Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heraclea replay with Baron Wars (slightly modified) and rules overview

Introduction
I am replaying Heraclea with different ancient rulesets on a 2'x2' table looking for a fast play set (under one hour).   This is game 13. I came across reference to an AAR with Heritage's Warlord fantasy rules that sounded interesting. So I thought, why not use them for replaying Heraclea?  They have been republished by the author, Max Carr, as Baron Wars. They are available as a PDF for USD$6 from Barony Miniatures. (via the Catalog link)

This replay is a bit detailed to show how the rule mechanisms work, and if these are rules you may like.

Rules Overview
Baron Wars by Max Carr is a 16 page PDF.  It is based, and largely the same, as the author’s Warlord rules from the 1980s.  It is intended to play on a 6’x4’ table with individual 28mm figures (on .75” frontage).  All measurements are in inches and a single d6 is used for all the mechanisms with rolling low being good.

All units (leaders and troops) have a fighting value (1-5), armour value (1-4) and morale value (1-5).  Additionally, units may have a missile value (1-3), handheld throwing weapons value (1-2) and some optional attributes such as Warhorse and Long Reach (get to strike first in combat).  There is a point system based on these values and attributes.  There are some examples of leaders and figures but no army lists.

Leaders are similar to figures and treated the same in combat.  However, leaders also have a control radius (average leader control radius is 6”).  Being outside of a leader command radius gives use a -1 to a morale check.  If a leader dies, all figures within 6” need to take a morale check.  An optional rules increases the requirements of leaders as units are very limited by what they can do if outside a leader’s command radius.

Turn sequence is:
  • Roll for initiative.
  • Movement -  highest roll moves all units first, then the other player.
  • Missile fire – firing is simultaneous.
  • Combat – units in contact fight, also simultaneous.

A figure can move in any direction. Movement is fairly well covered with rules for hills, obstacles. charging, and moving and firing.  Movement rate is quite long based on armour value. An example is an infantry figure with an armor value of 2-3 may move 10” with a charge bonus of +5”; cavalry with armor value 2-3 moves 14” with a charge bonus of +7”. Fast.

Missile fire is simple – roll your missile value of under to hit a target.  Target may save by rolling their armour value or under.  Bow range is 18”, handheld weapons are 6”.  Handheld weapons are thrown are figures charge into combat. Missile fire may be indirect over obstacles. Missile fire is done at all eligible targets before firing at a target a second time (to stop ganging up on a target figure).

Combat is resolved simultaneously between individual figures.  Roll equal to or under fighting value to hit.  Defender rolled equal to or under armour value to save. Both figures may be casualties.  Winner may move into loser’s space.  Charging cavalry may perform a breakthrough movement of up to 6” to fight another figure.  Multiple figure combats are possible if you have figures on you flank and rear. In this case, all attacking figures have their combat value increased by 1 for each extra figure attacking.

Morale is checked when attacked by a fearsome creature, infantry charged by cavalry, being close to a leader that dies and if a nearby figure rolls an unmodified 6 on the armor save throw (gruesome death!).  To pass the morale check a figure rolls equal to or under their morale value.  If a figure fails the morale check they rout which is a charge move to their rear. Routing figure may not fire and if contacted by the enemy they are captured/killed. At the start of a turn and if within 6” of a leader, routing units may attempt to rally by rolling under their morale value. If they fail this check, they charge move to the rear again.

There is a page of optional rules such as a hit in combat that is saved pushes you back, shieldwalls and speeding up the game by doing 3 combat phases per game turn.

There is also a free fantasy rules PDF add-on adopted from the Warlord "blue cover" book. I have not used the fantasy rules so the following is a brief description of the contents.  Points are included for everything in the expansion.  It mandates an additional hero/creature attribute Constitution (2-4) that allows for a  bonus saving throw.  Constitution was an optional rule in the basic rules. It also contains creatures that have different characteristics to normal figures - different movement rates, 1.5" bases, multiple attacks, and different attack types (fire, ice, gas). Creatures may also have additional attributes such as flying, lightening, jumping and mind control.  Any figure may be classed as a wizard and have a magical attribute (1-4). Spells are cast once per turn in movement or missile phase.  There are 11 spells to choose from and each has a point value.

My changes for the replay

Baron Wars is designed for 28mm figures on .75" (19mm) with distance measurements in inches and, although not explicit, figures would be formed into units. I am playing with 15mm DBM based units (40mm wide) and I will halve distance measures.  I started with measuring the distances in centimetres but felt it was just a bit too too small so moved to the halving. The units will be a lot wider than they should be.

I will also add in a modifier for the morale test that have two adjacent bases adds +1 to your morale value. (To assist with forcing bases to stay aligned - in the rules you can gang up on a figure by attacking it from different sides. So units of 10 or more make sense to protect units except those on the edge.  I am not using as many "figures" so need a reason.)

While in the examples in the rules, leaders all had an FV of 5, I will simply have leaders add +1 to the FV.  Just easier for me to keep track this way.

Last note, I played that if any base of a group was in command range of the general, the whole group was in command.  This was handy as the command ranges are quite small.

