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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.
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.
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,