Friday, March 23, 2012

Heraclea replay with Irregular Miniatures ancient rules

Introduction
I have been replaying Heraclea with different rules on a 2'x2' board.  Recent rules, and some I am planning, revolve around units with a number of bases to a unit.  My current favourite of the unit based rules is the Irregular Miniatures Ancient rules.  I wrote a review and replayed Callinicum with them.  It has been a while, so I thought I would give them a run through.  Note the replay is fairly detailed due to its aim of giving an idea of how the rules actually work.
 

Troops

Romans
1 unit Leves: 4 Skirmishers, regular, C class, javelins, no armour, no shield
1 unit Hastati/Principes: 8 Battle troops, regular, C class, arm and leg armour, pila, shield.
1 unit Triarii: 5 Battle troops, regular, B class, arm and leg armour, long spear, shield.
1 unit Light Infantry: 2 Auxiliary infantry, irregular, C class, no armour, javelin, shield
1 unit Heavy Cavalry: 4 Auxiliary cavalry, regular, B class, no armour, spear, shield
1 unit Light Cavalry: 1 Skirmish cavalry, C class, no armour, javelin, shield
 
Epirot
1 unit Hypaspist: 5 Battle Troops, regular, B class,Pikes, arm and leg armour, shield
1 unit pikemen/hoplites: 8 Battle Troops, regular, C class,Pikes, arm and leg armour, shield
1 unit Light Infantry: 2 Auxiliary infantry, irregular, C class, no armour, javelin, shield
1 unit Archers: 1 Skirmisher, irregular, C class, bow, no armour, no shield
1 unit Slingers: 1 Skirmisher, irregular, C class, sling, no armour, no shield
1 Agema: 2 Auxiliary cavalry, regular, A class, no armour, spear, shield.
1 unit Light Cavalry: 1 Skirmish cavalry, C class, no armour, javelin, shield
1 elephant: Elephant, irregular, C class.

As per other large unit games, I have combined the pikes and Hoplites. Battle troops must have 5-8 units and I did think about making an exception to get the Hoplites in there own 4 base unit.  Also, I seem to remember that most rules of this period have the cavalry at this time a default Class B with normal infantry Class C.  I have followed this and also referred to WRG 6th and MOA army lists that confirmed this thought.


Why I like the rules
The rules are different enough from other rules and have the interesting use of different polyhedral dice.  Each unit has a particular die based on its morale level - d12, d10, d8, d6.  The die is used for two things: panic checks and casualty determination.  Panic checks happen all the time - losing close combat, seeing friends rout, etc.  A panic check is simple - roll the units die and if you roll over the number of bases lost since the start of the game you pass, otherwise you fail.  No modifiers, no changing the die used based on circumstances.  Casualty determination is just as simple.  Work out the number of casualties (no random factors, just a list of points based on circumstance).  A unit loses a base if casualties values equal the die type (e.g. a d8 unit loses a base for every 8 casualties).  If there are any casualty points left over, you need to roll higher than that number on your die not to lose a base.  Simple.  No modifiers, no extra dice etc.  The use of only one polyhedral dice per unit is consistent throughout the rules. I really like that.

Deployment
As per here but with more bases on the board, here it what it looks like:

Deployment - Epirot to the left.  Note Pyrrhus is in the wrong spot behind the pikes - should be with the Agema to the lower left.

Orders
Each unit has a order of two parts - speed and mode.  Speed is either QUICK - move greater than 1/2 - or SLOW, move 0 to 1/2 speed.  Mode is either ATTACK, HOLD or LURE (must evade charges by battle troops).
 

Romans
Leves: Quick, Lure
Hastati/Principes: Quick, Attack
Triarii: Quick, Attack
Light Infantry: Slow, Lure
Heavy Cavalry: Slow, Attack
Light Cavalry:Slow, Lure
 
Epirot
Hypaspist: Quick, Attack
Pikemen/hoplites: Quick, Attack
Light Infantry: Slow, Lure
Archers: Quick, Lure
Slingers: Quick, Lure
Agema: Quick, Attack
Light Cavalry: Slow, Lure
Elephant: Quick, Attack

Turn 1
Romans has the initiative on the first turn, as with the other replays.  All units advance, except the left flank heavy cavalry that do not move, and the Triarii that wheel to the left.  As per other reviews, the left flank always seems a bit weak against the stronger Epirot Agema and Elephant, so I've taken to moving the Triarii to bolster the Roman left flank.

