You are correct Barritus…at least, that’s what the rules say.
Page 9, Tactical Move Distances, second paragraph:- “1 BW if the front-edge of any single element or group is in a non-paltry river for part of the move.”
Note however that is says “if the front-edge of any single element or group”. Well, a column is a group, and if a single element is not slowed when its front-edge starts clear of the water, then neither is a column-group slowed if the leading element is clear of the water…no matter if the tail of the column is still in the water or how many elements are in that column.
In other words, if the leader’s front-edge starts clear of the water, both it and the whole column behind it are not slowed.
Regardless how this is written it is absurd and I highly doubt that is what Phil intended.
Can you imagine a column five elements deep being able to move at their full unimpeded rate just because the front edge of the first element spent one bound moving 1BW and its front edge is now over it.
More that likely should have been written "if the front edge of any single element or front edges of every element in the group." There are so many ways to abuse this rule that it would be insane.
i think we must do that group move exactly like a normal group move, so the group move at the speed of the slowest.
btw the possibility of having Deep rivers is not very Game friendly! as the river weight is very important (too much?) for the gameplay, it's very rare to use them, i think it's useuful for some scenarios (made for balance the river importance, with units specific deployment for example) but i never saw river during a tournament, or i imagine it must have been a "fun" moment for the organizers!
In particular, in light of more recent scholarship, I would take with a grain of salt the classical descriptions of Alexander's opposed river crossings.
Yeah…we today in the 21st century know faaaar more about ancient warfare than Alexander ever did… He’s pikemen couldn’t possibly have fought their way over not one but two rivers, because a certain misinterpretation of the river rules in one particular set of modern wargame rules says so…
You sound so much like a lawyer, using sarcasm to imply that ALL ancient authors support your opinion of how "one particular set of modern wargame rules" should be played. In fact, your opinions of Alexander's actions at the Granicus can only be based on three extant sources, Arrian, Plutarch and Diodorus, each of whom wrote their histories hundreds of years after Alexander's death, based upon sources now lost to us. In comparison to Alexander, these three authors were modern, so your implied contempt for more recent scholarship seems misplaced.
The credibility of the ancient sources also needs to be considered. Arrian of Nicomedia's description of the heroic Alexander fixing the enemy in place with the phalanx while he feinted the Persians out of position and then charged deep into the Persian battle line to kill several noble Persian commanders is very difficult to believe. Arrian greatly admired Alexander and was rarely critical of him. Clearly there is a degree of bias. However there are other opinions.
"There are two differing accounts of the battle. Arrian and Plutarch say that Alexander attacked directly across the river (Anabasis, 1.13; Life of Alexander, 16). This manoeuver, however, is impossible, because the banks are too steep for horses to climb - and little has changed since Antiquity. The other story is told by the historian Diodorus of Sicily (World History, 17.19.3), who says that the Macedonians crossed the Granicus during the night, and attacked the Persians on the plain beyond the river before dawn. This was a good stratagem: the Persians were accustomed to sacrifice to the rising sun before they armed themselves, and would be unprepared." [https://www.livius.org/articles/battle/granicus/]
Other respected historians go even further. Peter Green concludes that Arrian's version of events is simply political propaganda intended to cover up an initial Macedonian defeat and Paul Cartledge highlights the manner in which Parmenion is discredited, also ascribing a political motive.
I do enjoy some of your suggested house rules and look forward to your future contributions. However I respect Phil Barker's achievement in developing these rules and I hope your sarcasm and spurious argument do not turn people away from the game.
Hear me, Alala, daughter of Ares, prelude of the spears ...
Well Chaotic, I was being tongue in cheek (hence the smiley face → ← ).
And you’re quite right about Arrian, who is like a Hollywood film director, keeping his literary camera firmly fixed on his hero Alexander, and never letting the entire truth get in the way of a good story. But ALL the ancient historians either wrote decades, generations or centuries after the events they reported, or had some sort of distorting bias in their writings. Do we dismiss the battles of Marathon, Plataea, and the whole Persian invasion because Herodotus wasn’t present? Do we dismiss the battles of Trebia, Trasimene, Cannae, and Hannibal’s war because Polybius was born later? Do we dismiss the entire works of Livy because he wrote about events centuries before his time? About the only people who were actually present at the times they describe is Caesar and Thucydides… …and both of these are biased in their own way. Caesar wrote propaganda to gain the popular vote back in Rome, and Thucydides constantly praises Sparta and denigrates his native Athens because being an oligarch he was exiled by the democratic demos of his home city, and had an (understandable) chip on his shoulder about it.
Our entire knowledge of ancient history is based on the writings of ancient historians such as these. They are all we’ve got. If we start censoring and proscribing these accounts, we’ll have nothing left but our own wild imaginations.
Creating a set of ancient wargame rules is like trying to reconstruct a jigsaw puzzle, where we don’t have a picture to start with and many of the pieces are missing and some of them are the wrong shape and won’t fit. In this situation it would be very foolish to discount any small crumbs of information we can get our hands on.
And this is the cause of our dilemma…if an ancient historian says a certain thing happened, but a modern writer or game designer says that can’t happen, whom do we believe?
Well, call me naive but I’ll go with the ancient historian, even when I don’t fully understand quite how they did it. If I can’t fully comprehend something, then the fault is mine, not that of the ancient writer. I think ancient wargame rules should follow and reproduce the events described by the ancient historians. After all, even modern writers and game designers have their own personal prejudices and bias. But if we can duplicate the events as described by the ancient historians on our wargames tables, warts and all, then that is what playing an ancient wargame is all about.
Which brings me the case in point:- DBA 2.2 used to say “(a River) is neither good nor bad going…” (and the early drafts of DBA 3.0 said the same). DBA 3.0 currently says “For movement, a river is neither good nor bad going…” …and this change was made by Phil Barker himself, who obviously wants us to only apply the “neither good nor bad” for movement only, and not also for combat as well.
And he is quite right…allowing troops to retain side and rear-support in rivers makes a much better game. It avoids ridiculous things such as standing IN a river to avoid being quick killed, and troops in a river that is passing through a bad going wood having a higher combat factor in the water than the troops defending the riverbank! Yes, troops in a river should be penalised, and they are: they give the enemy a +1 for defending the bank. It makes rivers playable, instead of having them break the game and rarely if ever being used. It also allows the ‘possibility’ of Alexander’s pikemen fighting their way over the river at Granicus (and even if we dismiss Arrian’s account of this battle, we will still have to contend with his crossing the river as Issus).
(And you’re right…I DO sound like a lawyer. Maybe I joined the wrong profession. It would certainly be nice to be in court but on the other side of the dock for a change! )