Friday, 20 April 2018

"This Ain't Siluria"


Spring Project  2018: "This Ain't Siluria"; A Roman v Celt campaign..

For this project the campaign will be played out on the (scribbled) map below. 


Pretty basic terrain (the coast is the line of blues, plains/reasonable going zones green, hills brown lumps, impassable mountains black, green blobs santuaries).

The faint pinkish lines are the "zones" into which the map has been divided. The general idea is smaller zones in the hills, large zones in the plains, long zones in the river valleys accessing the hills. Some zones (the numbered ones) have hillforts/hillfort clusters in them. There are three "Sanctuary" Zones (ritual

sites...).



Game Objective: As the Roman player I have 60 days to pacify the entire map and bring the good people of "Let's call it Siluria" the firm smack, grab and occasional hobnailed-stamp of Roman Government.... Whether they like it or not...

In theory I can do this through peaceful Persuasion; such as by calling the tribal chiefs & elders to "Durbars"; where all those advantages which come with the Pax Romana (roads, irrigation, public health - but mainly personal subsidies for those already at the top of the social tree) can be carefully explained.. Not to mention there will also be on offer the (obligatory) opportunity to view lots and lots of heavily armed legionaries and more polished steel than they've seen in their lives..

I can also achieve my objective by garnering the locals' individual hearts and minds through the personal touch of a private visit from a frightfully well-bred, smiling Tribune bearing gifts (sacks of glass beads and mass-manufactured electrum torcs).

To save time, Pacification may sometimes be achieved by downright intimidation
- the simple demonstration of my unarguable (?) Military Dominance ("Hey, Badvoc - look at all the soldiers...") or the good old Roman standby of brute force, bashing, butchering & burning....
All zones must be crushed under the heel of Rome - sorry, "Pacified" - within that 60 days, which may be reduced if I cause enough damage to upset the accountants back at Base too much (we do intend to make this Province pay afterwards, after all...). 


Activity Process:
All on-board (as opposed on "on table" - i.e. with figures) activity is governed by the expenditure of Action Points (APs). An Action Point roughly represents around six hours of activity (inc. breaks). There are three Action Points in a "Working Day" (it is assumed an average of 6 hours rest will be automatically kept aside per day, thus accounting for the "missing" 6 hours/Action Point). All actions expend action points at the cost/s shown below.


The Map:The map is divided into polygonal, active "Zone"s and non-active "Areas" (the mountains and the sea). Movement between Zones/Lines of Supply can only take place/extend where two straight zone edges meet - i.e. not across zone "corners/diagonally.

There are five active Zone types where movement/combat is permitted; Plains Zones (relatively open/rolling country), Hills Zones (more broken country), Sanctuary Zones (zones containing a ritual site, grove etc.) and those zones of any type containing Major Hillforts/Hillfort clusters.

The Mountain areas are Areas, not Active Zones, and cannot be entered or crossed.

The Sea is not a movement zone (current lack of suitable vessels). Sea Areas do, however, count as zones for Supply Line purposes (it is assumed there are plenty of local merchant craft, smacks & bum-boats to commandeer).



The Fighting Folks, Forts & On-Board Tokens:

There are three types ofRoman fighting formation defined for the purposes of this game

1)
Vexillations; These are made up one or more Cohorts (game assumes the generally accepted 1st century Roman Army organisation, but feel free to tinker). In order to move across county voluntarily Vexillations must be commanded by a Legate/Tribune sharing a zone with them OR be able to receive orders from the Legate's HQ due to a Courier Card being in play (see Cards below).

2) Detachments/garrisons; These may be smaller (down to Century level). These only move involuntarily (Cards, retreats etc.) unless directly commanded by a Legate or Tribune in the same zone.
3) Patrols: Patrols may be placed in forts (in addition to any garrison) or may be "Billeted" with or close to local communities. Patrols may be made up from either Auxiliary Cavalry or Auxiliary "mixed cohorts". The cavalry element of the Patrol will never be less than two Turmae in strength (one Turmae on patrol in adjacent friendly zones - the Patrol Zone - one resting in billet or fort). Other units may also be Billeted with the Patrol (the two Turmae is a minimum requirement, not a maximum). Patrols only move involuntarily (Cards, retreats etc.) from their originally designated Patrol Zone unless directly commanded by a Legate or Tribune in the same zone.

