JA)
Have gone through various like/love/ambivalent phases with these rules - the mechanisms are so simple and yet very elegant.  However, I've ended up with some house rules and clarifications that have propelled JA to be up there with RRtK for my fast play fun on 2'x2'.  Here are two replays of Heraclea with JA: replay 1; replay 2.

Fast Ancient Battles
Bill Bank's Ancients is a great simple Ancients board game.  Out of print but there is a new much improved version out there, but it is a different game to the original.  They are both good but I happen to prefer the simplicity of the original.  Fast Ancient Battles is an interpretation of BBA into miniatures.  It is similar, except mounted units have a charge bonus rather than large combat values, the odds-based CRT is replaced with the JP Kelly proposed die roll rule (works similar to the CRT but instead of  halving and doubling and comparing odds, add or subtract 2 to a die roll with this result: -1 or less=AE, 1=AD, 2-5=M, 6=DD, 8+=DE).  If you know BBA, FAB plays very similar. There is an overview and a replay of Callinicum I did using BBA here.

Ancient Warrior Battles
Movement in basewidths, troops classified similar to BBA but also have light, medium, heavy armour and close, loose, skirmish order as per JA.  Orders are rolled for and given to groups or individual units.  Units are either disordered or depleted or destroyed (as per JA).  If fired-on, a unit undertakes a test to see if disordered or depleted and if they evade or retreat.  Units charged take a test to see if they evade or retreat.  A unit may need to take a proximity test if an enemy gets close (similar to enemy threat in RRtK).  Melee results are similar to JA. Units test for pursuit.  A solo friendly version of JA. Have only played a few times with them so needs a bit more testing.
Luckily the deployment and bases in each game will be the same.  Each base is 40mm wide with 15mm miniatures and adheres to the WRG standard. Here is the breakdown I am using for the scenario:
5 Phalangites
1 Hypaspists
1 Greek Hoplites
1 Companions
1 Thessalian heavy cavalry
2 Horse archers
2 Peltasts
6 Skirmishers with javelins, bows and slings
4 elephants
10 Heavy archers
2 Heavy chariots
2 Medium cavalry
Converting Troops to the rules



Foot, Melee, Pike, AC2, REP4, 4 figs
Foot, CO, Light Armour, Phalanx, Trained Phalanx Heavy Infantry, Phalanx, Light Armour
Hydaspists Foot, Melee, Pike, AC2, REP5, 4 figs Foot, CO, Light Armour, Phalanx, High Morale, Trained Phalanx, High Fortitude
Heavy Infantry, Phalanx, Light Armour, High Fortitude

Foot, Melee, AC4, REP4, 4 figs
Foot, CO, Heavy Armour, Phalanx, Trained
Heavy Infantry, Phalanx, Heavy Armour

Mounted, Melee, AC4, REP 6, 3 figs Horse, LO, Heavy Armour, High Morale, Trained Heavy Cavalry, High Fortitude Heavy Cavalry, Heavy Armour, High Fortitude


Mounted, Melee, AC2, REP 4, 3 figs

Horse, LO, Heavy Armour
, Trained

Heavy Cavalry

Heavy Cavalry, Heavy Armour

Horse archers

Mounted, Skirmish, AC2, REP4, 2 figs
Horse, LO, Light Armour, Missile, Untrained Light Cavalry, Bow Light Cavalry, Light Armour, Bow

Foot, Melee, Dual-armed, AC2, REP4, 3 figs Foot, LO, Light Armour, Missile (Javelin), Trained Light Infantry, javelins Light Infantry, Light Armour.

Foot, Skirmish, AC2, REP4, 2 figs Foot, Skirmish, Light Armour, Missile (Jav, bow, sling), Untrained Skirmish Infantry, Javelins, Bow, Sling Skirmish Infantry, Light Armour, Javelins, Bow, Sling




Elephant, Foot, Melee, Terror, AC2, REP5, 1 fig
Elephant, LO, Heavy Armour, Untrained Elephant Elephant, Heavy Armour

Foot, Missile, AC2, REP4, 4 figs Foot, CO, Light Armour, Missile, Untrained Heavy Archer Heavy Archer, Light Armour


Mounted, Melee, Dual-armed, AC4, REP5, 1 fig
Chariot, LO, Light Armour, Trained Heavy Chariot
Heavy Chariot, Light Armour

Mounted, Melee, AC2, REP3, 3 figs
Horse, LO, Light Armour, Poor, Untrained
Heavy Cavalry, Low Fortitude
Heavy Cavalry, Light Armour, Low Fortitude

Some comments on troop classifications
In FAB and AWB, there is a concept of fortitude which is a measure of training, morale, staying power etc.  This affects combat.  Units are either high, average or low fortitude with the default being average. And to be fair to Justified Ancients seeming a bit long winded for description, in Ancient Warrior Battles (that is loosely based on JA), a Heavy Archer is classified as "CO, Missile", but Heavy Archer is more evocative.  Troops types in Ancient Warrior Battles match the most common found in Ancient rules, but there is no "medium category".  Much the same could be done with RRtK e.g. define Heavy Cavalry as "Mounted Melee, AC2, 3 figs".

