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    Hi John,

    Open order:
    I beleive your crusader is incorrect. from page 20 (Open Order):
    Light infantry, light cavalry and light chariots can adopt
    open order as an option during the battle. These troops can
    operate in column, battle line or in open order as the
    occasion demands.

    From page 38 (Woods):
    Infantry in open order, cavalry in open order, commanders or
    other models representing individuals can move through
    woods. Other troops cannot move through woods at all.

    Those units excluded from woods can still adopt open order to move through/across other difficult terrain such a rough ground. Note also, that in this sitiation the tropps must stop at the end of the move that takes them into the diffucult terrain. Also, see page 36 (Formation changes). Those units must first adopt open order whilst stationary, then move, so it will take them at least 2 moves to enter difficult going.

    The Napfa pots are an addition that does not appear in the main body of the rules. They are mentioned only in the scenario and some of the lists as a add-on. As written they get the same shooting modifiers as all other shooters. However, this is not a competition set of rules, so there is nothing stopping you from changing the rules, in which case you could perhaps add something to reflect the dangers of the weapon to the users and their allies as well as the enemy!



    John Towles

    Thank you for the speedy reply!

    Big Al

    I will just add to Arcole’s reply regarding Napfa and say that the -1 modifier is to hit. So, the fact that the Napfa fire doesn’t care whether the target is armoured or not is of no consequence. You are rolling to see if you hit the target, not rolling for damage. That means that the -1 to hit still stands because it reflects the accuracy of the firing unit.

    Regarding the Crusaders entering the wood – they player was not incorrect. As the rule for woods states, the only troops that can enter the woods are those in Open Order. There is nothing to prevent a formed unit changing to Open Order. They are allowed to adopt Open Order and so, enter the wood. Of course, as Arcole has pointed out, the change to Open Order takes a full move, so to clear the wood, the commander would need to roll three below his command rating to earn three moves, the first to move to the orchard, the second to change formation and the third to enter the orchard and charge.
    Now, the question is “what rule have you applied for blocking line of sight”? You see, if the crusaders can’t see the enemy before entering the wood, they won’t be able to charge and if you are counting the orchard as a wood, it will block line of sight, so the crusaders would not be able to charge. Now, the light cavalry would be able to leave the orchard and form up into close order and await the exit of the Crusader cavalry. When it exits, it may not be able to form up (depends on command roll) and they could catch them while in Open Order and kill them off.
    Whilst in Open Order, the crusaders could evade, but that could take them a long way away (between one and three moves). So, I would allow them to do it.
    Besides, if close order troops were not allowed to change formation and enter woods, you couldn’t relight the Teutoborg Forest!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Big Al.
    John Towles

    I respectfully disagree with that. The -1 is to “effectively hit” the target. A man of a given size at a given distance has the exact same chance of being “hit” no matter what the man has on. It is a matter of what happens after the missile “hits” the target that the -1 is telling us. In effect, did the weapon not penetrate the armor or get deflected by a shield. It could even be argued a fully armored heavy infantry man would be easier to “hit” since he is moving slower and has more difficulty in avoiding missiles speedily heading in his direction.

    So if a heavy cavalry unit gets a successful “follow me” order, they could; move to the woods, change formation, and charge the enemy open order unit in the orchard?

    Big Al

    Yes they could. However, I am not sure that many would issue a Follow Me Order for something that seems so trivial. Remember that the Follow Me Order is the final order that the commander can give for that turn. That means that no other units in his division get to activate that turn, or you risk failing an order and not getting around to the knights.

    Regarding the shooting, you can disagree with me all you like, but if you read the rules, you will see that the -1 modifier is to the “To Hit” roll. That is what you are rolling for and it doesn’t matter that it is a man sized target or anything else and it doesn’t matter that you agree or disagree with me. It is there in black and white.

    Now, I won’t argue that the weapon may need some specific rules of its own, but for the moment, there aren’t any. None were mentioned in the scenario. That would mean that you would have to make some up for yourself.
    Ignoring the “to hit” modifier would make the weapon extremely powerful and would upset the balance of the game. Indeed, causing excessive casualties might do the same.
    What I would suggest is that the device has a -1 morale save modifier and perhaps force a break test should any casualties be suffered (a bit like artillery). After all, it was a terror weapon and would be best affecting the break test, rather than casualties.