Romans can build Forts and Supply Depots for supply and Zone control purposes. These can be garrisoned. Note that ungarrisoned Forts will be removed from the map if left without a garrison for more than 15days (locals have nicked the stuff) and will be automatically destroyed in the event of a revolt or raid. Supply Depots placed in a fort, though not classing as an effective Fort Garrison for On-Table defence purposes ARE considered enough of a presence (service corps staff) to secure a Fort site from pilferage and automatic destruction in the event of a Revolt/Raid.

Fort Garrisons must be at at least century level and can be made up of any mixture of Legionary or Auxiliary troops. Cavalry Patrols may be added to a Garrison but Forts must always contain a minimum strength of one non-patrolling foot century, or its equivalent in number of horsemen, to be classed as Garrisoned.

Supply Holding Areas can be built. These are undefended (i.e. are "Billeted" in a Zone, not fortified).

Patrols may be placed in forts (in addition to a garrison) or may be "Billeted". Patrols may be made up of Auxiliary Cavalry or units from "mixed cohorts" but the cavalry element will never be less than two Turmae in strength.




Chapter 1 - the basics: 


1:1 Turn Sequence: First Celtic Activation Phase: Celtic units must be activated by card or a dice throw of 5-6 every day. Activated Celtic units will move, ignoring terrain effects, each day; a thrown 1x6d denoting the number of zones passed through (allowing for targeting priorities).

Note: on the first Phase of the first move there are NO Celtic units in play. These will appear later.

Card Draw: The Roman player throws a 1x6D. On a throw of 5 or 6 he draws a card from the pack and sets it face down without looking at it.

Roman Phase: The Roman player moves, builds, attacks, pacifies or otherwise carries out any function within the limit of his daily allowance of APs (see AP cost). Vexillations with legionary units will build a fortified camp at the end of each day and Auxiliary units will build abatis at the end of each day automatically, and at no extra AP cost.
Note that Roman foot units/baggage trains may move no more than 2 zones per move (exception - see Forced March) based on the Actions Costs applied.

Roman cavalry units may move up to 3 zones if there are sufficient APs.

A Roman unit can always move at least 1 zone (unless movement is totally disallowed by cards).

Note: there is no troop movement by sea, though sea zones can form part of a Line of Communication (see Supply).


Battle/Skirmish resolution:
Battle & skirmishes are resolved and results applied.

Second Celtic Activation Phase:
Celtic units in play but which have not been activated this turn may attempt to activate as per First Phase. Mobile Celtic Forces in a zone with Roman units outnumbering them will retreat 1 zone towards the nearst Hillfort or Sanctuary.

Card View:
Any cards drawn this move are now revealed.


There are two types of cards; Standard Cards, which must be played once revealed, and "Hand Cards", which the Roman Player may hold (a maximum hand of three cards) and play at will at any time during his Phase.

Action Costs:

Action costs are as follows:



Most resulting battles & skirmishes will be fought on the table with figures, but I have made rules for settling those fights which I do not have time/inclination to fight out "board game style". There are specific "centres" (the Sanctuaries" and any major enemy camp) for me to target that will affect the enemy morale/resistance level if captured.

The Celts resist by taking their own sweet, bloody time to negotiate - or by card-driven "raids" (or outright resistance in force) from unpacified zones, which will potentially undo my "pacification", scupper my plans and generally run interference. 

Pacification
There are four types of "Pacification" 


1) Pacification by Awe; A Legate or Tribune with a force of 10 or more cohorts will automatically pacify any unresisting Zone entered by that force at no additional cost. This includes zones simply passed through.

2) Pacification by Durbar: Zones can be pacified by a Legate or Tribune with a force of 4 cohorts or more by "Calling in the Chiefs" - that is by summoning the chiefs of all zones adjacent to the Zone currently being occupied by that officer in a Durbar. There is a cost of 1 Forage Token for this act. Once the time necessary for this has been spent (see Action Costs) the occupied Zone itself and all adjacent zones are deemed Pacified.

