8th Ed Ancient Battles Fan Book - Help Wanted :)

Hello CDO,

Chitz and I are looking at smashing together our Romans and Persians at some point. We were discussing what rules to use. There are lots of systems out there such as warhammer ancient battles, hail Caesar , infamy infamy, WoE, KoW historical, the list could go on.

But the thing is, we’ve just learnt 8th and learning lots of historical systems and picking one we like takes time, energy and brain power I don’t have! Haha

So we decided we would use the rules of 8th and just skip the magic phase! Next question, what army list? Well the DoW list created by warhammer armies project is a great start. It has lots of mega customisable infantry and cavalry options that can be used to make almost any army.

So I decided to reskin that book as a “historical” list, customisable to allow armies from most periods of history from ancient to early modern.

Here is what I created :

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fH_h9zeghHkGL2qeua88Sim2U846WDkl/view?usp=drivesdk

And here are some preview pics :




Now the reason for this post. The book isn’t finished. I’m fully aware that there are two glaring gaps first of all.

  1. elephants because elephants are awesome
  2. chariots because Bronze Age

Probably to a lesser degree, slingers? I fucking love slingers

Now I’m no expert in 8th and I struggle to point things accurately.

There were rules for elephants and chariots in the old warhammer ancient battles books but they were designed for older versions of warhammer so may not translate points wise.

I’ll post their old unit entries here in a bit.

So I’m calling history buffs such as @Admiral @chitzkoi @Anzu @KhamdrimSkyMaster and @Antenor and dudes who play 8th at least on the semi regs and know the rules like @MichaelX and @Jasko and anyone else who thinks their opinion can be constructive and helpful.

What am I missing? (Bear in mind I’m aiming for generic. Eg I wouldn’t do a unit entry for “Persian immortals” , you’d just buy some infantry and upgrade them to become your elite unit. )
What would you add or change?
How would you translate the old elephant and chariot rules for 8th Ed? Are they over or under costed for example?

Cheers in advance, anyone who can help.

-J

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Unit entries from old book:

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The chapter on elephants. I’d wanna simplify most of this and just reference ethe big red book where possible. Although risk of stampede is very cool

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Chapter on chariots:

Again I think most of this can just be “see BRB section on chariots”




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Read that as swingers…

Id use the brb rules for chariots indeed.

You could also have a look at the chaos war mammoth in the “not sure what book”

Ill try to have a more in dept look later.

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I love those too

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Hordes of Chaos Mammoth.pdf (138.1 KB)

This ^^^

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What a great idea!
So yeah, chariots are easy, lots of armies have them, just a matter of finding the right points value and where to put them. I’d suggest 60p and special unit, 1-3 chariots per unit are popular in other army lists. Doesn’t need special rules, give it the regular S5 T4 W4 stat line, armour save +1 (so e.g. 4+ if the crew has heavy armour), D6 impact hits. You can think about giving options for 1-2 additional steeds (extra trusty horse attacks, 5p each) and scythed wheels (gives +1 impact hit, 5-10p).
For the elephants it depends on what you have in mind. Do you see one large elephant per army as the clear centrepiece model? Then go for something like the Chaos Mammoth. But if you think more realistic elephants like Hannibal’s horde that crossed the Alps or like it is in Age of Empires (and what I think might fit a little better with your whole Historical approach) then I would model them after the Ogre Kingdom’s Thundertusk/Stonehorn. You could do them as a rare choice, maybe also 1-3 per unit, the Thundertusk’s stat line looks about right for me. The Beast Rider special rule also makes sense, also Scaly Skin 5+. Do you want them with Howdah? Or maybe optional? Then you could do it as a ridden monster, only that the crew cannot survive if the Elephant dies. Doesn’t need any special rules beyond those and the obligatory large target/terror. 200p seem fair (maaaaaaaybe 175p on a generous day if you really want to push the unit), 250p (then 200p, and that’s really a powerhouse of a unit then) with a fully equipped Howdah.
For both units (but especially the elephants) you can of course think about more special rules. I’m sure there’s always an example somewhere in an army book for something you have in mind. Some inspiration maybe in the Steam Tank or Iron Daemon. You can of course also include weaknesses and decrease the points value for it. Maybe the elephants are afraid of fire attacks like cavalry? In a historical game they are maybe not the vicious monsters from the chaos wastes but just some domesticated animal.

