Game Title: Battles of the Medieval World: Volume I Game Released: July 2012
Decision Games, PO Box 21598, Bakersfield, CA 93390
Decision Games hereby grants permission for its customers to download and/or print copies of this file for their personal use.
System Design: Chris Perello
System Development: Christopher Cummins, Ty Bomba, Chris Perello.
Playtesting: Ty Bomba, Joe Youst, Chris Cummins, Chris Perello, and Doc Cummins.
The Battles of the Medieval World game system is a grand tactical simulation of battles fought from around 500-1300 AD. Each game in the system represents one of the great battles of the medieval period. The system itself modifies the Battles of the Ancient World system to account for the greater use and coordination of archery, the much smaller infantry components in these battles and the corresponding increase in the role of cavalry.
The playing pieces represent the actual units that participated in the battles, and the map represents the terrain over which those units fought. This game series has been designed to ensure maximum playability and historical accuracy (in that order). To achieve that, the components and rules have been designed to make the game easy to understand and play.
The rules in the series are presented in two sections: the Standard Rules and the Exclusive Rules. The Standard Rules are common to all the games in the series. The Exclusive Rules are different for each game, and they give scenario instructions and rules that apply only to that particular battle.
2.0 Game Equipment
2.1 The Game Map
Each mapsheet portrays the area in which a battle was fought and all the significant terrain of the battle. The map also has a Terrain Key and a Turn Record Track. A hexagonal grid is superimposed over the terrain features printed on the map to regulate movement and the positioning of the playing pieces. All numbered hexes are playable, though some types of terrain are prohibited.
2.2 Game Charts & Tables
Various visual aids are provided on the Player Aid Card to simplify and illustrate certain game functions. They are the Terrain Effects Chart, the Combat Results Table, the Archer Fire Table, and the Rally, Demoralization & Disintegration Table.
2.3 The Playing Pieces
The cardboard pieces (counters) represent the military units that took part in the original battle. The numbers and symbols on the pieces represent the strength, movement capability and type of unit represented by that piece. These playing pieces will hereafter be referred to as “units.”
Each unit has certain information printed on it. They are identified by numerals and/or nationality, and contain information about their combat and movement capabilities.
The combat strength is the relative strength of a unit when attacking and defending (see 6.0).
The movement allowance is the speed with which a unit may move across the map (see 4.0).
The archery strength and range (if any) determine the unit’s ability to carry out archery fire (see 7.0).
2.4 Game Scale (Series)
Each hexagon represents 100-200 meters. Each combat unit represents between 100 and 1,000 men. Each game turn represents 30 to 90 minutes.
3.0 Sequence of Play
3.1 Game Sequence
After punching out and sorting the counters, decide which player will command each side. Place the Game Turn marker in the Turn 1 box of the Turn Record Track on the map. Set up the opposing forces according to Rule 14.0 of the exclusive rules. Play the requisite number of game turns (3.2) to achieve the victory conditions (3.3) established in the exclusive rules.
3.2 Game Turns
The game is played in successive game turns composed of alternating player turns. The first player is identified in the exclusive rules. The player whose player turn it is at a given moment is referred to as the active player, his units as the active units.
First Player Turn
A. Movement Phase: the first player may move all, some or none of his units within the limits of rules 4.0-6.0. In some scenarios, the player may bring reinforcements; see the exclusive rules.
B. Archery Fire Phase: both players may now use their units with archery capability to fire at enemy units (see 7.0).
C. Combat Phase: the first player conducts regular combat (see 6.0).
D. Reorganization & Rally Phase: roll a die for each disordered unit to determine if it reorganizes (flipped to their front/stronger side; 11.0). In some games, leaders may also be able to rally forces such that a unit removed from play returns to the game. Place those rallied units according 11.0 and the Exclusive Rules.
Second Player Turn
The second player now goes through the sequence of play in the manner described above. In each phase, the second player carries out the same actions as the first player and vice versa.