3) Pacification by Ravaging: Any force of 2 cohorts or larger may ravage (cost 2 APs) a Zone and terrorise it into Pacification. Two Forage Tokens are gained by this act.
For me, ravaging & terrorising may be a quicker way of getting results in the immediate term, garner forage for my troops (supply will be an issue) and reduce the resources for the AI army; but too hard a line may breed further resistance...

Also, a Procurator's agent (with an eye to post-pacification tax revenue) will be watching me. I do NOT want a stiff letter from the Guv'nor........

4) Pacification by Persuasion: Any force of 2 cohorts or larger and under command of a Tribune may attempt (cost 1AP) to persuade and impress locals sufficiently to cause that zone to decide to come into the fold. They do so by entering a zone and throwing a 6d. to test their powers of Persuasion. On a dice throw of 4-6 the zone is pacified. Spending Forage Token adds to the dice score. Add 1 pip per token spent. Also, add 1 pip to the throw for every neighbouring Ravaged zone. 

4) Pacification by Conquest: A defeated "Resisting" or "Revolting" Zone or any Zone where a major Celtic defeat takes place will be deemed automatically Pacified.





Supply: Roman units need supplies. They have an inherent "Three day" capacity to move beyond their line of Communication, but after the three days are up they MUST obtain a baggage train, gather forage tokens or re-establish connection to a Line of Communication. If they fail to do so they start suffering Attrition.

Mobile supplies can take the form of a Baggage Train and/or Forage Tokens.Every 10 days a fresh Baggage Train will arrive at Isca.

Isca is a Supply Depot. Others can be built.

Supplies can also be passed along an unbroken Line of Communication through Pacified Zones.
A Line of Communication can be no longer than 4 zones in extent). There must therefore be a Supply Depot, Supply Area or fort with Supply Depot at least every 4 zones along the supply chain.
A Line of Communication can only pass
through Pacified Zones but Lines of Communication can also extend into
any Unpacified zone which is adjacent to an unravaged/raided Pacified zone unoccupied by a Celtic unit, so long as the 4 zone chain is not exceeded.

Isca is a Supply Depot. Others can be built.

Roman units can be supplied by sea. Lines of Communication extend from the sea into any zones marked with an anchor. The South Coastal Sea Zone counts as one zone. The Loughor Sea Zone (south of Hillfort Zone XXIX) is deemed connected to the South Coastal Sea Zone but is a different zone (i.e. an LoC from Isca could extend into Hillfort Zone II, into the South Coastal Sea Zone, into the Loughor Sea Zone then into Hillfort Zone XXIX. Once this zone is pacified a new Supply Depot/Area could be built here to extend the LoC further.



Foraging: A Roman force in cohort strength or greater can "peacefully" forage in any zone not ravaged/raided/in revolt. Foraging costs 1AP and the forager receives 1 Forage Token for each cohort foraging. However if more than a certain number of forage tokens are drawn in a single move there may be repercussions;

If more than one forage token a move is drawn from a Pacified Zone a dice 1x6d must be thrown to test reaction, with a modifier of -2 for each additional Forage Token sought. If a 1 is thrown, then the zone revolts.

If more than two forage tokens a move are drawn from an Unpacified Plains Zone a dice 1x6d must be thrown to test reaction, with a modifier of -1 for each additional Forage Token sought. If a 1 or 2 is thrown, then a card is drawn from the deck.

If more than two forage tokens a move are drawn from an Unpacified Hill Zone a dice 1x6d must be thrown to test reaction, with a modifier of -1 for each additional Forage Token sought. If a 1 or 3 is thrown, then a card is drawn from the deck.

If more than two forage tokens a move are drawn from an Unpacified Hillfort Zone of any type a dice 1x6d must be thrown to test reaction, with a modifier of -1 for each additional Forage Token sought. If a 1 or 3 is thrown, then two cards are drawn from the deck.


Attrition: A force/unit with no forage tokens or baggage train Zone suffers attrition for each zone passed though (i.e. actually move through to another zone - not merely land on the zone).
Throw a 6D for each Unpacified or Ravaged Zone passed through, adding 1 to the dice for Hill Zones. The force loses 10% of its numbers per pip on the die.

