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Author Topic: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread  (Read 2529 times)

Offline guitarheroandy

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Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« on: December 09, 2021, 09:36:58 PM »
I just bought these rules and am hoping to get a few games in over the next month or two. The rules themselves are really well written so I suspect there won't be much to query but I thought I'd start a thread in case anyone has anything. Hopefully Eric will find this a good and useful thread too.

My first query/discussion point is as follows:

I plan on using units of 10 in the main, as per the games on Eric's blog. This looks like it'll be perfect for my Republican Romans, Caesarian Romans and Samnites. But the question is this: Would it matter if I altered unit sizes for the 'look' of the thing? E.g. a Phalanx of pikemen needs to look big and imposing and, well...like a phalanx. 10 models won't really cut that visually. Would it make a massive difference to game play if my pike units were of, say 15 models to give me more depth and more of the look of a phalanx, while the Roman opponent maniples/cohorts were in 10s?

Similarly, simply due to models I currently have available, my Republican Leves/Velites are mounted on 25mm bases and I only have 10 of them. Could I get away with using two units of 5 even though all my maniples have 10 figures? Similarly, my Republican Equites are currently only 6 strong. Could I use them (or better still only 5) while maintaining maniples in 10s? In theory it'll make no difference to mechanics as the unit's stats are what they are regardless of the number of models fielded, but would the reduced footprint mess up anything with regard to movement, etc?

Thanks in advance...

Offline Easy E

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2021, 11:02:55 PM »
It will make no difference at all.  The game is unit vs unit, so as long as both sides use the same general conventions it will all be great!

I suspect many people will want to use smaller sized units of cavalry and Light Troops to better fit their collections instead of 10 cavalry/lights per unit I use.  It works just fine. 

I tend to use 15 man units of Pikes, and 10 man units of Legion and it works fine and dandy.  I have also played with 6 man units of lights and cavalry with no issues.   
« Last Edit: December 09, 2021, 11:05:24 PM by Easy E »
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Offline guitarheroandy

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2021, 12:25:48 AM »
It will make no difference at all.  The game is unit vs unit, so as long as both sides use the same general conventions it will all be great!

I suspect many people will want to use smaller sized units of cavalry and Light Troops to better fit their collections instead of 10 cavalry/lights per unit I use.  It works just fine. 

I tend to use 15 man units of Pikes, and 10 man units of Legion and it works fine and dandy.  I have also played with 6 man units of lights and cavalry with no issues.

Ah, excellent! Thought so! That'll make life easier on the painting front as I hate painting horses in particular and simply having fewer figures to paint is always helpful anyway!
Thank you very much for the swift response...

Offline Easy E

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2021, 04:30:42 PM »
These questions came up elsewhere, so I thought I would post them here and answer them....

Quote
1) Open order troops can move anywhere - does this mean they can interpenetrate other units? Can formed (I.e. phalanx) units interpenetrate?
2) Units within 6 MU of a unit in contact can provide support by moving sideways or forwards. Can a unit in Phalanx do this, given the formation is only allowed to move directly forward? If a unit is in Legion Formation it can only move directly left, right and forwards, so can it provide support to a unit that is diagonal to it?

The answer was....

I do not have a copy of the book handy to quote page numbers, but here are your answers.

1. All units must stay 1 MU away from any other unit, including friendly units unless they are in support or coming into contact.

2. Yes the Phalanx or Legion formation can make this "support" move, but to be clear the 6MU is measured from the Officer/Point of Focus for the unit. In practice this means the units themselves are probably only 2 or less MU from each other, and relatively close to each other in the battle line.

This represents units simply forming up into a single unit by extending their line or other similar in-the-weeds tactical movement rather than movement to cover ground.

I am composing a living FAQ to post up in the future and I will be sure to put these questions on the FAQ! Let me know if you have further questions.

You can see the source of the question here: https://bloodandspectacles.proboards.com/thread/151/wars-republic

Offline guitarheroandy

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2022, 09:57:33 PM »
So I have my first game in a week or so - 56pts of Sulla's Romans (Mithridatic War, so a mix of legions, light infantry, archers/slingers and Gallic cavalry [which I've classed as light cavalry even though I suspect most Roman allied/mercenary Gallic horse in the period 100BC - 40BC might be better classed as Lancer cavalry under the rules]) against either Gauls/Britons or some Eastern Pontic type horde - my opponent hasn't decided yet.