Game Turn Record Interphase
If the last turn is finished, determine victory (3.3), otherwise advance the Game Turn marker one space on the Turn Record Track and start the next game turn.
Either player wins an immediate and automatic victory if the opposing army disintegrates (16.1).
If neither side disintegrates by the last turn of the game, victory is awarded to the player with the greatest number of victory points (VP). Players may receive VP per the Exclusive Rules.
3.4 Levels of Victory
The long-term effect of a victory will depend on its decisiveness. To determine this divide the winner’s total of VP by the defender’s total of VP (round as for combat – see 7.2).
More than 1:1 = Marginal Victory
More than 2:1 = Important Victory
Disintegration = Epic Victory
4.1 Movement Generally
During the movement phase, the current player may move as many or as few of his units as he desires. They may be moved in any direction or combination of directions, but units are moved one at a time, tracing a path of contiguous hexes through the hex grid. As a unit enters each hex, it must pay the cost of entering that hex from its movement allowance (see 4.2).
Movement may never take place out of sequence. A player’s units may be moved only during his own movement phase, though units may retreat or advance as a result of combat (see 6.0).
Once a unit has been moved, and the player’s hand is taken from the piece, it may not be moved any farther that phase, nor may it change its move without the consent of the opposing player. Once a player has begun to resolve archery or combat, he has irreversibly ended the movement phase.
4.2 Movement Points & Terrain
A unit’s movement allowance (MA) is given in movement points (MP). The number of MP expended by a unit during a single movement phase may not exceed that unit’s printed movement allowance (MA). A unit may expend any portion of its MA, but unused MP may not be accumulated or transferred to another unit.
A unit must expend one MP to cross a clear terrain hexside into a clear hex. To enter or cross other types of terrain, the unit may have to expend additional MP. The MP cost of each type of terrain is printed on the terrain key on the map. Regardless of such terrain, a unit moving along a trail or road (from one trail/road hex across a hexside containing that path into an adjacent hex containing that path) expends only one MP.
4.3 Movement Effects of Friendly Units
A unit may move through a hex occupied by another friendly unit at no additional cost (pay only the normal terrain cost for that hex). There is no limit to the number of friendly units that may pass through a single hex during one movement phase.
A friendly unit may not end any phase (movement or combat) stacked in the same hex with another friendly unit (but see 10.0 and the Exclusive Rules for exceptions).
The zones of control (see 5.0) of friendly units never inhibit the movement of friendly units.
4.4 Movement Effects of Enemy Units
A unit may never enter a hex containing an enemy unit.
A unit may never exit a hex in an enemy zone of control (see 5.0) during movement. An EZOC may be left only during a retreat or advance as a result of combat.
5.0 Zones of Control
5.1 Exerting Zones of Control
The six hexes immediately surrounding a unit constitutes its zone of control (ZOC). All units except those printed with a black dot (see 8.0) exert a ZOC throughout the game turn, regardless of the phase or player turn. The presence of ZOC is never negated by enemy or friendly units or by other ZOC.
Any number of ZOC may be exerted onto a single hex at a given time. Each retains its effect regardless of the presence of other ZOC, friendly and/or opposing.
ZOC are not exerted across a hexside or into a hex prohibited to movement by the exerting unit.
5.2 ZOC Effects on Movement
All units must cease movement when they enter an EZOC. There is no MP cost to enter the EZOC.
Most units exit an EZOC only by being eliminated or by retreating or advancing after combat (see 6.0). Light troops and leaders may leave and EZOC (see 8.0 & 10.0 respectively).
5.3 ZOC Effects on Combat
An active unit beginning its combat phase in an EZOC must attack; an inactive unit in an active unit’s ZOC at the beginning of a combat phase must be attacked.
By medieval times, archers had become an integral feature of many infantry formations. In this game, units with archers may attack by firing (sometimes at range) at opposing units both offensively and defensively. That occurs in the archery phases, which precede the melee combat conducted during the combat phase.
