Alea Up!

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Waterhorse
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Alea Up!

Post by Waterhorse »

Has anyone playing Romans been fielding a 100% Alea force for their games?

I've decided to give it a go, as it presents a different challenge, uses a troop type that generally doesn't get a look in and gets away from the stale old formula of a whole table full of Foot Warriors, wandering round till they end up in head to head fighting. It will give the Barbarians something else to think about too.

I also like cavalry! 😄

I'm also blaming Captain Reid for appealing to my inner horseman, with the excellent suggestions he made in the Using Aggressive Attack/Ferocious Charge viewtopic.php?f=44&t=14845 topic I started the other week, which addressed a lot of issues I have had with the way Infamy treats mounted troops. You may want to check the excellent game and historical points made in that thread.

We will be having all Mounted Warriors and Mounted Skirmishers, counting all figures as firing when shooting and both types able to Evade. Although we are initially going to have Warrior Groups getting a point of Shock for the privilege. So Barbarian forces will get something out of this too, while thinking up different tactics to cope with a mobile enemy, even if they can still potentially out fight it.

OK, this is the point where you all pitch in and tell me you have been doing this for ages and regularly have Romans fighting a sea of Gaulish Cavalry into the bargain!

Thoughts?
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Captain Reid
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Re: Ala Up!

Post by Captain Reid »

I've played two games against a Roman all cavalry force and umpired several others involving it.

They've some notable strengths, but are also fairly brittle and obviously will struggle to cope with areas of dense terrain.

As an aside, I'd make anyone, evading take a point of Shock each and every time they evade, not just mounted warriors. Running/cantering is tiring whoever you are.

However I think it's important to use Flexible Drill as the key. Mounted warriors shouldn't be moving in blocks of multiple groups and being able to chuck full javelins and evade willy nilly - they should have to choose how they're operating in a given Activation.
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Waterhorse
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Re: Alea Up!

Post by Waterhorse »

As an aside, I'd make anyone, evading take a point of Shock each and every time they evade, not just mounted warriors. Running/cantering is tiring whoever you are
I take the point, my thinking was that Warriors would be more susceptible as their horses would be carrying the heavier load, Skirmishers not having Armour of any kind. As it stands Skirmishers, without Flexible Drill, have to Evade and don't pick up Shock as a result of doing so. It seemed a bit harsh to penalise them as a result of a change to Cavalry in general.
However I think it's important to use Flexible Drill as the key. Mounted warriors shouldn't be moving in blocks of multiple groups and being able to chuck full javelins and evade willy nilly - they should have to choose how they're operating in a given Activation.
Too be honest, I hadn't envisaged anything larger than a Group throwing javelins as Skirmishers. So I guess I was just thinking of it as an inbuilt restriction, so it wouldn't happen. So giving a Groups Skirmish, Formations/Mobs Fight delineation. So by definition, if a player says "this unit is Skirmishing" they are always employing only a Group and can Evade.

The only other difference I was considering was extending the current Evade options. Obviously nominating Flexible Drill would cover it but I wanted to make it a specific that if you moved to within 4" of the Frontal Area of an enemy unit, or they yours, then you were accepting Combat.

For the most part I'm saying yes to the conditions granted by Flexible Drill but not actually naming it as such! Its probably semantics! 😄
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Re: Ala Up!

Post by Captain Reid »

Skirmishers and Skirmish Cavalry having 'never ending' evades is in my opinion at least a trifle unrealistic. Hence just make everyone take a point of Shock each and every time they Evade and that makes chasing off skirmishers worthwhile (as it was historically).

I'm not sure why Flexible Drill should be an issue as there are units that are not Drilled who have Flexible Drill already. Just call it Flexible?
Last edited by Captain Reid on Tue Nov 02, 2021 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Waterhorse
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Re: Alea Up!

