Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Heraclea replay with Milgamex Ancient Warfare

Replaying Heraclea with different ancient rulesets on a 2'x2' table.  This is about game eight.  I have been keen to play a game with Milgamex Ancient Warfare for a while, and wrote an overview.  While the rules come with an example of play, if you don't have the rules, you don't get to see the example :-).  This replay is a bit detailed to show how the rule mechanisms work, and if these are rules you may like.

Basing discussion - converting DBM bases to work with the rules
My 15mm armies are based WRG 7th/DBM style on 40mm wide bases.  Ancient Warfare has single figure removal, but also has the concept of stands.  Stands are used to determine a few things, such a column movement is one stand wide.   Also, Ancient Warfare is 25mm based with moves in inches, and half everything for 15mm.  I don't have individual figures and the stands in Ancient Warfare are generally 30mm wide at 15mm scale, based on a number of figures on a frontage defined by troop type; for example, close order infantry has a frontage of 7.5mm per figure, with 4 figures on a stand.  I can track casualties on stands, but the basing is more difficult.  An alternative is to scale the movement distances to be proportional to the stand width.  This would most closely represent what the rules are trying to achieve and not get out of kilter.  30mm bases have .5" as the movement ratio.  40mm bases would then have 2/3rds" movement.  This is just like the Armati ruler, which is in 2/3rds of an inch!  And I have some of these rulers hanging around the house from playing Armati, although I usually play Armati intro, and now use 1cm as the base move for that. Another alternative would be to play that each move is in 2cm, as that is close to 2/3rds of an inch.  The only other discrepancy that creeps in with the Heraclea game is Elephants are based 20mm wide, not 30mm.  Cannot have everything.  In the end, because of the 2' depth of the table, I have gone with .5" movement rather than 2/3rds of an inch. With 2/3rds-inch movement, the units move a little too fast - 3' is really required for 15mm figures so with only 2' depth, I have erred to the small side.  So, even of the figure base sizes are a little larger, I am going with the movement rates as suggested by the rules.

The rules recommend that units are 10-50 figures in size.  Luckily the rules also have bonuses for multiple ranks, often up to 4 ranks deep.  Some weapons get a bigger bonus e.g. pikes, but others will still get a 'push' factor for being deep.  It is crowded on the table.

Notes on terminology
There are a few abbreviations and explanations required.  The less obvious ones are:
m:xd = move distance as a number of six sided dice.
wpn = weapon.  Common ones in this battle are Ss - short spear, Mm - Melee missile (e.g. pila), Ltt - Light Thrusting Weapon, Ls - long thrusting spear.
bmf = basic melee factor.
arm = armour.
train = training. R - regular, I - Irregular; a - vets, b = experienced, c - green, d - half trained, +e - elite.
pnts = points per figure.
Ldr = leadership (A, B, C or D).
UCV= unit cohesive value (based on points assigned to armour, training and leadership)

Leves: 4 bases (8 figs), inf, open, m:3d+1, missile:2",wpn:Ltt, bmf:4, arm:none, train:Rc, pnts: 1, ldr:C, UCV:12
4 Hastati: 4 bases (16figs), inf, close, m:3d-2, wpn:Mm, bmf:8, arm:metal+sh, train:Rb, pnts:2, ldr:C, UCV: 21
Principes 4 bases (16 figs), inf, close, m:3d-2, wpn:Ls, bmf:8, arm:metal+sh, train:Rb, pnts:2, ldr:C, UCV: 21
Triarii: 4 bases (16 figs), inf, close, m:3d-2, wpn:Ls, bmf:8, arm:metal+sh, train:Ra, pnts:2, ldr: B, UCV: 25
Light Infantry: 4 bases (12 figs), inf, loose, m:3d, missile:2", wpn:Ltt, bmf:4, arm: none+sh, train:Rb, pnts:1, ldr:C, UCV:16
Heavy Cavalry: 6 bases (18 figs), cav,c lose, m:3d, wpn:Ss, bmf:8, arm:metal+sh, train:Rb, pnts:3.5, ldr:C, UCV: 21
Light Cavalry: 4 bases (8 figs), cav, open, m:4d, missile:2", wpn:Ltt, bmf:5, arm: none+sh, train:Ia, pnts:2, ldr:C, UCV: 11
General: 1 base (1 fig), cav, open, m:4d, wpn:Ss, bmf:10, arm:metal+sh, train:Rb, ldr:C, UCV: 21 good