Anyway - a query about combat. So, Andy has initiative: he activates his regular legion to charge Pontic imitation legionaries. He successfully uses commander's gaze to do so.
Let's say Grahame attempts to counter charge but fails. Andy's unit successfully reaches the enemy. Now, because Andy used a 'move' activation to charge, do I presume that melee waits til Grahame's turn (because Andy's legion cannot both move and fight in one activation), at which point, in Grahame's turn Grahame activates his imitation legion to 'fight' at which point Andy's unit gets to fight back and hurl its pila and generally kick ass in the melee?

However, what if Grahame had successfully counter-charged? That would be his unit's activation for that turn (a 'move' action so no fighting can be done) so would the melee then wait til Andy's next turn at which point both units pile in with pila and make a royal mess of each other? (that seems clunky to me as it'd be ages after initial contact til the combat is fought - but perhaps it feels better in the playing than in the thinking about it...)

Or is all that complete tosh and have I completely misread everything and thus does the melee happen when contact is made, i.e. in Andy's turn in this example?

Thanks in advance...

Offline Easy E

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2022, 10:12:35 PM »
Let's break this down shall we? 

1. Imitation Legion activates and moves
1. Legionaries charge the Imitation Legions
2. Imitation Legion does not have the Commander's Gaze to counter-charge
3. Legionaries charge successfully into the Imitation Legions
4. Movement Phase ends
5. Melee Phase begins, and the Legion wants to fight the imitation legions
6. Legion charged so gets to move and fight in the activation and rolls attack dice as normal
7. Imitation Legion moved, but failed to counter-charge.  Therefore, they do NOT roll attack dice as they had previously activated. 
8. Resolve results of melee normally

Now, what if the Imitation Legion had successfully counter-charged?  A charge allows you to move and fight in a turn.  The Counter-charge uses Commander's Gaze so allows the movement outside of the normal activation flow.  It would look like this:

1. Imitation Legion activates and moves
1. Legionaries charge the Imitation Legions
2. Imitation Legion does has the Commander's Gaze to counter-charge
3. Legionaries and Imitiation Legion are moved into contact half way between the starting location of each unit.  They have come into contact and both sides count as charged. 
4. Movement Phase ends
5. Melee Phase begins, and the Legion wants to fight the Imitation Legions
6. Both sides calculate Attack dice and roll for results
8. Resolve results of melee normally


Make sense?  The key thing is that a charge (including a counter-charge) allows you to move and fight in the same turn which is an exception of the normal one-action per activation.

Offline guitarheroandy

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2022, 11:16:32 PM »
Superb! Thank you for such a detailed and easy to follow explanation. Couple of things if I may?

 In the example 1 that you give, therefore the legion rolls attack dice and the imitation legionaries just shut and take it because they can't roll any attack dice? So on another hand, if the imitation legion hadn't activated to move in your example 1, they could roll attack dice in the melee?

So in example 2, even though they have already activated to move, the imitation legion can still try to counter charge with commander's gaze? That means they activate twice in a turn doesn't it with two movement activations and they fight as well?

(Sorry, I'm just kinda 'saying this aloud' by typing it in order to help me understand it all)
 

Offline guitarheroandy

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2022, 11:17:08 PM »
Superb! Thank you for such a detailed and easy to follow explanation. Couple of things if I may?

 In the example 1 that you give, therefore the legion rolls attack dice and the imitation legionaries just stand and take it because they can't roll any attack dice? So on another hand, if the imitation legion hadn't activated to move in your example 1, they could roll attack dice in the melee?

So in example 2, even though they have already activated to move, the imitation legion can still try to counter charge with commander's gaze? That means they activate twice in a turn doesn't it with two movement activations and they fight as well?

(Sorry, I'm just kinda 'saying this aloud' by typing it in order to help me understand it all)

Offline Easy E

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2022, 04:11:33 PM »
Superb! Thank you for such a detailed and easy to follow explanation. Couple of things if I may?

 In the example 1 that you give, therefore the legion rolls attack dice and the imitation legionaries just shut and take it because they can't roll any attack dice? So on another hand, if the imitation legion hadn't activated to move in your example 1, they could roll attack dice in the melee?

