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Subject: Basic questions rss

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Robert Grainger
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Hi

I'm just getting into this game, or trying to, and I have to admit my head is spinning, even with this "simple" version.

I have SPQR Deluxe, am trying the Bagradas scenario, and I'm more than a bit baffled about some pretty fundamental aspects of the game. If anyone could help, that would be great. Here we go...

1. I can't see anything in the rules about where my Overall Commander (when not assigned to a specific unit in the scenario details) is meant to be deployed. Is it with any unit of my choice?

2. Activating the Carthaginians seems simple enough - activate a formation, and use it. However, I don't understand how the Roman Hastatii and Principes are ordered together. If I activate them together, only one of the two groups (of my choice) is in command? Is that right?

3. Shock attack and zones of control... I'm confused.
a. If unit A moves into enemy B's zone of control, then A has to attack all enemies in its own (A's) zone of control. That seems odd - is this right?
b. But then the rules state that a unit can only attack once per turn, which makes sense, but seems to contradict the previous rule. I suppose I'm asking how all this is supposed to work!

3. What happens if I activate a formation and move it, but some of the units are in enemy zones of control (e.g from a flank attack)?
a. Can the whole formation move, or are the units in zones of control pinned? Does being in command allow them to move anyway?
b. If they are pinned, can the formation split and leave the other units "behind", or does the formation have to stay put?

4. If a missile unit tries to make a reaction facing change and fails, can it still do reaction missile fire (assuming the enemy is on its flank and it could therefore normally target the unit)? The rules seem ambiguous on this.

Sorry, that's a lot of questions!
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Wulf Corbett
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This is my attempt at SGBoH interpretations - I'm not an experienced player though! Note that there are at least a couple of different versions of these rules, I'm using version 1.2, March 2006 according to the inside front cover.

1> Overall Commanders, like all Leaders in SGBoH, can be stacked on any unit in any Formation that Leader may Command. I can't actually find that in the rules, but it states it per scenario in the Battle manual - there may be battles where it's different.

2> Not sure why you think that - a unit is In Command if it's within it's Leader's Command Range, or adjacent to another unit of the same Formation that is within that Range. See 4.11

3a> correct. It's a bad move to get in front of two enemy units with no friends to distract them... There will be modifiers for both TQ & Size, as far as I can see you combine the Sizes of the 2 units, but only use the highest TQ... See 7.52

3b> The attack combines all involved units in a single combat.

3> (another 3? Do you like 3s?) - see 6.2. Some units will have to be left behind, or will expend extra MP to manoeuvre out of ZoC. Units do not all have to make the precise same moves across the hexmap, remember.

4> SK can fire into (and have a ZoC extending to) their Flank and Frontal hexes. That is independent of their ability to Reaction Turn. In other words, even if a SK unit fails to turn, it can fire. Of course, non SK missile units will have to turn to use missiles fire, as they can only do so through Frontal Hexes.
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Robert Grainger
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Tankboy - thanks for the valiant try to help; alas, the SGBoH rules stress that you should forget all you know about GBoH, because what's true in one isn't necessarily true in the other. In particular, command and shock are completely different between the two games, so I don't think "big" GBoH will help me here, but thanks anyway.

Wulf - thanks for the answers. OK, I'll take a look for the ability to move out of ZOC (paying extra movement points). From what I can see, it's a really bad idea to leave units behind, because they will likely get out of command, or even out of formation, and could end up stranded altogether. Unless you want to leave them to their doom... It's good to know that they can break away from a ZOC - presumably they can only do this if in command, but I'll investigate this.

Re. units combining - of course! I did this deliberately with the attacker anyway (ganging up with cavalry against infantry on the Roman flanks), but I "get it" now). It all makes a lot more sense now - I don't think it's very well explained in rules version 1.1, but I imagine it's something that will become intuitive once I internalise the concept. Thanks again.
 
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Kev.
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Grainger wrote:
Tankboy - thanks for the valiant try to help; alas, the SGBoH rules stress that you should forget all you know about GBoH, because what's true in one isn't necessarily true in the other. In particular, command and shock are completely different between the two games, so I don't think "big" GBoH will help me here, but thanks anyway.

