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"Sparta vs Athens: two Sword & Spear AARs" Topic

Sword & Spear

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Gunnar13 Jan 2016 6:16 a.m. PST

I've been trying the Sword & Spear ruleset recently, and posted a couple of AARs on my blog. We used my 6mm models and played in a Peloponnesian War setting, so it's Sparta against Athens. The first time around we did a scenario:

More pics and full AAR for this game here.

The second game was more of a pitched battle thing, where the points system was used to provide as balanced a game as possible:

Read all about this particular game here.

Overall, it's a very interesting system, albeit with some drawbacks. I'll probably write a full review as soon as I've played some more games and tried all of the features.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Jan 2016 7:00 a.m. PST

A great looking game! I love the mass that one gets with 6mm miniatures.

Best, Simon

Pattus Magnus13 Jan 2016 8:14 a.m. PST

I agree, that is a very good looking set of armies and terrain. These and Harryhotspur's 6mm ancient armies (worth looking at past TMP threads for pics of those) are inspiring.

advocate Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2016 10:24 a.m. PST

Nice report, and a good looking game.
A couple of rule-related comments: first, I think you could consider Peltasts as either Medium infantry, or perhaps as light but with the 'armoured' characteristic. That would give them more staying power, but still give them the capacity to evade. Secondly, with such a small, high quality force the Spartans might have been better off without the captain and had another support unit.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2016 11:36 a.m. PST

Nice AAR

I may quote you on the "Quantity rubs Quality's face in the dirt"

Zopenco 213 Jan 2016 1:30 p.m. PST

It would seem to me that 'Sword & Spear' is not the best choice for playing Peloponnesian War games.

As I understand it, Hoplite Greek armies fought in continuous lines and as soon the line was broken they were done for. (Well, the Spartans somehow managed to survive the opening of a gap in their line in Mantineia, but they were Spartans and it was a close run thing)

As I recall, in 'Sword & Spear', there is no bonus for fighting in line, there is no penalty for advancing piecemeal, and in fact the mechanics of the game make impossible for an army to move in formation.

Gunnar13 Jan 2016 11:19 p.m. PST

Thank you for your kind words, gents.


Agree about both points. Since S&S provides some great tools for calculating points values, you can easily customize units. I'm definitely giving Peltasts a bit more punch next time!

@ Zopenco 2

Correct, the system is a bit too "generic" for that type of historical accuracy – after all, it covers a period of about 4500 years.

It does have a rather well-designed system for maintaining battle lines though – basically you can place units into groups and move them together using just one active action die (this only works for movement though, not charges or combat).

Still, I agree that the activation system makes it hard to move the whole army in a given formation. I'm considering modifying the group move mechanics so that units only need to be within 1DU (distance unit) of each other, instead of in base to base contact.

Dexter Ward14 Jan 2016 3:31 a.m. PST

There is a penalty for advancing piecemeal – you'll end up with each of your units in contact with more than one enemy, so they will get a bonus.
Units never line up exactly when fighting in Sword & Spear; it's on of the little oddities of the rules, but it means you never have to worry about corner contacts, because there are none.
Looking at your AAR pictures, it looks like you lined the units up (as we did the first time we played).

Marshal Mark14 Jan 2016 10:05 a.m. PST

As I recall, in 'Sword & Spear', there is no bonus for fighting in line

That is incorrect. As Dexter points out above, it is best to maintain a battle line, to avoid fighting one unit against two enemy units.

… the mechanics of the game make impossible for an army to move in formation.

Also incorrect. Whilst the activation mechanics mean it is not trivial or easy to maintain a battle line, it is certainly possible. I don't believe that it would be easy to get thousands of men, sometimes from different units, tribes or nationalities, to advance in a perfect line, and this is reflected in the rules. Sometimes you have to be patient, and wait for stragglers to catch up, but you definitely can keep your units in line with each other.

Gunnar14 Jan 2016 10:20 a.m. PST

Looking at your AAR pictures, it looks like you lined the units up (as we did the first time we played).

Yes, we sometimes did. Old habits die hard I guess. :)

This is certainly one of the subtle nuances of the game that has to be established through repeated play.

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