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Really great food for thought here.

Yeah the thing about elephants is, in a battle they are fucking terrified. Unless managed well, they’ll kill their own troops and run amok in fear. A common tactic against them was to move out of the way and let them charge past haha. They don’t wanna fight , they’re just being aimed at men and ran into them. Used well, they were devastating and should absolutely cause fear on the tabletop. In the warhammer world they are by no means the scariest thing you’ve even seen. In antiquity they may well be!!!

So I think some kinda stampede related rule would be fun in some situations.

And yes I think a more realistic 6 wound elephant over a 12 wound centrepiece would be the way forward.

Howdah will be optional. Again, just to give the player the maximum amount of choice to edit it and make it their own

I’ll have play with these and report back.

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I didn’t see archers, and I would maybes give them S2, A2, since overall they are weaker/less penetrating than crossbows.
I also would differentiate between the types of infantry. You’ve done that with spears, but I would differentiate between swords/axes and assault weapons, such as heavy two handed axes, falxes, and the likes. There were a good amount of different tactics that related to different types of infantry. Another way to do that would be to maybe treat assault infantry as “heavy infantry.” A post Marian reform Legionnaire would be completely different than a hastatus, for example. As would an early republic princeps vs the same hastatus.

I wish I could join you guys. I would love to bring my Greeks along for the ride

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So from the top of my head special rules like stupidity or animosity come to mind. Beginning of the turn you have to pass some animal handling check for the crew. Could be a simple role of 1 on a D6 like animosity. Then you roll on another table, where it can have panic and flees towards the closest table edge, or it immediately attacks the closest unit (friend or foe), or it does nothing for one turn and so on. And/or you could roll if you want to charge, maybe an unmodified leadership test (which would only be 5 for a Thundertusk, so not very likely) or again just a D6. It’s definitely interesting to think about a monster which has terror (and it absolutely should still cause terror!) which is afraid itself. But it makes sense.
You could also think about a weakness-rule about the uncontrollable nature. I mean you’re right, an elephant is not a trained warhorse. You could introduce a mechanic which makes the charge fail more easily, representing that the elephant either just was not really that committed or the enemy manages to evade it. Could be as simple as it has to roll for charge distance with 3D6 but use the two lowest ones.
But these are all serious weaknesses! Definitely all worth 20p off the price or so.

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This is some beautiful work, from skimming through it. I love the overarching design of the book, to enable sweeping army lists covering any army from the Bronze Age to the advent of gunpowder. I hope to read it with more care, and more importantly I’ve linked it to my brother. He has written highly customizible Dogs of War infantry rules previously (I might talk him into sharing it so I can post it here) that I simply love. He and I both are very much into customizible infantry and cavalry for fantasy, basically historical diversity in equipment to provide a fun army list that is very grounded in this regard. We’re primarily fans of footsloggers and rider, with dragons and other fantasy fun as gravy on top.

Quickie before bedtime:

Now, as I always harp on about regarding fantasy armies (me and my brother have both nagged designers over on the Ninth Age about it): Almost any army worth its salt should have light infantry skirmishers, with multiple weapon options.

That means light infantry with access to javelins, slings, bows and even blowpipes.

They are omnipresent all across the world. You already have them baked into your infantry, which is good, but I do not see any slings.

I hope to return with many more proposals later.

Cheers

Signed, Sweden’s worst WHFB/T9A player (with tournament statistic to back it up)

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Check the options for “infantry” @KhamdrimSkyMaster and @Admiral units can be given bows (I need to add slings. Not sure on pts) and can be given skirmish if armed with ranged weapons. Thought it would allow for skirmishy javelin throwers and bowmen etc

There are also options for spears on regular infantry. The special unit was just for mega long spears.

Now I take the point @KhamdrimSkyMaster about weapon types having a big difference but warhammer is extremely streamlined in this respect. Hand weapons are swords, axes , clubs and basically anything that isn’t a spear or halberd and great weapons are basically any big two handed weapon.

I do like the idea of a “heavy infantry” option. But again, for simplicity sake, one could take the infantry option, upgrade to veterans to get ws4 and then that unlocks the option for heavy armour too. That’s quite a nice look for your Roman legionary in segmented armour. Keep your auxilla as regular infantry (ws3) and light armour.

