Friday, March 4, 2011

Solo Wargaming: Legio XIV in Gaul

WI 279 cover
Chris Hahn wrote a great article on a solo wargame scenario set during Caesar's conquest of Gaul, featuring the ambush of the XIV Legion. It appears in Wargames Illustrated 279.

Whether you ever intend to write or play a solo wargame scenario for this period or not, I recommend the material for study for anyone wanting to know the kinds of rules and game mechanic tweaks they should consider if they plan to write and referee a scenario of any kind.

Hahn sets up his premise well - he tells us what fictional and historical accounts have inspired him and how he wants the game to reflect those sources. He uses Warhammer Ancient Battles for his system because it seemed to best match what he wanted bring to the scenario - a built-in ambush battle scenario, a choice of legionary quality, and tweakable leader/commander stats. 

I especially like his idea on removing the immortal leader rules for unit leaders. Caesar's accounts mention no shortage of centurions and other leaders who fell heroically in battle. Furthermore, Hahn requires a panic check upon the death of unit leader. This is a cool idea and I'm tempted to use this for my home games from now on.

He makes up some terrain rules to fit the scenario as well: semi-difficult ground. May or may not be something any WAB game might benefit from, but he makes a case for using it a balance in his scenario.

While his solo game is pretty large - over 300 Romans and nearly 600 Gauls on the table (although the Gauls likely don't appear all at once) - I don't see why one couldn't adapt the scenario to a smaller collection.

As for adapting the scenario for other rules, I don't see why not. I would think Warmaster Ancients might be a good choice since it allows for high level officers.

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