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"Armati-Magnesia (starting a new project)" Topic


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Hetairoi22 Mar 2013 7:20 a.m. PST

Finally I´ve decided what to do with all my helenistic 10mm figures:
Any advice from people who plays Armati (or anyone who has something to say) will be welcome ;-)

RickinWhiteRock22 Mar 2013 10:11 a.m. PST

Good choice using ARmati 2. We regularly play games with 150 pts a side, using historical armies and get a result in 3 hours using a board that is 2 meters by 4 meters.

Big Ian22 Mar 2013 12:09 p.m. PST

I haven't played Armati 2 for years, but i remember it well, it seemed to play better than DBM at the time. One of th guys at the club had loads of armies all kit bashed from various plastic sets. They were enjoyable games.

lkmjbc322 Mar 2013 1:06 p.m. PST

The scale issues gets me… but they can be fixed!

Just play triple sized games. This fixes the ground scale vs bow range. About 150pts will do it!

Glorious, but big.

Joe Collins

Just Plain Chris22 Mar 2013 1:06 p.m. PST

There is an excellent forum where the rules and scenarios etc. are discussed. YahooArmatiForum should get you there or close enough. The members are quite learned and helpful.

Good luck. I hope you will post your results to Battle Reports.


Yesthatphil22 Mar 2013 1:08 p.m. PST

Good choice … I would be tempted to ignore the 'deploy deep' rule, however, and just have all the FT, PH deploy the same. It makes for a better infantry game and allows you to explore the cataphract attack theory …

If 60mm is the universal unit front you are effectively playing '25mm Intro Scale' which typically uses the 2/3 ruler. This works well.

I enjoyed the Hellenistic period battle at this year's Armati by the Sea

Magnesia in 10mm as you have conceived it will look splendid I think …

Be sure to let us know how you get on.


Hetairoi23 Mar 2013 1:52 a.m. PST

Thanks for your thoughts! It looks like I've choose a good ruleset. I'm glad :-)
@Yesthatphil: I won't use "deep deploy" rule, cause I want all the units to have the same front. However, as Antioco deployed his phalanx with 32 deep I'll deploy two units one behind the other and use the same rule as roman suporting units.

Marcus Brutus23 Mar 2013 5:58 a.m. PST

Looking at your blog I'm surprised that you would go with Armati 2 instead of Impetus. Armati has certain strengths. For one, Arty Conliffe is a superb rules writer. There is hardly anything that comes up in a game that his rules don't cover. I wish all rules were as thoroughly play tested and written. With that said, Armati is a very predictable and rigid game and to my group became quite boring. Impetus, which in many ways is the natural successor to Armati, produces a much more interesting and exciting game in my experience. We recently did Magnesia at Cold Wars using Impetus (you can see the pictures from a recent subject on TMP.) Great game, dynamic and lots of fun. The good thing of course is that Armati and Impetus use the same basing so you can go back and forth quite easily.

Hetairoi23 Mar 2013 6:21 a.m. PST

@Marcus: That´s the point, I can use both systems!
I agree with you, Impetus is more fun, but I think it will be more easy for a solo game to use Armati.

Awesome pics, btw!

Lewisgunner23 Mar 2013 7:41 a.m. PST

We ran Armati for Cynoscephalae at the Society of Ancients Battleday a couple of years ago. The details of the battle pack are at . The battle worked well. I am surprised that you would say that Armati is predictable and rigid. It isn't , it is flexible and gives the player lots of finely balanced decisions to make. Your cataphracts can charge the Romans, will they break through? It is not a certainty at all.
Impetus is a fair game, but IMO grossly overhyped by its fans, not that I have anything against it, but I have seen both very positive comment and very negative for it in a way that I have not seen for DBMM or Warmaster or Hail Caesar and that strikes me as strange.

Marcus Brutus23 Mar 2013 1:15 p.m. PST

I've played both games extensively, Armati first and then Impetus. I say that Armati is rigid because the mechanisms seem arbitrary. So for instance, in Armati units must be deployed into a limited number of commands/divisions. This means that deployment permutations are very limited. In Impetus, commands/groups are encouraged through game mechanics that reward the player without overly constricting his options.

