Monday, 27 January 2014

Impetus rules

We are off to the Vapnartak show next weekend and the Lance and Longbow stand will be featuring the Cravant game which Simon Chick took to the Salute show last April.  Will featured it on his blog at the time and looking at the photos, Simon has produced an excellent game.  His Harness and Array blog also features the game at Salute.  Steve and I are not familiar with the Impetus rules and so we decided to download the basic rules (link).  We used a selection of Steve's Italian Wars figures for an imaginary Franco-Spanish encounter.

This shows the terrain we set up, in retrospect it may be a bit too cluttered as manoeuvring the pike blocks and gendarmes slowed things down.  I commanded the French and massed my Swiss pikes and French Gendarmes on my right (area nearest the camera), with the aim of defeating Steve's left and then attacking his centre in the flank.  The remainder of my troops were to to defend and then (if possible) assist the final attack on the Spanish centre.  Steve massed his landscknechts on his right, planning his own 'right hook'.  His forces were stronger in pikes and arquebusiers, whilst mine had more gendarmes.

Spanish centre

French gendarmes driving off enemy cavalry

The solid mass of landsknechts
The landsknechts drive off the French pikes
During the day we felt our way with the rules.  They are easy to pick up (at least in the basic form) and once the turn sequence is mastered , ( initiative is decided each game turn and the winner then does all their actions, movement, firing and melee, before their opponent does the same), they flow quite well.  Once or twice we managed to forget if it was the end of a game turn (ie we had both moved since the last initiative roll), but that may be down to advancing years.  

The army lists (also available as downloads) seem to make the gendarmes very powerful.  During the game my six units of gendarmes were all involved in melees and yet at the end none had suffered any casualties.  They had attacked units of pikes and although losing their impetus bonus they nevertheless seemed to prevail with little difficulty.  Even if the pikes had a supporting unit of pikes they only rolled the same number of dice as the gendarmes.  The main difference was that the morale value of the gendarmes was 7 or 8, whilst the pikes were 4 or 5.  Any casualties were deducted from this morale value and then one had to roll equal or lower to pass the test.  (a 6 is always a fail).  So, if both sides had 2 casualties in the melee the gendarmes would pass on anything but a '6', but, the infantry would need, at best a 3 or less, a 50% chance of failure.

Also, in the morale roll the difference between the number rolled and number required become causalities.  Therefore, if a three or less is required and a '6' is rolled then 3 casualties are suffered.  So a few bad die rolls (in this case high is 'bad') can be disastrous.

On balance, I think that a few more trials will be necessary before a decision can be made on whether we take up the rules as our default set for the ancient/medieval/renaissance periods.

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