I should have known the Young Padawan would be reluctant to face my Macedonian Pikemen again, so instead I have had to resort to some solo play-testing of the 'new' Maniple Line-Exchange rules. The whole exercise took less than an hour and quickly demonstrated that the Republican Roman manipular armies can now go toe-to-toe with the best the enemy can throw at them.
For this test game I have tried to match up the points values for an even fight. So on the Greek side I decided to make all the Pike units Macedonian (ie Veteran) and have a Hero attached. This gives them a points value of 68 which is the same as four sets of the revised Roman maniples consisting of the 'new' Hastati/Principes units supported by a small unit of Triarii. I didn't included Generals or skirmishers to deliberately keep this a simple test of Pikes verses Maniples.
|The Pike units face off against the Roman line|
|As well as combining Hastati and Principes into a Standard Unit they are also now classed as Legionaries which means they are equipped with a Pilum, a shock weapon for use in the Melee phase before resolving hand to hand combat.|
|The Pike units moved first (on a dice roll) and quickly pushed forward to attack.|
|A less successful line exchange as the rally save is missed. However the Roman front line has still been refreshed with tougher troops with Pilums to the ready!|
|Not only are the Romans holding the line they are managing to dish out some damage as well.|
|I made full use of Rally activation's which meant that both sides held on for several turns longer than in the last game I played with these troops.|
|A crucial moment. The Romans have dealt some damage to one of the pike units and the Macedonians have failed to rally. They are now very vulnerable if hit again.|
|More damage is taken by the Macedonians as the now free roman unit turns and prepares to flank the like of Pike units.|
|The Romans have the day but both sides have been severely mauled.|
Wow, that rule change made a huge difference to the handling of the Roman army and made for a much more balanced and interesting game. I think this test battle could have gone either way and in the end it was unlucky dice rolls on Rally saves that lost it for the Macedonians. It took 7 or 8 turns of combat before the Romans got the upper hand. The line Exchange system worked well for them and meant they remained an effective force much longer than in previous games.