Thanks Hetairoi for taking a look at my pics.

Lewisgunner23 Mar 2013 2:34 p.m. PST

Marcus, don't you think that Ancient armies have a limited number of commands? Armati does give flexibility, but it is a trade off. If you create a small manoeuvre able command then the penalty is that another command becomes bigger and more unwieldy . It is Armati's way of dealing with the challenge of disallowing Ancient armies from having too much flexibility and ability to react to an opponent's move 'telepathically' . I have played several sets of rules that allow generals to move units where they want and react to opposing moves with ad hoc battle groups. In reality they just could not do this. A general might take a unit and go do something with it, but he could not easily take several units and do that unless they had been combined together pre the battle.
No system is perfect, though. Impetus looks like it gives a fun game. I understand that it is unpredictable in the sense that units do not necessarily move when you want them to . Fair enough if you like that.

IanB340623 Mar 2013 5:37 p.m. PST

I Have thought that the impetus games look terrible….even the magnesia game referenced. The Seleucid frontline was a checkerboard of units that looked scattered instead of a battle line. Reminds me in appearance of old 7th edition with the units scattered around. Some of the other games posted have looked the same…..

Armati looks better anyway.

balticbattles24 Mar 2013 1:31 a.m. PST

I'd say there is a difference in design philosophy. In Armati there are rigid rules that say you can / cannot do things. In Impetus you can do anything, but the system punishes you for bad choices.

You can always move, you can choose to move multiple times with an increasing chance of disorder. Disorder means loss of movement flexibility until order is restored, reduced combat capability and increased chance of taking damage. Want to move sideways or backwards? You get disordered. Having a general in the unit helps you pass the test to avoid disorder.

You do everything – move, fire, combat – with one unit or contiguous group before moving to the next one. So if you don't form groups your attack is uncoordinated and you end up fighting 1 unit vs 2 all of the time. There's a member in our group who likes moving units separately and has lost his last 6 battles, all massacres.

When you fight a combat you push enemy back, you can follow up and if you contact fight again. This means that the duration of combat for similar quality units is unpredictable, it might last 1 turn or many, and you can get the medieval cavalry charge that splinters an army in one turn. Hits affect combat capability, so you can grind units down, and there is always a chance that a poor unit can cause an upset.

As you might have gathered, I like it, but some players prefer a greater degree of certainty about movement and combat, and dislike that occasionally you lose a battle because your opponent pulls off a massive gamble.

Marcus Brutus24 Mar 2013 8:47 a.m. PST

Ian, the Selecuid player decided to organize his advance in checkerboard formation. You'll notice later on that he changed his mind made the phalanx one solid line.

Unit look scattered about because other units rout and disappear from the table top. In this sense I think Impetus gives a good approximation of the challenges of ancient commanders. The Roman right flank won but was so dispersed and out of position that I could not intervene easily on the Roman left flank that was in a heap of trouble.

Keraunos24 Mar 2013 8:59 a.m. PST

if you look at a battle of armati about half way through, it will still have two clear battle lines facing each other.

so if your goal is to play a Magnesia refight, which is quite clearly a battle where the centre lines remained facing each other, and each side had one flank give way to the other, then Armati is a much better set of rules to use than most others.

rules which emphasise individual unit movement quickly degenerate until you end up with stray units facing in all directions and chasing each others tails.

a lot of players do not like the restriction on what they can do to exploit another's move, but they completely overlook the consequence of not having it.

a lot depends on whether you think rolling a lot of dice in a game to determine events is a good game, or whether making good tactical moves makes a good game.

Marcus Brutus24 Mar 2013 9:00 a.m. PST

Lewis, I think Armati is too restrictive in its design to give a decent representation of ancient warfare and, more importantly, be fun.

As highlandbevan suggests, Impetus allows for more flexibility of options but punishes bad choices. Going into melee as a group is generally more advantageous than going in as single units. Peeling off units to deal with local emergencies gives short term benefits but starts to fracture the army in ways that makes total victory more difficult. In some ways this isn't any different than in Armati when the commands begin to fragment. It's just done in Impetus in a more flexible manner.

Units do move when you want them to. Not sure what you're referring to.

