Sunday, 27 March 2011

Ager Sanguinis Punic Wars - How it works - Part 1

Ager Sanguinis Punic Wars is based around the mechanisms found in three previously published sets of rules. Piquet (sometimes referred to as Classic Piquet) by Bob Jones. Field of Battle (a Piquet derivative) by Brent Oman. Ager Sanguinis (a Field of Battle derivative for the Crusades) by me. Piquet and Field of Battle are published by Piquet Inc. Ager Sanguinis was published by Miniature Wargames. Ager Sanguinis Punic Wars will, hopefully, be published by Miniature Wargames.

Recently, I've had some email enquiries about how Ager Sanguinis Punic Wars works and how it is different from Ager Sanguinis (Crusades). Here, using a fictional clash between Hannibal and Rome, is a run down of what it is all about. I'm not going to reproduce the rules here, but I’ll try to give a good, fairly detailed, overview.

The set up
The composition of each army is selected and the units are sorted into command groups ('divisions'). Each command group has an officer stand. A note is taken of the total Unity Integrity value of each army. In this case 127 UI for the Romans, 128 UI for the Carthaginians.

Unit Integrity [UI]: Each unit and officer stand has an integrity value. Unit integrity is the all encompassing title given to the physical and morale strength of a unit. Unit integrity is lost, mainly in combat, until a unit reaches zero when it is routed. At minus 1 unit integrity a unit is destroyed. Unit integrity can be rallied back during the game.

Each army now rolls D12 to determine its army die. The army die represents the overall enthusiasm of the army and the ability of its commanders to do battle 'on the day'. The army die is in constant use during the game. For this game the Carthaginians will add 4 to the roll because the commander is Hannibal; the Romans will get no adjustment.
The Carthaginians roll 11 (7+4), The Romans roll 6. A table is consulted. The Carthaginian army die will be D12*. The Roman army die will be D10.

The army die determines the sequence deck that the army will use during play. This sequence deck sequences the actions of each army during a game turn. There are 12 types of cards in the sequence deck. Each sequence deck is 26 cards strong. The composition of cards varies according to the army die (D8, D10, D12, D12*) - the higher the army die the better the deck.

The card decks for each army is as follows. The Roman deck composition is numbered first, the Carthaginian second.

Army Morale: 3/3
Command: 4/4
Group Command: 0/0
Lull: 4/2
Manoeuvre: 2/2
Group Manoeuvre: 1/1
March: 3/4
Group March: 1/0
Melee: 4/3
Group Melee: 0/2
Missilery: 2/2
Tactical Advantage: 2/3

Group cards: A new addition to Ager Sanguinis, these only allow the card to be used for one command group, chosen each time the card is turned. Other cards apply to any and all command groups as standard.

The army die also adjusts the command motivation die roll for the officer stand of each command group and the C-in-C (D8, D10, D12). This is used for movement and rallies (mainly).

The sequence deck is not the only thing that gives character to the army. Each side divides the total Unit Integrity of its army by 12 and draws that number of cards from another deck called the Army Characterisation Deck. This gives the army a morale chip count and various other cards that replace cards in the sequence deck or are added to it. The Carthaginian draw of ten cards is on the left. The Roman draw of ten cards is on the right. The draw is kept secret from one's opponent!

Morale Chips: Morale chips are lost for each UI loss or voluntarily spent during the game. On reaching zero the army is in big trouble as it can no longer rally back lost UI and, more importantly, becomes vulnerable to army morale checks on army morale cards.

This set up process might seem complex, but it actually takes very little time. What is more, we now have armies that have fighting ability and command and control represented not only in the ability of the player, the strengths of his units and the luck of his dice throwing, because rather more is going on – the army itself has some ‘soul’.

Both armies are now ready to deploy.

On the Roman left the Romans have one command group of six cavalry units. The cavalry is all drilled, close order, stubborn armoured cavalry counting 3 unit integrity points per unit.

Facing them the Carthaginians have one command group of twelve units. These comprise three units of Spanish warband, close order, veteran cavalry; four units of Gallic warband, close order, elite cavalry; three units of Numidian warband, loose order, cavalry; two small units of fierce elephants. All cavalry counts 3 unit integrity points per unit, elephants count 2 unit integrity points per unit.

In the centre the Romans have three command groups each comprised of two triplex acies formations. Each triplex acies formation comprises a unit of velites, drilled, skimish order [S] infantry (3UI); a unit of hastati, drilled, close order, stubborn infantry (4UI); a unit of principes, drilled, close order, stubborn, armoured infantry (4UI); a small unit of triarii, drilled, close order, stubborn, veteran, amoured infantry (3UI).

Triplex acies: The infantry are deployed in serried lines to ease the deployment of miniature figurines during play. The spaces that should exist between the maniples of each line, in game terms, is a 'virtual' thing.

The Carthaginian centre is one large command group. It is comprised of four units of Libyan spearmen, drilled, close order, stubborn, veteran, armoured infantry (4UI each); four units of Spanish scutarii, warband, loose order, veteran infantry at 150% strength (4UI each); four units of Gallic, warband, loose order, fierce infantry at 200% strength (5UI each); four units of Libyan javelin men, warband, skirmish order [M] infantry (3UI each); two units of Balearic slingers, warband, skirmish order [M] infantry (3UI each).

On the Roman right the Romans have one command group of four units. Two units of cavalry and two units of velites (as per similar units detailed above).

The Carthaginians have one command group here. This comprises two units of Gallic cavalry and three units of Spanish cavalry (as per similar units detailed above).

Each command group officer stand is worth 1UI but counts double for army strength, the C-in-C's are 1UI but counts triple for army strength. The Romans have an army worth 127 UI. The Carthaginians have an army worth 128UI.

Part 2 of this post will feature a turn or two of the battle.


BigRedBat said...

This all looks very interesting. Did you say the rules are going to be published in a magazine handout? I'll certainly give them a go if I can get old of them.



Hopefully they will be published by MW in the same centrefold pullout format as Ager Sanguinis Crusades:

Cover page.
Multi page single article (about 11,000+ words plus tables, cards, etc.)
Illustrated with pics.
No advertisements.

A real keeper.

Army lists would follow, perhaps with campaign rules, as per AS Crusades.

andrew said...

Okay I am being swayed!

Look forward to part two.

Andrew NZ

michael said...

Just curious ... Did you give up on Command and Colors and if so why? I like your PK engine ... Field of Battle is a great game. I found the use of C&C to be interesting.

Mike Bruck


Hi Mike,

No, I've not given C&C up. For big games needing a quick decision and simple rules I've found nothing better. I just like Piquet style rules more; they are more satisfying / 'wholesome'. Though they are more involved / not as 'quick'.

We might do both games at Sheffield. C&C on the Sunday (for reasons obvious).

BigRedBat said...

Thanks James, is that the next issue? I'll buy a copy.

I love C&C but have been looking for another set of rules, without hexes, by way of a change.



Nope, issue to be decided. It might be the Xmas bumper special - so some time to go yet.

BigRedBat said...

Thanks I'll look out. I'm hoping to try a range of rules this year, but I do particularly like a set with cards.



The cards that will come with the article will not be as fancy as the ones I'm using now due to copyright issues on the images I used - OK for home use but I wouldn't like to tread on any toes in a publication, or for mine to get trodden on if I did.