I possibly could have combined the Hastati and Principes as there are bonuses for 2nd rank in combat.  So rather than meet the pikes in 2 lines of Legionaries, it could have been 1 large block.  But I wanted to see how the rules work and whether multiple line units are a reasonable tactic (they were).
Hypaspist: 3 bases (12 figs), inf, very close, m:3d-3, wpn:Pk, bmf:4, arm:metal+sh, train:Ra, pnts:2, ldr:B, UCV:25
Phalangites: 9 bases (28 figs), inf, very close, m:3d-3, wpn:Pk, bmf:5, arm:metal+sh, train:Rb, pnts:2, ldr:C, UCV:21
Hoplite: 2 bases (8 figs), inf, close, m:2d+1, wpn:Ls, bmf:6, arm:metal+sh, train:Ia, pnts:2.5, ldr: C, UCV: 18
Light Infantry: 4 bases (12 figs), inf, loose, m:3d, missile:2", wpn:Ltt, bmf:4, arm: none+sh, train:Rb, pnts:1, ldr: C, UCV:16
Skirmisher: 2 bases (4 figs), inf, open, m:3d+1, missile:7",wpn:Ltt, bmf:4, arm:none, train:Rc, pnts:1 , ldr:, UCV:12
1 Agema: 4 bases (12 figs), cav, close, m:3d, wpn:Ss, bmf:10, arm:metal+sh, train:Ra+e, pnts:4, ldr:A
Light cavalry: 4 bases (8 figs), cav, open, m:4d, missile:2", wpn:Ltt, bmf:5, arm: none+sh, train:Ia, pnts:2, ldr: C, UCV: 30
1 elephant: 1 base (2 models, 8 figures/crewmen), m:3d+2, Missile: 1x7", 1x2", bmf:13, arm:none, train:Ic, pnts:15.5, ldr: C, UCV: 11
General: 1 base (1 fig), cav, open, m:4d, wpn:Ss, bmf:10, arm:metal+sh, train:Ra+e, ldr:A, UCV: 30, Inspiring

Note: even though the elephant is one model, I have assumed there are two figures on the base, not 1.  As the elephant is supposed to be on a base 2/3rds the size, this means the "2 elephant" base is now slightly larger than 2 elephants would be.  But one elephant I do not think will be very potent.  In the game, the elephant was impressive and one would have been enough!

Deployment is based on my standard deployment for Heraclea, just some units are a wider and all are deeper:

Deployment - Epirot on the left, Romans on the right.  Note that there are 4 bases of Epirot Skirmishers.  This was an error and I removed them after the first movement phase.

There is no "roll for initiative" - each phase of the turn is either simultaneous or in a particular unit order.

Turn 1
I can already see that with an average move of 3"-5" per unit and 3 movement phases, turns go by fast. But the skirmishers are in the way of the main event.  So for turn 1:
All skirmishers get skirmish order (basically move to within missile range and maintain that range).  Triarii will change formation into a 2x2 block and turn 180 degrees and a move to the position just outside the rear of the Principes.
Elephant and Agema get charge orders Vs Roman Heavy Cavalry (you must specify the target with charge orders).
All other units hold their position.  I will await the skirmish result to see what happens in turn 2.
Formation and Facing
Triarii change formation and facing.

Triarii turns to their left
1st Movement Phase
All moving units on both sides roll their dice for movement distance.  Units move in order of highest roller to the lowest.  While I will not go into it to much from now on, as an example: Roman Leves rolled 3d6+1 for 11, Epirot Skirmishers rolled 3d6+1 for 10, elephant rolled 3d6+2 (+2 for charge) for 9, Agema rolled 3d6 (+2 for charge) for 15. Units move in this order: Agema, Leves, Epirot Skirmishers (who don't move as now Leves in missile range), Elephant.
Epirot Skirmishers at Leves: Factor is 6 (4 men +2 first time used in battle), d6 = 3 +2 target open order no armour +1 lacks shields, +0 line formation = 6. Die of 6 with 6 factors inflicts 2 casualties and 1 UCV loss (from 12 to 11).

