Might of Arms

Key Characteristics

The Rules Booklet

The book is 8.5 X 11 and has 112 pages with a slick cover showing Republican Romans fighting Gauls. The text is in a double column format. There are 20 pages of introductory material, including a table of contents, a description of the troop types, basing, the points cost system, terrain, and other material. The next 39 pages describe the rules and mechanics of play. The text is thorough and meticulously written. Of these 39 pages, diagrams illustrating points of play occupy the equivalent of about 12 pages. Tables summarizing various rules take up the space of another 5 pages. The actual working text occupies the space of about 22 pages. Optional rules occupy 6 pages. Army lists and instructions on how to use them fill the remaining 47 pages. An 8.5 X 11 cardstock reference card is supplied, covered on both sides with movement distances, missile ranges, tables needed for combat resolution and morale checks, the various conditions and restrictions for charging, and other information. The reference card has on it 95% of what you need to play the game. 


One stand represents 100 to 200 men, depending on troop type. The game plays by stands, not individual figures. One inch represents 20 yards for 25mm figures and 30 yards for 15mm figures. Other casting scales can be used. The objective of the game is to depict a large set-piece battle.

Equipment Needed

You need a few 12-inch rulers, a handful of ordinary six-sided dice, either markers (such as bone rings or casualty caps or cardboard chits, etc.) or an army roster on paper, and miniature figures. For two players, 10 to 16 units on a side make a good game. The minimum number of figures needed is about 80 for an all-cavalry army up to 150 for an all- infantry army. The game plays well with multiple players, using as many figures as you can manage. For minimal terrain , you can use a few hills and a collection of trees for woods. You need a 6 X 4 foot table for a small game.


Troop Types

There are 7 cavalry, 4 camelry, 3 chariot, 1 elephant, 1 artillery, and 7 infantry troop types. There is an additional special elite rating for certain infantry (chiefly Roman) which provides advantages regarding movement and the flanks. Three of the troop types are designated as "skirmisher," which have particular restrictions on charging. 

Command Control

There are no command control rules or orders, other than the following simple system: Units operate in groups under a group leader, who affects morale of the units he commands and, if attached to a unit, the unit's melee. Once you have deployed, it is difficult to change your battle plan by making lateral or rearward movements with your troops. The game moves very fast. When you commit your center and flanking units, you in effect have issued orders and it is difficult to change your intentions other than taking advantage of local victories to attack fresh enemy. A formal order system does not improve the accuracy of the game or the outcome and was discarded in the early days of development. 


The size of bases or stands and the number of figures you place on them is compatible with almost all other ancients and medieval rules sets. Base size doesn't really matter as long as the width of bases is consistent.


There is a system for setting up terrain, but you can ignore it (we usually do in our games at home). Terrain can affect movement, visibility, shooting, and melee capabilities of various troop types. 


Design your army from a list of 150 armies covering the period 1600 B.C. to 1500 A.D. An army list consists of a variety of troop types typical of the prototype army. You choose which types and how many of each type you want, within indicated limits. Many of the lists give you options on morale or other troop characteristics. There are restrictions on the ratio of cavalry to infantry in most of the armies. 

The Turn

Each side alternates in deploying one group of units at a time. You may, of course, specify deployment according to a scenario. The first half of a turn consists of movement and shooting by one side, followed by movement and shooting by the other side. The rest of the turn is simultaneous and consists of charge declarations, melee, morale checks for various causes, break-off moves, and recovering from being shaken. 



Forward movement is easy to conduct and may be adjusted up to 45 degrees to the right or left. Movement to the side or rear is prohibited or difficult for most troop types (but not for skirmishers). Various special moves are allowed for specified troop types. These moves are skirmish, break off, reverse facing, fall back, double move, and change formation. The troops eligible for these moves are summarized in a table for easy reference. Skirmisher troop types are more maneuverable than "formed" troops.

The Charge

Melee is initiated by a charge which must be declared. There are restrictions on charging, depending upon the charging troop type, the type of target, and the tactical situation. A unit that is charged declares a charge response, which is to evade (if eligible), countercharge (if eligible), or receive the charge at the halt. For easy reference, tables summarize the restrictions on charging and countercharging. A leader within command range exempts a unit from making a charge morale check, unless certain unfavorable situations apply. 

Fatigue Points

The central idea underlying combat is the deterioration of a unit's fighting effectiveness by being shot at or by engaging in melee. Figures or stands are not removed from play as casualties. A unit receives hits from shooting or by engaging in melee. Periodically, the unit exchanges its accumulated hits for fatigue points in a way related to the size, in stands, of the unit. As a unit accumulates fatigue points, it loses combat effectiveness, because each fatigue point has a permanent negative effect on the unit's morale. Fatigue points are represented by markers placed on the unit. If you don't like the clutter of markers, you can use a written roster to track hits and fatigue points. 


Different types of missile weapons are distinguished by their chance to hit various troop types and by their ranges. Foot bow range for 15mm figures is 8 inches. For 25mm figures, it is 12 inches. Shooting is resolved by casting one die for each stand shooting. The die roll required to hit is given in a table. Shooting resolution is easy and goes very fast, even for bow armies in which every unit is equipped with bow. A shooting morale check is triggered by easy-to-remember conditions and is not necessarily made on every occasion that a hit is received. 


Melee Resolution

Melee resolution consists of several steps. First, consult the Troop Type Melee Factor Table, which shows the melee factor for the attacking and defending troop types. Examine the eight melee modifiers, which take into account a few tactical situations and special properties of certain troop types. Add the melee modifiers and a die roll to the melee factor to obtain the adjusted melee factor. Cross-reference the number of stands fighting with the adjusted melee factor in the Hit Table to find the number of hits inflicted. Melee is simultaneous, so two units fighting each other inflict hits on each other. Melee continues from turn to turn until a unit routs as a result of failing the melee morale check. A morale check for melee is triggered by certain conditions and is not usually made on the first turn of melee. The various melee factors, the melee modifiers, the morale modifiers, and the conditions governing tthe melee morale check make up a carefully balanced system that is the result of countless probability calculations and six years of refinement in play-testing. The balance among the various troop types is the designer's perception of the effectiveness of their historical prototypes.


Units rout as a result of failing either a shooting morale test (yes, it is possible, but rare) or a melee morale check. Routed units are removed from the table, except for elephants, who get to run wild for two turns.


There are five grades of morale. A unit's morale is specified in the army list. Morale checks are triggered by charging, responding to a charge, shooting, melee, seeing a nearby friendly leader wounded, and seeing the rout of a nearby friendly unit. Each morale grade corresponds to a morale base number from 7 to 11. There are eight melee modifiers. For a unit to pass morale, you need to roll the morale base or below, adjusted by the morale modifiers, using two dice. 


Most games involving 12 to 20 units on a side result in an obvious winner after two to three hours of play. Huge multiple player games might take four hours. If neither side has clearly defeated the other when it is time to end the game, then determine the number of points remaining on the table for each side. The rules provide for the degree of victory, depending upon percent of points remaining. 

Optional Rules

Optional rules give more character to leaders, alters play balance in various ways, and alters the capabilities of various troop types. The scope of the optional rules can be seen by looking at the listing of the titles of the optional rules

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