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Variant Rules

Victory Conditions Based on Troop Value

By Alex Baumans

In my games, I use a slightly different system than the standard one to determine victory. One reason is that most premodern armies were structured hierarchically and that not all units had the same importance to army morale as such. For instance, in a French Late Medieval Army, the men-at-arms hardly cared whether the bidauts lived or died. If they got slaughtered, they might get slightly worried, but after all, there were plenty more where they came from. Inversely, some units had a disproportionately great effect on morale. To take the previous example, if the knights and men-at-arms got slaughtered, the bidauts and hired crossbowmen certainly wouldn't hang around.

A further practical consideration was that I usually fight campaign battles, which rarely fit the neat twelve elements per side format.

What I came up with, was simplicity itself. Elements are divided into three categories:

  • Key units at 3 pts: Guards, the general's retinue, prestigious units, key mercenaries or allies
  • Line units at 2 pts
  • Inferior units at 1 pt: levies, despised allies and rabble generally

To defeat an army you have to kill minimum four elements and one third of the points total.

The effect is to concentrate the attention more on the main enemy troops, rather than chase the weaker ones in the hope of achieving a quick kill. It also can make skirmishers more expendable. In a recent Gothic vs Byzantine clash, the Gothic nobles bravely charged the Byzantine screen of horse archers. When the dust settled, each side had lost three elements, but the Byzantine skirmishers were at 1 point apiece, and the Goths had lost two noble elements at 3 pts and one warrior at 2 pts. With both armies' breakpoint at 12 pts, the Byzantine outlook was rather better than the Gothic one.

I have no hard and fast rules for allotting points values. The most important is to use common sense. For instance, the majority of the elements must always be line. The general's element is per definition worth 3 pts. Skirmishers and horde will normally be 1 pt etc.

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Last Updated: Feb. 16, 2003

Comments, suggested additions, and/or critiques welcome. Direct them to Chris Brantley at