Lead Adventure Forum

Miniatures Adventure => Age of Myths, Gods and Empires => Topic started by: OB on November 09, 2019, 06:43:43 PM

Title: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 09, 2019, 06:43:43 PM
I got a copy of To Ur is Human - Tabletop Wargame Rules for conflict in Sumerian Mesopotamia by Graham Evans.  I think its an interesting and easy to learn game.  My main interest is in the Late Bronze Age and the rules seem very adaptable to that.  If it sounds of interest there is a review on my blog.

https://youdonotknowthenorth.blogspot.com

Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: von Lucky on November 09, 2019, 10:47:17 PM
Can you provide a link to your blog (either updating your profile to show the website link icon or post the link in your post above).
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 09, 2019, 11:32:31 PM
My bad, done now.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: DivisMal on November 10, 2019, 02:51:35 PM
Thank you! Brilliant review that really got me hooked. Iíve been looking for something like a Copper Age wargaming system. And I totally agree that Fear probably is a vastly underrated factor in prehistoric warfare.
Therefore you may be right that this is also very suitable for Late Bronze Age.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: zippyfusenet on November 10, 2019, 05:05:45 PM
Iíve been looking for something like a Copper Age wargaming system.

In-ter-est-ing. I'm a fan of stone age/chalcolithic warfare. In the Americas the mainly stone/early copper civilizations fielded big armies, supported by peasant farmers and tax collectors. But those armies seem to me to have been agglomerations of town militia war parties, led by war chiefs and warrior societies, with few if any full-time soldiers and little differentiation of troop types or tactical roles.

Do you see evidence for organized armies in the old world before the bronze age states?
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: DivisMal on November 10, 2019, 07:18:09 PM
Iíve been looking for something like a Copper Age wargaming system.

In-ter-est-ing. I'm a fan of stone age/chalcolithic warfare. In the Americas the mainly stone/early copper civilizations fielded big armies, supported by peasant farmers and tax collectors. But those armies seem to me to have been agglomerations of town militia war parties, led by war chiefs and warrior societies, with few if any full-time soldiers and little differentiation of troop types or tactical roles.

Do you see evidence for organized armies in the old world before the bronze age states?

Hi! And uhm....sorry, but that actually something I have been working on for some zime, and even did my PhD about, so it may get a bit detailed now:

One of the big issues of archaeology today is overcoming the paradigm that anything before the Bronze Age is just Ąhousehold economyď and militia. I really would disagree and there have been others who made new evidence public: apart from chariot armies in the Near East, you have a start of quite a number  of specialised melee weapons starting, warrior burials and real fortified settlements. Swords with flint blades (or in a ltaer stage: the first copper swords and spearheads) as well as copper battle axes are imho strong arguments for this, but there is more...

To make myself clear: Iím not suggesting regular armies like in the late Bronze Age....but much more than what we expected from the Neolithic!
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: zippyfusenet on November 10, 2019, 09:25:03 PM
To make myself clear: Iím not suggesting regular armies like in the late Bronze Age....but much more than what we expected from the Neolithic!

Thanks for that DivisMal. Yes, certainly neolithic/chalcolithic big fortified settlements, warrior graves, advancing weapons tech, chiefdoms, paramount chiefdoms, proto-states. I had the impression that the Yamnaya Indo-European speakers brought advanced metal weapons tech into western Europe along with horses and chariots c. 2500 BC. I wasn't aware of any evidence for chariots in the ANE before bronze age Sumeria.

In any case, I'll watch for your future posts on the subject. Take care.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: von Lucky on November 12, 2019, 09:57:29 AM
Thanks OB - good review and looking forward to the follow up post.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 12, 2019, 12:52:51 PM
Thanks von Lucky.  The second part should be up next week.  It's written but I want to include some pics and my pc is having windows 10 update problems.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 15, 2019, 09:18:21 AM
Took me a while to get signed up, - there are so many of these forums, keeping up to date with them all is a bit tricky.

Any how, thanks to OB for the review and starting the thread. I'm the author of the rules, and currently reeling at the fact that more than two people have bought them. Excited at the prospect of reading someone else's AAR.

The rules were written specifically for Sumerian warfare, so they carry no warranty if you use them for any other period. However I have made a few suggestions should you want to wander "off piste" so to speak, over on my blog: https://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/2019/11/to-ur-elsewhere.html (https://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/2019/11/to-ur-elsewhere.html). There's loads of stuff in the back posts about the rules development and a few battle reports.

