A more decisive Impact phase.

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Rekila
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Post by Rekila » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:25 pm

A more easy and historical solution to give Impact foot the edge is now lacking is to allow Impact foot to Break off combat, so it can charge again next turn. That’s how they fight historically, charging and if that did not disrupt the enemy formation falling back regrouping and charging again. The Punic and Macedonian wars have many examples of that. (Cannas, Pidna) is worth remember that that is how the Legion or maniples fights. When I first read the FOG rulebook and the Mid-Republican list I was surprised that the Romans BGs could not interpenetrate each other, I think that if there is an army for the:“ Some armies are allowed special interpenetrations for troops that were historically capable of this.” is that one. (Only the WoR armies use that rule if I remember right). The combination of Impact foot Breaking off and Interpenetration permits to have a good representation of the tactics of the legion of maniples, a point that all Ancient rules that I know have fail to do. It could be said that Roman BGs represents many maniples of hastati/principes, but if Longbowmen /billmen can interpenetrate each other why not the Romans of a legion whose essence is to interchange lines?

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Post by dave_r » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:30 pm

Rekila wrote:A more easy and historical solution to give Impact foot the edge is now lacking is to allow Impact foot to Break off combat, so it can charge again next turn. That’s how they fight historically, charging and if did not disrupt the enemy formation falling back regrouping and charging again. The Punic and Macedonian wars have many examples of that. (Cannas, Pidna)
I presume you mean Cannae and Pydna? If so, then these seemed to be one large engagement rather than multiple charges.
is worth remember that that is how the Legion or maniples fights. When I first read the FOG rulebook and the Mid-Republican list I was surprised that the Romans BGs could not interpenetrate each other, I think that if there is an army for the:“ Some armies are allowed special interpenetrations for troops that were historically capable of this.” is that one.
We don't know how the maniples fought - there is no evidence of interpenetration as others have frequently pointed out. In fact, all evidence points to a charge, followed by a prolonged hand to hand engagement.
(Only the WoR armies use that rule if I remember right).
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The combination of Impact foot Breaking off and Interpenetration permits to have a good representation of the tactics of the legion of maniples, a point that all Ancient rules that I know have fail to do. It could be said that Roman BGs represents many maniples of hastati/principes, but if Longbowmen /billmen can interpenetrate each other why not the Romans of a legion whose essence is to interchange lines?
Do you think there is possibly a reason why everybody thinks differently than you do?
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Post by Rekila » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:13 pm

Well I think we know, Polybius and Livy tell us. Hastati and Principles interchange they lines in combat. It has been argued that that could not be done in front of the enemy, but that is a modern statement. Ancient authors are clear about it, they find it so natural that didn’t think necessary to go into detail. The combat of formed bodies of men have many pauses as one side or other is repulsed and both fell back burning up their spirit to engage again. A quite different thing happens when the formations are disrupted and the men intermingled. Pydna is a good example of that as the Romans fail at first to disrupt the Macedonian phalanx but them instead of remain locked in a losing fight they maneuver using terrain and the advance of parts of the phalanx to their advantage. The reason why we change to Fog was that we found that they were a better historical set of rules that the ones we were using. We don’t play in tournaments, and play always again historical opponents, so I can’t say how this changes would affect unhistorical games.

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Post by dave_r » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:44 pm

Rekila wrote:Well I think we know, Polybius and Livy tell us. Hastati and Principles interchange they lines in combat. It has been argued that that could not be done in front of the enemy, but that is a modern statement. Ancient authors are clear about it, they find it so natural that didn’t think necessary to go into detail.
So, in one breath you say that Polybius and Livy tell us and then in another you say that ancient authors didn't bother to go into detail about it? Which one is it? Given that history evolves as we learn more and are able to more accurately interpret the available evidence, I think it is absolutely certain that the Romans didn't interchange lines when in close proximity to the enemy - feel free to post evidence to the contrary.
The combat of formed bodies of men have many pauses as one side or other is repulsed and both fell back burning up their spirit to engage again. A quite different thing happens when the formations are disrupted and the men intermingled. Pydna is a good example of that as the Romans fail at first to disrupt the Macedonian phalanx but them instead of remain locked in a losing fight they maneuver using terrain and the advance of parts of the phalanx to their advantage.
The phalanx needs to get close to the enemy and then physically shove them backwards, which is what they did at Pydna, before they advanced into some rough going which disrupted their formation enough to enable the Romans to rally and then get in amongst the Phalanx and chop them up. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the Romans in any way shape or form interchanged their lines.
The reason why we change to Fog was that we found that they were a better historical set of rules that the ones we were using. We don’t play in tournaments, and play always again historical opponents, so I can’t say how this changes would affect unhistorical games.
Well, if your view of history is different to everybody elses and you play in a closed group why not just change the rules yourself?
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Post by hazelbark » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:31 am