Indian Infantry - how best to represent them?  They are archers and good at melee.  DBM got round this by making a special bow type - Bow(X), Armati has them as Heavy Infantry with bows, RRtK splits them up into Melee units and Missile units, as does the Peter Sides troop descriptions.  For all replays I have gone for a single troop type - Missile/Heavy Archer.  This categorisation may impact them in melee as Archers do not last long in combat in any set but we shall see. Note that in RRtK, Indian Archers are undisciplined, a characteristic that did not exist in Warrior Kings.  I like the introduction of the undisciplined characteristic in RRtK and I would use it if playing full size RRtK; but for this replay, I will not use it (only so play is slightly streamlined).
Indian elephants - in JA house rules, I have clarified that elephants are LO with Medium armour.  Due to the effect they had on the Macedonian Phalangites, I have given them Heavy Armour.  I was also tempted to given them high fortitude in FAB and AWB (they have REP5 in RRtK) as they seemed to last a while in the battle.  But I'll see how they go.  Elephants in RRtK are very touch and go - sometimes they do great things, sometimes they just fizzle.  I like that representation.

Deployment used in all games

Macedonian army

Indian army


Minor change
I have made one change from the Peter Sides scenario.  In the book, the elephants and archers are in one long line - on a 2x2 table, this would have an elephant, then 2 archers, then an elephant etc.  I have made one long line of archers, and then put the elephants in front on the archer line (but still touching). I believe this worked better in the replays. 

I will attempt to follow the same strategy, which loosely follows the actual battle, in each of the four replays.

Use the right flank horse archers to break or at least damage the opposing cavalry and heavy chariot.  Use the skirmish line to block the enemy archery, and rout as many of the elephants as possible. The Phalangites and Hoplites will then enter into combat with the archers while the Companion and Thessalian cavalry rout the softened up cavalry/chariot and then attack the archers from the flank.  The peltasts will hold the left flank.

The right flank cavalry unit will about face and move behind the archers to the left flank to bolster it.  The elephants and archers will advance, the elephants faster than the archers, in the hope of engaging with the enemy battleline and routing it.  The left flank cavalry and chariot will attempt to protect the flank of the archers/elephants.  Lastly, the right flank chariot will engage with the opposing peltasts in the hope of opening up that flank.

Replays Summary

Note I will post links to more detailed replays once I have written them up - Game two to four before the end of January.  

Game 1 - Rally Round the King - see this blog post for more detailed writeup

This game actually went most to plan.  The horse archers managed to inflict some hits on the cavalry and chariots.  The elephants charged into the skirmishers and pikes, causing some damage but eventually getting swept away. The pikes took a lot of damage from the archers with only a few pikes or Hoplites getting into melee with the archers - most were shot up pretty badly.  But then the Companions and Thessalians routed the opposing cavalry and chariot, and the Companions hit the archer line in the flank, and proceeded to roll up three of them, one after the other. Most of the Macedonian heavy infantry had gone, but with two heavy cavalry units behind and to the flank of the archers, I called it for the Macedonians.  Oh, and the chariot got beat up by the peltasts, and it ended up being a stand-off on that flank.

Highlight: The rolling up of the archer line by the Companions.

Alexander and Companions on the archers flank

Game 2 - Fully Justified Ancients see this blog post for the writeup

Mostly to plan.  The horse archers depleted the Indian cavalry, the elephants did disrupt the skirmisher and pike units before going under.  The pikes and hoplites got stuck into the archers, but due to the pikes and hoplites being disordered it was a bit static.  The Companions and Thessalians charged the cavalry and chariots and caused then to rout.  The Indian right flank heavy chariot never passed a single charge order and so that flank was static.   The Macedonians broke half of the Indian units before the Companions had a chance to roll up the archers.  And as I was playing that 50% was the end of the game, I called it a victory for Alexander.  The Macedonians were only two units away from 50% loss as well.
Highlight: a centre elephant charges a skirmisher that flees, charges a Phalangite unit that flees, elephant pursue, pikes routs and elephants pursues off the board - the elephant was like a knife thorough butter!

Elephant pursuing a phalangite unit that it subsequently disperses

Game 3 - Fast Ancient Battles (aka Bill Bank's Ancients) see this blog post for more detailed writeup

This game did not really go the same way as the others.   The horse archers disordered the cavalry, but failed to evade and were destroyed by a charge. While the right flank Indian cavalry made it around the back of the line, it was then immediately destroyed by advancing companions.  Porus was destroyed early on, and with no general the Indians were hard pressed to get an advantage as all their units are less formidable than the Macedonians.  Also, with command and control rules being group based, losing the general meant moving only one group a turn.  On the battleline clash, the elephants did a bit of damage and so did the archers.  But once combat was entered, disordered phalanx were still better than disordered heavy archers, and the latter began to fall and then the breakpoint of the Indians was reached.
Highlight - first general lost test of the game sees Porus leaving the battle.

The elephant that did have Porus (green bush is disorder marker)

Game 4 - (Homebrew) Ancient Warrior Battles see this blog post for more detailed writeup

The horse archers managed to make a cavalry unit retreat off the board.  The elephants did some damage to the pikes and hoplites.  In some freak dice rolling, an elephant managed to rout the Hypaspists and break though.  The Thessalian cavalry intervened but again, very bad dice rolling by the Thessalians saw them retreat.  The Companions finished off the chariots that were damaged by the horse archers.   While this was going on, the damaged pike line contacted the archers and managed to rout quite a few of them for little close combat damage in return.  An elephant and chariot of the Indian right flank routed the peltasts.  After the battleline fight,  the Indians reach 50% losses and so I ended the game. 
Highlight: Elephant (with Porus) routing the Hypaspists (very lucky die rolling) and then forcing the Thessalians to retreat through more very lucky die rolling.

