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Aug 31 16 10:19 PM

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Dear Simon,

First off, I am sorry for having been incommunicado for so long! Between teaching a summer class (on Roman civilization!), moving apartments, and visiting family, the past few months have been particularly busy.

Fortunately, during my recent visit home, I managed to fit in another TtS! game with my dad. As always, it was among the highlights of the visit. This time around, I commanded an Alexandrian Imperial army, while my dad took charge of an experimental Polybian Roman army (which, I am happy to report, we both thought worked very well). The battle, as always, was full of drama and excitement. Never before have I seen newly painted units perform so well: my fresh-off-the-presses Al + Companions rode to resounding victory over their Roman counterparts, and even managed, much to the poor Romans’ chagrin, to capture not one, but two, of their camps. The Silver Shields were heard to breath a tremendous sigh of relief: “Phew, at least it wasn’t our camp this time” (!).

For this game, we decided to try out a few of the recently proposed rules for V.2. (BTW, I am not sure whether this would be helpful for you or others, but I compiled a two-page list of most of these new rules based on the various forum discussions. If you—or anyone else, for that matter—would like a copy, just let me know and I will be happy to send it to you.). While we forgot about several of these new rules in the course of the game (e.g., Rout Tests!), we were very pleased with those that we did remember. Here, then, are some further thoughts on the new rules after our game:

Revised To-Hit Modifiers:
While I have seen several people arguing against any changes to the to-hit scores in V.2, I can honestly say that my dad and I were very happy with this change. What we liked most about the change was that it made Veteran units stand out more as compared to normal units, but did so in such a way as not to make them too powerful. Now, this rule does, admittedly, add some complexity to the combat system, but, for what it’s worth, neither of us had much trouble remembering it in the heat of battle. I think it helps that, for most armies, there won’t be too many Veteran units. If you were to make this change, though, both of us agreed that it would be crucial to increase the cost of Veteran units. (While we didn’t play with any Raw units, we both thought, based on our experience with new Veteran units, that the Raw changes would work well, too).

The second change you suggested for the to-hit scores in V.2 was to make Disorder only a +1, rather than a +2, penalty. While my dad and I were planning to try this out, we very quickly agreed that the +1 didn’t seem like a stiff enough penalty for Disorder, and thus continued to use the current +2.

Based on our discussion of Disorder, my dad and I also came up with a rules suggestion of our own. Here it is: all activations for a disordered unit count as difficult. Theoretically, this made good sense to both of us, as we imagined that such units would find it significantly harder to carry out normal orders than their non-disordered equivalents. Though this rule, too, would add a touch more complexity to the game, it seems like the sort of rule be fairly intuitive and thus easy to remember; it would also, I believe, require only a single additional line in the Difficult activation table. A potential complication I can see with this suggestion is that, if you decide to change Rallying in the way outlined in the recent forum post on the subject, all Rally activations would count as difficult, since only units that are disordered would need to Rally. As I think about it, though, I am not sure this would be such a bad thing; to my mind, rallying ought to be a somewhat harder activation than, say, moving or shooting.

Evading:
We both liked the revised Evade chart and felt that this far more accurately reflected the ability of certain units, particularly light cavalry, to get out of harm’s way. We did, however, have one small idea for further improvement in this regard: what if, instead of presenting the Evade chart as you do now, with a 3+, 5+, and 7+ category, you were to reorganize it along an x- and y-axis, with the y-axis giving the evading unit, the x-axis giving the unit it is evading from, and the point at which the two axes meet the number needed to evade? We both thought that this might make the whole evading process clearer at a glance.

Rallying:
This was the other major rules change we tried out during our game and, I think it is fair to say, we both found the new rule (i.e., that the negative Rally modifiers should be applied to the Rally activation rather than the Rally test) to be a nice improvement. Here, as you yourself observed in a previous post, I believe, there is no net increase in complexity, merely a shift in the stage at which the complexity enters the picture. The situation where we found this new rule to be most promising was with Pikemen units trying to rally within the ZOC of several opposing units. When this situation arose in previous games, I can recall Pikemen units carrying off what seemed at the time like rather improbable rallies, simply because the Rally activation, per the old rule, only required a 2+ to begin with; per the new rule, however, this situation proved to be--as we both thought it should be--an altogether rarer occurrence.