dave_r wrote: Well, if your view of history is different to everybody elses and you play in a closed group why not just change the rules yourself?
Dave your lack of diplomacy/politeness is showing. Remember not everyone understands you so well.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:29 am

dave_r wrote:
The combat of formed bodies of men have many pauses as one side or other is repulsed and both fell back burning up their spirit to engage again. A quite different thing happens when the formations are disrupted and the men intermingled. Pydna is a good example of that as the Romans fail at first to disrupt the Macedonian phalanx but them instead of remain locked in a losing fight they maneuver using terrain and the advance of parts of the phalanx to their advantage.
The phalanx needs to get close to the enemy and then physically shove them backwards, which is what they did at Pydna, before they advanced into some rough going which disrupted their formation enough to enable the Romans to rally and then get in amongst the Phalanx and chop them up. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the Romans in any way shape or form interchanged their lines.

The relevant bit from Plutarch is:

"But the ground was uneven, and the line of battle so long that shields could not be kept continuously locked together, and Aemilius therefore saw that the Macedonian phalanx was getting many clefts and intervals in it, as is natural when armies are large and the efforts of the combatants are diversified; portions of it were hard pressed, and other portions were dashing forward. Thereupon he came up swiftly, and dividing up his cohorts, ordered them to plunge quickly into the interstices and empty spaces in the enemy's line and thus come to close quarters, not fighting a single battle against them all, but many separate and successive battles. These instructions being given by Aemilius to his officers, and by his officers to the soldiers, as soon as they got between the ranks of the enemy and separated them, they attacked some of them in the flank where their armour did not shield them, and cut off others by falling upon their rear, and the strength and general efficiency of the phalanx was lost when it was thus broken up; and now that the Macedonians engaged man to man or in small detachments, they could only hack with their small daggers against the firm and long shields of the Romans, and oppose light wicker targets to their swords, which, such was their weight and momentum, penetrated through all their armour to their bodies. They therefore made a poor resistance and at last were routed."
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Post by Rekila » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:29 am

The problem with the Mid-republican army is a practical one. A consular army had a front of 40 maniples and a deep of 3 (4 with velites). For a total of 160 units. Even a single legion means 40 maniples. We have only 24 BG, so I have my beautiful Republicans displayed in their chequerboard formation only when in shelf! When deployed on table one must content with a single line of hastati/principes BGs with Triarii in support. But even so is worth remember that you need to place the triarii carefully so they can give rear support to two BG without the risk of being disrupted if one of them broke. As you move you needs to check that the correct distances were keep so broken units have spaces to run if necessary. All of that IMO falls in what have been called “rule tricks”, and is an unnecessary complication. Broken hastati/principes BGs should easily take refuge behind their support triarii, that are there precisely for that, and that means that they would be allowed to interpenetrate them. As things are now instead of “The battle coming to the triarii” we often have “the battle pass the triarii” :)
But that is a side issue; the point is to allow Impact foot to Break off. Especially Barbarian Impact foot so they could take advantage of the fact of being better at Impact that in melee. Being allowed to break off does not mean that they can go away as to do that you need to Turn and move with the risk of being charge in the rear/flank and turn 90% and move is impossible for undrilled. So breaking off only means that instead of an Impact phase followed by various melee phases we´ll have alternated Impact, Melee phases. Hannibal use of his Spanish/Gaul troops in Cannas need a special rule of Breaking off to be represented, the same happened with Viriatus Lusitanians. I don’t think that Hannibal trained his men especially in that for that battle but instead that he take advantage of a capacity they already have.
All changes should be carefully tested, but the rules could be improved, in fact they had already been. FoGR is better and we now used it for our late XV century games in preference to FoG A/M. Finally even small player groups have their problems and like to have an impartial and clear rule set. Friendly matches end at the first scrum! (especially if you play against your wife!) :lol:

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Post by spikemesq » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:25 pm

iversonjm wrote:
spikemesq wrote:
This presents two problems.

