Home Forums Ancients Basic Impetus Retreat/Pursuit question…

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    I’m soloing my way through Basic Impetus 2 and want to make sure I understand the intent of the rules. In the picture below, the Caesarian Romans are the active player. A group of two units of legionaries FP (1 and 2) advances to contact three large units of Gauls FL (impetuous) (A, B and C). Roman 1 melees against Gaul C as they share the majority of their front edges. Both 1 and C inflict damage on the other but both make their cohesion test and consequently the only effect is that they become disordered (indicated by the red pipe-cleaners). They remain in place.

    Roman 2 melees against Gaul B as they also share the majority of their frontage. Gaul A supports Gaul B with 1/2 of its total value (which is substantial in this case being a large unit with a commander attached). Gaul B makes its cohesion test and so goes disordered. Roman 2 fails its cohesion test, takes 4 (ouch!) permanent losses to its VB and retreats 1H distance.

    Here’s the part that seems unrealistic to me: Neither Gaul B or C pursues the fleeing Romans even though the Gauls are impetuous. Gaul B is blocked by Roman 1 and Gaul A does not because it is not the main combatant, only a supporter. Now, this situation would be avoided if the units aligned their front corners when contacting. However, paragraph 7.6.4 seems to indicate that alignment does not take place–that’s a hold-over from “other game systems”. But the next sentence states “If alignment should occur roll 1d6, with an odd number the attacker shifts by the minimum necessary to the left, and with an even roll to the right.”

    Question 1: Did I interpret the non-pursuit correctly?

    Question 2: What is the intent of paragraph 7.6.2 regarding unit alignment?

    Question 3 (unrelated): Are skirmishers with javelins with a VBU of 2 completely ineffective at shooting against other skirmishers (a -2 to attacker’s VBU)?


    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    Guy Farrish

    Haven’t played Basic Impetus (1 or 2) so this may all be irrelevant!

    Q3 – In Impetus, Javelin adds 2 dice from the firing table at point blank to the 2 you get for VBU so that would be 4 -1 (S v S is only -1 not -2 in Impetus) so you would get 3 dice at point blank, but as the fire table is  -1 v infantry at short range you would indeed get no dice at short range: 2 -1, -1. But as I say the factors/ranges may be different in Basic.

    Q2 – designed simply to prevent clever players aligning their unit from a distance and neatly hitting aligned – if they do, you dice to ‘unalign’ them – bit weird but no odder than aligning I suppose – but it would avoid your Q1! Lorenzo definitely dislikes units neatly lined up against each other.

    Q1 – Looks right as per Impetus rules but doesn’t feel right I admit. I guess in the next move you have the advantage of B being a support unit to C, but it doe leave a hairy mob, A, hanging around doing a Top Gun – ‘I musn’t leave my wing man’.

    However in Impetus, in 7.7.3 it does say: ‘If the Main Unit pursues, Impetuous, Heavy Cavalry or Chariot Support Units follow, again with separate d6 rolls’.

    I suppose if you take it the Main Unit, B is pursuing but blocked by the enemy unit 1 then the unblocked Support Unit A could pursue as in 7.7.3

    But as I say that is in the full Impetus rules.

    Best of luck!


    [Edit – PS I should have said: there is the Impetus Forum Impetus Forum which has a Basic Impetus section – it isn’t as active as it once was but it may still be worth asking there for an up to date (and relevant!) answer]

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Guy Farrish. Reason: link added
    Roger Calderbank

    I’ve played Basic Impetus 2 several times, so I’ll try to answer, although Guy Farrish has it pretty much right.

    Q1 Yes, unit A pursues only if unit B can pursue (and wouldn’t anyway if it wasn’t impetuous or heavy cavalry). It may seem odd, and i guess any attempted justification from me wouldn’t change opinions. I like Guy Farrish’s Top Gun analogy, but here it is the wingman who is staying. If my leader (B) is continuing to fight Roman unit 2, who am I to go charging off after Roman unit 1? From a game point of view, it is always the main unit who takes the risk of disorder/losses in a combat, so the restriction on pursuit stops players pursuing with a fresh unit even if the main unit is unfit or unable to pursue.

    Q3 Again, yes; skirmishers tend to neutralise each other rather than one or other being destroyed. If all skirmishers have to face are other skirmishers, it is assumed neither are likely to be able to do any significant harm to the other. But watch those super-skirmishers with VBU = 3, and note that if you want to try to get rid of the enemy skirmishers, the high risk option is to charge them! Unlike ‘full’ Impetus, skirmishers in Basic Impetus 2 can charge other skirmishers (the charged skirmishers can try to evade).

    Q2 The issue of alignment is a big topic. I didn’t come to Impetus from rules where units pivoted or slid when contact with the enemy was made, so I found this part of the rules entirely natural. I know others find it unusual. Indeed, I know some players may wheel units slightly, or move them slightly diagonally when making contact (perhaps unconsciously) to bring the alignments closer.If you don’t do that, exact alignment is very rare. I can’t think of a game where we’ve had to invoke the ‘dice to avoid exact alignment’ rule. Almost always, contact is at a slight angle, possibly because it is hard to align bases exactly parallel to the table edges, and exactly parallel and directly in front of enemy units. I see that in the picture; the opposing units form battle lines with parallel frontages along the length of the lines. Your ability to guage that by eye when deploying or wheeling must be better than mine.

    If you really find these features of Basic Impetus strange, then I guess you could have house rules, to allow impetuous supporting units to pursue, and to give skirmishers some ability to shoot at each other. Your skirmishers will tend to vanish faster, and impetuous units have a bit of an advantage, but I doubt it would seriously alter the game. On the other hand, changing to exact alignment on contact would be something major (no supporting units in melee any more, for example, noting that Impetus has no bonuses for ‘overlaps’)



    Thanks Guy and Roger.

    If I had played out the next turn my concern over the Gauls not following up would have been resolved. Being fresh impetuous troops, unit A must charge unit 2 when its turn comes since it is less than 2H away. So it does follow up, it’s just a little delayed due to game mechanics. Seems reasonable enough.

    The last ancients rules I used was DBA 1.1… so, yeah, I’m coming from an aligned-corner-to-corner-overlap mind-set. Like Guy says, both methods are equally arbitrary. I think I like the BI method better. In DBx you’re always making adjustments on contact. In BI it’s only on those rare occasions when corners align that you need adjustment. Seems less fiddly.


    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

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