    I am not sure that I agree with follow me allowing the cavalry to enter the woods.

    “follow me” (page 81): If the order is issued successfully the commander is immediately placed with the unit, and the unit, together with the commander, can make up to three moves.

    I cannot see anywhere in that section of the rules where the unit in question is permitted to do unusual things, it simply means the unit will have the maximum 3 moves on a succesful order rather than 1 or 2! You still have to obey all the normal movement rules (such as proximity).

    On the shooting side, if I was not clear I apologise. As written the rules make no differentiation between Napfa and any other weapons.The only benefit you get for Napfa is making the target take a break test at -1 if any casulaties scored. However, as I said before, these are not competition rules. If you feel the result is not working out the way you like adopt a house rule. Just remember to discuss with your opponent first, and beware of creating a “super unit”. As Al has said, Napfa is already pretty powerful – a cheaper skirmisher unit that can break the most expesnive unit in the rules with 1 hit! Also, remember that if these units were so powerful, why were they so rarley used?

    Big Al

    Arcole , the Follow Me Order, as you have said, allows a unit to make three moves. Those moves can be anything that takes a move. If the commander chooses to plunge into the wooded area, the unit will follow by first changing its formation to allow it to do so. The big issue, as I pointed out, is “can the unit see the enemy at the beginning of the move in which it would make contact (the charge move)”? The Follow Me Order does not specify that the moves must be purely advance moves! The only specification to the order is that the player does not have to state what the unit will do as he does with any other order.

    Regarding the shooting and the Napfa – there has to be a roll to hit with the usual modifiers or the weapon becomes an automatic hit weapon (extremely powerful) which just cannot be. Besides, while John objects to the modifier, to discount it for one type of missile weapon, then why no discount it for every weapon? What makes the Napfa so accurate? It is a hand thrown weapon. It is the effect that is so devastating.
    If it is just an area effect weapon, then you would still need to roll to see if you hit and if you fail, you would have to randomise where the bomb falls and whether it would affect any unit of either side. Bearing in mind that it may just bounce off a shield and not necessarily hurt anyone behind the shield, although it would likely set the shield and bearer alight. Again, all of that is “effect” and assumes that the bomb has hit the unit.

    John Towles

    Let me first say it was not my intent to insult anybody.

    What my game group is trying to do is come up with the rational usage of the naphtha weapon as described with the scenario in the rule book.

    How are you guys even seeing this thing? We did some investigation and came up with several theories:
    a. It is a clay or similar “grenade” that breaks on impact and catches fire with contact to the air.
    b. It is two clay or similar “grenades” that contain substances that when in contact with each other after breaking on impact catch fire.
    c. It is a clay or similar “grenade” that contains an oil type substance that in turn needs to be ignited after breaking on impact with a fire arrow, fuse, or some other such item.
    d. It is a “flame thrower” device that squirts a burning substance like shown in Greek Fire illustrations.

    The point I was trying to make (I guess poorly) was that a missile must strike and penetrate the target to be effective. An arrow that falls between four infantry men does nothing. A fire “grenade” that falls between four infantry men sets four men on fire. It is also an interesting discussion on what horses and camels thought about fire bursting around them.

    We also see that weapon as being only good for one or two shots. It is not like you can carry them around in a basket given what happens if you break one! Also, it does not seem to be a good skirmish weapon again it is not like a quiver of arrows.

    Lastly, on the open order question. Are you stating that a heavy cavalry unit could not go into open order and move up to the woods on turn X and then attack into the woods on turn Y? This would imply that non-light units that go into open order must move into the challenging ground the same turn.

    The descriptions we have found for this area of Damascus at the time of the battle was one of abundant agriculture (fields and orchards) along with plenty of close built structures. There are paintings of Crusaders moving along narrow streets to get at the defenders. I guess what I’m trying to say is that most Middle East battle fields would not present these issues.

    Again, thanks for any assistance provided.