Wulf - thanks for the answers. OK, I'll take a look for the ability to move out of ZOC (paying extra movement points). From what I can see, it's a really bad idea to leave units behind, because they will likely get out of command, or even out of formation, and could end up stranded altogether. Unless you want to leave them to their doom... It's good to know that they can break away from a ZOC - presumably they can only do this if in command, but I'll investigate this.

Re. units combining - of course! I did this deliberately with the attacker anyway (ganging up with cavalry against infantry on the Roman flanks), but I "get it" now). It all makes a lot more sense now - I don't think it's very well explained in rules version 1.1, but I imagine it's something that will become intuitive once I internalise the concept. Thanks again.

Not been here of late - but this is all good info.

In the end when you attack a line with your line, you will likely end up with one guy doing a 'soak' off attack unless you gain a flank on the enemy, as you did.

Always keep your lines in as good order as possible. Note that the leadership control thing also relies not just on range but I think a leaders ability to command is affected by the enemy ZOC,s so once you get in the thick of it is where crazy stuff happens.

IF a guy is activated in an enemy zoc, but not IN command it can still fight that turn (obviously), but it could not leave the zoc and start another melee elsewhere.
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Wulf Corbett
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hipshot wrote:
...I think a leaders ability to command is affected by the enemy ZOC,s...
Not quite, it's not affected by enemy ZoC, only by enemy units.
Quote:
IF a guy is activated in an enemy zoc, but not IN command it can still fight that turn (obviously), but it could not leave the zoc and start another melee elsewhere.
He can't even turn - can't spend movement points. And can't attempt a Reaction turn as that only applies when an enemy moves adjacent to you, not when he's already there...
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Robert Grainger
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All useful... thanks guys.

So if, for example, my line moves forwards and leaves two units behind (they are in an enemy's ZOC), presumably they are stuck there unless their formation leader returns and they fall within his command range? Presumably, also, "stranded" units like these can only actually fight when the enemy attacks them, because they are no longer in formation?
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Wulf Corbett
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Grainger wrote:
So if, for example, my line moves forwards and leaves two units behind (they are in an enemy's ZOC), presumably they are stuck there unless their formation leader returns and they fall within his command range?
They may still be within his range - some leaders have quite a big range! And if he decides to take an activation (remember, there's nothing to stop you activating the same Formation/Leader time & time again in SGBoH...) to go get them, he has a huge movement capability - 30 MP.
Quote:
Presumably, also, "stranded" units like these can only actually fight when the enemy attacks them, because they are no longer in formation?
No, they'll attack units in their ZoC, see 7.33 - "All Activated units, whether In or Out of Command, must (may) Shock attack per the provisions of 7.31 & 7.32.".

So, they can't move while they're iin another unit's ZoC, but if an enemy is in their ZoC, they can attack it. 7.31 & 7.32 define when they must and when it's voluntary, but they always can.
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Robert Grainger
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Ah, thanks, I think I'm getting it. It takes a while to get my head around the differences between a unit merely being activated and being activated and in command.
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Kev.
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
hipshot wrote:
...I think a leaders ability to command is affected by the enemy ZOC,s...
Not quite, it's not affected by enemy ZoC, only by enemy units.
Quote:
IF a guy is activated in an enemy zoc, but not IN command it can still fight that turn (obviously), but it could not leave the zoc and start another melee elsewhere.
He can't even turn - can't spend movement points. And can't attempt a Reaction turn as that only applies when an enemy moves adjacent to you, not when he's already there...

correct but he can fight on. In fact must fight on.
 
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Wulf Corbett
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I now have a question myself that's relevant here - My rules, dated March 2006, state that a unit is In Command if within the Leader's Command Range, or adjacent to another unit that's already In Command.

But in the FAQ in the BGG files, dated Feb 2001, it has much tighter restrictions (only 1 formation, a Formation is defined as either flank-to-flank or front-to-rear, but never a mix). Am I right in assuming those are now outdated, and the less restrictive rule is in effect?
 