Epirots advance everything.  Slingers and archers fire to no effect - although they did have a chance: a 3 or less on a d8 for the archers, and a 2 or less on a d8 for the slingers.  The d8 is because they are firing on the Leves and their 'dice' is a d8.

End of turn one
Turn 2
Romans get initiative and advance all units bar the heavy cavalry.  The Epirots advance both flanks.  The Elephant and Agema were too far away to charge the Roman cavalry but will be in a position to do so next turn.  The Epirot skirmishers retreat and interpenetrate the pikes behind them (on skirmishers can interpenetrate). The move sequence is Side 1 does rout and charges, Side 2 does rout and charges, Side 1 does other moves, Side 2 does other moves.  Therefore the pike block cannot charge the Roman Leves as that phase has past.  But luckily the pikes are out of the Leves javelin range.
 
End of turn 2

Turn 3
Oops, just noticed Pyrrhus is in the middle of the board, and should be with the Agema.  I've moved him there.
Romans win initiative, but have no charge moves.  Epirot charges heavy cavalry with Agema.  As Agema is two bases and the target has more (4 bases), Agema must roll for a successful charge - more than the difference in base numbers on their die.  This would be 3 or more on a d12, but with Pyrrhus attached gives a +2 to the die roll, which translates into an automatic pass.  So they charge.  Roman Heavy Cavalry do not counter charge. Why no counter charge? As I mentioned in my review there are no rules on countercharges so I assume side B (non-initiative side can countercharge a charge by Side A).  This is not the case here.
Elephants also attempt to charge the heavy cavalry.  Hmm, using the same rules for charging, difference is 3 bases an so need to roll a 4 or more on a d8, or it loses a base.  The elephant unit is an entire base!  They roll and pass.

Agema and Elephant in melee with Roman Heavy Cavalry
  
Epirot Hypaspists and pikes charge the Leves.  Leves have to evade as their Orders are EVADE. Note: an evade move is a normal move +d6cm.  I rolled once for all the Leves, when I should have rolled for each one - I forgot that the 4 Leves are not 1 units, but 4 units in a line.  So I am not sure the Leves are going to be useful in this game.  The pikemen stop the charge where the Leves were.  The rules are not clear on what to do if charging and the target evades.  But I believe they stop as it is inferred in the lines "must pursue if enemy 30mm behind and converted into a charge" and "prolonging a charge (unless evaded)".
 
I will do both Agema and Elephant melees simultaneous with the Roman Heavy cavalry.  There is nothing in the rules about multiple unit combat but as there are no random modifiers to combat - it is add up some values and opponent rolls a die to determine casualties - I will simply add up all the values for the Agema and the Elephant together.  For the reverse (the Romans inflicting on the Agema and Elephant), I will split the modifiers up between the two.
Melee
Round 1:

Agema+general: 6
Elephant: 16
Total 24 Vs a d10 unit = 2 losses, saves for no other casualties
Roman Cavalry: 6 that equates to 3 hits on each Epirot unit. Agema saves, Elephant does too.
Roman loses round of melee - takes panic test and passes. 
Round 2:
Agema + general: 5
Elephant: 13
Total: 18: One Roman Cavalry lost and another lost when rolled for.  GONE!
Roman Cavalry: 4, or 2 on each Epirot unit; Agema: pass, elephant: pass.
 
Epirot defeats all the Roman HC with no losses to themselves
The rules are silent on what to do if the enemy is destroyed before routing, so I assume they rout.  Therefore the Agema and Elephant need to take a panic test when seeing if must pursue. Neither do.

End of turn 3


Turn 4
Epirot win initiative.
Pikes charge the Legionaries (Note the Hypaspists needed to test to see if they will charge as they have less bases than the Legionaries).   Legionaries counter charge.  They can still get in a pilum throw as that is allowed to charging units.