Elephant facing the depleted Hypaspists that they subsequently disperse

Random Observations
Firstly, which one did I enjoy the most?  Ancient Warrior Battles - fast, not too much die rolling and a great historical feel.  But of course I would say that as I wrote them!  But then, the replay I enjoyed the least was Fast Ancient Battles, and I wrote them too.  Justified Ancients was the second most enjoyable, followed closely by Rally Round the King.  The three I enjoyed the most (JA, RRtK and AWB) were all fun, while Fast Ancient Battles trailled into just being OK.
I think RRtK was the least of the three, and only just less, as it took longer than JA and AWB, and also had a lot of dice rolling compared to the other rules.

Horse archers
These were the first part of the game so will discuss them here. RRtK handles them very well - fire to inflict possible damage but in themselves will be forced to retire and suffer hits themselves, eventually routing.  But not before likely inflicting hits on the opposing units, and so making them more susceptible to routing. JA is quite different as, to quote the author, "ancient shooting is pants".  Against loose-order mounted, there is a 1/6 chance of a damaging result, and if heavy mounted (like the Indian chariot), no chance of damage - just pushbacks.  But the archers themselves are hard to rout as well - they will evade back there full distance and will only die if you can get them in the same turn with another unit. Ancient Warrior Battles has the archers as a bit more formidable on inflicting damage, and are easily destroyed in combat - when they evade they are disordered, and if contacted again they are destroyed. Ancient Warrior Battles is mostly like Justified Ancients but better at evading.

Command and Control
RRtK was the only game with the general permanently with a unit (aka DBA). It has the concept of war ratings (I gave 3 to Alexander and 2 to Porus) that indicates how many gorups you may activate a turn.  However, once activated, a group must continue to move and this requires no activation.  However, groups will stop to fire, and also as a result of reaction tests.  In a rematch, I would give Alexander a war rating of 2 and Porus a war rating of 1. During the game, there was not enough activations available that helped focus what to do each turn.
Both JA and Ancient Warrior Battles have similar control systems - roll for orders to a unit or a group.  I made Alexander a +2 general (+2 to the order die) and Porus +0.  This actually meant it was hard for the Macedonians to fail most order rolls (+2 is very good) and the Indians would fail many.  I would change Alexander to a +1 in a future replay.   This game a good lack of total control to the game.
Fast Ancient Battles uses group activation, with the number of groups able to be moved equal to the number of generals, plus one.  I gave the Macedonians 3 generals and the Indians 1.  In the game, Porus died early which halved (from 2 to 1) the number of activations per turn.  Even when the Macedonians lost a general, this reduced activations from 4 to 3, not as big a loss.  Using activations really helped focus on what to move, which is also why DBA is a tense game.  In a replay, I would only give the Macedonians 2 generals, and also take Porus out of combat for the first few turns - the activations are really important early on. 

Elephants in Rally Round the King are unpredictable - while strong initially they can be quite brittle - they are always outnumbered in melee. Being treated as foot rather than mounted really helps show the difference of elephants.  And then when they rout they rampage - normally straight back into their own lines. Elephants are REP5 (one above average) and they need this to offset always being outnumbered and survive a bit of missile fire. In Fast Ancient Battles, Elephants have a really good combat bonus.  Combine this with the fact FAB only has two hits to destroy a enemy, and the Elephants are quite powerful.  For the game and their effect, their should really have been only 2 or 3 rather than 4 on the battlefield.  Justified Ancients and Ancient Warrior Battles treat elephants the same - they have a good combat bonus (+2 compared to the normal unit, and +2 when charging non-phalanx foot units) but a bad dice roll will see them off, and after the first round of combat they lose the charge bonus.  FAB treats elephants as very strong combat units while the others seem to have them powerful, but not too powerful.

Phalanx Vs Heavy Archers
In RRtK, a phalanx unit will generally survive getting into melee with a heavy archer, but be severely mauled due to its low armour class (AC2).  Hoplites fair a lot better with AC4.  An archer is -1 in melee, and a phalanx is +2.  Also archers, as missile units, suffer much worse results when not passing two dice (compared to the phalanx).  So if they can get into melee, the phalanx unit generally wins but has a few hits from the missile fire getting there.  Generally.
In Fast Ancient Battles, archers are poor fighters, and very poor if disordered.  Phalanx units are exceptional fighters when undisordered and poor when disordered (worse than undisordered archers but better than disordered archers).  Archers have a 1 in 6 chance of disordering a phalanx and have two chances to do so while the phalanx in moving in.  So the battleline clash comes down to how many phalanx units can get disordered and so be poor in combat.
JA and Ancient Warrior Battles are similar - Phalanx are great when undisordered (+1 in melee) and -1 when disordered.  Archers are -1 in combat, and additionally -1 when disordered.  Also, archers may retreat when charged in AWB (similar to RRtK).  So, if the archers can disorder the phalanx, they have a chance in close combat, if they don't, they are likely to die.  Overall, I like RRtK and AWB treats the interaction, JA slightly less so, and Fast Ancients battles is still good, but not as much as the others.  Partly Fast ancient Battles suffers as it only  has one damage result - disordered - and so does not quite have the nuances available in the other rules for different damage results.