    Big Al

    John, I don’t know who you think you might have insulted. I have not felt that you have.
    I thought of the Naptha as being a grenade type bomb (terracotta or clay) with a form of fuse to ignite the contents.
    Your description of the effects would imply that disorder would be caused, especially amongst animals. I suggested earlier that perhaps they should affect morale via the break test. Well, that is what missile fire does normally on a roll of a 6 to hit. Perhaps, a roll of 5 or 6 for this device.
    Yes, you could reduce the number of times that a unit could use it. You could make it a one shot weapon that must be declared when it is to be used and before the roll to hit was made.

    As to the heavy or formed units using Open Order. That was not me that said that they couldn’t. I said that they should be able to, but line of sight could prevent them from making their charge because “woods” block line of sight. To my knowledge, players tend to accept that troops can see the first two inches into the edge of the wood and similarly, those within the wooded area can only see out if they are within the edge of the wood. Once within the woods, it is up to you how far you would allow a unit to see. You could have it that anything within the area can see everything in it except for units that are on the edge (2 inches). Alternatively, restrict vision to six inches, similar to unit movement, which would allow contact.


    No insult perceived here either!

    As regards the Napfa, you need to bear in mind that the rules are intentionally relatively simple, and do not deal with Napfa in the detail you obviously want. As written you get the same modifiers as any other shooter. If you want to get a different result just agree with your friends how you want to play them. The rules simply provide a platform to make your own adjustments to – no-one will complain!

    Back to the Heavy cavalry. This may be a difference between the rule writers intention, and the readers (me) interpretaion of what was actually written. I can see nothing in the rules that allows the heavy cavalry to move into a wood:
    Page 81 Follow Me!

    To issue a follow me! order the commander nominates the unit he intends to lead, declares that he wants the unit to follow me! and makes the usual test to see if the order is obeyed. If the order is issued successfully the commander is immediately placed with the unit, and the unit, together with the commander, can make up to three moves.

    I read that as saying that a successful follow me order simply gives the unit 3 moves, not that it removes all movement restrictions from the unit.

    Woods page 38

    Infantry in open order, cavalry in open order, commanders or other models representing individuals can move through woods. Other troops cannot move through woods at all.

    If the “follow me” removes these restriction then that means you could charge a chariot unit over a palisade!

    Time of formation changes.
    Open Order page 20

    Other infantry and cavalry can only adopt open order when moving in situations where they could not otherwise move at all, or where they could not move without incurring some penalty. This usually happens when operating in wooded land, moving over rough ground, and crossing rivers or other kinds of obstacles (see Terrain page 38). Such units must revert to a battle line or other formation as soon as possible once they are out of the woods, rough ground, etc.

    From this it looks to me that you would move into the difficult terrain and change to open order as you do so.

    How far can you see in a wood – not really defined as far as I can see. When we lay terrain out we simply agree on the day what the visibility rules are for each wood placed.

    Big Al

    And there you have it, Arcole. You have quoted it from page 20. “Other infantry or cavalry can only adopt Open Order when moving in situations where they couldn’t otherwise move at all” and “This usually happens when operating in wooded land”. As they cannot enter a wood without being in Open Order, they must adopt it before entering. For example, if a unit is forced into impassable terrain by a break test, it cannot change to Open Order to enter said terrain, so it is destroyed. It cannot enter the terrain first and then change to Open Order.

    The Follow Me Order allows a commander to move a unit for three moves without specifying what those moves will be, including a charge. They could change formation as one of those moves if they so wished.


    Hi Al,

    Ok, yes, I agree in re-reading. Medium and Heavy cavalry and infantry can adopt open order to move into woods,



    Duane Young

    What are “Raw Recruits” in “Hail Caesar!”?