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
I now have a question myself that's relevant here - My rules, dated March 2006, state that a unit is In Command if within the Leader's Command Range, or adjacent to another unit that's already In Command.

But in the FAQ in the BGG files, dated Feb 2001, it has much tighter restrictions (only 1 formation, a Formation is defined as either flank-to-flank or front-to-rear, but never a mix). Am I right in assuming those are now outdated, and the less restrictive rule is in effect?


I would have thought the 2006 rules would trump the 2001 rules.

At least that's how I'm playing it.
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Kev.
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
I now have a question myself that's relevant here - My rules, dated March 2006, state that a unit is In Command if within the Leader's Command Range, or adjacent to another unit that's already In Command.

But in the FAQ in the BGG files, dated Feb 2001, it has much tighter restrictions (only 1 formation, a Formation is defined as either flank-to-flank or front-to-rear, but never a mix). Am I right in assuming those are now outdated, and the less restrictive rule is in effect?

its range. not 'line'
 
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Wulf Corbett
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hipshot wrote:
its range. not 'line'
Did it used to be 'line'? I'm finding this part of the FAQ confusing, as I can't see where it's coming from in my rules. I can therefore assume it's irrelevant, but I'd rather know why...
 
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Jason Cawley
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Since several of the other answers weren't using the Simple GBoH rules in their responses, or referred you to scenario details you are actually asking about and trying to interpret without doing that for you, I thought it might be useful to go through each of them again, with a clear and purely SGBoH answer.

1. "where my Overall Commander deployed?. Is it with any unit of my choice?"

The normal rule is that any commander starts set up with any unit of his assigned formation. In this particular scenario, the overall Roman commander, Regulus, is not assigned a specific formation. He can start with any unit. See the next, however, for his actual command role.

2. "I don't understand how the Roman Hastatii and Principes are ordered together. If I activate them together, only one of the two groups (of my choice) is in command? Is that right?"

First, you can activate one of them as a separate command (including the attached cohorts etc), under any tribune etc. Then only that formation activates and all units in range of that commander will be In Command.

But second, you can activate those two formations - but not the Triari (reserve) or cavalry *together*, if and only if (1) both formation commanders (probably Tribunes) are within command range of *Regulus* (that is his role, therefore), and (2) the commander of each formation is stacked with or adjacent to a unit from that formation.

In this multiple-command activation case, you get to pick which of the two formations is In Command. The other will be Activated, but not In Command.

A unit that is activated but not in command can move normally but may not move into ZOC of enemy troops, or if it starts in ZOC of enemy troops, may not leave it. In the latter case, they can still fight in the shock phase normally. Notice also that Activate units do not need to be In Command to fire missiles, either.

In Command lets you charge home when not previously in contact, or break contact if already engaged. Other than those two functions - move adjacent to the enemy or leave ZOC - an activated unit doesn't care whether it is In Command or not.

The intention of the Roman legion formation (of this era, using the three rank line rather than flexible maniple tactics of later periods) is for the ranks to engage the enemy in sequence on the same frontage.

The restriction on the multiple activation will therefore let you move all of them with e.g. only the Principes charging into shock combat, with the Hastati backing them up in a second rank that stays out of melee distance. (Say 2-3 hexes behind). The following activation, you might chose the Hastati as the In Command formation, leaving the Principes to melee any enemies they are already in contact with, while the Hastati charge into any gaps they created before.

Or alternately, the Principes might be the In Command force again and use command to break contact. The Hastati would in that case be restricted against advancing into melee that same activation. But the Principes might e.g. withdraw behind them to present a fresh undamaged line to the next enemy attack.

3. Shock attack and zones of control... I'm confused.
a. If unit A moves into enemy B's zone of control, then A has to attack all enemies in its own (A's) zone of control. That seems odd - is this right?

