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"What are the strengths and weakness of the rule set?" Topic

Sword & Spear

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Zookie04 Mar 2017 4:05 p.m. PST

I want to start playing an ancients game in 6mm. I am curious about Sword and Spear. I was wondering what the strengths and weakness of the rule set are. Also I wanted to know how well it plays at 6mm.

IanKHemm04 Mar 2017 5:32 p.m. PST

I've played a few games of S&S and while it was okay as far a "playing a game" is concerned I don't feel that it represents ancient warfare very well. I play hoplite Greeks and using S&S it is impossible to slow steady advance to your enemy. The phalanx invariably breaks up into smaller contingents due to the dice selection/command roll mechanism.

Having said that, using a classic deployment with the best troops on the right flank the battle line does tend up swing around like a gate as supposedly happened. This is due more to the ability of those better troops to activate rather that the actual combat itself. All said, it is impossible to make any sort of advance on a broad front.

I'm also not keen on units being locked 100% into a fight once they come into contact. From that point they remain into position until one side or the other is destroyed. There is no gradual fallback/push back. It's either alive or dead. Hannibal's tactics at Cannae can never work using S&S.

advocate05 Mar 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

I like S&S a lot.
As mentioned above, it's difficult to keep a line together, though if you are aware of the problem you can advance steadily: you just have to be careful how you use your activation dice and don't give way to short-term advantage. Remember that you'll probably only get to move two-thirds of your units in a single turn: you need to plan more than one turn ahead.
I like the constant decision making that the system produces, and the fact that shooting and close combat is consistent.
The fact that, for example, spears only cancel mounted impetus if they themselves are activate that phase is somewhat gamey, but definitely adds to the tension.
Another plus is good support from the author.

advocate05 Mar 2017 6:47 a.m. PST

And as with most sets, it's scale-neutral.

JorgenCAB30 Aug 2017 4:04 p.m. PST

I have foud very little problems with the rules.

First of all it is easy to move a steady line forward as long as your plans span over several turns. You can quite easily move 50-60% of your units reliably every turn which should be enough to advance a whole line in one turn.

I find a mixed army with some troops from each discipline rating to be able to activate around 80% if their units every turn on average.

Allot of player also seem to think that you MUST move troops because you can and often that they must move max distance. Even many experience player do so, don't know why?!?

As long as you formulate an overall plan and try to stick to it you should do just fine.

No game is perfect and you need to make some concession for the sake of a game being playable in a reasonable amount of time.

You also need to ask yourself what it is you seek in a game. S&S are about leading an army and making the commanding decisions not dive down into the details.

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