6.1 Archery Attacks
Units with archery capability may fire once per archery phase. Archers are permitted an unlimited number of archery attacks in the game.
The active player’s archery units fire first (6.3-6.4) in any order desired by the active player. When all active archery has been resolved, eligible inactive units may fire defensively (6.5) in any order desired by the inactive player.
A lone leader may not be targeted by archery (see 10.3).
Archer units are never forced to make an archer attack. Archer units may use archery fire and engage in combat during the same player turn.
6.2 Archery Procedure & Effects
Resolve each archery attack using the following steps:
1. Determine Firing Unit & Target (6.3).
2. Resolve the Fire. Roll one die; if the roll is less than or equal to the firing unit’s fire factor, the target unit is hit; if the roll is greater than the fire factor, there is no effect.
3. Apply the Hit. If the target unit is hit, flip it to its reverse (Disorganized) side. Additional Disorganized results against a disorganized unit have no effect. Firing units are not affected (but may be subject to defensive fire).
Player Note. Archery by itself does not eliminate enemy units, but softens them prior to an impending combat, or may pin cavalry and other light troops. 6.3 Offensive Archery
Each archery unit attacks alone. A single defending unit may be targeted by more than one firing unit, but all firing units must be declared before resolving the first fire.
6.4 Ranged Fire
An archery unit with a range of “1” may fire only at adjacent targets. An archery unit with a range greater than “1” may fire at non-adjacent units within range, but if there is an adjacent eligible target (a non-disrupted enemy unit) it must fire at that unit.
The range factor is the maximum distance a unit may fire. When counting range, include the target hex but not the firing unit’s hex.
The firing unit must have a clear line of sight (LOS) to the target. The LOS is a line between the center of the firing unit’s hex to the center of the target hex. If any hex or hexside along the LOS is anything but clear terrain, the LOS is blocked and the unit may not fire. If the LOS is congruent to a hexside, it is blocked only if both hexes on either side of that hexside are blocked. Terrain in the firing unit’s hex or the target hex does not block the LOS. Units (enemy or friendly) do not block LOS.
6.5 Defensive Archery
An inactive (defending) archer unit may fire at adjacent (only) attacking units. during the enemy archery phase. Each defending unit may fire only once, regardless of how many times it is fired on. Use the procedure in 6.2. All archery fire is simultaneous; a unit disrupted by archery still gets to fire.
7.1 Combat Phase
Combat occurs between adjacent opposing units during each player’s combat phase. The active player is the attacker, the inactive player the defender, regardless of the overall situation.
Within the constraints described below, the attacker determines which of his units will attack which defending units. He also decides the order in which the combats are resolved, as long as all combats are resolved during that combat phase and no combat resolution is begun into the previously one has been completed.
An attacking unit may fire in its archery phase and fight in the ensuing combat phase. A defending unit may take part in the archery phase and may be attacked in the combat phase of the same player turn. No unit may attack more than once per combat phase. The same enemy unit may be attacked during the archer fire phase and the combat phase of the same player turn.
7.2 Combat Procedure
Resolve a combat as follows.
1. Identify which attacking units will attack which defending units (7.3-7.5).
2. Total the combat factors of all the attacking units. Total the combat factors of all the defending units. Divide the attacker’s total by the defender’s total. Express the result as a ratio, rounding down to one of the odds ratios printed on the Combat Results Table (CRT).
3. Roll one die. Cross-index the result with the odds ratio column on the CRT to determine the combat result (7.6).
4. Apply the combat result (7.7-7.8).
For example, if 13 strength points are attacking four strength points, the combat odds ratio is 3.25:1, rounded off (always in favor of the defender) to 3:1. Having determined the combat odds, the attacker then rolls a die. The roll indicates a result on the CRT that’s cross-indexed under the column heading corresponding to the calculated combat odds. That intersection of line and column yields a combat result.
7.3 Which Units Must Fight
All defending units in an active unit’s ZOC at the beginning of a combat phase must be attacked in that combat phase. If a unit is in more than one active unit’s EZOC, the attacker may determine which unit or units attacks that defender.
