Re: Event: Late Roman Battle - 01/15/2022 #cal-reminder

Michael M

I found a set of common questions on the rules answered by Neil Thomas himself.  There apparently is a Yahoo group dedicated to these rules, so more than a few are giving them some airplay.  There are some interesting thoughts regarding John's concerns about the use of light cavalry, but I don't think the responses are conclusive regarding our debate on this topic.  

Here are some issues that we had questions about, but were not clearly addressed in the rules (apologies to those of you who did not play yesterday and are not familiar with these rules):

  1. Units cannot move sideways, backwards or at an angle (even at half speed).  Neil Thomas clearly states that units turn only by wheeling or a 180-degree turn.  
  2. It was asked whether this restriction still applied if the unit is very close to an enemy unit.  Ironically, the question suggested that horse archers were very powerful since by retreating at an angle (more correctly wheeling since they may do so without penalty) it would be impossible for heavy cavalry to attack them.  This supports my view during the game yesterday that charges needed to be straight on, although it might be possible to wheel into position and then continue charging forward assuming there is sufficient movement remaining to do so.  Neil supports this view by saying that there is no special restriction for wheeling in close proximity to enemy units.  If a wheeling maneuver results in contact, then hand-to-hand combat occurs.  He states "Incidentally, horse archers are indeed very effective, but are certainly not invincible - they can be neutralized" but doesn't specifically state how this might be accomplished.
  3. It was asked whether Cavalry, Light Chariots (a reference to the Biblical and Classical rules since we did not have chariots in our Dark Ages game) and Light Infantry had to take a full move if withdrawing after a round of combat and whether the move could be at an angle to avoid being attacked by a less maneuverable enemy.  Neil replied that the withdrawal could be less than a full move and could be at an angle using a normal wheeling turn.  As noted above, this renders it more difficult for slower heavy cavalry to catch up to the retreating light cavalry.  My assumption is that this is his way of simulating the greater mobility of the light cavalry to evade their pursuers.
  4. We encountered the issue of whether a unit could move through a gap less than a unit frontage wide.  The answer is that they cannot, which is how I think we handled the question.  Another question asked about interpenetration.  Neil replied that units cannot interpenetrate, so we handled that correctly as well.
  5. There are no changes in formation allowed.   Units are always two bases wide (unless attrition takes them to one base).  Note below, however, that only one unit can engage frontally.
  6. There is a 45-degree arc of fire unless otherwise noted in the rules.
  7. Apparently, artillery (such as Larry's bolt shooters) cannot be shot at as they are assumed to be a very small target and the crew receives some protection from the piece itself plus entrenchments and other protective works.  I didn't see that in the rules.  The only way to silence the artillery is to attack it directly since it is automatically eliminated if contacted.
  8. Any contact, even with a unit's corner, results in hand-to-hand combat with units immediately conforming to a straight contact.  We were doing that correctly.
  9. It was asked whether a unit could be engaged frontally by more than one enemy unit.  The answer is no, so we were doing that correctly as well.
  10. Shooting.  Each side only shoots on its own turn.  Neil adds that "players should bear in mind that they are not playing DBx".  Shooting at units engaged in hand-to-hand combat is never allowed, so we got that one right too.
At one point the Neil emphasizes that these rules are "intentionally simple yet realistic."  His philosophy is that many otherwise outstanding rules sets "have been ruined by the perceived need to cater for the sort of minutiae beloved by rules lawyers."  He adds that any disputes should be resolved by discussions over the tabletop.  Clearly, he is a minimalist when it comes to rules, but it certainly leaves some room for interpretation as we learned yesterday given our own discussions over the tabletop.

Thanks for continuing to provide your thoughts on the rules and the game.

Michael Machell

On Sun, Jan 16, 2022 at 04:25 PM, JC via <curranjohng@...> wrote:

On Sunday, January 16, 2022, 03:23:02 PM MST, Dan H <danh@...> wrote:

"Bows shoot farther than charge range, so they shot in previous turn."

Just to be clear, LCv shoot shorter (16 inches) that HCv charges (20 inches).  I presume the above reference is to foot troops.


"Sophisticated, charming and humble" - all down to his club shirt!

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