Tuesday, 29 August 2017

OAAH Beta test Troy, diplomacy by other means

The Prologue.

Last week we worked on heroes and hordes. This week I want to look at the role of the General. It's proposed that Generals like monsters, heroes, artillery etc. come in grades. Unless you've got a lead-from-the-front type, what are they to do?

My idea is that the general can influence troops to move forward in a line. Sounds simple doesn't it? Works well in you-go-I-go games, but in an action/reaction game they tend to drift apart. So-.

Let me define my idea- this is mine, not an official rule. Got that? OK, lets go:
A General has a rating. This rating is 2-8. Now I think the lower (2-4) rating is ideal for a lead-from-the-front type general.

Suppose each rating refers to the areas of control. So a rate 6 general can control 6 areas. This may be a line, double line with an area gap, wedge, clump or block. You can think of this as a blowing of horns, waving of flags, messengers bombing about, officers yelling. The enemy can see that there might be a wavering in the line and focus there-.

Thinking of a couple of examples: Harold had good control of his central Battle at Hastings, but less control of his flanks. Alexander was a lead-from-the-front type of guy, had control of his immediate forces but relied on excellent sub commanders for the majority.

In game terms, my idea 1)
A general at the start of his round rolls (different colour) dice equal to his rating. These are distributed to terrain blocks (if empty, tough) in his area of control IF those troops are unlikely to get into combat as a result. The end result must be a formation, so all move forward either 1 or 2 in open ground or 1 in rough. The odd monster or hero that goes dashing off- that is the nature of the beast!

Now each unit rolls 1 extra dice as it is activated. If drilled, 2 dice are rolled and the worse disregarded. If there is more than 1 unit in the area, they share the generals dice unless a monster, hero or personality.

These 2 dice are its activation. Any reaction is passed over as normal. Any unit getting out of line can be pushed forward.

Other units can be activated before or after the generals line-move.

Now let's try it with different generals.

Didn't Work – bit too complicated. Simple it down. A grade 6 general suggest adds +1 to roll of troops (not heroes, personalities and monsters. Artillery a “wonky yes”) in 6 defined areas. Everything else as normal. Needs a marker. This should take general 1 activation as requires physical order giving.

You see than I'm developing the idea of a combined group- usually infantry and skirmishers in an area to combined units under the command of a general. I think it helps if you “role play” the motivation and character of the general, see below!

The plot

I'm guessing, oh my learned cohorts, that a lot of you have played RPG's? New group, new adventure, the DM throws in a brawl so everyone can get see who'se who? Our Homer used the same plot device. On the way over the army leapfrogs in a series of raids.

I cannot help but think of the Dieppe raid of WW2, initially thought of as a disaster but then we learn its sole purpose was an enigma machine. So with that in mind let's look at the raid on Mysia. A small island that took on the might of Achaean Greece and ground them to a stalemate!

What little we have concentrates on the final part of the battle, so that is where our revels begin.

The Generals were Ajax, Achilles and Odysseus. What a combination. I can see Ajax in the middle of the front rank, keeping the spearmen in place. Achilles no doubt had the centre and Odysseus the flank.

We start at the point, for convenience off-table, Ajax has killed the opposing sub commander (I guess) Teuthranis, half brother to the king Telephus. He gets narked and breaks the Achaean line.

This gives us a clearer image. A solid wall of spear. Achilles with his Myrmidons, chariots and support troops in the centre. On the flank stands Odysseus firm, facing the wrath of Telephus. In practical terms, having pushed the line back Telephus is heading for the gap to break the last group holding out. Meanstwhile Achilles is doing a Patton.

So, he takes it out on Odysseus after Ajax does the deed. I'm presuming that there is where the break is. Achilles in no rush as usual, plugs the gap. Odysseus is exposed but fresh. Got it?

The Achaean Invaders

(my) Left
Units 8 Spearman, 4 2 5 Pikes, Drilled 18 x 16 = 288

(I'm presuming that these have taken some damage and start disordered, plus they've lost their skirmishers and separated from any general's control.)

Achilles (lead-from-the-front) General L3, 3 3 6 Hero, Shoot3, 4lives

Myrmidons 6
Skirmish javelin 4 1 5 Skirmisher, Shoot1 15 x 4 = 60
Skirmishing archers 4 1 4 Skirmisher, Shoot1 4 x 12 = 48

Seapeoples warband 8
Skirmish javelin 4 1 5 Skirmisher, Shoot1 15 x 4 = 60
Skirmishing archers 4 1 4 Skirmisher, Shoot1 4 x 12 = 48

Chariots 2 L3 4 2 5 Chariot Shoot2 2 lives ? 80

Far Right
General Odysseus Level6 3 2 5 Hero, Inspiring leader, 2lives, General ? 75

Skirmish javelin 4 1 5 Skirmisher, Shoot1 15 x 4 = 60
Skirmish archers 4 1 4 Skirmisher, Shoot1 12 x 8 = 96

