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The Age of Heroes is a computer moderated wargaming system for the Biblical Era covering the armies and enemies of the Middle East and other developed societies from the dawn of time until about 500 BC. As such it caters for a wide variety of historically known armies, including but not limited to Egyptian, Hittite, Assyrian, Canaanite, Syrian, Mitannian, Libyan Tribal, Babylonian, Trojan, Mycenaean Greek, Spartan, Cretan, Etruscan, Ancient Indian, Shang, Chou and Warring States Chinese - as well as their enemies such as the Sea Peoples, Beduin, Dorians and Hsiung-nu (Skythians). You could also use armies from adjacent historical periods, as the characteristics used to describe units and generals are quite comprehensive. This is particularly so because national stereotypes are not used and so you are not obliged to use the makers vesion of national types such as Hittites or of particular generals such as Ramesses II. The basic building blocks such as morale, training level, tactical styles, orders and officer personalities etc are provided with suggested guidelines for their use, but you are free to express your own view of history.
Although fully compatible with any of the major games rules sets, Heroes has tried to go further by giving extra features such as allowing for the effect of generals, orders and the chain of command. No rebasing is required and it is equally suitable for 5, 15 or 25 mm figures. In fact you don't need to have figures, coloured blocks of cardboard are adequate to represent individual units and their officers.
One major difference between The Age of Heroes and other current miniatures rule sets is the use of the idea of Tactical Styles. In Age of Heroes we provide Drilled, Tribal and Charioteer tactical styles as well as the normal Regular and Irregular styles. This emphasis has the important effect of reducing what some would see as the over-emphasis on weapon types. In addition you can specify whether the troops in a unit have Late Stone Age, Bronze Age or Early Iron Age weapons technology. Troops with later technology cost more points but are to some degree better in combat.
We are always looking for ideas from players as to what to include or change. It is a "for wargamers by wargamers approach" with the system being sold at minimum cost to encourage computer based gaming as a generally acceptable approach. New versions are being developed on an ongoing basis.
The new Version allows you the ultimate in army, battle and campaign size. There is no limit on the number of units or officers in an army! Battles can have any number of sides and any number of armies on each side! This accomodates even the largest club campaign game. The Age of Heroes also provides the enhanced Windows usability that allows greater ease of use and faster play without the PC intruding into the players awareness.
There are two main parts to the tactical component of the system, a setup module and a battle module. The first allows you to set up your army and the second allows you to play a battle. In the Setup module units are given a number of characteristics including but not limited to:-Back to Top
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Troop types for land based warfare include Light Infantry, Close Combat Infantry, Chariotry, Elephantry and early Cavalry (no stirrup or saddle). Chariotry and Elephantry have an option for integrated Light Infantry Runners to add to their effectiveness and reduce their vulnerability to Light Infantry opponents.The Battle of Marathon 490 BC.
The chariot was a major weapon in the Biblical Era and its capacity to provide effective firepower and shock effect coupled with greater mobility than infantry opponents on the battle field is reflected in the rules. Lighter and Heavier Chariot types with different crew sizes are catered for. Elephantry are another troop type that enjoyed success in this period, providing both shock and firepower on the battlefield. Later developments in cavalry and infantry discipline and effectiveness led to the eclipse of these arms in the later Ancient period (see our Ancients system Macedon and Rome).
The Charioteer tactical style allows the player to differentiate between ordinary chariotry and the true Mariyannu. The latter is assumed to have an exceptional level of skill. Naturally the advantages of this troop this type are balanced by the extra points they cost.
Overall this shift in emphasis towards tactical styles rather than weapon types means there is no pouring over army lists to extract the last point advantage, as with some current rules. Special weapons are reduced to their historical effectiveness and lack the "nuclear" effectiveness that once made them all important. The points are awarded more according to numbers of troops, their abilities and their tactical style. However weapon types do retain much of their familiar historical effectiveness. For example, steady Pikes and Long Thrusting Spears are very effective against chariotry or cavalry, who will be reluctant to charge troops thus armed. Consequently, the game does not represent a radical relearning process and the gamer can play easily from the start. Most of the rules are safely locked away in the computer and you are only confronted with a one page rule list. The documentation, which discusses tactical concepts, does however run to about 30 pages and gives a good background to the general ideas behind Heroes - this means there are no surprises lurking ready to disappoint you.
The Battle module has three phases.
1. Deployment. At the start of each round use the Deployment Phase to perform all the actions that are preliminary to combat, such as formation changes, sending Orders, testing for Charges and testing for other events such as a unit's success at scouting or movement through difficult terrain. You should think carefully about your tactics before you issue directions. For example, if a command has been on the defensive (with Hold Orders) and the enemy attack is faltering, you may decide to attack soon. Think ahead and send an Attack order some rounds in advance. Once it arrives and you want to encourage the men to charge, then send their commander to join the key unit BEFORE you test for the charge. Sending him afterwards will be too late. Remember to allow some margin for delays and errors such as a misinterpretation of Orders. This is part of the "fog of battle" built into Heroes. You will find that it is quite a challenge to control a battle without modern aids such as direct radio contact. It gives the sensation of how it must have been and you may feel more sympathy for generals of those times after the experience.