All friendly units in an EZOC must attack. If a unit is in more than one EZOC, the attacker may determine which defender the unit attacks.
Each unit may take part in only one combat; its combat strength may not be divided among different combats.
7.4 Multi-Unit & Multi-Hex Combat
An enemy occupied hex may be attacked by as many units as can be brought to bear from the six adjacent hexes. A single attacker may attack defending units in the six adjacent hexes.
The active player is free to combine attacking and defending units in any combination desired as long as:
1. all units required to attack or be attacked is involved in a combat, and
2. in any given combat, all attacking units are adjacent to all defending units.
The active player may make attacks at low odds to enable higher odds in other combats; there is no proscription against sacrificing units.
7.5 Effects of Terrain
Certain terrain types halve the strength of the attacking unit attacking into or out of the terrain. Before calculating the odds, halve the unit’s combat strength, rounding fractions up. If halving more than one unit, halve all and round the total.
Hills cause the odds to be shifted leftward on column (1L). For example, if the odds of an attack are 2:1 against a defender on a hill, the odds shift to 1:1.
7.6 Explanation of Combat Results
AR = Attacker Retreat. All attacking units must retreat one hex (see 7.8). One defending unit may advance (7.9).
AL = Attacker Loss. The attacker must eliminate one involved attacking unit of his choice (7.7).
EX = Exchange. The attacker and defender each eliminate one involved unit of his choice (7.7).
DR = Defender Retreat (all involved defending units must retreat one hex; see 7.8). One attakcing unit may advance (7.9).
DL = Defender Loss. The defender must eliminate one involved defending unit of his choice (7.7).
— = No Effect (nothing happens to any involved unit on either side).
7.7 Unit Elimination
Elimination does not mean every man in a unit has been killed, but that enough have been killed or scattered to render the unit ineffective for game purposes. Keep eliminated units in a pile off map; they may be eligible for rally (11.2).
A unit required to retreat must be moved one hex away from its combat hex. The path of retreat may not cross or enter prohibited terrain, and may not enter an EZOC. If no eligible hex is available, the retreating unit is eliminated. If more than one eligible hex is available, the owning player chooses the direction of retreat.
If the only hex available to a retreating unit is one already occupied by a friendly unit, the retreating unit may retreat through the friendly unit to a vacant (non-EZOC) hex beyond. Both the retreating unit and the retreated-through unit are disrupted (if already disrupted there is no further effect).
A retreating unit may retreat through any number of friendly units, disrupting each, until it reaches a safe hex. If no safe hex is available after any length of retreat, the retreating unit is eliminated in its last hex of retreat.
Whenever a hex is vacated as a result of combat, one victorious unit that participated in that combat may advance into the vacated hex (exception 9.2). Advancing is optional, but the option must be exercised immediately, before beginning the next combat resolution.
Only one unit may advance regardless of the number of participating units or the number of hexes vacated. Advancing is voluntary except for charging cavalry (see 9.6) and leaders (see 10.0).
The advancing unit ignores EZOC. It may not attack again in that combat phase.
8.0 Light Troops
8.1 Light Troops
Light troops (aka skirmishers) are units with a dot symbol. They exert no ZOC and may be able to leave (disengage from) EZOC (8.2) and/or retreat before combat (8.3). Note some light troops lose this ability when disrupted, and will have no dot on their disrupted sides.
8.21 A unit with a solid dot may move out of the EZOC of an enemy unit with an MA equal to or less than the MA of the light unit. The disengaging unit may not move directly into another EZOC, but may enter another EZOC after entering at least one non-EZOC hex.
8.22 A unit with an open dot may disengage as above, but may not enter another EZOC during the same movement phase.
8.23 Cavalry units using disengagement may not “charge” during the same player turn.
8.3 Retreat Before Combat
After an attack (regular combat, not archery or charging) is declared or against a unit with a solid dot, it may retreat before combat if it meets the standard for disengagement (above). The light unit(s) may retreat up to three hexes instead of one; each hex must be one eligible for retreat. One victorious unit may advance (still the one hex limit).
