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Roman Pila & Gladius

If the Roman Legion graces your gaming table, then this model profile will definitely be of interest to you. If your wargames don’t take place in the Ancient period, then your probably asking: What the heck is a pilum? Well…

The pilum is a javelin that was used by the Roman army in the age of antiquity. Legionaries of the Late Republic and Early Empire often carried two pila, with one sometimes being lighter than the other. Standard tactics called for a Roman soldier to throw his pilum (both if there was time) at the enemy just before charging to engage with his gladius.

Roman Pilum in HAVOC

To represent the Roman Pilum in HAVOC, let’s begin with the ‘Spear & Shield’ profile from The One List. The follow adjustments will then be made:

The cost is changed to 44 points.

MAD: 2
RAT: 3/10
Melee DMG: 3/2
Ranged DMG: 4/3

The Roman Pilum LOSES the Ranked Support ability, but does retain Shield Wall.

The Roman Pilum will only have 2 javelins available to throw. You can represent this with tokens, toothpicks, or modeled pila that are placed on the model’s base. It’s up to you. Once you have thrown your two javelins, then the model is removed from the table and replaced with a ‘Gladius & Shield’.

‘What if I want to switch to my Gladius & Shield before I have thrown my spear?’ you ask. Easy. You may, as an Action, change to the other weapon profile. Just make sure to move your javelin tokens to the new model!

Gladius and Shield

To represent the Gladius & Shield, you simply use the Melee & Shield stats found on page 122 with one simple change: the Total Defense ability is no longer possessed, but the Shield Wall ability is gained.

If using a ‘Gladius & Shield’ as a part of the Roman Pilum profile, then there is no points cost associated with it- it is included already. If you wish to use the Gladius & Shield as a model (with no javelin), then the cost is 25 points .


With all this talk of serious historical stuff, I’m sure there are some of you wondering if there is some way to inject a little of the cinematic. I’m sure I can think of something…


*the movie Gladiator is not tied to HAVOC in any official way, and is only used as an example of how history, fantasy, and the cinematic can come together with awesome results


14 thoughts on “Roman Pila & Gladius

  1. Great! Thanks for adding Romans to the mix. I will get these guys on the field of battle and let you know how it goes. Based on the games we’ve played thus far, I’m not sure keeping track of Pilum will be necessary but will give it a go and see how things work out.

    Posted by Pete | November 7, 2010, 8:22 am
  2. No worries!

    You may not need to keep track of the pilum. As always, do whatever works best for your group.

    However, if a model survives past 2 throws and/or gains superior position on the battlefield, then the points value for the model will be skewed.

    I think you’ll find that the more you play the game, the more ‘survivability’ your models will exhibit.

    NOTE!: the RAT for the Roman Pilum should be 3/10

    Posted by voodooink | November 7, 2010, 12:26 pm
  3. Can you recommend how to best use musicians? I would like to march units as blocks.

    Do I need to keep musicians in a separate unit, “Sound the maneuver” and then move a bunch of units?

    Or… is there someway I can keep the musicians in a unit and move them with everyone else?

    Posted by Pete | November 11, 2010, 7:51 pm
  4. When marching and maneuvering units in blocks, the larger the unit, the more difficult it becomes to keep a ‘geometric’ form. When moving on the battlefield, these formations tend to flex and/or gap. You can see this in HAVOC when you create larger units.

    Some players create a ‘Command Unit’ that is comprised of a Standard Bearer, 4-5 Musicians, and sometimes a Named model. This style of play allows them to: activate very large units, perform complex formation shifts, and/or activate multiple units. Just make sure that your enemy doesn’t gain line-of-sight to this expensive unit!

    You could modify it so that the Musician could Move AND Sound the Maneuver as a single action- as long as all players in your group agree. This would make them exponentially more valuable, and a primary target of ranged units.

    Question: what scale, and basing, are you playing your games with?

    Posted by voodooink | November 13, 2010, 11:12 am
  5. I see, so if I want a block of infantry to advance I can activate a command unit nearby with enough musicians to “Sound the Maneuver” for each rank of troops. If they are still in range of the musicians on the second phase of the turn, I can repeat. Otherwise, I need to move the command unit back into range.

    I’m going to give that a try and see how it works on the battlefield.

    I am using 28mm figs on 20mm square bases for infantry mostly. Ideally, the bases would be round but we find it works well enough to not bother.

