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Jan 14 17 8:19 AM

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Suppose a (normal) unit is in orbis and is charged by an enemy unit from a box to its (notional)  side or rear. Since an orbis 'counts as having no flanks or rear' the charge is not a flank one. The charging unit will not get a bonus to-hit card. Fine so far.

Now, if the unit in orbis survives the charge, does it strike back? The rules say that a unit can strike back unless the charge 'came from it's rear or behind its flank'. Thus it seems to me that the orbis can indeed strike back as it doesn't have a rear or flank from which a charge can come. Have I got that right?

If the unit charging the orbis is cavalry, and the orbis is not disordered, does it get the +1 save modifier for receiving a frontal mounted charge. I think not, on the basis that, although the orbis 'counts as having no flanks or rear' it still counts as having a front. Is that right as well? The definition of orbis doesn't seem to me to say that such a unit doesn't have a front.

Note that if you say a unit in orbis doesn't have a front, it presumably can adopt any facing when coming out of orbis (a difficult activation). There is also a problem if you try to have e.g. a light unit in the same box as a unit in orbis (how can the lights and the orbis be facing in the same or opposite directions?). Evades in or through a box containing a unit in orbis also get complicated

Simon, in a much earlier thread you said a unit in orbis doesn't exert a ZOC. I can't see how that follows from the current wording ('all units exert a ZOC into the box directly to their front'), unless a unit in orbis doesn't have a front at all. Maybe the absence of a ZOC for a unit in orbis is something you were thinking for V2, rather than the current position.

Apologies for all these questions; a recent game triggered me to think about orbis for the first time and I realized how little I understand about them. 

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#1 [url]

Jan 15 17 11:14 PM

Well RAW would say the rules specify No flanks or rear but does not specify no Front, except to say "facing outwards in all directions". The ZOC limitation is presumably because it cannot move rather than not having a front. However I would say that common sense dictates that its an orbis an all round defensive formation so it does get to strike back and vs cavalry does get the +1 save, in fact it strikes me as primarily an anti cavalry formation.

Regarding the lights they cannot form orbis they would presumably have flanks etc and as the orbis is facing frontally all round, lights theoretically could evade through/behind/into an orbis formation. Although it could be argued an Orbis is a denser formation so it would be more difficult to move through.

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#2 [url]

Jan 16 17 10:06 AM

Hi chaps- sorry for the delay in replying.

I can see there are a few points to address on orbis!

My plan in v2 is to take away the orbis ZOC, because it cannot charge. It will be an exception to the ZOC rule. Troops in orbis will indeed get the bonus vs. horse. Mixed units (spearmen with extra crossbow, for example) won't be able to shoot when in orbis- the formation is just too compacted.

That's where I am so far! Best, Simon

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#3 [url]

Jan 16 17 3:06 PM

Not letting lights evade through would seem reasonable as well as you point out that the formation is compacted. The mixed unit point is interesting, how does that work in the ECW rules? Presumably because the muskets shelter in front under the pikes shooting might be possible, whereas in ancients the shooters tend to be behind the melee troops.

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#4 [url]

Jan 17 17 2:16 AM

Thank you Simon and Sidley.

So, at the moment, a unit in orbis has a front and a ZOC. It can strike back against a charge from any direction, and no such charge gets a bonus to-hit card for a flank/rear charge. As it has a front, it only gets the save bonuses for frontal charges when the charge is in the appropriate direction. Mixed units in orbis can still shoot, but only from their front, like other shooting units. That's OK for now. I understand all of this may (will) change in V2.

Sidley, I don't see any reason why evading lights can't flow around a unit in orbis. The formation is compacted and doesn't 'fill' the box. In general, I don't always think of lights evading 'through' another formation, so sometimes they will be going 'around'. I doubt that lights would try to squeeze through the ranks of a pike phalanx.  At the moment, a unit in orbis has a front, so it can be facing in a different direction from the evaders, and the evaders may have to evade into the box beyond that containing the unit in orbis. This too may change in V2 if a unit in orbis no longer has a front.


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#5 [url]

Jan 17 17 2:19 AM

I would think that lights wouldn't evade through but could evade around the dense orbis formation.

Here's the current text from fKaP; the main disadvantage of the formation in fKap is that it presents a great target:-

Hedgehog is a name given in these rules to several different formations where pike formed an all-round defensive formation with the musketeers sheltering within the ring, or just outside, protected by the reach of the pikes.
A battalia which includes pike may make a move activation at a -1 penalty to form hedgehog, or form a line from hedgehog. Units in hedgehog cannot move (except to form line) or charge, do not exert a zone of control and may only fire with a single to-hit card. Hedgehogs have no flank or rear, so chargers don’t play the usual bonus cards for flank or rear charges. Troops shooting at a hedgehog do, however, receive a bonus to-hit card. Horse may not attempt to charge a unit in hedgehog except when it is disordered.

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#6 [url]

Jan 17 17 3:20 AM

Hi Roger, I think we posted pretty well simultaneously.

Orbis- I don't intend it to have a front, even now I see it as an all-round formation. At the moment troops in orbis can shoot but I intend to take that out in v2.

Best, Simon

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#7 [url]

Jan 17 17 6:27 AM

Thank you Simon. I can see what you mean, and I'm sure you can sort it all out in V2.

With the current wording though, if you say it is an all-round formation, doesn't it then have ZoCs in all directions and a mixed unit shoot in all directions - the opposite of what you want? I don't think that the current wording means it doesn't have a front, but if you say that's what it means (and you are the final judge for rule interpretation!) then a unit in orbis doesn't get the bonuses for receiving 'frontal' charges and lights will have to evade into the box behind to avoid facing in orthogonal directions. I also suppose a unit coming out of orbis can face in any direction. I can live with that interpretation as well, if that is your ruling.

i apologise for making a meal over a relatively obscure formation. Having talked about use of orbis in a recent game, I'm just trying to get clear in my mind how it behaves.


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#8 [url]

Jan 17 17 7:32 AM

Hi Roger,

It doesn't have a ZOC cos I say it doesn't! ;-) I do note your point regarding frontal charges- I'll have to address that aspect of wording in v2. Regarding shooting in all directions, that will come out in v2,

It is absolutely worth getting these things right!

Best, Simon

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#13 [url]

Jan 19 17 11:21 AM

Hi Steve, it'd be 9+. Essentially I reckon that troops in orbis are geared up for defence- I don't think they would hit back so well.

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