Bronzed Heroes

Or My Spear is bigger than Yours!

 

King Agesilaus was asked how far Sparta’s borders went. He raised his spear and said “as far as this”.

 

Concepts:

These rules cover Classical skirmish warfare between small bands of warriors. Warriors have two throwing Spears, a Sword and large Shield (such as the tower, “figure of 8”, or the famous circular “Hoplon” shields).

 

Original Skill is a figure 1 to 4.  1 is a beardless Youth; 2 a normal Man; 3 a Hero and 4 a Legend Battles are fought between Bands each with a total Skill of up to 20.  If the total of Wounds equals his Original Skill a figure is killed.

 

Current Skill = Original Skill less one for each Wound and Confusion. When attacking score Current Skill or under to succeed. An example of an attack: a Man Skill 2 throws a spear – a 1 or 2 = a hit, 3+ is a miss. If he had one Wound he would only hit on a 1.

 

Sequence.

Each side has a Turn in when figures are moved one at a time and their Action completed before moving to the next until all have acted. However, a failed Heroic Exploit (see later) ends that entire side’s Turn. Actions are either:

·         move then attack (in that order);

·         choose to remove one Confusion from himself;

·         verbally abuse an inferior.

 

Movement is 6” per figure less one per Wound and Confusion and is in straight lines. You may not move through another figure so leave gaps! Turning is free.

 

Heroic Exploit: after completing its action, a figure may try and get another one. Throw their Current  Skill and if successful that figure can take another action! If he fails, the figure takes one Confusion (is tired) and that entire side ends its Turn entirely! Thus it may be a silly thing to make the first moving figure try this… You may allow figures to make as many Exploits as they risk.

 

Weak Bladder: No figure may move into contact with an enemy who has a higher Current Skill rating without making a throw against their own Original Skill. If this throw is failed, move the figure d6” directly away from the enemy. If this move bumps into a friend then each figure takes one Confusion and stops moving. If the flight bumps into an enemy, the mover takes a Wound! That ends the fleer’s actions for the turn. You should thus see that it’s both difficult to move against a renowned enemy and perhaps a bad idea to have all you figures in a big mass! If the figure flees off table he is considered lost for this game.

 

Abuse: A figure with superior Original Skill can bellow at an opposing figure up to 20” away and in sight. Deduct the opponents Original Skill from the bellower’s to give a chance for success. A success means the opponents figure must flee d6” straight away from the bellower. For example an Original Skill 4 Legend shouts at a Youth (1). Chance of success is 4 –1 = 1,2 or 3 to succeed. See Weak Bladder for effects of bumping into other figures or going off table.

 

Attacks:

A figure can only attack a target if it’s:

·          in contact with him (using Sword); or

·          after moving (any distance) directly towards him (by throwing a Spear).

Attacker needs to roll the Current Skill or under to hit.  You may not fire missiles through an intervening figure or if there is a friend already in contact with the target. Throw on the Wound Chart to see the effect of any hits. Attack’s can cause Wounds or temporary Confusion (either the figure has had to dodge, gets a minor nick or has a spear stuck in his shield).


Wound Chart:

Throw

Range

1 or Less

2,3,4

5

6

Thrown Spear

10”

No effect

1 Confusion

1 Wound

2 Wounds

Sword

Contact

No effect

1 Wound

2 Wounds

3 Wounds

Modifiers:

·         Deduct three for the targets Shield unless the target’s Current Skill is zero or less, when the Shield has no effect.

 

Optional Rules

·         In close combat  (contact) against a figure with greater Current Skill, if you throw a 6 then you not only miss but are also hit by them in riposte!

·         You might like to develop a rule where a figure attacked by a figure entirely behind his front 180° arc cannot get protection from his shield, etc.

