about armati cont.

The number of these divisions varies from list to list, and is fixed according to an historical interpretation by the list deviser.  The divisions are different for Heavies and Lights (typically 2 to 5 or 6 of either, a flexible H4 L4 not being untypical for a mixed force in the later periods).

These divisions can split down to some extent, as a result of melee, but this usually costs the player some of his command initiative (see below).

Manoeuvre is further restricted by a very small wheel which is only allowed at the start of movement, and which most heavy infantry can only use if they stop at the end of the wheel.  This means that Armati troops pretty much have to focus their attention on the enemy to their front and are unable to wiggle all over the place in search of micro advantages.  Deployment thus becomes very important.

Shooting, combat etc. is unit-to-unit and resolved as a modified dice off.  Units have specific fighting values (FVs) … there are no weapons factors or poas to look up.  Units are removed when they sustain 1 to 5 such losses (unit break points) according to their troop type, and the army is defeated when it has lost a specified number of units (army break point).  The next of Armati’s unique differences is that not all units count towards army break.  Skirmish infantry do not, nearly all Heavy Units do (HI, HC etc.) … and then an ‘is it important to the army morale’ criterion was used to define the importance of the intermediate troops and mounted skirmishers.  Much ink has been spilled (and the occasional tear shed) over what is ‘key’ and what is not in that middle ground.  Nevertheless, the principal has stood the test of time.  Armati skirmishers are there to be used/shoot/screen – they are what they do, and should they disperse, the heavier troops will not worry.

Also fixed by the list is the army’s (general’s) Initiative.  This is a modifier applied to a very important ‘who goes first’ die roll.  Additionally, when units split from their manoeuvre divisions as a consequence of combat, as suggested above, the value of this modifier drops (as fragmentation occurs in the battle line, so command and control diminishes ..)..

Further simplifications see routing units removed immediately (trace the ‘rout path’, and apply the test, but remove the figures), generalship quantified as a combat modifier, and morale present only as a one off break test if friends rout into you.

Advanced Armati’s army selection system fixed the control and initiatives for the armies, and a ‘must have’ core unit allocation after which units (and indeed, terrain) can be purchased from a list.  The list defines which units are key, and the army’s break point goes up the more key units are bought.

These principals made Armati, and if the game isn’t taken too seriously, allow full size battles to be fought to a satisfactory conclusion in a few hours.  Tournament games (generally 12 to 16 units per side) seldom lasted more than 2 hours and were hardly ever drawn.

Rob Wolsky’s Armati 2nd edition was a complete rewrite, but mostly to clarify mechanisms which had proved a bit clunky in the original game, to add some significant chunks of chrome that players were asking for, and to create extra levels of sophistication in the points system introduced in AA for army selection.

A lot of work went into producing as wide as possible a choice of Army Lists (this has been taken further through the offices of Warflute): Armati has always included the lists for you with the rules or made them available free on the internet (no extra purchases for books of lists required).

A negative consequence with A2 (as Armati 2nd edition is commonly styled) was that due to the size of the volume and the demand for publication, it was decided to return to the original book’s ancient and medieval definition, and omit the later periods for inclusion in a stand alone follow up publication.  This volume was never produced, nor were firearms and artillery included for the late medieval armies in the book that should have had them (the period peters out rather than ends in a bang, perhaps).

It is doubtful if there ever will be an A2 ECW booklet: development of the game and of the period means (from what has been leaked, at least) that any such game would already be A3.

Meanwhile, the standard game has had an enormous amount of play and feedback, and many good ideas have been suggested which address some of the areas which least reward continual play.

In the adaptation notes I provide on the ECW Armati page, I have tried to revive the essence of the AA Renaissance rules for the A2 game, but have done so ‘my way’, picking what I consider the best from all the suggested modifications.  Mostly this is simply to make flank attacks less likely (and less likely to be played for), to add some extra personality (and personalities) to generalship.  I have changed how artillery and pistols work, and needed to replace the somewhat oversimplified ‘who has cavalry impetus’ with something more in keeping with the period.

Needless to say, the key in drawing up the adaptation has been history, and what might best allow us to bring that out in the game.  There is a lot to discuss in that!

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