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"Representing medieval pike in Hail Caesar" Topic


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685 hits since 21 Nov 2011
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
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Not for me22 Nov 2011 12:04 a.m. PST

Just curious as to how others are handling this. I think HC does a good job with Macedonian etc pike, encouraging long battle lines. However, this does not work for the Swiss etc of the 15thC. They deployed in blocks or columns far deeper than the 16 men of the Successor period. As HC has no particular rules for depth there is no reason for the gamer to follow this example.
I realise this may be seen as out of period for HC but it can also apply to classical pike (and other infantry) who occasionally deployed very deep. Romans at Cannae, Seleucids at Magnesia etc.
Perhaps add +1 to sustained for every extra 2 ranks over the norm?
Not intended as a criticism of the rules as they can't cover everything. Just wondering what others are doing.

Sane Max22 Nov 2011 2:43 a.m. PST

I have been pondering them as well. In almost every set of ancient rules I have played the basics are OK, it's the odd types that can break it Horse Archers, Elephants, Scythed Chariots and Pikes are all a bit of a stretch for some systems. I think special rules for very deep Pike might well cause problems if we try to bolt them on before we have played enough games to know what we are doing and I have only played a few.

I played my first game of WotR HC last week, and it went well, but we specifically excluded Pikes and Handgunners from our lists until we were happy the rest worked OK, and now think Handgunners will be manageable, and Pike will just be Pike.

Were Scottish and Continental Pike blocks really very deep? Would that not make these armies much narrower and easy to flank?

Pat

6sided Inactive Member22 Nov 2011 4:53 a.m. PST

Why would depth increase fighting power? Truth is it would not. It *may* have increased STAYING power as it stopped men running away as easily. but if it was so great, why did every army not do it, and apart from the highly trained Swiss, it was usually a disaster once they became disordered.

So training and discipline would be far more relevant than just physical ranks and giving more sustained attacks ignores why depth may ahve been important in *some* situations.

The point about outflanking assumes that the late medieval/renaissance pike block was less wide and deeper. In actual fact they just becamse bigger overall, so the depth was matched by frontage to create huge blocks of 1-2000 men, as opposed to the Macedonians with their "battalions".

If you want to insist that depth gives some bonus then rather than adding more attacks in combat for ranks, just increase the phalanx rule from defeat by 2 or more to 3 or more and deploy your pikes using half normal frontage and double depth. Easy.

We play WoR and use pikes as standard in the rules, all we do is not allow them to move sideways, but instead have to wheel to limit their manouver a bit, other than that they are standard large units with the pike/phalanx special rules. We use handgunners as well, we just make them standard open order skirmishers but we give them 6 dice at short range and cap morale at 5+, as for windlass crossbows, to reflect their penetrating power at very short range.


Cheers

Jaz
6sided.net

Sane Max22 Nov 2011 4:56 a.m. PST

If you want to insist that depth gives some bonus then rather than adding more attacks in combat for ranks, just increase the phalanx rule from defeat by 2 or more to 3 or more and deploy your pikes using half normal frontage and double depth. Easy.

Like that approach. Like it a lot.

but we give them 6 dice at short range and cap morale at 5+

Don't Like that one too good.

Pat

6sided Inactive Member22 Nov 2011 4:59 a.m. PST

Pat – how do you know its too good if you don't try it? We have played a dozen games and its not too good.

They don't get closing fire and are skirmishers, so they are only good if the unit too their front sits still within 6", otherwise they just pop away with the usual 2 dice at long range.

So if a unit od MAA gets disordered then they can get bashed by handguns, otherwise, they cannot give closing fire and have to Bleeped text off if charged.

It just gives them a sting.

Jaz
6sided.net

Sane Max22 Nov 2011 5:51 a.m. PST

well, of course – it's too early to speculate until you try it,. at which point it's too late to speculate.

Just seemed a bit intense to me. Put another way – does any unit in HC's sister-game BP get 6 shots at 6"? Just one – a Napoleon Cannon loaded with grape.

Pat

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2011 5:59 a.m. PST

I read this and thought you can give the swiss pikes support attacks of 2 or 3, this way your second rank of units is adding something. If you halve the depth, their hitting power gets pretty tough to deal with

altfritz Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2011 6:08 a.m. PST

Surely they deployed in blocks or columns for maneuverability? So maybe that is where the change should be made…

Oh Bugger Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2011 8:05 a.m. PST

"Were Scottish and Continental Pike blocks really very deep? Would that not make these armies much narrower and easy to flank?"

I think they were very deep but the point is you cannot stand against a moving pike block, unless you're pikemen, so you either have to stop it before contact or turn its flanks before it pushes through your centre.

There is also some evidence that Scottish pike could move very fast akin to Swiss. Look at Flodden and you can see where the pikes were not halted they just rolled over the oppossition a point often missed because of the Scottish defeat.

A recent article in Slingshot examined classical sources and found the same phenomonon.

So for my money that is what we should be replicating on the table.

Sane Max22 Nov 2011 8:39 a.m. PST

Hmmm, so 'Pk (F)' eh? then maybe Altfritz' better manoueverability is the way to go.

Pat

Oh Bugger Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2011 9:37 a.m. PST

Well, yes maybe. I'm basing my comment on an English observer who saw some Scots pike manourvering at a distance and initialy mistook them for horse as they moved so swiftly.

I might have some more thoughts on this once I've completed and used my Italian Wars army for Piquet. God I love Piquet.

Sane Max22 Nov 2011 9:57 a.m. PST

mistook them for horse as they moved so swiftly

That was at 5-to closing time.

God I love Piquet

We won't hold it against you.

Pat

Oh Bugger Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2011 12:43 p.m. PST

The quote predates licensing hours! That may not invalidate your observation.

The King of Rock and Roll Inactive Member22 Nov 2011 2:46 p.m. PST

Basically, the reason for a column is that it allows you to rapidly bring a large, concentrated force against a single point in the enemy line and break through it by means of sheer mass, by which point, you've probably won.

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