Might of Arms

FAQs and Rules Clarifications

Terrain and Terrain Effects

Q: Once a unit is "seen" after being "concealed," can it regain concealment again during the same game?

A: Yes, if it enters terrain that provides concealment and would not qualify as being visible to an enemy unit.

Q: Does the string used to represent "open ground" have to be tied together to form a circle before it is placed on the table? Can it be placed untied with each end exiting a table edge?

A: The string ends should touch (or be tied). A string cannot be placed so that each end touches a table edge in a different location. Doing this would allow a larger area to be represented than intended, possibly conferring an unfair advantage in terrain selection. 


Q: In some of the army lists it states that some troop types may carry 2-handed axe or lack shields. Since there is no mention of 2-handed axes or shields in the rules why is this stated in the lists?

A: The explanation is on page 63 under Armor and Weapons. The notes are an aid for gamers in selecting figures that depict various weapons.

Q: Should artillery be included in the rules? In some players' opinions, they seem to be a bit powerful (for ancient battles anyway).

A: Engines were offered as a novelty. They probably shouldn't be in the army lists, because they were rarely used in field battles. The rules don't say anything about crew representing any particular number of machines. Number of crew is just a way of indicating abstract hitting power. Engines are rarely useful for more than two or three turns because advancing troops mask them in most games.

Q: Why do Romans not get to throw pila?

A: The pilum is essentially a melee weapon, cast at very short range prior to contact with the enemy, not a distance weapon used for skirmishing or for massed shooting. Opponents of Roman legionaries with an elite rating have a minus one melee penalty. This penalty represents any advantages in weapons, weapons training, tactical organization and tactical movement that elite troops might have in melee. Resolving the effect of the pilum as an additional step is redundant. 


Army Organization

Q: What point size do you recomend for one-on-one games? How about for tournament games?

A: It depends upon number of players and the armies. 1200 each side is good for a 2 player game. This will give you plenty of units in case you make a mistake. For beginning players or a tournament situation, perhaps 1000 points. Tournament players might need to experiment with this. For convention games, the author gives each player 4 to 6 units in an 8-player game, with from 1600 to 2000 points per side, depending upon the armies.

If you use optional rule #22, note that the points are 2/3 of basic MOA points, unit cost is reduced to 10, and leader cost is reduced to 50. If you do a game with all units 2 stands wide, you should reduce points cost as explained in this optional rule, because unit cost affects cost effectiveness. Tournament organizers might consider specifying that optional rule #22 is in effect. It would speed up the game slightly, reduce the number of figures needed, and provide for more uniformity.

Q: There are only one or two instances of armies being allowed fieldworks, caltrops, etc., in the MOA lists. Can any army purchase them?

A: There is a glitch here. The MOA army lists don't specify which armies can use them. The intention was to limit them to armies that used them historically. If you have army lists for other rules, use that. Non-tournament gamers can use historical references. As an option, players may choose to disallow use of "fieldworks" for set piece/meeting engagements and to allow any army to buy them in "attack- defense" type scenarios. In any case, players will need to agree among themselves whether fieldworks are allowed.

Q: Why is there an option in the army lists to upgrade skirmish infantry to light infantry?

A: Players who like to maneuver and be tricky enjoy using light infantry. Those who like to get into melee as quickly as possible will be wasting the points cost of skirmish infantry. In many cases, it is difficult to specify on historical grounds whether the missile-armed troops in an army should be formed (light infantry) or should harass the enemy and avoid melee (skirmish infantry). The option allows players who feel that skirmishing infantry should be able to form up to fight in melee (prior to the battle) to do so.

Here is a comparison of their properties: Light infantry have the evade move in the basic rules. An optional rule (#12) allows them to break off in melee. Light infantry costs more than skirmish infantry because they can fight in melee, the same as medium infantry. They cost more than medium infantry because they can shoot and evade. Skirmish infantry is better for annoying the enemy because they are more maneuverable. Light infantry can inflict more shooting damage per unit front than skirmish infantry because you get two ranks shooting.

Army Organization

Q: Should both sides use the same unit sizes in a game? Can two opposing armies have different sized units?