I guess this is less a rules thing and more an aesthetic/ design choice. Do we want one infantry option that allows all builds, or a few infantry options that makes it clearer that you can build different types of warriors using it.

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@Jasko animosity is a cool option for elephants. Random dice roll can cause them to charge forward, stand still, hurt friends etc.

I think also giant template style death wouldn’t hurt either. (I’d probably replace giantvtenplate with small blast template for ease of use) Chances of them dying and landing on the dude who killed them has to be taken into account! Haha

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Maybe a workaround is an example section? Where I pick a few units from history and show how one might build them?

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Haha, what a way to die :sweat_smile:
Despite having said all that, I would caution against making this one unit too realistic. Pick maybe one weakening rule which really encapsulates what you have in mind for the elephant and that’s it. It’s still a game and supposed to be fun and light. Lots of units should have more rules to make it more realistic (hello 500p rulebook) but they just don’t and for good reason, now having one unit following a very different philosophy would unbalance it. Me and my buddy once played with what we thought were the ultimate rules for forests. Just didn’t work, much too complex and didn’t catch the spirit of the game.

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Also skimmed over the book. Looks very promising and fairly complete aside from the mentioned units. I would perhaps also give regular melee infantry (without needing to give them javelins) the option of skirmishing if that does not break the game. For instance, phalangites where often flanked by hypaspists (Alexander’s Macedonian army) or thureophoroi (successor armies; they later likely evolved to the ‘imitation legionaries’ in the Seleucid armies). While we don’t know for sure if they skirmished or fought in formation (there is evidence that they were multi-purpose units), I think it would be rather flavoursome to give the player at least some options.

I would love to have the elephants causing total havoc to friend and foe if they panic! But there should be the chance to pull a kill-switch after the elephants start panicking (the driver ramming in a wedge into the elephant’s neck).

By the way, from what I gathered lurking on the FB WAB forums, v1.5 (the book you have at hand it seems) + the old army books (the Punic Wars supplement is considered really good; better than the generalist army lists you have in the main rule book) are the gold standard. It’s a rather nice community, a lot of the original supplement authors are still around there, so you could try to post your army list there to get some ‘professional’ feedback.

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Agreed. I might do this with a limitation on armour. No heavy armour on skirmishers I think

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Nice idea. After I put the above suggestions in I may head over there :slight_smile:

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In my antiquity-obsessed book, any list that has pikemen, both javelins and bows as options for light cavalry, the full light infantry panoply and the option for heavy infantry to carry javelins, will stand head and shoulders above most (fantasy) army lists out there I’ve ever seen.

Thus, add javelins to light cavalry and slings to infantry, and the core is a good one.

And add bows as an option to the heavy cavalry. Cataphract cavalry with bows were used in the Middle East for many centuries, even if the bow weren’t their main armament.

Nice thoughts on elephants. I have nothing to add there.

Heavily armoured skirmishers sound counter-intuitive, but was oddly enough a feature of later Hellenistic warfare. It could possibly also be used to represent the Iberian training some of Pompey’s legions had received, that so surprised Caesar’s legionnaires during the first encounters in Iberia, though this is stretching it. We can make do without heavily armoured skirmishers.

Another weapon option for lowly infantry will get me more excited than a fancy new monster any day of the week, haha. Your sweeping historical army book is right up my alley, @Oxymandias . It could easily be used to plug into fantasy wargames as well.

Oh, and give javelins and bows as options for characters. This would cover plenty of bronze age and iron age warfare, as well as all manner of mounted archery leaders. And various Middle Eastern kings displayed shooting from a chariot. Chariots as character mounts is another given.

Random thought: What about naphta throwers and Greek fire siphon units? Too niche and obscure to be included herein?

What about longbows as a weapon option for crossbowmen? That way you cover English and Welsh longbowmen.

I guess the guiding light for this army book is that it give a very wide palette to choose from, and then it is up to the players to pick the right colours for the army and period they have in mind. Min-maxing powergamers could probably break the system with such a feast of options, but that shouldn’t be a concern. Fun and flavour over competitive efficiency.

The sheer variety of options here will eventually even make it possible to field a full Seleucid army in all its crazy variety, I’m sure of it. :smiley:

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