Copyright 1998 T. Sheil and A. Sheil  All Rights Reserved


Roman Age Game

Advanced Supplement to Castle Cracker Ancient and Medieval Battle Game

A game which pits Roman legionnaires against a variety of adversaries

Sandarticus is a simple, fast-paced game of small-unit action in the Roman Empire.  Roman soldiers defend the Empire against enemies from without and within.  Fun, exciting, easy to play, for all ages.

SANDARDTICUS an ADVANCED SUPPLEMENT to Castle Cracker.  Before playing, you need to know the basic Castle Cracker rules.  As SANDARTICUS is part of the Sandy Hook Battle Games, please also check the Basics of the Sandy Hook games.  For further insight, look over the Castle Cracker Advanced supplement.  

Basics of Sandy Hook Games

Castle Cracker Rules

Castle Cracker Advanced Supplement

Troop Types

Roman Legionnaires: the regular rank-and-file of the Roman army, armed with throwing spears (pilum) and the traditional short sword (gladius).  Roman regular soldiers are the armored fist of the Empire.

Roman Cavalry: medium-armored troops used for fast, quick action.

Roman Auxiliaries: light-to-medium armored troops used as slingers, archers and light infantry.

Greek Hoplites: the heavily-armored troops of ancient Greece.  Their most feared formation was the Phalanx.

Greek Light Infantry: lightly-armored infantry, archers and slingers.

Gladiator revolutionaries: highly-trained individual fighters of ancient Rome.

Revolutionary auxiliaries: light-armored troops in support of the Gladiator revolt.

Gauls: the wild warriors of ancient France.

South Germans: wild tribes armed with light weapons

North German: organized tribes armed with heavy shields and weapons


Legionnaires, Hoplites, armored troops (helmet, shield, body armor) - 1

Light (no armor), medium (helmet and shield) - 1 1/2

Light Cavalry: 2

Pushed siege gear, catapult: 1/2


Romans, Greeks and North Germans excel in using special formations in battle.  These are:

Shield wall - tight line of troops, shield to shield - minimum 5 men

Shield ring - troops huddle in a circle, shields tight, facing outward minimum 6 men

Phalanx: (Greek) - troops with long spears form in a line or wedge, 3 deep.  Rather like a one-sided porcupine! minimum 12 men

Wedge (German, Roman) - a shield wall shaped like a wedge - this formation is used alone or as a line of wedges like a saw blade - don't get caught between the teeth!  Minimum 7 men

Tortoise (testuduo) (Roman) - troops  Minimum 8 men a moving shield ring with shields overhead, used in sieges or when under heavy archer/sling fire.  

Troops in a shield ring or tortoise can only move at half speed.

All troops can use a shield wall.  Gauls, South Germans and Gladiators can also use a Shield Ring provided a leader is with the unit.

Armor protection from missiles

Armor protection works so long is the damage of the attacking weapon is lower than the armor's rate.  If the weapon equals or exceeds the number, it breaks the armor.

Ballista or catapult - 4

Siege tower - 5

Ram - 6

Chariot - 3

War Wagon - 4

Castle gate - 6

How we shoot

A unit of men fires at another unit.  Casualties are removed, starting at the front of the unit being hit.  

Roll 2 dice.  You need a 6 or better to hit at close range, 8 or better for medium range and 10 or better for ling range.

To hit troops fighting behind walls, you subtract 2 from the dice roll.

To hit troops hiding behind wagons or houses, subtract 1

If you fire at a unit that has not moved for one mover, and you have not moved either, add 2 to your dice roll.

Cup rule: Artillery, be it cannon, mortar or howitzer, chooses a target and fires. A die is rolled. 5 or 6 means a direct hit. A cup is placed over center of the blast, and everything inside is ruined or killed. If you roll a 3, the hit fell short and lands one cup-width to the front, 4 means to the rear, 5 to the left, 6 to the right. Again, a cup is placed over the center of the cup and everything inside is hit. (Of course, a stone wall will resist the blast. If the blast is outside the wall, everything inside remains untouched), This simulates a gun's tendency to be off target and create casualties also. And it shows why you never fire at a target too close to your troops!