A: The rules do not require opposite sides to have units of the same size. Many players use same-sized units throughout for convenience. Use of units 2 stands wide is good for economy of figures and for reducing overlaps in melee.

MOA works very well with variable unit sizes due to the "one fatigue point equals one hit per stand" mechanism. Equal numbers of stands fighting head to head will produce (on average) equal numbers of hits and fatigue points regardless of the sizes of the units involved. For example, consider an 8 stand unit of HI fighting two 4 stand units of HI straight ahead. Assuming no modifiers and die rolls of 5 for all three units, the 8 stand unit would take 8 hits and each 4 stand unit would take 4. Each of the three units involved would receive 1 fatigue point. This equivalence holds for any size battle; three 8 stand units vs. four 6 stand units would also be a nearly even fight.

"Nearly even" because there may be some other factors involved. An attached leader affects one unit regardless of size, so larger units would be better in that case. On the other hand, if formed infantry units are in an isolated melee, the smaller units have an advantage when checking melee morale because they support each other's flanks. In the case of one 8 vs. two 4's, the 8 stand unit has two unsupported flanks while each 4 stand unit has only one. In the case of three 8's vs. four 6's, two thirds of the 8 stand units check with an open flank while only one half of the 6 stand units do.

Dividing a force into smaller units costs extra command points but provides flexibility of maneuver. The smaller units can more easily wheel into position for flank charges, or fit through a gap between troops and/or terrain. You can also use a mix of unit sizes, with larger units in the center of the battleline and smaller units on the flanks. This can be used to depict the historical deployment of phalangites and hypaspists, for example.

Q: When using Optional Rule No. 4 "Leader Ability," how do you figure the point cost of leaders (since you don't know their actual point cost when making your army)?

A: The optional rule provides for either purchasing leaders or dicing for them. In Option A, you dice for them. In Option B, you purchase them. Points cost for leaders is a problem only if you wait until leaders and units are placed on the game table and one or both sides has chosen Option B and has not diced for the leaders. There is no particular reason to do this. The rules do not require it. If there is a reason to deploy the army before dicing for leaders, then agree before the battle that both sides will choose option B and dice for them after deployment. In this case, total army points do not include points for leaders. Both sides take their chances on an imbalance in points because of the dicing. Unpredictability is the point of using Option A (dicing).


Leaders and Command

Q: Can any leader attach to any unit or just units in his group? What if the C-in-C is in personal command of a group, does he now affect only units in his group?

A: The C-in-C always affects all units on his side, in all groups. If he commands his own group, he still affects units in other groups. Leaders subordinate to the C-in-C cannot affect the units in the C-in-C's personal group. Command in MOA is abstract and represents the leader's ability as a leader and tactician, not his direct command of units on the battlefield.

Q: What happens to a group's leader model if all the units in his group are routed or otherwise removed from play? What about when the C-in-C's group is routed/removed (assuming he commands a group)?

A: Removing a leader from the table is not something mentioned in the rules. When a leader has no units to command, he should be removed from the table for the convenience of getting him out of the way. It doesn't matter whether he is removed, since he has no further affect on play. The C-in-C always affects all units on his side, in all groups. Therefore, he should not be removed from play when the units in his group are routed/removed.


Q: On page 21 of the MOA rules book it states that "In addition to the skirmish move, light cavalry and skirmish infantry may move forward, in the manner of formed troops..." Does this mean that troops who can skirmish move may also use a normal forward move in the same turn?

A: No. Replace "In addition to the" with "Instead of making a". Light cavalry and skirmish infantry may only use one or the other type of move in a single turn, not both.

Q: If a leader joins a unit that has not yet moved does the unit lose part of its move due to waiting for the general to join?

A: No. Units and leaders are moved in any order without respect to the way other units and leaders move. The presumed length of a turn is much longer than the time actually taken in movement, so there is no point in assuming that all movement is exactly simultaneous within a movement phase.

Q: Are all units allowed to interpenetrate if any non-front edge passes through a friendly stand?