What seems odd anout it? If A is in melee it has to melee, and any unit in front of any of your engaged units has to be fought by somebody. You can choose who, but if there is nobody else to help, a single unit will have to fight every enemy opposite. You can't walk up to an enemy phalanx and ignore its wall of spears to pick on the light infantry next to it.

"But then the rules state that a unit can only attack once per turn, which makes sense, but seems to contradict the previous rule"

No, it doesn't contradict it. You can choose how to assign your attackers over all the defenders, but everyone in front of any of your attackers must be fought by somebody. If one of your units has to attack 2 enemies, you total their strength, and the defender gets to pick his best weapon type for the match up on the weapons table.

Imagine a solid line of single hex medium infantry units, for example, each strength 5. Now a 2 hex long Macedonian Phalanx unit with a strength of 10 advances to contact with them. Can the Phalanx pick one medium infantry defender and fight only that one, leaving the other two ignored? No. That would give it 2:1 odds for a +2 modifier, when actually it has only 10 strength and the full line sitting in its front ZOCs has 15 total strength.

No, see, the Phalanx must in that case attack *all 3 enemies* in *one combat*. The defender gets a -1 modifier to the roll for having 2 more strength than the attacker (but not a -2 for double). Not to worry, though, Phalanx vs. MI will give the Phalanx +3, and moving to melee another +1, and say a TQ of 7 for a Macedonian Phalanx against a barbarian horde's mere TQ of 5 - might give a +5 attack on all 3 of them.

First the defenders would get to try to Javelin that TQ lower with some preliminary cohesion hits, to be sure.

3. What happens if I activate a formation and move it, but some of the units are in enemy zones of control (e.g from a flank attack)?
a. Can the whole formation move, or are the units in zones of control pinned? Does being in command allow them to move anyway?

Yes, if they are in command then they can leave enemy ZOC, at a slight MP penalty. That is one of the two benefits of being In Command - ability to break contact. The other is the ability to advance into melee with units not already engaged - to move adjacent to the enemy.

Now, if you activated the formation but some or all of its units were not in command, and were in contact, then they would be pinned as you put it. But they could still shock, indeed they would have to.

Suppose the enemy has broken up one of your formations and some of its subunits are inundated by the enemy army - in contact and out of command distance. Do they not activate? No, they activate but are not in command. Not in command and in contact already, they must fight the units opposite them. Eventually they will destroy those units or be destroyed themselves. If they cut their way clear (or their opponents move off under commands of their own) then the next time they activate, they will still be out of command - but no longer in enemy ZOC. They can then move normally - but not into enemy ZOC. Basically, they will avoid contact on their own initiative, and instead want to get back into command range.

An out of command unit is not helpless. It cuts and thrusts against those immediately pressing it, if pressed. It moves to rejoin its formation if not pressed. It fires normally and defends normally. But it can't break contact before cutting down the enemy opposite, or charge an enemy not already engaged, without a *Command* to do so.

You can freely move your formation and its elements any way you like. You can split off subelements and leave them out of command. It won't make them helpless or immobile, but it will restrict your tactical options with them, and especially the degree of initiative they can show, until they are brought back into command.

Another way to "free" a unit pinned by being in enemy ZOC and out of command, of course, is to bring up friends and cut down those fighting it.

"If a missile unit tries to make a reaction facing change and fails, can it still do reaction missile fire?"

Absolutely. Nothing ambiguous about it. The penalty for failing a facing change check is that the unit takes one cohension hit, keeps its current facing, and cannot try to change its facing again during that movement-fire phase. It can still missile fire normally, or retreat before shock. Now, if a potential target enters one of the missile units *rear* hexes, then it wouldn't be able to fire at it unless it succeeds in changing facing, since missile fire is only allowed through the front or flank facings.

I hope this helps.
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Robert Grainger
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Many thanks! I had worked most of that out, but it's very useful to have it confirmed.

My initial confusion was caused by not "getting" the underlying philosophy behind the command system - e.g. the difference between in command and activated. It is briefly explained in the glossary section near the start of the rulebook, but I really think the rules would benefit from a short section explaining how units generally behave in this system.

Anyway, thanks again.
 
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