Overall feel
Rally Round the King is very chaotic but still fun.  For some reason in this round of replays, I really noticed the amount of dice rolling I was doing in the game.  It is a great game to solo as many tactical decisions are out of your hands - you need to concentrate on the big picture stuff.
Justified Ancients have simple but subtle mechanics and, as I mentioned before, I've grown to really like these rules.  Although for Justified Ancients I had to make tactical decisions and the units movement rates are the slowest of all the rules (equivalent to DBA 1 and 2), the game played smoothly and was fun and suited my version of history.
Fast Ancient Battles was the fastest.  The game hinges on pinning units down in melee - melee is optional after the first engagement so you will only do it is there is an advantage to do so, and with only a marginal advantage, most results see combat continuing for another turn.
Ancient Warrior Battles takes the simple mechanics of Justified Ancients and then adds in some action tests where normally the player would have to make a decision (what to do when fired on and when charged) to make the game solo friendly. I wrote them and really liked the way it played - not too much die rolling with the fun and "historicity" of Justified Ancients. 

I liked Ancient Warrior Battles the most, followed closely by Justified Ancients (with my house rules) and Rally Round the King.  Fast Ancient Battles (aka my miniatures interpretation of Bill Banks Ancients) was still good, but not as the rest.  Scoring out of 10 on the combined historical and fun factor scale: AWB: 10, JA and RRTK 9, FAB 7. IMHO of course.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Heraclea replay with Justified Ancients take 2

I enjoyed my first game of Heraclea with Justified Ancients so much that I wanted to incorporate the house rules I created into another game.  I have written up the house rules I used for this second game:

click here for the blog post with house rules

I think I will be playing a bit more of JA with this house rules.  It has currently become equal favourite rules for solo 2'x2', along with Rally Round the King (also with some minor tweaking for a 2'x2' board).
One thing I noticed on re-reading the rules is that chargers conform to the targets base but do not need to line up corner to corner (as per DBx and Fantasy Rules! for example).  In the example turn in the rules, there is one unit that charges and melees with two units. The issue of lining up corner to corner was something I mentioned in my Callinicum replay that I would like to get rid of.  And there it was in the rules all the time!  Of course, it may not be what the author intended, but one unit being able to combat two is certainly in the old JA forum posts as well.
4 Leves: Trained Skirmish light foot, javelin
4 Hastati/Principes: CO Trained Heavy foot, javelin
2 Triarii: CO Trained Heavy foot, high morale
1 Light Infantry: LO Untrained Light foot, javelin
2 Heavy Cavalry: LO Trained Heavy Horse
1 Light Cavalry: Trained Skirmish Light Horse, javelin
1 General with +0 order bonus
CO = Close Order
LO = Loose Order
1 Hypaspist: CO Trained medium foot, phalanx, high morale
3 Pikemen: CO Trained medium foot, phalanx
1 Hoplite:CO Trained heavy foot, phalanx
1 Light Infantry: LO Untrained light foot, javelin
1 Skirmisher:Untrained Skirmisher foot, bow
1 Slingers: Untrained Skirmisher foot, sling (treat as bow)
1 Agema: LO Trained Heavy Horse, high morale
1 Light cavalry: Trained Skirmish light horse, javelin
1 Elephant: Elephant - LO medium.
1 General with +1 order bonus
See deployment description and here is a photo:

Deployment - Roman at the bottom, Epirots at the top


Romans and Epirot both advance their centre.  Triarii wheel to the right, while the right Roman Heavy Cavalry stay in place.

Agema and elephant advance

Agema (with Pyrrhus) and elephant

The pikes charge the Leves who fire and evade.

Pikes advancing on the Leves

The pike continue the charge and contact the lone Leves, which must stand and is dispersed.  The pike is forced to pursue and does so into two legionary units. The next turn the legionaries push back the pike.  Legionaries don't pursue as it make them contact other pikes.

Pike unit pursues evading Leves into some Legionaries (brown marker is disorder)

The elephants and Agema charge the heavy cavalry but things go differently - only managed a pushback.  Note with the "new" rule of not doing corner to corner alignment, I did the elephant melee first and it could not followup as it was also in contact with the other heavy cavalry.

Agema pursues pushed-back Heavy cavalry

Agema just keeps pushing Roman cavalry back.  Elephant out for a turn as fatigued so cannot charge and my "zone of control" rules prevents it from moving away.

Agema keeps pushing back the opposing cavalry

Triarii manage to charge Elephant and it flees.  Elephant manages to reform next turn.

Fleeing elephant (with a depleted, disordered and fatigued marker)

Triarii and Roman Heavy cavalry fail order rolls for next turn and cannot take advantage of the elephants leaving.  Damn.

The Hoplite and adjacent pike manage to pushback one Legionary unit and cause another to flee, but the other two Legionary units charge and disorder the pikes.  In the Roman turn, the Legionaries manage to cause the Hypaspists to flee.

The Blue-shielded Romans manage to get the the Hypaspists to flee.
Then lots of failed orders to move or reface or charge.  And lots of combat rolls that are separated by 1 that results in lots of pushbacks without much else.  Then suddenly in two turns a spate of a roll of 1 on one side and a 3 on the other.  This resulted in 4 fleeing units, which were subsequently pursued and then dispersed.  Wow.  4 turns of back and forth, and then 2 turns of death..and the Romans reach their breakpoint and the Epirot wins.