The Fear Test mechanism is about imposing yourself psychologically on your opponent, so I would guess it would work for pre-Bronze Age warfare, as long as you know what troop types you want and how they interact. The rule system is pretty open so it shouldn't be difficult to work out the numbers you need for the combat system.

Trebian
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: SteveBurt on November 16, 2019, 06:22:23 PM
I'd imagine the Fear Test mechanism would work well for later Bronze Age warfare, too. Even small numbers of chariots seem to have had a disproportionate effect.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 16, 2019, 07:47:55 PM
Yes, some of the translations we have seem to have quite small groups of chariots sent to see off quit large groups of pedestrian raiders.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 17, 2019, 10:07:58 AM
Although the rules were written specifically for Sumerian warfare, the Fear Test should have general applicability to other periods where intimidation is a key component in the way of war. I have a version of it in my Jacobite Rebellion rules, which may eventually get published. They're about third or fourth on my list of rules to be made more public.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: SteveBurt on November 18, 2019, 10:45:38 AM
Yes, some of the translations we have seem to have quite small groups of chariots sent to see off quit large groups of pedestrian raiders.

I think it's the Byblos letters where they are requesting the Egyptians to send about 6 chariots. Definitely the gunboats of their day!
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 18, 2019, 12:32:18 PM
That's my impression too.  Of course they were very expensive but they seem to have been worth it
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 19, 2019, 10:30:22 AM
I've been thinking about using To Ur for the Late Bronze Age and have just posted a blog about it.  Of course the author will be able to say if I'm on the right track or not.  In the meantime it will serve to start the discussion. If it's of interest here is the link.

https://youdonotknowthenorth.blogspot.com
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 19, 2019, 02:45:57 PM
I think those ideas will work, and I've made a couple of comments on your blog I won't repeat here. The proof will be in the playtesting, and if you like what you get on the table top. I'm in line with you on late Bronze Age Chariot warfare. I wargamed with Ian R-L for many years, and did the layout, playtesting, rules re-writing and some of the graphic design for "Call it Qids", his take in Kadesh which was  published by the SoA, back when they did games. He is the "Ian" referred to in "To Ur"s Acknowledgements as the man who made me think of Fight/Fright/Flight as a mechanism I could use.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: syrinx0 on November 19, 2019, 05:51:05 PM
Just ordered the rules. Very interested in your extensions OB. This seems like a great reason to start a Sea Peoples project...  lol
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 19, 2019, 10:56:12 PM
Thanks, I was hoping they might prove useful. 

It is I think, it certainly got my Sea Peoples out of their box.  I need to paint more chariots I thought I'd painted more than I have.  Once you have the rules do let us know if any Late Bronze Age ideas come to mind.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: syrinx0 on November 20, 2019, 03:18:20 AM
This period is a new interest for me, so I have quite a bit to learn. 
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 21, 2019, 09:25:22 AM
Seems like I missed an open goal here, only writing rules for a period I understood. Hold on a few months and I'll have "It's Kadesh out there!" available.  ;)
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: SteveBurt on November 21, 2019, 11:51:48 AM
I notice you credit Ian Russell Lowell. There was a very interesting set of bronze age rules by him entitled 'Rein Bow Warriors' published years ago in Slingshot, but only the first part ever appeared. Shame as there were some neat ideas in there.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 21, 2019, 01:56:15 PM
@SteveBurt: I was privileged to wargame with Ian for many years before his retirement to the West Country. I have sat and discussed Egyptian and Hittite chariot tactics with him at great length, both in his kitchen and in Shedquarters. It was Phil Steele's ambition when he was SOA President to have Ian write and contribute more on the period, but getting Ian to deliver anything is like herding cats. "Call it Qids" happened because we helped refine Ian's ideas, and I sat and wrote the rules down and did the layout and project managed Ian closely to delivery. I've attended play test sessions of "Reinbow Warriors"over the years from round bases to iku sticks to whatever iteration they are on now. I don't think they will ever be finished. I'm not sure Ian is doing much wargaming now. I'm really looking forwards to his book on Muwatallish, but I suspect that will never be finished.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: SteveBurt on November 21, 2019, 05:15:41 PM
Thanks - 'To Ur is Human' arrived today and I certainly think it would work for Egyptians v Hittites, which is what I have.
Looking at OB's ideas and yours, I summarised the changes as:

All chariots can wheel in square 1
All chariots can charge without dicing
All chariots can wheel before charging
All chariots can have one free wheel per move.  They must dice for any subsequent wheels.
All chariots can evade infantry charges
Chariots are two stand bow-armed units and fire with the massed archer stat of 2 dice per stand.
3 man chariots gain +1 dice in combat with 2 man chariots, but are slowed by their extra crewman, so lose the free wheel per move.

