Trying to build an authentic Roman army

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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the_iron_duke
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Trying to build an authentic Roman army

Post by the_iron_duke » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:27 am

I've been attempting to create an authentic mid-Republic Roman army to use at any of the Medium (1200pts), Large (1600pts) or Very Large (2000pts) sized games played in multiplayer.

My aim has been to create either an army built around a single Roman legion, or to build a consular army, which was made up of two legions. Both of these armies also require plenty of allied troops in addition to the legionary troops.

However, I can't find a good fit to get the description of historical Roman military organizational structure to match well the required points totals.

I'm not an expert on the Roman military, and my information has largely been gained from these two Wikipedia sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structura ... n_military
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_arm ... d-Republic

The Legion

A typical mid-Republican Roman legion is described as containing:

1200 Hastati
1200 Principes
600 Triarii
1200 Velites
300 Cavalry

To recreate this in game units would be:

1200 Hastati + 1200 Principes = 2400 Hastati/Principes @ 480 men per unit = 5 Hastati/Principes game units
600 Triarii @ 240 men per unit = 2.5 Triarii game units
1200 Velites = @ 240 men per unit = 5 Velites game units
300 Cavalry @ 240 men per unit = 1.25 Cavalry game units

So the Hastati/Principes and Velites match perfectly. The Triarii at 2.5 I think can be reasonably rounded up to 3 units and made the legion's commander/general unit. The Cavalry can be rounded down to one Cavalry unit (300 men becoming a 240-man game Cavalry unit).

So that would make a game Roman legion total 4,560 men, compared with the 4,500 men that the historically-described list totals, which is very close. I've also seen the legion described as having 5,000 men, so I'm not sure what these missing 500 men would represent. Possibly non-fighting legionary support personnel (like messengers and others)?

In any case, the points cost of the legion as described above would be 624 points. Here's a picture of how it would look in the game:

Image

The allies

The legion (or two legions in a consular army) went into battle accompanied by allies (socii) who were deployed on the flanks of the legion(s) as wings (alae). There is less information about their composition and they were probably more subject to variation.

However, a couple of points are noted:

1) The number of foot in an alae was equal to the number of legionary foot. So for a consular army there would be two legions deployed in the centre and an alae on either side of them, all four formations having similar numbers of foot troops. An army built for the game around a single legion would, I think, use an alae each on the left and right, but have them half size, so the overall 50:50 proportion of legionary foot to socii foot remains the same.

2) The alae cavalry, all of which was deployed on the left flank, numbered three times as many as the Roman legionary cavalry, all of which was deployed on the right flank.

Let's look at the Roman 219-200 BC army list and see what armies we can create...

1200 Point Army

Based around one legion. Here's the army list.

Image

The Good:

- Can create a legion.
- The number of available allied foot is equal to the number of legionary foot, both at 4,320 men.

The Bad:

- The available cavalry would only make a ratio of 1:1.5 for the legionary cavalry compared with the allied cavalry, which is far from our 1:3 target.
- There is 173 points left over which can only be spent on legionary foot troops (Hastati/Principes, Triarii, Velites).

Solutions? Unknown.

1600 Point Army

This size doesn't work very well as it's somewhere between a one-legion and a two-legion consular army.

Image

The Good:

- Can create a legion.
- The number of cavalry is perfect, allowing a 1:3 ratio of legionary cavalry to allied cavalry.

The Bad:

- Too many spare points for a one-legion army and two few for a two-legion one.

Solutions? Not really.

2000 Point Army

Based around a consular army of two legions.

Image

The Good:

- Can create two legions.

The Bad

- The number of allied foot allowed in the army list cannot equal the number of legionary foot. With two legions, we now have 8,640 legionary foot. The maximum available allied foot totals 6,960 men.

- The available cavalry ratio is 1:2.5, which is fairly close to 1:3 but not exact. Since there are two legions now, there would be two legionary Cavalry units on the right flank and three times that number of allied cavalry, a mix of medium and light cavalry, on the left flank. To reach a ratio of 1:3, one extra cavalry or two light cavalry more would be needed.

- There are 81 points to spare, which, again, can only be spent on legionary foot.

Solutions?

Looking at the army list above, one can see that all the unit types except for the legionary foot are maxxed out, but that the legionary foot still have a lot of slack to increase unit numbers from.

So, I would suggest some slight rebalancing for this list with regards to the numbers of troops allowed. It probably won't be possible to get it to match exactly with the 2000 points limit, but it could be closer.

Here are some potential alterations:

- More non-legionary foot should be allowed. That spare 81 points could at least buy another 960 allied foot, which would make the balance of legionary to allied foot at 7,920 men vs 8,640 men, which, while not equal, is a bit more respectable.
- while the current ratio of 1:2.5 is close to 1:3, the cavalry allowances could maybe increase, although there might not be points to utilize it without neglecting the allied foot.
- the number of allowed legionary foot (Hastati/Principes, Triarii, Velites) could be reduced to compensate for the other changes. Personally, I'd have nothing against even fixing the numbers of legionary foot and the army variation would come in the composition of allies.

So it looks as if to get the consular army perfect would require a little over 2000 points, meaning that compromises would have to made somewhere whatever happens. Or, potentially, there could be the use of customized points sizes for games.

Here's the later mid-Republican army. It has some extra thureophoroi, Cretan archers and an elephant to increase the proportion of non-legionary troops, so it's a bit easier to use up the allowed points for the army.

Image

the_iron_duke
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Re: Trying to build an authentic Roman army

Post by the_iron_duke » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:16 am

Image

Here's an attempt at a 2000 point consular army using the 199-106 BC list. It has two legions, an alae either side of them and the cavalry on the flanks, as shown in the Wikipedia article linked to earlier (reproduced below, in reverse order from the picture).

Image

It is lower than the desired numbers for alae cavalry on the left flank and also alae foot, but the numbers required would mean going above 2000 points. So this looks like the best fit. Could possibly give the left flank one of the right flank's cavalry and shift some infantry over to compensate.

Here's the list. There would have been less points left over if I'd picked two Cretan archers and one Javelinmen, rather than vice versa, but there's already plenty of light troops with all those Velites.

Image

jomni
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Re: Trying to build an authentic Roman army

Post by jomni » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:28 am

Looks great. Now send it to battle.

the_iron_duke
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Re: Trying to build an authentic Roman army

Post by the_iron_duke » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:26 am

Image

New model Roman mid-Republic legion. Could round down the number of Triarii from 2.5 to 2, instead of rounding up to 3. The general I think is better used in leading one of the Hastati/Principes units rather than Triarii.

With a decrease in the number of troops in a legion and more points to spend on the alae it would be easier to reach our desired historical proportions. That's if it was possible to spend more points on non-legionary troops...

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