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Hail Caesar

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31 Dec 2016 6:16 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Just Plain Chris24 Jan 2013 4:15 a.m. PST

Was "raised" on ARMATI (Arty Conliffe's rules). Have tried HAIL CAESAR a number of times.

Perhaps it's the social and "loose" style of the rules . . . Perhaps it's the size of the games, but I have not had a lot of success with "mastering" HC.

I'm tinkering with the idea of mixing the two sets of rules.

Curious as to others opinions on HAIL CAESAR, ARMATI, or their current favorite set of rules for depicting ancient battle on the tabletop.



Keraunos24 Jan 2013 4:19 a.m. PST

what is it about each that you like?

MajorB24 Jan 2013 4:34 a.m. PST

HC is a simple, straightforward game, reminiscent of "old school" rules by DFF and the like. It just works.
It is also eminently tweakable for specific "period flavour".

SheriffLee24 Jan 2013 5:43 a.m. PST

I prefer HAIL CAESAR. ARMATI I could not get my head around, probably because I was playing DBM.

advocate24 Jan 2013 5:53 a.m. PST

I think the two games are quite different. Armati allows much greater control of your own troops, and makes the other side more predictable (at least in their capabilities, if not there eventual actions), so you can plan ahead. HC, not so much – you know what you want to do, and potentially that is a very great deal; but you can't necessarily achieve it. Equally your opponent has the potential to do large manouevres in a turn, at the risk of being interrupted mid-flow.
Combat is equally different: in Armati, you can rely on units to survive a minimum number of turns (and thereby tire the enemy out); in HC, a bad few rolls and a unit and all it's supports can go in a single turn of combat.

Each is demonstrating an aspect of battle; and each can give a good game; but I'm not sure what benefit you would gain from mixing them.

Keraunos24 Jan 2013 6:32 a.m. PST

I agree with advocate.

especially if no mechanics immeidately leap to your mind when asked what you like about the two, I think you are on a loser to try to mix them.

6sided24 Jan 2013 6:32 a.m. PST

So hail Caesar reflects the chaos of battle once joined and armati doesn't.


Keraunos24 Jan 2013 7:02 a.m. PST

if by reflecting chaos you mean that you roll dice before doing anything, then yes.

if you think that there might be a bit more to it than a modified yahtzee, then no

Who asked this joker24 Jan 2013 8:26 a.m. PST

Mix away. I enjoy the mental challenge myself. I would be interested to see what you come up with.


PS: I thought I posted to this thread already but the Dingo seems to have eaten my post.

brevior est vita24 Jan 2013 9:59 a.m. PST

Having played both, I view Armati as a relatively 'tight' set of rules written primarily for tournament competitions, while Hail Caesar is a relatively 'loose' ruleset written as a toolkit for scenario-based play.

IMHO the two reflect very different gaming mindsets and design philosophies, and so it is very much a case of 'comparing apples to oranges.'

Just Plain Chris24 Jan 2013 2:24 p.m. PST

I like ARMATI for its simplicity and efficiency. A melee between opposing units of HI, for example, requires only two dice to be thrown. The same combat in HC involves quite a few more. This should not be read as a critique of the rules – as others said, they are different in their approach and philosophy – but as an observation. To hit throws, saving throws, and then break test rolls tend to slow things down in larger games, at least in my limited experience.

I have had some success with ARMATI in refighting historical engagements.

I'm not sure, however, that I could replicate Romans landing on an Ancient Briton beach with ARMATI. This seems more a scenario for HC.

As far as I've thought about the two sets, I was toying with the idea of using the rule comparison as a kind of intro to a planned battle report.

I'm sure it's been discussed to death before, but I wonder about the realism of each set, the efficiency of each set, and the fun of each set. I realize that this third variable or characteristic is the most subjective.

As to the mixing, I was thinking about grafting the command and control procedures of HC into the ARMATI sequence of play. I have not decided what to do with the movement rates and such. Control would be taken out of my hands – to a degree. The simplicity of ARMATI combat might speed up the play a bit.

In addition, I was thinking about using the divisional morale rules from SHAKO to determine the staying power of formations.

Thanks for the responses and remarks. Appreciated.


Keraunos24 Jan 2013 11:18 p.m. PST

I'd estimate that the armati divisions might be a barrier here.

if you have a pair of heavy divisions governing your infantry centre, and one fails to march, then you expose the entire division to a flank charge simply by vitue of rolling for the wrong division first.
the concept of one moving slower than the other is fine, but both would ensure they kept pace with the slowest, and you have a 50 / 50 on whether the fail dice roll comes before or after you moved the full speed dice roll unit.

division moral is also suceptable to the single unit wheel and move unit in Armati – you have no morale basis in armati to average out the ability of a large division (just fighting value), and the over powerful armati single unit of wheel and move troops gains another advantage, because it cares not what happens to the rest of its division as it has no other units to worry about.

unless you mean divsion moral over 3-4 sections of teh army – and then again, massing on one flank and leaving a token unit to cover the other, gives the same problem.

might be fun to try though, just to see.

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