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Improving Pilum?

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Post by Jim Webster on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:26 am

If you don't want legionaries with pilum then you're really looking for Late Romans Very Happy
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Post by GamesPoet on Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:11 pm

I tend to agree with not making the Pilum optional.

Don't see the Roman generals waking up in the morning, and saying, "Ok gentlemen, we're not bringing our pilums with us today, we're just bringing shields and swords."

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:41 pm

I don't think GG is proposing that players get to choose whether Roman legions are armed or not armed with pilum. I think what he was saying was that players could choose to model the pilum effect either by paying for it outright and using the current rules or instead see it as modelled within the rating of the Roman legions (ie. one of the reasons they are VBU6) and taking the reduction in cost.
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Post by Tarty on Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:47 am

Gaius Cassius wrote:I don't think GG is proposing that players get to choose whether Roman legions are armed or not armed with pilum. I think what he was saying was that players could choose to model the pilum effect either by paying for it outright and using the current rules or instead see it as modelled within the rating of the Roman legions (ie. one of the reasons they are VBU6) and taking the reduction in cost.

If you don't pay for pilum then they become just another VBU 6 FP....sounding like a choice to me.

Margherita without basil isn't a Margherita anymore.
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Post by Gaius Cassius on Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:45 am

Tarty wrote:
Gaius Cassius wrote:I don't think GG is proposing that players get to choose whether Roman legions are armed or not armed with pilum. I think what he was saying was that players could choose to model the pilum effect either by paying for it outright and using the current rules or instead see it as modelled within the rating of the Roman legions (ie. one of the reasons they are VBU6) and taking the reduction in cost.

If you don't pay for pilum then they become just another VBU 6 FP....sounding like a choice to me.

Margherita without basil isn't a Margherita anymore.

Yes, I agree from a modelling point of view there is a choice. I was more responding to the comment that posters were making about generals waking up and deciding whether the troops would be armed with pilum or not. It is a question of modeling pilum, not whether historical troops our figures represent are armed with pilum.
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Post by GamesPoet on Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:29 am

I wasn't suggesting that pilums be modeled or not ... lol. That's a good one! Lol ... best laugh I've had in a good while, thank you! : )

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Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:17 am

I was actually positing a solution that had pilum as an option in and of itself. From my reading they weren't always used in period, sometimes they weren't effective etc.

Let the player choose and accept the consequences, personally I'd be taking them as for 3 points they're a cheap potential disruptor, but others may choose to use slightly different tactics, which I believe could be supported by historical readings.

Equally it's just a suggestion, not worth dying in a ditch for.

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Post by GamesPoet on Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:06 pm

Lol ... good to know I understood it correctly, and sounds like if there's historical evidence to back it up, my comment regarding the Roman general telling his troops not to take them seems irrelevant. My apology and thank you.

As for modeling pilum's, I actually have Romans modeled both ways ... lol. Life is such a hoot.

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Post by Jim Webster on Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:26 pm

Granicus Gaugamela wrote:

Equally it's just a suggestion, not worth dying in a ditch for.

Very few things are


After what you might consider 'mature consideration' I think it's possible for a player to feel that Legionaries are 6/2 (or whatever) precisely because they do have pilum. In which case you could feel that adding a pilum rule is a case of gilding the lily.
If an opponent explained this to me and none of his units ever had pilum, I'd be fine with that.

If on the other hand he had pilum when fighting against army x but not when fighting against army y, or had it for some units but not others (With the obvious exception of Punic wars republicans Smile  ) then I'd feel it was a bit gamey to be honest and just an attempt to minimax the army

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Post by ChasTSS on Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:00 pm

I appreciate that this is a long-dead thread, but I am a returnee from the old forum.  Having played Impetus since it first came out - but only for Feudal European and then, only with heavily modified lists.
The rules have enthused me to re-work my own ancient ranges and, finally, with the early Empire/late republic completed, I started painting.....
Returning to the Forum, I stumbled over this thread and my interest was piqued.
Last night, my fabulous Gauls took on a Caesarian Roman Army - 500 pts and, buoyed by confidence of my large warbands and the puny Pila, advanced on the thin red-shielded line of Romans.
i can only say that, catching Numidian cavalry with Gallic cavalry is a thankless task and it is not possible to ignore them.  That took care of my right flank.  On my left, the Italian and Spanish mediums took care of my cavalry and they fought each other to a standstill.  In the centre, my cheating oponent had cunningly placed Scorpios amongst his Cohorts and my skirmishers bore the brunt and vanished all too quickly.  Sadly, my brave groups of warbands started to become less groupish and valiantly charged the Roman line in a valiant effort to breach it.  Then came the volleys of 'overpriced and ineffective' pila.
Gladius stringite!  The Romans surged forward, slowly at first, then quickly as a massacre became evident...

