It seems to me that it might be well worth taking a serious - "blue sky" - look at the way we approach the depiction of Republican Roman armies under Armati. When I look at the current A2 lists to me it just doesn't seem to capture the flexibility & fluidity of their formations (on a tactical level) as depicted from ancient sources. The current A2 list with it's Hastatai, Principes and Triarii as FT just seems so wooden! And following on from a thread prompted by Nik G (about Maccabean infantry) it crossed my mind (whilst driving across Tuscany last week) that maybe, just maybe, you could depict the Republican Roman army as LHI not FT. Now bear with me on this - there is some logic here in so much as we know that whilst the Romans took a lot from their Etruscan neighbours (who fought in a more Greek-Phalanx type of formation - FT or PH) they also took just as much from the more 'native' Italian tribes, such as Samnites, Oscans etc who had a more fluid, javelin based fighting method. In addition, as Rome proceeded to conquer it's local enemies it was quick to encorporate them to fight alongside the main Roman forces - and written descriptions seem not to greatly differentiate the two fighting styles, other than to say that the Romans were generally more heroic etc etc etc than the 'latin' allies. Yes - I am aware that early pre-reform Roman armies sound very Graeco-Etruscan in their appearance but that was pre-reform.
Maybe - the blend of Etruscan weaponry (pila) and decimal formations; Samnite/Oscan scutum and more fluid missile based tactics might have led to a much more flexible Roman military structure?
So how might it look as an an Armati army?
Well - let us assume that the maniples are individual LHI units, and are deployed in divisions with the Hastati, Principes & Triarii formed up 3 ranks deep, with the Velites as SI. That way the Velites can be brigaded in the same Divisions as the bulk of the heavier Roman troops or formed up seperately.
I'm happy that at this level of detail, the Hastati are depicted as standard LHI, armed with javelins (lighter pila thrown at longer range).
The Principes are tougher, better armoured and use their pila at shorter range, so my suggestion would be to depict them as LHI 5(1)2 but replace the standard LHI Javelins with 'Pila'. The Pila has a throwing range of 6" (in 15mm scale) and reduces the protection value of all WB/FT/PH troops to +0. This means that if the Roman player manages to position his troops well and wins the initiative he can get in a volly of javelins at his opponant (initially from the Velites who then evade to the rear of the formation, then from the Hastatai) in the moves immediately before hand to hand combat. Being LHI if he subsequently looses his initial melee(s) he can opt to dice for a break-off move (see the special break-off rules in the Notes below). This allows for the rank replacement we read about. The advantage to the Romans is that if the opposing enemy unit(s) is no longer in combat (as the Hastati have broken-off), the next rank of Roman Principes can fling Pila (in the missile round) before they charge in.
The Triarii are also be depicted as LHI - armed with longer spear - and so they have an increased fighting value of 5(1)2 but no missile weapons. Easy & simple to make work. The Triarii are also all upgraded to Veteran.
Being LHI (& SI)- all the Roman troops get a 9" move and can all wheel & move - none of this COH move stuff - not that Republican get this in the A2 list (for some reason). By allowing the Velites to be brigaded on the front of the LHI formation this simulates the better protection from missiles.
Originally I had the Manipular troops all as +2 protection, but in a number of playtests this proved to be an unnecessary cost. The Velites provided adequate missile protection if deployed historically.
So the army list might look as follows
|Era: Age of Empires|| ||Early Post Camillan Reforms Republican Roman||CR: H: 1 L: 5|| ||BP: 2||Init: 5|
|1||LI||Latin Allies|| ||32||+1||Javelins||5|
|4||LHI||Latin Allies|| ||42||+1||Javelins||7|
|2||LI||Latin Allies|| ||32||+1||Javelins||5|
|2||SI||Latin Leves|| ||32||+2||Javelins||2|
|1||SI||Latin Allies|| ||32||+2||Sling||2|
|1||LC||Latin Allies|| ||20||+1||Javelins||7|
Core: 1 - GR
Bonus: (Max: 2 ) 2:GR; 1:SH; 1:RG; 1:WD
Core: 98 Bonus: 151
All 'Roman' Manipular infantry (excluding Velites) must set up within the Centre Battleline deployment area
Latin LHI & LI & SI cannot be deployed in the same divisions alongside Roman troops
HC are either Roman Equites or allied Italians.
If the bonus HC is bought another Heavy Div may be purchased at 4 points as well.
* Pila has a thrown range of 6" and reduces the protection of all FT/PH/WB units to +0.
** All Triarii are Veteran units (with unit BP4). As a consequence no other Veteran unit may be bought
All Roman Hastati, Principes & Triarii units can perform Break-Off moves (like all LHI/LI) and do not cause routed into Moral checks or Break-Off "interpenetration" tests on other friendly LHI, LI or SI in their path (see Rules 4:1:1 & 8.2).
A unit which sucessfully breaks-off from melee need only fall back as far as is necessary to keep it in contact with the rear base edge of the other Manipular units in its own Division & directly behind it. This allows for units to break-off and still retain Divisional integrity. A unit can voluntarily choose to break off it's full 6" move but if in so doing it looses contact with the other elements of it's division, this causes a Divisional split.
Whole ranks of LHI can also choose to attempt Break-off on a single dice throw but to do this all the fighting units in that rank must have lost their current melee and not inflicted a casualty. In this specific instance, if the player throws a dice that would normally mean the unit(s) breaking off would rout, this result is converted to a 'remain in combat' result. In the event of a sucessful break-off throw, units in the breaking off rank, which are not in combat are also forced to fall back to maintain the 'rank' integrity.
NB: Where a front rank unit defeats it's enemy, it can perform a break through move, as can the other Manipular ranks immediately behind it, as long as the break through is only 3" (or less) straight ahead and the Divisional integrity is maintained.
SI (Latin Allies) armed with Sling can only be bought if both other Bonus Latin Leves SI are also purchased.
List Author: Aetius