Saturday, April 22, 2017

Comparison of Baccus and Rapier Phalangites part 2

I had previously posted a comparison of Baccus' and Rapier's phalangites at http://18clovehamhock.blogspot.com/2017/03/comparison-of-baccus-and-rapier.html
Since then I have received a package of Baccus's current phalangite.  The following two photos show a full strip of Baccus' phalangites with the cast pike, a strip of Rapier's phalangites (painted), and a pair of modified Baccus' phalangites.  As can be seen the shield on the Baccus' phalangites is the correct size.


Polybius, who lived from about 200 B.C. to the late part of the second century B.C.  was very familiar with the Macedonian phalanx and the Roman Legions of his time and wrote the following description of the Macedonian phalanx:
"Many considerations may easily convince us that, if only the phalanx has its proper formation and strength, nothing can resist it face to face or withstand its charge. For as a man in close order of battle occupies a space of three feet; and as the length of the sarissae is sixteen cubits according to the original design, which has been reduced in practice to fourteen; and as of these fourteen four must be deducted, to allow for the distance between the two hands holding it, and to balance the weight in front; it follows clearly that each hoplite will have ten cubits of his sarissae projecting beyond his body, when he lowers it with both hands, as he advances against the enemy: hence, too, though the men of the second, third, and fourth rank will have their sarissae projecting farther beyond the front rank than the men of the fifth, yet even these last will have two cubits of their sarissae beyond the front rank; if only the phalanx is properly formed and the men close up properly both flank and rear, like the description in Homer1— “"So buckler pressed on buckler; helm on helm;
And man on man: and waving horse-hair plumes
In polished head-piece mingled, as they swayed
In order: in such serried rank they stood."
” And if my description is true and exact, it is clear that in front of each man of the front rank there will be five sarissae projecting to distances varying by a descending scale of two cubits." Polybius, Book 18, chapter 29.

so how do the miniatures compare to Polybius' description?

Both have sarissae that measure 16 cubits (24 feet).  Rapier's sarrisae project out 10 cubits (15 feet) as described by Polybius for the 14 cubit (21 feet) sarissae so there is an excess length behind the left hand.   Baccus' figures are holding the sarissae at the base which does not match Polybius's description of how the sarissae were held.

I decided to see if it was possible to modify Baccus' figures to match Rapier's by trimming 10mm from the front of the sarissae and gluing it behind the right hands of the figures.   The front figure was easy, but the second took extra time to secure the cut off part.  Because Baccus' figures have their hands closer together there is more of the sarissae behind their right hands.  The Baccus' figures can now form the front two ranks of a phalanx with the Rapier figures.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rule Sets Game Scales

There ae literally hundreds of rule sets for ancients and these are only a few of them.   They cover those rules that have been used for tournament play and some of the others that have been popular.  There are others that have been popular, but are no longer available.   while I have quite a  few others in my library, many of those are out of print and almost impossible to find.   The following is only intended as a rough guide to what is available or might be found.

The following table is for a comparison of unit sizes in various rule sets only.   Many of the rules have been reviewed on other sites and those reviews should be read for details on game play.  Bow range is in millimeters except for "Command and Colors' and "To the Strongest".  In some cases this has been adjusted for 40mm wide bases.  The numbers under single base and unit are the number of infantry men in close order for a single 40mm wide base and for a unit 8 ranks deep.   For “Hail Caesar”,  Tactica, and Wargames Research Group the single base number is actually for a single figure.  A “V” indicates that units can vary in size.  Bow range has been used to try and determine what a unit would represent.   As can be seen bow range varies from set to set, with the longer ranges usually being used for earlier rule sets.  For those who want to fight larger battles the rules with bow ranges of 120mm to 180mm allow for larger armies to be fielded on an average table.   Raphia which is one of the larger recorded battles would fit on a playing area about 4.5m (15 feet) with those ranges.   Wider areas would be needed for the rules with longer ranges unless the battle was scaled down.

Rule Set
Bow Range
Single Base
Unit
Notes
Ancient and Medieval Warfare
240
250
1000
1
Armati
400
250
1000
2
Broadsword Ancients Scutarii
150
500 or 250
500
3
Command and Colors Ancients
2 hexes
?
?
4
DBA
120
500
500
5
De  Bellis Multitudinis (DBM)
100
250
500
6
De Belis Magistorum Militum
120
250
500
6
Field of Glory
150
250
V
7
Hail Caesar
180
50
1000
8
Impetus
300
500
500
9
L'ART DE La Guerre
160
500
500
10
Legio
200
300-500
V
11
Might of Arms
200
200
V
12
Mortem Et Glorium
160
250
V
13
Sword and Spear
160
500
1000
14
Swordpoint
600
80
V
15
Tactica
250
20
V
16
To The Strongest
2 zones
800-1000
1000
17
Wargames Research Group IV edition
400
20
V
18
Warmaster Ancients
300
250
750
19

 Notes:
      1.        Except for Elephants, Artillery, and Chariots all units are four bases

2.       The unit strength is for the recommended size.  There are two other unit sizes in the rules.  one with fewer bases and the other with more.

3.       A unit may have one or two bases depending on the number of figures available.  Figures may also be mounted on larger bases for formations like phalangites and warbands.

4.       This is actually a board game that can be played with miniatures.   Bows have a range of two hexes and the point that firing is measured from has a bearing on unit sizes.   If the range is measured from the center of one hex to the center of the one two hexes away then a single base (block) could be 250 men and an infantry unit would be about 1000 men.  If measured from the front edge of the hex to the front edge of the target hex then the number of men would double to 2000.