A unit with an open dot may disengage as above, but may not enter another EZOC during the same movement phase. They may not retreat before combat. (8.2= yes; 8.3 = no.)
Over the course of the Medieval period, the battlefield effectiveness of cavalry waxed and waned several times as a result of different improvements in weapons, discipline, and tactics of the various arms. The following rules underscore the many facets of cavalry during the period.
9.1 Cavalry Types
Cavalry units generally move and fight in the same ways as infantry units. The following sections indicate special characteristics of certain types of cavalry units.
9.2 Cavalry Retreats & Advances
When cavalry retreats from combat, it always retreats three hexes (or more if necessary to reach an eligible hex). It cannot retreat through EZOC. If it retreats through a friendly unit, neither the cavalry nor the other unit is disrupted as a result of the retreat (but if already disrupted, a unit remains disrupted).
Cavalry advancing after combat may advance up to three hexes, still ignoring EZOC.
9.3 Light Cavalry
Cavalry with the dot symbol disengages and retreats before combat per 8.0.
9.4 Horse Archers
These units have two special abilities:
1. If not disrupted, they may retreat before combat when attacking as well as when defending. Treat the combat as an AR (i.e. they would not be eliminated making a very low odds attack). If disrupted, they must conduct regular combat.
2. They reorganize automatically - no die roll is needed (11.1).
9.5 Dismounted Cavalry
Some units have a stronger infantry unit on the front and a weaker cavalry unit on the back. These units are allowed to flip back and forth at the owning’s player discretion at the beginning of the player’s movement phase. If disrupted or forced to retreat in combat, they must flip to their weaker cavalry side.
9.6 Heavy Cavalry & Charges
Some cavalry have a stronger slower cavalry unit on the front and a weaker faster cavalry unit on the back. These units are allowed to change sides at player discretion at the beginning of the player’s movement phase if not in an EZOC.
These units may “Charge” by flipping to their stronger side and moving adjacent to an enemy unit. That enemy unit may not retreat before combat (even if it has a dot). If they are successful in vacating the defender’s hex, one of the charging units must occupy the hex. Charging units are flipped to their weaker side at the end of their charge.
They have an open dot on their weaker side that indicates they can disengage but may not enter another EZOC during the same movement phase. They may not retreat before combat.
Charging cavalry may enter or cross only clear terrain during a charge (they may start in any terrain but the first and subsequent hexes must be clear).
10.1 Leader Movement
Leaders move like any other units except:
1. they may not enter an EZOC unless it is already occupied by a friendly unit, and
2. they always may disengage from an EZOC or retreat before combat; no comparison of MA is necessary.
10.2 Leader Stacking
Any number of leaders may end a phase in the same hex as a friendly unit. One leader in a hex may add his combat value to the combat strength of the unit in the same hex. If the friendly unit is eliminated in combat, the leader remains in the hex although if any enemy unit advances into that hex after that combat, rule 10.4 must be enforced.
10.3 Leaders & Archery
Leaders do not affect archery attacks by units stacked with them. Leaders are not affected by archery attacks against them or units stacked with them.
10.4 Lone Leaders
A leader alone in a hex exerts no ZOC and may not attack. If attacked, he may retreat before combat (the attacking enemy may advance).
If an enemy unit moves into a hex occupied by a lone leader (whether during movement, or retreat or advance after combat), the leader conducts an immediate retreat before combat. If no eligible retreat hex is available, the leader is eliminated.
Each unit has a stronger “Ordered” (front) side and a weaker “Disordered” (back) side. Units become “Disordered” by archery fire (6.2) or during retreat after combat (see 7.7). They reorganize during the owning player’s Reorganization & Rally phase.
During the R&R phase, the active player rolls one die for each “Disordered” unit. Disordered units reorganize on a die roll of 5-6 and are flipped to their “Ordered” side. Disordered units adjacent to enemy units subtract one (-1) from the die roll.