Troops
Romans
4 Leves: FV: 1, AV: 1, MV: 3, MissV: 2, Hand Held Weapons
4 Hastati/Principes: FV: 4, AV: 3, MV: 3, MissV: 1, Hand Held Weapons, Shield
2 Triarii: FV: 4, AV: 3, MV: 4, Long Reach, Shield
1 Light Infantry: FV: 2, AV: 1, MV: 3, MissV: 2, Hand Held Weapons, Shield
2 Heavy Cavalry: FV: 3, AV: 3, MV: 3, Shield
1 Light Cavalry: FV: 2, AV: 1, MV: 3, MissV: 2, Hand Held Weapons, Shield
1 Average leader (3" command range)
 
Epirot
1 Hypaspist: FV: 4, AV: 3, MV: 4, Long Reach
3 Pikemen: FV: 4, AV: 3, MV: 3, Long Reach
1 Hoplite: FV: 4, AV: 3, MV: 3, Long Reach, Shield
1 Light Infantry: FV: 2, AV: 1, MV: 3, MissV: 2, Hand Held Weapons, Shield
1 Skirmisher: FV: 1, AV: 1, MV: 3, MissV: 2, Bow
1 Slingers: FV: 1, AV: 1, MV: 3, MissV: 2, Sling
1 Agema: FV: 4, AV: 4, MV: 4, Shield
1 Light cavalry: FV: 2, AV: 1, MV: 3, MissV: 2, Hand Held Weapons, Shield
1 Elephant: FV: 4, AV: 4, MV: 3, Fear Vs Cavalry
1 Excellent leader (4.5" command range)

Notes:
FV = Fighting Value
AV = Armor Value
MV = Morale Value
MissV = Missile Value
In Baron Wars, Shields add +1 to Armor value from front and left side attacks.

Deployment
Similar to other games following my standard deployment 

Epirot to the left, Romans on the right.

Turn 1
Normally, both sides roll to see who has initiative.  Instead, As per other replays, I will give the Romans the initiative on the first turn.

Movement
Already I can see I have hampered both sides by using only one leader. I guessed this might be the case but I am hoping it does constrain the degree of freedom on actions. (Note in hindsight - it did). The Roman commander only has a 3" command range.  Any unit outside that range moves at half speed and cannot initiate combat.  So the Leves are just out of range of the general at the rear.   The general is attached to the unit permanently for the game.  The general is a unit in its own right - I have just put the general figure behind the unit representing the general.

Leves move 1/2 speed (3") forwards.  They are outside command range and so move 1/2 speed. All units bar the heavy cavalry move forwards. 

Agema and elephant are with the general and move their full distance.  The two Epirot skirmishers move 1/2 their possible distance (that was 1/2 to start with as they were out of range of Pyrrhus) so they can missile fire (units that 1/2 move can fire).  All other Epirot bases moved as far as they were able.

Missile fire
Bows/slings need a 1 to hit.  Missed.

Overview at end of turn 1

Turn 2
Initiative is opposed d6 roll, reroll ties. Pyrrhus wins initiative.

Movement
Agema and elephant charge into the roman heavy cavalry.  I am going to line up the bases as it makes it easier to figure out who is fighting who. Elephants cause a morale check on the Roman Heavy Cavalry (Morale value 3 +1 for adjacent unit - the adjacent unit bonus is my special rule) but heavy cavalry pass.

Roman battleline advances (at half rate so Leves can fire) and Triarii turn to the left in anticipation of being required to defend the left flank.

Missile
Missile fire is simultaneous.
No hits for either side.

Combat
Combat is simultaneous.
Agema (FV 5 due to leader) Vs Roman Heavy cavalry (FV 3).  Agema hits, Romans miss.  Roman has an armour value of 3 +1 for shield= 4. Rolls a 4 so saves the hit.  I am using the optional rules that if one side scores a hit and one does not, the loser retreats 1" , winner follows up and another round of combat.  For the next round, Agema hits but Roman cavalry saves;  Romans hits as well, but Agema saves. 
Elephant (FV 4) Vs  Roman Heavy cavalry (FV 3). Both hit.  Both save.
I can see there will be a lot more dice rolling than I thought there would be.  By the time of the elephant combat I am rolling 4 dice at once - one for each side hitting, and then other dice for the save (if I need to look at them).  Nothing like saving time!


Agema and elephant in combat with the Roman heavy cavalry.

Turn 3
Romans win initiative.

Movement
To move into combat requires you to be within command range.  Luckily the Leves group is just within that (3 inches). They charge into combat with the skirmishers. The Hastati move in behind them.  Triarii move a bit closer to the Elephant but maintains the Hastati within command range of the Triarii general.

Missile fire
The Two Leves not facing the Epirot skirmishers fire at the Pike battleline. Miss.

Melee
Agema Vs Roman Heavy Cavalry: both miss.
Elephant Vs Roman Heavy Cavalry: Both hit but the Roman cavalry fails to save and is destroyed.   Elephant moves into vacated spot. Note moving into the vacated a spot is optional but I did it as it does not hurt.

