Friday, 6 September 2013

Sumerian Variations

After a brief sojourn in the XVIth century for the most recent posts it is time to pick up the Sumerian thread again and look at improvements to Neil Thomas' rules in "Ancient and Medieval Wargaming".

After we played the last game a number of suggestions for enhancing the experience were discussed. As the actual evidence for Sumerian combat techniques is limited the debate was long on opinion and short on facts. However we still felt that there were some changes that could be made based on self-evident weaknesses in Neil's rules.

Neil adopts a fairly strict interpretation of defensive armour values. Troops in full plate rate extra-heavy armour, those in mail with big shields rate heavy armour, those in linen/mail/leather armour rate medium armour and everyone else is light. These classifications apply across all periods and so are a fairly blunt instrument as they don't take into account the offensive power of weapons. Iron is an improvement over bronze, & steel is an improvement over iron.

In the Sumerian & Akkadian lists everything is classed as having light armour except for the chariots that are medium (we'll come to shields later) and this doesn't seem right. It takes more to stop a draft animal than a person and so the chariots should have more resilience than infantry so that's good. However formed infantry should have better resilience than light troops. Taking all this together we end up with a slightly revised troop listing:



Type
Armour
Morale
Missile Weapons
Spearmen
Biblical Infantry
Medium*
Levy*
N/A
Battle Carts
Light Chariots
Heavy
Elite
Javelins
Skirmishers
Light Infantry
Light
Levy
Javelins
Slingers
Light Infantry
Light
Levy
Slings
Archers
Heavy Archers
Light
Levy
Bows
 
* For units with shields this increases to Heavy if they don't move in both the current turn and the preceding turn. They also test morale as Average if attacked from the front, shielded, side.

Next we had a look at the Hand to Hand combat table. This has been modified slightly, mostly to make the Battle Carts more effective against lighter troops.



Biblical Infantry
Light Infantry
Heavy Archers
Battle Carts
Biblical Infantry
1
3
2
2
Light Infantry
1
1
1
1
Heavy Archers
1
2
1
1
Battle Carts
1
3
2
1


Note that we are also playing the revised Battle Cart movement rules from Slingshot.

Ideas that haven't made it through to the wargames table yet include:

1) Shielded units fighting with half their bases
2) Slings being more effective against battle carts
3) Adding light troops with bows

All things together I think there's more fun to be had with this period.  So much so that I'm planning to double the amount of infantry I have.

4 comments:

  1. http://sumer2sargon.blogspot.com/
    Hi Trebian,
    Have you seen the above site? It is great! However, the author hasn't been around for awhile unfortunately.
    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John,

      Thanks for the link. That looks like a handy site.

      Trebian

      Delete
  2. Armor ratings is a weakness I have found with respect to ancient troops in AMW especially any that are pre-classical Greek. I use "Unarmored" no saving throw, "Shieleded" save on rolls of "1", "Light Armor" save on "2", "Armored","Heavy Armor","Fully Armored" all with increasing saving throws.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree with you. I think unarmoured getting no saving roll is a bit harsh, especially for light infantry, but what you have is a definite improvement on the original rules.

      Which is not to say I don't still love them a lot.

      Delete