Ballista direct fire: A ballista will hit any man in its path, hitting up to 3.  Place the range string from the cannon to its intended target.  Aim at the target as you would any regular shooting.  If it hits, anything in range behind him touched by the taut string is hit - he may hit up to 3 men.  We consider the 3rd to have stopped the missile, so that anyone over 3 is unharmed.  

The ballista's direct fire is like a cannon.

Hand to Hand Fighting

When two units come into contact, they are involved in hand-to-hand fighting.  All infantry and light cavalry fight as 1 man each.  Heavy cavalry fights as 2 men (with exception noted below), chariots fight as 3.

When fighting a unit of 6 or more spearmen, unless those spearmen are already involved in hand-to-hand combat with another unit, heavy cavalry and chariots fight as 1 man.  The spearmen are considered to have made a shield wall, which impedes horses and chariots.  However, spearmen already in a fight cannot use the shield wall advantage.

To simulate close fighting on the battlefield, units cancel each other out.  We do this based on armor:

2 heavy armored troops or 1 heavy armored cavalryman (remember, he's acting as 2 troops except against spearmen) eliminate one enemy per turn.

3 medium or half-armored troops eliminate one enemy per turn

Chariots are considered medium troops

4 light troops eliminate one enemy per turn

Eventually one side can choose to run - a side running is considered so panicked that it runs its normal speed plus 1/4 of that speed.  

When the numbers get uneven, the side with more troops takes the smaller side prisoner.  Thus if you don't have enough men left to eliminate any more enemy and he cannot eliminate your troops, he is taken prisoner.  

It takes one man to guard 8 prisoners and march them to his own lines.  once there, one man can guard 20 prisoners.  If the guard is killed, escaped prisoners must escape to their own lines or fort before they can fight again.  If they are attacked while escaping, however, they can defend themselves.

When archers are charged, half of them can fire once before starting the hand-to-hand combat.

Aiming: place the quartered disk over troops.  Archers can turn up to 3 quarters of a circle to fire. Ballista can turn up to 1/2, cannons, catapults can only turn 1/4 of the circle to fire.


Spear - standard battle weapon of ancient and medieval times.  Five spearmen in a line can blunt cavalry attacks. Damage - 3

Pilum - a special Roman throwing spear that ruins shields.  (Does not work against North Germans, Greek or other Romans)  It causes those whose shield it hits to remain still for 1 turn.

Javelin - light Greek throwing spear.  South Germans also use light javelins. Damage 2, Range R1

Gladius - short sword popular with Greeks and Romans  Damage - 4

Spatha - broadsword favored by Roman Centurions, Germanic and Gallic chiefs Damage - 5

Broadaxe - North German two-handed axe - will turn a shield into kindling Damage - 5

Handaxe - standard hatchet used by Gauls, Germans and some Greeks Damage - 3

Trident - Gladiator weapon - a three-pronged spear that can also trap an enemy Damage - 4

Net - Gladiator weapon used to incapacitate an enemy. Stops foe 1 turn

Small shield - parrying shield favored by some gladiators. +1 in close combat only

Sling - lethal leather thing used to propel hard stones  Range R1 Damage 5- 2 - 1

Bow and Arrow - standard weapon of archers  Range R2 Damage 5- 3- 1

Ballista - huge crossbow-like catapult that shoots a huge spear, normally used to break up enemy formations  Range R3 - Damage - 6 X 3

Onager - standard light catapult, used against troops and fortifications  Range R3 - damage 5 X 4

Ten mina onager - larger siege onager Range R2, Damage 8 X 5


Defense:   Armor protection works so long is the damage of the attacking weapon is lower than the armor's rate.  If the weapon equals or exceeds the number, it breaks the armor.

Unarmored man - 1

Shield - adds 1 protection to front

Roman, Greek, North German shield - adds 2 protection to front

Medium armor (shield, steel cap, and / or fur/leather armor) 2 front, 1 rear

Heavy armor (body armor) 3 front, 2 rear

Ballista, onager, cart, siege tower - 4

Siege palisade - 4

Troops in formation facing enemy - all get an additional 1 armor in front

Troops caught between the teeth of a wedge fall under man-to-man rules - they get hit twice!