Gentlemen, I hold you entirely responsible for the resulting carnage and the poor little lead widows and oprphans left by my brave warriors and the dastardly Romans.

Next week, I'll run him over with my Parthians....

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Post by stecal on Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:43 pm

I think a bigger change was the +1 die in melee for B class vs C class.  That is always on.  Oddly, it mostly helps VBU 3 or 4 CL act on almost equal terms vs C class Impetuous cav.

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:36 pm

What I have come to appreciate over the past 2 years is that the pila introduces an additional element of uncertainty into any melee with Roman infantry. Even if pilum effect is minimal the fact that it there gives the opponent an element of uncertainty above and beyond the CT. That is not to be under estimated in Impetus.
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Post by stecal on Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:02 pm

Yes, one thing I do like in Impetus is that Roman Legionaires perform as well as they did historically, conquering Europe. In a lot of other rules sets blades or swordsmen are lackluster.

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Post by GamesPoet on Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:54 pm

Sounds interesting! I long to complete my Romans and Barbarians and give it a go.

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Post by Eques on Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:45 am

I don't think we should be scared of units having weaknesses in rulesets. The strengths and weaknesses of diverse units is what makes Ancients wargaming fun.

I would rather the pila volley was too weak than too strong, to the extent that it comes to dominate the game and make legionaries equivalent to 18th Century Musketeers.

That said, the whole "pila volley" concept in the game is a bit too artificial for my personal taste. Why not just represent it by giving legionaries a higher Impetus stat?

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Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:02 pm

Eques wrote:I don't think we should be scared of units having weaknesses in rulesets.  The strengths and weaknesses of diverse units is what makes Ancients wargaming fun.


Couldn't agree more. Nothing breaks a game faster than factor creep and we've certainly had that in the past both in beta lists and in some "official" ones.

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Post by Eques on Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:09 pm

Cyrus The Adequate wrote:
Eques wrote:I don't think we should be scared of units having weaknesses in rulesets.  The strengths and weaknesses of diverse units is what makes Ancients wargaming fun.


Couldn't agree more. Nothing breaks a game faster than factor creep and we've certainly had that in the past both in beta lists and in some "official" ones.


Factor creep. Thank you, I now have a name for my wargaming pet hate.

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:12 am

Giving Roman legion units an increase in impetus to represent pilum doesn't help them when they are on the receiving end of the charge.

As I mentioned above, I have come around to the pilum rule as it stands because of the increase in my appreciation for the level of uncertainty that it introduces when engaging legion units. With the secured flank rule and the quality increase I think legions are somewhat better situated than before these changes.

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Post by Tarty on Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:03 am

7th edition WRG put me off rules with a penchant for weapon types for ever I think. Pilum does deserve something however... think it's about right now also Gaius.
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Post by ChasTSS on Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:34 pm

Just to muddy the waters again! having fought a lot of 500 pt battles against Romans (Mid and late Republic), using Ancient Brits, Gauls, Pathians and Late Macedonians, I would be tempted to say that the Pilum rules are adequate as they are - within those periods.
However, as an ex member of the Ermine Street Guard and having thrown the darn things on many occasions, I would say that it is disorder in the ranks that limits the use of the Pilum, not being tired or worn.
With regard to supply, it was possible for each Legionary to carry three pilum (more usually two).
For an average cohort, this would be 8 - 1200 javelins.
Bearing in mind the throwing distance, the front ranks could discharge one, or maybe two, volleys. This could still leave 6 - 800 pila still to be thrown.
A terrible thought!
We have been trialling using the 3 dice at all times and no dice when disordered. Makes skirmishers a bit more important and Germans in forests really nasty!
Not sure I want to go any further with the last part of that sentence....

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:54 am

Interesting idea. I'd probably modify your idea by reducing the number of dice by 1 when the unit is worn. So 3 fresh, 2 worn, 0 when disordered.

It does raise the question of disorder's impact on missile fire in Impetus generally speaking. I think the reduction of one die for being disordered is a bit too lenient. I'd suggest halving the dice for being disordered. If that was applied to pilum it would


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