Roman left flank (from Roman view).  Note that Epirot skirmishers are now (correctly) only 2 bases.

2nd Movement Phase
Leves move to within javelin range of Epirot Skirmishers.
Agema and Elephant are a lot closer to Roman Cavalry.

The cavalry clash is so close to happenning
 Triarii move to outside Principes rear and halt.
Epirot Skirmishers have already fired.  Can only missile fire once per turn, not once per phase.
Leves fire: Factor 8, with a modified die of 9 = 2 casualties, 3 UCV loss (from 12 to  9).

Skirmishers skirmishing (each one down two figures)
3rd Movement Phase
Agema and elephant contact the Roman Heavy Cavalry.  Was not sure they would hit at the same time with 3 turns of diced movement, but they did.
No missile fire - the two units in range have already fired this turn. 
If you charge a unit during a movement phase, you have a special combat phase, rather than standard melee (same concept as in Shock of Impact and FOG). So, hang on and bear with me for the first impact phase I've ever done.
Firstly, determine who is impactor and receiver.  If both units were charging or counter-charging, there is an optional rule to determine the impactor.  In this case, the Agema and Elephants are the impactors and the Romans the receivers.  Impact factors for each unit are compared, and a die roll made on a table if the impactors factor is higher than the receiver.  If the value is 0 or less, there is no impact and melee occurs in the melee phase.
Agema factors is 12: base 10 (close order cavalry impactor) + 2 (a second effective rank)
Elephant is  16: base 16 (elephant)
Roman Heavy Cavalry Vs Agema is 1: 4 (close order cavalry receiver) +1 Rb as receiver +2 (second effective rank) -4 (elephant within 5")
Roman Heavy Cavalry Vs Elephant is 1 (same factors as Vs the Agema)
Agema Vs Roman Heavy Cavalry is impact factor 12-1=11, die roll of 4 +1 (note an involved general can alter the roll by one) = 5 or "c/k -7 BK". (c/k = the row index for casualties to impactor/receiver based on enemy units figures. c= 1 (to Agema). k= 4 (to Romans)). -7 UCV loss to Roman cavalry. Agema automatically lose 2 UCV as they impacted. BK is Breakthrough where the Agema will plow through the Cavalry at point of impact, destroying figures in their path. However, the Roman cavalry needs to have suffered at least 50% UCV loss for a breakthrough by enemy cavalry, otherwise it is simply a pushback.  Roman Cavalry were at 21, now down to 14.  Not 50%, so Agema will only pushback the Heavy Cavalry.
...But first the Elephant also needs to be resolved:
Elephant Vs Roman Heavy Cavalry is impact factor 16-1=15, die roll of 2 = a/m -5 BK. a=0 (to Elephant), m=3 (to Roman Cavalry).  Roman Cavalry UCV loss is 5, Elephants lose 2 for being an impactor.  Elephants will breakthrough - move elephant directly though unit and all figures in the path are destroyed.
The remaining roman cavalry in front of the Agema are pushed back 1.5".
Final tally:
Agema loses 1 figure casualty, 2 UCV loss.
Elephant loses 2 UCV only.
Roman Heavy Cavalry loses 13 figures (7 from impact and 6 when the elephant broke through) and 12 UCV (from 21 originally).
In hindsight, the Roman Heavy Cavalry should have charged the Agema for a chance, but even then it was likely to be the receiver with the same result as above.

Cavalry post-impact.  Note the Elephant that has broken through.
Agema is still in contact with Roman Heavy Cavalry so a melee happens.
Melee is with first rank only, and up to 1" of overlapping figures from the same unit.  For Agema this is 6 figures and the Roman cavalry, this is 5 figures in melee.
Melee process is each side determines its own factor and subtracts the enemy factor from this.  Roll a die and look up the result on the melee table based on the final factor.  Therefore one side will be looking up with a positive number, the other side with a negative number. Casualties are then determined using a casualty index table and based on figures involved.
Agema factor: 11 from Base factor of 8  +3 inspiring general
Roman Heavy Cavalry: 2 from Base factor 8 -3 suffered breakthrough  -2 elephant close
Agema checking using melee value of 9, Romans with -9
Agema rolled a 2 and result is "p -5". a "p" result on the casualty index table with 6 figures meleeing is  4 figures lost for the Romans. "-5" is UCV loss inflicted so Roman Heavy Cavalry loses another 4 figures (down to 1 figure!) and is now on 7 UCV (from an original 21).