Yesthatphil24 Mar 2013 12:10 p.m. PST

Lewis, I think Armati is too restrictive in its design to give a decent representation of ancient warfare and, more importantly, be fun.

I think he gets that … I think he just doesn't agree with you.

Marcus Brutus24 Mar 2013 9:24 p.m. PST

We're having a good discussion Yesthatphil. Have a problem?

Keraunos25 Mar 2013 2:36 a.m. PST

looks like a one sided discussion to me, Marcus.

people are disputing your definition, which you continue to restate as though it were absolute truth rathe than an opinion – and on this thread, a minority one at that.

more importantly, the OP is asking for advice from people who know about something which you dislike. Quite why that entitles you to attempt to trash the OPs choice is something I do not understand.

Now if he has askd for a comparison with Impetus vs Armati, that would be fine, but he did not.

so in that respect, I think there is a problem, have you gathered what it is yet?

Caliban25 Mar 2013 2:51 a.m. PST

To return to the original poster's invitation, gentlemen, it seems to me that he is looking for suggestions as to how to make Magnesia work under Armati. Rulesets rarely work for large battles without some sort of tweaking, especially in relation to points of decision. For Magnesia, these would not be the centre so much as the wings – how best to represent what happened there with these particluar rules.

It has been a while since I have played Armati, but when we put together a large game using Tactica II, the issue with Antiochus' grand charge was how to give him some initial impetus, and then leave the overall outcome there to a combination of chance and player choice. On the other wing, the trick was to give the Pergamenes a good chance against the combination of scythed chariots and cataphracts there. We managed this, to our surprise, but I suppose that the question now is whether or not Armati mechanisms would suffice as they are, or if they would need some scenario-specific rules to compensate?

Just some thoughts…

Lewisgunner25 Mar 2013 3:09 a.m. PST

To return to the OP's topic.
I would put in camps and a pursuit rule for cavalry FV 5 and higher . I agree with Yes that Phil that the Romans should deploy wide and FV 6 so that the CAT charge has a better chance. clearly on the day it was an off day for some legions,or they were disordered or caught manoeuvring.

You will also need to tinker with the pike formations. I might even consider widening the interpretation of corner to corner contact for a division to include being up to a base width apart but in line and having a rule for going into and out of square for the pike. When in square I would suggest that they are effectively schiltron.
I'd also have an elephant panic rule so that , an elephant on two BP killed and not engaged in hand to hand throws to see if it panics say the same as a break off throw and that it panics on a 5 or 6 and then throws for direction . 1 and 6straight ahead, 2 right, 3and 4 straight back, 5 left,
I also suggest that elephants can be a priority missile target fr anyone in range as they are taller than and visible over other troops.

I would not allow Scythed chariots to turn more than a 2inch wheel in the game. They should always have to drive the full move available to them once they start to move.

There is a problem over the units on the flanks of the phalanx. Are they FT acting as flank guards or LHI connecting units keeping the cavalry front in touch! My own thought is that they are FT flank guards who are there to preve nt a Cynoscephalae flanking situation.
Others who hav e posted here know a lot about Armati and will have good opinions on these and other ideas.


Keraunos25 Mar 2013 5:44 a.m. PST

remembering a magensia game I did about five years ago.

we had the river run along the roman left flank deployment zone, and then turning to the side directly before the seleucid front edge of that flank deploymet zone.

that effectively put the romans with a left flank covered by a river, which worked for two purposes.

1. it meant there was no chance of sillyBleeped texts attempting to send seleucid cats around the flank of the first social legion,
which encouraged a single line of battle for the romans and seleucids facing each other from that anchored flank along, and the cats facing the social legion head on.
2. it enabled the selecudi dahae light cav to operate freely up and down that flank, but wihtout fear of being trampled by mauauding romans.

i ignored to token tumae of romand cavalry on that flank

all foot were deployed wide (with a second row of seleucid pikes behind the first to get both the extra depth, and the extra numbers which the battle expects.

I had 3 foot units per legion (so 12 in total)

the agryaspids were on the right of the infantry line, not on the right of the cavalry wing, as Bar Khova suggests (I think he is wrong), an equally good alterantive interpetation would be that the agryaspids were in fact silver shielded agema guard cavalry, which would then be on the right of the cats.

take your pick on that, I think.

