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Let us know what you think about the Rules, Army Lists etc.
HOPLON 3 is no longer available through Amazon Miniatures.
I will be providing free copies of HOPLON 3, in .pdf form, directly to anyone interested. HOPLON Army lists and any amendments or upgrades however, are always available from AMS_Hoplon
Just contact me directly through the AMS_Hoplon discussion group.
Nicolas A. Protonotarios
|THE MAIN AREAS DERIVED FROM DBM ARE:
1. Troop types and basing, enriched with new types like Foot Knights and far greater choice of distinctives like primary and/or secondary role, level of expertise, eagerness, protection from missiles.
2. Army breakdown into elements, but deployed as units; in some cases mandatory.
3. PIP-based command system, improved with the ability to purchase more capable commanders/staff depending on army and period.
4. Demoralization by Command, heavily tweaked to take into account relative troop values and national characteristics that determine troop reaction to losses of leadership etc.
5. Variable time scale, with march moves outside enemy ZOCs and tactical moves inside it, but with variable ZOCs to cater for skirmishing light troops, isolated elements etc.
6. Hand-to-hand combat, but with very different overall balance as determined by unit cohesion or handicap factors.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCES FROM DBM ARE:
1. Sequence of play, which is by Command, not by Army. The Command with higher initiative chooses whether to move before its lesser opponents or not.
2. Missile shooting, with an entirely new mechanism which allows all missile troops to shoot in support of charges, harassment by light troops etc.
3. Troop quality, which promotes the exact opposite philosophy from that of DBM. The few(er) crack units are truly capable compared to the masses of ill-trained or badly motivated troops.
4. Troop morale reaction, which is incorporated in the melee and/or missile results. Catastrophic defeats of lesser quality troops could result in entire units routing or losing cohesion etc.
5. The training status alone determines the ability of troops to manoeuvre on the battlefield, as opposed to voluntary PIP allocation used in DBM. Professional troops may even initiate action without any PIPs (skirmishers may evade charges and mounted shock troops may counter-charge).
6. Terrain allocation is completely different from DBM allowing the player with the strategic initiative to determine the army's stance (offensive or defensive) and terrain.
7. Strategic initiative is determined by an army's scouting power and quality of leadership, not by historical aggressiveness or lack of.
Nicolas A. Protonotarios
|THE RATIONALE OF THE HOPLON RULE SYSTEM
Until the appearance of the DBM game system most wargame rules had based their deployment and combat operations on the unit. Whilst this was realistic for the deployment and appearance of troops on the wargames table, it left much to be desired in funtionality, due to the inherent inflexibility of the unit block. With the appearance of DBA and the maturity of its famous offspring, DBM, the operational basis reverted to the element. The flexibility of this is incontestable and coupled with the PIP-based command and control, the new, simplified troop types and the undemanding, accounting-free combat mechanisms, it brought instant success.
The scope of the game changed, however, along with its scale, and the main victim was realism. Along with the welcome simplifications came the tendency to even out the performance of troop types, in later marks of the rules, while another ominous development was what I call the double correction problem: when a troop type or a rule mechanism does not reflect reality at all, an optional troop type or rule is introduced to fill the gap making the whole effort seem like a patchwork of corrections.
What is worse of all, however, is what these very competitive rules have done to the wargamers themselves. We often hear wargamers interpreting combat performance of troop types in accordance with the performance of their DBM equivalents. As a result, for example, the ability of cavalry to shoot from a distance, often with devastating results, has become a marginal issue on the wargames table (Huns, Turks, Mongols, Byzantines etc. would not find this amusing). As for the combat objectives, the over-simplification of morale has led to the pursuit of that last element kill in order to defeat an opponent; hardly characteristic of most ancient battles accounts we have read.
The HOPLON rule system was designed to use as many of the simplifications and troop types of DBM as possible, while re-introducing those aspects of ancient warfare that have been lost through the pursuit of championship competitiveness. The whole effort is based on my wargaming experience from DBM, my own PANSTRATIA musket-era rules (for simultaneous movement and combat), plus some original ideas specific to these rules.
What proved to be a most pleasant surprise when factoring in the historical element, was the fact that most of the tweaking required did not depart from the DBM philosophy of keeping accounting out and simplicity in (which is a pity for those addicted to the competitive DBM). As a result, apart from a number of additional combat factors (cohesion, shaken) and a morale-reaction system factored into the combat results, the rules are much easier to follow than DBM with far fewer abstractions.
HOPLON, like DBM, is a general rule system and any special, era-specific characteristics, the so-called 'national characteristics' are incorporated into the Army Lists (which are on the drawing board and are available upon request). Some examples: Theban phalanx can fight up to 4 elements deep vs. other phalanx; Roman manipular Swordsmen may exchange ranks, between Hastati and Principes; German barbarian warbands fight differently than Gallic ones; Alexandrian Companion and Prodromoi, Norman heavy cavalry, German and Byzantine Cataphracts can fight in real wedges. Persian sparabara fight differently to Assyrian or Byzantine mixed formations.