A unit that has been involved in a test to charge will not be given a result immediately. This will be given once you move to the next phase (Firing). The reason for the delayed notification is that the unit may be involved in more than one charge and these may be against different types of targets. Consequently the total situation needs to be evaluated before the decision can be made on whether the unit charges, stands, runs etc. The total situation is only available once the Deployment phase is concluded.
After players have finished Deploying, choose the next phase, which is Firing.
2. Firing. To fire, the player chooses the unit from the drop down list, chooses the target and adjust the target conditions (ie range, cover type etc). Then clicks on the Fire button at the bottom of the form. The losses resulting will be displayed immediately. If a unit is firing on more than one target then the player can split the fire according to the number of elements remaining in the unit.
Firing is simultaneous in this period and the effects of firing are not applied until the next bound.Egyptian Two Man Chariot.
3. Melee. At the start of melee, those units that have successfully tested to charge will be tested for charging home on the target in the light of the effect of any firing on them. Some may have taken unacceptable losses and may recoil without contacting their opponent. When fighting more than one target you may split the combat according to the number of elements that are available to fight.
Units that have been involved in a melee will only be given a broad interim outcome at the time of combat. The final outcome will be given once you cycle back to the first phase (Deployment). The reason for the delayed notification is that the unit may be involved in more than one melee and these may be against different types of targets. Consequently the unit may win against one but lose against another. Therefore the total situation is evaluated for you before the decision is made on whether the unit wins, loses, stands, runs etc. Then the position of the unit on the tabletop would be changed according to the outcome shown by Heroes.
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Grand Tactical module is included at no extra cost.
The Grand Tactical module allows you to play against one or more opponents in the aproach moves that lead to a battle. The players deploy their commands in a landscape with terrain generated by the computer and then move towards a tabletop area marked in the centre of the table. During this Grand Tactical movement, commander ability, encounters with the enemy, difficult terrain and the excessive crowding of friendly commands can all contribute to delays and mishaps. When enough commands have entered the tabletop area the system declares the battle ready to start and exports the armies ready for battle. Commands that have not reached the tabletop area are set to flank march and appear later during the battle (you hope!). A Tactical Map of the battlefield with computer generated terrain and initial starting point for each command is provided for you to print and use as an aid to initial deployment. You now import the armies into the battle module and you are ready to fight the battle!
Solo and Campaign modules are also included at no extra cost.
Assyrian War Chariot - Four Man Crew.
The Solo module allows you to play against the system using a number of scenarios. Responses considered typical of an historical general are provided by the Solo module and are displayed for the gamer to act upon. The amount of activity needed at the screen is reduced as the Solo system handles all formation and order changes within the PC. The player does not need to perform these as well as those needed for his own side. Player intervention in the Solo side's activities is allowed however, so that inappropriate responses can be corrected.
The Campaign module allows map maneauver taking into account terrain and logistics effects on the armies. To increase ease of setup and to enhance the attractiveness of campaign games a number of colour maps with terrain displayed are automatically available for selection in the computer. The computer "sees" the map as a grid, with each sector having certain characteristics such as the arrability of the land, difficulty of the terrain etc.
The role of Quartermaster has been taken over by the system to reduce the onorous administrative load usually associated with campaigns. Bases can be created and resupply is allowed for. Losses through starvation, disease and straggling are also determined by the system. Sieges can be setup and the associated losses and the outcome are controlled by the system.
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Naval rules are integrated with the existing land based rules. This provides the player with even more options than before. The player can either play the same land based games as before, or play a conventional naval game, or play a combined arms action in which both naval and land forces are present and can fire on each other as well as ram and board.
Each bound the system determines and displays the wind direction and strength, as well as recalculating the maximum turn and speed of each vessel based on a number of factors such as the training level, morale and fatigue of the crew and the state of the ship. A chart is provided to allow the player to calculate the ship's speed based on its angle to the wind. The damage inflicted by enemy fire includes flooding and fires. The effectiveness of damage control in stopping these problems is reassessed each turn by the system. After receiving heavy damage a captain may surrender or a ship and be destroyed by fire. Close Actions such as Ramming and Boarding are also supported.
A range of naval weapons are provided to allow the vessel to be armed historically. These include Catapults Ramming Prows. A wide range of ship types is also provided.
To add realism, several kinds of fortifications have been added to the already extensive range of troop types. These can be armed with artillery and are assumed to have their own garrison. These forts can act as fixed strong points that can fire, be fired upon and can resist or be overrun by storming parties. The forts range from hastily fortified positions to heavy stone forts. A cluster of these strong points can be used to represent the aggregation of strong points (bastions) that compose any major fortification.
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