Roman casualties will be taken on the sequence Cavalry then Auxiliary Foot then Legionaries. Celtic casualties will be taken on the sequence Foot then Cavalry then Chariotry. If there is a garrisoned Roman Fort in the Ravaged Zone there will be no attrition suffered by a Roman force.

CARDS

There are two types of cards; Standard Cards, which must be played once revealed, and "Hand Cards", which the Roman Player may hold (a maximum hand of three cards) and play at will at any time during his Phase .


Standard Cards:


"Provincial Trouble": There is trouble elsewhere in the province. and the Governor needs men. Choose 6 cohorts of any type and remove them from the board. 

"Unexpected Death": One of your staff has succumbed to the weather or local ills.. Or just fallen from his horse. Dice for each of your tribunes. Lowest scoring tribune dies. In the event of a tie continue dicing till one dies. 

"Unexpected Reinforcements": The Governor wants a speedy end to matters. You receive 6 cohorts (dice for type; 1-2 = legionary cohort, 3-5 auxiliary infantry, 6 = mixed cohort) and a commanding tribune at Isca. 

"Betrayal": Throw a 1x6D. On a throw of 1-5 a Pacified zone revolts (Note;. IF this zone contains a fort, patrol or fighting unit throw again. On a throw of 1 or 2 that for/patrol/unit is destroyed.
Baggage train or billeted Supply Holding Areas are destroyed.

On a throw of six, dice for all Legionary Tribunes. The lowest scoring Tribune will be removed from the map. IF that Tribune is in command of a force that force will likewise be removed from the map. Nothing personal. just politics...


"Home Ground":
An Enemy Army may appear in any occupied but unpacified zone and attack. Dice for zone and army size as standard. Throw 1x6D. A throw of 1-3 and the Roman force is "Ambushed".


"Uprising": A previously pacified zone without a garrison/friendly combat unit or patrol occupying it may be subject to revolt. Card & dice for location of the zone affected. It automatically revolts. Any Baggage train, forage counters or Supply Holding Areas in the zone are destroyed.

Thereafter, every move that a revolt is in progress, each adjacent zone dices to see if they in turn revolt. Throw 1x6D for each adjacent zone. Result of 1 or 2 and that adjacent zone revolts too. Add 1 to the test die if a Hill Zone is being tested for. 


"Raid": An Enemy Raiding Party has attacked a pacified zone from an adjacent unpacified or revolting zone. Dice for location.

If a Raided Zone contains a Roman combat unit not in a Fort fight on the table as skirmish. Dice for enemy raiding party size as standard force generation. Throw 1x6d: 1-4 and the Roman unit is "ambushed".

Where a patrol only is present this will mean half the force being caught "in the field" (i.e. on patrol), the other half in billet.

Where there is a Fort treat any Patrols present as above. The rest of the garrison and any other friendly forces in the zone are deemed to be in the Fort.

With Fort garrisons where no patrols are present throw a 6dice. Throw 1-4 and a foot patrol/policing team or wood/water detail are ambushed outside the fort. A dice throw indicates the number of tenths of the garrison strength caught outside the fort in this way.

If a Raided Zone contains no fighting troops then any Baggage train, forage counter or Supply Holding Area in the zone is automatically destroyed.

If there are no Roman combat units or garrisons present in the zone attacked, or a Raiding Party is successful in eliminating all garrison, patrol or supply resources outside a Fort, the zone affected is deemed Ravaged.

Raiders do not attack Forts UNLESS: 1) a Celtic army is in either the zone affected or an unpacified adjacent zone. 2) A Fort garrison is less than two thirds of the raiding party strength.



"Last Ditch":
Next Hill-fort Zone encountered/entered will resist Pacification. Fight with figures on table or Combat Table. If victorious throw a dice: 1-3 Zone is Ravaged (your guys got out of hand).

"Bad Omens":
Next dice attempt will be negatively affected by 2 pips.

"Bloody Druids":
Every pacified zone adjacent to an undesecrated sanctuary tests to see if it revolts (as revolt procedure).