One difference in this game is the need of leadership.  Greek and Roman troops - even small units - were provided with good leadership.  Though each soldier knew his own job, he relied on the direction of a qualified leader.  North German tribes were led by various war chiefs.  Though less dependent on leadership, they appreciated its value.   Gauls and Revolutionaries preferred charismatic chiefs to keep their spirits up.  Loss of a trusted leader could force a Gallic or revolutionary unit to run.

A Roman or Greek unit requires one leader per every 20 men, and an additional leader for every 2 units.  Usually, the Centurion led a unit, and his second-in-command was the standard bearer.  A tribune would command several units.  A leader must be with his unit to count.  The only troops who do not require a leader are messengers and light cavalry.

Should the leader be lost, the unit will halt for one turn.  It will defend if attacked.  The next turn, it will either move toward the nearest friendly unit with a leader, hold its ground, or retreat.  Units naturally move toward the nearest friendly unit.  If no friendly unit is within R3, the unit flips a coin.  Head it holds, tails it retreats.  The unit retreats until it gets within R3 of a leader.  It will then proceed toward that leader.

North Germans generally have one war chief per unit of 10 to 20 men.  Because they are self-reliant, they do not require as many leaders.  If a North German unit loses its leader, it automatically holds one turn.  It will then choose one of three actions, in order of importance

It will move toward the nearest fighting

It will move toward the nearest friendly unit with a leader

It will hold

NOTE - leaderless troops cannot make a phalanx, wedge, tortoise or shield ring!

Gauls and South Germans require leaders to keep them in the fight.  A Gallic or South German army requires at least one leader per every 20 men, plus a king to lead the Army.  The king may be attended by a sub-king, who will assert control should the king be killed.  If both king and sub-king are killed, a war chief can try to assume control.  He must flip a coin - heads he takes command, tails he does not.  Flip a coin for each remaining war chief within R3 of the fallen king.  The death of the king does not stop action, so long as the sub king assumes authority.  If the sub king falls, all war chiefs must try to assert control.  Troops must hold their position for that turn.  Should all chiefs fail, the army retreats for two turns before they can try again.

Gladiator Revolutionaries are a difficult lot.  They require a Spartacus and his two main chiefs to lead the Army.  If Spartacus falls, a coin is flipped for each leader.  All revolutionaries hold their position. Heads means one assumed control.  If both flip heads, the Army is so charged up over the loss of their leader that they will continue to fight even if the new leaders are killed.  If one flips heads, he assumed control.  Should he be killed, then the process of making a new leader continues.

Should both leaders fail to roll, the army must retreat two turns before the sub-chiefs attempt to try again to gain control.

The gladiators alone do not need a leader, as they are trained to fight alone.  However, since gladiators can only make up 1/4 of the entire revolutionary army, the other troops need one gladiator to serve as leader for every ten men.  If their gladiator is killed, they hold that turn.  Next turn they will either run to any unit within R3 that has a gladiator,  or retreat.  When given a choice of several units with gladiators, revolutionaries always go to one alongside or behind them.  After all, it's a slave/peasant revolt, and so regular revolutionaries prefer to err on the side of safety.  Should retreating revolutionaries not come within R3 of a friendly gladiator as they move back, they will continue to retreat until they have left the battlefield

Formation Fighting

Using a formation is good, but there are limits.  You have to use one formation per turn - you change formation before movement starts!  The only "emergency formation" is the shield ring, which can be used by Greeks, Romans and North Germans if suddenly hit by overwhelming forces.  Otherwise, you're stuck with your formation.

Your troops can turn around to face an enemy.  Trained armies practiced long and hard the change their facing instantly.  (The Irish Jig and Scottish Reel were used to train troops how to shift facing and move in formation)  If the army is fighting in one direction, however, its back is open to a back attack.  It can form an instant shield ring if it has spearmen.  (A phalanx being attacked can turn unto a "hedgehog" with spear pointing out - it is then technically a shield ring.  Six spearmen in a ring can protect two non-spearmen in the center.

The tortoise is purely defensive - troops cannot fight without breaking formation.

If a formation is broken, its troops lose the advantage of a formation.  They cannot re-form until the next turn, and so fight as unformed troops.

