Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hail Caesar!

Locally we have been trying out a new set of wargame rules called "Hail Caesar". Written by Rick Priestley (the Warhammer guy, if I am not mistaken) and published by Warlord Games, they are just another set of ancients rules.

Overall I like them so far. We just did a Roman vs Celt mash-up to try and figure out the rules. No magic, of course, but the basics are there. Units have a clash value for when they first engage and a sustained value for continued melee. Romans are a solid 7 in each, whereas Celts are 9 clash, 6 sustained. (The numbers being the number of dice rolled.)

There are rules for closing ranks like the Ancient Greeks would do if being charged - apparently they had three different spacing depending upon whether they were marching, advancing or receiving an attack. The close ranks rule also covers things like shield walls. There are rules for a few formations such as wedges and phalanx.

What's missing from a Tékumel gamer's point of view are the ritual duels at the start - easy enough to add, but what would be the effect? Also the magic, but again I think probably fairly easy to add. The hardest part about the magic is how to handle the illusions.

It would be nice also to try and model some of Tékumel's unique formations. I don't think the armies fight exactly how we might assume they do. This probably applies to the RW as well. Nobody really knows just how phalanx vs phalanx worked do they? It's not something you can simulate as you can't go around jabbing people in the eyes with spears.

There is that quote about "one more step" - which led to victory, but what does it mean? Were they shield against shield pushing, as I think some interpret it. Or were they at spear-tip length dueling and the side that advanced into the spear tips first would over-awe and vanquish the other (less brave) side(?)

On Tékumel we have the standard phalanxes but then we also have units discarding their shield just before combat and going in with two-handed weapons. There are formations were one person protects the other - often, but not always, a missile user. Examples are the "Meadows of Death" formation or that Yan Koryani gurek were the medium infantry female protects her heavy infantry male partner armed with a pike. So the women with their large shields would presumably form the front rank and then the males with their pikes the second. With the pattern presumably repeating. Or would it? IIRC, the numbers of medium and heavy infantry do not match one-for-one and yet the fluff says that members of the unit have to immediately remarry if one is slain, or leave the unit. (Note I might be confusing Tsolyani and YK units here - I don't have my references in front of me. Apologies if I am leading you astray.)

Anyway, my point is that for a Tékumel game we might want to consider basing our figures differently, and perhaps using some special rules to model the little idiosyncrasies of Tékumeli warfare.

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