Polybian Roman

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David Kuijt
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby David Kuijt » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:52 pm

MarkusB wrote:However, the sources are so vague that representing this with rules seems difficult- what were the hamippoi good for, after all? Staying power? Impact? Did they help against other cavalry? And regarding velites, which part of their success at Capua depended on the suprise element (which wasn't apparently attempted again)? Hmm...


Ya, that's the problem. IF we were to try anything, it might be some sort of mod that only applies when Javelin Cavalry (and Bad Horse?) fights other Javelin Cavalry, which is what seems to be implied by the Capua source, and would explain the abandonment/non-appearance of any similar thing when cavalry becomes more complex with horsebow and charging cavalry and so on. But how to implement anything without just making s**t up, eh?

It's going to be difficult to determine if it is worth representing, and how to represent it.
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:39 pm

How about this for effect:

"Hamippoi, 0 pts: For every Javelin Cavalry stand in the army, you may replace a stand of Rabble or Light Foot with another Javelin Cavalry stand, and for each Bad Horse stand you may similarly replace a Rabble or Light Foot stand with another Bad Horse stand. Both the original and the new mounted stand should be depicted with a mix of cavalry and light infantry figures. If the shade of Xenophon is having a good day with telekinesis, you will roll lots of sixes with these troops."

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby David Kuijt » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:06 am

Andreas Johansson wrote:"If the shade of Xenophon is having a good day with telekinesis, you will roll lots of sixes with these troops."


Every time I suggest something like this, the more serious-minded members of Washington Grand Company shoot it down with harrumph-ing noises.
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:08 am

How dare you accuse me of being anything but serious about playing with toy soldiers!

My suggestion of course assumes (contra Mr Barker) that cavalry with intermixed infantry deploys on a wider front than the same number of cavalry would on their own. This is making excrement up, strictly speaking, but it seems a pretty natural assumption. Certainly there wouldn't be space for intermixed infantry in late medieval or early modern European cavalry formations; I forget if any spacings are specified for Hellenistic cavalry by the Roman era tactical writers (Asclepiodotus seems not to provide any from a look at the Lacus Curtius online version).

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby MarkusB » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:40 am

Andreas Johansson wrote:"Hamippoi, 0 pts: For every Javelin Cavalry stand in the army, you may replace a stand of Rabble or Light Foot with another Javelin Cavalry stand, and for each Bad Horse stand you may similarly replace a Rabble or Light Foot stand with another Bad Horse stand. Both the original and the new mounted stand should be depicted with a mix of cavalry and light infantry figures. If the shade of Xenophon is having a good day with telekinesis, you will roll lots of sixes with these troops."


I like it! I can totally see using this as a house rule. Perhaps I'd rule out point-generating swaps (losing a rabble stand and gaining a Jav Cav seems a tad too good, Xenphon's ghost notwithstanding). So, swaps I'd allow would be lose 2 rabbles -> gain 1 Jav Cav OR 1 Bad Horse, lose 1 Light Inf -> 1 gain Bad Horse, etc etc... (Btw, the wider front for mixed formations seems neatly supported by Xenophon's "cavalry phalanx" passage I linked above.)

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:29 am

I was assuming you'd pay for the stands you actually field, so if you replace a Jav Cav and a Rabble with 2x Jav Cav, you pay the full eight points for them. Should probably be explicitly stated on the card if the suggestion is adopted. The advantage in game terms is that you can get more mounted than you otherwise could, which is likely to be a boon for foot-heavy Greek lists.

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby David Kuijt » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:05 pm

Andreas Johansson wrote:I was assuming you'd pay for the stands you actually field, so if you replace a Jav Cav and a Rabble with 2x Jav Cav, you pay the full eight points for them. Should probably be explicitly stated on the card if the suggestion is adopted. The advantage in game terms is that you can get more mounted than you otherwise could, which is likely to be a boon for foot-heavy Greek lists.


Ah, I didn't understand that. So it wouldn't be a "convert how they are used" system in the same way as Skirmish Screen currently is.

If this was a serious thing (which it isn't, quite, at the mo') I'd probably limit the maximum number of additional Javelin Cavalry or Bad Horse that could be fielded that way to like maybe one. Because changing something like Thebans/Thessalians from 3x Javelin Cavalry to 6x Javelin Cavalry is a flushing-out (pumping up!) of their mounted component that is pretty extreme, ending with them having half their army being cavalry and looking more like Later Achaemenid Persians than like Hoplites.

Also, one of the two sources mentions their use to overcome being outnumbered in cavalry by what is (I think?) the Romanized Campanian list, which maxes out at 2 stands.
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby JonathanJ » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:17 pm

It seems like you are looking for a way to allow more coordination between horse and light foot without increasing the number of horse. Wouldn't a version of mounted infantry work best?

Hamippoi, ? Pts: if a group consists only of javelin cavalry, bad horse, light infantry, and rabble the entire group may move at the rate of the slowest horse provided that the foot do not outnumber the horse.

That should allow for some interesting tactical options.

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:03 am

A search for "hamippoi" on the SoA forums turned up a couple things of relevance:

Livius 48.56.2, on the battle of Kallinikos/Callinicus in 171 BC, wrote:Cotys [sc. a Thracian king allied with Macedon] commanded the left wing with the whole of his native troops, the light infantry being disposed between the ranks of the cavalry. On the right were the Macedonian cavalry, the Cretans being intermixed with them in the same way. ... The [Roman] right wing was commanded by the consul's brother Caius, and comprised the whole of the Italian cavalry with the velites interspersed among them.
There are further contingents listed on the Roman side consisting of both cavalry and light infantry, but we're not explicitly told if they're intermixed.

Caesar, Civil War III.84, on Pharsalus 48 BC, wrote:His [sc. Caesar's] cavalry being much inferior to the enemy's in number, he followed the method already mentioned; of singling out the strongest and nimblest of his foot-soldiers, and accustoming them to fight intermixed with the horse; in which way of combat they were become very expert by daily practice. This disposition, joined to constant exercise, so emboldened his cavalry, that though but a thousand in number, they would upon occasion sustain the charge of Pompey's seven thousand, even in an open plain, and appear not greatly dismayed at their multitude: nay, they actually got the better in a skirmish that happened between them, and killed Aegus the Allobrogian, one of the two brothers who deserted to Pompey, with several others of his party.


There are also plenty of mentions of light infantry of various nationalities supporting cavalry, but without it being specified if they do so as part of a single formation or if they're simply deployed alongside.

Finally, the late antique lexicographer Hesychius, presumably specifically to mess with wargamers, gives hamippoi as an alternative designation of dimakhai (Lat. dimachae), an obscure troop type supposedly introduced by Alexander, consisting of mounted men capable of fighting both mounted and on foot (the word means something like "double-fighters"). Apart from a few mentions in the Alexander histories - never in the context of pitched battle - the word also turns up in Diodorus to describe some Spanish horsemen.

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:24 am

Oh, and another quote relevant to both intermixing foot and horse and pre-Pyrrhic cavalry shields:

Arrian, Anabasis Alexandrou, 1.6.5 wrote:Alexander saw only a few of the enemy still occupying a ridge, along which lay his route, he ordered his body-guards and the companions around him to take their shields, mount their horses, and ride to the hill; and when they reached it, if those who had occupied the position awaited them, he said that half of them were to leap from their horses, and to fight as foot-soldiers, being mingled with the cavalry.

Apparently everyone was to bring their shields, incl the half that stayed on horseback - but it doesn't say they actually used the shields from horseback, which may be impractical when your main weapon is a long lance wielded with both hands rather than couched.


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