A: This is a degree of detail that is impractical to specify in the rules. It depends upon the situation and how sporting the players are. The easy way to play is to take the rules literally, which is that no kind of interpenetration is allowed except as specified in the rules. This means that a non-front edge cannot interpenetrate any unit. On the other hand, this is a bit fussy, so allow it if the players involved agree. 


Charge and Charge Response Moves

Q: Can a unit that fails a morale check to charge still declare a countercharge, or must it always recieve a charge at the halt (unless able to evade)?

A: It cannot countercharge, so must receive the charge at the halt, or evade if it is eligible. See the last sentence on page 37: "A unit that declares a charge, fails its charge check, and is the target of a successful charge uses the same die roll for its charge response check." Since the unit uses the same die roll for charge and countercharge, if it fails the check to charge it also fails the check to countercharge. Technically, it could declare a countercharge, but it fails the morale check to countercharge.

Q: What happens if a countercharger and charger fail to make contact?

A: A charge cannot be declared unless contact is possible (page 25). In rare cases involving three or more units charging/countercharging, one of the units might be blocked from making contact with an intended target. Further, a unit responds to a charge only if the unit charging it can contact it (page 28, first column, second paragraph). Suppose Unit A declares a charge on Unit X. Unit Y, which is friendly to X and alongside it, declares a charge on Unit A, and Unit X declares a countercharge on Unit A. Now suppose that Unit A is prevented from contacting Unit X because Unit Y advances and blocks Unit A's movement. In this case, if X cannot be contacted by A, then X has no countercharge and remains in its original position.

Q: When using the optional rule "Mandatory Pairing" (No. 23), what do you do when a charging unit is charged by an enemy unit other then the unit it declared a charge on?

A: The object is to achieve contact of hostile units one-on-one. Arbitrary rules must eliminate contact by a second unit. There are two ways to achieve this. Let's restate the situation in the question as follows: Unit A declares a charge against Unit X and Unit Y declares a charge against Unit A. X and Y are friendly. Whether X declared a charge on A is not specified.

Rule 1: A player must not have two units declare a charge on the same enemy unit, or have one unit charge and another unit countercharge the same enemy unit. If both are eligible to charge, he must decide which declares the charge. For example, he could not have both X and Y declare a charge on A. Charge takes precedence over countercharge. If X did not declare a charge on A, neither could it countercharge A. If X did declare a charge on A, then Y could not also charge A. If X and Y are controlled by different players, then dice for which makes contact. The latter adds to the fog of war and problems of command control.

Rule 2: If the above doesn't cover all situations, then whichever units can achieve the maximum contact along the front are the ones that move into contact. If contact by two units is even, then dice for which moves into contact.

Q: What happens when two units declare charges on each other at the same time? When are the units moved? Do they meet in the middle? Does either declare a charge response?

A: Charge declarations are made simultaneously in the phase preceeding declaration of charge responses. They move simultaneously into contact. Each moves at its prorated charge move allowance. Units that have the same charge move allowance meet in the middle. Neither unit declares a charge response.

Charge and Charge Response Moves

Q: The rules on page 31 under "Countercharge Move" say that a unit may charge and countercharge at the same time against two different targets. What is meant by this exactly?

A: Suppose that Units X and Y are friendly and Unit A is an enemy. Unit A declares a charge against Unit X and Unit Y declares a charge against Unit A. A may now declare a countercharge against Y. A is charging X and countercharging Y at the same time.

Q: Does a unit charging or countercharging have to attempt contact with the closest target even if the closest unit is the unit it is countercharging?

A: Yes. See page 31, first column, second paragraph. Although the discussion is in terms of charging, countercharge moves are treated the same way, except for the specified restrictions on page 31 under Countercharge Move and in the table, Countercharge Restrictions.

Q: The three questions below all deal with when units move when charging and countercharging and how far they move.

General comment: The rules stipulate that the order of movement is evade first, then countercharge, then charge (page 17). In practice, it rarely matters in what order the units move. The movement sequence is intended to make it easier to work out complicated situations. Most gamers move evaders first to get them out of the way, and then move units charging and countercharging simultaneously. This is perfectly acceptable because following the stated movement sequence or not following it rarely has an affect on the ensuing melee. In no case is a unit entitled to move further than it could if all movement during this phase were simultaneous, nor is it possible if the limits on distance of a counrtercharge are observed.

