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Dec 31 16 1:49 PM

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Dear Simon,

A few nights ago, my dad and I finally managed to fit in our holiday TtS! game. While we had been hoping to do Sassanids vs. Late Romans, we ended up going with Sassanids vs. Byzantines, as my dad didn’t have a chance to finish basing the new Late Romans due to the Christmas rush. As always, we had a fantastic time. In the end, the Byzantine emperor surrendered to the Shahanshah, but only after a remarkably bloody and drawn-out confrontation. We both came away as impressed as ever with the rules and now find ourselves feeling renewed excitement as we see how well they can work not only for the Classical period, but for Late Antiquity as well.

In the course of the game (and in the days preceding it), my dad and I came up with a few further rules questions and suggestions that we thought we would share with you. Here they are:

-Camps: Per the current rules, each command containing a camp must have one unit deployed orthogonally adjacent to said camp. Having now played a fair number of TtS! games, my dad and I have come to feel that this rule is a bit “gamey” and, more specifically, tends to lead to some rather odd deployments. Would it really be a problem if a player could deploy a camp anywhere along his own table edge regardless of the position of the camp’s corresponding command? Were this rule to be eliminated, perhaps players could deploy their camps after deploying all of their commands.

-Demoralization: At the moment, units in a demoralized command suffer two negative consequences: the inability to charge and a -1 save modifier on all future saves. My dad and I were both wondering, though, whether there should perhaps be additional consequences for demoralized units. I believe my dad has previously suggested that demoralization should cause an activation penalty (which I would support), but another idea might be to say that units in a demoralized command will automatically try to flee off the table—and thus cause the loss of more victory medals—unless they can pass a special rally activation, moving one box to their rear in the case of infantry and two in the case of cavalry, per turn. To pass this special rally activation, a unit would go through the same process it normally does to rally, but, in the case of a successful rally, this unit would not recover a hit as usual, but would simply be exempt from having to perform its automatic flee move for that and subsequent turns. I think adding a rule like this would have two advantages: first, it would tend to speed games up, since a demoralized command would be a far more brittle thing than in the rules as they currently stand; and second, it would help to capture that historical phenomenon I think of as the “domino effect" where part of an army flees and suddenly the entire army follows suit.

-Disorder and Activations: In a previous post, I suggested that disordered units might be given an activation penalty (probably of 1) to simulate the breakdown of command as a unit begins to lose cohesion. After our recent game, my dad and I felt even more strongly that this would be a nice addition to the rules. At one point, virtually an entire Sassanid command was disordered, but, despite this sad fact, each unit continued to carry out orders as if nothing was amiss. This is, of course, an extreme example, but I still imagine that even if only one unit were disordered it would find it harder to carry out orders than non-disordered units.

-Norman Couched Javelins: As a way to try out your clever new rule for Norman “couched javelins,” I suggested that my dad give the two Norman units in his Byzantine army this ability in our recent game. We were wondering, though, how many of these couched javelins a unit of Norman knights should have. Per the current ammunition rules, I figured they should each have two, but after the game we both agreed that this might make them rather too good relative to normal lance-armed cavalry. Do you have any thoughts on this?

-Veteran and Raw Units: Over the past few months, there has been a lively debate about whether Veteran and Raw units should differ from normal units solely on defense (i.e., a better/worse save) or on defense and offense (i.e., a better/worse to-hit number). While I have personally favored differentiating Veteran and Raw units from normal units on both defense and offense, I have recognized that there is a major hurdle to this proposal in that it would probably require a significant retooling of the current points value of Veteran and Raw units. In recent days, however, I came up with an idea that might offer a way forward in this debate. Here it is: What if Veteran and Raw continued to designate a unit’s defensive superiority/inferiority, but a new pair of terms was added to designate a unit’s offensive superiority/inferiority? Though I am not sure what these new terms might be (Elite vs. Poor? Superior vs. Inferior?), they could: (i.) confer on units -1/+1 to-hit number in the case of offensively superior and offensively inferior troops respectively; (ii.) cost the same as Veteran and Raw status (i.e., 1 point for Small units, 2 points for Regular-Sized units, and 3 points for Deep units); and (iii.) be purchased in addition to Veteran and Raw status. Thus, the Companions, for example, might be classified as both Elite and Veteran, at a cost of 13 points (9 points for Cavalry, +2 points for Veteran, +2 points for Elite), whereas Sassanid Paighan might be classed as Poor and Raw, at a cost of 4 (10 points for Shieldwall, -3 points for Raw, -3 points for Poor). While I think this idea has something to be said for it, I would also be the first to acknowledge that it is not without problems. The most serious of these, I believe, would be how to classify historical units. What would a unit have to do to qualify as both Elite and Veteran, or one but not the other? This problem alone may make the idea unworkable, but I thought I would put it out there anyway, if only to keep the conversation going.

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and I look forward to hearing from you—and anyone else in the TtS! community—whenever you have the time!


Last Edited By: JG88 Jan 1 17 2:05 AM. Edited 1 time

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#2 [url]

Jan 4 17 2:48 PM

Hi Justin,

Sorry for the delay I am somewhat under the cosh- I spent too long in ancient Macedonia and Medieval Italy over Christmas and am in catch-up mode. ;-)

Regarding camps; perhaps the requirement to have a chain of units to the camp is a little heavy-handed. I’ll look at it in v2; in any case camps will likely become optional.

-Demoralization: I don’t want to dwell to long on this as there might be an entirely different system in v2. We are looking at “rout tests” in ECW which may lead to commands disintegrating in a somewhat radical manner when some units rout.

-Disorder and Activations: - we are trialling a -1 activation penalty for disordered unit sin the ECW rules. It’s likely this will be in v2, too.

-Norman Couched Javelins: I was thinking two. There might also be more lances in v2, either units starting with two or being able to resupply once from the baggage as if ammo.

-Veteran and Raw Units:
Hmmm. I can see the appeal of just amending a minority of units rather than all 140-odd lists! ;-)
I fear that points values will have to change in v2, especially if the rout tests come in, as they are brutal for raw units in the ECW version. It wouldn’t be impossible to change the cost of upgrading to veteran/downgrading to poor, or even of unit costs in general, especially if I could get some volunteers to help.

That said, having some units getting hit bonuses and others not would add a deal of complexity to play. My rule of thumb, rules-wise, is “could I explain how that works to a noob at Salute?” and I’m not sure it would pass the test.

People would also need to recall which units had the bonuses and which not. A better approach might be to give some exceptional units bonus chits, or compulsory heroes costed in to the unit.

Best, Simon

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#3 [url]

Jan 8 17 12:53 AM

Hi Simon!

Thanks so much for the response--and no worries about the delay!

Everything you said sounds quite reasonable. I like the idea that camps may be optional in V2. That makes sense to me, as I can think of plenty of cases where an army's camp doesn't seem to have been much of a factor in the battle itself.

Thanks for the clarification re: Norman couched javelins! Two sounds reasonable, especially if lance-armed cavalry will have a resupply option.

I can see the merits of your approach to representing exceptional units. Bonus chits and/or built-in heroes would certainly be a simpler way to simulate this. I trust whatever you come up with will be a nice addition to an already exceptional set of rules!

Take care and thanks as always for your openness to questions and suggestions!


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#4 [url]

Jan 8 17 6:44 AM

Hi Justin,

Always nice to chat!

I have in mind replacement lances and pila, both coming from the ammo pool. I am also toying with giving legionaries without pila a -1 save when charged by horse, as the pila seem to have been useful for keep horse at a distance (per Arrian).

Best, Simon

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