Sunday, May 01, 2011

Hail Caesar !

Jim's Spartans v. Steve's Athenians
Mark's Athenians v. Steve's Spartans

We did the smallest, simplest scenario in the book to familarise ourselves with the rules.  Both armies had only 2 divisions, all 2 or 3 Hoplite units plus 1 or small light units.  As a small battle it was done quickly enough to do it again.

The rules work happily with any figure scale as it is unit based, thus all you have to do is have as many of your stands as match the standard widths.  In our case 15mm figs 4 x 40mm wide stands = 160mm, the bottom end of the recommended range of 16-200mm.

The system is very much like Black Powder, but tweaked to make it work for ancients.  Shorter move distances help maintain cohesion, there is more subtlety in the combat system as close combat is what ancients is all about.  As with BP, there are generic troop types, with special rules that can be added togive any particular troop type the right flavour.

Overall, I think they are a set of rules well worth getting.  The rule book itself is a rattling good read, well set out and full of modeller porn.  They can be easily learned and played without undue mental gymnastics.  The 7 scenarios in the book are varied and interesting - not just line 'em up and charge.  While each scenario is set in a specific era - from Biblical to Middle Ages - each one could be tweaked into any other era to provide variety.  There are some army lists in the book, some on their Yahoo Group & more on the way (maybe even a book of them).

My main critism of HC, is as it is of BP - that so much depends on good dice in the command & morale tests that luck can too easily overcome cunning plans.  We found that luck played a major part in deciding the outcomes of these battles, but as they were very small battles, this effect was exagerated - it will be better in larger battles where there is more scope for the luck to even out.  You wouldn't want to playing for high stakes with these rules, but they are fun to play & never boring.

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