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Monday, February 2, 2015

Ancients: A Basic Combat Mechanic



Greek Shields.  Wikimedia.
Some say an army of horsemen, or infantry,
A fleet of ships is the fairest thing
On the face of the black earth, but I say
It's what one loves.
This is very easily understandable to do
For each of us. She who far surpassed
The beauty of all, Helen, just went and left
Her noble husband
Sailing she went far away to Troy,
And thought nothing of child or parents dear,
Nothing at all, but ...................led her off,
............ing.
.........................bent.......
............................and lightly.........
...reminds me of Anactoria who is not here
Whose lovely way of walking, and the dark flash
Of her face I would rather see ---- than
War-chariots of Lydians and spear-men struggling
On a dusty battlefield.

        Translated by William Harris

Basic Combat Mechanics

Here is a sketch of the combat mechanics for my proposed Ancients game.  My goal is for a simple system, that focuses more on the training and organization of the combatants than the nuances of their equipment.

Number of Dice

The number of dice a unit rolls in combat is determined by its size. The number of dice are not affected by casualties the unit has suffered, nor is it affected by where on the facing the combat occurs or how many models are in base to base. (These factors will be accounted for elsewhere.) If a unit is fighting more than one opponent, it may split its dice however it wants.

  1. Huge 12
  2. Large 10
  3. Medium 8
  4. Small 6

Some units may be designated Shock or Defensive.  A Shock Unit generates extra dice on the first turn of a new Combat, if it Charged or Counter-Charged.. A Defensive Unit generates extra dice on the first turn of a new Combat, if it has not Charged.   Total dice in these situations:

  • Huge 14
  • Large 12
  • Medium 10
  • Small 8

To-Hit

Each opposing Unit rolls its dice simultaneously.  If the Units are evenly matched, the number needed to-Hit is a 4+ . In most combats, however, one Unit will have an Advantage over the other.  In each of the following categories, a Unit may gain Advantage.  Count how many steps better than the other Unit it is. 

Skill
Higher Skill  > Lower Skill  (The difference in skill levels is the total Advantage)

Weight Class
Heavy > Medium > Light

Unit Type
Cavalry > Infantry

Formation
Formed > Warband > Skirmish

Position
Engaging Enemy in Rear > Engaging Enemy in Flank > Engaging Enemy in Front

If the Units each generate Advantage, from different categories, then Advantages cancel each other out.

Advantage modifies the to-Hit rolls.

If neither Unit has Advantage, they both hit on a 4+.

If a Unit has one net point of Advantage, the Unit with Advantage hits on a 3+.  The Disadvantaged Unit his on a 4+.

If a Unit has two or more net points of Advantage, the Unit with Advantage hits on a 3+ AND the Disadvantaged Unit his on a 5+

Saves

Units then make saves based on their Weight class.

  • Heavy 4+
  • Medium 5+
  • Light 6+

Resolution

Each Unit has a number of Hit Threshold based on its Size:

  • Huge 5
  • Large 4
  • Medium 3
  • Small 2

If a Unit takes a number of Hits equal to this threshold, it must take a Break Test at the end of melee.  A Break Test is a Leadership Test modified by the following:

  • +1 If the Unit has not yet made any Break Tests this game.
  • +1 If the Unit was on the winning side of the combat, based on the number of total Hits each side took.
  • -1 For each additional full multiple of of its Hit Threshold taken.
  • -1 For each Damage Token on the Unit from Previous Combats.
If the Unit fails the Break Test, it is destroyed.
If the Unit exactly equals the score needed, it Gives Ground. 
If the Unit exceeds the score needed to pass, it is unaffected.

After the test is made, any surviving units receive a permanent Damage Token.  If they were Hit for multiple Hit Thresholds, they receive multiple Damage Tokens equal to the number of full multiples of the Threshold.

Follow-Up Moves

If a Unit Gives Ground, move it backwards half its Movement Rate.  If its opponent(s) are not also Giving Ground, or locked in a continuing Combat, they may elect to move forward by half its Movement Rate.  If this keeps it in contact with the Unit Giving Ground, they remain in combat.
If both opponents Give Ground, they move away from each other.

For the Math Geeks

In case you are wondering, here are the average number of Hits for different unit Sizes by dice thrown (chart),  by dice score needed (vertical) and armor save (horizontal). For the most part a Unit's Hit Threshold is just a bit less than the number of Hits a Medium Weight Unit will typical receive from an opponent of equal Size and Skill.


14 - 6+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 2+
6+ 2.333333 1.944444 1.555556 1.166667 0.777778 0.388889
5+ 4.666667 3.888889 3.111111 2.333333 1.555556 0.777778
4+ 7 5.833333 4.666667 3.5 2.333333 1.166667
3+ 9.333333 7.777778 6.222222 4.666667 3.111111 1.555556
2+ 11.66667 9.722222 7.777778 5.833333 3.888889 1.944444







12 - 6+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 2+
6+ 2 1.666667 1.333333 1 0.666667 0.333333
5+ 4 3.333333 2.666667 2 1.333333 0.666667
4+ 6 5 4 3 2 1
3+ 8 6.666667 5.333333 4 2.666667 1.333333
2+ 10 8.333333 6.666667 5 3.333333 1.666667







10 - 6+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 2+
6+ 1.666667 1.388889 1.111111 0.833333 0.555556 0.277778
5+ 3.333333 2.777778 2.222222 1.666667 1.111111 0.555556
4+ 5 4.166667 3.333333 2.5 1.666667 0.833333
3+ 6.666667 5.555556 4.444444 3.333333 2.222222 1.111111
2+ 8.333333 6.944444 5.555556 4.166667 2.777778 1.388889







8 - 6+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 2+
6+ 1.333333 1.111111 0.888889 0.666667 0.444444 0.222222
5+ 2.666667 2.222222 1.777778 1.333333 0.888889 0.444444
4+ 4 3.333333 2.666667 2 1.333333 0.666667
3+ 5.333333 4.444444 3.555556 2.666667 1.777778 0.888889
2+ 6.666667 5.555556 4.444444 3.333333 2.222222 1.111111







6 - 6+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 2+
6+ 1 0.833333 0.666667 0.5 0.333333 0.166667
5+ 2 1.666667 1.333333 1 0.666667 0.333333
4+ 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5
3+ 4 3.333333 2.666667 2 1.333333 0.666667
2+ 5 4.166667 3.333333 2.5 1.666667 0.833333

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