(That last one is my idea; we don't really know what the third man was for, but Ramses goes on about it and implies it was some sort of sneaky trick, which suggests it was effective)

I already have a suitable squared mat for 'To the Strongest', and have played Egyptians v Hittites with those rules, so it will be interesting to try 'To Ur is Human: the Qadesh variant' and see what happens.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 21, 2019, 05:33:18 PM
"The Third Man mystery"

Ah. Yes. Mmmm. I've seen the walk carvings at Luxor and Abu Simbel and I don't rightly  know. I think the carvings were made by people who weren't at the battle, and were carving what they were told.

My view is that the Hittites are moving chariot runners (I think that's Ian's as well), and that they were dropped off to form some kind of skirmish screen or general irritant to their opponents. Another option would be to permit a pair of chariot units to drop off a light infantry unit to attack their opponents (in the flank???) once combat has started. Don't know. If I was writing Egyptian/Hittite might not have started from here (which would be a shame, as this looks like it is shaping up alright).

Keep us updated, please. Do you blog anywhere?

Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: SteveBurt on November 21, 2019, 05:45:05 PM
My theory is that the third man hopped out of the chariot during a melee and chucked javelins and generally made a nuisance of himself. Also, my Foundry Hittite chariots have chaps wielding impressive looking long spears so I feel they ought to be good in melee.
Someone is now going to cite the book by Mary Littauer and Joust Crouwel which supposedly proves that you can't use a long spear from a chariot; except it doesn't. They state early on that you can't use a spear from a chariot. Then every time a picture of someone doing just that appears (there are quite a lot of them, mostly Mycenean types fencing with long spears), they say "since we have proved that you can't use a spear from a chariot, please ignore this picture".
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 21, 2019, 05:47:54 PM
Ha ha!

I published a book on the 1469 Battle of Edgcote earlier in the year where a lot of my thesis was that people have just ignored evidence because they thought it wasn't true, and came to other conclusions based on a made up idea. There's a lot of it about.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 21, 2019, 06:27:17 PM
Yeah, I have no doubt that it's possible to 'spear fight' from a chariot.  I found Drews idea of chariot jousting which he used to dismiss spear combat a bit of a red herring.  Misdirection if you like.

As to the third or fourth man I've just written but not yet posted some To Ur thoughts on why four horse chariots came into use. 

The additional warriors clearly add something that as seen as an improvement.  It's either additional missile capacity or greater melee capability.  Chariot Runners catching a lift are easy to envisage too.

The additional horses are so speed can be maintained.  I'm currently painting up an illustrative four horse chariot to add to the piece.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: SteveBurt on November 21, 2019, 09:16:53 PM
The realyy intetesting ones are the three horse Assyrian chariots. Some people refuse to believe these existed in spite of abundant evidence. The four horse heavies definitely seem to have been terror weapons since by then they had good cavalry.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 21, 2019, 10:21:24 PM
We know the two horse carts were quite light in their construction.  I'm assuming the bigger carts followed the same pattern?  If they did then the crew supply most of the weight to be carried.  For each extra crew man you have to add a horse to maintain the draft power weight ratio.  Do you think that is on the right lines?
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: SteveBurt on November 22, 2019, 10:01:33 AM
Yes, but the third horse in the three horse chariots wasn't attached to the yoke. Apparently it aids with turning, and obviously it is also a spare if one of the other horses is wounded.
All chariots are pretty light. The Egyptian ones could be carried by one man, and the Assryrian ones by two.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 22, 2019, 11:05:47 AM
I didn't know that Steve, interesting.

Yes, the Illiad mentions heroes picking up chariots.  The chariot was great technology when you think about it.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: DivisMal on November 23, 2019, 10:16:02 AM
To make myself clear: Iím not suggesting regular armies like in the late Bronze Age....but much more than what we expected from the Neolithic!

Thanks for that DivisMal. Yes, certainly neolithic/chalcolithic big fortified settlements, warrior graves, advancing weapons tech, chiefdoms, paramount chiefdoms, proto-states. I had the impression that the Yamnaya Indo-European speakers brought advanced metal weapons tech into western Europe along with horses and chariots c. 2500 BC. I wasn't aware of any evidence for chariots in the ANE before bronze age Sumeria.

In any case, I'll watch for your future posts on the subject. Take care.