 A wedge can break a shield wall or tortoise.  It can break a shield ring provided the troops leading the wedge have spears.  Otherwise, the shield-ring's spears fend them off long enough to keep the formation.  

Okay, kids, so what if a wedge is hit on the long side rather than the front?  Why, just look at geometry.  The attackers are not hitting a triangle, but a flat surface.  Hitting the flat side means those troops defend as a shield wall.  This isn't easy.  To gain the flat side advantage, your troops must remain in formation and must travel in a straight line, perpendicular to the wedge, for the last R1/2 prior to impact.  After all, it is very hard to turn a formation that is charging!

A phalanx in flat mode can break a shield wall or overwhelm a shield ring.  It cannot break a turtle unless it outnumbers the tortoise unit by 2 to 1.

A wedge can break a tortoise provided the wedge has at least 2 men for ever 3 in the tortoise.

A wedge can break a shield wall or phalanx provided it has 3 men for every 2 in the defended unit.  Otherwise, the shield wall will wrap around the sides of the wedge or phalanx.

A phalanxe or wedge must have 2 men for every 1 in a shield ring in order to break the formation.

A shield wall can attack a phalanx, wedge or shield ring and envelop it.  A shield wall will stop a tortoise and force it to change formation on the next turn.

Shield walls can be square, composed of many ranks behind the first.  Only the first three ranks are counted when formations clash.

Scattered troops fight at minus 1 against a formation.


Obviously, you want to keep your units together.  You want to maintain some kind of formation.  The goal is to keep your forces organized and in formation while smashing the enemy formations.  You also want to protect your leaders!

The careful use of ballistae and catapults can wreak havoc on an enemy formation.  Archers and slingers are also good for formation-busting.  Of course, if an enemy unit catches up with your artillery or shooters, odds are high that the catapultiers and archers and slingers will fall like ripe wheat.

Terrain helps.  Using terrain can enhance your formations while crippling those of an enemy.

Use the land, your artillery, your archers and slingers, and your formations to break enemy units.  That is the key to victory!

North Germans, Romans and Greeks are difficult enemies to beat because of their use of formations.  Gauls and South Germans are tough, but not as capable.  Gladiator Revolutionaries are the most unorganized.  For fairness, a Gallic or South German army ought to be 1/3 larger than a North German, Roman or Greek Army.  A revolutionary army would be twice the size of its Roman opponents, and 1/3 larger than Gauls or South Germans.


A Roman or Greek Army may hire outsiders to beef up its forces.  Gallic cavalry was often hired by Rome.  The use of mercenaries would allow Germans to fight Revolutionaries, Greeks to fight Gauls, and Gauls to fight Germans.  Here's the hiring schedule:

Romans can hire Gauls, Greeks or Germans, but never Gladiators.

Greeks can hire South Germans and Scythians, who are Gauls, but never Romans or North Germans.

Revolutionaries who get the gold can hire South Germans, Greeks or Gauls, but never Romans or North Germans

Gauls can hire Germans, but never Greeks or Romans.

Revolutionaries can not be hired, but Greeks can form a temporary alliance with them.

Unit Fighting

When units collide, damage is done.  A battle is resolved by eliminating a certain amount of the enemy.  When one side so outnumbers its adversaries that the smaller side can no longer inflict casualties, the remainder are taken prisoner.

A round of unit fighting resolves with each side eliminating so many of the enemy.  After a round, one side can choose to retreat.  However, it may find itself pursued by the enemy.  A unit in combat can choose as its move: :fight or pursue." This means that if the other unit opts to retreat, the first unit automatically follows its and may resume combat.  If you're retreating, and you have light troops escaping from armored infantry, your full move gets you away from them.  But if you are light infantry escaping from cavalry, the cavalry commander can choose "fight or pursue"  This means that no matter how you retreat, he will catch up and resume the fight.

TACTIC Can you afford to lose a unit in a hopeless fight?  Perhaps it will tie up one of his units long enough for you to maker a strategic move.  Perhaps it will weaken a unit enough so one of your heavy units can easily defeat it.  Sometimes you can lose a unit to win the battle.  The old term was "soaking off," or bleeding a unit and keeping it in place while you performed a strategic move elsewhere.

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