Hoplite cause Triarii to flee

The victorious Hoplites.

Victorious elephant (that had stopped fleeing) causes Triarii to flee into Hoplite and is dispersed.

Victorious elephant.

Agema causes Roman heavy cavalry to flee and after subsequent pursuit is destroyed.

Victorious Agema

Roman legionary causes Pike to flee and then after a subsequent pursuit is destroyed.

Roman Legionary and Laevinus

End game:

End of game - hard to tell but Romans started on at the bottom, Epirots at the top.
With the house rules above, I really really like Justified Ancients.  It gives a fast, fun game with a lot of my interpretation of historical feel.  One day I may get some example army lists together.  For now, Justified Ancients with house rules is up there with Rally Round the King as my preferred choice for fast play ancients on a 2'x2' table.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shaun’s 'Fully’ Justified Ancients House Rules


These are the Justified Ancients house rules (I call the combined set fully justified). I’ve been playing with for a while. In 2007, John Davis produced a great list of house rules for Justified Ancients.  Some of those house rules have made it into here.
I did originally change the game quite a bit but realised I was heading down the path of writing a very different game.   I’ve gone back to basics and just added or clarified some things to the original Justified Ancients.  A big thanks to Pete Blockley for writing Justified Ancients in the first place – the mechanics in the game work are simple but subtle and deliver a very good game.  Go buy them (available at  Even without any house rules, they are great.  It may seem like there are a lot of house rules but mostly it is clarifications, adding in omissions, and then lastly some tweaking.

The house rules can also be downloaded in PDF format (the link opens the pdf file) and there is also a 1 page QRS in PDF format too for the house rules too.
I play all my games on a 2’x2’ table with basing similar to DBx, rather than those suggested in the rules:
·         Cavalry 4cm width x 3cm depth
·         Foot 4cm width x 2cm depth
·         Chariots and Elephants 4cm width x 4cm depth.
Units: Classification
Units are either trained or untrained.  There are not three levels of training (which is implied by the example of play at the end of the rules).

Missile is a special trait, not a level of training as the rules may infer (but is not actually the case).  All skirmishers are missile units and any other units that are primarily archers and not trained for melee e.g. Egyptian archers.

Javelin special trait: change all skirmishers are armed with javelins to all skirmishers are armed with bow, sling or javelin.  Others, such as most LO foot and Roman legionaries, may be armed with Javelin.  Replace “Javelins may only be used to receive and fire” to Javelin armed skirmishers and LO may fire them when charged or charging or at 1”. CO may only fire then when charged or charging.
Skirmishers are armed with a bow (missile) or javelin.  Bows have the normal range of 3”.  A javelin armed skirmisher is slightly better in combat melee than a bow armed skirmisher.  In the rules, a javelin armed unit, skirmisher or otherwise, can only fire if charged – either receive and fire or an evade.  So skirmishers with javelins could never offensively use javelins, and neither could LO foot (who are mostly armed with javelins) or other javelin-armed units such as legionaries.  So I have included the fact that anyone armed with javelins can throw them in the first round of melee or at 1” range – to force the opponent to do something.
New trait: Bow. Bow units are non-missile units armed with a bow.  Both missile and melee capable e.g.  Persian Immortals, Byzantine Cavalry.
This allows differentiation in melee for those units that were primarily archers compared to those mixed unit or units trained for both missile and melee.
Treat slings as bows.
If you want rules for crossbow and longbows then use the following:
·         Crossbows ignore the -1 for heavy units when firing.
·         Longbows ignore all modifiers except the -1 for cover, and then use the modifer +1 against any target.

Elephants are untrained LO troops. Armour is medium.
This makes it clear what the melee modifiers and movement rate for elephants are.
For non-historical scenarios, I use a deployment of anywhere from your base edge to 8” from the base edge (i.e. there is a no man’s land of 8” in the centre).  Also, no unit can deploy closer than 2” from the side edges.
Terrain definitions did not appear much in the game.  Following is the quick guide to how I define terrain types:
  • Woods, towns, steep hills, rough ground, streams, fords and bridges are counted as difficult terrain.
  • Visibility in woods is 2”.  Units in front edge contact with woods and towns can see and fire normally outside the woods.
  • Gentle hills only block line of sight and do not count as difficult terrain but units can count as uphill for melee.
  • Rivers are impassable except at fords and bridges.
Sequence of Play
This is a bit of a change.  Each unit runs through the sequence of play before moving onto the next unit.  Once a player has finished ordering his units, the other player then runs through the sequence of play, one unit at a time.  Units that are charging are always done first before moving onto other units.
I found this speeds up the game trying to remember who charged etc for fatigue is easier when it the entire sequence is done unit by unit.  Also, Peter suggested it after I posted a replay using the rules

This does have implications when 2 units are in frontal contact with one unit.  If it is the single unit’s turn, then roll a die for that unit and for the two opposing units and apply the best results  If the two units charged as a group into contact, then roll a D3 for all three and pick the best result.  If a unit charges into contact with a unit that is already in contact with another friendly unit, do the melees separately.  If already in melee, do them all separately.