"Enemy Army Moves":
Enemy force on the board will move as per a new target priority throw. If no enemy force in play a force appears at West or North board edge OR at any location where 5 adjacent zones are in revolt. Dice for zone of appearance then dice for size: Throw 1x6D. The pips thrown indicate the number of "warbands" of 500 in the Army. If a 6 is thrown, throw again; adding that number of warbands to the army up to a maximum of 24,000 local tribal hostiles on the board at any one time. 


"Outside Intervention": A raiding Tribal Army from another tribe appears on North or West board edge - dice for zone of entry. It will ravage any zone passed through. It will potentially fight any force - of either side - encountered. Dice for the first encounter with a Friendly Force: 1-4 the Tribal Army will withdraw from contact (dice for direction), 5-6 The Tribal Army will attack. Similarly dice for the first encounter with an Enemy Force: 1-3 the Tribal Army will withdraw from contact (dice for direction), 4-6 The Tribal Army will attack. Dice for size of Tribal Army as above procedure.

"Appalling Weather":
All AP costs doubles next move.


"Serious Storms": Rain, hail & high winds - possibly snow... No activity this move.

"Good Going":
Good terrain, guides or tracks result in movement bonus of 2 APs..

"Harass": Enemy force attacks any baggage train or friendly rearguard. Dice for friendly force affected. Fight as table skirmish, dicing for scale of action where appropriate. Baggage train damage may result in loss of forage tokens and/or Legion Artillery. Throw 1x6d: 1-3 and the Roman unit is "ambushed".

"Unexpected Bonus": Receive 2 extra forage tokens - someone has discovered a cache. Place with any unit of choice.

"Courier Ambushed": Immediately cancels any Courier card in play.

"Smoke Signals"; A potentially vulnerable mobile unit/force/patrol has been spotted. A signal has been sent and the unit will be subject to attack. Dice for unit/force and army size as standard. Throw 1x6D. A throw of 1-4 and the Roman force is "Ambushed".
Any mobile vexillation of less than 5 cohorts, any convoy or any Courier is vulnerable. Weakest unit is removed or attacked/fought with figures on the table (In order of courier, if in play, convoy if in play, then based on vexilation size). The unit affected will be "taken by surprise/subject to ambush" if fought on the table.


"Supply Issue": Rain has got into the stores. Lose 1 forage token. 

"Hill Fever": A detached vexillation or isolated garrison commander has got the heebie-jeebies in those misty hills. Dice for the detachment affected. This unit will at once commence a march, by the shortest route - including potentially via any unpacified zone - towards base camp. Supply restrictions re. Attrition apply.

"Chasing the Mist"; A detached vexillation commander up in those misty hills is getting hill-happy. Will advance without flank guards and taking no pacification measures, if passing through unpacified zones, towards the nearest known enemy army/unpacified Hillfort/Sanctuary Zone or Celtic Base. If a "Smoke Signals" or Home Ground" card is drawn while this card is in play THIS vexillation will automatically be the one Ambushed.

"Home Ground": An enemy Army may attack any Roman/enemy tribal unit currently in an unpacified zone. Dice for the unit/detachment/Army affected. IF there is a tie in the final dicing then ALL tied units/detachments/Armies currently in unpacified zones are subject to attack (the hostiles are REALLY coming out of the woodwork..). Throw a 6d for each attack. On a result of 1it is an "Encounter" battle" - both sides in column of march happening upon each other, 2-4 is is a "Set Piece" battle, both sides setting up either side of the table in battle array. 5-6 the Romans are ambushed.

The enemy army/armies will be equal in number to the force attacked, plus 2xAveDx10 percent of this number (eg. a Roman force of 100men is attacked. The tribal force places 100men, then throws 2xAveD - throwing a 2 and a 3 = total 5. Times 10 = 50. 50% of the Roman force is then added to the tribal force, making a total tribal force 150% of the Roman). All enemy forces will attack from ambush.

"Procurator's Agent Reports": How are future tax retinues looking? Lose 1 day from the allowed Campaign Period for each zone on the map that has been ravaged (by whatever cause).

"Wild Card": Pick three cards and add to hand/apply results as appropriate. 

Roman Hand Cards;

"Forced March" - Hand Card: Heads down & march. A designated friendly force may use all its APs for moving on the move this is played. 

