Rome versus Persia

Last evening I finished two units of Sassanid archers - enough figures to make my large 32 figure units into two medium-sized ones of 24 figures, and a separate unit of 12 to tack on the rear rank of a unit of spearmen - I haven't bothered to take photos because they aren't significantly different to the earlier archers. I'm stuck with the spearmen, because I've run out of superglue - I'll take a quick trip out in a few minutes, and then I can get on again.

There is shortly going to be a hiatus in my on-line activity - amongst other things, in a couple of weeks time I have to completely empty the living/dining room in order to decorate and have new carpeting fitted. So I'll probably be off-line for a week or so. In the meantime, I want to get the last few Sassanids finished.

Col and I are still working on the rules. They definitely have promise, though they are different in play, and require a different mind-set to most rules. You, as general, definitely aren't in the 'God' category - things will happen when you don't want them to, and you have to learn to plan ahead. For instance, Col played a game in which he wanted his Parthian cataphracts to be screened during the advance by his horse archers. Problem was, the horse archers' activation card kept failing to come up until after the cataphracts' one. So he got frustrated! The solution is to organise things so that both the horse archers and the cataphracts have a 'Big Man' to keep them 'following orders'. Of course, that means less 'Big Men' to control what's happening elsewhere in the battle-line - but hey, that's warfare - the general can't be everywhere at once, and some of the skill comes in knowing where you need to be at any given time. This game isn't going to suit those who need to have god-like control over everything - but that, hopefully, will make it a better simulation, as well as being fun - and a mental challenge.

Romans versus Parthians or Sassanids (okay, we'll just call them Persians for now!) is a hard test of any set of rules. The Romans aren't overly endowed with cavalry or missile-armed troops, and need to get into close combat as soon as they can, whilst the Persians need to stand off and pepper the Romans with arrows until they're weakened, and then charge in with the cavalry - there's little point in charging steady infantry with cavalry - they should just 'bounce off'. That 'stand-off' is hard to wargame convincingly. You need a scenario which gives the Sassanids a limited opportunity to 'stand off', but also gives the Romans a chance to close before they get shot to pieces in order to give both sides a chance. This is the dilemma we face in designing a game to demonstrate the rules and figures at The Other Partizan MMX.Of course, we could set some sort of time limit - the Sassanids have to beat the Romans in so many turns, or the Romans win by default, in order to get the Sassanids to get stuck in sooner rather than later. We'd need a plausible reason for the time limit though, or it all begins to feel a bit artificial and 'gamey'.

Copyright Dr. P.C. Hendry, 2010