Rules Clarifications

Publisher's Statement

"First and foremost, the rules have been written in a non-tournament sense of direction. Take that to mean that the authors hope that you will change things according to your historical interpretations. It is very important that gaming in general is an inclusive thing. Some rules have the ability to frustrate players with a protractor mentality. Historical gaming must be inclusive for non-tournament play.

"This does not mean that we will simply take ideas and suggestions and then restructure the rules. On the contrary. We will carefully look at comments and questions and then respond. Official changes will be made and full credit will be made mention in future editions. That's inclusive and that's what the hobby should be. Don't worry if something is suggested and really contrary to historical reality, we will tell you so. However, because Classical Hack is intended to be played in local club settings, we encourage house rule interpretations.

"All of your comments will be reviewed, and some of the changes you recommend will be implemented. All are cataloged and those worthy enough, and many of yours will be, will be made available by snail mail and on line."

Q: Do you have any feel for what a minimum point size army would be?

A: The point size is not set down because if you are fielding entire armies by historical organization that becomes inmaterial. A Roman legion is pretty well determined by time period. There is enough info out there to tell people things like the 10th of Caesar's would be A Class for the majority of the cohorts.

Situational games are determined by the units activily taking part. While WRG figures you are using a wing of a legion or army, we do not. But it is possible to play a game where only a portion of the Army is present. Like Alexander going ahead with his companion and Thracian cavalry and all the missile-armed light troops. But the real key is figure representation. What does each figure represent in real men. Then how are they organized by cohort, by maniple, or manipules by line or by other less commonly used units like the Persian unit of the 1000 (really 800).

The problem is that many ancients players want a tournament style format, but I prefer sticking to a more basic idea - here's a people, here's their formations, here's their army based on numbers in those units. Here's the army based on figure scale representation, and that's what you have. Yes, some armies will be better organized and armed than others, but that's how military things really are. Warfare has no level playing field. That's why terrain is so important.

Q: In the Play Sequence, charges are not listed. We assume that they occur after morale tests ("a.3." in the "Turn Sequence" chart).

A: Yes, charges and evade moves should actually be numbered as "4" under turn sequence. These two activities occur after shooting and required morale tests caused by those wishing to charge who must test due to morale class and due to casualties inflicted by shooting.

Q: Can units that fail their charge morale roll still move during regular movement phase if they are not being charged?

A: Our intention was that a unit requiring a test to charge that fails to do so is permitted normal movement. It just didn't have the ambition to make contact.

Q: Is a "breakback" counted as a routed unit for others testing morale (wouldn't friendly troops streaming back from the enemy have the same effect as routed units)?

A: Break back on page 24 and page 28 refers to elephants, as I recall, and this movement is caused by the unit in question as losing melee but not necessarily morale. If the unit in question has both lost melee and has failed morale, then yes, the friends should test morale for unit being routed.

I think you are really asking about evading units that are being charged, or units breaking off from melee. In this case, 'no,' as some nationalities or people did this deliberately, and their fellow countrymen or allies knew this.

Q: Is obliqueing permitted? The rules only say straight ahead and wheeling.

A: Obliqueing is allowed. It can be done in one of two ways. For the less historically inclined, the unit is permitted movement up to full being placed 45 degrees left or right. For the more careful historical gamer, you should measure normal move distance at a 45 degree angle from the center of the unit, or from either corner edge of the unit's stand, and move based on that measurement. Obliqueing will be formally placed in the rules in second edition.

Q: Since rally is at the end of the turn, may units which have just routed immediately attempt to rally?

A: Units which just routed can test to cease rout only in the movement phase of any turn after they rout but not in the same turn.

Q: Here come the elephant questions - do EL breaking back rally automatically? Do EL continue to move according to the direction rolled on the "Break Through/Break Back" chart (for only the break move, for a subsequent move, or forever)? When EL break and hit another enemy unit, is the combat immediate or next turn? Do EL pursue after combat? After a break through/back combat?

A: Elephants never need to rally (page 28). Subsequent turns after break back are in the direction originally rolled for that break back, and they continue in that direction. For ever.