Yes, exactly. 

Also, if the Legion unit 'Comes in to contact" with an enemy unit that has not moved, and the Legion did not charge, then the Legion would not be able to roll attack dice.  If the Imitation Legion had not activated, they could fight in melee while the Legion could not.  A bit of a reversal, but it happened in playtesting when forces started running out of Commander's Gaze.     

So in example 2, even though they have already activated to move, the imitation legion can still try to counter charge with commander's gaze? That means they activate twice in a turn doesn't it with two movement activations and they fight as well?

(Sorry, I'm just kinda 'saying this aloud' by typing it in order to help me understand it all)

Yes, you have it here as well. 

Commander's Gaze can be used at anytime to complete the Gaze action.  Some timing is more obvious than others.  However, Commander's Gaze actions are an exception tot eh normal one action per activation.  However, Commander's Gaze actions are much shorter or limited actions than a full move, shoot, combat. 

For example, counter-charge gives you a limited ability to move straight forward in response to the enemy action, and then fight as normal.  Move and Shoot gives you the ability to shoot after moving.  Skirmisher allows you to move through difficult terrain without a movement penalty.  Uses of Commander's Gaze are exceptions to the normal rules.   

Does that make sense?

Offline guitarheroandy

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2022, 07:31:29 PM »
It does. I think what confused me was where the rules state that counter charge counts as the unit's activation for that turn. I guess what that must mean is that once a unit has countercharged, it can't do anything else as a 'main activation' action?

I also guess that this must mean that multiple commander's gaze could be used on one unit - e.g. legionaries could use commander's gaze to charge and another to change formation to Legion while they pile in? (although whether you'd want to blow two precious CG tokens on one unit in one turn is always the question...)

Thank you very much for your patience with these queries.

Offline Easy E

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2022, 08:27:15 PM »
It does. I think what confused me was where the rules state that counter charge counts as the unit's activation for that turn. I guess what that must mean is that once a unit has countercharged, it can't do anything else as a 'main activation' action?

Exactly.  Also, once you counter-charge you are generally stuck in combat.  Nothing else to really do, even if you had not activated before.  :) 

I also guess that this must mean that multiple commander's gaze could be used on one unit - e.g. legionaries could use commander's gaze to charge and another to change formation to Legion while they pile in? (although whether you'd want to blow two precious CG tokens on one unit in one turn is always the question...)

Thank you very much for your patience with these queries.

Yes you can.  I have seen folks have a unit break into open order, maneuver for position, spend a Commander's Gaze to reform, and then spend another Commander's Gaze to charge home.  I have also seen unit spend a Commander's Gaze to skirmish, move close to the enemy, and then spend a Commander's Gaze to move and shoot too. 

Offline guitarheroandy

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2022, 12:09:30 AM »
Thank you so much for those examples. It's really starting to make sense now.

I hadn't realised that the Commander's Gaze bits and pieces were so separate (well, 'in addition to' really) to the actions undertaken in the main activation. It's really brought home to me the huge importance of Commander's Gaze in the rules and how each player must use it throughout the battle. And of course, one will never have enough Commander's Gaze when the armies get close to each other and all hell breaks loose, so tough decisions must be made. I like that concept very much!

I'm looking forward to my first game even more now!

Offline Easy E

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2022, 04:47:03 PM »
This comment came up on one of my battle reports, and I think it is pretty important and want to talk about it further here:

Quote
Luca Marini wrote:
Interesting but... where is the triple acie of the Romans?
They usually deployed in three avies with hastati in the first rank, Principes in the second and triarii in the third, so to exchange ranks as the battle goes on.. (not to speak abouh velites who skirmished in front of the Hastati...) No way to reproduct this manouvre with this rules because no unit can move through another unit... Am I wrong?

First off, the game has all the units you need for a Triplex Acies formation.  You have Velites, Hastati, Principes, and Triarri.  However, you will notice that there is no "special rule" for Triplex Acies.  Indeed, Luca is correct pointing out that units can not move through other units. 

