Attempting to play 30 ancient games in 30 days using my own small table fast play rules to test out a programmed opponent. A few more details at this introductory post.
This may be a bit of a dry read - there are only few pictures of each game and a lot of the text is about playtesting lessons learnt.
I am on track - 5 games in 4 days so far.
Game 01 Early Republican Romans Vs Later Selucids (Day 1 - Saturday)
The bottom right is the deployment options with the Attacker (A) and Defender (D) deployment zone and the percentage of units in each grid square (%). it also has the initial zone order (listed next in order of most aggressive to least) - Rush (R), Attack (A), Probe (P), Wait (W), Hold (H), Delay (D). Or It also shows if the general in the zone is cautious (c) or rash (r). Cautious generals are more likely to go to less risky orders, while rash generals will tend to increase to more aggressive orders. There is about a 1/12 chance per turn of a zone changing orders.
The deployment as randomised.
The Selucids win after quite a few long melees.
Lots of order changes even with the 1 in 12 chance there seems to be one every turn!
|The lone Roman left at the end of the game..|
First one is that +1 and +2 command ability are a little too powerful so toned them down slightly.
Programmed Opponent: HOLD is a very restrictive order as even if you are a lot superior to the opposing side, you will get within 8cm and stop, even if it obvious that you should advance against a much superior enemy. WAIT is mainly different to HOLD in that is you can must advance into superior combat and secondly WAIT becomes ATTACK after a charge. Non-missile, non impetuous units e.g. Battle infantry under HOLD on the flank will just sit there looking at auxiliary infantry that can easily crush as the Triarii did in the game above.. So I have modified the non-missile HOLD slightly to force advances into superior combat.
Game 02 - Viking Scandinavian Vs Later Briton and Gaul (Day 2 Sunday)
While I do have some Viking figures, they are not well pained and realise there is no Bondi Archers amongst them. I used Bondi bases with only a shield or two on them to represent them.
The cavalry managed to defeat the flank, although the Berserkers did take out a cavalry.
|Cavslry flank at end|
|Viking right flnak at end - one opposing unit left (cetnre)|
None - all working just fine for this game.
Game 03 - Mid Imperial Rome Vs Early Saxon (Day 2/3 Sunday, Monday)
Note both had defensive tactics and so the attacker (the Romans) had their orders modified to centre attack at deployment.
I was looking forward to getting out the well painted Early Imperial Romans I acquired a few years ago but have never played with them. But I realised this is MID imperial, so got out my well played-with mid-imperial Romans :-(
|Game end - mostly Saxons left.|
|A closer shot of the centre with the two remaining Legionaries circling some Saxon warbands,|
This was along game - I think it was 35 minutes to play the game itself. Mainly due to a lot of battle infantry meaning combat is resolved over more than 1-2 turns.
Wondering at this point why the army breakpoint is so high for the +1 command army - it seemed high for the Romans in game 1 as well. I did a quick calculation in my head and it did not seem right. I went back to the spreadsheet and I add the command value to the breakpoint twice. Oops. So the breakpoint for the +1 armies has been 1 higher that it is supposed to be and thus requiring an extra heavy unit. Fixed.
Game 04 - Sea Peoples Vs Hittites (Day 3 - Monday)
I wanted to deploy the Medium Chariots on the right flank but the tactics were centre attack rather than flank (or flank and centre),so moved them to the centre. Not sure how well it would go - at least it will make it more interesting. In hindsight the Chariots on the flank may have been better.
|Ancient battlelines clash|
|End game, Hittites lost.|
A fine game with no lessons.
Game 05 - Lydian Vs Asiatic Greece (Day 4 - Tuesday)
Again, there is supposed to be a stream running down the middle (the == on the deployment map) but did not see it until writing this up. Doh!
All the Greek units are poor in melee than the Lydians (combat value one less). This will make it hard for the Greeks.
In this game there was a few one on two combats. In the current rules, the two dice are rolled and the results are applied to both on one side, and the worst on the other. However, two slightly poorer units will always come of badly against one good one. I have always had a little voice saying that this does not seem right and maybe a -1 modifier or something for the two on one. A +/-1 modifier is a lot in this game. And often the single unit is also a lone unit and it getting the -1 anyway. It has never really been a problem but still the voices continue - surely extending a battleline (that I think is what is happening in reality) to ensure they are the same length would have an impact. I spent a lot more time thinking and I am gong to test out that for two on one combats, treat the single unit as unsupported if not unsupported anyway. So a -1 modifier but if already unsupported, the rules are unchanged. It will only really affect combats between unequal battleline lengths and give a slight advantage to the longer battleline -which is a good thing,
Time to play
It takes less than a minute to open up the excel sheet, generate the army deployment and print to a pdf. For some of the armies I am less familiar with (most dark ages one and I have had a few so far) I have needed to look up what the warriors look like (using my trusty Armies of the Dark Ages/Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome/ancient Near East). I then go the figure cabinet and get them. This sometimes takes 30 minutes as I get distracted looking at the reference books and looking through my figures! Deployment takes about 5 minutes. The game is 20-30 minutes. Packing the figures away is about 5 minutes. Writing up what happened up to 10 minutes. I have also been tweaking the army lists along the way, another 10-30 minutes depending on how much research I need to do) So I am spending at least an hour to an hour-and-a-half a game in total. Hopefully this will get down to 40 minutes as I get more games in and less fixes and lookups required.
The first few games had quite a few defensive orders and the is only a 1/6 chance of them. Later games have had none so it is just the way the spreadsheet is randomising.
The first few had Command +1 and there is a 1/3 of a chance of a +1 or +2 command. So while it seems like a lot, there should be 2 every 3 games (3 games has 6 armies and with a 1/3 chance is 2). So not too bad actually.
I have also had to explain splitting groups a little better - with my rewrite into version 2.0 I pared down the description so much it does not explain specifically how to do it! Only required another sentence but how to do it is now actually explained.
Some very minor rule changes so far and mostly fixing army generation and army lists. The programmed opponent seems to be working fine. On track with 5 games in 5 days. Very happy with how it is going so far, looking forward to the next lot of games.
I have also realised I can easily do a campaign - pick an army, randomly generate the opposing forces and deployment and use rules cribbed form other rulesets on what to do with units that rout between games. Hmm. Will have to think on when to this - for a while I have wanted to just pick one army and play with it for 5-10 games to get a feel for it under the rules.
Oh,and I will try and take some more pictures of during the game rather than the start and end.