Q1: When foot charge cavalry and "advance" instead (because the cavalry countercharge) when does the foot unit carry out this move?

A1: Technically the infantry charge is cancelled, which means the infantry is receiving the charge halted and the cavalry are countercharging. Since the contact was initiated first by the infantry, you can presume that they move last, as though they are charging, for the purpose of movement sequence only. The infantry are still entitled to move. See page 28, first column, last paragraph, and the General Answer above.

Q2: When does the charger/countercharger move and how far?

A2: According to the rules (page 17), the counterchargers move first. (But see General Answer above.) They move 1/2 of their charge move allowance or 1/2 of the distance to the unit charging it, whichever is less (page 31, first column, first paragraph). The consequence of this is that units with the same charge move allowance contact each other at the midpoint between them (assuming neither is blocked by another unit making contact). The movement to which counterchargers are entitled is exactly the same whether they move first or they move simultaneously with the chargers, unless blocked.

Q3: The last sentence of the first paragraph under "Countercharge Move," page 31, says "A countercharging unit might be contacted before moving its allowed distance." What is the meaning of this sentence, as countercharging units move before chargers? What could make contact with them?

A3: Suppose Unit A declares a charge against Unit X. Unit Y, friendly to X, declares a charge against A. Then A declares a countercharge against Y. Suppose that Y is much closer to A than Y is. It is possible that A would not use all of its movement allowance moving towards X because it is blocked by Y. 


Q: The rules state that troops MIGHT have to take a morale test for evading. We couldn't find anything in the rules about under what conditions they would have to take a morale test for evading.

A: The answer comes from taking the morale check one step at a time. First, note there are 9 entries in the table "Causes For Checking Morale," page 38 and on the reference card. These are the charge response of countercharge, receive charge halted, EVADE, etc. Think of these as occasions in which you pause to see whether you have to DICE for a morale check. You always dice for morale checks for shooting, melee, seeing leader wounded, seeing friendly rout. You might not have to dice for a charge or charge response.

To see whether you have to dice for a morale check to charge or to make a charge response, look at the conditions in the table "Charge & Charge Response Checks," page 38 and on the reference card. There are 3 conditions that specifically exempt a unit from dicing for a morale check for a charge or charge response. There are 9 conditions that trigger having to roll the dice. The latter are no leader in line of command, charged on flank/rear, etc. The second from last condition listed is "Skirmishers unless evading (ignore leader to evade)."

Here are the implications of everything so far:

a. Skirmishers (light cavalry, light camelry, skirmish infantry, defined on page 5) do not check morale to evade regardless of where the leader is, unless one of the other conditions apply, such as being charged in flank or being shaken. Note that skirmishers must check morale for all causes other than to evade, including to charge, even if charging the enemy's flank.

b. Formed troops eligible to evade must dice for a morale check (since there is no condition that excuses them, as in the case of skirmishers). Troops eligible to evade are listed in a table on page 32. Examples are light infantry, heavy cavalry armed with bow, any cavalry charged by elephants.

One other point that is sometimes confusing is that a unit charged on the flank (but not rear) becomes frozen--it cannot charge even if it declared a charge (page 31)--unless it is eligible to evade. Both a formed unit and a skirmisher unit would have to dice for a morale check for evading if it is charged on the flank. The cause of "checking" (the condition that prompts the morale check) is the evade. The condition that triggers dicing for the morale check is that it is charged on the flank.


Q: Page 39, "See Leader Wounded." Does a unit that checks morale due to seeing a leader wounded have to be part of the leader's group, or does every unit within sight have to make the check?

A: The intention is that only units belonging to the leader's group check. You can debate whether this makes sense for a cohesive, well-organized army. In the case of armies of mixed subject peoples, allies, or rival leaders (which would include many Roman armies!), it seems appropriate.

