Scarab Miniatures

Romans using the Pilum
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Author:  CommanderBaker [ Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Romans using the Pilum

I seem to be a little lost on how the Pilum and other heavy and normal thrown weapons are used in game. I have now recieved my book and upon looking at the Armory, I see it states they reroll kill rolls. Could someone clarify if they are used for shooting during a charge or if they are used in the first round of actual combat or so on?

Thank you much and cheers!
Floyd :D

Author:  Rob [ Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum


Check page 119 and the section on throwing weapons.

In the weapon bonus section it mentions 'opening round of any combat' you may reroll ALL the kill rolls.

That's when charging, or if charged. Front rank only.

Hope that helps.

Author:  CommanderBaker [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum

Alright that clears it up a bit however I'm still confused on whether or not i have to select that they are using pilum instead of gladius or if they simply are considered to be using the pilum in conjunction with the gladius in the opening round.

Author:  old g*t [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum

Putting it simply Floyd, in the initial round of combat against an enemy to its front, the Romans fight in one rank and enjoy Armour Piercing of 1 and reroll all kills.

In subsequent rounds the figures in both the first and second ranks fight but there are no adjustments to be had.

What I see is being simulated; is the Romans launching their pilum before contact and fighting with gladius & shield until the combat is concluded.

Hope it helps.

Author:  CommanderBaker [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum

O so they get all that and two ranks in combat? That's pretty nice then. I thought only thrusting spears and on up got extra ranks.

Author:  Malificant [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum


18 roman hastati (6x3) charge into 24 Carthaginian Spearmen (6x4)

round 1
the romans get 6 attacks, which they are allowed to re-roll all the kill rolls if they choose, and gain armor piercing 1.

the carthaginians get 12 attacks back.

round 2
the romans get 12 attacks and the carthaginians get 18. no re-rolls or armor piercing for either.

Author:  Rob [ Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum

The example is correct.

The second rank comes into play from the following round of combat.

In an opening round thrusting spears in defence mode have an advantage, but in subsequent rounds, good quality Roman steel should see them off :mrgreen:

Author:  winheath [ Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum

At the risk (probably justified) of being branded a serial moaner I have to say I think the pilum rules are all wrong. I say this after numerous fights with republican Romans against two of their usual enemies, Macedonian pikes and Carthaginian spearmen.
The first point of issue is that early sources (and most experts) agree that the whole of the Roman unit discharged their pila, not just the first rank. In WAC pila armed troops are seriously disadvantaged compared to historical reality.
Second, the AP +1 is useful but against armoured infantry with shields and (often) with a phalanx bonus its rarely crucial and never in my experience makes up for the relative few troops involved compared to opponents armed with pikes or thrusting spears. The effect of pila was to disorder and/or de-shield opponents and it would imo be better if the enemy lost -1 AP for the whole of the combat (certainly for the first round).
Third, the benefit of re-rolling "kills" is largely illusory in practice. This is dues to statistical probability on dice rolls. Given that with a unit of a frontage of 8 the likely number of hits is small anyway and after armour saves "kills" are likely to be very few. On over twenty experiments "kills" fell between 1 and 2 on over 75% of goes and statistical probability suggests that the chances of improving this on a re-roll is only around 20%, with a 20% chance of making it worse and a 60% chance of no change.
I feel that with the rules as constituted the Roman republic would have been a military failure; certainly my Roman army is unlikely to see much combat.

Author:  Rob [ Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Romans using the Pilum

I won't disagree the Pila might need an amendment, but keeping a balance is absolutely vital

(quick reply as I have to duck back to work!)

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