First, tracking which melee phase the fight is in will cause headaches. This would spiral as new BGs enter the fray. If Unit X is charged by A in one turn and then B charges into the mix in the following turn, X will fight with melee POAs and impact POAs in a single melee phase.
This is true, but the tracking would far less difficult then things we already do as a matter of routine, such as keeping track of who rolled what hits in multiple unit combat and files with different POAs.
Except the POA/hits tracking is contained within a discrete time segment -- the impact or melee phase in question. Your proposal requires the players to track two different categories of melee phases across multiple turns. So while the multiple BG aspect is similar to POAs, remembering different melee phase versions will be much harder without record-keeping or markers -- something that detracts from any game IMO.
iversonjm wrote:
spikemesq wrote: Second, what about break-offs? Mounted can to bounce off of steady foot after the melee phase. Would this remain true? If so, then mounted basically win or leave on their impact factors. Why give them a swordsmen POA at all?
Yes, as mentioned, this is an intended effect. IMO reducing the effectiveness of cav against the front of steady foot (particularly spears and pikes) is a move in the right direction. The point of the sword for cav would be (1) for use against other mounted in a scrum, and (2) for chopping up disordered foot.
I am not so sure that this reduces the effectiveness of mounted. How will troops assign dice in this system? Under the impact rules (i.e., 2 per frontage) or the melee rules (1 per base)? The impact POAs are built on 2 per front rank, do you propose we split that baby in the initial melee phase? If mounted only use melee POAs in later melees against foot that are not steady, lancers seem more effective -- especially if number of dice etc. follow the impact rules. Lancer Cv would end up better in one rank, as they are more likely to charge and win or charge again. Mounted swords become all but irrelevant since mounted will bounce off or blast through foot, and the swordsmen POA is ubiquitous to mounted troops, save LH.

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Post by iversonjm » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:46 pm

spikemesq wrote:
Except the POA/hits tracking is contained within a discrete time segment -- the impact or melee phase in question. Your proposal requires the players to track two different categories of melee phases across multiple turns. So while the multiple BG aspect is similar to POAs, remembering different melee phase versions will be much harder without record-keeping or markers -- something that detracts from any game IMO. .
No big deal. You just need to remember if you charged this turn or not when the melee phase comes around. Its really no different then remembering if you went to disrupted or frag during the current turn when the time to recover morale comes around. Some people use markers to remind them of when they went disrupted in the current turn (two markers and then removing one in the rally phase). I and most others don't bother, as I find I can remember without assistance. I strongly suspect that remembering whether you charged will become a no-brainer for most folks in short order. Those that can't remember can leave their charge declaration marker in place by the unit.

spikemesq wrote: I am not so sure that this reduces the effectiveness of mounted. How will troops assign dice in this system? Under the impact rules (i.e., 2 per frontage) or the melee rules (1 per base)? The impact POAs are built on 2 per front rank, do you propose we split that baby in the initial melee phase? If mounted only use melee POAs in later melees against foot that are not steady, lancers seem more effective -- especially if number of dice etc. follow the impact rules. Lancer Cv would end up better in one rank, as they are more likely to charge and win or charge again. Mounted swords become all but irrelevant since mounted will bounce off or blast through foot, and the swordsmen POA is ubiquitous to mounted troops, save LH.
It will certainly decrease the effectiveness of mounted in certain situations, like v. steady spears/pikes and the other situations discussed previously. It will also decrease their effectiveness against warbands, BTW, another desirable effect. I hadn't thought about the dice allocation. I was assuming that it would stay the same for a normal melee, i.e. 1 die per base. That would avoid overcharging the lancers as you suggest.
On the later point, I think its fair to say mounted sword will become less important, but not irrelevant. That is more because, as you point out, in the later eras at least most cav have it. But that's equally true under the current system.

Here is a list of interactions that the change would improve:

Sp/Pk v. Cav and knights
Warband v. Romans (armor and SS matter less)
Impact foot v. everything.
Everything v. Bow/sword CV & LH
Everything v. Armored troops
Warband v. Cav
Armored Knights v. everything.
LS-only armed trash v. everything.
JLS LF v. other LF

There are other side effects we should think about (cataphracts get hurt by the change and probably don't need to be), but that list includes a lot of the things people keep saying need to be fixed.

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Post by dave_r » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:15 pm

hazelbark wrote:
dave_r wrote: Well, if your view of history is different to everybody elses and you play in a closed group why not just change the rules yourself?
Dave your lack of diplomacy/politeness is showing. Remember not everyone understands you so well.
It was a genuine statement. If you play in a closed group and don't play at a wider level then you can change as many rules as you want?
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Post by Strategos69 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:41 pm