    For cavalry, I am going to use poster tac to attach the rectangular cavalry bases to round 60mm bases. Another option is to affix Gale Force 9 “metallic” rubber underneath the model and use magnetized 60mm bases.

    Another question… I have a magician mounted on a horse. For now, I’m just going to say he counts as a Regulator, firing bolts of whatever from his staff. No Magus powers at all. Is there any possibility of getting a varient of the Magus on a steed?

    Not critical to have but a lot of miniatures companies make mages on steeds and it would be nice to use them as a more powerful version of the Magus. I hesitate to alter the rules as written because they seem very well designed and don’t want to inadvertently upset the balance. Not nearly enough games under my belt to fiddle around under the hood.

    Posted by Pete | November 14, 2010, 11:19 am
  6. The ways in which you can use a ‘Command Unit’ like the one above are quite varied. This may need to be a topic itself… 😉

    When playing at 28mm (as opposed to 10-15mm), you are controlling your formations at a much closer, more intimate, level. You can still march 18 miniatures in a block formation, it just MAY take 3 activations to perform the maneuver. The natural consequence is that blocks of troops are more vulnerable when on the move. In turn, threats from cavalry and skirmishers on the flank are a real concern (as well as being a viable tactic).

    My entire Dwarf army is poster tacked to Privateer Press 30mm bases!

    On the Magus…
    I love that you are using the Regulator as a mounted Magus! That’s the kind of stuff that HAVOC is all about. I know a player that uses the Blackpowder profile for poisoned blow guns. As far as a Mounted Magus is concerned, it is definitely possible, but VERY expensive. Additionally, it can be very difficult for players to deal with when it is used by an experienced player. It is balanced, but definitely better when you have been playing the core game for a while.I’m going to save it for later. 🙂

    Additionally, if you are going to use the Regulator profile for your Magus, then I would ‘upgrade’ him to ‘The Dragoon’ (page 168).

    Posted by voodooink | November 14, 2010, 1:13 pm
  7. I used these rules for my Romans. I really had to switch up my tactics!

    Not having Total Defense when using the Gladius took some getting used to. In my opinion, it made having a standard bearer more important.

    Posted by kingjr | November 28, 2010, 3:24 pm
  8. This probably isn’t the proper place to put this, but any chance of Havoc being released in PDF form? A $10 PDF would be splendid and I think attract more people as it lowers the barrier to entry.

    Plus, any plans for war machines? My group plays Warhammer and if I pick up Havoc they will be using their GW minis. I’m sure our Dwarf player would love to field an Organ gun or Cannon.

    Posted by Charles | January 31, 2011, 9:49 pm
    • Charles, this is a great place for your question!

      A PDF version of HAVOC is going to be released soon, and I think you will be pleased with the price.

      War machines? You can use the Artillery(and crew) profiles that are in HAVOC for cannons, scorpions, bolt throwers etc. There are going to be some more ‘race’ specific war machines in future expansions.

      Posted by voodooink | February 1, 2011, 10:55 am
  9. Thanks for the quick reply! I’m definitely pleased to hear a PDF is in the works. I was on the fence with this game (mainly because of so many other games and time) but will definitely pick up a PDF as the loss is much smaller if I never play the game.

    I didn’t realize there was an artillery profile (haven’t played the game yet) but that’s great to hear.

    Posted by Charles | February 2, 2011, 10:53 am
  10. Brent,

    Do you have a rough idea on when the PDF will be released? I’m considering just picking up the book if it won’t be for awhile but I’d much rather have the PDf to be able to print out The One List for members of my group.

    Posted by Charles | February 17, 2011, 12:50 am
  11. Charles:

    The PDF should be available by the middle of next week. It might be sooner, but it will definitely be online by next weekend (barring any technical difficulties).

    I’ve partnered with wargamevault.com to carry the digital version of my products. I’ll be making the official announcement next week once HAVOC is actually available.

    Posted by voodooink | February 17, 2011, 5:51 pm
  12. Thanks for the quick reply, I’m very happy to hear it should be out by the end of next week.

    I’ll do what I can to convince a couple of friends to pick it up after we play some games.

    Posted by Charles | February 17, 2011, 9:17 pm
  13. Thanks for the support!

    Posted by voodooink | February 17, 2011, 9:42 pm

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