New Game Mechanics (Expansion 4)
Special Unit Blocks
This expansion uses the concept of “special units,” first introduced in the Greek and Eastern Kingdoms Expansion. When special units are present in a battle, they will be labeled on the battlefield and the scenario instructions will specify that a special unit block will be placed in each special unit’s hex. The special rules will provide increased abilities for each special unit.
The special unit block moves with the unit. It does not count as a block that can be removed to satisfy losses. This block is not transferable to any other unit. If the special unit is eliminated, this block is removed from the map along with the last block of the unit.
The Praetorian Guard is a special unit. Place a special unit block in the same hex as the Praetorian Guard unit to distinguish it from the other units. The Praetorian Guard will score a hit for each leader symbol rolled in close combat. The Praetorian Guard may ignore one flag. These special abilities are retained until the last block of the unit is removed from the battlefield.
When the Caltrops rule is in effect, a light foot unit (light infantry, light bow infantry and light sling infantry) that announces it is evading an attack from a mounted enemy will strew the ground with caltrops (spiked balls). When the mounted unit is rolling its attack dice against the evading unit, each sword rolled will score one hit on the attacking mounted unit. Other evade rules remain the same. Block losses for both units are removed simultaneously.
Any swords rolled are converted into mounted unit block losses and any green circles are converted into block losses for the evading unit (Fortunes of war – sometimes the infantry is ridden down; sometimes both sides take losses; sometimes the caltrops wreak havoc before the horsemen ever reach the infantry). If a leader is attached to a mounted unit losing one or more blocks to Caltrops, perform the standard Leader casualty Check with two battle dice if the mounted unit has not lost its last block to Caltrops, or one battle die if Caltrop losses eliminate the mounted unit. The evading unit must still complete its evade even if the attacking mounted unit is eliminated.
Para Bellum Extended Battle System (Prepare for War)
When Para Bellum is in effect, players fight a number of battles as a game series. Each player takes the same side in each battle in the series. After each battle, record the number of victory banners gained by each side. When all the battles in the game series are completed, total the number of Victory Banners gained by each side to determine a victor.
We suggest that Nisibis 217 AD be played as a Para Bellum game series. Historically, Nisibis was a 3-day engagement fought in the summer of 217 AD between the Parthian and Roman Empires. Each day both armies would march out and deploy for battle very much like they had on the previous day. To play the Nisibis scenario in Para Bellum fashion, play the same scenario three times, using the same battle map set up for each day. Victory will be determined after playing all three days—remember, do not change sides. On Day-1 the victory goes to the player to win 4 banners; on Day-2 victory goes to the first player to win 5 banners. On Day-3 victory goes to the first player to win 7 banners. After each battle, record the number of victory banners gained by each side. When all three battles are completed, total the number of Victory Banners gained by each side in all three battles. To achieve a decisive Victory, your side must win by a total of 3 or more banners.
Another key element in a Para Bellum game series is that unit losses in one battle can affect the next fight. After each battle, both sides will attempt to rally any units that perished in the fighting. It is therefore very important that players keep track of the units that are lost by keeping the last block of an eliminated unit separate from other blocks that are lost. For the Nisibis Para Bellum game series, we suggest that the last block of each unit lost be set on the Nisibis scenario battle map in the book.
At the end of the first day of battle, and again after a second day of fighting, both sides attempt to rally any units that were lost. Roll three dice for each block your side has on the map. If a unit type matching the block unit type, or a leader symbol is rolled, the unit is rallied and the block is removed from the Nisibis scenario battle map (which means that unit may be deployed in the upcoming battle).
Note, a lost leader does not need to be rallied and will always return to fight in the next battle. When the block does not rally, the block should remain on the Nisibis scenario battle map in the book. Units not rallied for one battle are still eligible to be rallied for subsequent battles.
When the next battle in the series is set up, the player that moves first will set up his units first but must leave out one full strength unit type on his set up for each block of that type that was not rallied and is still on the Nisibis scenario battle map. The player that goes second then sets up and must leave out one unit type for each block that was not rallied. Players have a choice about which unit (of the particular type) is to be left out of the game, each player decides for his own army.
Example: The Roman player sets up for day two of Nisibus. His army set-up has five medium infantry units, but he has one medium infantry block unrallied on the scenario battle map in the book. He may only set up four medium infantry units, but may choose which four units get placed.
Another Para Bellum game series
The three battles fought between the Alemanni and Romans in 217 AD (Placentia, Fano and Pavia) can also be fought as a Para Bellum game series.