Subsequent charges on new enemy after break through happens next turn melee. Elephants charge and pursue like any other mounted unit, and break through when they win melee and their opponents pass morale - which under normal circumstances, with foot against foot or mounted against mounted, the melee would continue. An elephant unit that routs its opponent pursues as any other pursuer would. Break through occurs only when the opponent doesn't rout.

Q: Do units engaged in combat rounds subsequent to the first round of combat get the "'charging" melee modifier?

A: No. Once the first round of melee is finished and the second begins no unit engaged will get a charging bonus.

Q: The only time Tribal get the extra morale check modifier is during the first round when they have actually charged and not in other rounds of combat OR do they get it because they charged, no matter which round of combat it is?

A: Correct. The forward movement stops after the concursus or initial contact.

Q: Is a break through/back counted as charging for purposes of the melee modifier?

A: When breaking through enemy - yes, they get the bonus. For break back, the casualty is automatic and does not require players to go through a normal melee round. However, if the elephants breaking back meet enemy, then the melee round is indeed activated and the modifier applied. Other mounted breaking back will attempt to go around an enemy in their rear. (Unless they are Greek, in which case they shall relish the moment :).)

Q: When one unit fights two enemy units, does it split its figures according to the contact frontage and roll a separate die for each battle, or does it roll one die and proportion casualties? Do the two attacking units each roll separately, or do they aggregate their factors and roll one die?

[Note: think about whether the probable results should be theoretically the same regardless of whether the men engaged are organized into one or two units; e.g., shouldn't 2, 6-figure light cavalry units do the same amount of damage as one 12-figure light cavalry unit?]

A: When two friendly units charge a single enemy unit several things happen. If the two charging units are charging straight ahead, then the enemy they are charging will be placed in such a way that its stands are placed as equally as possible against the charging two units. This makes things simple. Now for inflicting casualties, the two units charging will take two dice rolls for each round of melee. The single unit will also take two dice rolls because the unit is fighting two opponents, so we count half the unit on each enemy unit. This gives the single unit a chance of surviving. But not that big of a chance. Your comments on the light cavalry are valid, but we felt this put more chance into the game.

Q: The Javelin seems to have a higher missile factor against HI than MI on the chart. A typo?

A: Yes, this is a typo. Please reverse the two numbers.

Q: If charging units must begin their turn within their normal move distance (without the added die roll) from the target defender, why have a die roll additive factor for the movement (other than evades)?

A: Good point. But when a charge is declared, no one knows if the enemy will counter charge or evade, perhaps due to missile fire and a reaction test, so we left it in. One thing happens, especially to Romans and Greeks - units charging can go beyond their lines and become isolated if they are heavy foot. It is very important not to let this happen too often.

Q: The evolutions permitted strike me as too generous, especially for barbarian battlefield maneuvers. Maybe L and T should only be permitted to change facing by wheeling? Or be disordered by changing facing? In DBM, it is expensive to have irregulars perform such battlefield feats.

A: We felt that the limitations placed on L and T units were sufficient. However, should you like to implement your recommendations, feel free to do so. Just make this clear with opponents before the game begins, and standardize it for local play.

Q: The best thing in DBM is the spontaneous advance rules, which take control of uncontrollable troops out of the hands of the players. The mechanics are less than smooth in play. However, so many specific rules for period play are given in Classical Hack - such as the Republican Roman army rules, which really capture the feel of how that army operated, unlike DBM - perhaps something could be developed in this area as well.

A: I am not quite sure what you mean exactly about spontaneous advance, as I have little experience with DBM. Fanatics certainly must continue to charge if new enemy are in their path. Give me some examples, and I will be better able to address this topic.

Q: Command Control is another area that is crying out to be addressed. As written, the generals do not seem to play any significant role in the game (other than as a combat modifier, at the risk of being knocked in the head).

A: While I have been toying with some ideas on command control, we are all satisfied with things as they are. First off, unless you are thinking of reserve units, armies of the period pretty much fought battles when they were within literal sight of the enemy and deployed accordingly. Once things started, each unit fought directly to its front. But your comment certainly has great merit. It is still being worked on, as at least an optional rule. We just want things fairly simple, and after years of standing orders and then battlefield orders - which I think are easily forgotten in the heat of play - the current method was selected and utilized. There are many ways to skin a cat; this is ours for now.

Last Updates
20 May 1998added army size answer
6 June 1997page first published
Comments or corrections?