Polybius (His., II.33) wrote: This was solely due to the foresight of the tribunes, (7) the Consul Flaminius being thought to have mismanaged the battle by deploying his force at the very edge of the river-bank and thus rendering impossible a tactical movement peculiar to the Romans, as he left the lines no room to fall back gradually. 8 For had the troops been even in the slightest degree pushed back from their ground during the battle, they would have had to throw themselves into the river, all owing to their general's blunder.
Livy (His., VIII.8.8 ) wrote: When the battle formation of the army was completed, the hastati were the first to engage. If they failed to repulse the enemy, they slowly retired through the intervals between the companies of the principes who then took up the fight, the hastati following in their rear. The triarii, meantime, were resting on one knee under their standards, their shields over their shoulders and their spears planted on the ground with the points upwards, giving them the appearance of a bristling palisade. If the principes were also unsuccessful, they slowly retired to the triarii, which has given rise to the proverbial saying, when people are in great difficulty "matters have come down to the triarii." When the triarii had admitted the hastati and principes through the intervals separating their companies they rose from their kneeling posture and instantly closing their companies up they blocked all passage through them and in one compact mass fell on the enemy as the last hope of the army.
The account of Livy is for legions of the end of the IVth century BC (some time before the MRR list) but I guess they did not change their style of fighting. It seems pretty straight forward to me that the line relief is what the sources point at clearly. I am not certain if the proposed break off should be for all troops (Gauls and Samnites are especifically described as being good at the initial clash, but not in later stages), but instead of being impact foot they would be better historically depicted by some mechanism like this. It was also striking to me that the Romans were not allowed to interpenetrate.

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Post by VMadeira » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:31 pm

The relevant bit from Plutarch is:

"But the ground was uneven, and the line of battle so long that shields could not be kept continuously locked together, and Aemilius therefore saw that the Macedonian phalanx was getting many clefts and intervals in it, as is natural when armies are large and the efforts of the combatants are diversified; portions of it were hard pressed, and other portions were dashing forward. Thereupon he came up swiftly, and dividing up his cohorts, ordered them to plunge quickly into the interstices and empty spaces in the enemy's line and thus come to close quarters, not fighting a single battle against them all, but many separate and successive battles. These instructions being given by Aemilius to his officers, and by his officers to the soldiers, as soon as they got between the ranks of the enemy and separated them, they attacked some of them in the flank where their armour did not shield them, and cut off others by falling upon their rear, and the strength and general efficiency of the phalanx was lost when it was thus broken up; and now that the Macedonians engaged man to man or in small detachments, they could only hack with their small daggers against the firm and long shields of the Romans, and oppose light wicker targets to their swords, which, such was their weight and momentum, penetrated through all their armour to their bodies. They therefore made a poor resistance and at last were routed."
I would like to point out two things:
- The superior flexibility of the romans allowed them to exploit week points in the phalanx - this i think, is a justification to allow roman BGs in 4's, also as the rules are, pike BG's in 8's are better at maneuvring than the romans (pikes stay in optimum formation when turning), which seems odd in historical terms. Pike formations historically were large, should we increase the minimum size to 12, to better reflect their big and clumsy formations?

- secondly ancient battles were not fought on paved roads, there were always some irregularities in terrain that could be exploited, even a couple of trees could open gaps in a close order formation. However in game terms, our terrain is mostly as good as a highway and a pike BG will never enter bad terrain unless she wants, together with no push back in melee, means this tactic the romans used in this battle, could never be used in the game. And as this pike disadvantages are not considered in the POA's system, means romans have a much harder time against pikes, then they did in reality.

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Post by iversonjm » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:35 pm

VMadeira wrote: I would like to point out two things:
- The superior flexibility of the romans allowed them to exploit week points in the phalanx - this i think, is a justification to allow roman BGs in 4's, also as the rules are, pike BG's in 8's are better at maneuvring than the romans (pikes stay in optimum formation when turning), which seems odd in historical terms. Pike formations historically were large, should we increase the minimum size to 12, to better reflect their big and clumsy formations?

- secondly ancient battles were not fought on paved roads, there were always some irregularities in terrain that could be exploited, even a couple of trees could open gaps in a close order formation. However in game terms, our terrain is mostly as good as a highway and a pike BG will never enter bad terrain unless she wants, together with no push back in melee, means this tactic the romans used in this battle, could never be used in the game. And as this pike disadvantages are not considered in the POA's system, means romans have a much harder time against pikes, then they did in reality.
I suspect that the response will be that the effect of those small variations in terrain is abstracted in the vagarities of the die roll, i.e. when the phalanx blows its roll and disorders on impact, it is modelling a stumble into a ditch or a stand of trees.

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Post by philqw78 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:31 pm

VMadeira wrote:..... And as this pike disadvantages are not considered in the POA's system, means romans have a much harder time against pikes, then they did in reality.
I really don't think so. Legio gnerally beat the crap out of them if played averagely on both sides.
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Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:37 am

Not quite sure why anyone feels the need to deny the existence of manipular relief. The authors don't.