I rated the social legions at FV 6, which put them on equal with the cats (I had one agema unit with Antiochus aattached, also FV 6). this is probably not right, as those pairings were all veteran, and probably deserved to be FV 7, but that would make it almost impossible for a breakthrough by the cats.

I had mandatory cavalry prusuit for FV 5 and above – halting at the table edge, with a Tactica mechanism – no movement for disordered cav until they have recovered a turn – that gave the romans time to win in the middle if the cats did break through (they did)

galatians were rated FV 6 foot, not warband – they make no sense otherwise, and work as cheap FV and break points. I would consider also making them non key to encourage them to be in the front line if I did it again, but used a fixed deployment in this game so did not need to. I might have left them with a 1 or 2 rout through effect, I do not recall.

elephants routing. I was a bit cunning here.
as I had an echeloned line of pikes (fv 6) behind the front line of galations and FV 7 pikes (with one Fv 8 agryaspid), I was able to insert two elephant units into the middle of the front line.
they have an auto-kill if they rout into anything – which is when they are destroyed. so they will auto kill the rear units and break the division structure if beaten in melee or if shot down, and you get the elephants intertwined with the infantry units, which was my reading of the deployment.

I had a lot less skirmishers for the seleucids, to enable the velites to mob the front line, and peltasts as well, but overall more javelins to the roman side (all velites were deployed in front of the roman legions only).

so you get that missile duel in the middle, with the option for sucessful romans to just shoot javelins at the seleucids instead of entering melee.

I also put a group of peltasts in the centre in such a position that they cannot move over to interfer with the cavaly on either wing (and thus get run over when the romans move the legions into combat)

on the right, I think I effectively put the scyth chariots into a heavy division in front of the ecehloned cavalry following – either that or I had a rule that the cav had to follow up within rout through distance.
there was a pair of light cav tarantines out here for the seleucids, whilst the romans had some LI bow to shoot down down the chariots.
the chariots I think I descided would inflict an undress on the cav, rather than a kill for rout through failure.

commands – one for each social legion, one for the pair of roman legions, and one for the triarii, and one for the roman cavalry on the right (so 5), and I think 2 lights, one velites in the centre and one LI bow in front of the cav
one right wing cav, one dahae light cav, one phalanx, one SI screen, one peltasts, one left wing cav, and one light screen on left wing

so 7 each.

Oh, and the length of the selecuid line was an equal match, so 3 cat/agema matched 3 social legion, then 9 other legions matched a front of 9 seleucid infantry
agryaspids, galatian, elphant, 4 pikes, elephant, galatian
with 9 weak pikes directly behind
3 heavy cav facing 3 heavy cav

and the romans had a pair of wheel and move triarii which had to be deployed behind the centre line of the pair of roman legions and in behind of them, so that they could not had off to the flanks.
thier job was to about face if the cats got back easily and quickly.

so not too many rule tweeks required, but the points values were miles over the top to ensure thet I had a representative 3 units per legion for each legion (and which coincidentally exactly covered the centre deployment zone.
the seleucids were calculated to match that frontage (in the end it was something like 150 : 250 points due to the second line of pikes (who all died on rout throughs, BTW)

a fun game, but a heavy one to carry in to the club.

as it played out, the first turn went almost exactly to script – all three social legions units rolled 1 or 2 and were destroyed by the cats, whilst almost all of the seleucid javs were shot down in turn one, giving the romans the choice to stand back and shoot javs, or charge in.
the chariots almost broke through the LI bow and onto the cav, but not quite – and the roman/allied cav then beat them, and were slowly moving around to exploit the flanks, as were the survivind LI bow.
the peltasts were run down when the legions moved into melee, and the seleucids ewre doign quite well until those elephants died, the rout throughs then enabled the romans to get 2-1 on the rest of the front line and win the game just before the returnign cats hit the triarii (as a pair, wide, 4 BW, the triarii were not paicularly maoeverable, which worked well)

Keraunos25 Mar 2013 5:44 a.m. PST

sorry that was so long

Hetairoi25 Mar 2013 5:53 a.m. PST

But very interesting. Thanks keraunos and lewisgunner!

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