Roman Heavy Cavalry rolled a 6 and result is "g -3" or  Agema loses 1 figure and another 3 UCV lost (now 25 from an original 30).

Cavalry clash post melee.  There is only one Roman Heavy cavalry figure left

Morale is all about UCV rather than casualty losses.
No surprises - the Roman Heavy Cavalry needs to undertake a morale check:  1d6 = 6 -4 (UCV 20%-39%) -1 (suffered breakthrough) +1 (2 or more  friendly units close) -1 (2 or more enemy units close) -1 (in melee and lost more UCV) = 0 or retreat one phase that occurs immediately.  Unit retreats off the board and will not return.
Epirot Skirmishers at 25% UCV loss -  morale result is result is cannot charge.

The cavalry battle after morale phase.  The Roman cavalry have retreated off the board.
Turn 2
Epirot Skirmishers to move backwards out of the way.
Hypaspists, Pikes and Hoplites to charge the Hastati.  This means they will also charge the Leves who are in the way.
Hastati to charge the Pikes.
Principes support the Hastati (support in this case will mean the Principes will follow the Hastati).
Triarii to charge the Agema.  The Elephant is in the way so will charge the Elephant first.
Elephant to rotate 90 degrees and charge Triarii.
Agema to rotate about 90 degrees and charge the Principes.  Yes, not the Triarii.  The Elephant should keep the Triarii busy for a turn and so this gives the Agema an opportunity to strike the flank of the Roman Heavy Infantry.  Movement distances are very fast in this game so it is worth doing.
Light troops all defend current position.
Formation and facing
Elephant and Agema rotate in place.

Elephant and Agema rotate to face the Romans

1st Movement phase
Agema and elephant do not move as they changed formation.
All the units rolled a different movement rate, but the Leves actually rolled very low and move second last. Skirmishers, when maintaining distance can move their diced distance during their move and also up the same diced distance again during the opponents move (once per phase).  This allows them to evade from other units, but still have a chance of being caught.  In this case, the Leves, even though they rolled low, have sufficient movement to maintain distance and end up 1" in front of the Hoplite unit.
One thing I did not realise, and is a learning experience for the game, is that i gave charge orders to the Hypaspists, Hoplites and Pikes.  The Hoplites rolled for the most movement, so moved first.  They moved towards the Hastati by the shortest route.  That means they sidestepped slightly to line up with the Hastati.  This meant that the Pike block moved up behind them and are now slightly blocked.  It may still work out by the time melee occurs. 
After moving.  The Hoplites are in front of the main phalangites due to moving first.

Elephant cannot missile fire against the charging Triarii as the Elephant has charge orders.
Leves cause on the Hoplites 2 figures and 2 UCV loss.
Triarii impact the Elephant and because the Elephant could not move this phase, it cannot count as counter-charging and is the receiver.
Triarii base impact factor = 9 while the Elephant receiver value is 8.  Adding modifiers sees Triarii impacting with impact factor of 5. This results in Triarii losing 1 UCV and no figures, and the Elephant 2 UCV and 2 figures (crewmen - elephant has 4 crew, and the elephant model is representing 2 elephants) and are pushed back.  The elephants only started with a UCV of 11, now down to 7, so they pack a punch but are brittle.  I like that.

