Last weekend I traveled to the home barracks of Major General Augustus Pettygree to engage in the lively sport of war gaming with Ancients figures. We used 28mm figures in our game (not my 54mm figures). We are effectively play testing rules for an Ancients variant of Bill's Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime ("BAR") rules.
We have found that the rules mechanics to work quite well for a number of historical periods outside of the Seven Years War. These include the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, Napoleonic Era, 19th Century British Colonial era, and now Ancients. Because the elements of movement, combat and morale are the same across all historical periods, the players quickly pick up on how to play the rules.
One of the adaptations learned from play testing is that the missile fire (arrows) were akin to Maxim Machine Guns, so we toned down the effect of arrows, limited saving throws to just a "6" on a D6 die, and making the morale of light troops more brittle. Other changes will undoubtedly occur as we do further play testing. We have to figure out some rules for war elephants.
Let us get on to the games!
The Good Guys featured a team of Republican Romans (Bill) and Late Romans (me) versus the tag team of Successors Greeks (Bob) and early Egyptians (Kurt). I faced off against the Greeks while Bill attempted to handle the Egyptians. At this point of time in the play testing we are doing "bring what you got" games so that no one has to frantically paint the opposition force of another person's army. Eventually the games will be period correct with armies fighting their historical foes.
|My armored (chain mail) Equites barge into a mix of Macedonian medium and Guard cavalry.
So far so good
|Both sides send their light cavalry to the front to screen their battle line.
I hadn't played against war elephants before so I was a little queasy about the outcome.
|Looking at the light cavalry action from the Roman perspective . My heavy Cataphracts await the outcome.
|My Late Roman battle line was deployed on the crest of a hill. The Macedonians had to roll a D6 each turn and subtract the number of die pips from the original infantry movement rate.
|Let me introduce you to my little friends: I am introduced to the elite phalanx of 48 pikemen.
|Marcus Purconius the Younger (purple cloak) watches enemy javelin men close in on his small Scorpion bolt throwers.
|The Roman legion fends off the phalanx after the first round of melee.
Purconius orders a unit of auxiliaries into the gap between his two legions.
Roman archers have fallen back behind the formed legion.
|Battle attrition whittles down the ranks of the Romans.
Purconius the Younger lends moral support to his legio in the melee.
|By the end of the battle, all pretense of maintaining a cohesive battle is gone
as individual units fend for themselves.