It’s Phatis here again, bringing you all some new information from the Archons at War Banner (and maybe one or two sneaky bits that I am probably not allowed to share). Meh, I wasn’t paid yet today and my caffeine level is at zero. What? Don’t question the reasons why a shade from Hades needs caffeine. There are reasons. I may be a bit snarky today, so this should be fun.
Right then, today we’re talking about Lochoi! That’s right! This is all about starting your own Lochos, or company, of ancient Greeks. In ‘Test of Honour’ terms, this is your warband. From heroic characters to the lowly slinger. We’ve got it all here. Let’s hope I don’t go off into a tangent about the good old days during the Peloponnesian War. Actually, you know what? I just miss the days I had a more corporeal, rather than ethereal, state of being.
Now you may have heard of large-scale ancients games in which a player fields massive armies across large areas against an opponent with an equally large army. But Mortal Gods is not like that. Rather than these large scale engagements with hundreds of models, Mortal Gods is much more intimate. The Lochos, then, is your primary fighting force and it is reflected in the name.
As mentioned in the Introduction, the word Lochos in Greek literally translated into “an ambush.” More colloquially, it referred to those men who formed an ambush. And if you consider that meaning, it would make sense that a Lochos would be relatively small. You do not need a lot of men to form an ambush or your element of surprise is gone. It is this level of detail that impresses me about War Banner, Zeus’s blessing be upon their black hearts (where is my coffee?!).
As a Lochos is your main force type, there is a lot of ways you can customize it for a particular scenario and play style. You probably want to know how one goes about organizing a Lochos, right? Well, it’s really simple: it involves Recruitment Cards like this one:
Recruitment cards like the one above have all the information you will need to determine what units you want to bring to the game and in a larger sense the sort of force you will deploy. Are you going for more agile, lightly armoured troops which will get you to your objective quicker? Or do you want to hold firm and defend your objective with a lot of heavily armoured hoplites? Do you want a mixed force? There is really no limit to how you want to play, however, this is all decided upon at the start of the game.
As is clear already, each unit type has a numeric value attached to them. A heroic character (known as a ‘promachos’) may be five points, where a slinger might be two points (I cannot confirm nor deny these numbers). The recruitment card also lists the units particular stats and special abilities or additional rules. And if you have played Test of Honour, you also know these recruitment cards will be necessary to keep out during gameplay.
Of course, I can’t get into too much detail here or I may never get a coffee again. And then I would be sad. And no one wants a sad, cranky, snarky shade roaming around. We’ve all seen that movie, yes?
Anyway, depending upon the game you and your mates want to play, it can be as small as four miniatures (three soldiers and a Lochagos—or leader, maybe 11 points total) or as big as 30 miniatures for something like a 40 points game. War Banner has it such that you really aren’t limited to the type of troops you can bring, and you do not need to restrict yourself to groups of three of the same type of warrior. You can play a small scenario with one archer, one hoplite, one slinger, and one leader; as long as you are within the points parameters of the scenario, you’re golden. As one might expect, though, the Larger the game, the longer it will be to play. Just remember that this is a skirmish tabletop game. This means that it will be fast-paced regardless of the scale.
Recruiting a Lochos
So now that we’ve had a look at the recruitment cards and you understand the flexibility of the forces you can bring, we should get to work discussing the make-up of a Lochos. To start, there is also a big difference in soldier types. There are skirmishers (they get the round group bases)—peltasts, slingers, and archers—and hoplites (they get the triangular group bases), and these make up your basic soldiers (individually based on 25mm rounds). Each troop type provides different bonuses to your force, yet they still have their own weaknesses which can be exploited; choose carefully depending upon your situation.
At the head of each Lochos is the Lochagos (on a 32mm round base). These are heroic leaders and you must include one (and only one) in your force. The good news is that you can either make your own unique Lochagos or purchase Adrastos, the exclusive Lochos Captain from Footsore Miniatures. Hm, come to think of it I knew an Adrastos at one time. Bit of a bad egg, if you ask me. Always he was in a bad mood. Died at Tanagra, I think. Who remembers? Anyway, I’m sure the model isn’t based on the same Adrastos I knew. Probably.
How long have I been going on? Ugh, feels like forever—I’m saying that and I’m ancient. Okay, where was I? Oh right, yes. Character types.
Besides the formidable Lochagos, one finds the promachoi (32mm round base). You are allowed one of these champions per every additional ten points you have to spend. So if you have thirty points, you can add up to two promachoi to aid your Lochagos. Actually, here’s an interesting fact—the points round up to the nearest ten. Thus if you have spent 27 points somewhere, you can add two promachoi. That’s exciting!
In addition, there are other heroic characters that you don’t necessarily use for fighting, but for assistance during the scenario. Seers and iatroi (singular: iatros, from the Greek ίατρός, meaning ‘healer’) have large parts to play as well and will work as debuffs against things like omens or wounds taken. In both instances with the healers and seers (also based on 32mm rounds), you can only take one of each and as above you can only take one per 10 points spent, just like the promachoi.
You also have other options like musicians and veterans (25mm round bases), but we can talk about those another time.
Examples of a Recruited Lochos
Now let’s say we apply a little of what we learned above and do a little recruiting here to see how one might reasonably create some forces. As Socrates used to say (the old bugger would never shut up), “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” You don’t have to listen to me. What do I know? I was only there for the whole Peloponnesian War, after all.
An Ambush (12 pts)
- 1 Lochagos
- 2 Hoplite Groups
- 1 Archer Group
Skirmishers! (18 pts)
- 1 Lochagos
- 1 Styrix (Musician)
- 2 Slinger Groups
- 1 Peltast Group
- 1 Hoplite Group
A Strong Defense (24 pts)
- 1 Lochagos
- 1 Promachos
- 2 Experienced Hoplite Groups
- 1 Veteran Archer
- 1 Archer Group
- 1 Peltast Group
These suggestions are just that; you can really get creative with your Lochoi! You might consider forming a Lochos on Jason and the Argonauts! Or even a Spartan raiding party (bloody Spartans). The extent of your imagination (and the points values) is the only real limitation here.
Oh finally, the man shows up with some coffee. About time! And after I’ve just finished this whole ramble!
Well, that’s enough from me then. About to go drink this down. In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can direct them to the comments below. Someone from War Banner will probably answer. Obviously, these folks don’t move too quickly, or I would have had my coffee hours ago. I don’t work for free, you know!
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The basing system is very interesting to me. I am used to putting all my historical on rank and file styled square bases (20 x20 or 40×40 mm bases) so this looks somewhat strange to me. Still, games like Saga work with round bases, so I am sure these mechanics will be fine. All the more reason to buy more Greeks as well!!!!
Good day, Dustin!
Yes, the basing for the game is quite imaginative, but it is a lot of fun to play. I would note that the value of the individual bases is that I can field a particular hoplite I like as a stand-alone veteran if I want, or use that miniature as part of a group. And I can do this with ease. It’s quite clever for a game developed by mortals. 😉
I hope you like the game as much as we do here. χαῖρε!
Lovely read and great intro to the game. Now I have a much better idea of what to expect from it.
I do hope the overal style of the rules writing will follow this style.
Thank you, Phatis!
χαῖρε, Roland! And thank you.