Elephant Vs Triarii

2nd Movement Phase
Epirot units move before the Romans so the Hypaspists and Hoplites contact the Hastati before the latter could move.  The Pike block did not move at all as it was to move first, but could not due to the other units so it didn't.  Agema did not reach the Principes, and the Leves retreated behind the Roman lines.
Impact (no missile to do)
Two units impacting one are resolved as two separate impacts.  The Hypaspists faltered (a d6 roll when charging to impact to see if you really manage it - only on a roll of '1' would they falter, so they rolled a '1').  Faltering means that you get the receiver impact factor (this is bad) but not any of the die roll modifiers affecting receiver (this is good).  For the Hoplites and Hastati, both are charging so the higher impact factor unit becomes the impactor.  But they both have the same impact factor - both impact each other.
Hastati Vs Hypaspist: 9 +1 pila = 10  Vs 7 +2 pike +2 rank bonus =11.  As the receiving Hypaspists have a greater factor than the impactor Hastati, there is no impact, and combat is treated as melee to be resolved in the melee phase.  Hastati still lose 1 UCV due to being an impactor.
Hastati Vs Hoplites 9 +1 pila =10 Vs 9 +2 long spear =11.  Resolved by the Hoplites on the +1 table; and they rolled a 1! No effect to either side, except 1 UCV from Hoplites for being an impactor.
Hoplites and Hypaspist in battle with the Hastati
3rd Movement Phase
Pike block move but stop when they contact the rear of the Hypaspists, so no combat for them.  The Agema charge into the flank of the Principes, which also brings them into contact with the side of the Hastati and the Leves.  The Leves have enough movement left to retreat so they do that as the Agema charge in.

The Agema hit the Romans in the flank.

Agema impacts the Hastati and Principes, who will be receivers.  This may be ugly.
Agema Vs Principes: 10 +4 flank = 14 Vs 6 +1 Rb receiver =7. Impact factor is 7. Principes receive 2 figure casualties and 5 UCV loss.  Agema has -2 UCV loss for impactor and causes a pushback.
Agema Vs Hastati sees Hastati lose 2 figures and 4 UCV.  Agema loses another 2 UCV.  Now, the Hastati need to pushback but are in contact with the other Epirot pike unit and so I rule they are destroyed and  removed from the board.

After impact.  Notes Hastati line is gone.

There are two melees - Triarii Vs Elephant and Agema Vs Principes.
Triarii Vs Elephant:
Triarii factor is 8 +1 long spear -1 enemy elephant =8 Vs Elephant factor of 13 -1 suffered pushback =12.
Triarii inflicts damage on the -4 column and inflicts 4 casualties and 2 UCV loss.
Elephant on the 4 column and inflicts 4 casualties and 3 UCV loss.
Both rolled low on the die and the  UCV loss could have been twice as bad with a high dice roll.
Agema Vs Principes:
Agema factor is 10 +3 inspiring general +3 flank attack +1 cavalry Vs pila =17 Vs Principes factor of 8 -1 pushed back =7.
Agema inflicts casualties on the 9 column, rolls low for a poor result of 3 casualties and 5 UCV loss.
Principes rolls a 6 and inflicts no figure casualties and 3 UCV loss.
Principes check melee due to loss of Hastati and UCV loss.  UCV is now 11, from a start of 21.
morale die result is -2: d6 = 3 -3 UCV loss -1 unit nearby lost -1 enemy in contact and they lost less UCV. a result of -2 for regulars is rout. move double distance immediately.  They rolled really high dice and move off the board, regardless of if they went away from the Agema, or back to their base edge.
Elephant checks morale at a UCV of 4 from a start of 11. No matter the die roll, they will rout, which they do off the board.

Game end.  Note the empty space in the centre that used to have the Hastati and Principes.  Triarii at the bottom right.

The Romans only have one heavy unit of the board - the Triarii.  While they are in good shape, the Agema have some life left in them, and the Epirot also have a large pike block that has been untouched so far.  The Hypaspists and Hoplites are in average condition to fight but still have the capability to inflict a few casualties.  I call it a tactical win to the Epirots.  There is a method of using point calculation for victory in the rules and level of victory based on a ratio if I was really keen, but I am not.

Fast game.  Lots of easy to use tables.  I liked it.  As per my overview, it does show it ages with tables, but it has some great mechanisms in there.  It really needs a much larger table to shine.  I would play these rules again.  They are really fun and not complex.


  1. Good report thanks for posting. The rules do seem easy. Those Macedonian units are tough.

  2. It was really the Agema hitting them in the flanks that killed the Romans off. I think without that, there would have been a turn of two of melee grind between the pikes and legionaries.

  3. Shaun,
    It has been quite a while since I played these rules. I still have the rule book along with their other set, Sword and Spear, for individual combat, but have not been able to find the play sheet that came with the book due to several moves. Would you be willing to send me a copy of the play sheet at butlerw at comcast dot net?