If a leader is stacked with a unit to be reorganized, add the leader’s value to the reorganization die roll.
The Exclusive Rules indicate a rally capability for each side. During a player’s Reorganization & Rally Phase, he may attempt to rally one eliminated unit per turn. To attempt a rally, roll a die. If the die roll is within the range for the side, place one unit of the player’s choice in the hex with a leader or adjacent if the leader already is stacked with another unit. If there is no adjacent hex not in an EZOC, the unit is not rallied. Rally ability may not be accumulated from turn to turn. If no units are eliminated, no rally attempt may be made. Once a unit has been rallied, it no longer counts as having been eliminated for purposes of victory conditions, points toward demoralization, and so forth.
Armies are fragile things. Casualties eat away at troop morale; at some point, they lose heart and become more interested in survival than victory.
An army’s demoralization level is set in the Exclusive Rules. Keep count of the total combat strength of eliminated units. When that total is equal to or greater than the demoralization level for an army, it is demoralized.
Henceforth, all attacks by the demoralized army are shifted one odds column leftward (e.g. a 2:1 attack becomes a 1:1 attack).
Demoralization sets in the instant the level is reached, and the effects of apply to all combat occurring thereafter, even if starting in the middle of a combat phase.
An army recovers from demoralization if the rallying of units brings the current total losses back below the demoralization level. Recovery also takes effect immediately. an army may be demoralized and recover any number of times per game.
For example, a player has a total of 150 combat strength points eliminated, which is equal to his side’s demoralization level for that battle, but he then rallies a unit with a combat strength of “8.” His losses are thus reduced from 150 to 142 (below the demoralization level), thereby nullifying demoralization for the time being.
An army’s disintegration level is set in the Exclusive Rules. Keep count of the total combat strength of eliminated units. When that total is equal to or greater than the disintegration level for an army, it disintegrates and the opposing player wins an immediate automatic victory. If both sides disintegrate at the same time (through an EX result), the active player wins.
12.0 System Notes
The original intention for the games covered by this system was to include them in the Battles of the Ancient World system; after all, the armies of both eras were composed entirely of men armed with cold steel and bows. But there had been substantial developments in the intervening millennium.
Horses were bigger and stronger, leading to widespread adoption of the stirrup. This made cavalry substantially more powerful than their counterparts in ancient times, a true force not only on the fringes of battle, but at its very heart. The knights of Western Europe were the pinnacle of this development.
Bows too had improved. Alongside the venerable recurved bow of the horse archer were the crossbow and longbow, both improving the reach and killing power of foot archers.
Tactics changed as well. The phalanx of old had been not so much replaced as modified. Infantry still deployed in tightly packed formations, but these were long, thin shield walls rather than dense columns.
Rather than resort to a whole set of special rules, these changes were incorporated into a new system, which, while borrowing much from its predecessor, better reflects the essential nature of medieval battles.
Combat Results Table Die Roll 1-4 1-3 1-2 1-1 2-1 3-1 4-1 5-1
1 AR DR DR DR DR DL DL DL
2 AR AR DR DR DR DR DL DL
3 AR - - - - - DR DL
4 AL AL AR - DR DR DR DR
5 AL AL AR EX EX DR DR DR
6 AL AL AL AR AR AR DR DR
NOTE: Attacks conducted at 6-1 or greater are an automatic DL.
Attacks conducted at 1-5 or less are an automatic AL.
AR = Attacker Retreat (all attacking units must retreat one hex).
AL = Attacker Loss (attacker must eliminate one attacking unit).
- = No Effect.
EX = Exchange (both attacker and defender eliminate one unit).
DR = Defender Retreat (the defending unit must retreat one hex).
DL = Defender Loss (defender must eliminate one defending unit).
Terrain effects chart Terrain MP Combat Effect
Clear 1 No effect
Hill 2 1L if defender on a hill and all attackers not on hill