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Foot have impetus vs units with long spears and or pikes?

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Re: Foot have impetus vs units with long spears and or pikes?

Post by GamesPoet on Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:43 am

Sounds like at least one topic there, if not two, for another thread.

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Re: Foot have impetus vs units with long spears and or pikes?

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:28 am

As has been said, there are a lot of possible unforeseen implications with rules changes that can upset the balance but once you have paid your ££££ they're yours to use as you see fit.

I would be interested in what the result of this change was. I like Impetus a lot but I am happy to accept there are still some issues with the game. Play-test and report is in order, but with one personal caveat - try to keep any amendments specific to troop types rather than specific nationalities - ie "Long spears should do x rather than Spartans should do x" - the last thing we need is changes that introduce special case rules to specific armies. There are already a few, but many more would be unwelcome IMHO
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Re: Foot have impetus vs units with long spears and or pikes?

Post by Tankred on Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:10 pm

I really enjoyed to read this conversation, too.

My experience with house rules is the same like Gaius and Jim mentioned it. Lorenzos knowlegde in ancient and medieval warfare is really outstanding and the rules cover so many different aspects of different battles. Unbelievable.

The difference is with the horses. I think it is extremely difficult to run a horse in a wood of sticks, you have to force this animal to do so. As you pointed out infantry can use shields and handweapons to get under the pikes.

I go with Pezhetairoi that the fact that the first rows in a phalanx suffered much in the long run since they could not be rotated with fresh troups easily. This is not really covered the opposite is the case. Since we still have the outflanking option for our roman friends I am ok with this.
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Re: Foot have impetus vs units with long spears and or pikes?

Post by AncientWarrior on Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:58 pm

Gentlemen,

Stumbled across this during a lunch break today and thought to myself, why didn’t I reference this when I floated the idea/asked the question about foot, impetus, and enemy units with long pointy sticks. It’s from page 76 of CARNAGE AND CULTURE, by Victor Davis Hanson. It’s from Chapter 3, specifically, the one about Alexander at Gaugamela, and I realize that is very late to the discussion. Still, here it is:

“Nothing,” the historian Polybius concluded nearly two centuries later, “can stand up to the phalanx. The Roman by himself with his sword can neither slash down nor break through the ten spears that all at once press against him” (18.30.9-10). Surely, Polybius was correct: the idea that men could stand firm when three, four, five, and more iron spearheads plunged into their limbs, heads, necks, torsos, and legs is improbable. Since the first five ranks of the of the Macedonian phalanx would present a staggered wall of points—with the first row’s pikes extending ten feet into the killing zone—an enemy would have to fight his way through “a storm of spears” which protruded at every angle, before he could even reach the initial rank of the phalanx.

Enjoy the last week of July!

Regards,

Chris

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Re: Foot have impetus vs units with long spears and or pikes?

Post by Pezhetairoi on Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:04 am

I'd be careful with Hanson, but Polybius is a great source. If you haven't already, read Polybius' whole account to get the full picture.
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Re: Foot have impetus vs units with long spears and or pikes?

Post by AncientWarrior on Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:27 pm

Thanks for the advice and suggestion, Pezhetairoi.

I would imagine there are some, though perhaps not of this group, who would - or might - advise me to be careful with Polybius.

I gather you were referencing the "advantages and disadvantages of the phalanx" chapters?

The issue or argument appears to hinge on terrain. If I recall the rules correctly (stress the "if"), is not most formed infantry disordered in rough ground? So, both a large unit of pike and the Roman legionaries would be at a disadvantage.

Reserves and exploiting a vulnerable flank seem not only historical but borne out in experience on the tabletop as well.

To be sure, I defer to your (and others) experience and expertise.

By my question, suggestion, or experiment, I did not mean to impugn Lorenzo's knowledge or skill as a writer of rules.

Well, I'm off to work on my Issus project.

Regards,

Chris

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