Q: Regarding the melee morale check precedence (page 40), is it possible for two enemy units in contact, who must both make melee morale checks for the same condition (i.e., at the same time), to not have to make a morale test because no other causes for checking apply? What if neither is worn but both are shaken?

A: This is an extremely rare possibility. There are 9 cited conditions in melee morale check precedence. If any one of these conditions applies to one or both units and no other condition applies, at least one of the units still has to check morale. Apply the last condition, "Lower adjusted morale" to decide which unit checks first (although this condition is meant to apply to worn units). If both have the same adjusted morale, then apply the tie breaker "If all fail, then only the unit with the highest dice fails." If both units are shaken, and no other condition applies, then the unit with the lower adjusted morale would check first. If both have the same adjusted morale, both would check and the higher dice fails. 



Q: When you have an ongoing cavalry melee do ALL bases fight? Or just the bases in the front at contact?

A: See page 50, top left. One rank of cavalry fights, regardless of the arrangement of contact. Here is an unpleasant implication: A unit of cavalry that has, for example, 6 stands arranged in 2 ranks of 3 stands inflicts hits with only 3 stands, even if it is contacted on both front, flank and rear! How come? Because MOA encourages maneuver and extension of lines, not depth. It's a deliberate design. Fighting in depth generally produces a static game that does not have much maneuver and that is not fun to play for many of us. Gamers who like a game of depth can play that way by choosing how they organize their units and deploy, but MOA also offers the options of maneuver and of attempt at envelopment through the emphasis on linear battle.

Q: When two opposing elite foot units are in combat with each other, do they both suffer the -1 melee penalty for foot vs. elite foot?"

A: Yes. It's a literal reading of the rules.

Q: There are documented instances of cavalry horses refusing to charge into contact with infantry. Why are cavalry allowed to charge steady infantry and fight them in a melee?

A: Horses cannot be forced to collide with a wall, whether of stone or of a steady, tight formation of men--or of other cavalry. However, there are accounts of men on foot and men on horseback fighting each other, so we know that it was possible to move a horse to within hand-to-hand distance of infantry. The key point seems to be that a cavalry charge does not result in collision. The destruction of infantry by cavalry comes about when the infantry panic and open up gaps in their formation which horsemen can penetrate.

All melee is treated identically in MOA for convenience and simplicity. Cavalry vs. infantry charges/melee should be interpreted as an attempt by the cavalry to cause the infantry to panic and give way, either through intimidation by charging or by moving more slowly into hand-to-hand distance and attempting to pick a hole in the line of infantry. Hits are inflicted because the effort is tiring and disruptive (and it is a game, after all--something has to happen).

Cavalry charge modifiers for melee are intended to reward aggressive play and do not represent "shock" action. The damage inflicted by infantry on cavalry in MOA is higher than it should be from a historical perspective. This is a design feature to discourage players from making frontal attacks on fresh infantry with cavalry, which would serve to pin the infantry at little cost to the cavalry (if the cavalry were less vulnerable) and would produce a game in which cavalry is used in a static role. The chief values of cavalry are mobility and striking a weakened enemy at a critical time, both historically and in MOA. 

Mini MOA (Optional Rule No. 24)

Q: When playing with Mini MOA, how do you figure out if a unit has an obstructed flank (since all units are a single stand wide)?

A: The author confesses that Optional Rule No. 24 was invented after the concept of Obstructed Flanks and he failed to consider the implications of obstructed flanks for units one stand wide. Here's the rule: On page 29, there appears the bullet item "At least two stand widths (across the front or rear) of the friendly unit are within the obstructed flank area." Substitute "one stand width" for "two stand widths." This has not been playtested and the author would appreciate reports (email) of how well it works.

Q: In Mini MOA, shouldn't "Obstructed Flanks" be 1 1/2" for 15mm troops [2" for 25mm] instead of 2" [3"], just like "Supported Flanks" are? (This question refers to the original posting of this optional rule.)

A: Yes. Both sides should agree on this one way or the other before the game begins. The description of this optional rule has been revised on the MOA website to conform to the proposal in the question.


Might of Arms Home Page