2 Leves Vs 2 Epirot Skirmsihers, all FV 1 and AV 1 - this may take awhile! Bizarrely one of the Epirot Skirmisher bases hits a Leves that saves but is pushed back; the subsequent combat sees the Skirmisher hit the Leves again, only for the Leves to save that hit again and be pushed back.


The skirmishers in combat.


Turn 4
Romans win initiative and have a cunning plan for the skirmishers.

Movement
There is 1 ) no turning restrictions in the rules (like DBx) 2) there is a bonus for ganging up on a base 3) the pikes are too far away from Pyrrhus to be ordered into combat.  These three things mean that the Leves and Hastati can gang up on the Skirmishers without fear of an attack by the pikes.  Note there is a 1" (1/2" in my shrunken movement rates) zone of control in the rules where if you move into it, you must contact the figure.  So I could not go crazy by moving them all in front of the pike.  But I managed to get a few  on each Epirot skirmisher.


The swirling mass that is surrounding the Epirot Skirmishers.


One Triarii charges the elephant in the flank, elephant turns to face. Turning to face is in the rules.

No movement on the Epirot side.

Missile
None

Combat
Hastati with two helpers on the Skirmisher (Hastati is on the flank but it has the best fighting value so I am using that, each helper adds +1 to the fighting value total): Hastati miss (rolled a 6).  While not explicit, it seems that the maximum hit is a 5, and attack values of 6 or more are done at 5 and reduce the armour value of the defender instead of having an automatic hit on a 6 (or at least in the optional rules it has this).  Skirmishers hit (on a 1)! and the Hastati (armour of 3 +1 for shield) do not save and are destroyed.
Note: Pila can normally be thrown if the Hastati charged in, but charging is in a straight line and they did not do this.

2 Leves on one skirmisher: both miss.

Agema Vs Roman Heavy Cavalry: both hit, but Roman Heavy cavalry does not save and is gone.
Triarii (FV4) Vs Elephant (FV4):  Elephant hits but Triarii save.  Triarii miss. Triarii retreat as were hit, Elephant hits again but Triarii save.

Overview at end of turn 4

Turn 5
Romans win initiative again.

Movement
Romans move another Hastati to the flank of the Skirmishers.  The Triarii general charges the flank of the elephant, the Agema then charge the flank of the Triarii. Triarii perform a morale check for infantry charged by cavalry and pass.

The two Triarii in combat with the elephant and Agema.

Missile
No missile fire

Combat
The side with the initiative gets to choose combats so Triarii Vs elephant first

Triarii (FV4) Vs Elephant (FV4): both miss
Triarii general (FV 5) Vs Agema general (FV 5): Triarii has a long reach weapon so goes first - hits but Agema saves. Agema hits and Triarii fails (Armour value 3 +1 for shield ).=4 but rolled a 5).  Oops.  Every base within 6" needs to check morale - only the other Triarii is in range and they pass.


Hastati with two helpers on the Skirmisher: Hastati hits and Skirmisher does not save and is routed; Skirmisher misses.

2 Leves on one skirmisher: both miss.

End of turn 5.

Turn 6
Romans win initiative

Movement
The Romans line up the Hastati in anticipation of combat soon.

Agema move against the Triarii.

Missile
2 Leves can fire at the pikes.  Miss

Combat
2 Leves Vs one skirmisher.  Hits and the skirmisher doe snot save.  Destroyed!  At last, the Romans destroy a second skirmisher.

Triarii Vs elephant and Agema: Triarii hits and Elephant saves.  Agema is attacking back as it has the higher Fighting value (5), adding one to it because of the Elephant reduces the Armour value of the Triarri by 1; Agema hit, Triarii rolls a 2 and fails to save and destroyed.

I call the game over as the Romans have no leader and they only have 3 legionaries compared to an elephant, Agema and all the pike block.

End of game

Verdict
Interesting rules.  They did not play how I thought they might.  High fighting values and armour saves means combat goes on longer than I expected.  This is a good thing.  The way the leaders worked and the restrictions on troops not in command is great.  Low fighting values and armour values (as per the skirmishers) means those combats went for awhile until someone rolled a 1 to hit.  It definitely would play better with more figures.  I did like the simplicity of the rule mechanisms that nicely meshed together.   I am not sure Baron Wars is suited to Ancients (it was never intended to!) but with a couple of extra rules around skirmishers (e.g. morale check after combat) it would have worked for this replay.  A fun game.

2 comments:

  1. Another good report Shaun! I've never heard of these rules. They look ideal for the solo player, especially one who is running a solo (or multi-player) campaign and wants to resolve combat with a simple set of rules. At just $6 US? What's to lose? I like hit/save mechanisms but you already knew that! I saw the reach rule already. You could add stuff like armor piercing which causes the enemy to save at 1 point worse.

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  2. Thanks John. I came across them on a blog at the beginning of 2013, bought them and have been itching to give them a go, just to see how they work. It would be very easy to add more abilities, the game is flexible enough to add in lots of things!

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