"Courier" - Hand Card: Allowing a designated vexillation currently detached from the main body to be controlled for three moves as if under direct control (vexillations detached from the main force and more than two zones from the Legate have set orders from which they cannot not wildly deviate - local Tribunes & Prefects have minimal imagination.... This allows for more, if temporary, flexibility).

"Come To Terms" - Hand Card: The Roman player may play this on any vexillation Leader in command of a force of 6 cohorts or more. The zone occupied by that Leader and all Unpacified Zones or Zones in Revolt adjacent to that Leader become Pacified at no cost.

Card proportions in playtesting have been:
4no, "Enemy Army Moves", "Harass", "Raid", & "Last Ditch.

3no. "Appalling Weather", "Courier" & "Courier Ambushed".

2no. each of "Come to Terms", "Good Going", "Raid", "Home Ground", "Smoke Signals", "Uprising", "Supply Issue", "Hill Fever", "Outside Intervention", "Unexpected Bonus", "Forced March", "Chasing the Mist" & "Serious Storms"

1 each of "Provincial Trouble, Betrayal", "Unexpected Death", "Bloody Druids", "Unexpected Reinforcements", "Procurator Agent Reports" and a "Wild Card".



Well, those are the basics of my "Campaign Rules"....

A set of PDFs with "board fight" rules, "On Table" Rules, card effects, supply issues etc. etc. will be available shortly, if anyone is interested. Please comment or message me or find me on the Facebook "Solo Wargaming with Miniatures" or "Ancient & Medieval Wargamer" groups....

I am currently playtesting, but will set out some play-throughs, Bat-Reps and further details as I progress.

Oh, and if anyone is interested; the pics of battling bods are snaps from my "Battle of Watling Street" experiment of last year and the more peaceful scenes from an earlier, simple "rescue" skirmish (posted on the above FB Groups). Rules and mechanisms used for these will be published at some time in the future if there is any interest.....




Solo Games for fun.....


Introduction:

After a lot of interest - and encouraging comments - on Facebook Groups I have decided to bite the bullet and start a blog about my Solo gaming/wargaming projects, rules & techniques.

This will almost certainly turn out to be be a somewhat erratic, idiosyncratic and meandering saga, but the main criteria to which I will be working will be as follows:

Firstly nothing I will write is intended to be anything other than a "this is what I'm currently doing" commentary. It is not going to be an "I suggest YOU do this" blog in any way, set or fashion (Nooo way am I THAT arrogant.....).

Next: nothing I write is intended to be critical of other people's rule sets, fave methods/rules/games, concepts, ideas etc. etc. etc. I MAY state my own very possibly prejudiced and equally possibly wrong opinions on rule conventions an' methods from time to time, but these should be read as mere "personal preferences" - themselves subject, as all opinions should be, to change...

Next, next: I claim nothing as original. I stand on the shoulders of giants; tweaking their ideas and works for my own amusement. All of my musings are seriously plagiaristic (a word nicked from Fitzgerald). Where remembered I will give credit. Where not; I apologise in advance.

Last: I am about having fun. My writing style is probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but nothing is intended to offend anyone... Please take everything I scribble as being unleashed upon the unsuspecting world on that basis... And have some fun yourself.......
 

                                                                *

So, what am I  going to be writing about..?

Basically solo wargaming projects; mainly covering Ancient (Roman early Empire) and Medieval (my "Robin Hood" project) but with the odd dip into "Colonial", Sci-Fi and other periods and oddments that take my fancy....

Much of what I am going to be setting out will be "experimental" game systems patched together for my own purposes. They are primarily intended to replicate an unpredictable environment and "AI" so as
present a challenge to the Solo player (Featherstone's "Lonely Wargamer"). If any of these ramblings spark an idea, rush of enthusiasm or inspiration in anyone else then all the better.....

Interspersed will be pics from games & projects, docs.  and so forth.

Many of the early posts will be based on items I have previously posted on the Facebook "Solo Wargaming With Miniature" and "The Ancient & Medieval Wargamer" groups. As with anything I throw up for folk to look at I always welcome questions, queries , suggesntions and comments...

So, off we go......



Run For Your Life...

A "Naked Prey" Exercise... Another movie-themed game, this time based on the old Cornel Wilde piece - one of those recalled from...