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Any house rules for the Romans?

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Any house rules for the Romans?

Post by grenadiergrandson on Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:02 pm

Hi all,

At the club (based on 300pt games) we've had a suspicion that the pilum rules as they stand don't give the effect they had historically. They cost 3 points (same as various weapons), are only there if the unit is fresh, and get just 3 dice in defence and 1 attacking.

So we organised a big phalanx v legion game to give them a proper try with bigger armies, 900pts a side in total. We placed the phalanx opposite the legions to ensure full on contact  Cool 

It was a very hard fought game and very enjoyable but the pilum contributed nothing at all apart from inflicting  a couple of disorders on attacking phalangites all game. In fact one Roman player said he'd rather do without them and save 3 pts per unit to spend on something else!

Has anyone else come across this problem? We are thinking of some rule changes but don't want to go too far the other way where the pilum strike kills all before it and the Romans walk over the wreckage all the time. If anyone has some house rules / ideas they have tried / would like trying I'd be interested to hear from you.

I think the pilum was a very important part of the Roman way of fighting, often causing mayhem and massive disorder on enemy troops allowing the legionaries to really get stuck in with their short swords.

Cheers

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Re: Any house rules for the Romans?

Post by Jim Webster on Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:09 pm

When you read the contemporary or almost contemporary accounts of Roman battles, whilst there are times when the Pilum is mentioned as being effective, at other times we get legionaries actually leaping onto German shieldwalls to bring them down by sheer body weight, and against the Phalanx they always struggled, indeed the comment was made that the pilum was less effective because the pikes overhead provided protection from it.


Saying that, it's the same price as javelin which you can throw every move whether you've suffered casualties or not. So perhaps it could be a bit cheaper
Jim
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Re: Any house rules for the Romans?

Post by jeztodd on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:21 pm

Hi when I have played some Republican Roman versus Late Alexandrian or Pontic type armies have ended up with the clash versus pike blocks and again hard fought and has gone either way.

I see the pilum as a bonus for the Romans and hopefully you at least manage to disorder an attacking unit with the 3 die defensive roll, before the combat. Every now and then you are going to get lucky and roll a couple of sixes and potentially be able to cause some really useful casualties with the pilum.

Not sure historically what more you could count upon?

Jez
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Re: Any house rules for the Romans?

Post by Guest on Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:55 am

The rules for the pilum are in my view about right.
It wasn't very effective. The Celts could defend against the thrown pila by knocking them aside with their swords. A bit of disorder is all you'd expect.

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Re: Any house rules for the Romans?

Post by dadiepiombo on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:31 pm

the aim of pilum should be to have chances to disorder the opponent.
It was studied to remain attached at the shield in order to handicap the enemy warrior during the melee phase.
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Re: Any house rules for the Romans?

Post by Tarty on Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:59 am

I think the pilum as it stands is balanced just nicely, nothing more to do here in my opinion. Take into consideration line relief and pilum and it can be a very powerful combination a combination not available to just anyone. Sometimes it works better than others…falls in the lap of the dice gods.
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