    I read in the section for “Middle Imperial Romans” (as one example) in the “Army Lists: Late Antiquity to Early Medieval” supplement (on pg. 10) for the main “Hail Caesar!” rules, that players have the flexibility with “Legionary or auxiliary heavy infantry armed with spears and javelins” to “spend” (actually, I would say “recover”) points by exercising an option for the “Reduction to downgrade non-drilled legionaries per unit or auxiliaries to raw recruits.”  Doing so changes the statistics for the legionaries or auxiliaries from:

    Clash – 7, Sustained – 7, Short Range – 3, Long Range – 0, Morale Save – 4+, Stamina – 6, Special – [none], Points Value – 26 per unit

     To:  Clash – 6, Sustained – 6, Short Range – 3, Long Range – 0, Morale Save – 4+, Stamina – 6, Special – [none], Points Value – minus 2 per unit

    What has me confused is this reduction seemingly conflicts with several points stated elsewhere in the rules.  In the “Appendix” to the supplement (on pgs. 80-81), I look in vain for a definition and numerical modification for any such category labelled as “Raw Recruits.”  BTW, since I have PDF copies of both the supplement and the main “Hail Caesar!” rules, I did a search for “Raw Recruits.”  In the rules there is not one mention of “Raw Recruits.”  In the supplement, the term appears in a few of the listings.  But not one mention with regard to how to sue the category as a special rule!  So I decided to do a “synonym.”  In my world, other terms that MIGHT describe “Raw Recruits” are either “levies” or “freshly raised.”  Is the difference just semantics?  Well, let’s do the MATH!

    Reduction for “freshly raised” is minus 1 per unit; for a “standard” unit (pg. 81).

    Reduction for “raw recruits” is minus 2 per unit; for a “standard” Middle Imperial Roman unit (pg. 10).

    Reduction for “levies” is minus 3 per unit; for a “standard” unit (pg. 81).

    So – does NOT add up!

    So, what are units of “Raw Recruits” in “Hail Caesar!”?  What does the “math” of a minus two (2) points really entail?  And what “special rule” is entailed by that reduction in unit points value from 26 points for a unit to 24 points for the unit??

    OR!?  Am I just reading too much into this?  Am I “over-thinking” it – as it were?  Is the difference really just the change from 7 & 7 to 6 & 6?  That is, after-all a difference of “minus 2 points.”  In other words, the “minus 2” is already entailed in the shift “down” of the “clash” and “sustained” values, so that the “minus 2” is just a “notation;” i.e., NO further action is required of the player??  IS it really that simple??  Thanks in advance for helping me wrap my head around this!!!

    Big Al

    Hi Duane,


    i think what has you confused is the points system and how it is calculated for each unit. So, you are looking at the -1 for the Special Rules that may be attached to a unit of Raw Recruits, like Freshly Raised or Levies.

    actually, the points per unit, which is fully explained at the beginning of the appendix on page 80, is where the -2 per unit comes from. You see, the points cost is arrived at by the formula given in the appendix, which is Clash+Sustained+Short Range+Long Range+Stamina+Morale Save. (The Morale Save one is a bit odd and I’ll explain it in a bit).

    So, because you downgrade a normal non drilled unit, you have reduced both of its Clash and Sustained values by one each (as you have mentioned) and that is where the -2 points comes from. Any Special Rules you might give to the unit adds or subtracts additional points to the unit, but it has nothing to do with those. Also, there is no Special Rule for Raw Recruits, it is just a description of some slightly inferior troops with slightly lower fighting abilities.


    Now, I said I would explain the points for the Morale Save. The save is given as a die roll target. Each pip on the die is worth a point. So, a 6+ is 1 point, a 5+ is 2 points and so on. That is why in the formula on page 80, the morale save is given as (2). The example unit has a Morale Save of 5+.


    I hope that helps your understanding of the system?



    Hi Duane,

    One thing to note here is that the Hail Caesar lists, and definitions are actually a lot more flexible than other game systems, and the points values are only intended as a rough guide.

    The rules include the standard definitions for all troop types, but there are changes in the lists to cover specific troops.

    So for instance, a standard Light infantry unit armed with Javelins/Spears has stats of:

     To:  Clash – 5, Sustained – 5, Short Range – 3, Long Range – 0, Morale Save – 6+, Stamina – 6, Special – [none], Points Value 20

    However for my army (Marians) you can include units of Legionaries raised by Pompey and Sertonius during the civil war in Spain. These have stats of:

     To:  Clash – 7, Sustained – 7, Short Range – 3, Long Range – 0, Morale Save – 6+, Stamina – 6, Special – Drilled, Testudo, Stubborn, Points Value 31

    The same list also has Caetrati Light infantry with no moral save rather than the normal 6!



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