3 areas: Skirmish javelin 4 1 5 Skirmisher, Shoot1 15 x 4 = 60
Drilled Spear &Tower Shield 4 2 5 Pike Drilled 8 x 16 = 128

Chariots 2 L2 4 2 5 Chariot Shoot2 2 lives Fast? 60
Chariot runners 4 1 5 Fast 2x2 = 4 x 9 = 36

Skirmish javelin 4 1 5 Skirmisher, Shoot1 15 x 4 = 60
Archers 8 4 1 5 Shoot 2 8 x 15 =120

Approx. 1,500


Right flank
Units 8 Spearman, 4 2 5 Pikes, Drilled 18 x 16 = 288
Heroic Charioteer 3 3 5 Chariot, Hero, Dev charge, Fast, 2lives 39
Skirmish javelin 4 1 5 Skirmisher, Shoot1 15 x 6 = 90

Chariot sub General
Units 8 Spearman, 4 2 5 Pikes, Drilled 24 x 16 = 384

King 3 3 5 Chariot, Hero, Dev charge, Fast, 2lives General 4 75?
2 Chariot Heroes 3 3 5 Chariot, Hero, Dev charge, Fast, 2lives 39
Household militia 4 2 4 Sh1 Drilled, 16 x 14 =224
Household archers 4 1 5 Sh2 Drilled, 17 x 12 =204
Household Skirmishers 4 2 4 Sh1 Drilled, 12 x 15 =180

Approx. 1,500

The Game.

I set everyone up in danger-close. No set-up, no substitution just a 2 hour-crunch-fest.

I got the initiative and with the theme of Achilles advancing to plug the gap, he formed a line and advanced. Now came Odysseus. Bum, my method not good and a slow advance, while Tony didn't take the initiative, content to advance his line by reaction.

First clashes, my skirmishers clash with Tony's household skirmishers. Outclassed they go down. But not before a chariot hero tries his luck against some javelins, coming of worst and dead.
Spear vs household spear, again I go down in flames, the 3 survivors go back in disorder.
Clash of Sea peoples against spear and for once win! Their Myrmidon brothers don't fare so well.

Now this has left a big hole in the centre. Tony's last chariot hero sees the gap and goes for it with 3 activations. This, with no reactions to stop him!, gets him all the way to Odysseus. He runs the general down, but dies (as usual) in the attempt. Morale. Oh joy. Most go back 1 but I lose some skirmishers.

Now its Achilles turn. Seeing a clear run Tony's last chariot hero goes for Achilles. Both fail in javelin exchange and plow in. The Hero dies, but he's stripped 2 lives from Achilles. Now the sub-general throws in his luck, but goes down as well, but takes another life! Emboldened, a spear unit charges him and despite losses kills him. Morale. Not much left, some skirmishers go back-.

Now my back is against the wall. No command. I hit spears with chariots, do a fair bit of damage but 1 life back, chariot retreats in disorder. But so is the spear, but I don't manage to follow up.

Tony's skirmishers make a fighting withdraw against one of my spear and cause a LOT of damage.
At this point Tony decides that a general withdraw is mooted.

Wow. Very fast, intense game. We keep forgetting to take pictures as the pace, you get into a rhythm. Felt right.

I'm still vague on which plus – chariot/hero/general to use, what overlaps. This, I believe will be addressed in the next beta set.

Next time we swap to Feudal Japan and look at monsters. All Monsters Must Die!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

OAAH Beta test Heroes and Hordes

This game is part of our continuing beta-testing of Ganesha's Of Armies And Hordes. It occurred to be that we hadn't fully explored Hordes and the latest updates for Heroes, Chariots and Generals.

Astute hoobs will soon 'ave spotted that I used last weeks table turned.

Let we give you the gist: A Horde is a rabble, a rough assemblage of untrained and ill-equipped people. On the plus side, there's lots of 'em and they don't suffer from flanks or rear. On the down side, they take double casualties, so very easy to break. You think? I gave mine Shooting 1 (+1), I could have given them shooting 0. This represents those with slings (a lot of people wore them on wrist or waist), rocks, branches, hand axes. A Japanese peasant, in contrast, will pick up a tool or get given a bamboo pointy stick.

Chariots now come in grades from 2 to 8. I took 2 as the lighter “bus” made for fast transport of missile trooper up to 8 as those multi-crewed Chinese or Assyrian multi-crewed monsters. You roll grade number in combat, so my grade 2's rolled 2 + attack and my Heroes 3.

Heroes are similar to above, they have a grade. I'm not sure if the grades should overlap or multiple? I think I underdone my poor heroes as a 3, I think a 5 or 6 would have been better.

A quick note on the hordes vs chariots fight. Hordes are unfettered by discipline and formation, so they get out of the way. Yell at horses, stick things in wheels and run all over the shop throwing stones. This is how it works: half the bases rounded down roll a dice. Now there are 12, so 6. With an armour of 5 vs skill of 1 – 4+ does the job. 1's always fail and 6 always kill. I'd given each an extra life, so regulars can take 4 and heroes 2.