Single units are -1 to the orders roll. The -1 can be avoided by ordering a group.  A group is one or more units that are in edge to edge contact. Groups are defined when rolling for orders.  The order is given to the entire group that then moves.  If some units of the group fail the roll (for example, they may have different training), then only move the units that passed the orders roll.  The distance from the general is measured to the nearest unit of the group.  There is no requirement for units in edge to edge contact to be ordered as a group – they may be ordered as individual units, or smaller groups.
This helps force the player to keep the unit together a little bit rather than all of them going everywhere, without imposing too much of a restriction.

If the general is lost, replace with a new general at -2 to the command rating of the original general.  If you lose any more, just keep replacing with another general with a -3 command rating.
A move is either straight ahead or a wheel of up to 45 degrees and then a straight move.
If wheeling a group of units, the front units must all have their front edges aligned in a row - Groups not in corner to corner contact cannot wheel.

The flee action as defined is a reaction, not an action.  However, to allow for breakoffs, any unit can flee as an action, whether in melee or not.  A fleeing unit is disordered, depleted and fatigued.  Note a fleeing unit about faces at the start of the flee.  The order roll for the flee is 3+.
Skirmishers can evade as an action but must move away from enemy units.  The evade occurs just like the reaction.  Order roll for the evade is 1+.  Skirmishers maintain the same facing when evading.
Heavy CO foot do not get the -1 for being heavy.  Currently Heavy CO foot move 1” which slows the game down immensely.
The +1 for charging and fleeing also applies for pursuing (but still not for evading).  Similar units e.g. CO heavy foot Vs CO heavy foot should be able to pursue and catch the fleeing enemy.

Skirmishers may perform an about face (at no movement cost) as part of a move before or after wheeling.

Generals move 12”.  They do not have to remain attached to a unit. They may detach and reattach to a unit in a turn.  A general is dispersed if the unit it is attached to is dispersed. An unattached general cannot be targeted by missile fire or be charged.  If the centre of the general base is moved through by an enemy unit, then the moving player can place the general anywhere on the table.  A detached or detaching general moves either first or last in a turn.  If the general stays attached to the unit, it moves with that unit at anytime during the turn. A general may end up moving more than 12” if it moves and then attaches to a unit that then moves.  This is fine.

Every unit has a 4cm square “zone of control (ZOC)” that extends to its front, except skirmisher foot.  An enemy unit cannot enter and leave an enemy ZOC in the same move.  A unit in an enemy ZOC can only stay in place, charge the enemy or leave the ZOC.
Most games have a similar concept – it stops units moving across the front of an enemy – something they would not normally do.
Cataphracts are defined as any CO Heavy cavalry.
While Cataphracts are referred to, they are not defined.

Skirmishers and LO foot with javelins can fire at a range of 1”, or any unit with javelins that charged and is in contact with an enemy unit to its front.

A unit that charges but does not contact the target due to a push back from missile fire is not fatigued.  It is deemed not to have charged as it did not get into contact.  Non-pushed backed units that charge a unit that evades or flees are fatigued. 
I found in the games I played that cavalry would charge units that fired at them as a reaction, 30%-50% chance they were pushed back.  As they charged, they were fatigued.  Next turn, they were fired at again with a possible disorder and fatigue removed at the end of that turn.  It is only the turn after (2 turns later) they have a chance to charge again, with a 30%-50% chance of being pushed back again.  The change I am proposing means they can have another go at charging the turn after, rather than waiting another turn.

Missiles can only fire 1” (javelins only on contact) in difficult terrain.  This includes steep hills, rough, towns and woods.
Close Combat
Delete Enemy are Skirmishers or Missile only Troops 2

Add Enemy are Skirmishers 2

Add Enemy are Missile troops, not armed with javelin 1
Skirmishers are classed as missile troops (and so are generally attacked with a 3) while javelin-armed skirmishers will only be attacked with a 2. This makes skirmishers very fragile, as they should be.  Missile units are now only slightly worse off than their equivalent melee counterparts. And javelin armed skirmishers are better off than bow armed ones.

Change charging 1 to Non-skirmisher Horse or Chariot charging foot 2

Delete the Horse Vs Foot 1 modifier

Delete the Chariot charging formed foot 1 modifier
I have never liked the concept in rules of charges and countercharges.  At the level of the game, and in my interpretation of events, a unit adopts the best pose for it – infantry would receive or counter charge, depending on what was happening.  But Cavalry should have a first turn bonus when attacking foot troops, in the hope of running them down.

Change Berserkers charging 1 to Berserkers changing foot 2
Similar reasoning as above.

Add in uphill or defending stakes or in fortifications +1
Any terrain benefits like this were not in the rules.

Change Formed CO vs. LO: 1 to CO vs. LO: 1
Disordered CO units should still be able to hold their own against LO units.

Change Formed phalanx fighting to front vs. horse/chariotry/elephantry 2 to 1.
Change non-phalanx attacking Phalanx to front -1 to non-phalanx attacking formed Phalanx to front -1
This makes a phalanx better against other foot, and also makes them even better against mounted units.  Charging cavalry will normally be at -1 Vs a formed phalanx (+2 charging, -1 CO Vs LO, -1 formed phalanx to front Vs any, -1  horse Vs formed phalanx to front).

Delete Elephant vs. formed foot: 1
By defining elephants as LO, CO foot will get a +1 Vs elephants.  With their +3 base melee value, elephants are still very powerful against enemy foot.