However, I think that the supporters of explicitly representing line relief are missing the point that a 4 base BG represents 6 maniples. So all that stuff would be going on within each BG.

In early beta we did have single base deep hastati and principes BGs with line relief, but we felt that the complexity it added outweighed the benefits, given that the end result was pretty much the same as with the current rules.

With 2 base deep BGs, it really is no more logical to explicitly represent manipular relief on this scale than to explicitly represent each sword thrust by each man.

Every set of rules has to choose its level of representation and level of complexity, and then, ideally, stick to it. Cherry picking items at a different level of representation for flavour purposes does not improve the historical representation at the chosen level of representation. It is chrome. Some people like chrome, others would prefer to keep the game relatively simple to play by not including details that are below the game's level of representation.

If you really want a game that represents manipular relief, then you should be playing at a representation of one 4 base BG = 1 maniple, so that each base = 40 men instead of 250. FOG rules are designed for a base representing approximately 250 men, so it isn't (and should not become) a manipular relief game.

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Post by Strategos69 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:27 am

rbodleyscott wrote:Not quite sure why anyone feels the need to deny the existence of manipular relief. The authors don't.

However, I think that the supporters of explicitly representing line relief are missing the point that a 4 base BG represents 6 maniples. So all that stuff would be going on within each BG.
I agree that the level of complexity could be overwhelming to depict every single issue andi t is true that this point was a careful and planned decision. I have two problems regarding historicity. My first problem is that triarii relieved hastati and principes and right now you have to tricky deploy your triarii to both provide support and "relieve" the line. If a BG of hastati/principes flees, I can't see no problem to allow them interpenetrate friendly triarii with no drop in cohesion. I would argue the same for Marius legionaries. It is even allowed in the rules for some armies so I can't see why that mechanism should not be allowed. This would allow the effective use of reserves, which would be good in game terms.

My second problem comes with the "building of a legion". There are many ways, but let's take the example of a 4 bases velites, 8 hastati/principes, 2 triarii. Other configurations would not change this issue. My problem is that we know that one line relieved the other, so being the triarii the half, in order to keep the same frontage they had to reduce their depth (that is the only way you can do it to protect the whole legion while fleeing). With the current configuration you would deploy the 4 velites in front, 8 hastati/principes in line and the 2 triarii in support. You always get short of triarii to whether remain to support or relieve the line and in most of the cases you deploy them in column to avoid the routing troops to disorder you. It is a also a game of geometry to get to support 2 BG at once.

Without changing the current game mechanics and only allowing interpenetrations among legionaries you can get a legion of 4 velites (1BG), 4 hastati (1 BG), 4 principes (1 BG) and 2 triarii (1BG). They would have the same frontage and every BG of hastati would represent 1200 men, a line (which was the case historically) in a eight deep formation (provided that we consider units to be 60 men wide and 4 men deep). Indeed you need no tricky deployments to get your rear support. In the other hand, I don't really see as necessary to add any break off rules or even line relief special rules.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:51 am

Strategos69 wrote:Without changing the current game mechanics and only allowing interpenetrations among legionaries you can get a legion of 4 velites (1BG), 4 hastati (1 BG), 4 principes (1 BG) and 2 triarii (1BG). They would have the same frontage and every BG of hastati would represent 1200 men, a line (which was the case historically) in a eight deep formation (provided that we consider units to be 60 men wide and 4 men deep). Indeed you need no tricky deployments to get your rear support.
But that would misrepresent the frontage of the legion, because although the maniples are 8 ranks deep, they have maniple size gaps between them. So if you represent the hastati and principes as separate BGs, they should only be 1 base deep to represent the correct frontage including the gaps as well as the maniples.

Hence the original play-test model.

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Post by Rekila » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:38 pm

In general I agree to that, but it left open the question of interpenetrating the triarii. In practice we have solved it with: “If you stop bothering with those triarii I promise to look the other way when you bypass them” :lol:

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Post by philqw78 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:51 pm

Rekila wrote:In general I agree to that, but it left open the question of interpenetrating the triarii. In practice we have solved it with: “If you stop bothering with those triarii I promise to look the other way when you bypass them” :lol:
But the triarii can be bypassed when in rout. If they are a 2 base BG supporting 2 x 4 base Hatsati/prineps BG the routers can shift upto 1 base width. Therefore missing them entirely.
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Post by hammy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:12 pm

From what I remember of the bringing of the Triarii into the battle it often happened after a reorganisation of the Hastati and Principes. If the first two ranks have been weakened and the immediate enemy dealt with then you can contract the first two ranks and make space for the veterans to fill the hole. Not ideal but it is possible. If one BG from the first line breaks then you can look to fill the gap with Triarii

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