Likewise when javelins meet hordes, you can imagine missiles flying every which way. A bit like a lethal food fight.

Generals we will look at more next week, as the impact of their grade needs some thought.

Weaponsmith “This is the latest development in the Mk1.”
Hero “it's a stick.”
Weaponsmith “Well, yes, but it's well balanced with good penetration backed by retarding lugs.”
Hero “it's a stick.”
Weaponsmith “Here we have the latest Mk 2.”
Hero “it's a stick.”
Weaponsmith “Certainly, but this one is shorter, thinner and well balanced with a slim head designed for good delivery versus impact optimisation.”
Hero “it's a stick.”
Weaponsmith “Well, let's move on to the Mark 3, you'll note its optimisation for 2 handed use.”
Hero “it's a stick.”
Weaponsmith “Yes, but it's a very long and pointy one.”

I went for an “invasion from the sea” feel. On the defending side you have every light force that can be scraped up while more traditional forces muster.

Centaur General 3 3 5 General L2, Fast, 2 lives @36
Centaur Hero 3 3 5 Hero L2 Shoot1 Fast 2 lives 80?
Centaur archers 4 2 6 Shoot2 Skirmishers Fast 4 x 19 = 76
Centaur club 4 3 5 fast 4 x 15 = 60
Centaur shamen 3 2 4 Fast, Spellcaster, Alter terrain & rain arrows 18
Satyr sub General 3 3 4 Sub general L2, Highwaymen, Difficult target. 70?
Satyr shamen 3 1 4 Spellcaster, Alter terrain, Chaos, Highwaymen, Difficult target. 19
Satyrs 4 2 4 Highwaymen, Difficult target. 8 x 12 = 96
Satyr archers 4 1 4, Shoot1, Highwaymen, Difficult target. 12 x 13 = 156
Kohen 3 4 5 Hero L3 , Fearless, Devastating charge, 2 lives 100?
Numean Lion 4 4 5 Monster L2, Tough, Fear, 2 lives 51
Rabble 5 1 4 Rabble, Shoot1 24 x 5 = 120
Total approx 750. The costings haven't kept up with development, but should equal out)

The attackers are the hotheads who push forward without due regard, followed by a mass of skirmishers (probably sailors) who no-one has gotten around to organising.

Heroic General. 3 3 5 General/Chariot/Hero L4, Devastating charge, Fast, 2 lives. 200?
Heroes in Chariots 3 3 5 Chariot/Hero L3, Devastating charge, Fast, 2 lives. X2 200?
Chariot Heroes 4 2 5 Chariots L2, Shoot2, 2 lives. 2 chariots x2 150?
Chariot Runners 4 1 4 Fast 12 x 9 = 108
Javelin Skirmishers 4 1 5 Skirmishers, Shoot1 12 x 15 = 180
Total approx 750.

The Game. I gave Tony the defenders, half the table plus the Satyrs can set up an ambush anywhere along a road (but of course I don't know that).

Tony set up with a ? shaped deployment that led me to believe the ambush would be along the main road. His right flank consisted of the 2 hordes backed by the lion (tactical reserve- now there's posh!) Centaurs in the centre angled to the rough ground. I have a bunch of chariots.

He also got the initiative. Down came the centaur hero. My chariot runners nip in, take no damage from shooting and lose 2 (½) but kill the hero.

Tony pops part of the surprise party, putting archers behind the wall flanking my chariots. But fails to get them into shooting. They cannot do the hop-in-hop-out as the chariots are faster. In come the centaurs but thanks to a reaction I hit them and with shooting I win, although we lose 3 each. Ouch.

Then in comes Kohen. He stands there all defiant. Up come my chariots all steaming, but stop short – I should have pushed them, twit. Dwain Kohen leaps in, kills 3 but dies.

No Hero Kohen, I expect you to die!

Meanstwhile on my left my mass of javelins dash into the archers, but as they go over the wall they see the whole satyr horde staring back up at them. Finishing off the archers with javelins they get over the wall but the satyrs follow them. Bad for them the Hero gets a reaction and slams into their flank before they hit the archers. They back in disorder.

The Javelins, seeing a rabble on their flank, charge them. Both sides suffer in the shooting, then the melee- one lone javelin is left standing where 22 were before-.

Last bit on this side before tactical retreat. Up comes Sheldic the centaur shamen, but he fumbles it, allowing  a remnant charioteer to crash into him.

Now lets look at the other side. Deep intake of breath. Faced with 2 hordes I send in chariot runners, who die under a hail of rocks, then chariots. These go down under rocks as well. All of them. Now my regular hero doesn't like that, so he tries the same. And dies.
That finishes me. I'm left with a general and 3 runners!

Just the odd 1,2 or 3 would have helped!

My one shooting success removes 2, but then the next Heroic charioteer runs into this-.

There's rules where units starting in the same terrain square can charge at the same time, I need to re-read those. Next time we are looking at using diffent grades of generals. Excelcior.