Change Skirmishers in difficult terrain 1 to Foot Skirmishers and LO foot in difficult terrain 2
Only skirmisher and LO foot should receive a bonus for being in difficult terrain.  The increase is to account for the +2 received against skirmishers.

Flank attack clarification: A unit is on the enemy’s flank when the unit’s front edge contacts the enemy’s flank edge (not corner) at 90o or more from the enemy unit’s front edge. If the unit contacted at less than 90 o, it is counted as a normal frontal attack. Regardless, to conform, align the charging unit so the front edge corner is touching the enemy front edge corner.

Rear attack clarification: A unit is on the enemy’s rear when the unit’s front edge contacts any part of the enemy units’ rear edge (but not corner).

Fleeing distance clarification: For fleeing, I about face the unit and then measure the full move distance.  The turn is not counted as part of the move distance.


Skirmisher foot take only one depletion before being destroyed.
I like my skirmishers brittle, if you have not guessed by now.  Once they have done there initial job of harassing or screening, they should cease having a purpose.

Skirmishers are also depleted by interpenetration (like LO).
This means interpenetrated skirmishers will be dispersed.

CO units interpenetrated by elephants are also depleted.

Interpenetration applies to both the unit interpenetrating, and the unit being interpenetrated.
This is not clear in the rules, but is occurs in the example.

Any unit that is charging or pursuing and wins the melee by 2 or more must pursue, unless the general is attached to the unit.
In the rules, no unit is ever forced to pursue except berserkers.  This rule (from John Davis’s experimental rules) attempts to redress this fact.

Pushbacks are not in base depths.  In the rules, all base depths for 15mm are 2cm, except chariots that are 6cm.  So, all pushbacks are 1”, except Chariots and elephants that are 2”.

Ending the game
Ending is game is not defined in the rules. While there is no right answer, I use breakpoints.  When an army has lost units that add up to 50% or more of its breakpoint, it has lost.  The army breakpoint is worked out as follows:
Skirmisher Foot: 0
Other skirmishers: 1
Non-skirmisher cavalry and chariots: 2
LO foot: 1
CO foot: 2
Elephants: 2

Baggage, if present, is not included in working out the army breakpoint but counts as 2 lost for working out losses.  The general is the same – not included in working out the army breakpoint but counts as 2 lost for working out losses.  Each general lost counts as 2 lost.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Heraclea replay with Justified Ancients

My next ruleset I was going to try replaying Heraclea with was Crusader Ancient Rules.  But I haven't finished reading and digesting them.  So, I am going to give Justified Ancients a go.  With the last replay I did for Callinicum with JA, I still wasn't sure I liked them.  But I have been musing over them for the last year and think I have a plan.
The slight changes
Rather than changing the game wholesale,  I will play Justified Ancients with most of the John Davis House rules and the following minor amendments.  Note I am collecting these into a document that I will publish soon.
  • Single units are -1 to the orders roll. the -1 can be avoided by ordering a group.  A group is one or more units that are in edge to edge contact. Groups are defined when rolling for orders. I discussed this in the comments in the Callinicum replay.  Author does not mind this.
  • Any unit with one or more adjacent friendly units (non-skirmishers in edge contact beside or behind it and not contacted) gets +1 for melee.  Only +1, even with 2 or 3 adjacent.  This seems OK by the author. Note: after this game I do not recommend this rule.  After re-reading the rules, units don't have to line up corner-to-corner (they do have to line up edge to edge) and so two units can melee with one unit While this is not the same as +1, it does give more of a chance of a poor result..
  • Each unit/group does its entire turn before moving onto the next group - so do orders, move, missile, melee for each group.  This was also a suggestion from the author.
  • A unit that charges but does not contact the target due to a push back from missile fire is not fatigued.  It is deemed not to have charged as it did not get into contact.  Non-pushed backed units that charge a unit that evades or flees are fatigued.  I found in the games I played that cavalry would charge units that then fired at them as a reaction with a 30%-50% chance they were pushed back.  Because the cavalry charged, they were fatigued.  Next turn, they cannot charge (due to being fatigued) and then were fired at again with a possible pushback, and then fatigue removed at the end of that turn.  It is only the turn after (2 turns later) they have a chance to charge again, with a 30%-50% chance of being pushed back again.  The change I am proposing means they can have another go at charging the turn after, rather than waiting another turn.
  • Units are either trained or untrained.  There is no third training level between trained and untrained.
  • The largest change is around charging - The Charging combat bonus is only for Mounted (cavalry and chariot) charging any foot; and the bonus is +2, not +1.  This is to give cavalry the impact charge against infantry.  Otherwise, I assume that charged units would countercharge if it to their benefit. Also, Berserkers, for the same reason, get +2 to charge against infantry only.
  • Any Vs skirmishers is +2, not +1 as in John's changes.  I really think skirmishers should be fragile.  And on that note: Skirmisher foot take only one depletion before being destroyed.
  • I will use John's experimental rules than any winning side that wins by 2 or more and charged must pursue.
  • In the rules, the base depths for all but chariots are 2cm (Chariots are 6cm).  So when the rules say to be pushed back a base depth, I will do 1" (as the rest of the rules are in inches), except Chariots and Elephants will be 2".
  • Skirmisher and LO infantry javelins will have a range of 1".  This will allow skirmishers to actually have a chance to damage opposing units, otherwise they - enemy units - just sit there and do nothing. 
  • Lastly, there are no breakoff rules, so while John's house rules have a skirmisher can evade as a normal move on an order roll 1+, ANY unit can flee (with all the downsides of a flee) on a order roll a 3+.
4 Leves: Trained Skirmish light infantry, javelin
4 Hastati/Principes: CO Trained Heavy Infantry, javelin
2 Triarii: CO Trained Heavy Infantry, high morale
1 Light Infantry: LO Untrained Light Infantry, javelin
2 Heavy Cavalry: LO Trained Heavy Cavalry
1 Light Cavalry: Trained Skirmish light cavalry, javelin
1 General with +0 order bonus
CO = Close Order
LO = Loose Order
1 Hypaspist: CO Trained medium infantry, phalanx, high morale
3 Pikemen: CO Trained medium infantry, phalanx
1 Hoplite:CO Trained heavy infantry, phalanx
1 Light Infantry: LO Untrained Light Infantry, javelin
1 Skirmisher:Untrained Skirmisher infantry, bow
1 Slingers: Untrained Skirmisher infantry, sling (treat as bow)
1 Agema: LO Trained Heavy Cavalry, high morale
1 Light cavalry: Trained Skirmish light cavalry, javelin
1 Elephant: Elephant.
1 General with +1 order bonus
See deployment description and here is a photo:
Deployment - Epirot on left, Romans on the right.
Turn 1
Roman and Epirot moved forwards, the Triarii veering to their left, based on experience with other Heraclea replays games where the Roman Heavy Cavalry is destroyed and leaves the Roman flank open.