Post by Waterhorse »

Skirmishers and Skirmish Cavalry having 'never ending' evades is in my opinion at least a trifle unrealistic. Hence just make everyone take a point of Shock each and every time they Evade and that makes chasing off skirmishers worthwhile (as it was historically).
Yeah, actually that's a fair point. I think its probably because a lot of rules, in all Horsey periods, don't bother doing it that it doesn't chime. That said, I do recall my French Cavalry being knackered, chasing after Cossacks, who seemed to not to be bothered by their own actions, so its probably long overdue!
I'm not sure why Flexible Drill should be an issue as there are units that are not Drilled who have Flexible Drill already. Just call it Flexible?
Well its not really an issue, its just me! BTW: Just for the avoidance of doubt, I was accusing myself of semantics, not your Good Self! 😊

I may not require players to charge the extra point though. I find the single Point here and the single Point there, differences in the Army Lists, annoying enough as it is. Besides I'm probably going to be forced into accepting Barbarian Mounted Warriors into to this deal, with the lobbyists claiming that Gaulish Cavalry gave the Romans all they could handle in any case!
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Re: Ala Up!

Post by Captain Reid »

Yeah, all mounted warriors should get Flexible, except Germans.

It's worth noting though that Roman (as in actual Roman or at least Italian) cavalry trounced their Gallic opposite numbers more often than they were beaten. Later on they used Iberian or Gallic or German horse against the Gauls to equally good effect.

There is a lot of nonsense talked about Roman cavalry being crap, which largely stems from Cannae.
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Waterhorse
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Re: Alea Up!

Post by Waterhorse »

One thing I did forget to ask, that this conversation has reminded me of (as in I have forgotten the answer) regarding Flexible/Flexible Drill.

Does it require an Initiative point to change into, or out of, the Skirmisher role? I feel like it should, vis Open/Close Order, but I can't seem to see it written down!
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Re: Ala Up!

Post by Captain Reid »

Yeah, you need to use a CI to change Order be that into Skirmish Order or Open Order or Close Order.
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Waterhorse
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Re: Alea Up!

Post by Waterhorse »

Tried a Cavalry force game last night. As expected, the Resident Barbarian had a fit at the prospect of endless Roman horsemen in Flexible guise but was eventually talked round, after being taken through the abilities of Gauls to do likewise and the reminder of the limitations of mounted troops to take on Ambaxtoi in a stand up fight! Amongst other things.

As it happens, from a sales perspective, the game went perfectly. The main benefiters of the new ideas were the Gauls, who had a great time employing Noble Cavalry as over paid Skirmishers, in between hopping in and out role to glower at Romans in a fighting pose.

As for the Romans and the game (Escort Duty). It was a nice reminder of why I nearly gave up on these rules! Regardless of being able to Scout every Ambush/Deployment point on the table by virtue of the cavalry numbers, only two were removed and one changed to a Deployment Point the rest were untouched. The Gauls, who were blocking the Romans entry to the fun in order to let the wagon pass, were thus able to get where they needed to be in plenty of time. Assisted by a card deck (I'd forgotten my bag of poker chips) that appeared to have at least five Tempus Fugits in it, all of which were destined to come up at precisely the wrong time. Added to that, the Roman Deployment was not where it was needed at all and so altogether it proved that, regardless of what a force appears like on paper, if you can't get into action it doesn't matter.

Just the result I needed on this occasion! 🤣
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Captain Reid
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Re: Ala Up!

Post by Captain Reid »

Escort Duty as the Roman in Barbarian territory is really hard, regardless of force. I reframed the scenario parameters in my Ex Adipis Suillae article in the last Special in light of that.

One tweak I'm experimenting with is that you keep Signa that were drawn from the bag/deck in your hand for the next turn if you don't play them. In Infamy I find that you quite often seem to have a key Leader drawn but no Signa for him to use to do anything fancy.

Another thing we're experimenting with is that Ambushers roll for distance as if moving (which seems generally welcomed, even by the Barbarian players; after all, most things in Lardy games are randomised, why should - historically rather rare - Ambushes be any different? This makes launching an Ambush more of a mulling-over sort of decision rather than a 'no-brainer' kind of one.

Being able to React to Ambushes launched from over a certain distance has been mooted too, but I've not tried that out. I can see pros and cons both historically/realism-wise and from a gameplay perspective.

This is largely from my experience that the Barbarians don't actually need to be able to Ambush in order to win, but if they do Ambush, it's often decisive and sometimes unavoidable in a practical sense in some scenarios.
Last edited by Captain Reid on Tue Nov 09, 2021 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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