By Dave Lowrie of the Bath Dice Studz
This week has been a joyous one amongst the tribes, ADLG v4 arrived in the first post after the bank holiday! Don Miguel Bin Al Dween, Coronel of the Grand Tercio de Catalunya y Radyr and Lord of the Brecon Rif bade me have the scribes record my thoughts on the silicon tablets.
So, after an evening of logically thumbing through from the back to see how my toys are affected and which new ones I may need, scanning the summary sheet and briefly glancing at the definitions before bed-time, what are they?
First thoughts: the book is bigger but, at 1.03kg kg, lighter than most historic laptops, Jane’s Fighting Ships and similarreference volumes, not unduly so. It’s much lighter than any toolbox of fighting men. The extra space appears to have been used wisely with more army lists but also clarifications of chestnuts such as LMI/MI issues, impact foot versusmounted and combat values are included in the troop definitions as well! Things seem easier to find and understand.
Awake Iron! Almogavars are now medium impact spear! That Lurkio pack will soon need painting for trials. Given the historical issues with their classification this seems a neat solution, a little better against their historic mounted opponents but more exposed to impetuous foot that they didn’t fight. Daylami remain as medium impact swordsmen, who are now a point cheaper, so are better suited to fighting rash Hindu swordsmen. Muslim massed elephants now have armour options rather than elite status, elite is mostly limited to Indian or Indo-Chinese elephants, so they are probably marginally harder to beat but less likely to win (die rolls of 1-2 against in certain combats no longer being a winning score)and adds a subtlety to their fighting Indians. Some lists after about 1400 now get an option of longbowmen as medium sword longbow, which given Madaxeman’s Samurai antics may prove popular for line lengthening and fighting in the spirit of Sir Nigel’s White Company, they’ll be less likely to evaporate on contact. Alas, the Franco-Scots of Buchan & Darnley, who have such splendid heraldry, do not get thisoption so will continue to rely on Swinton’s axe to clobber the English and act as their antidote.
New troop types or abilities appear. Polearms are separated from 2HW: similar to 2HW + spear against mounted but not against foot. This affects a number of medieval and Chinese lists, non Qin Warring States will be less fearsome to foot,Sun Pin will have to work harder against infantry, but cause mounted more pause for thought, as will billmen, which for the troops concerned and their genesis seems fair, hencetroops such as Swabians and footmen at arms are more differentiated and should chop through Leidang/Obudshaer/billmen more easily. Mounted with Impact & ½ bow are introduced, e.g., for Byzantines and Jurchen. This seems the obverse of mixed Sp/Bw as the shooting rather than close combat is downgraded. Some cavalry, generally elite types, can still be impact and bow. The old conundrum of “Aurelian’s clubmen” is addressed by allowing up to ¼ of most Imperial Roman infantry to have 2HW, which fits my recollection of the sources rather than anovel troop type, and Imperial Auxilia can now be HI as well as MI.
Readers of Count Bohemund will be pleased that both he and Robert Guiscard can be strategists, as is John of Bedford and many others, but not Hamilcar Barca. A wider range of strategists and army lists had been trailed in advance. The Taifas gain independence from Umayyad Cordoba & El Cid appears in enough places and times to make Charlton Heston look pedestrian. Whilst the Andalusians lose their later knight threat they gain Abd al Rahman as a strategist: someone who escaped the Abbasids hidden in skirts and entered Spain without an army but conquered it anyway must have had some talent!
List profusion is not overdone: Later Frankish now covers both the “French” and “German” post Carolingian period until the advent of the Feudal French and Germans. There are also more subtle list composition variations that could alter many flavours, e.g., an extra Spanish impact scutari mentally increases the mix to form a Carthaginian flank – Spaniards/Gauls/Africans anyone!? Other small unit number variations could open up whole playing style permutations for several lists by creating credible masses.
The Ark of the Covenant makes an entrée (possibly on route to the temple where Indiana Jones found it) along with the Prophet’s tent as sacred camps for the Hebrews and earliest Muslims, these seem to be fortified camps without the fortifications! Another change that may alter some strategiesis HI marching 3UD, legionaries can motor on roads, so will roads start running up flanks allowing Lucullus and others tooutflank less well led mounted foes? Other changes may yet be discovered.
Conclusions – I will have to properly read the rules in the middle part of the book, set up some practice games and work out how to play. Tell the world: ADLG is renewed and back in print!