Saturday, 15 December 2007

Which is more Important: Your Morale or Your Troops' Morale?

We played a Late Roman skirmish last week using Pax Romana and the game raised some interesting questions for me. One related specifically to the rules, and more of that later, and the other to the issue of morale. Crazy Dave was playing the Franks raiding inland from the Medway and I was fielding the Romano-Brits defending (later ably aided by Gav and Ben when the reinforcements arrived). The game started slowly with Dave picking his way through the early morning fog and eventually spotting my settlement but not before I'd spotted him and nipped off to inform the local garrison. Dave advanced his veteran troops towards my village, which was only defended by armed farmers and it looked like it was all going to be over pretty quickly. But when my lone archer loosed a couple of shots Dave decided to retire to the woods to regroup. By the time he'd got himself organised a patrol from the garrison had arrived and the fight looked like it was going to be a little more even. Unfortunately for Dave his reputation for unpredictable dice rolling was well earned and getting into the village was pretty heavy going for him. But he'd awung some of his troops in a flanking manoeuvre which surprised us from the rear and despite the patrol it started to swing Dave's way. Then more reinforcements arrived from the garrison and we all thought it was over for Dave. But despite the odds Dave moved onto the offensive and charged into the approaching units some of which broke and Dave's vets made their morale rolls. After a lot of heavy fighting Dave was eventually beaten but at a huge cost to the locals.

This all made me think, the game would have been quite different if Dave had used his aggression when advancing on the village in the first instance and had someone else been playing his troops later when the reinforcements arrived they could have simply run for the hills (which given the odds was what we were expecting!). It really highlights that no matter the morale rules for the troops the morale of the players is just as if not more important. It also goes to show that no matter what the odds any game with dice can go either way!

As to the rules one of the things that helped Dave was his veteran troops which get more actions than the less experienced troops. On reflection we were concerned that the veterans were getting rather too much of an advantage from this which was difficult to justify logically. Ben suggested using alternatives including getting several activation cards and being able to choose the highest thus allowing them to react faster. Bronze is now pondering so there may be a revised version coming.

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