·         Terrain: bad ground (such as streams, swamps and so on, cost movement as double the measured distance while any part of the figures base is still in it. Walls take 3” of movement to cross per 1” high it is, or figure cannot cross this turn. We suggest cover behind a Wall as giving a special save throw of 1 or 2 nullifying the hit.  While in deep water add one Confusion.  You can add other terrain types as required.

·         Vary the total size of the Band (e.g. up Skill total to 30), or include two Bands per side (alliances being randomly chosen due to the vagaries of politics), who compete for the biggest Acclamations (but cannot of course attack their own ally). The only extra rule is to set the order of each Band’s actions. You can easily allow one Band to be played by several players!

·         Spear Pool: To save bookkeeping, assume there are 2 Spears per Adult, but keep counters for them in a separate pool. Any warrior can throw from this until all the Spears are used. You could have a rule saying that a six when throwing a Spear means it has been picked up by an enemy – adding it to their Spear Pool.

·         Armour: we are assuming the un-armoured bare bottomed types from Greek vase art (using perhaps Icon or Foundry figures). However, if you must have armoured figures (with Bronze cuirass or “armadillo” type armour), allow them an extra saving throw of 1 or 2, but reduce their movement by 2”.

 

Notes.

 

·         Easily allow a figure’s Skill to be seen. For example, our Youths might be on triangular bases,  Adult’s on round, Hero’s square, and Legend’s Hexagonal. Clothes, shield design or base colours could also be used for this.

·         Creating markers for Spears, Wounds and Confusion, make the game easier to play. They can be moved around with the figure. If you have magnetised the figure’s base, such markers can be put on magnetic paper and “stuck” to the figure.

·         A chariot should be provided to each side. It has no effect on the game. However, slain enemy figures should be symbolically placed behind them to mark scores! Achilles dragged his victim’s bodies behind his chariot…

·         The Altar Of The Cube. We worship this six sided entity, and Skill can never rise above four (thus throws of five or six will always miss or fail).  A Skill of 5 is restricted to The Gods and demi-Gods (e.g. Hercules), with 6 being impossible as even The Gods are notoriously unreliable.


 

Spartans do not ask “how many enemy are there”, they ask “where?”

 

Scenarios:

Throw to see the Scenario. We assume a table about 4 foot square, with some bits of cover such as walls, trees and so on.

 

Die Roll

Scenario

Guidelines

1,2,3

Skirmish

Just defeat the enemy. Victory goes to the side that either Kills (or chases off table) half the enemy Band

4,5

Raid

Put some huts in the middle of the table. Have about 5 Chattels (civilians or farm animals) each worth an Acclamation. Any figure touching the Chattel can move it towards their base edge in their movement. Each Chattel carried to within 12” of own table edge gets an Acclamation. The side carrying off the majority of Chattels wins. It does not matter who is the raider as we assume the Chattels are either being pillaged or rescued!

6

Penetrate

Sides attempt to get through the enemy forces. Once three figures are within 12” of the enemy table edge they win, and get three extra Acclamations. This might be breaking through an enemy battle line, capturing ground, or overrunning a camp.

 

In each case the side with the better painted figures sets up after the inferior figures, and may move first. Deploy each side within 10” (for the first mover) or 14”(the inferiors) of the centre of their respective baselines.

 

Each enemy killed is worth their Skill in Acclamations. The winners also get Acclamations for every enemy warrior that fled off table with a weak bladder or through abuse.

 

Campaigns:

 

A Band (one per player) has a total of starting Skill of 20. Only one figure may be a Hero and have no Legends at start-up. There are assumed to be many Youths and Men available to top up a Band if its Skill total falls below 20.

When a side collects five Acclamations it may promote one of its figures by increasing their Skill by one. The more Hero’s you have the better your war-Band. You may never use more than a total Skill of 20 in a single game. A campaign can be ended either by a set number of total Acclamations (such as 100), or perhaps by the first to four Skill 4 Hero’s.

 

To the question “how many Spartans are there?”, Archidamides replied “always enough to drive off cowards”.

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