Friday, 11 May 2012

Pips For Hits. More Thoughts on Parum Pugna

Once I decided that "hits" on a unit caused by combat would represent the effect on morale as well as just casualties, then it was easier to settle on a system that did not require the removal of figures. Instead I would record casualties using a six-sided dice placed behind the unit. This to me had two major advantages. Firstly figures could be arranged on large multiple bases (my Macedonian phalanxes consist of forty figures in 5 rows of 8 mounted on one large base), which speeded up movement and kept everything neat and tidy. Secondly the system was more flexible because it allowed the number of hits go down as well as up. How come? Well, because the hits represent morale and certain events will improve a unit's morale - winning a melee for example.

The photo above shows action from a refight of Plataea in which Immortals, Mede Infantry, Persian Lancers and Spartan hoplites are locked in hand-to-hand combat. The Immortals and Spatans have both suffered horribly - six hits to each, one more and they will be destroyed.


  1. A rather neat rule to accompany the PIPs/Hits mechanism is that from Neil Thomas’ ‘Simplify in Practice’ rules in Battlegames 23 (2010). A unit in close combat which has fewer Hits on it than its enemy gets an advantage (one extra attack die in Neil’s rules, but perhaps that might be more in PP ?). This is a very elegant way of allowing for attrition (whether of morale, or men), perhaps enhancing preparatory skirmishing, and bow-armed troops (did anyone say Persians ?).

    Of course, it gets rather inelegant when you have different troop qualities represented by different numbers of Hits. Raw troops starting the game with say, one Hit, is simple enough, but the conceptual ju-jitsu required to mentally start your ‘veteran’ Spartans or Immortals with ‘minus one Hit’, and a different sort of marker, is simple in operation, but harder to explain to new players …

    Regards, Nick

  2. Yes, I like the sound of that, Nick. It can easily be slotted in, too.