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"Sword & Spear Review and AAR" Topic


Sword & Spear

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Marshal Mark23 Jul 2014 1:53 a.m. PST

The Yass Tabletop Gamers have written an AAR of a Successor vs Parthians battle, played with my Sword & Spear rules, along with a review of the rules, on their club website.

Some extracts from the review:

"These rules ….. contain many of the basic elements that ancients players will recognise. There are also clear influences from some of the more popular fast-play systems. But that's where the similarities with previous systems ends. Sword and Spear employs a command and control system, and a combat system, that are like nothing I've previously seen in a table-top wargame. It is these mechanics that make the game unique and so much fun."

"With only one game under our belts it's too early to make definitive statements, but this is the first set of rules I have ever played where after just one game I have been unable to find something that annoys me. By keeping touch with the solid and well-tried bones of the ancients tradition, this game firmly grounds itself in a familiar context. This means you don't have to re-learn everything about the game, which allows you to focus your mind on the nuances of the command and combat mechanics. It's only after experiencing the command system in play that you begin to realise just how sophisticated it is. While you can play it straight away, I am sure it will take many games to master it. Almost every command decision was difficult, and I found myself trying to second-guess (my opponent) at every turn…."

"All in all, a very enjoyable set of rules."

You can read the full review here:
link

You can find out more about these rules, including how to purchase them, here:
link

Ferbs Fighting Forces23 Jul 2014 5:09 a.m. PST

Nice review & AAR.

Bandolier Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2014 5:37 a.m. PST

Nice report. I've just purchased the pdf and hope to give them a go soon.

HANS GRUBER23 Jul 2014 7:44 a.m. PST

It seems a little odd that the Parthian horse archers were caught by the pikes because they shot earlier in the turn. I can't imagine many circumstances were pikes could chase down horse archers.

warhorse23 Jul 2014 8:37 a.m. PST

It depends on the horse archer. Many horse archer cultures were based on extreme and death-defying acts of bravery and skill, and a man's prowess was measured in scalps and ears as trophies. In addition, large formations of horses can be very difficult to extricate from close combat, once they get stuck in.

It doesn't take much for a "lead" horse to rush, and his mates to join in – not sure if you've ever ridden a a skittish horse that cues off his running mates, but it can be a little scary.

If you're thinking of hanging back, and your mates charge in to get off a close shot, and try to grab a scalp or two, and you face a long life of celibacy and poverty, or even ostracism if you balk, you're likely to think "ah Bleeped text it, what the hell, do I wanna live forever?" and ride on in…

In the dust, sweat and blood, it's all to easy to misjudge distances, and suddenly you're in amongst the pikes….

So no, not likely to happen often, but this battle was one of the occasions it did.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jul 2014 9:56 a.m. PST

I'd imagine it would represent the pikes getting too close, and the horse archers legging it off the battlefield. Or just running out of arrows.

warhorse23 Jul 2014 10:14 a.m. PST

Surprisingly, horse archers could be destroyed by pikes quite easily if they misjudged their timing. Even psiloi can get run down by heavy foot, if they screw up. You may be lightly equipped, but if you've spent a good few minutes lobbing javelins and falling back, lactic acid builds up in the leg muscles, you're breathing so hard you feel like your throat's made of sandpaper, you're wobbly on the legs (like an MMA fighter near the end of a 5 minute round), … and then your enemy heavy foot suddenly charge at you at full tilt. You're facing the wrong way, and you're a tad slow to turn around to run, and then… bang, you're down.

In war, nothing is certain…

Ferbs Fighting Forces23 Jul 2014 11:16 a.m. PST

Not forgetting dust clouds that can billow around from galloping horses blocking line of sight.

HANS GRUBER23 Jul 2014 11:46 a.m. PST

Yes, I agree that reasonable explanations can be put forward on how pikes can defeat horse archers, although the chance of something like that happenning should be quite small.

My main comment was in some respects a question about rules mechanics. The implication was that the reason the horse archers couldn't evade/retreat was because they shoot earlier in the turn. Is there a way for horse archers to shoot and still retreat from a charge?

warhorse23 Jul 2014 1:42 p.m. PST

Do we actually know a priori that those probabilities are small? Or did they happen more frequently than we might think?

Marshal Mark24 Jul 2014 2:18 a.m. PST

It seems a little odd that the Parthian horse archers were caught by the pikes because they shot earlier in the turn. I can't imagine many circumstances were pikes could chase down horse archers.

My main comment was in some respects a question about rules mechanics. The implication was that the reason the horse archers couldn't evade/retreat was because they shoot earlier in the turn. Is there a way for horse archers to shoot and still retreat from a charge?

I would put this down to a tactical error. The horse archers should not have moved so close to the pikes. And when the pikes advanced so that the horse archers were within charge range, the horse archers should have moved away (preferably with a shoot then move action if they had the necessary action dice). So the answer to the above question is yes, they can shoot then move away in the same turn. However, if they choose to just shoot, then they cannot evade if charged in the same turn (but doing that within charge range of enemy who have not yet activated this turn would be asking for trouble). As the review quoted above says, it will take many games to master it. This sort of mistake with skirmishers is a common one to make in the first game, but you quickly learn from such mistakes and I'm sure the Parthian player won't lose light horse in this way again.

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