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"Sword & Spear - Impetuous troops?" Topic

Sword & Spear

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Comments or corrections?

Nick B31 Dec 2015 4:22 a.m. PST

I've just got S&S rules to have a look at – am I missing something or is there no impetuous rule for any troop types?

Consul Paulus31 Dec 2015 4:59 a.m. PST

There is no impetuous rule as such. The closest the rules come is the "Impact" characteristic (see Section 15). If you look at a few army lists, units that in other rules would be classed as impetuous have this characteristic.

A unit with Impact must pursue if it routs its enemy in melee combat (Per page 26, "Pursuit") – other units either do not pursue or allow the player to choose not to (subject to a discipline test).

Similarly, units with "Impact" may Charge when the action die is equal to its discipline rating – normally to Charge it must be higher.

Marshal Mark01 Jan 2016 11:41 a.m. PST

There are no rules for "impetuous" troops. Rules for such troops are not required, and would not easily fit into the unit activation system. The rules encourage getting stuck in, and particularly so for troops with the impact characteristic, as they only benefit from this when they charge. So you find that such troops generally charge as soon as they can, without needing rules to force them to charge.
In games where there are rules for impetuousity, you generally find that this leads to gamey play, as the opposing player tries to position his units in a way that is as advantageous as possible under the game mechanics, knowing that the impetuous unit will have to charge.

Henry Martini01 Jan 2016 1:32 p.m. PST

And how much historical evidence is there to support this gimicky ancients rules fixture, anyway?

Khusrau01 Jan 2016 8:59 p.m. PST

henri martini – quite a bit, though whether it reflects some rule sets is another question. so for example, you have French knights in Italy insisting on charging from well off the battlefield. There are a number of instances of Roman legions getting into trouble because of 'impetuous' behaviour. (It's actually a common meme. where troops are ill-disciplined and get themselves in trouble.)

In some cases – such as the notorious 100YW examples, where French mounted are supposed to have charged through their own foot, there is simply no way to model this on a wargames table without some sort of 'impetuous' rule.

The crusader armies also had several examples of mounted charging recklessly to their own detriment. The one area where evidence is thinner is what would be described as 'warband' or 'celts' – the Galatian examples and the Celts pre 350BCE would seem to have some characteristics of impetuous troops.

I am a great believer in rules that severely restrict the abilities of players to make their troops do exactly what they want, and to my mind there are sufficient examples of bodies of troops 'doing their own thing' that not modelling it is a serious deficiency in any set of rules for the period. The note above suggests that the player is incentivised to charge by the rules, but this does not model a situation where the player/general doesn't want to charge, but his troops do so anyway.

Henry Martini02 Jan 2016 6:40 a.m. PST

But is the 'doing their own thing' prompted by merely being in proximity to the enemy, or is it mostly an out-of-control pursuit of a defeated foe?

Khusrau02 Jan 2016 7:11 a.m. PST

The latter in the cases I gave above. I would suggest that a mechanism for a feigned flight as well as an impetuous mechanism is required.

Griefbringer02 Jan 2016 10:40 a.m. PST

I would think that the Swiss troops in St. Jakob-en-Birs in 1444 would also qualify as somewhat impetuous, though they probably were not aware of how badly they would end up being outnumbered.

Various warrior cultures with emphasis on individual prestige around the world would have issues with individual warriors or groups wanting to charge in for the glory. It is not just a case of feudal age European knights or ancient tribal forces – apparently Japanese samurai tended to do it a fair bit.

Henry Martini02 Jan 2016 1:43 p.m. PST

This discussion reminds me of an ECW variant of Lion Rampant we played a game of a while ago that has Royalist cavalry potentially going charging off wildly at any enemy within sight, when historically any lack of control occurred only when opposing units were defeated in combat.

Khusrau02 Jan 2016 3:50 p.m. PST

Henry. Perhaps you could back this statement up by disproving the examples given were prior to an enemy being beaten. This has been done to death many times, and there were clearly numerous examples of troops eager to charge without orders against unbroken enemy. French at Crecy, Serbs at Nicopolis, Athenian Hoplites vs Sparabara, Austria vs Hungarians 1286 – "the Austrian commander wanted to sound the retreat … But the Swabians refused to withdraw, they formed up in close order, stirrup to stirrup, lance to lance" French knights at Nicopolis appear to have lost control as much as 4 miles away from formed troops.

Now I am not going to comment on ECW cavalry as the question was about 'Sword & Spear' Ancients.

freecloud02 Jan 2016 5:03 p.m. PST

No, S&S has no impetuosity, asnted above though, you want to use your impact troops

"Impetuosity" as in say DBM terms where unless you continually restrain troops they are off, was quite rare, and also unlike DBM, it wasn't where certain troops types were always or never impetuous.

Probably best modelled as something where a bad dice roll, in certain circumtances, sends troops off into the wild blue yonder. Arguably inexperienced troops, and some types of elites (warrior culture nobles?) were more prone.

vtsaogames03 Jan 2016 9:01 p.m. PST

In a set of home-brew Napoleonic rules, a Tally Ho card could be played on disordered British cavalry and it would force them to attack the closest enemy. But they had to be disordered already, so keeping them in a band box made them proof against the card.

JorgenCAB31 Aug 2017 4:21 a.m. PST

The Impact rule in S&S will emulate these behaviors quite well.

Having a rule where troops are ALWAYS impetuous are not realistic and gamey.

The Impact rule really make troops often act as if they are very aggressive, you WANT them to charge or they loose this great ability. It truly have a psychological effect on the player in how they use said unit.

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