A ramble on whether to charge with the Triarii or not (they do)
Now, from the Romans point of view, the Triarii need to charge the Agema and Elephant before the pikes turn up on their flank.  If they turn to face the oncoming pike block, they will get attacked in the flank by the Agema and Elephant.  So the Agema and Elephant can sit it out and wait for the Triarii to charge, but then they may not be able to counter charge, depending on the initiative.  Therefore, the Agema and Elephant want to charge to ensure they get the bonus but need to turn first, charging for both sides happen before normal moves. The Agema with Pyrrhus would easily pass the charge test but the Elephant would be charging as 1 base versus 5, and would need to roll a 5 or more on a d8 for success or be destroyed (it would lose one base, but is only one base).  BUT, the rules have special movement for Elephants within 6cm on an enemy where they will move in a random direction and distance, generally forwards and mostly 8-10cm.  So I should move Agema and Elephant close to the Triarii and hope the Elephant rampages into them.  The Elephant has a base combat value of 12, which is about twice as much as charging Agema get. So Agema and elephant do not move (yet).  Triarii could charge just the Elephant but range looks to be about 14cm.  Charge range is 12, and each extra 2cm over this lose a base, so if it is more than 14cm, Triarii will lose 2 bases. But this is the best chance for the Triraii to charge.  So I do.  Range to Elephant is just under 14cm, so lose a base. Move the general to the Triarii unit.
 
Agema wheel to face Triarii but cannot charge as that phase has passed.

Missile phase
Pilum throw is a 3 converts to a 2 on each: Hypasists roll a 1 and lose a base; Pikes a 4 - no losses.
 
Hypaspists, Pikes Vs Roman Heavy Infantry
Legionaries: 10 or 5 on each.  Hypaspists OK; Pikes roll and lose a base
Epiriot: 18 = 1 loss + roll for another loss = 2 losses. 
Romans lost 1 more and roll a panic test - fine.
Round 2: Epirot lose nothing but Legionaries lost another base, rolled a 1 for panic test and rout.  Note rout move occurs next turn.

Triarii and Elephant combat
Triarii lose a base, as does the Elephant.  As the elephant is only one base it is gone. Pursuit check for Triarii occurs next turn.

End of turn 4, after Elephant destroyed by Triarii

Turn 5
Epirot wins initiative.   Roman Legionaries rout move (12) through the Leves and then take a test to see if they rally (a 5 or more on a d8).  They pass and are rallied and will spend the next turn refacing (the most they can do after a rally). Neither Epirot unit pursues.  The Roman heavy infantry routed through the Leves but there are no rules on what to do if skirmishers interpenetrated by routing units, but a unit does take a panic test is a unit within 10mm routs, so each Leves unit takes a panic test and passes all rolls.

Triarii face-off the Agema
 
Agema charge the Triarii, Triarii counter charges. Leves now try to rally from evading.  They all do. Note that the test to rally from an evade is supposed to happen after the evade move.  Evading having to test is very clever as only skirmishers can evade, skirmishers are only one base unit's so they will pass the rally test on any number but a 1, and one a 1 they are destroyed.

Pikes, although not forced to pursue, move as fast as they can after the Legionaries. Leves about face and are just out of javelin range of the pikes...

Agema Melee:  Agema loses two bases in two rounds of combat, as does the Triarii.  The Agema started the combat with 2 bases, and so is gone.
 

End of turn 5 (note no Agema at lower right)

 
Turn 6
Romans win initiative.

The much-reduced Triarii has Pyrrhus in their sights


Triarii charges Pyrrhus (no rules against it and a general is counted as 2 strips/bases).
Pike and Hypaspists charge Leves who evade and all pass rally test to stop evading .  Pike and Hypaspists then charge into the rear of the legionaries are they are within 30mm of the front of the pike once the leves evaded.
 
Before melee


Pyrrhus defeats the Triarii
Triarii (2 strips+general in support) Vs general (2 strips). I will assume Pyrrhus has same stats as the Agema.  Pyrrhus countercharges.  Both inflict 6 hits on each other, so each roll a 1d12 to see is a strip is lost (on a 6 or less).
Triarii roll a 6, Pyrrhus rolls a 7, so Triarii lose a base and pass the panic test for losing more bases in a round. Round 2 sees both inflict 4 (using very different modifiers). Triarii  roll a 3, lose a base and are gone. Pyrrhus  rolls a 7 so OK.  Oh how easily is could have gone the other way! If I had rolled the dice in different order each round, Pyrrhus would have gone.


Pike and Hypaspists Vs Legionaries: (there is a +4 modifier for rear attacks in first round only) Pikes and Hypaspists lose nothing, Legionaries lose 3 bases, panic and rout.

Triarii gone (from left), Legionaries down to one base (centre)

Based on the fact the Romans have little left, I will give a victory to Pyrrhus.

Verdict
Fast and furious fun as expected.  More random than I expected but that is likely to a few extreme rolls and using only a small number of units.  I really think the game would play better on a 3'x2' or larger board.  Still great rules though.