Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WI Artillery Issue: Greco-Roman Ballistae

cover art WI 281
It took me longer than I thought to get around to a review on this decidedly different type of theme for the relaunched Wargames Illustrated, but here it is.

For my contribution - 'Wood, Sinew, and Metal' - the piece on Greco-Roman artillery - it certainly challenged me, as I mentioned previously. It was a tough juggling act to figure out how much information to include in regards to the science and mechanics behind the war machines. I couldn't just gloss it over, but neither do I believe that most readers wanted to make scale models. I think I hit the right balance on it.

I tried to weight the piece with tactical organizations and applications and relate them to how these weapons translate in multiple gaming systems. I used a Dacian War scenario so the barbarian player could realistically use ballistae to combat the invading Romans. The setting also allowed me to give players a game that did not require much in the way of fortifications. The scenario is designed to highlight artillery's role on a battlefield that includes a fixed position, cavalry, and reserves.

I had planned to do the review in one long post, but I think I will break it up. I can say that I enjoyed what I read about 'Artillery Through the Ages' - even on periods that I have little expectation of wargaming except maybe at a convention. All of the authors brought interesting bits to the table that you might not necessarily find in a rulebook or army list, but make you want to figure out how to incorporate them. We'll pick up with Jim Graham's medieval artillery article next time.

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