Turn 2
Leves attack the Epirot Skirmishers that evade.  The elephant and Agema slowly make there way down the flank.  Strange to use slow moving units after all the recent rules with really long move distances.

Leves - one is pushed back from Epirot missile fire
Turn 3

Leves move and throw javelins at the phalanx and disorder two of them (6 required and got two of them out of four rolls).  Note in the original rules, the Leves would have been useless here, as skirmishers can only receive and fire (i.e, wait for the phalanx to advance).  But there is no reason for the phalanx to advance.  But now there IS a reason for the phalanx to advance - to get rid of annoying skirmishers that can disorder them.
Phalanx advance and skirmishers evade and are fatigued (fatigue lasts a turn and basically prevents the fatigued unit from fleeing if contacted again).  I chose not to reform and remove the disorder form the phalanx as the Skirmishers will just keep disordering them....

The centre just before battlelines meet (green bush indicates fatigue)

Turn 4
Romans Charge.  Note that pila uses the same rules as a javelin in these rules and can only be used defensively. I make an executive decision and let it be used on a charge.  Disorders the Hypaspists. Now a phalanx unit Vs a legionary unit is at the advantage with +1 combat; a disordered phalanx Vs a legionary unit has the legionary at an advantage with +1 to the legionary.
Hypaspist flee, Legionaries pursues into contact.  Note that Legionary won by 2 so must pursue (this is one of John Davis' experimental houses rules that I am using - and liking).  All the other battles end in a tie (given the chance of a ties was only about 30% for each battle, this was a little unusual).

The first melee in the centre - brown markers are disorders

Agema and Elephant charge the Roman Heavy Cavalry.

Agema and Elephant Vs the Roman heavy cavalry

Elephants disperses (JA term for destroys) its opponent and must pursue.  Agema cause opponent to flee, which is does - off the board!  The Agema must pursue as it won by two, which mean Pyrrhus goes too.  So an immediate rule change - units with generals do not have to pursue.
Turn 5
Triarii charge the Agema in the flank.

Triarii charge the Agema with general

Triarii are at +2 for combat (this includes the +1 for supporting unit as there are two Triarii units) and cause the Agema to flee.  Fleeing is directly away from the attacker, which causes the Agema to flee off the board.  Ok, Pyrrhus is gone this time.  So how does this effect order rolls.  I will make all rolls at -3 (as though the general was 24" away).  I later found an old JA forum post that I like better - replace with a general with one lower command rating.

Hypaspists flee and are destroyed. Next in line Legionary unit flees through Leves.  I used John's rule that interpenetrating Skirmishers cause the Skirmishers to be depleted.  And I only allow skirmishers one depletion before dispersion.  So the two Leves the Legionary units flees through are dispersed.  Phalanx pursue and cause it to disperse.

Centre.  Pike on right pursued the Legionary that dispersed two Leves.

Turn 6
Not much of a turn for the Romans - managed to get the Triarii to face the Elephant that charged and pushed the Triarii back.
Elephant vs Triarii
A Legionary fleed from a Phalanx, that then pursued and then destroyed the Legionary unit.

The centre - the pike of the right have broken through.
The Roman general attached itself to a Legionary unit and manged to make its opposing phalanx flee.

Legionaries with General pursuing a pike block
Turn 7
The general and legionary unit manage to destroy the opposing phalanx.
The Epirot has reached their breakpoint so the game is over.  It was close.  The Romans had to lose just one more unit to reach their breakpoint.
End game.
I really like these rules. I was not sure after the Callinicum replay, but after a couple of tweaks on the combat modifiers, particularly the charging ones, I am very happy with these rules.  The other changed factor that nailed it is executing the entire sequence of play for one unit at a time.  Oh, and making skirmish foot more fragile.  These are great rules.  So much fun, I am in the process of setting up Heraclea for another game with Justified Ancients.