Ekdromoi

Discussion of the upcoming Battle Card system for TRIUMPH!
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MarkusB
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Ekdromoi

Post by MarkusB » Fri Nov 06, 2020 2:33 pm

Hi guys!

Yesterday I was idly thinking about how to depict the common hoplite tactic of having a few lightly-armed guys interspersed with 'standard' heavies, then send them out when enemy psiloi were too close. Allegedly, the order to "run-out" (ekdromoi just means 'out-runners') was sometimes actually issued: Xenophon describes this several times IIRC. But often, it occurred as the result of overzealous efforts by younger warriors. There's a famous quote (which of course I'm unable to find at the moment) in which a young hoplite runs out of formation to engage the enemy, then realizes his foolishness and quickly reconsiders... His commander then scolds him for leaving two (!) positions he was assigned to: the first by his leader, the second by himself.

Anyway: it seems like this tactic didn't achieve much more than temporarily driving away enemy psiloi (I know this is a loaded term for most of us, but it just means 'nudes'- a catch-all name for all unarmoured foot). Due to this, I was thinking about the following battle card:

Ekdromoi (1/2 pts, 0-1 for each Elite Foot and Heavy Foot hoplite stand).
Discard after use. Allows one hoplite stand to attack an enemy Skirmisher, Rabble or Light Foot stand within 3 MU in the ranged combat phase. Resolve the attack as if it was a shooting attack, but use Heavy Foot close combat factors and results. Ignore negative results for the attacking stand.

I'm considering this as a way to spice up the hoplite-vs-hoplite games (think Delium, 1st Chaeronea, etc) I'm planning.

Opinions?
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David Kuijt
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Re: Ekdromoi

Post by David Kuijt » Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:12 am

Hey Markus,

Interesting idea. 3mu is something like 200 yards, which I'd suggest is way too far -- as Xenophon describes it, the Ekdromoi don't run out anywhere near that far. The tactic is used when naked irritating foot (meaning Skirmishers and Rabble in Triumph) get irritating. Skirmishers don't get irritating at more than 20 yards or a bit more if they've got slings or bows or crossbows, and 10 yards or less if they have thrown javelins or rocks (Rabble, mostly). That's like half the depth of their base or even less. So making this into a ranged combat attack at full infantry combat strength seems ... supercharged?

I'd suggest something simpler: a one-shot card like you have it, usable by a hoplite (heavy foot or elite foot) that causes an automatic fall-back for a single Skirmisher or Rabble stand that is within 1mu of the hoplite and is in its ZOC. Usable on the friendly or enemy turn, only in the close combat phase.

This isn't something I'd recommend putting in the main Battle Card rules, though. Because it is very likely that EVERY close-order military system that had to deal with the slings and arrows of fortune (...errr, enemy skirmishers and rabble) would have a similar solution, so giving it to hoplites and not to everyone else would be strange. And frankly, that interaction is what the combat table does -- because when a heavy foot stand does "close combat" against skirmishers or rabble, no close combat occurs in truth unless the skirmisher or rabble is trapped (cannot fall back). Nobody with a fire-hardened stick ever fights (in hand-to-hand combat) a formation of dudes with full hoplite panoply -- it never happens. So the normal interaction between hoplites and naked dudes in the normal combat table already includes the use of Ekdromoi or similar. That's the way the combat table is already set up in Triumph, without any special scenario rule.
DK
MarkusB
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Re: Ekdromoi

Post by MarkusB » Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:49 pm

David Kuijt wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:12 am
I'd suggest something simpler: a one-shot card like you have it, usable by a hoplite (heavy foot or elite foot) that causes an automatic fall-back for a single Skirmisher or Rabble stand that is within 1mu of the hoplite and is in its ZOC. Usable on the friendly or enemy turn, only in the close combat phase.
Well, having thinked about it a bit more and after reading your comments, I'm now convinced my proposal doesn't make much sense :D

And yes, the interaction between Heavy foot and Skirmishers/Rabble is perfectly fine as it is - mine was just an attempt to bring a tad more variety in quasi-monotype hoplite battles (no need for ekdromoi at Plataea, there's a lot of stuff happening all over the place!).

But in retrospect, I think we already have an "official" battle card which could cover the interplay you describe in the quoted paragraphs: after all, the ekdromoi's main point is to drive psiloi away without disrupting the phalanx. So I think that "hold the line" could be used to represent exactly this. If one wanted to be more specific... I don't know, perhaps a 1/2 pts version of 'hold the line' only usable vs skirmishers and Rabble?
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David Kuijt
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Re: Ekdromoi

Post by David Kuijt » Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:57 pm

MarkusB wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:49 pm
Well, having thinked about it a bit more and after reading your comments, I'm now convinced my proposal doesn't make much sense :D

And yes, the interaction between Heavy foot and Skirmishers/Rabble is perfectly fine as it is - mine was just an attempt to bring a tad more variety in quasi-monotype hoplite battles (no need for ekdromoi at Plataea, there's a lot of stuff happening all over the place!).

But in retrospect, I think we already have an "official" battle card which could cover the interplay you describe in the quoted paragraphs: after all, the ekdromoi's main point is to drive psiloi away without disrupting the phalanx. So I think that "hold the line" could be used to represent exactly this. If one wanted to be more specific... I don't know, perhaps a 1/2 pts version of 'hold the line' only usable vs skirmishers and Rabble?
Nice! Since it is a historical scenario game, you can have a special scenario rule. Maybe give each command one or two of those special scenario cards and don't worry about the points.
DK
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