5.       This is for the third edition.   The earlier edition had a greater ground scale and a greater number of men per unit.  While the basic rules only allow 12 units per army there are variations that allow 24, 36 or more per army.

6.       DBM and its successor DBMM.   These are the big battle versions of DBA, allowing many more units per army and using a point system to determine the composition.   Units are actually single bases representing troops four ranks deep, but can be placed one behind the other for combat.

7.       FOG.  At one point this was a point this was a popular rule set for tournament play.   Units can vary in size from 2 to 12 bases and must be in even multiples except for some of the formations in the Later Imperial Roman lists.

8.       Hail Caesar is intended for 28mm figures, but can be played with smaller figures by replacing the inches in the rules with centimeters.   I have seen some 6mm armies with 80mm wide units compared to the 200mm wide standard units of the rules for 25/28mm figures.   The rules actually have four unit sizes with standard units being about 200mm wide (though this can be less), large units, small units, and tiny units.  The figure ratio of 1:50 is based on 20 figures for a standard sized unit.  For this table the standard unit width is 80mm.

9.       Impetus uses larger bases than most of the other rules.   120mm is the recommended base size in the rules.   The rules also recommend doubling the distances for 28mm figures.

10.   Also known as ADLG or LADLG this rule set has become what may be the most popular tournament set.

11.   Legio.  This is actually three different sets of rules.   The bow ranges were taken from Legio Macedonia and doubled for figures on 40mm bases   The rules are designed specifically for 6mm figures on 20mm wide bases.   The bow range is only about half that of other rule sets at 100 paces.  Others range from 240 paces to 300 paces.  Units can be up to 12 bases.

12.   These use a figure ratio of 1:50.   Unit sizes can vary.

13.   Another rule set with varying numbers of bases per unit.

14.   Units are two bases wide.  The rules are intended for armies of about 15 units, but also include rules for larger armies. 

15.  Rules as written are for 28m figures on 40mm square bases with up to 12 bases per unit.  6 to 10 units per 1000 point game.  Another option for 15/18mm might be to halve the ranges and number of bases per unit.

16.   First edition of the rules.   There is a second edition in the works.   Units of varying numbers of figures.   Similar in scale to the earlier Wargames Research Group rules.

17.   Uses square zones for movement.   Rules recommend 150mm wide zones, but these can vary in size depending on player preferences.   Again there is the question of where missile fire is actually measured from.   This is further complicated by firing arcs which include adjacent squares and can increase the firing range by up to 40% in actual distance measured, though not in the number of zones.  The rules also allow for different zone sizes depending on the players preference.  The author also uses large bases similar to those used for Impetus.  See note 4 above for the effect on unit sizes which would probably be the same as those listed there.  The author does state that he uses two different scales where each unit would represent a cohort (500m3n) or two cohorts for larger battles.  Based on a unit being equal to the frontage of a square and being considered a single base, each unit represents about 800- 1000 men or for convenience 1000 men.

18.   WRG.  At one time WRG rules were almost the only rules used for tournament play.   Their base sizes were adopted by almost all other rule sets.   The rules went through seven different editions before Phil Barker went to the DBX series of rules (see notes 5 and 6 above).  The rules were originally intended for 25mm figures on 60mm bases and the range above is for the 40mm base for 15mm and smaller figures.  Units could have up to 50 figures.

19.   Adapted from the fantasy rules.   Units are three bases wide.  Certain troop types are mounted on 20mm wide by 40mm deep instead of the 40mm wide by 20mm deep of most.  Out of print, but still used. 

There are a number of historical battles on this blog including Pharsalus, Hydaspes, Raphia, Asculum and Bibracte.   Clicking on the Scutarii label will include them amongst all the blog posts for that label.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

South Bay Game Club meeting March 11, 2017

Participated in a Napoleonic naval game at the South Bay Game Club yesterday.   In addition to the naval game there were several others.   The French and Spanish ships were trying to leave a port and join the rest of the fleet at sea.   The British squadrons were attempting to prevent this.   Bob Bergman ran the game and went with a humorous them.  I was Admiral Rowan Atkinson commanding HMS Black Adder with HMS Baldric and HMS Bean in my squadron.  Unfortunately I do not recall the names of the other three British ships in Chip's squadron or those of the French and Spanish.   The French ships were named for New Orleans Mardi Gras and the Spanish translated to cowboy names.   The game lasted about four hours and finally ended when one of my ships fired its initial port broadside into the Spanish admiral's ship.   I scored four hits on six dice and a critical.   Thomas Foss, who commanded the Spanish squadron then rolled a 12 on the critical hit table  followed by another 12, on a 12 sided die, resulting in his flagship exploding. We dud award Thomas 1 point for his admiral being able to leave the table %D.   Greg commanded the French squadron.

In addition to the games there were quite a few books, buildings and miniatures that were being given away or sold.

 Pancho Villa train robbery
 

Ice planet Hoth game
 table for pig wars being set up.  the tiles represent underground passages between the various features on the table top.  I should have taken another picture of the game later in the day as there were quite a bit more of the passages on the table by then and features on the table..
 World War II bomber raid
 Sharp Practice game
The naval game just prior to the wind shifting.   Two ships from Chip's squadron are engaging the French towards the back.  Two of my ships are on the left engaging two of the Spanish ships.  The group of four ships in the center right are as follows: Spanish flagship at front with other Spanish ship to the rear.   Chip's third ship on right and mine in the middle.  The wind shifted counter-clockwise putting my two ships in irons, but fortunately a tacking card came up shortly after allowing me to move before the Spanish could.   The red markers indicate that a broadside had been fired.  When a broadside was fired a ship was given two of them for that side and required two cards being drawn that allowed reloading to take place.