Thanks, and sorry for another slightly ot-answer.
Itís a big issue for at least 100 years, and I canít solve it in a forum on gaming little metal men, but wheels, advanced metallurgy (arsenic-copper alloys) are definitely pre-Yamnaja and belong to the earlier Majkop horizon.

Back to topic:
From what I read this could be a nice system to modify for many pre- and protohistoric periods!
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 23, 2019, 04:44:47 PM
@DivisMal: The structure of TEIH is very open, and it is fairly easy to tweak the components without upsetting the game balance, except in the Fear Test. I didn't originally think of the system as applicable to other periods as I wasn't designing for them. However, it is becoming clear that it is suitable for other periods if armies think about each other in the way I have postulated for the Sumerians. All I would add is that I priced them at £5/$6 to make them sufficiently affordable that people would be prepared to look at them on the off chance they might work for them, so I suggest you pick up a copy and start to fiddle around with them.

I'm sort of think now that there's a supplement for pre and post Sumerian ideas, some time in the future.

Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 23, 2019, 06:18:55 PM
I think that's a good idea.

BTW I see Lancashire Games have 15%off their 15mm Biblical range.  Anyone wanting easy and inexpensive access into the period could have a look there and order a copy of To Ur.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 23, 2019, 06:33:08 PM
Glad you agree. It'll be a way down the road, and it'll need everyone to pitch in with ideas and play-testing, but it's worth a go. I wasa looking at my 6mmm Hittites this afternoon just in case.

It might also be a chance to deal with the other criticisms I got, - such as no army lists.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 24, 2019, 11:53:21 AM
In that spirit I've just posted a piece on my blog about using four horse chariots with To Ur.

https://youdonotknowthenorth.blogspot.com

Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 24, 2019, 12:32:52 PM
I've been and had a look and made a comment. There are some issues you need to think about in terms of the expected outcomes, but otherwise where you are coming from makes sense.

I make these comments from the point of view of a game designer and rules writer, not as a period expert.

Although I do have four horse Assyrian chariots.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 24, 2019, 07:35:47 PM
Thanks Trebian.

I've included your comment in the body of the blog post because sometimes people don't read comments and I wanted to make sure it was seen.

I hadn't actually thought of changing factors beyond  extending the plus 1 charging cart bonus into a second round for spear carts v non spear carts.

So, If a spear cart fought a spear and bow cart neither of them would have a close combat advantage.  They would fight exactly as the rules provide for.

Ditto two bow carts.  If a spear cart fought a bow only cart the spear cart would also get the charging chariot bonus in the second round of melee.

I need to work through your comments with the rules in front of me so I understand everything properly.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 24, 2019, 07:50:22 PM
I think you probably need to sit down with some chariots on a table, move them about, roll the dice and see if you like the outcome.

I don't know about extending the "charge bonus" to move two. If the spear armed chariot is superior in hand to hand combat then you need to modify the base combat scores in some way, whether dice rolled or to hit. Changing the dice rolled has an impact on the Fear Test whether you change the base score or the modifiers. The Fear Test then takes place before the combat, which then modifies the actual dice rolled. What you also need to decide is how much damage inflicted by the bows pre-combat is enough to potentially unsettle the spear chariot. Clearly as the rules stand they are unlikely to shoot away a whole base in a turn. If archery is part of the chariots' real threat to the enemy then capturing it in some way is important.

Damn. I'm circling this rabbit hole trying not to go down it, as I'm supposed to be working on my 19th century Pacific War rules.

Trebian
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: fastolfrus on November 24, 2019, 08:24:50 PM
Where can we buy the rules?
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: Trebian on November 24, 2019, 08:27:20 PM
The rules are available through Amazon world wide. Not always easy to find on the search. Should find it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ur-Human-Tabletop-conflict-Mesopotamia/dp/1699824924/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2ROL6XHM4TQ37&keywords=to+ur+is+human&qid=1574627168&s=books&sprefix=to+ur+is%2Caps%2C196&sr=1-3 (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ur-Human-Tabletop-conflict-Mesopotamia/dp/1699824924/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2ROL6XHM4TQ37&keywords=to+ur+is+human&qid=1574627168&s=books&sprefix=to+ur+is%2Caps%2C196&sr=1-3)
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 24, 2019, 09:47:20 PM
Sound advice I'll do just that and write it up.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: syrinx0 on November 28, 2019, 02:14:51 AM
Thanks for all the work  OB.
Title: Re: To Ur is Human - A review
Post by: OB on November 28, 2019, 08:21:31 PM
Not a bother and thank you.  The festive season has kicked in early for me this year so bear with me on future updates.  I really do need to take Trebian's advice and try things out on the table top.