Friday, September 28, 2012

The Best of the Hail Caesar Yahoo Group. September 2012

Lots of good discussion this month as folks return from vacation and get back to waging war with tiny armies. It was hard to pick the best post of the month, so here are a few of my favorite highlights.

Rules Clarifications

  • A testudo hit in the flank adopts battle line formation, but does not turn 90 degrees to face its attacker. The attack is still to the flank.

  • Skirmishers in open order can not adopt a close order formation as a charge response to stop a heavier unit. Skirmishers in open formation can pretty much be ignored by heavier units in regards to the proximity rule.
  • Two cohorts side by side with a third of same width covering exactly half of each of the two front cohorts. Would this mean the rear cohort could support either of the front cohorts or neither?

    It could support one of them, you choose which, but it can't support both. Of course, if they are fighting two separate enemy units, you will fight the combat with the support first, to increase your chances of victory. Then, all being well, the winning cohort will be able to sweeping charge into the flank of the remaining enemy, support following, to totally decimate that unit who will be facing two cohorts, one of which is supported. All gravy!

 Modeling Pyrrhus' Cavalry

I particuarly liked shaoloongyin's thoughts on modeling the unique nature of Pyrrhus' cavalry. The encouragement of the designers for players to hack the rules to best fit their vision of history or playability is one of the things that I really like about Hail Caesar and the HC community. I'll quote shaoloongyin's thoughts in total, because he's got some neat ideas:

I'd appreciate feedback on the following two approaches that attempt to reconcile historical troop characteristics within the HC ruleset.

Pyrrhus' mobile heavy cavalry reserve - Marauder rule

At the battle of Asculum, and perhaps elsewhere, Pyrrhus established a reserve line of elephants + skirmishers on the left and right wings and commanded his heavy guard cavalry in the centre. Apparently, he and his cavalry force would dash to wherever the lines appeared weak to either apply command or armed force.

Given this mobile role, it seems awkward to place such a cavalry squad under the distance restrictions of the usual divisional command rules. So, I've decided to use the Marauder rule in such cases, as well as the optional commander-in-chief rule for Pyrrhus.

This way, if he leaves the cavalry unit to lend command to any of his remote wings his guard cavalry will not suddenly be operating as if lobotomised. Though, per the rules, Pyrrhus' guard cavalry would be activated under the command of their original sub-commander in the centre rather than Pyrrhus himself (unless he joins the unit), no? This seems a little strange.

Perhaps it might be better to make them an exceptional division of 1?

Tarentine cavalry with 'Parthian' shot

Light, javelin-armed Tarentine cavalry apparently favoured riding up towards an enemy, casting their javelins, before riding away in a hit-and-run manner. There is doubt about whether their tactics favoured melee engagement.

Rather than used the 'feigned flight' rule, I've opted to allow Parthian Shot to be used with the Short Range value. The Tarentine javelin tactic appears analogous to the Parthian bow technique, though perhaps without the backwards-firing flourish.

Despite their initially exceptional use of shields, I've also opted to maintain Tarentine cavalry at a 6+ morale save and standard light cavalry, unless someone can offer a more elegant way to simulate this equipment. A 5+ morale save seems too strong.

Republican Romans

On a related note, with regards to Pyrrhus' enemy, the Republican Romans, I've toyed with the idea of allowing a manipular swap whereby a supporting second line principes or triarii unit can replace the unit in front provided the frontal unit gives ground in good order. There is thus still some chance for front line units to have their tactics disrupted if their break test puts them in disorder or destroys them outright.

Glad to see the chatter on the Hail Caesar Yahoo Group picking up. With my life being so full of non-game related activities in the moment, it's nice to be able to check in on Hail Caesar even if I can' seem to get any lead on the table.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your positive feedback on my post in the HC forums. I got a little distracted and am only just getting back to the enemies of Republican Rome, so hopefully I will get to test out those ideas I was playing around with in 2012. Seems your gaming is going well.