Well, I think I should leave it there for now, lest I strain the limits of a simple forum post…

I hope you are doing well, Simon, and my sincerest thanks, as always, for bringing such joy into my life!

The very best,
Justin
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#2 [url]

Sep 2 16 1:32 AM

Hi Justin,

Great to hear from you!

I have been tracking all the ideas for V2 at this end. I have a massive spreadsheet in which I keep all the ideas- those I've had and those suggested by others. This autumn I will start the hard business of integrating these with the V1.2 rules. This will create a new engine that I'll first use for ECW and for what will eventually (after lots of play testing) become a new published version of the ancients rules in a year or two.

Regarding the things you tried:-

to hit scores- I should really try it out at this end and see what I make of it. The disorder Idea I am also less keen on; the drop from 6+ to 8+ works very well.

Disordered units having an activation penalty- it's an idea that's been around a long time, that I've resisted as it seemed that it might add complexity. The point you raise regarding rallies is an interesting one, though, that hadn't occurred to me. I'll give it some thought.

Evade charts sound sensible- I'll have a look at that

I am glad that you thought the proposed rally rule worked well. It's important that we have rallies but I want them to be hard, at least when foes are nearby! It has to be harder to rally than to inflict a hit.

I am so pleased that you and your dad are still enjoying the rules. There will hopefully be lots more fun to come! I really enjoyed reading about the Italian Wars on my holiday and my mind is buzzing with new ideas.

Best, Simon

PS I am gradually raising an Alexander's army of my own, here- I now have 2 phalanx, 2 units of companions and two of Thessalians ready to base.

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#3 [url]

Sep 9 16 10:17 PM

Hi Simon,

Nice to hear more about your plans for V.2! I think it makes a lot of sense to try out some of the new mechanisms with another period and then circle back to ancients. That way, you give the new mechanisms a lot of time to marinate.

I am sorry to hear you probably won't be including the revised to-hit idea in V.2. As I said, my dad and I thought this worked very well in the recent game we played. Perhaps Gonsalvo is right, though, and there may be other ways to differentiate Veteran/Raw units from normal units that don't require changing the current to-hit factors. I'll definitely look forward to seeing what you come up with on this front!

I'm excited to hear you are collecting Alexandrians on your end as well! As for my own Alexandrians, I estimate that I am about half way done with the army now. With almost all of the cavalry painted, the main thing standing between me and the finish line is my six units of Pike. A daunting task, to be sure, but one for which all of your Raphia photos ought to keep me fully energized (!).

My dad and I were recently talking about how much fun it would be to do an Italian Wars campaign someday, so I was excited to hear of your own growing interest in the period. Would your thought be to cover the Italian Wars with a general Renaissance version of TtS!, or to do a smaller, stand-alone game, perhaps along the lines of Sam Mustafa's "Aurelian"?

Best of luck with all of the rules writing and I sure look forward to continuing to watch the new version come together!

Sincerely,
Justin

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#4 [url]

Sep 10 16 12:44 AM

Hi Justin,

It's a tough one but on balance I think simplicity is more beneficial in this area. There are some ideas knocking about regarding veteran and elite units and we can test them when the time comes.

Pike; yes I need shed-loads of Alexandrian pike. My poor painter mate is currently over loaded with work from me, so I don't know when that'll happen! At the moment I am fretting about my lack of early Successor elephants, I may need as many as 2 dozen.

The Italian Wars would be a general renaissance version of TtS, just adding the additional troop types required to take the rules to 1525 or so. I hope to have a rough version of these troop types available in the next few weeks- Remind me to send you a set when you see it mentioned on the forum.

Best, Simon

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#5 [url]

Sep 12 16 5:18 PM

If you do  a Renaissance supplement, copnsider taking it a bit later, say 1550, or 1600 max, to include pistol ard Reiters usingh the Caracole, and Winged Hussars. 

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#6 [url]

Sep 13 16 12:23 AM

Hmm, I keep vacillating about this very topic. On the one hand running through to 1525 or so is very straightforward and relatively easy to achieve, On the other, it would be super to cover the other troops of this period and later- I'd love to do Ottomans, for example.

I think for know I'll keep it to the Italian Wars and hopefully later produce a more complete Renaissance set, running up to the start of the Thirty Years War. I would like to eventually cover all the bases - Ancients, Medieval, Renaissance, Pike and Shot and Horse and Musket.

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