However, you can easily reproduce a Triplex Acies formation as the rules have all the tools you need to make an effective Triplex Acies.  These rules include deployment, units, pushback, support, etc.  It is not a push button special rule though, instead you actually need to tactically deploy your troops in a Triplex Acies formation and then use it.  It is not as easy as a "special rule" and boom, you get the advantage.  Therefore, a Roman commander can choose to use a Triplex Acies, or something else based on the scenario, opponent, etc.

In some of the posted Battle Reports, you can see the Romans using a Triplex Acies to various degrees of success.  In the Book Launch battle report, the Roman commanders who were all new to wargaming and Roman tactics; naturally and intuitively pulled it off to defeat the Greeks.

Now, how a designer decides to implement a Triplex Acies in their rules depends a lot on a couple of key decisions:

1. How an Ancient wargame designer sees the nature of  ancient battle.  Is is a sustained one time effort, it is a series of scrums along a general line, is it short and sharp engagements, is it a long drawn out grind, is all action unified, or is it packets of troops fighting at a time?  There are still a lot of open questions on what ancient battle actual was, so a designer has to choose how they imagine it or what they want to recreate. 

2. The Triplex Acies itself is very interesting.  We know it was a thing, but we really do not know how it works in practice.  The simplest interpretation is that it was simply a three line battle line as opposed to one line.  The most complex interpretation is that it was a rotation of soldiers at the front line during an ongoing melee.  The reality is, we really do not know.  Therefore, as a wargame designer you have to make a choice about how you want to portray it in the game you are making. 

This choice is intrinsically linked to how you envision ancient battle and what you are trying to represent on the table.  Sadly, there is no "best way" to portray it, there is only the way a designer chooses and way the player prefers.  Hopefully, those choices and preferences line up more often than not.

I find both 1 and 2 very interesting topics, so if you want to talk about them feel free to do so here, on my social media, or connect with me via my website.           


Offline guitarheroandy

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2022, 10:52:15 PM »
Great points! I personally imagine ancient warfare in the Republican Roman era as a series of intermittent violent scrums interspersed with periods where forces draw apart and rest, throwing missiles to test the enemy if they can be bothered or if any enemy are getting a bit too keen to fight on. I doubt that concerted action took place along the whole line all at once all the time as individual units would tire and pull back at different times. Maintaining hand-to-hand combat wielding a scutum would be very physically tiring, not to mention the mental stress involved, hence my belief that longer battles would contain quite lengthy 'pauses' along the line at various times while soldiers/warriors got their breath back.

I also imagine the Triplex Acies as simply a three-line formation that allows tired troops to be replaced. I subscribe to the 'dense clouds' theory whereby the individual units expanded and contracted on the battlefield. Roman legionaries needed room to throw pila and fight effectively with scutum and hand weapon (I'm not convinced that all legionaries were the classic image of the gladius-wielding swordsmen we all know and love prior to the first Punic War due to lack of time to train effectively with the proto-gladius. I suspect that many hastati and principles used short spears, hand axes and a range of sword-type weapons alongside proto-pila and other thrown weapons during the 4th and early 3rd centuries BC, with the gladius becoming more common after the first Punic War when legionaries were recruited for longer to serve abroad - and thus have time to train properly.) As a result of this, I personally suspect that Roman maniples expanded into fairly open order to fight, thus filling up the space afforded by the chequerboard formation upon deployment. Contracting the formation during a mutual pause in the hand-to-hand would allow the line exchange to happen, as the principes could advance through the gaps created by the contracted front line units which would have withdrawn in good open order facing the enemy (who would probably also be pausing for breath) Any enemy individuals or small groups attempting to exploit such a withdrawal could easily be dissuaded by a volley of pila from those hastati who still hadn't thrown them. The principes could then expand to open order and kick it all off again.

I also suspect that melee was a misshapen mess rather than the well ordered lines we get on the war-games table and even within units, individuals or small groups would fight and hang back at different times.

All of this is very difficult to portray on a tabletop!! 

Offline James Morris

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Re: Wars of The Republic Rules Queries/Discussion Thread
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2022, 12:53:19 PM »
Interesting discussion, Andy.  I agree with Eric in that I think the most important thing is to represent triplex acies in some way, but not necessarily in precise detail.  As Andy said, it was probably all a bit messier and more chaotic than our neat little roes of toy soldiers. 

 

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